Saturday, May 29, 2010

Oh Ireland....what are you doing???

News broke today that Ireland's EBS Building Society has failed and is now controlled by the government. You can read about that here. Yeah, okay, that sucks but it's happened to banks all over the world in this recession. What puts Ireland ahead of the rest is that former non-executive director of EBS, Cathal Magee, Chair of the Risk Committee and sat on the Credit Committee, you know, the two committees who should be monitoring the state of the bank and ensuring that failure doesn't occur (not to mention he has also been accused of some alleged dodgy dealings in commercial property lending), was HEADHUNTED to become the Chief of the Health Service Executive. The HSE has the largest public budget and for comparison sake is the NHS of Ireland. Oh, and he's going to be paid a salary of €322,000, which is €100,000 more than the Taoiseach makes.

Pardon my language, but un-fucking-believable.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Oh bloggity blog blog blog.....

As my faithful readers know, I'm not employed. This means I have a lot of time on my hands. Instead of cleaning mold off my walls which seems to need to be done EVERYDAY, I read other blogs. I read blogs written by other expats, new parents, people who are TTC (that's 'trying to conceive' in case you're not in the know), people battling with infertility (no, we have no evidence that we're infertile), pregnancy blogs, mommy blogs, food blogs, photography blogs, weight loss blogs, design blogs (which make me sad because 'designing with mold' is never featured on these), writers blogs, funny blogs...well, you get the idea. Please pause for a moment while I consider how lame I am.

It seems like everyone has a theme to their blog, and I'm aware that this is part of the formula for a quality blog. I struggle with this because I really have no theme. Yes, I'm an expat, but do people want to hear me banging on about how much I miss Target and Panera. Because really, I could write about that Every. Single. Day. I've been an expat now for almost 4 years (wow!) and after a while I feel like you stop writing about the differences and you just accept them and move on. Of course I will still complain about the small refrigerators, especially when we finally start looking for a new place, but I can't see 'expat' as being my main theme anymore.I'm actually amazed at how people who have been expats for 20 years can still write about how annoying it is to have no electrical outlets in the bathroom. Haven't they learned to cope by now??

Now there are the TTC blogs. Not sure how my husband would feel about this being the main topic of this blog. Not sure how I would feel about it! I had to psych myself up just to bring it up on here (don't want to jinx things you know!), but well, there are interesting blogs about this out there. Every morning I wake up at 4:45am to take my temperature so I can then put it on a chart. Why? I have no idea. I look at sample charts and I can not make hide nor hair of what they mean. I keep telling myself that this is important because if after a certain period of time things don't work for us, then I'll have these charts to take to the doctor. I mean, I guess that's why they're important. Do they even want these charts? What I do know is that my cat is not handling this well. The alarm goes off at 4:45 and she thinks it's time to start the day. I'm pretty sure this early morning temperature thing is really done just to get you ready for waking up at ungodly hours with kids. So yeah, I'm not going to start posting charts and talking about the quality of my cervical mucous and whether or not we had sex last night. Sorry.

I should probably make this a weight loss blog, but that's no fun really. I did get a new fit ball last weekend, but our apartment is too small for me to do some of the exercises. Anything that requires side to side movement is out of the question. Plus, don't make me bring up the mold again and air quality in our apartment. I feel yucky when I'm huffing and puffing in here.

So apologies to everyone out there if they think my blog is kind of boring these days and just full of pictures. I'm at a bit of a crossroads right now, call it a blog identity crisis if you will. Bear with me and I hope I will start to feel more inspired over the next few months!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

You Capture: Sky

I probably made myself dizzy when I took this shot!

Watching the rain coming towards us.

We've had a lot of skies like this lately! Yay for the Irish summer!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Do child abductions occur in Ireland?

I'm only asking this because today I saw a mother in the self-checkout line at the grocery store. I guess someone told her there was a hot deal on canned soda and she took off back down the aisles to get some more. When doing this she left her young son (probably two years old) sitting in his stroller at the checkout. I'd say she was gone for a full five minutes. Thankfully he was okay and I know this because I stared at him the entire time to make sure! I see this kind of behaviour all the time. People walking down a crowded Henry Street not paying attention to their young child wandering along behind them. One day we were in Howth and there was a tiny baby in a stroller just sitting on the sidewalk. It didn't seem this child belonged to anyone, so of course I was freaking out. I made Wes stand there with me until we saw some people (that I can only assume were the parents) got out of a nearby parked car and put the baby inside. WTF!? It only takes a second for that child to be snatched up! I never noticed people doing this kind of thing in the US, even in the grocery store in my parent's small town. Maybe I'm just being paranoid...

Friday, May 21, 2010


I know, I know, we were just there in February! I never really considered going to Spain for a holiday and here I am going twice in 4 months! Our friends that we visited in February were married last weekend. Wes and I were on our own for a lot of this trip, so it was a totally different experience than the last time. For example, the taxi driver attempted to scam us when he took us to our hotel. I say attempted, because I don't think he figured on me calling my friends to set him straight. Yeah, I wasn't lying when I told you I had local friends! Idiot. Other highlights were the naked man we saw riding his bike (as you do), and the prostitutes sitting on chairs in the middle of nowhere waiting for truckers to ride by. I couldn't work out what they do with the chair when they find a customer to pick them up.

Since we were just there in February, we didn't feel pressured to go to lots of museums and touristy places. We were able to wander around and just enjoy the city. The one thing we didn't bank on for this trip was the ash cloud. We got out of Dublin with no problem and mistakenly thought we were home free. We were originally scheduled to fly back on Monday morning, but ended up getting stuck there until late Wednesday night. I know, stuck isn't the best word, but I was really worried about our cat! Since we were only supposed to be gone for about 4 days we didn't have anyone checking on her. Thankfully, I had the foresight to see if Wes' work colleague who lives close by would take a set of keys just in case. Once I knew the cat was okay, I was able to enjoy the few extra days we had!

Here are some highlights from the trip:

Last time we were in Barcelona, Wes' one request of something to do was to go to Camp Nou, home of the FC Barcelona. We didn't have time on that trip, so it was the first thing we did on this one. It was actually a pretty cool place, even if they didn't tour you through the home team's changing rooms. They're supposed to be pretty swish and would have been cool to see. On Sunday night Barça played Real Valladolid for their division title at Camp Nou. We weren't able to get tickets, but we were in the city for a portion of the match. It was crazy and only got crazier after we left, so I'm glad we didn't stick around. Football fans are lunatics.

Gemma and Oscar's wedding was on Saturday and oh my god was it beautiful. I've never been to a Catalan wedding and I'm pretty certain I'll never get to another one. The wedding was held at an old estate outside of Barcelona. Here is a picture from the ceremony. They had a bunch of friends read testimonials about the couple and this is one of Oscar's sisters giving hers. Two of the people did theirs in English which was really nice!

Here is the gorgeous couple! I managed to pull myself away from the 23 different types of appetizers to snap this picture.

When they arrived for the reception there was much swinging of the napkins. I enjoy a rowdy crowd, so I got into this!

I did manage to pull myself away from the six course dinner to snap this picture of the sun setting over the Pyrenees. This was my view for the whole evening. Awesome. In typical Spanish fashion, the wedding went on until 2am, then they had booked a club in town to go for an addition 3 hours. Ummm....I wish I could say we were cool enough to go to the club. I used up all my energy waving around that napkin.

The next day we wandered down to the seaside. There were a lot of pale people on the beach working on their tans!

This was the day we were meant to be going back to Dublin. Fortunately for us, this is also the day the weather really warmed up. Prior to this it was cooler and on Friday it had even rained. After rechecking into our hotel, we just wandered around the waterfront area, then ended up having dinner with Gemma and Oscar. We went to a tapas place and I jammed so much food in my gullet that I was still digesting it 12 hours later. Mental note: Don't eat at a place where they just keep bringing you more food on a toothpick...especially when you have friends that insist you try everything. Holy crap. I think I gained 5 lbs just in that meal! Also as a side note, Barcelona isn't the best place for vegetarians. They do love their meats and sausages! This is actually a common sight in restaurants and cafes:

Gemma and Oscar had booked a trip to a seaside town up north for a group of Americans (who also happened to be former coworkers of mine) on Tuesday. Since we were now in Barcelona on Tuesday we were able to go along. This is where getting stuck was a blessing in disguise. It was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.

The first stop was Figueres (okay, this isn't the beautiful area) to go to the Salvador Dali museum. Right, I'm not going to mince words. The man was a freak. Yes, if he were alive he would tell me that's because I'm just not intelligent enough to 'get' him. I don't care. He was a total weirdo. This was one of my favorites:

Soft Self Portrait with Grilled Bacon

You read that right. I couldn't make that one up if I tried. There was also a portrait of his wife with lamb chops balancing on her shoulder. Yeah. It was certainly an entertaining museum! 

Also, if you're in the market for packs of tissues or tanning bed glasses, I know where you can pick some up. How handy to be able to get them in the same place!

After we left Figures we were going to go just outside of Cadaqués to visit Dali's apartment. Unfortunately, we needed to prebook a tour, so we just had a wander around a bit. The man might have been crazy, but he sure picked a beautiful place to live!

After this stop off we went to lunch at a restaurant in Cap de Creus, which is very close to the French border.

This is where things started to get all crazy gorgeous. The restaurant was located in the middle of a natural park so the views were A-MAZ-ING!!!

Yes, we had sunscreen on and still managed some red noses!

After lunch we went back to the actual town of Cadaqués so we could go to the beach there and wander around the town a bit. We both dipped our feet into the Mediterranean.

Then we wandered up the hill to catch the view:

It was a very full day and we both said it was well worth the extra time Aer Lingus made us spend in Spain! Our quick weekend in Barcelona turned into a proper week long holiday. The stupid ash cloud has managed to get ONE thing right! Thanks Eyjafjallajokul!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Depth of Field

The 'You Capture' challenge for this week was depth of field (focused in the front, blurry in the back or vice versa). I'm totally bummed because we were on vacation and I didn't know this was the challenge until we got back. If I had known, I would have tried to get some good shots for this one! So, I've had to use some old pictures from my archives. Once I started hunting through my files I discovered I have tons and I had a hard time choosing!


Thursday, May 13, 2010


The You Capture theme for this week was yellow. Here are my pictures for the week! I apologize for the late post. I had it all set to go and we left for our trip before I could post them.


Yellow mums as big as his head!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pretty sure Hollywood isn't making a movie about this Ireland!

Yeah, these events aren't going to make it into any travel guides.....

I was walking along Nassau Street and heard this parade before I saw it.

Why? They had a band and everyone was singing a song about 'Free the Weed'. Catchy, no? This article was printed in the Irish Times today, so it didn't take me long to make the connection.  Chalk head shops as one of those 'really strange things to find in a Catholic country.' Fortunately, my day-to-day is not affected by this bit of legislation. Now, if something were legislation to close Marks and Spencer's Food Hall, I may have to hit the streets in protest, singing a song about freeing Percy Pig!

Wes sent me this picture today. You may need to click on it to read it.

I didn't take this picture, and I don't know who did to properly acknowledge them.

This banner was hung up in front of the now propped up Anglo Irish Bank* as a way of thanking them for bankrupting the country. I thought for sure it was photo shopped, but he said this is the real deal and in fact it's been done in the past. Not sure if it's better to be listed as a 'Traitor' or a 'Waster'. It's definitely not good times when the leader of your country is in the 'Traitor' category! I'll never know though....I'm one of the heros (sic)!

*I highly recommend reading this Wikipedia entry. I know, I know, you can't trust the validity of Wikipedia, but this is pretty accurate and it does give you a good background as to what happened.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Mom - Keep driving that playground truck and oh, the places you will go!!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Follow up to my You Capture post

A comment was left about the trees in Phoenix Park looking like wise old men. Actually, the reason we were standing under the tree was because we saw what looked like a headstone sitting there. Here's a picture of the stone:

The trees, are in fact, wise old men! I almost gave one a hug.....

Friday, May 7, 2010

Dear Dublin Tourists,

Shops sell bottled water in Ireland. There is no need for you to wear a Camelback or Bear Grylls outdoor pants stuffed with provisions. You can buy stuff here. We have grocery stores that sell fruits, vegetables, snacks, etc. You can even go to Pizza Hut or McDonald's if that's your thing. Also, you know when you're walking really slow and videotaping your way along the sidewalk? No one will want to watch that when you get home. I promise. Move to the side and take some pictures. You might even get one that's good enough to hang on the wall. You can't hang a video on a wall. Oh, and speaking of walking, the green man means 'Go', the yellow man means 'You can still make it if you hop to it', and the RED man means 'Stop'. No need to line up in an impenetrable wall along the sidewalk when the green man turns yellow. Some of us still want to go. I know walking around the city can make you tired. That doesn't mean you and your friends should cop a squat on the steps into the shops, blocking the entrance entirely. If you look closely when you do this, you'll see a lot of the local shoppers rolling their eyes at you. We really hate that.

Okay, that's it for today. I'm pretty sure tomorrow will bring some new advice for you!

Thanks for paying attention!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spring! (Again!)

The You Capture challenge at I Should Be Folding Laundry was spring, again! Eek! This is actually a toughie in Ireland. The climate is so temperate here that spring doesn't jump out at you like it does in other parts of the world. We have green grass all year round and that whole 'April showers spring May flowers' thing doesn't really hold up here. We have showers no matter what the month! I should probably come clean about last week's post. None of those pictures were taken in Ireland. Two were from England and one from the US - all during spring!  The one obvious sign of spring in Ireland are the tiny lambs that start dotting the countryside. Unfortunately, there are no lambs in Dublin city! :(

So, I had to get a little creative.

A spring baby!

Fresh green leaves in Phoenix Park!

Springy playground ride on a typically wet Irish spring day!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Slacker or lame-o??

Yes, I haven't posted in a week. Call me whatever you want. There really isn't anything going on here. Monday was a bank holiday and we didn't do anything special - just went for a long walk in Phoenix Park on Sunday and Wes ran a 10k on Monday. The weather was crap right up until about 8pm on Monday evening when the sun came out in all it's glory!

On Tuesday I finally got to meet Meg's new little guy! He is so cute, even when he cries...which he only seemed to do when I was holding him. Oh well. Here is Liz being entertained by his extreme cuteness:

At one week postpartum Meg is already looking like a smoking hot yummy mummy, not to mention she's a natural at this parenting thing. She'll fit into D4 nicely!

So yeah, sorry this post is so boring! At least you get a good recipe from it! :)