Sunday, January 31, 2010


Sausage and peppers pasta with garlic bread

It was a lovely, sunshiney day and I was hoping to do something adventurous, like go to Howth for a long walk, but instead we walked from Booterstown to Blackrock (which is less than a mile) and got coffee in Starbucks. Lame.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A good day? Yes, at least it was for me!

I decided to mix things up today and head over to a local coffee shop to drink some chai and read my book. I guess I got pretty into my book because I looked up to see a gard, chatting with two guys and a woman. Seems the one guy saw the other guy trying to steal from the woman's coat which had been hanging on the back of her chair. Where the guy found the gard? I have no idea. It was all very subdued, there was no yelling and the drama was minimal, so a little disappointing really. At one point the gard wanted to talk to the witness and asked the perp to stand there and he did. What kind of a criminal are you!? The highlight was definitely when the perp got handcuffed and the paddywagon came and picked him up. I just wish there had been more yelling. Oh well.

I managed to get all the ingredients I needed for dinner in ONE shop. This is a miracle.

Then I stopped in my favorite Asian shop to pick up some bamboo shoots, which was really just a front for perusing their soda section. They definitely have the best selection of American sodas - Mountain Dew, Cherry 7-Up, Root Beer, Cream Soda. I will occasionally treat myself to a cool beverage, which I realize makes me sound like I'm 80 years old. Today's choice??

I thought about getting a bigger bottle and some vanilla ice cream to make a root beer floats, but I wasn't interested in seeing my husband's head spin at this crazy idea. Plus, that might have been way too much excitement for one day. 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

My legacy lives on, even when I'm an ocean away!

My mother just emailed me this story about my Grandma and I loved it! Just for reference, Mary and Romayne are my aunts and black walnuts are vile.

I want to relate to you a story that Mary told me yesterday when she handed me a small plastic bag containing a few black walnuts pieces. She said that mom handed them to her out of the freezer the other day telling Mary that they had been in there for about 2 years and needed used up.  Mary asked her why she didn't throw them into some of her chocolate chip cookies she makes and mom said "because Kim doesn't like them". Mary sounded rather incredulous when she said "but Kim doesn't live here".  Mom said "I know but I just didn't use them because I know she doesn't like them".  I think it's only fair to tell you that Mary and Romayne and I are harboring ill feelings toward you because we have been denied cookies with black walnuts just because of you!  (actually till I got to eat the few walnuts that were left some of them no longer tasted good)


Thursday, January 21, 2010

I love food!

Spanish omelette and mixed bean salad
Oatmeal cinnamon chip and raisin cookies

I love to read cookbooks and food sites, try new recipes, cook, and eat! Fortunately, I have a husband who will try anything I make! We're both fairly adventurous with food and like to try new things...well, within reason! I've been trying to think of a way to incorporate more posts about food into my blog. Some people post their entire weekly menu at the beginning of the week. I salute these people! Unfortunately, that kind of organization doesn't come naturally to me. I mean, what if I say I'm going to have x on Friday and by the time it rolls around I'm not hungry for that anymore! I guess I could switch it up, but that seems like cheating. Plus, since I'm not working I have time during the day to decide what I want to cook, then go to the store(s) to find the ingredients.

I've decided that if I've made something interesting I'll post the food at the top of the page and link it to a new food blog with pictures and a recipe. I would rather have done tabs, but I don't know how to make tabs in blogger so this was the next best thing. One thing you won't see very often is baked goods. I definitely prefer cooking over baking and my waistline wouldn't be able to handle both! This first post has cookies in it, but trust me, these will be few and far between! I use recipes from the US and the UK, so the measurements will either be in imperial or metric. If you don't have one already, I highly recommend investing in a kitchen scale. They're great!

I hope you enjoy this addition to the blog and are able to get some tips!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Why I like this apartment - reason #1

After my previous post, I kind of felt bad for our ghetto apartment. Sure, I clean mold off the walls fairly regularly. Sure, it sits smack dab on the street so the traffic and people noise is brutal. Sure, it's the size of a match box. Sure, there is absolutely no outdoor garden space. Well, there is ONE good thing about this place - location, location, location.

This place is dead handy to just about everything - restaurants, shops, pubs, you name it. I was thinking about this as I was walking back from the library. Don't get me wrong, walking everywhere can be a total pain and there are days that I LONG for a car, but when it comes to the day to day stuff, walking everywhere is a total benefit. Wes walks to work and I walk to the shops or to meet friends (because I have no work to walk to). If we did want to use public transportation there's a great bus stop up the street and we're just a few blocks from the LUAS. Heuston Station is close by and this is the station we use to get the train to Cork. And of course we're within easy walking distance to Phoenix Park, which we both enjoy.

So yeah, we might get the occasional bottle through our window, but oh well. It's our first 'home' as a married couple and we'll certainly look back on it with fond (and not so fond) memories. We're not going to be here forever! I hope.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Why I hate this apartment - reason #652

Drunken idiots who throw bottles of cheap alcohol at our window at 3:45am.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I've been tagged by Niamh at Writer on the Way Home to complete this meme. And as you know, I can't resist a good meme! Thanks Niamh!

I am supposed to list 5 highlights of 2009, then tag 5 other bloggers to do the same! Here goes:

1. Getting married, of course! Best day EVER and certainly a highlight of my life, not just 2009!

2. Having the opportunity to travel to Switzerland, a place I've wanted to go my whole life.

3. Due to having to wait around for moving boxes to be delivered, I happened to be home from work on Inauguration Day.

4. Getting the invitation to meet up with some other Americans for Sunday brunch. I was so happy to be meeting up with women! I needed girlfriends BAD at this point! They have since become great friends!

5. Having my parents and aunt and uncle over to Ireland for a visit. It was their first time visiting and it was great to show them around!

I'd like to pass this fun little meme on to:

It Be Liz
Viva La Dublin
Groovy Spirit
The Vegemite Wife
You're Moving Where?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I was sick of the green

I've been wanting to make a change for awhile and instead of doing things I need to be doing, I did this!. I thought the birds were really cute! I found the website for the background from KD's website.


Well, maybe not.

When I was asked to contribute something for this piece I spoke very strongly about the need to wear flip flops around the pool and shower. Seriously, no flip flops is just about the grossest thing ever. It's worse than people's boobs flying all around.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Funny shoes and exercise videos...oh my!

I have said in previous blog posts (here and on my 365) that 1.) I bought a very ugly pair of MBT shoes and 2.) I was going to start doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. A few people have asked that I do a review of these two things so here goes.

1.) I'll cover the MBTs first. I have been considering these for quite some time. Not having a car and living in the city means I walk. A lot. If I know I'm going to be doing a ton of walking I would wear either my Nikes, Sketchers, or sometimes my flats. No doubt by the end of the day my feet, knees, and/or lower back would be killing me. Funny enough it was most noticeable when I was standing at the stove cooking dinner. I think many years of wearing flip flops and non-sensible shoes when working my part-time job during which I could be standing for 8 hours, totally did me in.

The idea of the MBTs is that they're 'physiological footwear'. They're supposed to improve your posture, activate muscles in your legs and abdomen to help with stability, and reduce stress on your knees and hips. The soles of the shoe are very, for the lack of a better word, rolly. It reduces the amount that you step on your heel and you're actually distributing the weight around your food more evenly. The downside to the shoe is that they're stupid expensive. They are probably the most expensive pair of shoes I've ever owned. Fortunately, the pair I got were on sale and I had a gift card. They have cuter shoes like mary janes and black boots, but they weren't on sale.

I've had the shoes for about 2 weeks so far and I have to say, I really like them. I walk all over town with them and never use my Nikes anymore except for exercise. I feel like my posture is better when I'm walking in them. My lower back doesn't hurt anymore when I'm cooking dinner and I don't have pain in my feet. I did have some pain in my ankles at first, but that's gone away as my muscles are stronger. I do find that I'm very bouncy when I walk in them and if I'm holding Wes' hand while we're walking it's flying all over the place like we're 5 year olds skipping to school. My feet actually hurt less when I'm wearing my other shoes, so that's a huge bonus. The company claims the shoes will tone and shape your body. This, I'm not so sure about. If that happens, that's great, but if you're just looking to buy these shoes to get nice legs then I wouldn't spend the money on them. If you have pain in your feet, hips, or back and want to improve your posture, then I would definitely recommend them.

2.) The same day I got the shoes, I also got Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. So far, so good! I've read some reviews and I have to agree with other that this video is not for beginners. It's definitely geared towards intermediate/advanced level. I think a beginner doing this video, even the easiest work out, would be initimated and not likely to continue exercising. One of her assistants does the modified exercise in case you can't do the harder move, but I still thinks it's a bit too advanced for beginners. The video is set up so that you get 3 20-minute workouts of increasing difficulty. After you warm up you do 3 minutes of strength (you need weights), 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs. You repeat this sequence 3 times with different exercises, before you cool down. The cardio portion is A LOT of bouncing (jumping jacks, jump rope, high knees, etc), so if you don't like to bounce, this isn't the video for you. We don't have a lot of space in our living room and this is a great video for that. She doesn't have you running all over the place kicking and flailing. The one really great thing about the video is that you can adjust it to your level (workout 1 with heavier weights, workout 2 with lighter weights, etc). This means you get a lot of workout possibilities in one video.

I did the first workout all last week and my legs definitely felt shredded at first! I decided to try the second one today just to see what it's like. Yeah, it was hard! Some of the cardio things she has you do in this one I wasn't comfortable with at first, so I just reverted back to a couple of the moves in the first workout. It's also really easy to remember the moves, so you can actually do a workout even if you don't have the video. All you need is a clock with a second hand. For example, I went to the gym last week, ran on the treadmill, then did the strength and abs portion of the video in the workout room there. It was nice to mix things up a bit.

One big con to this video, although honestly most exercise videos are the same, is the warm up and cool down are way too short, particularly the cool down. They never do enough stretching on exercise videos, so I would recommend doing some additional calf stretches and such at the end. I wasn't used to all that bouncing at first and my left calf muscle was KILLING me from the jump rope. I've been doing extra calf stretches on my own and it helped loads.

Do I think I'm going to lose 20 lbs in 30 days?? No way in hell. But I'm definitely feeling fitter already and I can see an improvement in such a short period of time. It only takes 20 minutes so no excuses for not having time. See, I managed to find the guilt factor I need to keep it going! :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I'm out of practice for all of this!

Yeah, if you look over there to the right and the little weather forecast, you'll see snow on there until Tuesday! Yikes! Yes, I know I grew up with it and lived for 31 years in places where it snowed, but I'm feeling all out of whack with the snow we're having here. Maybe because it's not supposed to snow in Ireland? I don't know, but we've only had maybe 4 inches total (not all at one time, mind you) over the past few days and it makes me feel all twitchy and nervous. Maybe it's because I've never seen a snow plow since all this kicked off. Yeah, that could be it.

Fortunately the past couple of days the sidewalks haven't been as icy as they were when this first started. I am terrified when walking on the ice. I see people striding across it without a care in the world while I'm shuffling along, head down, arms spread wide ready to catch myself. Today it was very slushy, so except for the big puddles all over the place it wasn't too bad when walking.

Here are a few more snow pictures from the past couple of days. They're not as pretty as the Phoenix Park ones, but that's because it hasn't really been sunny and it's been too treacherous to walk that far! I've heard the park recently described as 'Europe's largest ice rink', so it's not really a place I want to be right now.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Dear Dublin Knackers,

If you're going to stand on the corner and throw snowballs at innocent people walking past, at least learn how to make a quality snow ball. And when the little old lady turns to give you the stink eye (that's me, even though I wasn't much older than a few of you), don't shrink away in fear. You're supposed to be bad asses! Live up to your reputation!

Your neighbor

Friday, January 8, 2010

Dear People* of Dublin,

(*'People' includes residents, Dublin City Council**, and shopkeepers)

1. Uggs are not snow boots. In fact, they are barely boots. They're slippers, remember??

2. However, Uggs are a better choice then 6 inch stilettos. (I refer to my 365 blog for photographic evidence)

3. Those walking poles you use for your hikes through the Wicklow mountains? Not helpful on ice. Particularly if you just carry one.

4. If you are nice enough to clear the snow of your section of sidewalk, it is imperative that you follow up with salt. Otherwise, the wet sidewalk that never dries (because this is Ireland) will now turn into a sheet of pure ice. It was easier to walk over the 2 inch thick sheet of ice covered in snow. Seriously.

5. Shovels - get one! It's easier and quicker to clear off the slush and ice than using a broom, a large scraping device, or the 'specials' sign from your restaurant.

6. Salt will not melt through 2 inches of ice. You must remove the ice first.

7. If you know the snow and/or ice is coming...and we all use preventative measures instead of waiting for it to come then running around like chickens with your head cut off. Snow and freezing temperatures are coming?? Start salting the roads. I know, I'll think it's useless because there's NO SNOW, but seriously, it's coming. Take my word for it. Once the snow and ice starts it will initially melt because of the salt. Once it starts to accumulate then you bring out the plow (I'm assuming there is only one here in Dublin). The plow should be one of those fancy schmancy ones - plow in the front, salt spreader in the back. Yes, it's the mullet of trucks. Ugly, but effective. Repeat as necessary.

**Cork County Council could take a lesson in this too. I didn't appreciate being stuck in the house over Christmas due to ice. There was no excuse for the state of the road between Crosshaven and Carrigaline.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Someone was looking for a cuddle

I'm not so heartless to not put down the laptop, but I assure you that as soon as I move it she jumps off, so I have to hold it on my lap while she naps. Such a diva!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My brain needs a workout too!

As an end of the year recap, some people listed all of the books they read in 2009 and I thought that was pretty cool. I'm loving my library card, so I've decided to keep track of all the books I read this year. I've never done this before, so I'm curious to see how many I read and what types I tend to go for. I like to think my selection of books is fairly random, but each time I go to the library I do try to pick at least one book that has something to do with Ireland. The book is written by an Irish author, a biography, or a story based in Ireland.

The list is over on the right side of the page, with links to the books in case anyone wants to know more about them. I'm not the fastest reader and I actually don't read during the day (regardless of my current employment status) so don't expect this list to be updated on a daily basis.

Oh, and my favorite book for 2009? Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Years Non-Resolutions

I don't do resolutions. I always just feel they're made to be broken and in my case will probably just lead to disappointment. I previously posted that I froze my gym membership to take boot camp, but I've taken things further...I quit the gym. Many people would be happy to do this, but this is huge for me. I've had a gym membership for 10 years and I'm one of those strange people who actually like going to the gym. I don't just like the classes, I need the classes to keep me motivated. I need to become friendly with the instructor so that when I don't show up I feel guilt. When I was in Baltimore I had to drive past my gym on the way home from work and if I didn't go, I'd feel guilt. Regardless of all the guilt (and I'm not even Catholic!), I really do enjoy going.

Gyms in Ireland suck. I've been told by more than one gym employee, that gyms here are about 30 years behind gyms in the UK and US. You still have to pay horrendous joining fees and often not all of the classes are included in your huge monthly membership, so if you want to take yoga or pilates you have to pay an additional 70 euro for a 6 week course. This is totally ridiculous. Such was the case at my gym, so I quit.

Now I'm trying to figure out what the heck I'm going to do. My membership is up at the end of January and I'd like to not pay for anything additional while I'm waiting for it to run out. It is way too cold to do boot camp, but once it warms up a bit I'll most likely do another one of those in the spring. I may end up joining the Dublin YMCA which is cheaper than regular gym and has a decent selection of classes. You can pay by the class, so I may try some more out (I've been to one) before committing to a membership. Yesterday I bought Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. I'm not as keen on videos (where's the guilt!?), but I've heard good things about it and it means I don't have to go out into the cold. Wes didn't balk at the price, nor did he suggest waiting to buy it online, further confirming he's on board with this decision. I need to get some weights, but I did the video this morning anyways just to see what it's like. It was pretty good! We don't have a lot of space in our living room, so doing videos where you 'travel' a lot, like Tae Bo, are difficult to do here. If it warms up a bit, I'll supplement this with *gulp* running. Don't hold me to that one.

I'm also going to be better about following the Weight Watchers stuff. I'm actually not too bad when cooking for Wes and I, making sure I'm eating the proper portions. I need to get my lunches under better control and of course there is the snacking.

Most of this is spurned on by the hopes that we will try to get pregnant this year (your welcome Mom and Sister!). I'm pretty terrified of being overweight if/when I get pregnant. The idea of gaining another 30-50 lbs scares me even more. I'm a short person, so it doesn't take too much additional weight to make me look and feel uncomfortable. Not to mention, it's not good for my health.

Oh yeah, and I want to get a job.

And I want to move to a new place with less mold. This is Ireland, so no mold would be impossible.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year from Dublin!

We woke up to snow and brilliant sunshine, so we took a walk to Phoenix Park. It was a great way to start 2010!

I can't resist a good meme!!!

I've seen this a couple of places...on Live Journal and Beth did it as well.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
I got married! :)

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't really do resolutions. Or maybe I do, but never write them down and I forget? I don't know....I forget!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Physically close? No. But my good friend in the US had a baby boy in November! This year was relatively light on births compared to other years.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, my Pappy Furry died in January and my cat, Obie, died in April. I hope they're hanging out together! :)

5. What countries did you visit?
England, Switzerland, and America.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
A job. I was severely lacking in employment this year.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
April 1st because that's when I found out about Obie. April 4th because that's my wedding day! :)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Surviving boot camp. I was actually sad when it ended.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not being able to find a job.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No, thank goodness.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A dehumidifier. I was more excited about this than our wedding rings!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My husband for putting up with my periodic breakdowns and rants. Also, Laura the petsitter, who was here with Obie and was wonderful with both of the cats.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The Irish government. I'm appalled by what they get away with, then it all just leaves me depressed in the end.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Student loans

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Well, other than the obvious of the wedding, probably eating Thanksgiving dinner! :)

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Probably, Shakira's Underneath Your Clothes as it was the song for our first dance. I love that song!

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
happier - last year at this time I felt like I was waiting around to get married.
b) thinner or fatter?
fatter - a husband does nothing for your waistline!
c) richer or poorer?
poorer - no job, no money!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Um...pulled a paycheck! Unfortunately I didn't have much choice in the matter!

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Sitting around.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
In Cork with Wes' family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
I already was, so it just grew in 2009! :)

22. What was your favorite TV program?
New shows I enjoyed in 2009 were Mad Men, How I Met Your Mother and 30 Rock. Hey, they were new to me! I only saw one episode of Glee, but I'm pretty sure if I saw the whole season that would be on my list too!

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hate is a pretty strong word, but I'm not too keen on my friend's husband right now!

24. What was the best book you read?
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
No car and no commute means I don't really have my finger on the pulse of new music. I'm at least a year behind.

26. What did you want and get?
To get married!

27. What did you want and not get?
A job.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
We don't really go to the cinema that often, but I think The Hangover was my favorite film this year.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 34. I can't remember what I did. I moved from England to Dublin the following weekend, so that pretty much trumps what I did on my birthday.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If Wes' contract had been renewed for 5 more years.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
'The Uniform' which consists of yoga pants and my Gap hooded sweatshirt.

32. What kept you sane?
My new friends in Dublin.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Jon Hamm aka Don Draper in Mad Men. I want to go there.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The scandal within the Catholic church and how the Irish government handled it. Disgusting.

35. Who did you miss?
Pretty much everyone I don't see on a fairly regular basis! That's a dumb question for an expat!

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Again, probably my new Dublin friends!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
Being married is hard, but it is totally worth it!

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
'Going to the chapel and we're, gonna get married....' :)

Happy New Year!