29 June 2007

A few small complaints....and one big one.

What seemed charming the first couple of days has worn a bit thin after only three weeks. The street performers are alright with me, provided they are not DIRECTLY UNDER MY WINDOW.
For two and three hours at a stretch.
Perhaps the biggest offender is what we refer to as: The Tuba Guy
(not pictured above, clearly that's The Trumpet Guy.)
He (Tuba) shows up Thursday thru Saturday nights at the pub at the end of our block. He knows one song. And I am not exaggerating.
And not even the whole song - he only knows the first three lines. I'd like everybody to stop and think about this, I mean really reflect on it, feel my pain people: a TUBA playing the first three lines of 'OH WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN' OVER and OVER and OVER and.....well, I guess you get the point.

On his best nights he gives the adoring throng a whistle or two to play along (a whistle like your gym teacher had, a LOUD, play stopping, whistle.)

So - one small complaint. Full of local color and "you knew what your were getting into, how many times did you brag about being in the city center" flavor.
Ok, fair enough.
But while I am at it, I may as well make some noise about the All Saints Store. God knows they are making enough noise of their own. I may not know Saintliness from Saltines, but these people are committing a SIN against music with the crap they boom out their wide open doors, again, just under my window. Avril Lavigne. J.Lo. etcetera, so on & so forth. I can take a lil' bubblegum pop, but all day???
The only consolation I take from this is that from 10am to 6pm they give the street performers a run for their money.
Another small issue I'm obliged to take with Dublin is the way people walk on the streets. I have tried and tried, to no avail, to figure out the rhythm. Give me an hour on the streets of NYC, Paris or Tokyo (that last one only in my imagination) and I'll be strutting like a native. Bobbing and weaving if necessary. Strolling. Strutting. Charging. Threading through, shooting the gap. I can do it all. I've even been known to saunter quite well when needed.
But this place----oi vey!
I chalk it up to a small city, bustling with lots o' people, all of who have very different agendas. There are business men & women with THINGS TO DO and PEOPLE TO SEE, ould souls perambulating, great big groups of tourists moving in slow packs, squinting at their maps, younger tourists with ginormous backpacks making their way to the nearest seedy hostel, shoppers laden with Brown Thomas Bags, teenagers needing a haircut & a job, people lugging groceries home, gypsies sending their small children onto sidewalk cafes to beg....ya know - the usual crowd. Mix that in with narrow, slippery sidewalks and lots of umbrellas and it's chaos theory at it finest. We are adapting at not being able to adapt. it's taking all our walking skillz to NOT collide with somebody every 4.3 seconds, but so far we've managed.

And now the big one.....
(if you could say that in a Monty Pythonesque accent I'd be much obliged.)
The Big Complaint
This flippin' thing. Combo washer / dryer. HA! We looked it up online to see what we were doing wrong, after all our clothes came through the dryer cycle hot and soaking wet, all we saw on the web was "Don't buy this machine!!"
Three t-shirts and one sweatshirt take about 6 cycles to dry....but only after you've had them on the drying rack overnight first!
Whirlpool AWG 338......you suck. May I never see the likes of you again.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

So just to be clear, I LOVE my new city. I am having the time of my life!!! Things could be going better, but only if there were a winning lottery ticket and Hobbits on the menu. This place is great. Not working is more than great. Playing in the rainy streets, drinking too early, futzing with the blog, walking to the market 16 times a week - this is all getting chalked up in the plus column. Life is one big adventure and I am taking a bite...ok, wait. I may have mixed a metaphor in there somewhere. But the point is I don't want to sound little bitter barley (that's my irish version of sour grapes - whattya think?) It's just that kvetching is a little easier to write than praise...better laughs, at least I hope. And even a happy girl does need to vent now and again.


28 June 2007

Domo Arigato indeed......

Time to wrap up the posts of yesterday in one giant, final NEW YAWK post. To everyone who gave us a week-long send off on Long Island we say thanks a million. Actually the thanks go out to all and sundry who wished us well on our journey from Florida through North Carolina and Maryland up to New York. We are so blessed with the greatest of families and friends.

But anyway here's the final leg of "Road Trip Oh Seven"
Where to start???

How about with one of my best friends in the whole wide world....Pattie Magee!!! Ok. Magee ain't her real name...but it works, dontchya think? Besides, for me at least, it's been Magee since 1989. Since we rediscovered our long lost Grand Avenue Junior High School locker connection, discovered we shared the same EXACT birthday and a mutual envy of girls with naturally straight, silky hair, since we attended NCC together etcetera so on & so forth. Pattie has long been one of my most favorite people on the planet, together with Ann we've had some of the best times of my life. They are my desert island girls, ya know what I mean? Here she is with her youngest little darling, Derek.
And here's Pattie with her oldest darlin', Vic. How can she resist those huge arms!! Did she get tickets to the gun show?? Is Vic so pumped up cause he beat the pants off of Chris in play-station Hockey? Was he in training before our arrival?

In all seriousness, Vic and Pattie were the consummate hosts and we all had GREAT night. I wish we had more time! I wish we had more pictures!!! (Magee - can you believe I don't have a single picture of you and me together? What the??)
These are things we shall remedy when I visit in October.

The little one Derek...oh my. What a sweetheart!!! He's quiet and easy to please. Quick with a smile and very, very cuddly. I can't wait to get to know him better.

And this little Pip....Victor the seventeenth (or something like that, maybe he's just the fourth?)
I dare you to spend three minutes with Victor and not be grinning ear to ear. We had so much fun in the short time we had to spend together. He'll give you hugs and kisses, invite you to dance (to a kelly-mix'd cd no less) then show off his room, run up and down the yard with you, all the while beaming and chattering away. I KNOW he enjoyed all the excitement of visitors cause he kept creeping out of bed and lurking in the dining room so he could be part of the action!! This was great in two ways:
It was his first foray over the baby-gate at his door. Something he could have probably scaled months ago, but the excitement of visiting Arnolds finally tempted him to dare it. Watching the realization dawn on Pattie and Vic's faces as they saw they had a new level of independence to deal with was priceless.
The second way this was an event of great hilarity and adorableness was that on his third or fourth time over the gate (unbeknownst to us, of course) Victor must have finally got bored of the grownup stuff and found himself a bottle of pancake syrup to drink. Lol!!!!! What a little pirate!!

One last note on our night in Amityville...Pattie is such an amazing Mom, not surprising to anyone who knows her. She uses her all her talents to keep her kids engaged and entertained. Little Victor loves her stories so much, he now insists on spending whole days in character...and that means Pattie has to be in character too!! He'll clean his room, but only if Pattie as "Momma Bear" asks him as "Baby Bear" to do it, and he loses patience when Mommy talks out of character! Lol!!! I don't know anyone who is as up to this task as Magee. And I find it hilarious that she's created a bit of a drama monster.

I miss all you guys and can't wait to see you again.

The next event in NY....our great nephew Jake's christening:

The man of the hour.
Godmother Extraordinaire: Maryanne and husband Bobby.

Jake's big brother, Luke. The man of every other hour, at least for the time being. This kid is SUCH a character!!! Love you to pieces Lukester.
Two of my spectacular sisters: The boys' beloved Beanie and sister Kate. You have never seen eyes light up if you haven't seen Luke greeting his grandma...aka Beanie.

Speaking of grandparents: cousins Bob and Patty are expecting their first grandchildren, Twins! Congrats to Ryan and Melissa and the whole clan.

Luke and Jake's older and wiser cousin, Michael, the coolest cucumber around, with his banjo-picking Dad, my brother in law Charlie. Michael....I can't believe how grown up you are!! I remember when it was YOUR christening!! Stop growing up! I demand it.
Our family of girls attracts the nicest of fellas: Skipper, Bobby & Christian.
Two aunties and an uncle: Maggie, Lolly and Tom.

Who let the NYC riffraff in? JK! My bro Em-bob and the ever talented Julia.
(These two make the BEST camera faces. It's something I aspire to.)

Unbelievably, I have no pics of Colleen and Mike, the proud parents and our hosts. I can only say that's it's a testimony to their generousity of spirit and loving family nature that they are always able to bring together the most amazing groups of people in loving harmony and joy. Thanks to you both for a lovely day and congratulations on having two of the cutest boys on the planet. Love you both.

Ok....final NY event before we left was two days with my soul sister (and real sister) Maryanne. Alas, I am all blogged out for the night, and Sunshine, you deserve a post all your own anyway.
I love you to pieces.
You know how there are some people you can barely even say goodbye to cause you love them too much? Some people that are your shoulder? The first person you want to call with good OR bad news? Some people who understand you so well you can't even imagine life without them? That's my Mrynn.
(for the uninitiated...that's Maryanne minus all the vowels)


27 June 2007

Wide World of Sports

One of the major changes we have had to adapt to is the abrupt end to our television watching habit. I wouldn't say that Kelly & I watched alot of TV in Florida, but we did watch TV everyday at some point. We had our regular shows that we watched every week if possible, but we weren't slaves to the idiot box. Especially after the invent of the DVR feature with our cable, where we could record shows and watch them whenever we wanted. (we were never VCR users) Even on busy days, we would sit down and watch a little TV to wind down at night....and end up staying up later then we should.

We are out alot, but when we come home, one of us inevitably will be on the one laptop we have...checking email, blogging etc.

The other person is then presented with the option of reading (Kelly) or watching TV.

We have 10 channels. 10 channels. thats it...10. There hasnt been a point in my life, where I had a TV that I only had 10 channels. Even basic cable is more than 10 channels ! I could get more than 10 channels with an old TV and a wire hanger ! The best part is, we get 21 channels....there are just two of every station. If Friends is on channel 3 its also on channel 18. So when youre flipping through the channels, you get to see everything twice !

Here is the blistering lineup we get to choose from :

One channel plays reruns of American shows like Friends, CSI, Charmed, House, ER...etc

Another channel is the Gaelic Language station...which can be interesting.

There is a channel completely devoted to the reality show Big Brother. Crap.

We get the British News station, SkyNews...which is some sort of FoxNews / CNN hybrid in appearance. The news repeats every 10 minutes, so you cant watch that very long.

We get the Discovery channel, but the programming is limited to American Chopper, The Deadliest Catch and a few others. Those shows are great, but how much of that can you watch ?

So what do we end up watching?


Sports has been the saving grace of this television wasteland. Not just any sports either. Sports that we would never watch and sports that we had to learn all the rules to ! It's been great.

Hurling - One of the gaelic sports. The Irish are crazed with it. Its actually very similar to lacrosse but you cant hit / check...oh and everyone swings those wooden hurleys with complete disregard and reckless abandon. Its very fast paced.

Gaelic Football - The other Irish sport. Scoring is the same as hurling. You can kick the ball thru the uprights for one point or into a socer goal underneath for 3 points. You can use your hands but if you carry the ball you must bounce it after 3 steps. If you carry it three more steps you have to throw it down and kick it back to yourself. These guys do it running full speed. Very entertaining. Oh and you can grab each other, just not tackle. You can also pass the ball by hand, but you have to bump it, like in volleyball....cool huh? Makes for an interesting game.

Rugby - Kill the guy with the ball.

The other day we found ourselves watching Cricket.....yawn...boooooorrring.

There are entirely too many rules and things to learn about Cricket. We didnt know what the heck was going on so I hopped online and pulled up the rules so we could get up to speed real quick.. HA ! What a joke...go ahead, check it out :


Needless to say, we gave up on Cricket for now.

Besides, Wimbeldon just started, its on 4 channels.


24 June 2007

Saturday Night

Last night we went to our first show in Dublin. Hopefully the first of many :)
Holly Golightly was playing - yippee!! Her current musical incarnation is Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs, which consists of her and a talented chunk of handsome calling himself Lawyer Dave. They got a great dirty, bluesy sound, less girl-garage-british-invasion and more muddy Mississippi delta.

The self proclaimed Homespun Duo.
Check them out.

Lawyer Dave on guitar and drums.

We saw them at this wee little club called Crawdaddy's, a really intimate place for a show. It's on Harcourt Street, only a 10 minute walk from here. The crowd was surprisingly small, maybe about 70 people. Last night they didn't even have the balcony open. I was able to slither right up front and stayed there, enthralled and entertained, for the whole show. (This pic is taken from the point of view of the stage....so tiny!!)
Here's the bar just attached to the Crawdaddy's (which is the white door on the left) called the Lounge Bar. Don't know if you can tell but the whole place is a giant stone arch, felt a bit like being in a castle. Both Crawdaddy's and the Lounge Bar are part of a complex of different sized venues. Lots of live music options!!

After the show we grabbed a bite to eat then met one of the lacrosse lads and his girlfriend at this place above, called The Barge. Located across the street from the Grand Canal, hence the name. Big ol' bar, lots of seats, dancing, loud music - this joint was jumping. We had a few pints and lots of laughs and totally enjoyed ourselves. Thanks to Michael and Patrice for the good time. It was raining as we left, actually rained on and off all night, but it wasn't all that bad walking home, as we were prepared. Harcourt Street has lots of bars and clubs on it and most of the way home we were entertained seeing people spill out of the clubs and into the rain, trying to protect their club looks.
And that ended a very successful Saturday night.


22 June 2007

A very bad decision

I did a very stupid thing today.
I bought these ridiculously high heeled boots.

I sense you are not sufficiently appalled.
Here, lemme give you an establishing shot.
To show both the scale of these heels and the scale of my error.
You get it now, dontchya?
Who do I think I am??

In my defense, it was pouring all day, and I was feeling antsy and out of sorts. You might even say I was feeling low. So I mistook myself for some other girl and thought a little retail therapy would cheer me up, I actually forgot that I loathe shopping. But I've had it stuck in my head since I've gotten here that I am woefully under-supplied in the boot department.
Actually I am woefully under-supplied in the "girly shoe" department all together. Witness the current working collection of shoes that I wear.

Anywho - add to this scenario that it's summer and nobody is selling boots...and I guess we have the makings of a pretty predictable error in judgment.
So I bought the ridiculous boots. And insisted on wearing them tonight, in the pouring rain, as we made our way across town and back again to the apartment of a coupe lacrosse guys who invited us over for some homemade chili. Let's just say if it weren't for the aftereffects of the chili propelling me homeward, I may not have made it.
My feet feel like two wounded bunnies right now
Lucky for my little rabbits I showed an astounding amount of foresight while shopping today and I also bought these beauties. Everyone can breathe easy knowing the bunnies are resting comfortably and recuperating quite nicely at the present moment.
And in case anybody was feeling the need for scale on the slippers...here's a pic for you.

21 June 2007

for your Information, Illumination and Entertainment

It rains here,
a lot.
An awful lot.
In the inimitable yet lip-synched words of Milli Vanilli:
Blame it on the Rain...
(go ahead, sing it out loud - you know you WANT to)
but whatever the reason, St. Stephen's Green is the closest we've come so far to exploring the countryside. If you look at a map of Dub, you''ll notice it's right smack in the city center...so rural it's not. But it is green and pretty, and it's got this kick ass stream / bridge combo going for it so....
I like pub signs. Not smooth segues.
Whoa!? What the? Hartiwho's? Haltiwhat's? Wholigan's?

Pretty dang fitting that we spied this little beauty on Father's day.

Unfortunately it was at the end of a very very long walk, so we were anxious to get home, and did not stop in for a pint and a spot of conversation. Rest assured my fine feathered friends...that'll happen soon.

Later that night....
The Hub doing my bidding and fixing me some grub.
heh heh
The Hub fixing Grub.
I love it when I rhyme accidentally.
Mayhap I shall begin calling myself the Accidental poet?

(how's that for smooth transitioning? well, I've been called a bad transitioner by a lot better than you, ya Houligan)
The finished product.While digging in our wee kitchen for usable implements, the Hub came across this basket on top of the shelves. It even still had a tag on it. Score!!! Got my first basket!!!!

One down, 57 more to go.

Chris is thrilled.

I know this post is rather disjointed and scattered and I can only say in my own defense, that that's how I am also feeling at this moment. So there.