29 December 2007

Off to Cork !

We're off to Cork this morning for a 3 day trip !

Cork is on the southern coast of Ireland, as you can see from the map above. We haven't been there yet, so we were quick to jump on the chance when softball friend Suzanne (below) offered to let us stay at her house for New Years...

After picking us up at the train station in Cork, Suzanne is taking us to Blarney Castle

and we'll spend New Years Eve at the local pub in Cork.

Happy New Years to everyone, we'll update the blog when we get back on January 1st.

And To Think That I Saw It On Grafton Street

26 December 2007

It was very merry....

Hiya folks! Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. Ours was delightful. Full of food and fun with our generous hosts Sean and Ashley. The Canadians invited us to spend the day with them at their South County Dublin pad...otherwise known as Base Camp. Unfortunately roommate Joe wasn't there, he spent the day with family instead. We missed ya buddy, but in truth it meant more food for us!! Yay! Sean's a mean cook and with a bit of Chris's capable assistance put out a delicious spread upon which we feasted all day long.

Here they are stuffing the turkey.

After getting fresh with the bird and then roasting it they carved the hell out of that turkey. Yummy!!

As if a turkey with all the trimmings wasn't enough, Sean also made a leg o' lamb.
The whole apartment was full of the smell of garlic and rosemary...absolutely mouth watering.

There was also a fabulous Mexican layer dip compliments of Ashley, broccoli & cheese soup, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, honey glazed carrots, sage and mushroom stuffing and homemade gravy made so perfectly I went green with envy (gravy has always been this cook's downfall.)

Oh - and there were desserts too. But who could think about sweets after all those delicious and savory treats?

Sean demonstrates the best uses for a cookie if one is not hungry enough to eat it.

After dinner we got a little Christmas tipsy and played cards. Currently the spades standings have the boy and girls evenly ranked with one win each.

Here in Ireland the day after Christmas is St. Stephen's Day and most shops are closed. The day is traditionally spent doing more visiting, eating, relaxing, and just general continuation of Christmas cheer. Chris and I, after spending the night at the home of our gracious hosts, are spending St. Stephen's Day digesting.

23 December 2007


During December in Tampa, Florida the sun rises at 7:19am and sets at 5:41pm
making a total of 10 hours 22 minutes of daylight.

During December in Dublin, Ireland the sun rises at 8:40am and sets at 4:09pm
making a total of 7 hours 29 minutes of daylight.

We're adjusting.


p.s. At least December 21st is behind us so the days can only get longer.

21 December 2007

I heart Marks & Spencer

There is no end to the wonders you can find at this store.

20 December 2007

Nollaig Shona Duit...

...means Happy Christmas in Irish.
This post was going to be all about the Christmas spirit in Dublin, how the city has tarted itself up with glitter and sparkles to become magical and festive. Alas, my photography skillz leave a lot to be desired, and our camera takes crap pictures in low light...so how am I supposed to catch the lights strung all over the city center?

Well...it's not the blog post I envisioned but here goes anyway.

Each main street, every alley and lane and all the nooks and crannies are strung with lights and sprinkled with trees.
Bank of Ireland is in on the festivities.

This was supposed to be a shot showing how the Fruit and Flower ladies have expanded their wares to included holly wreaths and Christmas trees. They're a crafty bunch, the F&F ladies. They know their market.

Grafton Street's chandeliers are my favorite, even in the daytime they sparkle.
(Plus they are the only pictures of Christmas lights that came out okay.)
It's not Saks Fifth Avenue but Brown Thomas has some great holiday windows.

Sometimes BT plays Christmas music outside their store too, causing me to smile every time I walk past so...big jolly points to Brown Thomas.

The "Human Statues" have embraced the Christmas spirit as well. Never very good at standing still or even looking like statues to begin with...

...they now wear brightly colored satin robes and try to pass out candy.

Where do these guys shop?
Is there a Holiday Human Statue Store?
St. Stephen's Green Shopping Center, in all it's finery.
Here parents can bring their kids to see Santa in his....

...pirate ship??
Captain Hook is in cahoots with Santa?
Yo ho ho?
And lest you think I am telling tall tales, here's the other side of the S.S. North Pole, with families queued up waiting for the fat man. Note Santa's helper, the pirate (?!?!?) on the right side, ready to take Junior's picture with Santa and his....parrot? His jug of rum? His eye patch?

This is the best of a bunch of really bad pics trying to show nighttime Dublin's Christmas spirit.

Pa rum pum pum pum

Even the bushes in the park feel it...
...you can't escape Christmas in this town. Every body's got the fever.
Except maybe this guy, he ain't feeling Christmas at all.

Yuk - "Guy Getting Arrested" is a downer...let's go home...

...and shake our presents to try to figure out what's in them.

We're doing our best to keep up the Christmas spirit in our humble abode while keeping the acquiring of decorations down to a minimum.
Who needs a tree when you've got window gels, some red berries and a string of lights?

To both of our families, to friends new and old,
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!!

18 December 2007

a bajillion photos to organize

-by C

I recently, finally, got all of our music in one spot...turns out we have about 300GB of music altogether (around 60,000 songs) and at the same time organized all our documents & photos. So now starts the endless task of going through all the photos, labeling and organizing in folders on the computer etc etc

I'll post pics as I find them, but here are a few I came across this morning.

Ok, so Alli has a Mac laptop with the built in camera and a program that lets you warp your face into many a different shape. I have never laughed so hard in my life as the day we did this. I nearly barfed.

Ahhh the good ol days. Around 4:45pm I would hear music getting louder and louder, a quick peak out the garage would reveal the source, Kelly getting home from work in her Jeep.

Here nephew Jack demonstrates thing you don't do as an adult. If I sat like this now for more than 5 minutes you'd have to very carefully help me up and in to an ambulance.

Another of Alli's photo shop gems, Princess Brian joining us in Viking Dublin.
Maybe you don't like Star Trek, too bad for you. Kelly and I love Star Trek, all the different shows and movies. The Arnold kids circa 1976, Brian & I wearing our kick ass Star Trek shirts, my sister Alli seems quite amused at something.

Here I am holding the Viking offspring of Barry & Early in Greensboro. Those of you know me can appreciate the fact that I sat there for at least 10 minutes while they dripped watermelon juice all over me. "Okay Chris, just relax...it's only watermelon juice...you can change clothes, no big deal, just breathe.."

One day when Alli was in Dublin, we stumbled upon a giant sand sculpture display up at the castle...what the heck, look at the size of those sand feet !

hey Mom, what does a reindeer look like ?

I could play with that damn camera all day.

16 December 2007


Just a little teaser...look for future blog posts about why we are suddenly VERY interested in Moldova, my dear Readers.

Former Soviet Republic, tucked between The Ukraine and Romania, Moldova is a neutral nation working on joining the EU. They speak Moldovan which is essentially the same as Romanian. It's got a largely agricultural economy and because of this is said to have the cleanest air in the world.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Moldova


15 December 2007

We miss....



And Alli.

Oh - and this one too....