Wednesday, September 23, 2009


From the Irish Times:

THE RANKS of the long-term unemployed swelled by almost 25,000 people in the past year, while the overall unemployment rate more than doubled to 12 per cent.


Here is an article about a newly qualified teacher attempting to find work. He talks about a friend who got a temporary post at a school and felt like she won the lottery. When I read the article I felt guilty because it actually made me feel a little better. It was nice to know I'm not the only one!

Please understand why when you ask me how the job search is going and I say it's not, that I'm not holding back! Really!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Changing Tastes

I ate cottage cheese on a baked potato tonight.

Yes, this is such a significant piece of information that I felt I should share it with the blogging world. Never in my *cough* 34 *cough* years of life have I eaten plain cottage cheese (i.e. not disguised in a yummy recipe like lasagna or veggie pizza). It's always been the texture that has put me off. All those chunks just look like...well...puke. Then awhile back I made baked potatoes and my husband, the potato lover that he is, said he will only eat a baked potato with cottage cheese on it. I was intrigued so I tried a bit and didn't hate it. It was kind of good. Kind of cheesy. I love cheese! So tonight I actually bought cottage cheese to put onto a baked potato, and I had some broccoli with it. It was delicious! Regardless, I don't think I'll ever graduate to eating cling peaches or pineapple with cottage cheese. Gross. Plus, it makes me think of my days serving food at the nursing home.

All this got me to thinking how much my tastes have changed as I've gotten older. I have heard that taste goes in cycles, but it still surprises me. I think the first change happened when I was a freshman in college and for my first weekend away I visited my aunt and uncle. My aunt made succotash (corn and lima beans) and I couldn't get enough of the lima beans. I HATED lima beans growing up. I spent a lot of my life separating the corn from the lima beans. Another thing: tomatoes. Now, I have rules and regulations surrounding tomatoes and my friend's husband explained it by saying that I like 'fancy tomatoes' (i.e. fresh salsa, bruschetta, tomato and mozzerella salad). The fact that I even consider eating raw tomatoes is huge! This one probably started in my late 20s. And now...the granddaddy of all food hates: cottage cheese. It's all kind of weirding me out.

I like to think I eat a fairly diverse diet. Over the years my awesome friends have introduced me to new things. I remember my first time trying Indian food (which is now one of my favorites) and the time we went out for Ethiopian (which is not one of my favorites). I think they were warming me up for my move to a different country! You're forced out of your comfort zone and you have to make do. There are strange things on the menu and at the grocery store. I also really love to cook and am fortunate enough to have a husband who will eat any experiment I put in front of him. One of the best things when we were dating was when we were wandering around looking for a place to eat in Sheffield. We passed a Lebanese restaurant, which I love, and it took no convincing to get him in there to try it. He loved it as much as I did! I knew he was a keeper after that one!

So that's about it really. Yep...I ate cottage cheese and actually liked it. What could be next!? Oh wait, I just thought of it: liver. Blech, I hope not!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Why is there a piece of cake on the Blogger logo located on my dashboard page?? I hate you Blogger and your baked temptations!!!

The diet is going well, thanks for asking!

Old News

No biggie, I just decided to add some posts from my old blog. I just went back to April when I moved to Ireland. I also added the link to that old blog as it talks about moving to England, in case anyone out there reading this is thinking about emigrating or is a new expat. Oh, and I added a picture of my Obiehead. He was in a dream I had last night, so I'm missing him today. Here's another picture just because. :-(

Obie and I getting ready to talk to Wes on Skype

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Canned pumpkin

A thread on UK-Yankee has me already thinking about scoring some canned pumpkin. Does anyone know anyplace in Dublin that sells this?? Yes, I know I can just make my own pureed pumpkin, but I am very lazy. And my Grandma (the Queen of the Pie) has said that the quality of canned pumpkin is really just as good as fresh pumpkin puree. I can't dispute the Pie Genius! I am a fan of all things pumpkin, except pumpkin pie. Hate it. I've already informed Wes that for Thanksgiving this year I will be making this incredibly tasty cake:

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake with Buttermilk Icing

Also, if anyone knows if it's possible to get a turkey (or at least a turkey breast) around Thanksgiving please let me know. In England it was really hard to get a whole turkey to roast except at Christmas. AND, you had to order it!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Phoenix Park

Not a bad view to have when you're being tortured, eh??

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ode to Rain

Rain isn't really something I ever thought about. I would run from my house, to the car, to the office, to the car, to the gym, to the car, to the grocery store, to the car, to the house. Whew! Safe! Of course I would use the same umbrella I got for Christmas years ago. It hardly got used. If I didn't have my umbrella and I was running from the house to the car I would be ticked! My hair was getting messed up! Eek!

Then one day I decided I wanted to move to England.

People would tell me about the rain. I got umbrellas as going away gifts. As with most first-time US expats in England, I would look out at the rain and think that maybe I'll put off going to the grocery store and running those errands once the rain lets up. After day 4 of continuous rain and no food, I'd put up that umbrella and battle my way down to the shops. I had no car in England so I was schlepping my stuff up the hill (of course) through the rain. I learned to not pay any attention to the useless weather reports - 'periods of rain, periods of sun' - and just plan for rain. Remember that umbrella I used to carry around in my car? Yeah, it died an early death in England. I had 5 umbrellas in the 2.5 years that I lived there.

People tell you about the rain, but what they don't tell you about is the wind that usually accompanies it. Umbrellas and wind don't match. I started determining what level of rain made it worth opening my umbrella. The worst kind of rain is the heavy, swirling mist. It's heavy enough that it's annoying, but it's swirling all over the place so no umbrella can keep it off you. The obvious answer to keeping rain off of you and not having to battle the wind is a raincoat. I can't recall owning a raincoat anytime after the age of 5. No need when I always had a car to jump into!

Then I got engaged and started planning my move to Ireland.

First things first....get a raincoat. If the rain is bad in England, surely it's worse in Ireland! Umbrellas would be futile. I told my coworkers in England that I wanted a raincoat that was stylish and had a hood. I was laughed at! This coat does not exist. If this coat existed every girl in England would have one! So, I ended up with a Berghaus coat. I told the guy at the shop that I was moving to Ireland and needed to prepare myself! He assured me this coat would protect me against all elements. This coat stinks. The hood is too short so the top of my head and face get soaked. So, I've been in Ireland for 5 months now and my second umbrella is about to die.

I remember visiting Ireland about 4 years before I moved here. We were at a street festival and it started to rain. I was amazed at how the crowd handled the change in weather like it was no big deal. People weren't running for cover in the shops, they put on rain gear and covered the strollers with the clear plastic covers and just kept on enjoying the music. Spot the American looking like a drowned rat! I'm highly jealous of Irish women and their ability to not look like they just walked in the rain for 30 minutes. I remember the first time I met one of Wes' friends. It was raining and not only did she not have an umbrella, she didn't have a raincoat! She just had on a cute knitted cap and a little jacket. She pulled off her hat, shook out her hair a bit, and looked perfect. I wish I could say the same about me. I think they have a gene for this that American women lack.

Fast forward 4.5 years and I think I'm finally starting to get it. Rain doesn't bother me nearly as much as it used to. I carry my umbrella with me, but it doesn't go up with the first drip of rain. Last night was the true test. It started to rain when I was at my bootcamp class. So far we've had really good weather and I've been a bit worried what would happen if it rained during class. Would I still go? Could I handle it? Would I melt? It started raining in the middle of class, so I had no choice but to keep going. And you know what? I felt like a total bad ass out there! I mean, it was raining and I was doing lunges and pushups! It's like I was giving Mother Nature the finger! I think she got the's a lovely sunny day today.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Brunch in Ireland stinks

In order to get a satisfying brunch we had to go to two places: the first place for overpriced eggs, the second place for a cup of coffee that was larger than a shot glass. Actually, the egg place was the third place we tried. The first place was closed even though they advertise that they serve brunch, the second place stopped serving breakfast at 11:15 and it was 11:20, so by the third place we were desperate.

Attempts to get Sunday brunch in Ireland always lead to me reminiscing on The Hull Street Blues Cafe in Baltimore and their kick ass brunch.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Boot Camp

I just finished my first week of boot camp classes. The class is in Phoenix Park and I have to say, the setting is gorgeous. We've actually had decent weather so far which is amazing. On Thursday the sun was shining and with the Wicklow mountains off in the distance it was really gorgeous. Of course it's the one time during the week when I don't have my camera. When I registered the instructor told me the first class is always the hardest and she was right!

Not having a car is a total downside to this class. The first day I figured I'd get the Luas to Heuston Station, then walk up to the Papal Cross. Unfortunately, the shuttle bus has stopped running and there's really no easy way to get up there other than walking or driving. I knew it was far, but holy geez, it's actually about 1.75 miles! Of course I was running late so I had to power walk it. As my mom said, that's a lot of exercise just to exercise! And there's no toilet located anywhere near the Papal Cross. Well, I could ask Dan Rooney if he'd let me use the one in the American Embassy, but it's a long shot. I'd go in there waving my Terrible Towel, but then I'd be a Crazy. I have to say, the lack of toilets in Phoenix Park is a huge negative about the park. It's a HUGE place, bigger than Central Park, and there are three places where there are toilets. Hopefully Dan wasn't looking out his window on Thursday or he would have seen more than one full moon.

After that first night I've reassesed the bus situation cutting down my walk time to less than a mile and I've learned to use the facilities 'au naturale'. I'm not proud of that last one, but I blame the park for forcing me to do that. These two things combined have made my boot camp experience MUCH more enjoyable! For the warm up we have to run around the Papal Cross twice. This is only about a quarter of a mile and oh my god that first night were my lungs burning! I was definitely the last person and I had to walk some of it. By the third class I'm happy to say I can already see an improvement! I'm no longer the last person to finish the warm up, I can run most of it, and my lungs burn a little less.

This is only a 4 week session and I surprise myself by feeling little bummed about that. She does run a winter session, but it's at an athletic club that's too far away. Guess I'll have to find some other way to torture myself over the winter!