Archive for the ‘Moving’ Category

The last six months have been very busy for me. At times quite stressful.

The weekend of my daughter’s high school graduation (she graduated on the Friday) seemed especially busy. My husband was preparing to fly back to India on the Sunday with Thumper (the infamous canine) in cargo. We were worried about the mutt. And doing a bunch of last minute things.

We drove them to the airport (an hour from our home) hours earlier than the flight to ensure all paperwork in order.

It was hot. But it’s always hot in Malaysia.

And I was sweating. But I was always sweating in Malaysia.

Had to rush home from the airport because a friend was in from Australia and we needed to meet a group for dinner.

It was rush, rush and rush.

Got home but no time for a shower. What to do?

Brushed my hair and put it up in a clip. Some lip color.

I stunk. Just being honest. So I grabbed a face cloth and soap and cleaned under my arms.

Because I smelled like a person who had labored all day in the Malaysian heat without deodorant. For the record I do wear deodorant. Sometimes it fails me. In Malaysia.

At least I’m aware of it.

Hightailed it out of the house with my daughters and our friends who lived two doors down to meet up with our visiting friends at an Indian restaurant in the city.

It ended up being a lovely evening. The young folks went home right after dinner. My daughters had an early flight out in the morning. My friend and I went with the visitors for a couple of drinks after dinner.

Not a late night.

Arrived home and readied myself for bed. Now, thankfully, I only smelled like Indian food and wine.

My eldest, who sleeps with me when she’s at home and my husband is not, mumbled a few words like, “How was it?”

I took that as my cue for conversation.

She’s not always a fan. Because I’m sometimes pillow to pillow, “Remember your friend, Melissa, from second grade? Whatever happened to her?” and the like.

So I said, “Was a good night with the friends.”

And then continued conversing.

She said, “Not tonight, Mom. Early flight tomorrow.”

Totally respected that and snuggled into my pillow for a good night’s sleep.

Few minutes later I hear, “Mom?”

“Yes?”

“When we came back from airport did you shower?” she asked.

“No! You know I didn’t have time for that. Had to get downtown. I just cleaned under my arms with soap and water.”

She continued, “With the face cloth that’s on the sink?”

“Yup.”

“Oh.”

Okay, I laughed out loud even though I was nearly in slumber town. Couldn’t help myself.  Total belly laugh.

I said, “I’m going to blog about this one day.”

She replied, “Be more embarrassing for you though.”

I retorted, “Not really. It was my face cloth. Who uses someone else’s face cloth????”

Wishing you all a fun weekend! With a belly laugh or two! I promise to be better at updating the blog!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I am preparing for another move in June. So I’m starting to clear things out of the house.

Little by little.

And also trying to use up things instead of just tossing them.

I’ve written about this same thing back in 2009 when I was preparing for a move so this is totally not a new Mary phenomenon.

My eldest daughter is home and she is a big proponent of “using up stuff.” As I am. It’s like a contest for her.

Youngest daughter and husband not so much.

My house sounds wacky if one were to hear the exclamations.

Used up the bucket of chia seeds! Yes!!!

We are making dishes to include many things purchased in the past for just one recipe.

Cans of beets gone. Who bought those anyway?

No more aromatic sticks. Check.

Starting to pull out the candles.

Working on the bottles of salad dressing.

Slowly using up the products. The tubs of moisturizers, little jars of airline perfumes, hair oils and face masks.

The other day, I said to my youngest, “Jeepers, I smell like a bordello!”

I put out my hand, while driving her to school, to give her a little squeeze. She sort of backed away and was wiping her hands.

I was like, “What???”

She said, “It’s just a little greasy.”

I laughed and said, “I know. I can hardly put on my clothes in the morning.”

In the end there will be re-gifting and many donations. But for now I am just using up stuff.

Even if it’s April.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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James Joyce once wrote, “The shortest way to Tara is via Holyhead.”

The Hill of Tara is in Ireland and was the seat of the High Kings of Celtic Ireland.

Holyhead is in Wales. If you look at a map of Ireland find Dublin and make a straight line with your finger across the water until you hit the first piece of land. That’s Holyhead.

Joyce’s message was that if the Irish people were to understand themselves and their country then they would have to leave the island.

Maybe there is some truth to that. I don’t know. Maybe it worked for him.

So here is the story I was going to write about the siblings of my great-great grandmother, Margaret Haughey. In my last posting I shared that she was the tenth of eleventh children born in the area of Lurgan, County Armagh.

For the record, I should note that most of them were born in Magheralin, County Down although some would later marry and live in the town of Lurgan. Magheralin borders Armagh, Down and Antrim.

There was a twenty-four year age difference between Margaret’s oldest brother Charles and her youngest sibling. Not at all uncommon in big families.

The family consisted of Charles, Henry, Mary, Luke, Arthur, James, Catherine, Edward, Rachael, Margaret and a male child born after Margaret.

Her oldest brother Charles married Mary Ann Leatham when Margaret was only five years old in 1845. She would soon become a very young auntie to Charles’ and Mary Ann’s two children, Arthur (1847)  and Maria (1849).

Sadly, Charles’ wife Mary Ann died in 1850 the year after little Maria was born. And Maria soon followed her mother to heaven when she died at the age of five in 1854.

That left Margaret’s big brother Charles on his own caring for his young son, Arthur.

But as many of them did back then. They kept on going.

Charles remarried. To a lady by the name Margaret McCusker and his sister Rachael Haughey married Andrew Pepper on the very same day, November 25, 1855 in a double wedding ceremony.

Other siblings married. The family expanded with lots of babies being born.

But when it was Margaret’s turn to hit the altar with her first husband, in 1863, she was not surrounded by all of her siblings. Her sister Rachael was not present at the wedding. Neither was her older brother Charles. Nor her brother Edward.

Because this is what happened.

Rachael and her husband Andrew Pepper boarded a ship to New Zealand in 1860.

Andrew PEPPER . Co Down a labourer aged 24 with his wife Rachael aged 23 & son, William John aged 2, arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand on board Gananoque’ (785 tons) 9 May 1860;left London 9 Feb 1860 under Capt Norris.

That’s a very, very long way from home. An eighty-five day journey. Rachael had another child in Lurgan named Andrew but he must have died just before they set sail.

Things might have been good for awhile in New Zealand. But who knows?

This is what happened the following year. A little more than a year after they made the incredible voyage.

andrew.gif

That’s tragic on so many levels. The newspaper article alone is blog worthy.

Rachael’s husband was dead at the age of twenty-five and Rachael was on her own with no family or means of support. At the young age of twenty-four, stuck in a strange land so very far from home. And no way to get back home.

Could you imagine?

But family is family. And good families do their best to help each other.

Her eldest brother Charles hopped on the ship “Mersey” in 1862 and made his way to sister Rachael in New Zealand. Left his wife and family in Ireland.

Charles’ wife and children would arrive the following year in 1863 -along with Charles’ and Rachael’s brother Edward Haughey.

Another brother James Haughey would follow with his wife, Hannah and their very large brood.

Andrew’s untimely death prompted an influx of many members of this one clan to the shores of New Zealand. This one tragedy altered the course of their futures. Altered the history of my family.

The good news is that Rachael met a fellow from Tipperary and remarried. Had a bunch of kids. The other good news is that the Haugheys all did well on the islands. They survived, multiplied and spread across the land. Loads and loads of their descendants exist now.

Sad thing is that my great-great-great grandparents Luke and Mary had to wave goodbye not just to one daughter and a grandson in 1860. They, and the other remaining family members like their daughter, my great-great grandmother Margaret, would continue waving goodbye to loved ones for the next decade. While their countless family members boarded the ships. The numerous grandchildren. Nieces and nephews. And while they were waving they also knew they’d never see any of them again. Ever again.

Maybe James Joyce’s sentence had some truth to it. Maybe the shortest way to Tara is via Holyhead. Maybe, in the end, in order to understand themselves, their family and their country, they had to leave. I don’t know. Maybe it worked for them.

Note: A fellow by the name Lyndon Fraser wrote a book titled, “To Tara Via Holyhead: Irish Catholic Immigrants in Nineteenth-century.” Some of my family’s history is documented in the book with accompanying facts and photographs. 

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So funny that my last posting was about some items being unintentionally donated.

I received an email from a gal at the school office Tuesday afternoon.

“Mary, I think there might be two or three vacuum attachments in one of the bags I left for you today. I just sold the vacuum. Could you please check?”

Sure enough, there they were. Got them back to her the next morning so the attachments and vacuum could be reunited.

Made me remember another vacuum story.

Last year, on a Friday evening, I was having a glass of wine at my neighbor’s house on her front patio.

Along comes another neighbor to visit. Probably had a glass or two of something before he arrived but certainly did not seem impaired in any way.

His wife had already left the  country with their children. He was staying in the nearly empty house while finishing up his last days of work in Malaysia.

We chatted about this and that. What we would be doing on the weekend. I mentioned that we were having a huge garage sale with the proceeds benefitting the refugee center.

He asked if I’d like a vacuum cleaner. Said it was a good one and he’d like to donate it. I told him that would be fabulous and he was welcome to leave it on my patio before 6:30am the next day.

I bid them both a good night and went home to get a decent sleep.

When I woke up the next morning the vacuum was by the front door. So very nice and generous of him.

It was one of the first things to sell that day. Yay!

Couple of days later this guy sends out a message to a group of neighbors. Something like, “This might sound like a weird question. But does anyone know where my vacuum is?”

LOL.

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While many of you are enjoying low prices at the fuel pumps and planning this summer’s road trip many others are experiencing something totally different.

Five years ago, while living in California, I remember filling up my car and seeing the final price at the pump. I was like, “Dang!” Didn’t care who was listening. I just thought it was so expensive. I would go inside the station to pay and when it was my turn at the cashier’s counter I would say,”Hi! I’m here to complain about the gas prices.” The young clerk would just chuckle. Almost as if to say,”Get in line.” Um, which I already was.

Fast forward to 2015-2016. We are now surrounded by people that make their living in the oil and gas world. We, ourselves, are a part of this world. That’s what brought us to Malaysia.

People are losing their jobs and the numbers are rising rapidly. Here and back home. Normally, I would read about layoffs in the paper or hear about the cuts on the news. Now I just hear it from my friends. Or from my neighbors. Because it’s happening to them real time.

Any neighborhood I have ever lived in was filled with folks of varied occupations. But here many of my neighbors, friends and associates are connected to the oil and gas business.

A lot of people are leaving. Or preparing to leave. And it’s a very strange feeling. Almost every person I know can name a bunch of people they know that have left or will soon leave.

Expat communities can have that small family feel. You sort of know everyone because we are all just temporary guests here and the result is a lot of bonding. 

So the anxiety in the air is almost palpable. People trying to figure out their next step, trying to find employment and preparing for a move. A lot of times they don’t have a ton of time to leave the country once the work permit is canceled.

Moving in the expatriate world is not at all unusual. People move all the time. Finish up a three year contract and happily move on to the next posting. Usually lots of moves take place at beginning of summer (end of school year) and then during the Christmas school break.

What is unusual is that people are moving in February, March and April. There wont be the usual flurry of good bye parties that run rampant in June or December when folks move on to their next assignment.

In many cases there is no new assignment. There might not be time to stick around for the school year to finish. There might just be enough time to pack up and that’s it.

It effects everyone. Small groceries here that are frequented by the expats. Restaurants. Hair salons. Local doctor’s office. Schools. And on and on….

Is there any good in this? I’m not sure.

But I do know that it causes everyone to take stock.

It’s always a good thing to think about and have a Plan B. And to save for a rainy day. Have a nest egg. To ask, “What happens if?” To consider your needs versus wants. To be ready to move. Clear out the closets. Tackle the unfinished projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lists

 

Thank you so much for the feedback. I will continue with this blog. I’m in the process of resubscribing so I can keep my domain, “Just Being Mary.” Wouldn’t want that cool moniker to fall into the hands of just anyone.

Back to writing…..

I have a friend who is super organized. Like on steroids!

She makes lists, groups, labels and more.

Let’s just say if she ever goes on the lam it would be child’s play for Interpol to track her. The digital and paper trail she leaves behind would be akin to a daily diary placed gently at their feet.

Her freezer is a sight to behold. All perfectly aligned plastic boxes labeled (with black marker), stacked and ready to be pulled out for dinner at a moment’s notice. I have opened it to show others on more than one occasion. Sort of like show and tell. I usually preface opening the freezer door with a drumroll and “You’ve just got to see this!”

She most likely will be moving in the summer. 😦 My friend is sort of an institution around these parts and will be sorely missed.

Anyway, as a result of the pending move there are more lists in the making. Things that need to be done here. Mostly because it’s less expensive than a lot of other countries at the moment.

I am totally on board with that. And I am taking a page out of her book. I am not moving (that I know of) but I think it’s a real eye opener. Things can and do happen really fast.

It’s a good idea to get things done NOW. So I will accompany her on some of the outings. Nesting tables that have needed new varnish (for about fifteen years), ink drawings that need new frames (for about three months), clothes that need hemming and/or alterations (like forever) and many others will be on my list.

I am making the list. Now. Then I am going to work on it.

And so should you.

 

 

 

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Last night, some neighbors and I were discussing the world. About how big it is. And being a continent or day away from family.

It’s true.

But I got to thinking a bit more about the topic this morning. And I’m totally doing an about-face. After discovering a shared connection among some friends.

The world is small. Very small. It may be vast but it is a very small world.

One past example. Some months ago I was visiting with a neighbor (here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) on my front patio. She would soon be moving back to the States. Houston was home although I don’t think her family was originally from Texas. I had mentioned the name of the town where I had lived for twelve years. Usually I just say “Dallas” because everyone gets that. But for some reason on that day I mentioned the actual town in Dallas County.

The neighbor says, “My sister lives there.”

Well, you know me. Of course, I asked more questions!!! What’s her name? Does she have children?

She told me the last name. And it sounded familiar. I asked if her niece ever played soccer. She said, “No, I don’t think so.”

Sounded like maybe she was more into the arts. But the first name was nagging at me. It wasn’t very common.

That evening I checked Annie’s first year soccer team photo. When she was four years old. I sent a copy of it to my neighbor asking “Is your niece in this photo?”

She immediately responded,” Oh my goodness! YES! That’s her.”

So weird, right?

Annie and her niece played on the same soccer team. More than ten years ago. And just maybe this neighbor and I crossed paths in that suburb.

Here’s my very recent example of the small world thingy.

This morning I hop on Facebook to read who is doing their usual kvetching and whining.

On my main page (Facebook is always wanting me to update my personal information) it says, “Mary, where did you go to school?” And it shows schools that groups of my friends have attended.

Appeared that three of my friends attended St. Agnes Academy in Houston, Texas. Two were no surprise to me. I knew they were in high school together and that they both ended up moving north to the Dallas County suburb where we happily resided.

But the third one is a woman who I met through mutual friends here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She used to live here but now lives in Dubai. A friend had shared this woman’s blog with me. And also shared my blog with this woman. So we were introduced on-line. I finally met her when she visited before the holidays. And we are back and forth on-line about various things.

Today, Facebook tells me that she went to school with two of my friends. A woman who was in my monthly book club and also a woman who was my dear neighbor. 

Isn’t that the craziest thing? Me from Rhode Island. Moved to Texas. Make friends with a couple of Houstonians living in North Texas. I move to California after twelve years. Then few years later move to Malaysia. Get introduced to a Texan that used to live in Malaysia and now Dubai. Who loves Rhode Island. Her daughters attended/attend college there. She even spent Xmas in Rhode Island while I was sweating in Asia!

And I find out that the three of them were in high school together more than thirty years ago.

Ummm, can we all repeat after me? Small world. One big circle.

Isn’t it just fabulous????

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