31 October 2007

All Hallow's Eve

Heard some strange noises coming in the window.
I head to the balcony to investigate.
Was it rain? No...not exactly. Traffic? Nah.
Huge, blazing bonfire? Yup!! That's it!!

Happy Halloween y'all.
I feel like I am in that movie The Crow and it's Devil's Night and Detroit is burning
and Brandon Lee is going to come swooping down off some rooftop
and onto my balcony and kick over a bunch of candles with his big clunky black boots
and his sweeping leather trench coat and his blackbird sidekick
will send the dust bunnies in my apartment swirling
as he stomps through to kick some badass butt.

Ok. Maybe my imagination is running away with me.

Anyway it's 10 p.m. on Halloween night
and nary a trick-or-treater to be seen.
So I am halfway through the candy I bought
in the event that we did have any kids in costumes
and I continue to watch the fire burn.
Happy Halloween indeed.


30 October 2007

Big Post - Part One

Ok this is going to be a doozy. Kelly & I have been neglecting our blog since we went on vacation and during Kelly's recent illnesses. Kelly is feeling almost 100% again and everything is almost back to normal.
Fear not faithful readers, we promise to get back on track with a blog post every other day minimum!

Brett & Monica Wass Invade Ireland !

After a little miscommunication on Brett's part about what day they were arriving (resulting in me standing around a chilly Dublin street corner for 3 hours the day before they got here) the Wasses finally arrived. As poor sick Kelly lay in bed recovering, day one saw us doing a walking tour of Dublin City.

We walked downtown and saw all the sights..the Castle, Temple Bar, Trinity College, different statues, ChristChurch Cathedral yadda yadda yadda. The weather was great, but we had an indoor destination:

If you're going to have your first Guinness in Ireland, why not have it at the oldest pub in Dublin?
The Brazen Head has been serving up jars of stout since 1198 !

We got there right at opening time (12:30pm) and the music started right away!

Here we parked on the patio outside for 3 pints of the black stuff.

Monica & Brett having their first sip of delicious Guinness brewed right down the street at the worlds largest brewery, St James Gate. Needless to say, Brett & Monica found the Guinness quite tasty...so we had a few more.

After the Brazen Head, we walked through the church grounds at the top of the hill, with its old city wall fortifications to the Bull & Castle Pub.

The Bull & Castle is where, some of you might remember, my friend Michael and I are participating in their "Beer Challenge - Beereducation". After you drink 30 different beers, they give you a mug with your name engraved on it, which is displayed in a glass case behind the bar.

I started the Challenge in July, but I'm only on beer #16 :(

While I enjoyed beer #16, Brett enjoyed Guinness # ?. By this time, Brett had taken to giving himself a Guinness mustache with every new pint.
Got Guinness ?

Although its very touristy, The Temple Bar area of town is full of pubs that have live music all day. Its a great place to bring guests, so off we went to :

The Oliver St. John Gogarty. Always packed at night, it was somewhat less crowded in the daytime. Live music starts at 3pm, so we got there around 2:30 and secured a seat about 8 feet away from where the musicians would be.

For those of you worried about poor Monica pounding giant pints of Guinness all day, don't be. In Ireland you can also order a glass of Guinness.

isn't that cute? little baby 1/2 pint o'Guinness

After watching the guys jam at Gogarty's, I spied an excellent musician I have seen previously walking into the pub across the street.

Ah The Auld Dubliner...a traditional looking pub full of dark nooks, with great live music. More on this pub later in the next post.

Brett was on Guinness # 4? 8? 27 ?, who knows. Monica was mumbling something about drunk blindness but we pushed on anyway. On to St Stephens Green and to the Georgian area of Dublin to meet up with my friend Michael for dinner. Right after we make a quick stop at:

James Toners Pub ! Another traditional pub with little nooks you can sit in and hide if your wife is looking for you.

Apparently Brett didnt get the memo, he brought his wife with him.

Now, these pictures might start getting out of order because I was really "tired" and dont remember everything exactly the way it happened.

Now don't think we were just stumbling around town drinking Guinness all day. Sometimes we had cider ! The cider is delicious served over ice, and gives you a little sugar boost as well !

The pub above is The Purty kitchen in Dun Leary...and was definately on day two. We took the train to the shore south of Dublin and had lunch with friends of mine. We wandered around exploring and eventually found :

Charles Fitzgeralds Pub in Glasthule-Sandycove. We rested for a while and had a pint, then caught a cab into the mountains. The cab driver turned out to be from San Francisco, so Brett & Monica talked local Cali stuff with him...until we reached our destination, Johnnie Fox's Pub - The highest Pub in Ireland !

I hope you like this picture because its the only picture we have from our visit ! (Apparently the Wasses were so awestruck at being in the mountains that they forgot to take pictures!) Ok, more later on the Wass Pub Crawl. Maybe I'll even include pictures of other stuff.


28 October 2007

Good for a giggle

Something that caught our eye during our recent NY trip....

Driving into New York City, Chris and I found ourselves following a Department of Corrections van, who do not want to be confused with New York's finest.


p.s. feeling much better these days, look for more NY posts soon.

23 October 2007

Save the World

Did you know that a plastic bag....

...at a grocery store in Ireland....

....will cost you twenty two cents a bag?

This levy has reduced the consumption...

... of these non bio-degradable devils...
...by an estimated 90%

21 October 2007

Hooray Wasses!!

Brett and Monica arrived today, much to our delight. Chris met them early this morning and walked them around Dublin, tiring them out and giving them an overview of the city. I stayed in bed and did a spot of wallowing while that took place. In other health news, my legs feel a lot better but my head is still a major problem. But when I finally did get up to hang with our guests the distraction and delight of their company made me feel a lot better. I'd post the pictures we took but I am bleeding out of my eyes, ears, nose and mouth, plus I have grown a hump so the pics are not really flattering. Not to worry though, I'm on antibiotics!!

Kidding! No orifice problems, no hump growing. Am really feeling an improvement in things and am going to go lay down so as not to jinx it. Maybe the Wasses are my fairy godparents of health?


20 October 2007

If misery loves company...

...than I am having a P-A-R-T-Y!!!

I turned 36 last week, and apparently 36 is the year my body has decided to Go To Hell In A Hand Basket. You may remember I was in the hospital for a brief stay involving abdominal pain the week prior to my birthday. Well as it turns out, that was just a ramping up, a precursor of sorts, the hors d'oeuvres to the main course that is my current physical state.

To be honest I haven't been 100% since leaving the hospital and should probably have never undertaken my subsequent trip to NY. I didn't not give my body the time, rest, diet and attention it deserved and needed to get healthy. Yes, I was feeling run down and I went to NY and ate a slice (pie) of pizza, drank a glass (bottle) of wine and smoked a cigarette(s.)

Guilty as charged.

Okay!! Enough of this responsibility rubbish. This is a self pitying rant. More importantly this is MY self pitying rant and I am shutting down that avenue of thought because it is distracting me from my true purpose of garnering sympathy and wallowing in the mud of my self indulgence.

Where to start? How about on the plane ride back to Dublin in which I was able to sleep most of the flight thanks to Mr. Xanex. Waking up in the final hour I had some leg pain, thought I could walk it off, stumbled to the bathroom, no improvement. It got worse but we just went home and went to sleep. Getting up after our nap I was worse than ever. Hobbling around like a 90 year old woman with rheumatoid arthritis.

It's most severe in the mornings. Right hand, left kneecap, calves, ankles, one big toe. Deep muscle and joint pain. Some swelling. Red spots appear after a day. Keeping it elevated. Applying heat. At least two baths a day. Taking the odd aspirin when I can't hold back (remember the ulcer!) Moving around in the morning loosens me up and by mid day I no longer look like a 90 year old woman suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. I look like a 60 year old woman suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Which, I will admit, is an improvement, but not the one I've been hoping for. Plus I live in fear of sleeping because when I wake up I will be 90 again. Not that I can sleep well anyway.

I self diagnose myself with deep vein thrombosis, which is when you get blood clots stuck deep in your veins and they thromb? Seriously, I have some but not all the symptoms and hello? This started while I was on the plane. That's GOTTA have something to do with it. Right?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

A few little nagging things that had been, well, nagging at me since the hospital visit suddenly become large things. Only they are no longer nagging me so much as clubbing me over the head with a two-by-four to get their point across. I've had lower back pain and my noggin aches. I had chalked these two up to sleeping in the hospital, compensating for abdominal pain, odd sleeping position, weird adjustable beds that are NEVER comfortable, snoring old ladies etc etc etc. But wait a second...I've had these symptoms and it's been two weeks since I've left the hospital! And just as my head is actually splitting open in migraine-esque pain I realize...duh!...this may all be connected. Elementary my dear Watson (you idiot!!)

Add a terrible sore throat and some really weird and scary looking mottled skin and you get a midnight trip to the accident and emergency room, aka, The A&E (I'll take arts and entertainment for $800, Alex.)

sidebar: this what you get when you google image "mottled skin" to make sure you've used the right word, and yes, I used exactly the right word. freaky eh?

As if Friday at midnight at the emergency room weren't bad enough my delightful and loving body which would never do me wrong throws a little something fun into the mix. Throwing up!! With red sauce!! (and by that I mean blood, duh!?)

Far be it from me to profane but Christ on a Cracker!!! Can a girl get a break?? They are going to think I am insane when I start listing all my random symptoms:

deep pain in both legs, one knee, one foot, one hand
red spots on all the above
mottled skin on all extremities
killer headache radiating in all directions
lower back pain with odd, small bumps (do we have lymph nodes back there?)
sore throat
vomiting with blood
deep sense of despair

To keep a long story long we waited in the room designated for that purpose among track suited, drunk and bloody knackers with ears halfway ripped off, 70 year old women with rheumatoid arthritis, several characters straight from a Ross O'Carroll Kelly story, roysh? And many other interesting types. No tests, no blood drawn, some questions, some listening, a look around, a second closer look at the sore throat and "It's a infection, I'm giving you antibiotics."

me: "But the sore throat only really started yesterday."
I'm thinking I am a medical mystery. I'm thinking I need a genius at Diagnostic Medicine. I'm thinking I need that guy House. (a show that I have recently discovered in repeats here...love it!)

Then the ER doctor shoots me a well deserved look that says "Listen lady, I have worked many, many long hours at this damn emergency room on this Friday night, I have been to medical school, I sewed that dude's ear back on...shut up and take your medicine."

I realize he is probably right. Take my medicine. Take a taxi home. Throw up. Go to bed.

And God is merciful up in his heaven because I actually achieve the blissful and recently rare state of SLEEP. Would like to say I got a good night's sleep, but it was actually a good day's sleep, cause it came mostly after Chris picked up my prescriptions first thing in the morning. (God bless that man, he is a saint. I have undeservedly bitten his head off a thousand times in the last few days in my frustration. Love you honey, even when you are not dosing me with codeine.)

Friday morning - about 14 hours before the trip to emergency - we had gone to a clinic where they did mostly nothing and told me to come back Monday for a blood test so I will keep that appointment in case there is something else to find out about what's going on with me. Also on the rare chance that I caught something weird from the cheap pedicure place I went to in NY...an infection (ew) a fungus (double ew) or a parasite (triple EW EW EW!!!!) This is probably my overactive imagination coupled with some Discovery Channel Scare-You-Into-Hysterics Show I saw years ago. It's an irrational fear I carry around, ok?
Let's leave this line of thinking.

Anywho...that's where things stand now. We have friends visiting tomorrow and I look forward to seeing them but won't be joining in on any reindeer games :(
I am feeling the tiniest bit better, not sure if I can even hang my hat on that just yet. But I am trying. Am feeling hopeful which is an improvement. I figure I have sent enough cry-baby e-mails out to so many of you individually that I ought to just post it all up here and get my self pity out in the open where I can be rightly ashamed of it and proceed to kick it's ass!!!

My place is MESS, my hair is even WORSE. Our sleep schedule is completely screwy. I haven't accomplished one single, solitary useful thing in DAYS. But today I am laughing about it all and that is a big improvement. Thanks for sticking with me through my wallow. I hate being sick and frankly find all of this a little embarrassing. Hope to update with good news soon. Then we can just drop it and forget it ever happened.

peace out

(music: Harry Nilsson "Lime in the Coconut"

18 October 2007


to new parents Ryan and Melissa!!!

And welcome to the world Erin & Sean!!!

13 October 2007

Hang in there !

We're in New York on vacation and will have a new blog post up when we get back to Dublin on Wednesday or Thursday...sorry for the dryspell !

08 October 2007

Self-Titled: "Masterpiece"

by Luke S.

Got this work of art in the mail a few weeks ago.
Puts a big smile on my face.
Portrait of the artist, with little brother, Jake.

05 October 2007

One down nine hundred ninety thousand to go...

Hiya folks, started this entry this past Sunday night (October 1st) but was too wiped out to polish it up and post it. Much has happened between then and now and I still don't have the energy to improve the post so I am just sticking it on the blog as is, hope you can forgive me.

Faced one of my petty little fears tonight. Jumped a minor hurdle. Went and saw a show all by myself. A little gig up the street at a place called The Village to see a band recommended by one of my best friends. (thanks A.)

Saw Old Crow Medicine Show and they did not disappoint. It's too late and I am too tired to give a whole review but these old time troubadours were amazing. Part folk, part americana, part blue grass they played a combo of originals and covers...including a foot-stomping version of Woodie Guthrie's 'Union Maid.'
"Oh you can't scare me I'm sticking to the union, I'm sticking to the union, I'm sticking to the union..."

Another highlight was 'Wagon Wheel' (playing on the blog now.) OCMS are masters of their string instruments and their vocal stylings. I got treated to some really amazing harmonies and most of the five group members had such a strong voice they could each carry a song. I like it when a band has more than one vocal talent on tap, makes for a more varied and interesting show.

The place was full and the crowd was SO into these guys; the energy was pretty amazing. I started out trying to worm my way up front but it was SO packed up there so I didn't get far and I didn't stay long. Was still in middle of it when the band started playing and the three or four guys behind me were apparently their BIGGEST fans cause they were singing every word to every song at the top of their lungs. If I had spent the whole show near them I'd still have no idea what OCMS sound like. At first I was charmed by their youthful enthusiasm and vigorous support until that led to them spilling beer all over me as they dragged their tall and equally enthusiastic friends up in front of me. Now I could neither hear nor see the band I had come to watch. That's when I fled the scene.

Fortunately The Village is pretty tiny and just behind the chaos up front the crowd was older and better behaved and I got to enjoy the show comfortably. Nobody got all up in my dance space...ya know what I mean?

Anyway - it was a great show AND I conquered a fear, not bad for a Sunday night - eh? Dublin's got a pretty good music scene with venues large and small and lots of acts coming through so maybe now that I've broken that barrier I'll be seeing more live shows, one of my all time favorite activities.

Here's what the inside of the venue looks like (not my photo, not the show I attended.)

p.s. thanks to ann, alli and julia for inspiring my boldness, whether they realized it or not.

04 October 2007

Just when everything is grand, BLAM ! Life smacks you in the face !

As many of you already know, Kelly got very sick 3 days ago and had to be admitted to the hospital. She is doing much better now, after a few days of severe stomach pain due to her wacky Gastro-Intestinal plumbing.

This all happened just 2 days before our trip to kelly's annual family reunion which we will now miss.

But, obviously the most important thing is that Kelly is healthy ! We have rescheduled our flights to go next week and see everyone anyway.

Sorry we havent made any posts lately, but stay tuned faithful blog readers, we have some good posts coming !