Thursday, December 31, 2009

Decade in Review

I'm not sure why, perhaps it's out of sheer boredom, perhaps it's my old age, but I feel the need to reflect on the past decade. I liked the way Marsha did this on her blog, so I think I'm going to go with that format!

I was living and working the corporate life in Baltimore. It wasn't the greatest job, but I did make some life long friends while working there. Then, thanks to my friend Kim, I finally scored a job using my undergraduate degree! I moved out of my apartment in the 'burbs and found a great apartment in Fell's Point and started commuting to Annapolis everyday. This is when my love of the Junkies on 99.1 (morning commute) and NPR (afternoon commute) blossomed. This is also the year I started my weight loss of 60 lbs on WW and I really started exercising on a regular basis.
The CO2 field site at SERC. Tough place to work, eh?

Really enjoying my job and the opportunity to do some traveling. Over the next few years I'll get the chance to travel to San Diego, Austin, Albuquerque, Phoenix, southeast Montana, and Charlottesville all on work's dime. Non-work related travel (i.e. friends, weddings, and babies) in this decade takes me to NC, Wyoming, Lake Tahoe, upstate NY, and Florida.

Visiting Lake Tahoe for Julie and Steve's wedding

I bought my house! I got a passport! I traveled to Italy! My friends (i.e. non-family members) start having babies this year. Me? I was living the single life in Baltimore, worming my way through the dating scene.

Okay, I can't really remember anything specific happening this year. If I recall correctly, physically, this was the best year of the noughties. I never looked so good! More friends and family members getting married and having babies. Me? I was living the single life in Baltimore, continuing to date the entire male population of this fine city.

I started working part time at a shop in Baltimore. It was either get a roommate or a PT job. I picked the job. It wasn't so bad and I made some awesome friends. My life consisted of FT job, then either PT job, gym, or happy hour with friends. I did a lot of DIY stuff on the house, like painting and laying my new Pergo floor. I traveled to Ireland for the first time with my cousin and friend. We have a blast! Life is good.

Connemarra, Ireland

Traveled to Ireland again this time with friends who were moving back after their time in the US. Again, it's a blast! Work is going okay, but I'm started to get the itch to move on. I'm thinking about getting my Master's degree in higher ed administration and hopefully working with international students. After weighing the pros and cons, I decide I want to do this degree overseas. It's faster and the cost wouldn't be much different than doing it in the US. I start the research. Oh yeah, and I turned 30 this year. Boo!

My 30th birthday party!

Traveled to England in February with my cousin to visit the uni. Then all within the next 7 months I apply to uni, get accepted, start the process for moving my cats, find tenants for my house, sell my car, put all my stuff in storage, quit my very secure job, and say goodbye to all my friends and family before moving to England! My parents come with me and we get the chance to travel up to Scotland before I have to start my course.

Mom and Dad in Kirkcudbright, Scotland

The kitties come back to the UK with me in January! Yay! I travel to Edinburgh for my birthday in February! Yay! Wes and I have our first date in Oxford the following weekend! Yay! Life now consists of procrastinating (yet somehow finishing) my coursework and Wes either coming to Bath for visits or me going up to Sheffield. We travel to Amsterdam in April for our first vacation together. Wes moves to Dublin for a new position, so now we're becoming quite familiar with Bristol airport and the hatred that is Ryanair. He comes to the US that summer to meet the family. Fortunately, he is not scared away! I successfully finish my course in September and I'm working part time in Bath until I can get a new visa. Right before I go home to the US for Christmas I find out I got a new full time position in Bristol working in my field, and I'll start in January. Woot!

Wes and I in Gettysburg, PA

Living in Bath and commuting to Bristol everyday. Really enjoying the people I'm working with at my new job. I'm given some great opportunities in the position and I'm enjoying it, even if the pay sucks. Wes and I traveling back and forth between Bath and Dublin about once a month. Things are happening quickly and when we're in the US that summer we check out wedding venues. Things are booked, plans are made, rings are purchased, and invitations are sent.

Some of my wonderful work friends on one of those 'Dress Crazy for Charity' days they have in the UK

The is the best and worst year of the noughties! My visa expires and I leave the UK in February. The cats and I stay with Wes in Dublin until I go back to the US for the month before the wedding. On March 30th (while I'm in the US) I get word from the pet sitter (in Dublin) that Obie is sick and on April 1st I find out that he has died. This is the worst day ever, not to mention it's 4 days before the wedding. I miss him loads. :( It's so strange that the best and worst things that happened to me in the entire decade were so close together. The wedding was that weekend and it's a truly wonderful day. It was a tad bit windy, but the sun was shining and it was a gorgeous day, perfect in every way! After the wedding it was back to Dublin and the start of married life. It's been a year of adjustments: living with my husband, starting over in a brand new country again, the stress of not being able to find a job, and the difficulty of making new friends. Struggling with my weight again sucks (gone are the days of soup for dinner) and I really miss my old gyms and instructors.

Obie - RIP 1 April 2009

Best.Day.Ever! 4 April 2009

Hmmm...that sounds like I've left the decade on a bit of a downer. 2009 was a fantastic year, but I'm really looking forward to what 2010 has in store for us. Maybe that's why I'm not really one to reflect on the past like this. It kind of makes me sad and really, I'm just so excited about the future. I remember when my life long friend and I were graduating high school, her mother saying to us how she was excited to see where our lives were going to go from there. Can't wait to see what's next!

Happy New Year! Good health and lots of happiness for everyone in 2010!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I've married into a family that doesn't eat traditional Christmas pudding, cake, or those bloody mince pies! Yippee!!! May 2010 continue to be as prosperous!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

No shoveling for me...

I can just enjoy the pretty pictures from Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This shopping trip was pants!

At the risk of sounding like an old fuddy duddy again, today I'm going to rant about casual pants (or trousers if the word 'pants' makes you giggle). I have two pair of jeans that I alternate between, but I'm looking for something in the corduroy or chino variety. You know, something like this from Ann Taylor Loft. Oh yeah, I went there!

Basically, the rant is that they don't exist here. This is not a fashion statement the Irish want to make. There are loads of nice work pants, but my choices for non-denim casual pants are leggings and track suit bottoms. And everything is skinny: skinny blue jeans, skinny black jeans, leggings, jeggings. Well, everything's skinny except my legs. I had to purchase my last pair of jeans in the US - the land of fat thighs and skinny lattes. I'm actually not opposed to wearing leggings, in fact, I love the pair I have, but they're not very warm. Maybe if I paired them with some Uggs.... No, the thing about leggings is, contrary to the popular belief of those in North Dublin, you aren't supposed to wear them with short tops. They're supposed to be worn with tunics and long sweaters. Okay, I'll look for a new tunic to wear with some leggings. Dear shopkeepers: 'Open' is not a size. Why are you too lazy to put a size on your garment which clearly is not one size fits all? Oh, and a sweater who has a color described as 'ketchup' actually becomes less attractive to me based on that description.

Don't get me wrong...I actually like Irish style and fashion - dressing in layers, tights, warm hats and gloves. Just not right now. Not when I need to find casual pants.

Someone's happy about the heater finally working!

(This angle does nothing for her waistline!)

This is where she spent most of last winter. We both miss radiators!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Pictures

My parents just sent these pictures. The first one is of their beautiful, but artificial, *sob* tree. We like lights on our tree. Can you tell?? And the other one is of my favorite ornament mentioned in the previous post. I'm the one in the green ice cream cone! :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Christmas Meme!

I saw this posted on Live Journal and I thought I'd use it for my blog.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I will always try to wrap a present because I love wrapping gifts, but sometimes it's just too awkward and needs to go in a bag.

2. Real tree or Artificial? I'm definitely a real tree kinda gal, but I won't forget that time I walked into my parents house commented on the beautiful tree, asked if they got it from our usual place up the road, and was told it was artificial. I was gutted! Matching the branches up to the right hole isn't quite the same as having dad lying under the tree adjusting the trunk while we all stand around and tell him which direction it's leaning to now.

3. When do you put up the tree? We don't have a tree this year because our apartment is too small, but I would normally put one up in early-mid December.

4.When do you take the tree down? No specific day, usually a few days after the New Year or whenever I get the chance.

5. Do you like egg nog? Gross, no.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Well, I wasn't a child, but my favorite gift I received was a ladder. It was the Christmas after I moved into my house and I was excited to paint! I also recall high-fiving my brother-in-law the year we got wet/dry vacs!

7. Hardest person to buy for? My middle nephew. The older nephew? Fine. The younger nephew? Easy. My new niece and nephew? Piece of cake and yay for finally getting to buy for a girl! The middle nephew? Freakin' impossible!!!

8. Easiest person to buy for? Wes is pretty easy to buy for (if he doesn't buy it for himself first!) and my mom is pretty easy too.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. My aunt gave us a wooden one for a wedding gift and it looks perfect on our mantle.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? As expensive as it is to mail them, I can't imagine emailing Christmas cards.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? There's nothing that sticks out as glaringly bad. Maybe the dorky socks my mom always gave us because when she gave us money or a gift card she wanted it to be in a box for us to open and it always seemed like dorky socks were included in that box.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Not sure. I know it's definitely not White Christmas which I finally watched for the first time a few years ago and feel it has nothing to do about Christmas and more about winter. And I've never seen It's a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street which horrified some people at our Secret Santa party last weekend. I had to Google 'Christmas Movies' and was reminded of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I enjoyed it watching the snotty brats really bring it together for a heart-wrenching ending.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Normally I wouldn't start until December, but when you have to ship to the US you have to be a bit more proactive.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Probably one I've received in a 'White Elephant' type gift exchange.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Chocolate chip cookies with red and green M&Ms.

16. Lights on the tree? Of course! I'm not fussed about colored or white, but I definitely prefer the little lights to the large retro looking ones.

17. Favorite Christmas song? There is no way I can pick a favorite song, I love them all! However, I will say that I prefer the classics and hymns. The only newer Christmas song I like is Mariah Carey's version of All I Want for Christmas is You. The other day I heard Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree and it made me a little homesick for the US. For some reason that song makes me think about being at my grandparent's house in Bedford. Good times.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I'm happy to travel at Christmas if everyone else in the world stays at home. Last year I traveled from flew from Bristol to Dublin, then took the train on to Cork and I was not a happy camper. In fact just the trip to Dublin completely pissed me off and we hadn't even done the stupid long train trip to Cork yet!

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Only if I sing the song.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? I had a star on my tree in the US and my parents always had and angel. I'm not fussed either way.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? What kind of a question is this!?

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The way people become all crazy and mean at the shops. Hearing about people who give their family explicit lists of the gifts they want and you're not allowed to deviate from the list. I think that's kind of sad.

23. Favorite ornament, theme, or color? It's been so long since I've seen my ornaments that are storage, I can't remember my favorite! I like snowmen, so I have a lot of snowman decorations. I don't really like themes and I'm a fan of the hodge podge tree full of sentimental ornaments. Some of my favorites from childhood are the ceramic ornaments my grandma painted for us, including the ice cream cone with my school picture glued on it. Haha! We also had some pretty glass ornaments with angels on them that always looked nice with the colored lights behind them.

24. Favorite for Christmas Dinner? Ham or pork roast. Turkey is so Thanksgiving.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? I had to retire the high top sneaker slippers (another stellar Christmas gift!) when they got moldy, so I really really really want new slippers. I remind Wes of this every day. Last night I told him about some fuzzy socks that would be nice and he told me I've asked for too many things related to my warmth. Um, okay. I'll take some ice cold diamonds then! Thanks!

Christmas 2002 at my house in Baltimore

Edited to add: I showed this to Wes and when he read number 6 he asked if I was a lesbian. Nice. Can't a girl love a little DIY!?? Some girls make scrapbooks, I install a Pergo floor and hang ceiling fans! On the plus side, he didn't scoff too much at my diamond statement. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

All I had to do was leave the flat...

and the list continues! More things that get on my nerves:
  • Dublin drivers - they're freakin' maniacs! It's pretty sad that I don't even drive here and I'm scared of them!
  • You can't buy postage with your debit card over the counter. I knew this ahead of time because I tried it a couple of weeks ago. I also knew that the ATM in the shop with the post office was out of service that day and I didn't know if it had since been fixed. So I thought ahead and went to a different shop to use their ATM first. They have gotten rid of their ATM. And the ATM in the shop with the post office still isn't fixed.
  • Christmas postage stamps only come in the old school lick-to-stick version. I got to lick 63 stamps. If only ONE person appreciates that their Christmas card has a Christmas stamp instead of the regular adhesive kind that will make my day.
  • Nosy people in the supermarket check out line. No, it's not my milk or veg or ice cream that has made that big wet spot on the belt. Thanks for touching all over my stuff.
Things that do not get on my nerves:
  • Half price Ben and Jerry's at Dunnes.

Some things are getting on my nerves

  • I haven't blogged in awhile mainly because things are pretty boring around here right now.
  • The mold in the living room is worse. Moving the dehumidifier in here didn't help at all, so it's back in the bedroom where it does actually help. This particular wall is concrete and it looks awful. It's clear the landlord just had someone paint over the mold because you can see it under the paint. You can also see the moisture on the wall. I cleaned off the mold, but the stuff under the paint remains. It's to the point that I'm too embarrassed to have people around now. I'm pretty sure that turning the heat on will help, but we're cheapskates and heat is mega expensive.
  • When someone on the expat forum I frequent is approved for their spousal visa some people congratulate them by saying, 'Welcome home!'. I know they are just trying to be cutesy and nice, but I think it's annoying.
  • I'm going to the post office today to send off my Christmas cards and holy crap it's going to be expensive! At 82 (cents, pence, whatever they call it here) per card and I have about 50 cards, it's going to be ridiculous! I had to assure Wes this is the last year I'm doing Christmas cards. Sorry family and friends!
  • The 2010 budget for Ireland came out yesterday and there was no line item in it stating that we would have jobs available to us next year. A little more clarity would be nice! That means more waiting...hrmph!
It's only 11:20am, so I'm sure there will be more later!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Blew. My. Mind.

Last night I was perusing various expat blogs and came across this most informative post about Uggs from the Vegemite Wife. This blew my mind so much I had to tell my husband about it and he was actually interested in what I had to tell him, clearly blowing his mind as well!

I hate Uggs. I think they're hideous. The worst is when the wearer pronates their feet and are essentially walking on the side of the boot. That look, coupled with sweatpants or worse, pajama bottoms, is enough for me to make a snide behind-their-back comment. I am old. But I digress, because this post is not about my inability to conform to the trends of the young whippersnappers of today. No, this post is to let you all know that Uggs are actually SLIPPERS only meant to be worn inside Australian homes! I KNOW!!! People are spending hundreds of dollars on a pair of SLIPPERS! The Vegemite Wife who you may have guessed is Australian (re: Ugg expert) from her name has let the cat out of the bag on that one! Maybe other people out there already knew this, but I didn't and it explains a lot. This footwear is made for inside wearing only and should never have seen the light of day. I blame whichever celebrity was the first to wear them as outdoor footwear. Can't Uggs be so 5 minutes ago already??

Right...I need to go watch another episode of MASH, drink my camomille tea, and take my morning nap.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Trying to escape from Dublin

I haven't left Dublin since the end of August when we went to Cork with relatives and I am going NUTS! Wes gets to jet off to exciting places for work, like Helsinki and Brussels, and I sit here holding down the moldy fort. Surprisingly, if you don't have a car the options for day trips out of Dublin really aren't that great. There are the DART accessible places such as Howth - been there; Malahide - done that about 4 times; Dun Laoghaire - I meet up with friends there, so not very exotic. There are some bus companies, but they really only have two options: the Hill of Tara tour (north of Dublin) and the Wicklow tour (South of Dublin). You can go to Belfast and the Giant's Causeway if you fancy getting up at 5am to meet the bus at 5:45, but well, that wasn't really what we were looking to do on a Saturday morning. I really wanted to go to the Rock of Cashel, but it would have taken us 3 hours to get there (by bus or train) and it was too expensive for a day trip. Please note that by car it's only an hour and a half from Dublin. But I digress..... So, we kicked around the Hill of Tara, but in the end opted for the Wicklow tour. Bonus is we didn't have to leave the house until 10:15am to meet the bus.

It was really frosty and cold when we left in the morning, but the sun came out and it was a lovely day. The fog rolled back in around 2:30pm and by the time we got back to Dublin it was back to being frosty and cold again.

The driver was nice enough to make an unexpected stop in Dun Laoghaire. I'm 99.9% sure Wes and the driver were the only Irish people on the bus.

On the bus!

Dublin Bay from the bus.

Sandycove Martello Tower in the distance.

Enniskerry National School. It's the oldest national school in the country.

Views of the mountains from the bus.

View of Sugarloaf Mountain from the bus.

Front of Powerscourt Estate. Santa arrived today and they blew fake snow in his honor!

Us in Powerscourt gardens.

Sugarloaf Mountain from the terrace.

Back of the estate from the garden.

Our favorite tombstone in the pet cemetery. They had lots of dogs and a few ponies in there too!

Me in the gardens.

Back of estate and gardens.

Pretty Christmas display at the Avoca shop. Christmas puddings are so
cute to look at and so gross to eat!

An unusual church in Co. Wicklow. It looks like something that should be in the midwest of the US. The driver said there is a two year wait to get married here on a Saturday. Sorry the pictures is tilted, but I took it quick as we passed on the bus. You can also see that the fog rolled back in by the end of the trip.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Things I'm thankful for in 2009:

My wonderful husband who humors me when I yell out my Thanksgiving menu (on a daily basis) with glee.

My awesome family who is so supportive of us even though they're either across the ocean or an equally long trip to Cork. There aren't words to express how thankful I am for all of them.

My way cool pals, both old and new. I miss my friends in the US and England so much! Thank god for Facebook! Thankfully, I have met some very cool ladies in Dublin. It feels like I've known them forever and they have helped to keep me sane during this period of unemployment.

My kitty cat who also helps to keep me sane during the day. Talking to yourself would mean you're crazy, but talking to your CAT means you're....a crazy cat lady.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

If you keep doing that, your face is going to stay that way!

I was riding the Luas home yesterday and per usual it was jammers. I didn't plan my seating properly at the beginning of my trip and ended up stuck in the middle of a car. I realized this one stop before mine, causing me to have momentary public transportation stress. Normally other people get off at the same time and the crowd loosens up, but yesterday at 3pm at Four Courts, I was the sole person alighting from the train (how British do I sound there!?). Anyways, squeezing myself through the people I sounded like this, 'Sorry, sorry, excuse me, I need to get off, thanks, thanks very much'. I know this doesn't seem odd, but I pronounced the word 'much' similar to the word 'mulch' minus the 'L'. Say that to yourself a couple of times. That's an Irish accent.

When you marry someone with a different accent than you, well, you make fun of each other a lot. My latest one is the way he pronounces 'calm' and if he says the word 'tarantula' to me one more time I'm going to buy him one for Christmas. Even I laughed at the way I pronounced that one. A few weeks ago it came out that the Irish accent beats French as the world's sexiest accent. This made me laugh because if you heard some of the Dubliners around here sex would be the last thing on your mind. Our front window is on the sidewalk so we hear a lot of people talking as they walk by and this gives us a lot of material for our comedy routines. Always a staple in the routine is 'fooks sake!' and of course I end it by saying 'tanks for coming!' Then I turn the TV to 3e (pronounced tree-E) to watch another episode of Father Ted or see what fil-em is playing.

Let this be a lesson to you! If you mock the way someone talks long enough you might just end up sounding like them yourself!

Monday, November 23, 2009

RIP Green Bean Casserole

After searching high and low across this fair city and spending about 10 euro in bus fare, there is not a french fried onion to be found. Dublin has failed me once again. I haven't had a Thanksgiving without green bean casserole! But, I'll ask my parents to send me some along with our Christmas presents and I'll take make it for Christmas dinner. I made it last year for Wes' family and they seemed to like it. Truly, I don't even care if they like it...I'll eat it all myself! In the meantime I need to come up with a new vegetable casserole to have that doesn't involve sweet potatoes. Maybe broccoli....

Since I failed at the onion quest I decided I would get a few other things I need for the big day. One of those being baking soda for my cake. Well, they don't sell Arm & Hammer here (which is totally fine) and I could not for the life of me remember what they call it in the UK. It's sodium bicarbonate. I think. Now I just need to search the store to find it because it wasn't in the baking section. If they don't have it here I'm going to blow a gasket.

Then I came home and chipped ice and frost out of our freezer so I could fit in the turkey legs (they won't last until Thursday in our crap fridge) and some frozen veg. Only partially successful, so the frozen peas are currently in the fridge and we'll have some for dinner tonight.

USA - 1 Ireland - 0

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bye Bye!


Sorry to all you O fans out there, but I'm not one of them. The news this morning that she is going off the air did not bring me to tears. In fact, I was a kind of happy about it. She's not even going off the air until 2011. Did she announce it so far in advance so that we could all come to terms with it!? I do understand there will be many tears across middle America. Don't worry....I'm sure someone else out there will start a monthly magazine where they put their own picture on the cover every month!

Out of all her decades on the air, there are four shows that stick out to me.

1. I wouldn't normally count this one, but it was on just the other day and it has since scarred me for life. O was talking about how she's fallen off the wagon with her weight and she's started taking care of herself again. That's great! But then we had to watch her on an elliptical machine in a very low cut top. That wasn't great.

2. THESE ARE MY FAVORITE THINGS!!! All the screaming involved with that one. Ugh.

3. When she said that 'white people don't put paprika on their potato salad'. Seriously?? We do. I did see the episode where all the white ladies came parading down the aisle with their paprika-laden potato salad. Apology not accepted.

4. She was interviewing Beyonce and she asked her about cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Beyonce said her job was to pour ice water in the glasses because she can't cook. Hilarious! Then O said, 'people up north wouldn't understand about having ice water on the table for Thanksgiving. It's a southern thang'. Seriously?? We drink water at Thanksgiving and not only are we from above the Mason Dixon line, we're east coast! I should have written in to ask her what she thinks the Yankees drink for Thanksgiving and to remind her she lives in Chicago. I don't recall if there was an apology for this statement, but if so, apology not accepted.

Oh, and one more thing....she's the reason for Dr Phil.

Au revoir!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I joined Twitter. I need a place to release all the random thoughts that run through my brain all day long. Wes thinks I need a job.

If I had Twitter two hours ago I would have said:

1. A channel showing a movie with Eric Roberts in the opening credits begs to be turned.

2. If we have rice for dinner, I will have had rice for all three meals today. Weird.

3. I just made coffee in the I feeling okay??


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving preparations have begun!

I love Thanksgiving! I actually love it more than Christmas! It's all about the food, hanging out with family and friends, and watching The Sound of Music which typically airs around this time of year. There's no stress and expense of gift giving. Last year we were in the US the week before Thanksgiving and my mom made all the deliciousness even though it was a week in advance. Other years I've spent the day with American friends in England. This year we're in Dublin and it will just be Wes and I. He's taking the day off, just like a real American holiday! :)

I guess my preparations technically began when I started hoarding cans of pumpkin. I told Wes last night that I need to start getting all the bits and pieces for the meal because we all know it's not one stop shopping around here! Sadly, there's no Giant in Ireland. Further complicating matters is our dorm size refrigerator that does not keep things chilled properly, with a freezer that's already tiny even when you don't count the frost that has built up in there again. I can't really make too much stuff ahead of time, but I do plan on doing some of the chopping the day before and I'll make my dessert since it doesn't need refrigerated.

As you can imagine the biggest pain is the turkey. We have no place to store a whole turkey. Plus, with it just being the two of us I'm not interested in eating turkey for a week after. There are, surprisingly, more turkeys here at this time of the year than there were when I was in England. Most people in England have to order their turkeys from the local butcher if they want a fresh one. You can find some frozen ones, but they're not very common. I picked up this turkey breast at Marks & Spencers. If you're looking for turkey in Dublin they have a large selection of various sizes and prices - stuffed/unstuffed, turkey crown, turkey breast, fresh/frozen. I'm not a huge fan of turkey, so I'm hoping we have enough for the day and some leftover for hot turkey sandwiches the next day. I've thrown it in the freezer and I decided I would check for something fresh the day before and if I can't find anything that's appropriate we'll have this one. I may also buy a turkey leg (I've seen some at Dunnes) because Wes likes dark meat and then we'll definitely have enough for leftovers.

I'm now on the lookout for turkey stock so I can make gravy. I'm thinking this will be pretty much impossible to find. M&S sells turkey gravy, but I'd rather make my own. Worst case scenario - I'll buy chicken stock and we'll have chicken gravy on our turkey. We do not have the culinary palate to truly tell the difference!

Let's be honest though...Thanksgiving to me is all about the side dishes! The turkey is ceremonial and makes the gravy necessary for the sides. This is where the crackers in the picture in to the scene. I asked Wes if he liked the cracker salad my mom made last year. He looked confused for a minute, then once I described it to him his eyes lit up! Great. One more thing for me to make! I like cracker salad when my mom makes it, but if I'm cooking for myself I wouldn't bother. It's an ol' Sproat Family Recipe and as far as I can tell it has saltine crackers that are broken up, hard boiled eggs, celery, and bits of the turkey in it. It's served at room temperature and you pour gravy over it. I've been told these Doriano crackers are similar to saltines, so we shall see! Other must-have side dishes are: green bean casserole, corn, mashed potatoes (of course!), and stuffing. If I have room in the oven I'll roast some brussel sprouts (I tried to introduce these to my family last year and they went over like a lead balloon) and I'll also make some deviled eggs. My mom makes candied sweet potatoes which I hate, so they will not make it to the menu. For dessert I'll make a pumpkin spiced bundt cake with buttermilk icing. I pretty much only like pumpkin pie that is completely covered in Cool Whip, but alas, no Cool Whip in Ireland.

So now I've just realized this is a very rambling post about what we're going to eat on Thanksgiving. I guess you can say I'm pretty excited! Next on the list of difficult things I need to find (in addition to the turkey stock) are french fried onions for the green bean casserole.

What are some of your must-haves on Thanksgiving!??

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Honeymoon decisions

Between looking for a job and cleaning mold off our walls, I think about where the heck to go for our honeymoon. Yes, we were married in April and we still haven't gone on a honeymoon. With the cost of the wedding and my moving to Ireland we decided to hold off for when we'd have a bit more time and money. Wes wants to go to Italy. This is a GREAT idea! I'm totally on board for Italy. But what about Romania?? Or a Mediterranean cruise, we've never been on a cruise?? Or, ooo! Someplace warm and tropical!? We have considered every single country in the world and at this point, the only place vetoed is Canada. Sorry Canada. My only prerequisite is a spa. I want to hang out in a bathrobe. Wes said we could go to a spa in Kildare. I would like to go further than an hour away for our honeymoon. To further complicate matters Wes has signed up for the Boston Marathon which is April 19th. This is great since neither of us has ever been to Boston! The downside is that now 'Practical Kim' is on the scene. Yes, there is actually a practical side to me. Should we go to Boston for our honeymoon?? We could actually go to Cape Cod which would be lovely, but cold since it's April. On the plus side we would rent a car and I would be comfortable driving around. My internal conflict about spending our honeymoon in Massachusetts is 1.) I'm an east coast American who lives in Europe. Why am I going to the east coast of America for my honeymoon? and 2.) If we end up moving to America we could go to Boston any old time. It would be nice to go somewhere that we may not be able to go to again. Then we thought we could fly to say San Francisco or something and spend time in northern California, but the cost of internal US flights is ridiculous. We could just as easily (and probably more cheaply) fly from Dublin to somewhere on the Continent.


I'll go clean some mold now.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I totally stole this from Beth

Beth has been posting some commercials on her blog. For my friends and family in the US who don't get to see these commercials, I thought I would post my top three favorites. I had to do three, because I couldn't choose just one.

And Bob's your teapot! (makes me laugh every time!)

I'll never fit be able to fit into those! (Again...every time!)

This one isn't funny, I just love the music. I was even singing it in the shower this morning!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wow, you live in Ireland!? You're sooooo lucky!!!!

Me: Apologies if I smell like tea tree oil.

Them (in unison): OOoooo!!! Did you just have a massage!!!???

Me: Uh, no. I've been cleaning mold off the walls all morning.

Monday, November 2, 2009

St Stephen's Green

It finally stopped raining on Sunday, so we went for a walk around St Stephen's Green. I haven't actually been there since I moved to Dublin. One time I suggested to Wes that we go and he took me to the Stephen's Green Shopping Centre. Smart man!

Look at the size of this leaf!


Please forward all our mail to our new address in St Stephen's Green, Dublin

The sun is actually shining!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Running Widow

You've heard of golf widows, right?? Their husbands are always out on the course and their wives never see them. Well, I'm a running widow. My husband goes for runs at least 4 times a week. Sometimes the run is a short 40 minutes, other times it's a long 2.5 hours. I know my running-loving husband would LOVE if he could share this hobby with his wife, but she's a running-hater. Oh, I try. I THINK I could maybe do a 5K (~3 mi) right now, but that's about it and I'd be struggling. Oh, and running outside and running on a treadmill are not the same. I discovered this when I started bootcamp. I could run 5K on the treadmill no problem, but I couldn't run around the Papal Cross twice without feeling like I was going to die. Suffice it to say, I will forever be a running widow.

Wes ran in the Dublin Marathon on Monday. His reachable goal was to get a better time than he got at the Connemarathon which was 3:10:25. His super goal was to get a sub-3 hour time. He's been training like a fanatic (even though it's pointed out to me numerous times that there are guys out there with FAMILIES who run more miles than him per week), so I knew he had a pretty good shot with at least the reachable goal. The marathon started at 9am and the weather was really perfect - mostly cloudy skies and cool temps. The route took him up through Phibsborough which isn't far from our apartment, so I went up there to cheer him on. There was a bigger crowd than I had expected and even cars that were passing the runners would honk and cheer them on. It was pretty cool! Anyway, it was only mile 2.5 and I have to say, he looked like he was struggling a bit. I was kind of worried, but I figured they had just ran up a hill to get there and if it were me, I'd already be walking, so I just headed off and prayed that he made it all the way around! The route for this marathon wasn't the best in that it made a huge circle around Dublin. I prefer routes where you can easily hop over a river or something and see them a few miles later. So, I basically had two hours to kill until I could see him again in the city centre. I did this with my book, coffee, and window shopping. I ended up seeing him again around mile 25.5, which was by Grafton Street. There was a really good crowd there since it was close to the finish line. He came around the corner and I checked my watch and knew he had a really good chance of meeting his super goal! I thought he looked pretty good, but apparently, that was a ruse.

In the end, he ended up doing 3:00:25!!! Just 25 seconds from his super goal, but he shaved off 10 minutes from his last marathon. I'm really proud of him! He said that around mile 19 he had to stop and stretch because he was cramping up. He only stopped for about 20 seconds because he knew if he didn't get going again he never would. Then, unbeknownst to me, right after I saw him by Grafton Street he was passing the 26 mile marker and it felt like a knife was driven into his calf. Come hell or high water he was going to finish! And he did!

And we hobbled home.

Wes (in the blue shirt) around mile 25.5.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Restaurant Review - Gruel

I've never done one of these before and since we like to eat out, I figured I would start talking about the places we go. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures this time, but I won't make that same mistake again!

Wes needed to pick up his registration pack for the marathon, so we decided to walk to the RDS since it was such a nice day and we would get brunch on the way. I suggested we stop at Gruel because it was recommended to me when I was complaining about the quality of brunch in Ireland and I've heard from others it's pretty good.

The inside of the restaurant looks kind of like a 1950s dive diner in the US. It's very cute and kind of made me feel like I was eating in my great grandmother's kitchen with hip music playing and funky posters hanging around. There was only one other person eating in there at the time and he was reading a book called, 'Physics for Future Presidents'. Riiiiight....moving along.....They had a brunch menu which was nice and varied. I almost got a Mediterranean BLT which was an open faced BLT on foccacia bread with parmesean cheese. Instead, Wes got his old standby of eggs benedict, I had eggs florentine, and we each got a cup of coffee. Obviously, the coffee came out first. To say we were disappointed would be an understatement. It was the smallest cup of coffee ever. It tasted good, but 1950s dive diners would have had bottomless cups of coffee with refill after refill. So at 2.40 for the cup, we weren't too happy about that. Then our food came out. I'm am seriously kicking myself for not taking a picture. It was the biggest plate of food I have seen in a long time. Both dishes were two HUGE poached eggs each placed on a very thick piece of bread. Wes' had huge slabs of ham under the eggs (of which I was totally jealous) and mine had spinach, all slathered in hollandaise sauce. But, the kicker was they had a side of roasted potatoes. POTATOES!!! For a country that loves potatoes in all forms, they don't really seem to eat them for breakfast. This is a crying shame. There was also a bit of salad on the side, but whatever. At 8.95 for each of our breakfasts this was a great deal. It was so much food that I could only eat one of my eggs. Normally, Wes would have eaten the rest of my food, but he was stuffed from his own plate. Thankfully we had a long walk ahead of us so we could work some of this off!

All in all it was a GREAT place to go for brunch. My only recommendation would be that they would offer free refills on coffee. In addition to brunch, they also offer a supper menu in the evenings and I think we may have to try it out one night. The food was delicious!

68 Dame Street
Dublin 2

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Yahoo!!! I was in Fresh picking up some things for dinner. I found a recipe last night for peach cobbler and I decided I would get some canned peaches. I literally jumped back when I saw this on the bottom shelf! It's a bit rich at 3.10 per can, but I do plan on stocking up. There is no reason why one should be reduced to having pumpkin available to them for 2 months out of the year. That's a crime against humanity!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Patience is not my virtue

I'm all over the place these days. Well, mentally all over the place because physically I'm sitting in the same ol' spot that I sit in all day. I didn't get the job that I interviewed for last week. It's a bummer, but it's not the end of the world. The position was interesting, but not exactly what I want to do. There were parts of the job description that I really doubted my ability in doing. However, other than the obvious things this job would have offered, like a paycheck, the more important thing it was going to offer was clarity. It would have made things a bit clearer for the next, oh, five years! But, I didn't get it and now we're back to wondering what we're going to do when Wes' contract is up next summer. This is where my mind starts whacking out.

Do we move to the US? (sub categories of this include: expensive visa for Wes, moving an older cat, when would we start looking for job, how would we handle the extra expenses of healthcare and a car if we're only on one salary to start, I could get my stuff out of storage!, what if Wes hates it)

Do we move to the UK? (sub categories of this include: pitiful salaries compared to the US and Ireland, we would have to sort out a visa for me, it wouldn't be as far of a move for Little Kitty, no healthcare concerns, most of the jobs we would be interested in are in London and we don't want to live in London, we're further away from both our families, we both liked living there)

Do we stay in Ireland? (sub categories of this include: if I stay for 3 years I can get citizenship, no extreme moving for Little Kitty, the lack of jobs in our field right now is staggering, we would have somewhat of a cushion as Wes could claim benefits for a little while after his contract is up if necessary, the proximity to Europe is a definite bonus, healthcare is cheaper, we both like living here)

Throw in the whole 'when and where do we start a family' conundrum and my mind is racing! I do try to think about how it is an exciting time for us. The world is our oyster! We could go anywhere! But, it would be nice if we had an idea where that was going to be. Some days I feel like I'm just sitting here waiting for the rest of my life to start and it's not a nice feeling.

Apparently something is supposed to be happening in the budget for higher education in Ireland in February. Wes wants to wait until then before we make any decisions. Waiting involves patience and this is definitely not my virtue.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Botanic Gardens

Saturday was a beautiful day and I was anxious to get outside and enjoy the fall weather. We decided to go to the Botanic Gardens in the hopes that we'd we would see some leaves changing. There were some, not as many as I'd like, but I was able to kick through some leaves and hug some trees. Wes wouldn't take any pictures of me hugging trees. :-( The gardens were really beautiful and I look forward to going back in the spring! Here are some pictures from the day, in no particular order.

Flowers as big as Wes' head!

Little wee pine cones

Pretty foliage

Our standard shot!

Very, very tall palms!

There was a sculpture exhibition. This one was my favorite.

Tiny little orchids

One of the greenhouses

The ONLY fall display in the place. It was a little disappointing.

After the Botanic Gardens we went across the street for lunch at the pub. Then we went into town and met Mary-Liz for a coffee. I had a chai latte which was delish! I love to drink chai when the weather cools down. After coffee we headed over to the Market Bar for a pint. Neither Wes nor I had ever been there, so it was nice to go someplace new! All in all it was a really great day!