A blog by an Irishwoman, written in both English and Swedish, depending on what humour is on me....
En blogg av en irländska, skriven på svenska och engelska.
Just scroll down to find the English bits among the Swedish, or vice versa.

Ta Gaeilge agam freisin, más é an rud é go bhfuil éinne eile le Gaeilge ag léamh mo bhlagsa.

Ich verstehe auch ein bisschen Deutsch, je parle un petit peu francais och klarar av lite norska med.

Wondering about the background of the blog? They're the Cliffs of Moher, in the neighbouring county, County Clare, 8km long, 700m high, and magnificent. Well worth a visit if anyone is around the West of Ireland

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Attention all knitters: a free pattern giveaway till New Year's Day

 Strike while the iron is hot,
TinCanKnits are giving away a free pattern of your choice, so I am sharing the love and letting you know about this, but it only applies up to Jan 1st 2013, so as I said already, Strike now while the iron is hot, (Lika bra att passa på!)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

God Jul, Happy Christmas, Nollaig Shona díbh

God Jul på er allihopa,
Happy Christmas to you all,
Nollaig Shona díbh go léir,
I hope you all had a peaceful day today and that you were able to enjoy it in the company of your loved ones.
I certainly enjoyed a peaceful day at home with my husband and children. We went to Mass for Christmas at 7.30pm on Christmas Eve night, then home and left out a little tray with milk and mince pie and a carrot for Santy and his reindeer. Amazingly, the children slept through till 8.03am before they woke to see if Santa had come. After that, dinner was cooked and eaten, and dessert taken, and all is well with the world for now.
Good night!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

one more sleep...

...to the day of the holidays, woo-hoo!!
We get our Christmas holidays tomorrow, hooray!
First, there's a Christmas mass for all the pupils and staff and we will sing some favourite Christmas carols, like Away in a Manger and Silent Night. My pupils will be the ones reading the readings and prayers tomorrow. I will have to take them down slightly earlier than usual to the church to give them a chance to practise in the church.
On the way back to school, we may even get a little look at the Living Crib in the old Forge building in the village, where there's a donkey, (who loves company I've been told) and 2 ewes and 4 lambs, as well as statues of Mary and Joseph.
Then we go back to school, make a few more Christmas cards, eat a bit of chocolate and all will go home happy at midday.
And then I'm free!!!
For 2 weeks, what luxury.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Saturday night, just taking it easy...

The copies are done and the computer is on, I am supposed to be doing school paperwork, but as always when the laptop is turned on and I sit in front of it, I check my few sites, ie gmail, Ravelry, Blogger/blogspot and FB, for any messages.
I will have to make myself do that paperwork, but this surfing time is  relaxing and a bit of fun, a bit of a diversion before I have to do the Hard Work!
On Thursday this week, my father's aunt Mary had her birthday, she was 89. So my mum organised a cake and a little get-together for Mary at her nursing home, and my siblings and I went to visit her for a bit.
My mother-in-law, Inger,  in Karlstad, Sweden will be 90 next summer, and already we (ie the Swede, my husband) has looked at flights and has a proposed date of departure in mind! We will hopefully spend 2 weeks in Sweden, Farmor (Grannny) has her birthday on 14th July, and we will be there for it.
Sad news this autumn included the death of two close and dearly loved members of my husband's family/friends in Sweden, his godmother Karin, who was very close to Inger, passed away and, more recently, my husband's aunt's husband Nisse in Kristinehamn also passed away. Nisse's funeral is next week, but it doesn't look like my husband will be able to go to it. Both Karin and Nisse have played a big part in our lives and more especially my husband's life, and it is very sad to witness their passing.
My husband has a small family, his father died in 1998, so he has just his mother, his aunt, his brother and his brother's family (wife, 2 children) and his cousin and partner in Sweden.
I on the other hand have 10 aunts and uncles on my mother's side, I am the second eldest of a group of about 36 cousins on Mum's side and my father has a large family too.
I am the eldest of 8 siblings in my own family and my mother now has 17 grandchildren,and there could yet be more!

No words I can say can possibly ever convey the depth of the sadness and grief and horror I feel at the deaths of the 28 children and staff in the Sandy Hook school in Connecticut, I offer my sincerest sympathies to the families of all concerned and am praying for them.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

ahhh, the weekend....

The best part of the weekend is Friday evening when all the potential of the weekend ahead lies before one, with all those raised expectations (not yet dashed), all those wonderful plans (not yet shelved by unforeseen circumstances), all the great things I promise I will do and best of all, the sense of having all the time in the world to do all the things I want to do.
So the weekend starts here tonight, and already I have marked about 75 copies out of 120, so that is a huge relief to have them done. Plenty more to do where they came from, but I am at least on the right track.

last week of school coming up, phew...
Oh how I long for the first wonderful days next weekend when I do not have to set an alarm clock!
Roll on Friday 21st!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

På svenska, och en tävling för ullintresserade

ibland skriver jag på svenska,
om det finns någon som är intresserad av att vara med i en tävling för ull och stickor och ett mönster, kolla in tävlingen i  denna blogg: Garnasinne
Ju fler som deltar desto mer man kan vinna!
Tävlingen är nu förlängd, så  lika bra att passa på nu, tycker jag !

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Nativity show tonight

Tonight our pupils will put on a little show for the parents, in our parish church. It's the story of the Nativity, in song and narration.
The songs are so joyful that they were easy to teach, and the fact of having everyone on the altar at the same time means less stress, I think, anyway.
My task tonight is to remember to strike a wooden bar 3 times at the point when little Joseph knocks on the door of an inn. I am trying very hard to make myself remember this and not get carried away with organising everything else and worrying about the angle of the shepherds'(6 of my pupils) headgear (tea-towels!)
Otherwise there is much to do before Christmas, both at work and at home. It will all get done to some degree and then the prize, the glorious reward, is 2 weeks of blissful peace and quiet and freedom from routine! Yippee!!
I had such a good time spinning on Sunday at the craft fair that I can't wait to have the time to do some more spinning and showing the results here and on ravelry. I hope to get plenty spinning done during the holidays. I aim to get some done this coming weekend too!
I struck lucky last month,  I got 3 fleeces free from a local Open Farm, 2 alpaca and one Jacob sheep. They are in the shed at the moment. I will have to wait till the weather is warmer and drier before I get them out and clean them and wash them etc.
I love this time of year, the pared back bareness of nature, the upcoming wonder of the Winter Solstice, the stars at night, the moon, the rivers ever flowing, the frost, the joy in feeding wild birds, the shape of a tree, all lacy branches spreading blackly against the colours of the sunset. Nature is truly an antidote to the overconsumption and shopping madness that we Homo Sapiens engage in at this time of year.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Craft Fair, daughter bakes and I spin!

Today was the first ever local very tiny Craft fair for Christmas, in our newly renovated tiny community centre, which is actually the old Railway station-house, but the trains do not stop here anymore.
My 12-year old daughter heard about the Craft fair 4 or 5 weeks ago and decided that she had to have a stall at it, she was going to bake. Moi, I was a bit terrified at the work that that would entail, but I bowed to her wishes and rang the organisers and booked a stall. Sure enough yesterday turned into a major baking day, she baked and baked, and I was sent to the shop often to buy extra ingredients.
Well, she did very well, she sold most of her baked goods. I mustn't forget my mother's help here, Mam donated a Christmas cake, (cut into slices and wrapped, thankfully!) and bags of home-made fruit scones. Neither can I omit a certain friend who loyally helped out with the selling end of things and kept my daughter company at the stall.
In my innocence a few weeks ago I also booked a space for myself, so I could demonstrate spinning at the Craft fair.
And so today, I spent 3 and a half hours sitting happily spinning on alternative wheels (I have two wheels now), talking to people about spinning and sheep and wheels and wool and spindles and carders, etc.
I was delighted, it was the best ever way to destress after the marathon baking and packaging session that took up yesterday and this morning.
Photos coming when I get them from hubby's camera.

This was the weekend that all my daughters earned money - eldest worked two days in 2 different petrol/service stations, second daughter did babysitting and third daughter baked and sold her wares at the Craft fair. Very satisfying feeling, let me tell you.
Cold weather coming this week, and we will be getting frost, I believe.
My van isn't quite right yet, it needs a new water pump, mechanic says, so I am waiting for that to arrive and be installed, some time this coming week.
Off to do some school prep now, marking exercise books(we call them copies) took a back seat this weekend, but gotta get down to it now. sigh....

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Back from an appointment with the Speech and Language therapist

For about 11 years, I was a Learning Support Teacher in my school, that all changed last September twelve-months, ie, September 2011, when I was re-allocated to a mainstream class.
For 11 years, I would have had ongoing contact with the local Speech and Language therapists in our public health system, as I referred children to them for assessments and help.
Now since I am back in the classroom, it turns out that I still have contact with some of the same therapists, but this time it is not for children, no, this time it is for me!
I have always had voice problems, well, since the first year in Teacher training college, I mean. I lost my voice during my first Teaching Practice after only 4 months in college. My mother and sister who also were/are teachers have voice problems, as in, school and teaching make us become hoarse and lose our voices
While I was a Learning Support teacher, I had very little problems with my voice, but now that I am back in a class, I find that my voice problems are back.
The last time I taught mainstream was with the Junior Infants, (the Reception class, you could say). That played total havoc with my voice, working with up to 28  4- and 5-yr olds, all chatting and all full of  energy. In those years, I would have had quite a bit of laryngitis. Then when I was in Learning Support, I had very little laryngitis.
And now back in a classroom of normal (or boisterous, to a normal degree) pupils, I have voice trouble again.
I have seen my GP, was referred to and have been examined by an ENT specialist. I have no nodules or growths on my vocal chords, so that's a relief. Then I was referred to a Speech and Language therapist.
Tonight I was at my second appointment with my Speech and Language therapist.
I have to think of spreading my facial muscles and bringing my voice up and out.
It is very interesting, even if I am a very poor pupil and forget to do my 'homework' most of the time.
I do hope that the program will help me, as there is nothing worse than waking up without a voice and having to go to school to teach and talk all day.....
Hope all is well with ye, out there in the world, there is severe snow in Sweden I hear, Stockholm shut down today because of the snow.
There may be some snow and sleet here on high ground tonight,
I hope we all stay safe and warm tonight!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

November gone, December here

November passed by in a flurry, and now December is here.
November is called  Mí na Shamhna in Irish/Gaelic, literally ' the month of Samhain', a word which comes from the Gaelic and which means The end of Summer.
So truly summer is over.
December is called Mí na Nollag, the month of Christmas, with Nollaig being the Irish word for Noel.

The weather here at the moment is wet and cold but not so cold as to threaten snow. We had some frosty mornings last week, the car windscreens had to be scraped, but the roads around us were not very icy at all, thank Goodness.At present, the weather is back to rain. I just hope we don't get the bad winters we had 2 years ago.

My laptop broke, turns out I need a new internal drive for it, which I will probably sort in the next week or so; but I bought myself a new laptop in the meantime. I also got a gadget which allows Wifi in the house for up to 5 devices at a time, before this I had only one dongle to allow broadband on one device at a time.

My van broke down on Saturday just gone, when I was in Tipperary town, with my daughter for her orthodontist appointment. The appointment only took 8 minutes, the van breaking down meant we were in Tipperary for almost 4 hours. Shiverrrrr, it was getting cold by the time the nice mechanic,  whom the Insurance company sent to our assistance,  finally got the van onto his towtruck and got us all home.
I got the van back today, turns out it was a faulty thermostat, thankfully it wasn't a blown gasket or damaged radiator. I am so pleased to have the car back! And I think my Dear Swedish Husband is also delighted that I have my van back, as I borrowed his car today and he had to get a lift to work.....

We are rehearsing a  musical Nativity play at work with the children, which they will perform for their parents in a week's time, in the local church. The songs are so joyful that they are easy to teach.

Sara, who has a lovely heart-warming blog about her adventures in a wooden house in the woods in Sweden, has asked me to write a little about my childhood in Ireland.
Well, here's a tiny snippet: I am the eldest of 8 children, (3 girls, 5 boys). I was born in the mid 1960's. My mother was a primary school teacher and my father worked in a large hardware shop in town, ie Limerick City.
I went to school either when I was 3 and 11 months old, or when I turned 4, as my mother just took me to school with her, and the rules were not so strict then. In school, the younger children wrote on small blackboards, (chalkboards) with chalk. We called them cláiríní, meaning small boards. The school building was very old and draughty, it was surely 100 years old when I was there, a stone building, with thick stone walls, dusty wooden floorboarsd and  tall windows that started well above eye-level. There were only 3 classrooms, the toilets were in an outside block.
We didn't wear uniforms then, although most schools now do have uniforms. I remember wearing a duffle-coat to school and if you fell in the mud in winter time, you were put standing in front of a gas heater with your coat on, and wet muddy trousers off.
I also remember picking rose hips in autumn , lots of them they were being collected to make Rose-Hip syrup, for some reason. If you took a rose-hip and opened it up, there were short hairs under the skin and if you put that down a person's shirt, the hairs would itch like mad. We called rose-hips Itchy-backs!