Monday 29 December 2008

Finally..... Christmas.

Shopping, wrapping and stress. This is the first Christmas I have worked full day since my first child made her way into our lives, and it was challenging. Christmas is my favourite time of the year, the tree, unwrapping my carefully packaged tree decorations, arranging them where the lights will be most effective on the decorations that need it. Baking biscuits shaped as trees, candy canes and angels; covering them in sticky white icing, shiny balls and festive sprinkles. Shopping, poking around and finding the present that I think is JUST right. Wrapping the goodies, lots of different paper, bows and mini decorations used as part of the packaging, a little trinket for next years tree.....and this year a void.
Yes I struggled, I did organise a lunch at our house and managed to ensure that we got a turkey and all the bits I needed for my part of the lunch but I have to confess I only did the bare essentials. Yet it all turned out fabulously in the end because Christmas is not about the gift, the wrapping, the trinkets, food or the tree, it is the people who are there to share the day.
So......Christmas Eve we made memories with Joe and Carla; Derrick Rose and Emily and our family. Carla made a sumptuous feast of lamb, pork, chicken, roast potatoes, vegetables, stuffing and (okay so it is a bit about the food!!!) the most amazing ginger pudding I have EVER eaten. Rose bought her famous chocolate mousse and we all ate until we could no longer sit comfortably and had to sprawl across the couch making little grunting noises of satisfaction. It was a very relaxing evening and I was sure it would be a total contrast to the Christmas Day lunch that I would be putting together in a few hours.
Christmas Day.....
As usual it started off with the kids despairing over the fact that the man in the house is a slow poke, but as Kirstin said "Christmas is about traditions and that is a tradition in our house." I heated up croissants and pain au chocolates, no mince pies as I am the only one in our house who eats them! We all gathered around the tree and present sharing began with all of us getting sufficiently spoilt. Jess and Kirstin really missed their cousins and said that Christmas is not the same without them (made me feel very sad, but then I also thought that they are lucky enough to have such great memories of past Christmas's). I got on with preparing turkey (as described in an earlier post) and at 14h30 Joe &Carla, Mark & Debi, Len & Lisa (kids -Cody and Luke), Lennie and Warren & Tracy (kids - Kiarra and Skyla) arrived and the fun began. Much wine was consumed and food was eaten and conversation flowed and at 02h00 we all decided that perhaps it was time to part company! Of course as we stood outside saying goodbye to our friends our neighbours came home from their evening out and so we invited them in for a night cap and enjoyed an hour of their company before succumbing to the comfort of our bed.
On Boxing Day we were lucky enough to get a house guest, Donovan flew across the Irish sea to spend a couple of day with us which was fabulous. We also popped over to Derrick and Rose for pancakes and conversation which was a fun way to spend a couple of hours....before we had to dash home so that Don and Malcolm could watch Arsenal DRAW against Aston Villa....oops.
We spent the evening at home playing Buzz on Play Station with the girls and eating toasted turkey mayo sandwiches.
On Saturday I got up at 09h00 and met a friend for breakfast so that we could have a catch up session, she has been to India and I have not seen her for a couple of months. After that it was back home and into hockey gear for the summer hockey Christmas match. I went up to Three Rock and was very excited to see everyone, I knew my friend Melissa would be there (the one who moved to Manchester in the summer) and was really looking forward to seeing her again. We played hockey.....for almost TWO hours! I assisted in 4 goals and hit the post once, yep I amazed myself - thought I would be a bit rusty as I have had a stupid chest cold for about 3 weeks. After the game we all went up to the pub for a drink and a catch up before heading home. On Saturday night we took Don into town. We started off at Foley's - a typical Irish pub with live music every night before heading off for a super pub - Café on Sienné for some dancing. We had a good time there and finally hopped into a cab at about 03h00 - exhausted. Of course Malcolm and Donovan got home and HAD to watch the S.A vs Australia cricket match...until 06h30 in the morning - but it was history in the making and very exciting for them.
Sunday...started off at Dundrum early for a couple of things before heading off to meet the guys for breakfast at Howards Way. A relaxing LAZY day at home followed, the early morning had taken it out of the lads so much sitting around on the couch was done. At 17h30 Malcolm took Don to the airport and I made a chicken vegetable soup - much needed after the extraordinary amount of food consumption that has taken place lately.
Next trick up our sleeves you ask? Adrian, Nicky and Rick arrive on the ferry tomorrow and New Year's Eve party commences at our abode at 20h00 on Wednesday....the usual suspects (i.e the Christmas crowd) plus a few more. Bring a platter of snacks and a cocktail concoction or a shooter mix...the more the merrier.

Friday 26 December 2008

Some Christmas pictures


My new Amy MacDonald T-shirt, about to open the presents...


The beginning...






The roast potatoes going in
Waiting for their Christmas dinner




The feasting


The mob





The spread















Gals in the kitchen









Desserts...



The craic!

THE TURKEY

I have this burning desire to share my turkey discovery with you all. I made the same turkey last year, mistakes were made, I used too much salt in the brine AND I read somewhere that Nigella Lawson's suggested cooking times were WAY off. My second mistake last year was believing that, but in my defense I went according to the recommended cooking time that Marks & Spenser printed on the label.

This year was different. I soaked the big bird in a bucket - specifically bought for brining the turkey - PROMISE! I decided to use Nigella's cooking guide, put the fate of my bird in her hands so to speak, and cooked the gobbler 2 hours, ignoring the instructions of 3 hours 40 minutes on the M&S bag. I will admit to being a bit nervous but also knew that if worst came to worst we could put it back in the oven or nuke it! Well my turkey was F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S!!!!!!!
I have even got some pictures, he was not the biggest bird I have ever cooked, so fear number two was "Will there be enough???" The answer to that question lies in the tupperware in the fridge, todays sandwich filling! So...head Nigella and her cooking times and you really will be guaranteed a succulent COOKED turkey at Christmas and you will even discover that your guests who don't like turkey will tuck in and enjoy!

Here are some pictures showing the process big bird went through from bucket to table...








Wednesday 24 December 2008

Our grown up weekend

This is so long overdue....so I am going to summarise as much as possible so as not to bore the few of you who may pop in for a visit!
Thursday night was ANOTHER work Christmas dinner which ended up at a late night pub called Break for the border...lots of dancing...in my uncomfortable boots...not too clever! I wisely shared a taxi home with a girl I work with, apparently once the pub closed the last of the party goers ended up at someones house until 06h00!!!! Yep, Dubliners DO know how to party...

This past weekend we went to the U.K for our 16th wedding anniversary, Malcolm bought tickets for an Amy MacDonald concert in Southampton as a surprise so I found myself at Dublin airport on the 19th December...Malcolm even got us priority boarding on Ryanair - smooth move!
From Gatwick we caught a train down to Southampton and walked to our hotel. We found an Italian place for dinner and then went to the concert. it was great seeing her live, she seemed nervous to start but once she got going she was great. Of course I know the words to most songs which is always fun!
After that we went to the Soul Cellar for drinks until we all got 'kicked' out because the water mains were getting turned off for emergency maintenance. We went back to the hotel bar for a nightcap before stumbling up to bed.
On Saturday we had breakfast in Southampton and then made a mad dash to the train and went to Clapham Junction and then caught a bus to Dave and Emily where we were staying on Saturday night.
We caught up with news and eventually went to the Toucan pub with Dave in SoHo where we met Adrian and Nicky. We had a couple of drinks there and then headed for the restaurant, Spaccanapoli. We had a fantastic dinner, the pizzas were done in a wood burning oven - the only way to REALLY enjoy the cheesy delicacy! For starters we ordered a few meze platters for the table and feasted on marinated peppers, anchovies, calamari, cheese, olives and lots more.
After dinner it was off to another pub - The Couch I think, across the road from some or other night club and the people watching proved to be very fascinating indeed. Slowly but surely our friends left, baby sitters to be relieved and trains to catch, but Dave, Emily, Malcolm and I caught the tube back towards home and then popped into a Thai restaurant which becomes a club/dance place (heaving mass of people basically) where we had another drink before calling it quits because the vibe was not great. We enjoyed a very delicious Dom Pedro made by Dave back at their place and listened to music and had some mellow conversation before succumbing to the pillow and duvet.
On Sunday we went to a mall in Wimbledon and had breakfast and did a bit of shopping and heard so many South African accents around us it was bizarre...like being back in S.A! We spent the afternoon chatting back at Dave and Emily's and then they dropped us off at the train station and we headed back to Gatwick for our flight home.

Merry Christmas to ALL



Hope you all have a fabulous Christmas wherever you are.

Monday 8 December 2008

AWESOME...AWESOME...AWESOME

The day started wet and gloomy, but not too cold...swings and roundabouts, clear skies and freezing is my other option and I am still trying to figure whether I prefer to walk with an umbrella or covered in goosebumps and shaking all the way to the luas. Maybe the umbrella, but I dunno because when the sun shines it is so beautiful!
ANYHOO...I got a sad email from Kelly - she has the flu and could not join us for the Tracy Chapman concert and wanted to drop her tickets off with me to try and see if someone could benefit from her misfortune - after some logistical finesse from moi I coordinated a meeting at Harcourt luas stop - having found out which carriage she was on and doing a rush grab and go maneuver so that she could just keep going on her merry way to the comfort of her bed.
Never mind the fact that I am coughing and croaking and sounding very husky...good for dealing with clients on the phone no? Malcolm managed to find a buyer for the goods (still need to give Kelly that bit of good news - she even gets her money back!) and it was pretty awesome because they had tried to book for the concert but could not get tickets (they sold out REALLY fast).
Malcolm and I finally sampled the food at Acapulco - a Mexican restaurant I have been wanting to try for AGES and after dinner we headed around the corner to the Olympia where we had to stand in the freezing cold (umbrella and warmer weather would have been more pleasant at this stage) for about 20 minutes waiting for the doors to open.
The show was meant to start at 19h30 but of course the opening act (forgot his name) but I do not think you will rush out to buy his CD anyway so no worries..shame he was not THAT bad, just not parting with my cash good enough....Okay...rambling again...he started at around 20h15. We listened to him for about 30 minutes and then had to wait AGES before Tracy Chapman came on but oh BOY was it worth the wait!!!
She played some new stuff, old stuff, a few requests - my 2 favourites Fast Car and The Promise (somewhere on my blog) and engaged with the audience a lot, she was funny and shy and amazing.
She seemed genuinely surprised and pleased at the audiences reaction to each song she played, and the people adored her. I LOVED her, Malcolm was blown away - it was way beyond his expectations. She has a cold (same as me!!!!) and still stood there and sang with the most amazing voice and even came back and did an encore...people were going mad. It was also awesome because the venue was small, we were in the standing area so we were SO close to the stage. Even though I was not feeling well, I enjoyed every minute of listening to her...thanks Tracy for a superb evening of vocal genius.

Sunday 7 December 2008

ANOTHER weekend flies by...

So here I sit on Sunday night wondering what happened to the TWO days I was looking forward to just a few minutes ago...then I remember the drinks on Friday night at Foleys - fantastic because they had live music, taking Malcolm shopping for his Christmas party outfit on Saturday morning (I did a fabulous job - new jeans and an AWESOME shirt - ask him) the biscuit baking on Saturday afternoon, the school fair Carla and I supported (because Rose's daughter goes there) the visit to PC Warehouse because Jess wants to buy a laptop and then home to decorate the Christmas tree and I realise that the weekend was rather productive!
Malcolm went to Athlone for his Christmas party - very organised as they are taken by bus and stay at the hotel where the party is held. This has to be the best way - stumble straight up to bed - no searching for an elusive taxi like I had to the week before. They even get BREAKFAST the next day and then are bussed back home at noon. Brilliant idea as in Ireland the breathalysers come out the morning after because technically a lot of people are still WAY over the limit from the binge of the night before!
Best part about the end of THIS PARTICULAR weekend is that for once in my life I am looking forward to Monday, no it is not the pastries and muffins we get at work (every Monday) but the TRACY CHAPMAN concert tomorrow night!!!! Yep the day has finally arrived and we are meeting Kelly and Charl for a pasta at Carluccios before heading over to what I am sure will be a very pleasant evening of relaxing music.

One of my alltime favourites....

Wake Up

I have two daughters who are both fast approaching the dangers of the world out there. So far I have been very lucky - they are MOSTLY well mannered, well adjusted, friendly and well behaved girls. Of course they have their moments and I have to deal with many challenges, but so far thank goodness they have been fairly insignificant, but what I found below can happen to ANYONE:


"I AM CRYSTAL METH "

This was written by a young girl who was in jail for drug charges, and was addicted to crystal meth .

She wrote this while in jail. As you will soon read, she fully grasped the horrors of the drug, as she tells in this simple, yet profound poem.She was released from jail, but true to her story, the drug owned her.
Please keep praying for our Children, Teens, and Young adults. Understand, this thing is worse than any of us realize... (TIK is the street name for crystal meth in South Africa...I think)


My Name: "Is TIK "
I destroy homes, I tear families apart,
take your children, and that's just the start.
I'm more costly than diamonds, more precious than gold,
The sorrow I bring is a sight to behold.
If you need me, remember! I'm easily found,
I live all around you - in schools and in town.
I live with the rich; I live with the poor,
I live down the street, and maybe next door.
I'm made in a lab, but not like you think,
I can be made under the kitchen sink.
In your child's closet, and even in the woods,
If this scares you to death, well it certainly should.
I have many names, but there's one you know best,
I'm sure you've heard of me, my name is crystal meth.
My power is awesome; try me you'll see,
But if you do, you may never break free.

Just try me once and I might let you go,
But try me twice, and I'll own your soul.
When I possess you, you'll steal and you'll lie,
You do what you have to -- just to get high.
The crimes you'll commit for my narcotic charms
Will be worth the pleasure you'll feel in your arms, (your lungs, and your nose).

You'll lie to your mother; you'll steal from your dad,
When you see their tears, you should feel sad.

But you'll forget your morals and how you were raised,
I'll be your conscience, I'll teach you my ways.

I take kids from parents, and parents from kids,
I turn people from God, and separate friends.

I'll take everything from you, your looks and your pride,
I'll be with you always -- right by your side.

You'll give up everything - your family, your home,
Your friends, your money, then you'll be alone.

I'll take and take, till you have nothing more to give,
When I'm finished with you, you'll be lucky to live.

If you try me be warned - this is no game,
If given the chance, I'll drive you insane.

I'll ravish your body, I'll control your mind,
I'll own you completely, your soul will be mine.

The nightmares I'll give you while lying in bed,
The voices you'll hear, from inside your head.

The sweats, the shakes, the visions you'll see,
I want you to know, these are all gifts from me.

But then it's too late, and you'll know in your heart, That you are mine, and we shall not part.

You'll regret that you tried me, they always do,
But you came to me, not I to you.

You knew this is would happen, many times you were told,
But you challenged my power, and chose to be bold.

You could have said no, and just walked away,
If you could live that day over, now what would you say?
I'll be your master, you will be my slave,
I'll even go with you, when you go to your grave.

Now that you have met me, what will you do?
Will you try me or not? It's all up to you.

I can bring you more misery than words can tell,

Come take my hand, let me lead you to hell.

Friday 5 December 2008

Footloose Friday

Oh...yes...a movie I remember well...ENJOY and have a footloose fabulous weekend!







Tuesday 2 December 2008

Blow by blow account

What a weekend! On Friday night I made a mad dash out of the office at 4:40 to have my hair blow dried for our long awaited Christmas party. I was enormously rushed as the party kicked off at 19h00, but of course being in Ireland meant that I could safely arrive at 19h30, which I did. It was physically impossible to get everything done and make it on time, I have never rushed home and got dressed so quickly in my life…the total commute time (both ways) already ate up an hour.
ANYWAY…the party was fabulous, the food delicious – I was rather worried that the beef fillet would be overcooked and dry but it was served medium rare with a great peppercorn sauce, chive mashed potatoes, snap peas and carrots. The starter was a duck terrine with Chinese five spice but I am not a fan of either of those ingredients so it would be unfair to comment! Dessert was a real treat – a selection of baby lemon curd tartlet, a coffee chocolate biscuit topped with mascarpone, chocolate brownie and vanilla bean ice cream on a wafer…YUM.
The live band played brilliant music and the moves on the dance floor were impressive. At 01h30 things wrapped up and we all descended upon a club called Cocoon to make the most of our night out.
On Saturday it was FREEZING…the coldest day I remember in Dublin so far….and we went into town with Don and Maura and braved the chill for as long as we could, Don and Maura went to check out the Book of Kells and Kirstin and I headed for the warmth of a coffee shop and some nourishment. Jess was wondering around the shops with a group of her school friends. We finally got back on the luas and headed back towards home, eternally grateful to Malcolm who fetched us from the luas station saving us from the long very cold walk home! Malcolm had not been able to join us in town as he was playing a game of hockey, not very pleasant with the weather conditions but he persevered and enjoyed his hot shower afterwards!
I made a lasagne for dinner and we got out the 30 Seconds and Maura and I did the women proud and managed to beat the guys TWICE….the second round was without dice as they guys felt that we had been rather lucky with our throws…mmmmmm. Last laugh and all that…..
On Sunday we braved another icy Dublin day and wondered around Merrion Square admiring the art before jumping in the car and heading for the airport and another goodbye. Howards Way and their all day breakfast beckoned, so Malcolm and I stopped in there for our fix of egg and bacon without the messy kitchen to worry about afterwards! I rounded off the day with a bit of shopping, i am trying to find a jacket I like that can withstand the cold weather we are experiencing...still no luck. I am way too fussy...the buttons are too big, too many or too small, the belt buckle is ugly, too big or too small and the coat is the wrong fabric or dry clean only....sigh. Finally something I do know how to buy...groceries and then home for the evening and best of all my BED...

Friday 28 November 2008

Nature's paintbrush

I was walking to work earlier this week and the sky was the palest blue, the clouds held a hint of pink and a beautiful silver grey, such SOFT colours. They are such calm, peaceful shades and I marvelled at how different they were to the vivid colours of the South African skies. When the storms come in the clouds can be blue black, the sky is a deep blue and even the hues of the sunset are amazingly bright in their pinks and oranges. We are so lucky to have enjoyed both because they all hold a special beauty and evoke different emotions and feelings.
No matter where you go there will be beauty in the surroundings, whether it be the landscapes, the skies, mountains, weather or people, we just need to open our eyes to the gifts before us.
Okay then nuff said!!!
We have a busy, busy weekend ahead...Don and Maura arrive this evening and I finally get to experience the Irish work Christmas Party in all its glory tonight! Kirstin is also having a friend to sleep over on Saturday so the Rule household will be bulging on Saturday night.....hehe, bring it on!

Friday song - Hungry Eyes



I bought this movie a few weeks ago, one of my all time favourites...have a superb weekend everyone!

Monday 24 November 2008

Busy...Busy

The silly season arrives early in Ireland, well in Dublin anyway. I cannot blame it all on this fact, but we all seem to be so busy ALREADY. On Thursday evening the school put on a production of Grease...the girls bought tickets to go and watch and the parents were reduced to mere taxi drivers! We made the most of it and went off for a Thai dinner at Siam Thai in Dundrum...the BEST Pad Thai I have ever eaten...sigh. Malcolm and I both had the dim sum to start which was also delicious and for mains Malcolm chose a ginger chicken dish with noodles which was also lovely.
On Friday evening I found myself protecting the D in a hockey match, playing centre back for the first time ever. I have to confess to being terrified - a mistake on my part = goal! Somehow I stepped up to the challenge and played surprisingly well...in fact one of my teammates told me I '" saved" her skin (she was right back) on several occasions by stopping/tackling her mark!
Saturday morning I was up early, Kirstin plays badminton every Saturday and needs to be dropped off at 09h30/10h00, she has made it her personal plan to play badminton in the Olympics one day, so it is crucial that she makes it to all the practices available, the fact that a certain boy plays has absolutely NOTHING to do with her chronic interest in the game.
Having said that the renewed interest in her educational institution is inspiring and as long as she wants to be at school I cannot complain....for now! In all seriousness she is a different child, she has more energy and va voom again, very much the old Kirstin I thought I had lost for a while.
Jessica is still playing hockey, games on Saturdays too and even scored 3 goals in one game...plus numerous goals in other games so she is very pleased wit herself. She is also surprisingly happier about using public transport to make her way home in the afternoon, providing a certain lad is on said transport...oh boy here we go! We had her parent teacher conference a while ago, in fact it was the day after I tore my calf muscle - Malcolm got to go and enjoy the experience of J's teachers waxing lyrical about her all on his own, and they really did. She certainly made us proud!
Back to the weekend then....
I spent the rest of the day between the hair dresser, Mink, the mall and Carla's (for make up)...it was THE day of the Rock Ball and it was such fun being so pampered....and yes I will admit a bit O.T.T of me...but it was only the ONCE, and may never happen again!
The ball was lovely, we had a string quartet at the champagne reception with big fat plump and juicy chocolate dipped strawberries being waved under our noses while we all oohhed and aahhed over each other. Considering we usually meet in sweats, head bands and gum guards it is quite something to see everyone in their finery! The dinner was a four course affair and afterwards there was a live band for the dancing. I got to spend time with M and D, she came to Dublin especially for the ball which was brilliant and we found ourselves curled up on chairs in the residents lounge at 03h00 trying valiantly (and successfully) to finish our bottles of wine. In the morning I discovered that the last bottle had not been my smartest move and my punishments was the third hangover I have ever had to endure in my life...and after numero 2 I remember saying never again...

This weekend we get to hang out with Don and Maura, yes they are popping over for a visit and we are all thrilled...I have my work Christmas party on Friday evening which I am looking forward to...they only arrive in Dublin at 22h00 so the possible plan, if they are in the mood is to meet up in town later....much later! The rest of the weekend the calendar is clear...I think it is my only free weekend until after Christmas now! I guess I will have to watch the alcohol intake on Friday to ensure an enjoyable Saturday! Okay....enough writing, not sure you can all read so much of my drivel in one sitting anymore!

Sunday 23 November 2008

Defeated

Yes I guess I have to admit that trying to maintain a blog, work, sport and a social life is not possible. I am most definitely not superwoman. Even the Friday songs are sitting on a queue and if it was not for the fact that I had set a few up a couple of weeks ago nothing would have popped up on Friday! Work is going well, I had a performance review on Friday and it was all good and my boss is very happy with my progress.
My friends on the other hand must feel deserted, which is horrible because at the end of the day they are the ones who make life fun and interesting, the ones who help me through my bad days, and celebrate the good ones! Hopefully that will all start getting back on track too. So to any of you reading this (if you are even still checking because writing has become so sporadic) I will be trying to fix that soon! I may not be in touch but you are all on my mind!!!

Friday 21 November 2008

Oh My..A Friday Song



Did I ever think I would post a Boy Zone song??? NO!! But this is kinda fun and I like the video...who knew.

Friday 14 November 2008

Sex on Fire - Kings of Leon



This is very popular over here in Dublin at the moment, after all the good oldies I thought something new deserved a chance and this got the nod!

Thursday 13 November 2008

By The Way...

Work is awesome! Everything is coming together and I am managing to deal with most of my work ON MY OWN!!! Of course the really complicated queries go to the member on our team who has been there 2 years...and thank goodness the customers know he knows...if you know what I mean! When they call in, they ask for him specifically - great guilt reliever...and something to aspire to as well! Having said all that...I still LOVE Friday!!!! This weekend I am trauling the mall for a red dress, my 'stylist' has advised me that an above the knee red dress is the way to go...we will see what he comes up with! Malcolm is off to London tomorrow morning early, he is FINALLY going to see the Gunners live! I hope that Arsenal make it a great memorable experience for him!

Tuesday 11 November 2008

I am discovering....

That this passion test "stuff" is really tough! I started reading the book and next thing I was in tears. Rolling down my cheek tears, not prickling the back of my eyes, brimming but not falling...no full on streaming, wet face the whole shibang! I sat there feeling rather empty and hopeless, having no idea what I was going to list as my TOP 10 passions, and I was only reading the build up to the actual list!
In the end I managed, I think my list has 12 items, and I have discovered that I tend to belittle my passions and accomplishments for some bizarre reason. I have cooking as a passion but then I decided that I was wrong... because I do not rush home every evening to lovingly create marvelous meals, I throw together bolognaise sauces, pasta sauces and stir fries as quickly as possible.
If it was my PASSION surely I would be concocting things all weekend? Never mind the fact that my favourite shop happens to be Kitchen Compliments, that I cannot walk into a book shop and NOT pick up a cook book and that my book collection is 90% recipe books! So yes I have put it back on the list...along with people, yes people I know I have a passion for people.

And a house by the sea...it has wooden floors, light flowing curtains billowing in the sea breeze, an enormous kitchen surrounded by the lounge and dining area and lots of windows, sparsely furnished, but not bare...and I am standing there bare foot in a casual flowing cotton dress, my hair tied up with flour on my cheek....yes you have to visualise...and that is what I saw when I closed my eyes - don't laugh!
Now all of you grab a piece of paper and spend 20 minutes making your own lists...off you go now!

Sunday 9 November 2008

The Passion Test

On Friday I met a friend in town for coffee and we ended up at Waterstones where I came across a book called "The Passion Test" by Janet Bray Attwood and Christ Attwood. This blurb caught my attention:

The simplest, clearest way to get started on knowing what you want is getting clear on who you are

I bought the book because just that morning I had been lamenting the fact that I may need another purpose, also the night before I had been having a discussion with Malcolm about the fact that I do not know who I am and what I REALLY want.
I am trying to listen to signs out there in the universe and maybe this was one...I will let you know how it goes! The blurb was my sign because I cannot tell you who Natalie is, and I think it is about time I found out!

Friday 7 November 2008

Contemplative

I took today off. It is rather marvelous to start the morning on skype with my sister and now I get to do a blog post too. The problem is I have SO much going on in my head and I am battling to filter it and turn it into something interesting. I was looking at pictures of my girls and it suddenly really struck me, they are BOTH so grown up. Kirstin has suddenly shot up, she has always been a head shorter than Jess and now that space between them is not so obvious anymore. What happened? The other day I was bathing them, dressing them, feeding them, strapping them into their car seats...watching them in my rear view mirror as they both sat in the back. Now I always have one of them sitting beside me in the car. The years have whirled past and I have loved them all but I honestly miss the days when I was mommy. I have a lot more independence than I did when they were younger yet I have never felt more lost. When they were little it was THEM 24/7 and I don't recall ever begrudging them a minute of my time (Malcolm may decide to disagree here???) I had a purpose. Now I have some of my time back, time for myself and I do believe I have tried to make the most of it...but why do I often feel like I am floundering? I am coming to terms with a new set of rules, I know I am still a guide and a teacher to my children and luckily even a friend, but always a parent... the NEED they had has lessened, which is as it should be, if it were any other way I would have been doing them a great disservice, I know that. I guess I need a new purpose...any ideas?
I considered not posting this, but as this is for my family and friends far away I decided that it is something to share, especially to those friends who are still on the journey with little children...hold on to every moment and make as many amazing memories as you can, before you know it, you will be missing that little hand in yours.

Hey Hey it's Friday!!



We watched "What happens in Vegas" on Sunday night and this was one of the songs, great Friday song!!! You Sexy Thing - Hot Chocolate. Oh and the movie was pretty good too!

Sunday 2 November 2008

Ghouls, witches and more

I went to my first Irish hen party! A very tame affair when compared to the Brits who fly over the pond to Temple Bar for an entire weekend of clucking...and chucking, that would be chucking the drink in, and if the streets of Temple Bar are anything to go by, chucking it back out again too. Anyhoo...this was with a group of work colleagues and after dressing her up in much finery, we proceeded to eat drink and be merry. Malcolm had gone off with a few of his work mates for drinks and once they had all headed to their Halloween parties Malcolm came over and met up with us for the rest of the evening.
At 02h00 I (yes I) sensibly decided to call it a night and we found ourselves battling to get a taxi and contending with a downpour which found us cowering at a bus shelter waving frantically at any taxi until one took pity on us!

I had good reason for bowing out early on Friday - Derrick and Rose's Halloween/housewarming/birthday party...talk about multi-tasking! We were all to get dressed up and go knocking on their door for food, drink, terror and fun at
20h00! The kids had shopped and plotted for a whole day and turned into undercover FBI school girls while I was lucky enough to pick up a pair of dark and light grey striped pajamas which worked well as a prisoner/convict outfit. We went shopping for Malcolm on Saturday morning but of course everything was long gone so we put together an ice hockey player outfit for him (think Jason - in the hockey mask - but only showing his good side...who can tell me what scary movie that was by the way?) and I offered to give him some cuts and bruises but he declined. Well pictures speak a 1000 words so here are a few to share!















































































Thursday 30 October 2008

FRIDAY!!!

Another Friday is already upon us and it is time for another song! On my exploratory visit to YouTube, listening to some Edie Brickell and then moving on to REO Speedwagon this song came up on the side. It brought back memories of my teenage years, going to the school "social" getting ready in the hostel/boarding house, heading across to the school hall for the big night and hoping that HE (whoever he happened to be at the time!) would ask me to dance....while a song like this was playing!

Foreigner - I wanna know what love is.

Tuesday 28 October 2008

A Cry For Help

Blogging was my first way of communicating with the outside world when we moved to Ireland. I discovered other blogs that made me laugh and cry, there are so many wonderful blogs out there but obviously with limited time I had to cut down on who I visit. One of the people that I knew I could not stop popping in to see is K8. Her writing is inspirational - she has the ability to make you laugh and cry and has such soul. I remember reading about her son and wanting to call her and offer to help in some way, silly I know, especially as she has a great family support base and I am sure she would have thought my offer bizarre, but I was not working at the time and looked at my easy way of life and was humbled. She is now asking for help and I am compelled to do this tiny little thing to raise awareness for the plight of St Catherine's. Please read this link A CRY FOR HELP and do what you can, even better, tell your company that it would be a great charity to support at Christmas time, together we can make a difference!

Monday 27 October 2008

Bank Holiday Weekend...

E-X-H-A-U-S-T-E-D is the only way to describe how I am feeling tonight. It all started on Wednesday when we boarded a bus on O'Connell Street to experience the Ghost Bus tour, an evening arranged by the sport and social committee a work. In fact it started a bit before that with drinks and snacks at a pub, which is probably why we were all in such good humour on the bus. The tour was interesting but sadly not at ALL scary and afterwards we all headed off to Whealans for a couple of drinks and ended up leaving at 03h00...luckily I had stopped drinking WAY before then, always sensible...but it was such great fun getting to know people from work at a social event hat I could not bare to leave... I paid for it the next day, I was exhausted after 31/2 hours of sleep! Luckily we were all in the same boat, and if anything it boosted team morale, which we really needed because it was only Thursday which meant we still had to face work on Friday - an unpleasant thought.


By the end of the work day on Friday we were all ready for a couple of drinks and went off to the pub around the corner, this time I was a lot more sensible and came home at a decent hour. Sadly somebody pinched my favourite jersey/sweater/jumper AND my leather jacket, the jacket MIGHT have been a mistake, highly unlikely, but a very ordinary brown leather jacket was left beside me.


Saturday night was dinner at Diep in Ranelagh to celebrate Kelly's birthday and there were 5 S.A. couples and we had fantastic food and lots of fun. The food was awesome, I had salt and pepper calamari with a wasabi mayonnaise to start followed by Drunken Noodles, vermicelli noodles stir fried with prawns, spring onions, chillies, peppers, beans and Asian greens -YUM!


Sunday we woke up to an absolutely beautiful day, packed the car and headed down to friends in Brittas who had invited us to their place for the weekend. By the time we got there the weather had turned nasty but the brunch in the conservatory was worth staying in for! It cleared later and we went down to the beach for an hour and then back to the house where the wine was opened and we all proceeded to get silly...until 04h00..idiots! I was awake by 08h00 and could not get back to sleep so went and attacked the kitchen...it was NOT a pretty sight!



The weather was fabulous and we walked to the beach, which was absolutely freezing...the sky may have been blue but the wind was icy. We sat in the dunes soaking up the sun and hiding from Jack Frost's breath. This was followed by another brunch and the sun was blazing into the conservatory which was bliss after the cold outside. At around 15h00 we all got into the car and headed home, tired but happy.

Friday 17 October 2008

The Rock Ball

Wow, so many new experiences in Dublin and here comes another one which I think I will really enjoy! Our hockey club is having a ball…no not a round thing that you play with, but a good old fashioned ball gown party. It is called the Rock Ball and there are 250 tickets available for the evening, one of those tickets will be worth a €5000 diamond…of course you first have to cough up €125.00 for a ticket but I get to dress up like a princess for a night! The Vets ladies have decided that we will get a table of girls together and I am really looking forward to the evening…a champagne reception followed by a 4 course meal and a live band…I finally get to play grown up…Cinderella is going to the ball. Best of all I hopped on the scale today because I have had to really watch my food intake now that I am not able to do any exercise and I have actually LOST some weight too! Last night I thought my jeans felt roomier than usual and I was not wrong…makes the idea of trying on all those pretty dresses a bit more palatable!
The girls of course are absolutely thrilled that I have to dress up, funny enough it is there dream come true to see me dollied up and in a pair of heels…they are so funny!

Lifted The Lighthouse Family

Tuesday 14 October 2008

I could not make this up if I tried...

So it is Hi Ho Hi Ho and off to work I go this morning, driving to a parking garage and then catching the luas in to work. Today is a FOUL day - the ducks disagree - but whose listening...ANYWAY.... I go in and have to get my password reset, slight annoyance coz it took 30 minutes but it gave me a chance to catch up with everyone's news!
Then it starts...the doc's note has me booked of for a week, Thursday will be a week. Apparently because of the note I am not insured at work and it is not a chance the company are allowed to take. I offer to write on the back of the note that all is great and besides a stupid limp I am well and able. Nope, the physio who wrote the note needs to give me the nod. So I call her...she tells me that she does not want to put her neck on the line and that if I am happy to be at work so be it, my boss can give her a call but she is not really authorised to supply letters and did it as a favour. Fair enough. But not good enough. So my boss gives her a call...now I have not told you that my physio has verbal diarrhea of the very worst kind and according to the boss he could not get a word in edge ways, she would not budge on the note, told him to tear it up, demanded as to what he was typing while talking to her..blah blah blah...mmmmm.
Then I get call during my noon lunch hour...from my physio...blasting me, she was doing me a favour etc. then says "I did not even know you were going to work today". Well I gave her the best kind of commanding voice I could (even impressed myself - I swear it takes a lot to stop ehr talking) and explained very patiently that I was not holding her to the week on the letter, she would not be responsible but that she most certainly DID know that I was going back to work today, it was a long discussion including the fact that I could not walk to the luas etc...suffice to say I refreshed her memory.
SO...
Work then decides that we have 2 options...1. the GP down the road for a note or, 2. I go home. The GP is called and we discover that I cannot get an appointment today so option 2 came into play and I got sent home...to make my next appearance in the office on Thursday...with a chocolate cake, in lieu of spending time at the office I get to do my thang in the kitchen!

Sunday 12 October 2008

Questions, questions...

EM received this fun little quiz on her blog in the form of a meme and as I have only had morbid stories of all sorts of injuries lately I decided to fill this in as a blog post too...feel free to answer it yourself in my comment box...all or partly it would still be fun to here from you all!!! I have copied all the questions at the bottom of this post to make it easier for you..

What are your nicknames?
Nats mostly. When Malcolm was trying to charm me in our early dating days he called me SLUG...mmm, princess was obviously not in his vocabulary back then, or now. Oh and mmmoooommm, not fair, you're so boring...

What TV gameshow/reality show would you like to be on?
Would LOVE to do Amazing Race!!!!!

What was the first movie you bought in VHS or DVD?
Mmmmm...I dunno but I do remember watching Girls Just Wanna have Fun with my sister over and over and over and...do you remember how long they took to rewind?

What is your favourite scent?
Rain on the hot ground. As far as perfumes go my everyday fave is Maybe Baby by Benefit, I lurve Elizabeth Arden After Five and Spa Sanctuary lotions. Oohh and I tested Daisy by Marc Jacobs the other day and LURVED it...still waiting to get my mitts on it though.

If you had one million dollars to spend only on yourself, what would you spend it on?
Mmmmm think I would put it in a high interest earning IRISH bank account and live on the interest for a while and give it some thought.

One place you’ve visited, can’t forget and want to go back to?
Oh there are a few....always said Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard but was lucky enough to spend some time in the Netherlands during the summer and would love to explore more of it.

Do you trust easily?
Mostly, but I do think I am a good judge of character most of the time...mistakes have been made!

Do you generally think before you act, or act before you think?
Oh dear...definitely act first...and not think about it later, much easier that way!

Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days?
mmmmm no comment.

Do you have a good body image?
Nope. But I am working on it.

What is your favourite fruit?
Fresh cherries....and as the season is so short I have to eat LOADS while I can.

What websites do you visit daily?
All the ones listed on the side of my blog, although lately I am sad to say I do not have as much time for that as I once did..

What have you been seriously addicted to lately?
Getting fit for hockey, having fun nights out and....oh this is so sad what else....was definitely addicted to blog reading but that has taken a serious nose dive since my new job.


What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
A LOT of fun and very spontaneous. Would still love to have a glass of wine and a good long lunch with her sometime.

What’s the last song that got stuck in your head?
Pink - So what! Listen to it every morning on YouTube due to the younger generation and it has grown on me...

Favourite clothing
JEANS that flatter my rear end...hard to find but not impossible thank goodness. Well I am hoping anyway...the last pair I got certainly got the thumbs up from the teens and pre-teen in da house...

Do you think Rice Krispies are yummy?
Not really, although with melted mars bars.....now that is a different story altogether. I guess that explains the jeans problem.

What would you do if you saw $100 lying on the ground?
Mmmmm find a friend and go out for lunch. I know I should say something like give it to charity...but I am trying to be honest... and yes I am using a bit of irony on purpose...

Items you couldn’t go without during the day?
Tooth brush, cell phone, a wee bit of blogging or visiting of blogs, breakfast, lunch and dinner...and I love my daily walk to the luas.

What should you be doing right now?
Lying on my bed with my foot elevated...long story refer to blog post called Torn if you could be bothered.

What are your nicknames?
What TV gameshow/reality show would you like to be on?
What was the first movie you bought in VHS or DVD?
What is your favourite scent?
If you had one million dollars to spend only on yourself, what would you spend it on?
One place you’ve visited, can’t forget and want to go back to?
Do you trust easily?
Do you generally think before you act, or act before you think?
Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days?
Do you have a good body image?
What is your favourite fruit?
What websites do you visit daily?
What have you been seriously addicted to lately?
What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
What’s the last song that got stuck in your head?
Favourite clothing
Do you think Rice Krispies are yummy?
What would you do if you saw $100 lying on the ground?
Items you couldn’t go without during the day?
What should you be doing right now?

Friday 10 October 2008

Cooking with BALLS

You may feel decidedly queasy at this take on cuisine, even
EM will be flabbergasted by this bizarre twist on pies and pizzas, so have a look at this and then thank me for using a link and not assaulting the gag reflex by laying it all out on my blog! And of course a big thank you must go out to the one and only lovely Tracy who very kindly pointed me in this sickening direction! So gather your ingredients and let me know how it all turned out, personally I think I will keep leafing through my Bill Granger and Nigella Lawson, but each to their own.

The Friday Song....

Katrina and the Waves - Walking on Sunshine

Thursday 9 October 2008

Torn

I am falling apart. I have torn my calf muscle, and in a very public place...running across the road after work in a rush to get home. So bad in fact that I found myself sitting at a bus stop for 20 minutes waiting for Malcolm to collect me. A bus stop that I could only get to by HOPPING..yes really, across the road. I could NOT walk the last 5 minutes home, and I sat there in a panic as to what I had done to myself. Luckily we got into to see a physio that evening and she did some tests by squeezing my calf and determined that the muscle was torn but not severed...thank goodness. She told us to use the rice method... rest, ice, compression and elevate booked me off work for a week and made an appointment to see her at 3:30 today.

I was mortified, I did not think I would have to miss work...worst of all was the wisecrack I had made as my boss walked out at 17h00...I had told him that I would see him tomorrow if I felt like coming in, one of the other guys was on leave and another of our team members was sick, hence the comment...me and my big mouth.

Luckily I still had some anti inflammatory pills from my pinched nerve (fine by the way) and the physio suggested I take them. This morning I took a couple of them and 2 pain killers and felt decidedly light headed and faint, later while reading the prescription I realised that I had double dosed on the anti inflams....oops. I saw the physio and she worked her magic for me and will do so again tomorrow. This had better be the last episode of strange happenings regarding my nerves and muscles...oh and bones and whatever else too.

Tuesday 7 October 2008

To my sister

Last night I was asked to settle on the couch and listen to this song via Tracy's mobile phone so that we could share it together! Needless to say it was rather difficult to here it and afterwards I went to YouTube as I recognised it as a Barbara Streissand song and found this one...so in the spirit of sharing here is a timeless love song...

Friday 3 October 2008

Friday Song...Love Cats - The Cure

Oh my....been looking for a Friday song, lots in my drafts folder, and then I came across this one, another trip down memory lane. When I listen to it now I do wonder WHY I was so mad about it, but when we were out and that song came on the dance floor was the only place I wanted to be! I know the video is not great but for old time's sake....



Thursday 2 October 2008

The Nerve

I woke up at 04h00 this morning in excruciating pain. The upside is that I had actually had a good nights sleep up until that point, the downside...I literally could NOT move. I really do not think I am a drama queen or wimp but I actually had to wake Malcolm up as the pain was causing me to breathe a bit funny, almost like I was tired from a run. He picked me up and turned me onto my side and the pain eased ever so slightly, the worst of it concentrated a little below and behind my left shoulder blade. I took a couple of Nurofen and after a while fell asleep again (YAYA!!). This morning Malcolm absolutely insisted that I go to the doctor and I knew that I could not have another night like that and it was the sensible thing to do. The strange thing is that it is worse when I lie down, during the day while I am out and about I get a sudden pain explosion that causes me to catch my breath but then it goes away again and I get on with my day, hence not going to the doctor when this all started on Sunday.
The doctor I saw was a S.A. woman so we had lots to talk about besides my painful left shoulder but she finally came to the conclusion that 1. My posture is all wrong, my left side slopes down a bit and 2. I have a pinched nerve. She suggested I try the egoscue technique for righting my posture and has referred me to a doctor who I can go and see. She also prescribed me a nice little cache of drugs so I get my first foray into the world of Valium, apparently it will help me relax the muscles at night and eventually the nerve will work its way free...kinda like Willy the whale! I am very relieved that there is such a simple explanation for it and I also think I am going to be sleeping much, much better for the next few nights!

Humpty Dumpty..or Kirstin's Fall?

Sunday was a successful day, I felt that finally everything was falling into place and my organising skills were on top form. I got the house cleaned -with the help of Malcolm and then got all the grocery shopping done and still found time to go down to Dundrum with the girls. I suggested we walk as it was a beautiful day and all went well until the return leg of our journey. Kirstin was walking a little ahead of us with Jess and she decided to jump onto the wall and literally all we saw were legs as she hurtled head first over the edge into the bushes. My heart was in my throat because I thought that it was a long drop but luckily it was very low and although she scratched her face, her knee and hurt her arm nothing was broken. We sat on the wall a while my pounding heart returned to normal pumping action while I just hugged her and then we dusted her off and continued on our walk. We got home and I made a chicken salad for dinner and then we watched P.S. I love you…not sure what all the hype was about, I did not think it was that great. It was a relaxing end to a fantastic weekend, until I got into bed and could not sleep that is! I finally went to la la land at 01h30 after a very frustrating few hours, I hope these sleepless nights are going to come to an end soon!

Tuesday 30 September 2008

Where IS everyone?

Now I know I have started working but I am doing my level best to keep everyone informed...so where are you all? My poor little comment box. I know it does not overflow but nothing makes my heart drop more than that little line "0 comments"... have I said something? Done something? Got a job? Perhaps you are giving me space, letting me know that less is more? Bloody hell...you are making me beg, not a very pretty sight in blogger paradise I tell ya!

Saturday 27 September 2008

Just what the doctor ordered

The night out with Malcolm's colleagues was great. We sampled a delicious selection of tapas, cheeses, cold meats, spinach salad, nachos, potatoes in a creamy garlic sauce, marinated olives peppers and artichoke hearts...nothing disappointed. The wine went down well and conversation flowed.
We did end up in Temple Bar for a drink, but the place we went to was packed to the rafters with men which did not suit the 2 bachelors we were with so we moved onto a night club type place and finally called it quits at an impossible time, in truth we had no choice as the place was CLOSING! We got a taxi and finally got into bed at about 04h00, only to wake up at 08h00...what is wrong with me?
I had a hockey game at 12 which meant heading up to the club at 11 so that we could all warm up and was surprised to discover that I was playing in the 4th team. This was news to me, I had already resigned myself to be on the 5ths...probably as a sub/reserve! We had extra players and I only played the second half, and in a new position, left wing. I was not really looking forward to it as right wing is a lot easier but it was fine, I was comfortable and even almost scored a goal, their keeper saved it...so it was not like I actually missed the goal box completely - surprise!
After the game I headed home for a shower and then walked to the luas and met Carla for an afternoon in town. We had lunch outside at a little place called Bocca - spinach and ricotta filled pancakes for me...YUM, Carla went for caprise salad and bruschetta - all delicious. Take note...lunch OUTSIDE...yes the weather was absolutely fabulous, I did not even need a jersey/jumper/sweater... I have said it before but I will say it again...when the sun shines in Dublin there is no place I would rather be, it lifts the spirits to an extraordinary level, gives me so much energy and makes me feel like I am walking on air.
We poked around some shops and I tried on some brown calf length boots, a must have clothing item you know! Unfortunately they were not very comfortable, but with a €400 price tag that was a good thing!
Luckily for me Malcolm was in the mood for Chinese take away dinner so I did not even have to come back from my "me" afternoon and cook, brilliant!
I looked back on the day and marvelled at how lucky I am, how far I have come since moving here a year ago and how fortunate I am.

Thursday 25 September 2008

Val's Suggestion...

So one of my visitors came up with a very apt song and I decided that it was such a good idea given the week I have just survived that 2 Friday songs was plausable! I never thought I would actually want to post an Elon John song but, well, see....I really love the video I chose for the my Friday song..check it out it is too cute...oh and Lizle...this is I'm Still Standing! I finally know what you are talking about, I logged onto my blog from work and the Friday songs were just white boxes...empathy my friend, is it not a brilliant insight?

Mel's Friday song

Hey hey it's Friday and at last I can celebrate that fact like the rest of you lot...no longer just another day at home but a time to lie in, kick the feet up (not really), relax, drink wine, be silly...oh okay I was already doing all those things. BUT now it somehow means so much more...so thank you Mel for the tooth brush song, as you pointed out you can stand in your bathroom, your toothbrush a microphone and belt this one out (Jeremiah was a bull frog) and look forward to da weekend...Party on everyone, I sure plan to...if I actually get some long lost sleep tonight!


Wednesday 24 September 2008

Please Sir..can I be a couch potato?


Half way through the week and I HATE to admit it but the thought of curling up on the couch is pure and utter magic right now. My brain is cooked, so much to learn and everything happens so fast, I really do KNOW that I will be fine, that in 2 months I will be shaking my head at this post but right now....OMG.

To make matters worse my evenings are pretty hectic too, Monday night was a meeting for hockey, Tuesday evening I had an appointment which meant a fast walk from the luas, move directly to the car without entering the front door and make a mad dash for Dun Loaghrie and then I still had to do grocery shopping...at 20h00, no not very funny!

Tonight I have hockey practice until 22h00...which means shower and bed are a LONG way away!

Malcolm is in Brussels on business and gets back tomorrow evening so it is just us girls for now, and I hope he realises that as tomorrow night is my only evening with NO plans dinner will be....something quick and easy!

Friday evening Malcolms company are giving Market Bar another try, hopefully his work colleagues actually make an appearance this time, the jury is still out as to whether I will go but something tells me that by Friday I will be ready for a night out again...of course I may be whinging but I have to admit... I love the fact that I can barely think straight!

Chances of an appointment with my couch at some stage.... 100%


Monday 22 September 2008

Shattered

Yes, that is the best word I can come up with. It is not the 9 - 5 part but all the information I am taking in, the people and the new environment, it is all so new and all my senses are on alert. It is fantastic but tiring. To make matters worse I have not been sleeping much and this morning after making coffee with unboiled water (is that even a word), dropping things, knocking over my moisturiser i even did a chant in the mirror...I am not clumsy, I am not clumsy, repeat as necessary. I am seriously exhausted and then had to drag myself up to the club for a Vets meeting this evening, but how could I miss getting together with all the girls again after the long summer? And yes, long and summer are both wisely chosen words...

Sunday 21 September 2008

Let's go Lebanese

On Saturday afternoon I played in my first hockey match as centre forward -also a first! Not sure I like the position becasue I was told to basically camp near the goals and wait for the ball which never arrived! When I did venture forward to where the action was I was sent back by the coach..aarrgghh!
Hockey ended later than expected and it was utter madness trying to get ready to go out, I left the club at 16h45 and was supposed to be at W&T's to drop the "babysitters" off at 17h30, then drive back to our house, park the car and walk to the luas. We had a 19h00 sitting at the restaurant and only had until 20h50 before we got evicted for the 21h00 sitting.
The restaurant was Lebanese, The Cedar Wood and the theme ran all the way through to their wine and beer, I did not even know you could get Lebanese wine, I was not overly impressed with it, although Rose enjoyed it. The food was okay, but I was expecting a bit more - I would have liked lots of little finger food items...and the desserts were VERY unimpressive, the variety of ice cream with chocolate sauce was plain old vanilla with a teaspoon of chocolate sauce on it...for €5.50! Tracy had the baklava which she really did not enjoy.
After dinner we decided that the night was but a puppy and headed over to Café on Seinne for cocktails and dancing. I had a couple of cosmopolitans and then Kelly got the girls a Jaggerbomb which we all made short work of. Needless to say we all had lots of fun...finally heading home at around 02h00, Kelly and I a little less enthusiastic about our exit than the men folk!

Friday 19 September 2008

The Beginning.....

I have to admit to nerves on my first day, more so than on the day of my interviews, I guess walking into an open plan office made me feel rather dizzy. I only had to be at work at 10 on my first day so it was a rather leisurely morning of getting ready, checking email, skyping the sister, and eating breakfast.
When I arrived my boss came through to meet me and he took me to a meeting room where he ran through the floor plan and we had a chat and then I got shown my desk, met my team and got to see The Boss in action for a while before being whisked off by H.R to run through contracts etcetera. After that i was met by a lovely lady who walked me around the building showing me the showers, kitchen, fire exits, fire assembly points and all that jazz. The most interesting part of my tour was the fact that every Wednesday a massage guru comes into the office and we get a 20 minute pure bliss session of 20 minutes for a FIVER! I like it. On a Monday we get a delivery of pastries, fruit and yogurts to get us off to a flying week, this is SO much better than housework!
The best news I got today is that my recruitment agent was WRONG...I do NOT need a corporate wardrobe! A pair of trousers or a skirt, a nice jersey/sweater/jumper or shirt are good enough - I am over the moon, it was great walking around seeing people and realising that a suit is definitely not a requirement.
Next up was a delicious lunch on the company account with the boss and one of the other team leaders, in fact he was one of the guys who interviewed me first, and after that a cappuccino at a nearby pub...what a great start to my new experience!
Back to work where I was buddied up with Rob who started my training and a bit of chatting amongst my team ensued, a great bunch of people it has to be said.
Th office is absolutely open plan, not even the directors have their own offices which is actually pretty cool, and not something I am used to.
After work I got the kids and we headed to Dundrum where I snapped up 2 pairs of pants a REALLY cool jacket and a couple of shirts from my fave shop - Esprit. After that the kids and I wound our way to Mao for a divine dinner...Chicken Lemongrass salad for me, yellow veg curry for Kirstin and Chicken yellow curry for Jess. Now I am home in my pj's about to sit down and enjoy a movie with my girls...bliss

Working Wardrobe



I felt like the kids must have felt on their first day of school, taking pictures in my suit (uniform) was a bizarre experience, but my dearest cousin and most awesome sister have been badgering me for a picture and I finally have some that are actually sort of fit for blog consumption (don't look at the hamster cages) so in the spirit of sharing and so that you can see what I will look on my first day of new beginnings...here you go! Thanks to all for the good wishes and congratulations, it is much appreciated and I am sure it will all help towards a most excellent first day at the office...

Noah and the Whale - In Five Years Time...



Lizle, this is a song you may not know, but it is so cheerful and upbeat that I suggest you FIND a way to lsiten to it!! Puts a smile on my dial and I will be listening to it before I go to work to get that bounce in my step...

Wednesday 17 September 2008

Sleepless in Dublin

I can't sleep. It is 12h30 and I was lying in my bed overheating with thoughts buzzing around in my head. This always seems to be the case after hockey practice on a Wednesday but tonight is the worst. After the fitness regime we got put through I imagined myself collapsing into my bed and passing out in minutes, but no...there I lie thinking...oh I must blog about our new eating program! Mmm odd. Of course now you are dying to know what I am talking about aren't you? Well even if you are not I am going to tell you anyway, in the vain hope that I get tired!
Kirstin has decided she is a vegetarian, after spending a week in August on a dairy farm and milking cows and feeding calves the thought of a juicy steak, or any other meat for that matter, makes her feel rather queasy. So humour her I have and last night I prepared a lovely dish of quinoa with broccoli, corn, spring onions, roasted red and yellow peppers with a tomato pesto stirred through, very delicious, perhaps it is a good thing for the entire family that she has turned her back on meat! Tonight was bruschetta and then a chickpea salad - salad courtesy of the fridge at SuperValu I must confess. Oh and to complicate things she will not eat fish either. This has been going on a little longer, she saw a show on fishing and was horrified to see how many poor dolphins became casualties in the nets and so swore off anything from the sea too. I am thinking vegetable lasagne for tomorrow, recipe anyone?
Okay, I am still not tired, this is not good. Tomorrow night I am meeting a few girlfriends and we are going out, there is a new movie aptly titled Women that we are all going to see and then a glass of wine and a chat should round things off rather nicely, except that at this rate I will not make the 20h20 show never mind the glass of wine afterwards! Having said that Malcolm has now done the kids school lunches a couple of times so perhaps a sleep in is not entirely out of the question!
Oh...one more thing! I am so excited I have figured out how to schedule a blog post (will NOT confess as to how easy it is to do...mmm) for a specific date and have got what I think is a great Friday song all racked up and ready..it will be posted on Friday morning at 07h00 - how AWESOME is that!!! Perhaps working and blogging will work out after all. Ha Ha!!!!

My days are numbered

And the number is ONE. Yes this really is my last day as lady of leisure, tomorrow I am going to help out for the last time at the shop and Friday is D Day (Divine Day - okay?). Today is going to be great, I am off to Dublin now to meet Debz, she is taking me shopping...to a couple of her favourite places and then lunch somewhere...ahh the end of an era!
Tomorrow I work and then I am having my hair cut, after that I guess it will all be after hours and weekends so best I enjoy it one more time.
I am looking forward to all the new challenges, and changes are supposed to be as good as a holiday...are they not???
David, my new boss to be even called me yesterday afternoon to congratulate me and let me know that he was looking forward to seeing me on Friday - I was pleased that he called, looks like I have a decent boss which makes all the difference...let's hope I don't have to retract that statement at a later date!!!
Perhaps it is time I got myself a diary, the dates and plans for next week or swirling around in my head...wow I am a busy girl.
Oh and one more thing....I was just thinking that it would be nice to get some ideas for Friday songs, some days I am stumped and spend ages in front of You Tube...so any suggestions will be seriously considered...and appreciated! Email is probably best and most of you have my address, if not there is one on my blog profile!

Tuesday 16 September 2008

Working Girl

I am a saint not a sinner...
The news you have all been waiting for...as suspected I have NO criminal record, no bad debt, no bankruptcy hidden in a closet somewhere and so I begin the Nine to Five on Friday! Yep plans of going away for the weekend (seriously was contemplating a last minute flight out of Dublin tomorrow) are shelved and I get to meet all my fellow colleagues on Friday Hoooooo Boy! A new chapter of my life begins...

RUN!

I am not a runner, I love walking and I can do it with some serious pace and that is good enough for me. However, I need to get fit for hockey season and as a right wing player I run a LOT - short bursts yes (I can handle those quite easily) but in order to keep the heaving chest and heavy panting at bay fitness is a requirement...running will make me fit. So with lead boots I dragged myself up to the club on Monday for a fitness session which involved a run which I was dreading. I knew that I would crash and burn and end up walking back to the clubhouse, a lone figure way behind a moving mob of running ladies. Oh well got to start somewhere hey? So you can imagine my surprise when I managed the entire run and even led our little group back in to the club gates, woohoo!!!! we were running slowly and I am sure i heard Heather making some comment about ostrich legs (gasp!) when I put my foot on the accelerator as we neared the club, but honestly I had to make a dash for it because if I didn't I felt that I was going to have to stop and with the finish line so near there was NO way that was going to happen. After all that I even did jogging and sprinting on the pitch for a while and then we had a relaxing chatty warm down and said our goodbyes...until Wednesday!

Monday 15 September 2008

The Boy in th Striped Pyjamas



On Sunday at 18h00 we sat down at the movies and watched this brilliant but sad film. I think you could have heard a pin drop at the end and when the lights came on we stayed seated witnessing the emptying of the cinema in the most subdued manner I have ever seen.

Friday 12 September 2008

Friday Song

On my way to work this morning - late night text asking me to help at the shop, not my new job, this came up on my Ipod and memories came flooding back from years ago...have a great weekend everybody. I am going on a date, with Kirstin. Jess is going to her first teenage disco/social and Malcolm is going to a wedding afters party...busy little family this!

Thursday 11 September 2008

Nine Eleven

There are so many theories out there about what REALLY happened that day seven years ago, it really doesn't matter, who did what. It was tragic, that human beings can plan, plot and scheme to take so much life in such a shocking way.
I remember how quiet that day got, the skies empty, the silence all encompassing, the shock amongst us all, seeing the smoke from where we were living in Rye, Westchester County. It was a day that took so much from everyone, a day that caused so much death and destruction. So very very sad, so very much lost; innocence, freedom, trust.
We also got to see the human spirit at its best though, the reaching out of people to one another, the helping hands, the pillars of strength and those are the memories I like to hold onto.
That day will be forever in my mind, it changed the path of our lives, even though we suffered no tragic loss of life, and set us on a new journey, a trip we did not really want to take. Sometimes we still reflect upon that day and marvel at what happened, and what could have been....



Wednesday 10 September 2008

Not in the mood...

I am not feeling up to blogging, I am finding this difficult to comprehend as I always find something to write about. Admittedly it is not that exciting a lot of the time but at least I get it done. The last couple of days I have not been able to come up with ANYTHING. Then I got a phone call from the recruitment agency a few minutes ago, so I have some good news. Apparently they have made their intentions VERY clear to the agency, they want me on their team, they cannot make an offer until all the checks are done but I have been told under no uncertain terms that I am the person that they want. I know that the checks will come back fine so I am now absolutely confident that the job is MINE. Oh boy, my days of leisure are seriously numbered....

Sunday 7 September 2008

Dig Deep

I did it, I managed to refill the hot air balloon and we went out again and joined everyone for drinks at Russell Court Hotel - it was a near miss because the weather was lousy and Malcolm and I had decided that it would be our guide, no rain = PARTY. The gods obviously wanted us to spend a night out and so they arranged for a temporary respite of leaky skies, lucky us!
The evening was great, we even ended up going down to the nightclub and I finally drank a JaggerBomb, having avoided them thus far. I think the 4 glasses of wine had made me a little too
pliable and I tossed it back like a pro.

At 2h30 my sensible husband (more like expert, as he has done late night stints in Dublin - this was my first) and I made our exit, any later and a taxi would have been very difficult to come by because all the night clubs close at 3h00 and then it is mayhem on the streets!



Friday 5 September 2008

Full of Hot Air

Yep, that was last night...this morning I am a deflated balloon, tired and I have a sore throat and I am reading my wine induced post shaking my head and wondering whether I made any promises to F and J (2 lovely ladies - sisters - from Northern Netherlands - more about that in a bit) regarding me pitching up for drinks tonight...Rose also invited me to 51 and although I do remember making no promises, she did ASK first.
The comedy night was gas (as they say in Ireland) and I met some new people that M works with too. One of the ladies F commutes back to Holland every 4 days to be with her daughter and partner - UNBELIEVABLE - all that travelling every week, AND it is not like she lives near a major airport, she flies into Amsterdam and then has a 2 hour commute to her town!
Mmmm and I am worried about the impact my 9 - 5 will have on my kids....who are at school from 9 - 4 MINIMUM...and often sport or clubs go on until 5:30, they probably wouldn't know I was working 9 - 5 if I did not tell them.
Off for my eye check up now...have disturbing moments of blurriness every now and then so I hope all is okay. The weather is absolutely foul today, raining, windy dark and dreary, bed and a good book would be a most excellent option...