Wednesday, July 8th
Today has been my first bad day since we arrived Stateside. I wasn’t consciously expecting a bad day but perhaps, subconsciously, I was winding up for one.
By describing it as a “bad day”, I’m suggesting that I was crippled with anxiety; scalding knives or throwing up. I got off lightly. Bad days are not what they used to be. Thank f***.
I feel like I should watch my mouth when I’m writing from here as swearing has a whole other function and association here than at home. Words that are considered distasteful in middle class America are absolutely crucial to the effectiveness of the story about the time Des Bishop left the immersion on and I’m doing my best to respect that social code, verbally at least.
I usually just manage to disengage the offending F-bomb; A-bomb; S-bomb… actually, I’m Irish: I probably have a bomb for every letter of the alphabet, and a stock of less shocking “fecks” or “shites” which aren’t curses at all in Ireland. Sure you’d hear “feck” and “shite” on the telly, in any workplace and at mass, not that mass is always the best place to look for purity of heart.
So I’m attempting to keep my vocabulary PG.
I ended up with a migraine on Sunday. It wasn’t as intense as previous hot-poker-in-the-temple stabbings: no puking, which is always a bonus. But I missed the second half of the U.S. Women winning the World Cup – you know that FIFA agree to the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team being paid less than the Men’s , right? And don’t give me the “but they bring in less money than the men” argument – and I was miserable for the first part of a trip to Fort Worth Zoo on Monday. Yesterday came around and I got up around nine am, head still feeling acidic. Everyone was out so I went back to bed to read, fell asleep and woke up at midday. Gross.
I don’t know what’s going on with me hormonally. This new Pill, Cerazette is weird. Not getting a period is one thing but my boobs are killing me and my head aches everyday. The SaltScrub night sweats have definitely eased, my skin is fine and I’m not fainting like I was on Yasmin and Beta Blockers but I have a feeling it’s not for me. It makes me feel… well, a bit pregnant, ironically.
Last night, a gang of us went to Frisco – an area of DFW (the Dallas/Fort Worth area is known the the DFW Metroplex as the two cities are so close to each other) that is apparently pretty swanky and affluent: so, like Dublin 6 maybe, but sunnier and with newer buildings. British Georgian architecture didn’t quite reach Texas. I guess the red brick terraces and the likes of Merrion Square are something for which we can attribute with reluctant gratitude to our colonial past.
Frisco is beautiful. It’s lit up at night time with fairy lights and the pavements are lined with the wrought iron dining tables of boutique eateries. It reminded me of Rome or Paris. We passed one office block that any Louboutin wearing fashion or interior designing career woman would be proud to call her work station. Polished granite work surfaces; a break room straight from Homes & Gardens – The Millionaires’ Edition (I have no idea if there is a millionaires’ edition of what I think is the title of a yummy mummy magazine – stereotype? Me?!); glass tables with pretentiously positioned coffee table books and flower arrangements the Waldorf-Astoria would order for the main lobby (I stayed there on my honeymoon so I’m not codding you about my fancy hotel credentials).
The match was USA v Honduras. I didn’t really expect to be emotionally invested in it but to my surprise, I was. And not just because there are two super cute, long dark haired fellas on the U.S. team whom I’ve renamed Cillian and Gearóid. Why? It’s a running joke here that Irish names are phonetically nothing like their pronunciations (Cillian is clearly a poor example of this): we have been asking our friends here to try spell the names Dearbhaile, Siobhán, Niamh and Caoimhe with little or no success. There’s a funny Lee Mack standup bit on Irish names.
Anyway, I enjoyed the match and the banter and felt good going to bed at my cousin’s amazing house in Fort Worth. Seriously, this house has a home movie theatre with a screen the size of my living room and reclining chairs the size of my car. Everything’s bigger in Texas.
I woke up tired. Weird and often scary dreams have caused some cold sweats the last couple of nights, although none so major as to warrant even one pyjama change. Oddly, in my nightmares, I seem to be the one saving people from giant snakes and controlling marriages.
The first night, My Cousin Like A Brother was married against his will to my former boss who was treating him abominably. I strongly suspected her son was not his and I was urging him to leave the abusive relationship and planning all sorts of escape routes to get him out and unite him with his real life wife. Ok…
Last night, there was a glass Guggenheimesque structure within a white warehouse holding an enormous – and I mean elephant width, mile long – snake. People were captured and thrown into it in teams and had to fight for their survival by making it to the top of the swirling wooden scaffolding tracing the reinforced glass exterior wall. The captors would watch from their warehouse safety.
Somehow, My Little Scandi (aka Elsadaughter) and I figured out that the reason this dragonlike, blood-eyed snake turned so fiercely angry was that she was, like us, in captivity. She had baby snakey dragons attached to her like scaly pom poms and she wanted out of her clear cage. We did a Chris Pratt in Jurassic World on it and looked straight at her red, laser shooting eyes and made a communicative link with her animal consciousness. I’ve watched too many super hero movies lately. We saved the day, and the snake.
At the end of my dream, I realised that the whole thing was like a weird murderous version of The Truman Show with a bit of The Hunger Games thrown in and suddenly Sandra Bullock was the leading lady of the twisted movie experiment instead of me. Can that woman do no wrong? Google her Minion shoes.
Sandra (or rather, I!) had pretty much done all the hard work and snake hypnotics but suddenly, Joss Whedon decided the male protagonist, played by my Cousin Like A Brother should swoop in for a last minute damsel-in-distress finale, having been firmly established as Sandra’s sidekick early on in the show. I marched into Whedon’s booth and demanded he rewrite the ending to reflect the consistency of the heroine’s character throughout the action. She absolutely did not need to be rescued by any man, not even my chivalrous cousin! Whedon (of whom I have never even seen a photo in my life) acquiesced to my demands – what made me so powerful I don’t know, maybe my Parseltongue fluency?). I had done my cousin out of his big hero movie break and he was none too pleased. However, the feminist community cheered my efforts uproariously and Hadley Freeman wrote a book about me.
So, yesterday wasn’t great and it took a turn for the worse when I remembered that today was workout day with Cruella de Fitness Freak… at 6AM! Ugh. I hoped Cousin Like A Brother would forget. I wasn’t going to remind him. Of course he remembered.
When your alarm goes off at 5.10am it’s hardly ever going to be for something nice like a massage. It’s usually involving physically exercise or a manic airport. However, I was decidedly chipper, wholly unlike me. I enjoyed my workout a lot, had a healthy breakfast, dozed in a rocking chair having half heartedly written some more of this episode. Then off to a wildlife park that Scandi has loved since she was six.follow that up with some sun, catching up on The Archers (I know – twee), listening to my book about Margot Asquith, yummy dinner; nice warm evening stroll; Downton Abbey Christmas Special boo fest and then bed.
Friday, July 10th
Today, some of the family crew here visited The Perot Museum in Dallas. I could write about how cool it was all night but I’m tired and I’ve been drafting this post for seems like nine years now and I want it finished.
Science and nature are not my areas of expertise although I love a David Attenborough or Brian Cox documentary. But, it’s enough to say that I’d happily go back and spend an entire day there on my own in this museum. The preserved, sliced human bodies (yeah, at first I thought that was creepy too and it is, but it’s more fascinating than creepy) held my attention for ages. Scant information was given about the body donors – an over sixty man who possibly died of heart disease and a thirty something woman whose cause of death was unknown as it left no physical clues – so I couldn’t help but imagine them and their lives. How cool to end up in such a place of wonder, to live on in dried out sections of yourself, mounted, glazed, lit and hung for school tours, tourists and inquisitive minds to pause and ponder on for generations to come.
I’d donate my body to science although I hear there’s a twenty year waiting list, probably due to the high cost of funerals.
So, my bad day ended up being a blip on the calm waters of an otherwise buoyant and predictable few weeks in the deep heart of Texas.
I got new runners today at an outlet mall, $45! And a pair of Levi’s for $20. I haven’t had Levi’s since I was about 15 so there was something beautifully nostalgic about that little red tag.
I have lovely things to say about the people here but I really need to go to sleep.
I leave you with a warm heart and a Road Full of Promise – listen to the song on this link and then add it to your Survival Playlist.
The photo is Frisco by night: pretty, right?