Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Well, that's that!

This weekend I'll put away our one Christmas decoration that we had out and that's Christmas done and dusted! We were blessed to be able to spend the holiday season with both of our families this year and we received lots of nice gifts.

On Monday I arrived back from the in laws to a DRY flat. Whew! I was really worried that I'd be cleaning up water all night. We finally got an update from the management company as to what happened with the water pouring into our flat the previous week. Apparently the girl upstairs left her kitchen tap running to keep her pipes from freezing, left for a few days, and it overflowed the sink. Neat! Thanks idiot! We've had some back and forth between the management company, our landlord, and the landlord for the girl upstairs about who is responsible for the repairs, thus dragging out any sort of progress. Hello, why are the innocent victims (i.e. US) being penalized here?? Thankfully, the management company's maintenance guy took pity on us and yesterday we got a brand new cook top, oven, and exhaust hood! We still have stinky carpet, but at least we don't have to eat salads and cold quiche for dinner anymore! Incidentally, they're making the girl pay for the damage which is too right.

Now we're busy dodging water restrictions. The week before Christmas our water was shut off from 7pm until 7am. This week it's 6pm to noon the next day. Fortunately the water in our bathroom comes from a tank, not the mains, so we do have water in there for showers and flushing the loo.

Next up is January which is the single worst month of the year. Even though the days are getting longer you can't tell and it's just cold, dark, and rainy. Of course my birthday month is the following month, but I'm getting too old to look forward to that anymore!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas!

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas season! 
Kim and Wes


Friday, December 24, 2010

What a difference a day makes!

I had to trek up to the vet's office for diva food, so I thought I'd take some pictures. It was lovely, but cold!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Santa came early around here!

We're having a white Christmas in Dublin this year. This is what it looks like outside our condensation-covered window:

If I'm feeling adventurous I may venture out and take some pretty pictures. Since it's noon and I'm still in my jim jams, I'm thinking it won't happen.

We're heading to the in-laws this weekend for Christmas. Santa's already been to our house though. Last night he dropped off some presents to put under the dehumidifier which is still drying out the carpet from last weekend. I did put up some Christmas decorations though.

We bought this nutcracker when we were in Germany a couple of months ago. We have more things, but no room to put it, so this is all that's going up this year!

Wes gave me my gift when we were in the US.

I'm so glad he picked out a watch for me! I was having the hardest time deciding and needed someone to pull the trigger on that decision!

I got Wes this:

The show is hilarious and I highly recommend it. You may need subtitles because that Manchester accent is brutal!

Then Santa brought us this:
Why? Because someone in my family gave Wes Scrabble for Christmas and apparently want us to get divorced. To say I'm a Scrabble-Nazi is a bit of an understatement. I can't help that for 6 years I played everyday at lunch with the Yoda of Scrabble. So yeah, I'm pretty good now. The last time I played was with my sister and BIL. My dad had to sit on his computer and verify my words were legit because they challenged everything. Amateurs. My husband is smarter than me and he'd definitely beat me at Trivial Pursuit, but I kicked his ass at Scrabble the other night. Now I can pull out the big guns and he can challenge me all he wants!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What's your game?

My friend, Kennedy, made me this picture when I was visiting a few weeks ago. I have to say, she's dead on when it comes to describing me. She asked me what subjects I like. She's only 7 and she's all about school, so I figured I needed to say a school subject. While I'm standing there contemplating which makes me sound less nerdy - band or science - her mom saves the day by saying I like to cook and I like traveling. Good thing she knows me better than I know myself! This was the finished product:

I've never cooked for her and she still knows I'm a great cook. Perhaps she's read my food blog?? But, my favorite part is 'traveling is your game!' I love that I have game! It makes me feel very cool, canceling out my thoughts of band and science. Oh, and Samantha was nice enough to add 'like super stars'. High five!

These girls love them some Kim....good thing I love them back!

Peace out!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Back in Dublin!

Nothing like walking into your apartment (that you already hate) after 4 weeks away to find water all over the floor. Now we just hate it more. At least the cat was happy to see us! If anyone needs a cat sitter in Dublin I'm happy to recommend Alice at Maow Care. She was great keeping us updated with texts and pictures and it really put our minds at ease.

We had a great time in the US! We ate before eating, then had some more to eat. Thumbs up that I only gained 5lbs. Wes gained 8 AND he ran every morning (even when it was 12 degrees F)! I'm the winner of the Lowest Gainer competition! Woohoo! Besides eating (or while eating) we managed to hang out with lots of friends and family. Unfortunately we didn't get to see everyone, which means I come back feeling guilty. I tried Zumba for the first time and had a blast. I wish classes here didn't cost 10 euro each. They were only $6 in the US. Oh, and we went to the pizza shop 5 times, Panera 4 times, Chik Fil-A 3 times, shopped at Target, drank Dunkin' Donuts coffee, used fat free hazelnut coffee creamer in the mornings, visited some museums in Washington, DC, drove what felt like a million miles, babysat our nephews, had a delicious steak dinner finished off with awesome cheesecake, went to a wedding in Pittsburgh, had my hair cut and colored, drove up and down I-83 like 10 times, and listened to NPR whenever we had the chance.

Basically we did all-American things. It was fabulous! Here are a few pictures:

Kim, Samantha, and Kennedy invited me down to make gingerbread houses with them. I've never done that before and we had a blast!

Here is our completed gingerbread village! I don't like to brag, but I made the bakery....

We had Christmas with my family. It looked a lot like this - manic.

We chased a bird out of Kim and Frankie's house. Here's a tip: when you live in the woods and you put a wreath on your front door, there's a good chance a bird will build a nest in it. Then, when you open the door for guests, it will fly right inside! Voila! Too bad they already had a Christmas tree topper...

We went to a wedding in Pittsburgh. It was at Heinz Memorial Chapel on the Pitt campus. Gorgeous!

This is the only picture of us at the wedding and I'm highly annoyed that it was fuzzy. It looked okay when he showed it to me...probably too many Yuenglings!

We celebrated my nephew's 10th birthday. Yeah, yeah, he's cute and all, but that buffalo chicken dip in the front of this picture was to die for!!!

And we got to visit with my Grandma a couple of times. Awesome!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sorry for the lack of updates!

I'm in the US for a few weeks so that means a lot of jetlag, visiting, eating, and going to Target. Doesn't leave much time for the blog! If something interesting comes up, I'll let you know. In the meantime, ponder the deliciousness of Pretzel M&Ms.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Wes had a work conference in Athlone, so I was lucky enough to tag along. Athlone is smack dab in the center of Ireland, between Dublin and Galway. It sits on the River Shannon and is in the lakes area of Ireland. The hotel we stayed in sat right on Lough Ree and the day we arrived was beautiful. The train journey wasn't so bad since the sun was shining and everything was a golden color. Unfortunately, there weren't really any walks on our side of the lake, but I did take a short one (like one mile total) and got some pictures.

The second day there it rained. Boo.

Friday, November 19, 2010

You Capture - What inspires you?

What inspires me is trying out all sorts of different settings on my camera, so a picture that looks like this on the first try:

...ends up looking like this after changing up various settings:


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

That is so Irish...

This story came from my husband:

There is a US celebrity in Ireland right now doing some filming. Come to find out, this person actually studied at one of the universities here. On a whim, it was suggested contacting this person to find out if he'd be willing to do a short spot about Irish universities. The international office at the university was contacted to see if they know how to get a hold of this person. Their response:

'No, but I do know the priest in the village and he would know how to contact him.' 

That is so Irish!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Suze aka The Vegemite Wife tagged me for this cool quiz. Since she's cool and the quiz is cool, I'll be cool and do it!

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Paste these rules on your blog post.
3. Respond to the following prompts (in bold).
4. Add a prompt of your own and answer it.
5. Tag a few other bloggers at the bottom of the post.
6. Leave "Tagged You" notices on their blog/Facebook.
7. Let the person who tagged you know when you've written the post.
1) The best investment you ever made:
My house. I bought it almost 8 years ago and have been renting it since I've been out of the country. It's a total pain in the ass, but it was a good investment!

2) If you could’ve written any book, directed any movie, and composed any song, which three would you pick:
Book: Bridget Jones' Diary - We had similar dating experiences!
Movie: The Sound of Music - I know all the words, songs, name it. I could definitely direct it.
Song: Movin' Right Along by the Muppets
Movin' right along in search of good times and good news,
With good friends you can't lose,
This could become a habit!
Opportunity knocks once let's reach out and grab it (yeah!),
Together we'll nab it,
We'll hitchhike, bus or yellow cab it!

Movin' right along.
Footloose and fancy-free.
Getting there is half the fun; come share it with me.
Moving right along (doog-a-doon doog-a-doon).
We'll learn to share the load.
We don't need a map to keep this show on the road.

3) Weirdest quirk:
I sleep with my arms above my head. The only other people I know who do this are babies. It also means I knock my husband in the head a lot.

4) One wish immediately granted:
Guaranteed financial stability for the rest of my life. I don't have to win a bazillion dollars, just never have to worry about money ever.

5) Most expensive hobby:
Travel. Hands down.

6) An inexhaustible gift-card at which store:
Well, it's not technically a store (although I'm sure they sell products), but a spa.

7) In another lifetime, you’d be:
On Facebook less.

8) The most famous/interesting member of your family tree:
My great-grandfather was the oldest surviving WWI veteran in his county. He lived to be 98.

9) What would you say to your teenage self?
Stop getting perms!

This is the one I've added:
10) What surprises you most about your life today?
That I'm living in Ireland. It wasn't some lifelong dream I had to live overseas and it all came about quite quickly.

I'm going to tag...Liz, Sara, Angela, and LadyLiberty

Friday, November 12, 2010


Okay, I didn't take a picture of serene. I thought about trying to take a picture yesterday, but 60 mph winds and practically getting blown off the Ha'Penny Bridge didn't feel very serene.

Things haven't been very exciting around here lately. It's all wake up, breakfast, TV, gym, groceries, lunch, TV, dinner, TV, sleep, rinse, repeat. Don't be jealous.

Let me think....exciting things....exciting things....oh! Last weekend we went to see 'The Town' with Ben Affleck and Jon Hamm. Hello, Ben Affleck's abs!!! Plus, I totally forgot that my TV-boyfriend, Jon Hamm, was in the movie, so I gasped and grabbed Wes' arm in excitement. This got me a 'Whaddaya like!' It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I have to say though, I wasn't keen on the female lead. Anytime she said something serious I had the feeling she was about to bust out laughing and could only assume they had to edit her laughing out of the movie. It made me feel uncomfortable.

Let's see, what else....I saw a well-dressed, attractive, young woman blow a snot rocket while at the LUAS stop today. Seriously. It was totally disgusting.

In less disgusting news, my diet/exercise regime are going very well! I'm on target to lose one stone (14 lbs) by Thanksgiving. Honestly, I've lost most of it in the month that I've been on the diet. They also bumped me up to the 'advanced workout' at the gym about 2 weeks ago. I'm terrified of gaining it all back with a month in the US (hello, Thanksgiving!), but the good thing is that Cur.ves does a travel pass that allows me to use one near my parent's house.

And in even better news, things are bumping along with the visa process for Wes. He had his medical appointment last week. They said it would take about a week to get the results that they would then post to the Embassy. I have no idea how long it will take to hear from them at this point. The next step will be his interview!

So, that's the boring news from here. I leave for the US in 10 days and I can't wait! I'm get to see my friends and family, I'm getting my hair done, I get to drive, and I'll be there for Thanksgiving! Yahoo!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thanksgiving PSA

'Canned Pumpkin Ireland' is the second most popular search phrase that diverts people to my blog. I understand the importance of this search! Now, I can't comment on the whole of Ireland, but I can confirm that Fallon & Byrne in Dublin has quite a bit of Libby's canned pumpkin. Unfortunately, they are out of Kraft Mac & Cheese, but that's neither here nor there. Other places I would check for pumpkin puree are Fresh Market (I've found it here in the past) and Donnybrook Fair (they have a decent selection of American goods). Of course you can order it online, but that really takes the fun out of the search, no?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

You Capture - Fail

To bad the theme wasn't really 'fail' or I would be the winner! The themes were 'Halloween' and 'Silence'. Here are my excuses:

1. Halloween - Well, I really have no (good) excuse for this one. Halloween actually started in Ireland 2,000 years ago as a Celtic festival. They had huge sacred bonfires where they offered up sacrifices to the Celtic deities and dressed up in animal skins and skulls (thanks, Sadly, no trick or treating. They still have bonfires (but offer up pieces of furniture and the occasional car as sacrifice) and they definitely dress up (more princess than dead animal), and of course now there's trick or treating! Oh yeah, my excuse about the lack of picture - we have no children, I hate to dress up, we live in an apartment building so no trick or treaters, and I blanked on even getting a pumpkin to carve.

2. Silence - I live in Dublin city center. Nothing is ever silent here.

I will still leave you with a picture. I had a bad day last Friday and my husband surprised me with these cute little sweetheart roses:

Next week's theme is 'Serene'. I'm not promising anything!

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's about damn time....

I see these bags EVERYWHERE!

I could not for the life of me figure what or who 'PB' is and why everyone loves it/him/her. I would just tell myself it must be 'peanut butter' and give each person a mental high five. I *heart* peanut butter too! Yesterday I saw a girl wearing a pretty hideous jacket with these same patches all over it. I was thisclose to asking her what 'PB' is, but I couldn't get up the nerve. Would she ask me how old I am?? Offer to take me back to the nursing home where I belong?? Put me back inside my old skool fashion closet?? Well, today I saw another girl with the same exact jacket. Then she got off the LUAS and I saw on the back: 'Paul's Boutique'. *insert fist pump here* I felt like I was just given all the answers to the important questions in the universe! Funny enough, about an hour later I saw another person with 'Paul's Boutique' on her clothing. It's like the stars aligned for me to finally be in the know. Seriously, this has been annoying me for months. I would ask people who wouldn't mock me for my lack of fashion knowledge what 'PB' stands for and no one could tell me.

But today! TODAY!

Of course I have to look this joint up on the web and it seems to be a UK shop. Clearly Paul knows the ropes when it comes free advertising via logo placement. I'm very anti-logo wearing, so one click onto his site** and I'm completely put off. Plus, the stuff is hideous (at least to my old, fashion-backward eyes). That bag up there? 60 GBP (sorry, I'm too lazy to copy and paste the pound sign). That's about 55 GBP more than I'd like to spend on it. 

So yeah, now I know (FINALLY!) what 'PB' stands for and I'm a bit disappointed. I think I'm going to go back to believing it's 'peanut butter' because let's be honest, my *heart* is warmed by a nice schmear.

**No, I'm not providing the website. Your welcome.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

You Capture - Autumn

Autumn in Dublin means loads of leaves covering the sidewalks. Dublin City Council has a lot of work to do this time of year!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Wes' marathon goal has been to come in under 3 hours and hallelujah he finally did it! The Dublin Marathon was yesterday and he finished with a time of 2:58:05. Such an awesome time!!! He was taking a bit of a chance since he just did the marathon in Germany less than a month ago, but he figured since it was local he had to give it a shot. The conditions were perfect for him, which means it wasn't too hot. In fact, it was really freakin' cold. So cold that I needed my Steeler's hat. Who knew I'd be such a hit with the runners! I got one, 'Go Steelers!', a few people gave me the thumbs up, I got a lot of smiles, and one guy tried to give me a high five but he ran by too fast. I should point out that I was at mile 3, so people were still pretty chipper. Even my, 'Not much further now!' didn't get a negative response.

Things are different at mile 26. I yelled, 'You can do it! Great job! Well done! Looking great! Nearly there!' about a million times and I think I'm lucky I didn't get the finger. Well, that would be my response if I was cramped up and struggling and someone yelled, 'Don't give up, you're nearly there!' That's probably why I'm not cut out to run a marathon. Good thing I enjoy cheering and clapping!

Here's a picture of Wes at mile 26. I knew when I saw him he was going to get an awesome time, so I yelled, 'Go Wes! You're killing it!' You can get away with saying such things when you're an American.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

You Capture - Orange

I struggled with this one. There's not a lot of photo-worthy orange in my life. I don't even have an orange in my fruit bowl! All I have is this almost-completely-burned orange candle that sits on our mantle. It smells lovely and spicy!


A 10/10/10 baby!

This lovely lady was born on 10/10/10 and I had the pleasure of meeting her today! When I was leaving she was sucking her thumb and it was completely adorable. Sinead was looking A-M-A-Z-I-N-G (hello, pre-pregnancy weight). I think that should be illegal. Oh, and if anyone's looking for John you'll find him wrapped around Grace's tiny pinky finger. He is one proud papa!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Potentially offensive new blog segment

A few weeks ago we took my friends' baby out for a walk in his stroller (buggy, pram, whatever). No big deal, right?? Well, we were walking in a residential area and when we got to the corner, we discovered we were stranded. There was no cross walk across this very busy street. Wait, look over there! If we can manage to get across to a different corner we'll have a cross walk. But, in order to get there we're just going to have to take our chances crossing this slightly less busy street, because there's no cross walk there either. Follow me? At an intersection where two streets cross like this + there was one cross walk. This is actually a very common occurrence in this neighborhood because we had to run that buggy across the street more than once!

When we were in Cork the other weekend for a wedding we were crossing the street near the bus station. There was a cross walk that took  you to this little island in the middle of the street, but there was no cross walk to get you off that island and to the other side of the street. You just had to run across. Safe, right??

City planning at it's finest!

That is so Irish.

Stay tuned for more...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Panera knockoff??

It's been a while since we've had soup from Panera Bread, so we don't know if it's an exact replica, but regardless this soup was delicious! And it may have even converted my husband to the idea of eating soup for dinner!

Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You Capture - Animals

I know with this one everyone is expecting a picture of my beloved cat, but surprise! I decided to mix it up this week. The whale is one of my favorite pictures from our trip to Germany last week. The cat is my sister's very photogenic cat, Max. Such a refreshing change from my diva! Max has beautiful blue/green eyes.

Yes, I posted the whale picture last week, but I edited it using Picnik. Oh, and the picture of my sister's cat is a total cheat (we're not in the same country*), but I used Picnik to edit this one too.


*I DID take the picture of my sister's cat, it was just not this past week!

This and that

  • I had a dream last night that I saw Justin Bie.ber's naughty parts while perusing a Christian book store. It was all totally horrifying and I'm not proud of it.
  • My cat hasn't been doing too much in the poo category this week. She hasn't gone for a few days, so I told her this morning that she needs to go poo or she's going to have to go to the vet. She immediately headed back to the litter box and went for a poo. That's right, she understands Human. 
  • I know that being a checkout person for Tesco isn't the job of the century, but would it kill them to take a little pride in their work and be slightly interested in the customers they're serving? Trust me, I'm no more interested in shopping there than they are of serving me, but since it's the only store in Dublin that sells the brand of cat litter we use, we have to go there. The checkout people at the store in Jervis are the pits. They could take a lesson from the M&S employees right up stairs. I walk out of that place feeling like I made new friends. 
  • Pretty sure the application process for a US federal job is set up to weed out those who don't have the moxy to complete the application itself. I will conquer you!!! 
Oh  yeah! I almost forgot this one.....
  • Pringles has come out with a special holiday line of crisps. One of the flavors? Pigs in a blanket. No, I don't want to eat a potato chip that tastes like a sausage wrapped in bacon. W.T.F. Blech.

    Monday, October 11, 2010

    Köln, Germany

    The best thing about being a running widow of a husband who runs marathons is the travel. It's like my own little reward at the end of the 6 months of training he does for it! This was my first time visiting Germany and I really enjoyed it. The country likes beer, pretzels, and sausages. Sounds like my kind of place! Here are some observations and photos from the trip:

    The Rhein River with a view of the Dom, the tallest building in Köln.

    • My first meal when we arrived was bockwurst, sauerkraut, and mashed potatoes. This is my food heaven.
    • The city is incredibly dog-friendly. There were dogs everywhere, including trains, shops and cafes. The best part is that people actually clean up after their dogs. After dodging dog poo on a daily basis, this was a refreshing sight. 
    • The architecture - yeah, I had forgotten that there was this little thing called WWII that happened not to long ago. Köln was pretty much obliterated during the war, and we all know that post-war architecture isn't the most eye-catching. There was still an Old Town section of town and that looked like this:
    But, most of the city was a mixture of pre- and post-war buildings, like this:

    • The Germans were VERY friendly. I didn't speak a lick of German, but people weren't rude about this at all. One example was the guy who started talking to me on the tram about the marathon. I said that I didn't speak German and he just switched to English and kept talking. When we got off the tram he pointed me in the direction I needed to go. Then, I was watching the marathon and this woman started talking to me. Again, I had to tell her I didn't speak German and she switched to English and we chatted until her son ran by. It was really nice, especially when you feel a little bad about not being able to speak the local language. I left Germany thinking the people were incredibly friendly as well as language geniuses. 
    • Speaking of language, it is possible to watch 2 hours of the German version of X-Factor and be completely entertained. It's probably better because you don't have to hear the judges banging on after each contestent, when all you really care about is if they're going to throw an X up there or not. 
    • The shopping there was fantastic!!! Girls wear sensible shoes and they throw on jackets when it's cold. I didn't see a pair of jeggings the entire weekend and I'd say you'd be hard pressed to find a pair of 6-in heels. It was so refreshing to see feminine clothes that don't make you look like a whore.
    • Probably the biggest thing that made us laugh were the crosswalks. People did not cross the street until the green man made an appearance. There would not be a car for miles and they would stand there waiting and waiting. They must thing the Irish are totally barbaric considering we rarely even cross at the crosswalk.
    • They like to put funny things on the tops (and sides) of their buildings:

    • The Germans are a very sporty people. Not only was there a marathon run that day, they also had a half marathon, an in-line skating marathon, and these crazy scooter-type things marathon:

    Here comes Wes! He's the one checking his watch.
    • Two suggestions were made to me of things we shouldn't miss while in Köln: ride the cable car across the river and go to the El-De Museum. We did both and they were great, but perhaps the best time to admit that you're terrified isn't when you're in a cable car headed up into the sky. The views were amazing, but we were happy to get into the station!

    The EL DE House is the former headquarters of the Gestapo in Köln. I wasn't allowed to take pictures inside, but it was fascinating. We spent about 3 hours there. The basement was a small prison that they used to detain people prior to questioning. The rest of the building is a museum about the rise of the Nazi party in the city. There was an audio tour in English, but unfortunately the captions on the photos were all in German. Regardless, it was well worth a visit.
    • Did you know that the Dom is home to the remains of three wise men?? Neither did I! They live here:

    • You can help the Dom replace some of their broken stained glass windows by donating enough money to have a window made with your family name on it. This one is my favorite. It's was actually purchased by the owner of a popular music and video shop called, you guessed it, Saturn.

    • Curious about what our hotel looked like?? There were little hotels all over the carpet.

    • And because this post isn't long enough, here are a few more of my favorites from the weekend: