Thursday, April 27, 2006

Goodbye Caineal

One sunny day last August, I decided to walk home from work. It takes about an hour. On this day, I took lots of wrong turns (actually didn't turn where I should have) and came across this small dog lying on the sidewalk with another dog pacing by her. I stopped because the dog was lying funny and looked like it needed help. I pet her head and she barely lifted it. She didn't make a sound.

I phoned my friend M to ask for another mate's number since L's sister was a vet. I wanted to phone to see what I should do. L didn't answer her phone so I called M back and she came and got us. By this time, the dog with the sick one had run away and other people were there to help us.

Ok, I knew nothing of dogs. I hadn't had one growing up and until recently I was afraid of them. In my world, small dogs are puppies and large dogs are, well dogs. So I told M that I found a puppy that I thought was a labrador. This is the only breed I have had much interaction with. So, she brought a box to put the "puppy" in. Well, she noticed the grey muzzle and teased me a bit in the car. I didn't notice it because the dog didn't lift her head at all and I was in "get this dog to the vet mode" and was looking at her hips more because I thought that she had been hit by a car and didn't seem to be able to walk. She winced whenever I tried to move her hips.

So, M gets to where I am and the people who stopped to help help me get the dog under my jacket and a blanket so that we could carry her to the car in a type of sling. We take her to the vet.

I called the next day and they told me that she is a 8-10 year (later thought to be about 14) old Terrier mix. She had a heart murmur but all her bloods were fine and she seemed to be in good health considering how underweight and malnourished she was. If I didn't adopt her, they were going to call animal control and she would be put to sleep in 5 days if nobody claimed her. I adopted her and named her Caineal, the Irish for cinnamon since she was a pretty brown (and I am obsessed with Cinnamon).

During the rest of the summer and into autumn, we would go on long walks to St. Stephan's Green after I got home from work. Whenever we got to the park, she would prance and her ears would perk up even more. She loved her long walks. Even though she was old, she'd sometimes chase the cat around the apartment and play with some toys. She liked to chase her ball. She also loved her treats. At times they were the only things that she would jump for. She also hardly ever barked, unless Darshin was tormenting her or getting near her stuff. In other words, she was an incredibly sweet dog. She even tolerated me picking her up and carrying her around and putting her on the bed even though until about a month or two ago didn't like to cuddle.

During the winter, her heart got worse and we tried a lot of different medications and I changed vets to one who would do objective tests on her. She had ups and downs and would lose consciousness and bladder control at times. The medicines usually helped, though (aspirin worked the best). The last couple days, she hadn't been eating and was barely drinking. Her tail didn't wag when outside. Her ears didn't perk up and she hardly walked. This morning I found her lying half on, half off the couch when I got out of the shower. It looked like she tried to get off the couch but couldn't and had lost bladder control.

I called John and then took her to the vet. The vet agreed that she "had the look of a sad dog" and since she was hardly moving, that it was humane to put her to sleep. He said it looked like she had just given up. So, he sedated her and then injected her with the other stuff to make her heart stop. It only took a few minutes and she seemed quite peaceful. I think that she knew. She slept in the bag that I carried her in almost the whole way to the vet (she NEVER does this and hated being in the bag). She also slept on my lap while waiting in the vets office. She had never curled up on my lap before. She was completely listless when at the vet (and all the way to it).

So, here are some pictures of our little girl. Goodbye Caineal. We loved you a lot even though we only had a few months with you!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The grounds

Since the light was so good and we were having fun wandering around the castle grounds, I took quite a few pictures. Here are some of the area around Malahide castle.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

the castle

These are a few of the pictures that I took while at Malahide Castle. I wish that they would let people use non-flash photography so that I could take pictures of some of the detail in the woodwork. There is some really beautiful furniture there.


Our friends Sh and J are in town for a week. J has a training in Dublin, which is why they came to visit. Sh has been hanging out and doing the tourist things. I took today off work to spend with her and am planning to take a half a day on Thursday since I had so much fun today.

Today we got a late start and went up to Malahide. We wandered around the town for a bit, went by the sea, and then walked to the castle. We did the castle tour. I have now been on this tour three times! I think the next time I am going to tell whoever is wanting to see the castle that I will wait in the gift shop or coffee shop for them. Well, unless it is my sister or my parents. Then I'll have to go...

While walking to the castle, we saw some trees with some interesting knots in them. It is actually are really peaceful walk and you feel like you are in the middle of a country forest. I quite needed that and will have to remember to go there when I get stressed out by city life. Oh, look for the smiley face.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

John belongs here

So, I found this "where in Europe do you belong" quiz on another blog so I decided to take it. It said that I belong in Amsterdam.

You Belong in Amsterdam

A little old fashioned, a little modern - you're the best of both worlds. And so is Amsterdam.
Whether you want to be a squatter graffiti artist or a great novelist, Amsterdam has all that you want in Europe (in one small city).

It said John belonged in Dublin. Good thing that he is here. :)

You Belong in Dublin

Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.
You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.

Mini "Marathon"

Today I officially registered for the Dublin Women's mini-marathon that will occur on the 6th of June. It is a 10k run/walk. I intend on walking it. This mini marathon is a huge fund raising event here in Dublin. 40,000 women are allowed to enter. I don't understand why it is a women's only thing but it is. I have been told that some men dress in drag to participate. I have decided to walk with my friend M. Well, she convinced me to walk with her really.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Electric stoves stink

I love to cook. Today I spent two hours in the kitchen making cookies, home made barbeque sauce, barbeque chicken and mashed potatoes. It was quite yummy.

Because I love to cook, I have always used gas stoves and ovens (cookers). Back home when looking for an apartment, I would phone the places and ask what type of stove the apartment had. If the response was electric, I wouldn't even go see the apartment! I like gas stoves better because you can control the heat level precisely and you can also see when the burner is on. When you turn the burner off, the heat goes away so burners don't stay hot like they do on an electric stove top.

Yesterday, we got home late and I made a quick pasta and sauce. I dished up John's and my food and went to pick up John's plate and ended up dropping it on the stove. The food fell all over the floor. Caineal enjoyed it while we cleaned it up and I dished up the what was supposed to be the left overs for lunch today for John to eat. I dropped the plate because I set it on the hot burner but I forgot that was the burner that I used to cook the pasta.

Today, I set the bowl that the chicken was marinating in on the stove since there wasn't counter space to put it as I peeled the potatoes. After a few minutes, I started to smell a nasty smell. I didn't understand why and finally moved the bowl to find it partially melted! I had turned on the wrong burner. That wouldn't have happened if I had a gas stove.

Also, I have burned myself at least 5 times since I moved here. While that may not sound like a lot, I can't remember the last time (before I moved here) that I had burned myself cooking. Ah, someday I should adjust...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Good Friday

On Friday, we hiked up the Bray "mountain." It is about 200 meters high. We climbed it in about half an hour. We were both surprised since it was a relatively steep climb. I didn't stop to take any pictures, though. We then wandered around the top of the mountain and climbed down a more gentle side. We ended up a little outside of Bray and then walked back into town.

Once we got into town, we headed toward the Porterhouse there only to find that they were closed! All pubs/liquor stores were closed on Friday. They were open today but closed on Friday. I don't really understand that.

Anyway, once we got up to the top of the mountain and as we wandered around the other side, I took some pictures. I couldn't hike for two hours and not take any!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

taxi drivers

I have decided that taxi drivers are interesting people. Since I take taxis so often, I have met quite a few. Every now and then I get the same ones back. They often remember me, too. Maybe it is the accent.

There are a few things about some taxi drivers that annoy me, though. One, there is this guy who doesn't listen to my directions as to where to go even though he doesn't know where to go or how to get there. That bothers me. I have had him a few times now and it is always when I am late (because he is late picking me up) and then he takes the longest, most indirect route possible. It is annoying. I also get annoyed when taxi drivers take a longer route than is necessary. I understand that sometimes traffic is faster with the longer route. However, when the fare is 5 Euro more than other drivers, there's a problem. I haven't decided if they take the long way because of my accent or because I may not know better since I don't drive. I hope it is the first one.

I had a very interesting taxi driver yesterday. He had little model cars (a lot like toy cars) all over the dash board of the car. He then had a driver's prayer thing posted near the steering wheel. He drove so slowly that I was afraid he was going to cause an accident! He also kept putting on the emergency break and shifting into neutral when we were stopped even though he drove an automatic. As a tangent, why do people use their emergency brake so much here? If you are driving a manual transmission car, isn't that what the clutch and neutral are for?

I also had another interesting taxi driver recently. He told me that he used to be a lawyer. We talked about a few things and seemed very smart and was an interesting guy. I wondered what made him stop being a lawyer and start being a taxi driver. I think I would rather be a taxi driver, though. I had another taxi driver a while back who kept complaining how lazy his wife and son were. He kept telling me how he had to go to the shops down the street multiple times a day for them (they were too lazy to do it themselves) and had to run errands for her even though she wasn't working and he was. There was also a guy who was a semi-professional photographer so we chatted about photography a bit.

Overall, I have had some very interesting conversations about life in Ireland, life in the States, politics, and real estate here. I like it when the taxi drivers talk to me and we have interesting conversation. I also like it when they take the fastest and cheapest route to go places and listen to me when I tell them where I want to go. Another really nice thing about a lot of taxi drivers is that they will round the fare. So, I have had fares that the meter said were 9.60 and they round down to 9.50. I have never had anyone round up.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Random thoughts

This Friday was my friend J's 30th birthday. She was dreading it but ended up dealing pretty well, or at least it appears so. Her boyfriend came out for a long weekend, which definitely helped. On Friday another coworker hosted a little get together for her. We then went to the pub next door to their place. It was more of a traditional Irish pub. It was dark, chairs didn't match, and it had sofa type seats in one area. I liked it.

On Saturday, we went to the local. It is different than more traditional pubs but I still like it a lot. Their beer selection is excellent and it has a character of its own. They also have about 5 different ciders. I decided that I should try them all. I have one left to try. While there, we saw the guy who sells the only decent Mexican food that we have found so far in Dublin. He sells food and salsas at the Temple Bar Market on Saturdays. He was there with his family so we had the waitress take him a drink. It was fun because she was obviously flustered by us. First, we fight over who should pay for drinks, then we buy a seemingly random guy one. It was fun and he recognized John as a customer. He thanked us on his way out.

On Saturday, J and her boyfriend went up to Howth to wander around. They went in and out of pubs since it would suddenly downpour for a few minutes and if you were outside, you got soaked. Anyway, they said that they were in this pub and it was playing American music over the speakers. They stopped playing the music a couple minutes before a tour bus pulled in. They then had some musicians (I think) play traditional Irish music. The group had a drink, left, and the regular music went back on!

On Sunday, I had to get a prescription filled. I used to pay about $40.00 a month for this medicine at home. It was available in generic for about $25.00 but my doctor didn't want me to take it because it is slightly different. Anyway, I got four months worth here for 7.50! That raised the question that I ask myself a lot (and is a huge political debate in the States): why are drugs so expensive back home? Ok, this is an older medication and my doctor told me that it had actually been taken off the market because it was too cheap (why didn't they just raise the price then?). All of my medications are cheaper here but comparatively, this one is far less than the others. I wonder why.

Monday, April 03, 2006

don't help me, give me money

Today as I walked home from the grocery store, I walked over the Ha'Penny Bridge and saw someone begging for money. OK, I always see someone begging for money on the bridge. However, today the guy was freezing. He was shaking and his teeth were chattering because he was so cold. I went home, looked for a piece of clothing to give him to make him warmer and counted out some change so I could buy him hot chocolate. I put Caineal on her lead and we left.

We then walked to the bridge and I offered the fleece that I had found to him. He said no. When I tried to tell him to take it because he was freezing, he said no, "It has dog hair all over it. And it's too small." It wouldn't have been too small and it didn't have dog hair on it, it had white fuzzies. I put the fleece back in my bag that I was carrying it in and kept walking. I didn't buy him the hot chocolate or offer him the money because if he wasn't willing to take help in the form of clothing, he probably wouldn't take the hot chocolate and I won't give someone money who won't accept other forms of help.

John thinks that the guy probably isn't homeless. He thinks that they just beg and try to look grungy. Why would people try to look homeless? Do that many people give money? Oh well, I will just stick to my principle of offering tangibles like clothing or food to people begging because I don't know what they would use the cash for.