Tuesday, June 26, 2007


This year, we are having great difficulty planning our holidays. I know, life is tough. :) We usually take two one-week trips but have to take one week in Sept to go home. We are planning on going somewhere the last week of October (week with Halloween). However, we can't decide where to go. We wanted to go to Croatia or Slovenia but it would be difficult to get there that time of the year.

For this holiday, I really want nature. It will be our only "real" vacation of the year and I desparately need a nature break. I like waterfalls and mountains and the ocean. We like culture but I really want nature and some nice weather (the Irish summer has been a bit of crap this year).

So readers, any suggestions (we've been to Barcelona, Madrid, Munich, London, Paris, Brussels, Salzburg, Venice, Norway)?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

happy adoption day

A year ago today, we picked up Tiffin from the vet's office. So, today is Tiffin's adoption day and she is officially one year old. She was so small and shy when we got her and now she is an average sized cat. When John's distant cousin came to visit, she even came out to sniff her within 15 minutes of her arrival. When we got her, she would barely let me go near her and now she comed out to greet people. She also seeks my attention when I wake up in the morning and when I get home at night. She does this thing where she jumps on near us and then stands on her back legs, reaches her head up, and stands higher as we reach to pet her. It is absolutely adorable.

In honor of adoption day, here are "then, later, now" pictures.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Today was a good day. I could see my progress! I like days like that.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Thursday was the two year anniversary of my move to Dublin!  It is hard to believe that it has been two years. In some ways, the time has flown by. In others, it has seems like an eternity that we've been over here.

When I was considering moving over, I happened to talk to someone who had just moved back from two years in Ireland. An off hand comment she made has stuck with me and I think about it every now and then. She said that 2 years would be enough to work in Ireland and that I'd be ready to move back after 2 years. At the time, I wondered what she meant. I now think I have an idea.

Anyway, I have been reflecting on the last two years and I am amazed at how much I've grown and changed in the last two years. Moving abroad has allowed me to reflect on my priorities (and change them). It has allowed us to travel more and see Europe. We work less. We go out about the same amount. In general, the pace of life is slower here and there is a balance to life. I have gotten a balance that I never thought I would get. I have always been a workaholic and have finally realized that work isn't the most important thing. I actually rarely think about work once I leave. It is really refreshing and I don't want to go back to taking loads of work home and working 50-60 hours a week.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


While K was here in late March/early April, I told her she could look through two beginning knitting books to see if she would like me to make her her birthday present. She chose a poncho from the Stitch and Bitch Handbook. I figured since it was in there, it would be easy enough and the stitches didn't look that hard. It would be my first time knitting in the round, but I was up for the challenge. Besides, it used very thick yarn so it should be a fairly quick knit.

So, we went to the yarn store to get the yarn. They don't carry the thickness that I needed and they didn't know of anyone in Dublin who would have the size round needles that I needed if I did find thicker yarn. So, we picked a medium thickness and I discussed how to modify the pattern to make it work on the new yarn. We agreed that I should follow the directions for the size "large." So, I cast on the stitches I needed, went to a knitting circle to find out how to do the "magic loop" technique I would be using so I didn't have to switch needles as much, and started knitting. It was awkward at first but I got the hang of it. Then I looked at the size of the hole for the head. I stretched it. It looked small. John said it was small. I kept knitting. I had about 6 inches done and I decided one day, the hole for the head really did look small so I tried it on (when John wasn't around). It didn't fit. So, I was glad I figured it at an early stage, realized I could fix an aspect of the design I wasn't mad about and frogged it (rip it rip it rip it) back to the beginning. I should have taken a picture of how far I got, but I didn't.

I then did some math to figure out what multiples I needed for the rib pattern and cast on a much larger number of stitches so that I knew it would fit (and used larger needles so I wouldn't have to change them later). I joined the yarn by myself and started knitting. I got about 5 rows in and twisted something so it didn't lay flat anymore. Again, I frogged it back to the beginning and tried a third time.

So, I cast on the number of stitches that worked, joined the yarn, and started knitting. I got to the point where I wanted to add a new color and I did. I then wanted to change to the third color and somehow I was making a wrong stitch. Luckily, I was at a knitting circle and one of the ladies knew how to do magic loop and she tried to figure out what I did. She had no idea but we just made the different stitch a design feature and she then showed me a different way to do magic loop that she thought would be easier for me. At first it was more difficult, but now it is far easier and I like it better.

Anyway, I knit happily along and occasionally looked at the poncho and how it was turning out. I just didn't seem wide enough. Then one day, I had 10 inches of the poncho done, I decided I should look at the pattern again. I read it for about the 20th time and this time I noticed that I was supposed to be making 4 stitches every other row and I had only been making 2! Oops. So, I emailed the lovely ladies at This is Knit and went down to the shop to discuss the project. Luckily, I only going to ripped out a section of the poncho and hope for the best on the shaping of the shoulders. I also managed to get the project back on the needles which I thought would be harder since it is knit in the round. Needless to say, I'm a bit frustrated with the project and it is going to be put on hold for a bit (maybe).

Meanwhile, a friend is retiring soon and moving back to the U.S. I thought it would be nice to make her something. While at This is Knit on Friday, I discussed my design ideas with the lovely ladies there. Lisa had some good suggestions for the borders and how to make it drape better and we came up with a plan. When I got home, I looked through the cable book that John got me a while ago, realized that they had the directions written out so I could in fact make most of the cables in the book, and picked a pattern that would be one part of the design.

I then had to do math again to figure out how to best combine three different stitch designs into a pattern. I needed an odd number of stitches for the border but my patterns ended up with an even number and I wanted the symmetry. So, I figured out how to fix this problem (add a stitch after I did the border and decrease it at the end) and moved on to the design and then wrote the pattern on paper. I didn't have the exact sized needles that the yarn suggested so I started on larger ones since I knit tightly anyway. I cast on the number of stitches I had calculated and decided it wasn't enough. So, I added in more but then had to add them into the rest of the pattern. I figured out where to add them but didn't add them in properly on my written pattern because I got confused as to where they were actually added in. So, at about midnight, I convinced John that he wanted to add up each row with me and put the pattern on the computer since it would need to go there anyway. He begrudgingly agreed and I read each row to him. He used Excel to sum up the rows and if I didn't have the right number of stitches, it was easier for the two of us to figure outwhere the pattern was off since we could both see the patterns in the stitches. Finally, we got it and went to bed about 1:30 AM!

However, during theprocess of starting the knitting, I realized that the bigger needles are in fact too big. My knitting isn't tight enough so the stitches don't show up as well as they should. So, I'll be heading back to the yarn shop for different needles...

Friday, June 01, 2007


So, since we've gotten engaged, we have been discussing lots of things about the wedding and trying to reach consensus on our "style." The problem is we don't really know what style we have or want and I have always dreamt about two very different wedding types. So, we continue to research reception sites and try to figure out our budget. And I continue to wait for my planning magazines.

Since I can't really plan much right now, my thoughts have turned to the honeymoon destination. I want something to look forward to. :) I want to put it in my head that I am working for ____. Originally we thought about New Zealand but I'm not sure we have enough time for there since I think we only have 2 weeks (maybe 3) for the honeymoon and that isn't enough time to get there, get over jet lag, and see the country.

So, dear readers, I am looking for suggestions for our honeymoon. :) Here are the criteria:
1. Not in the U.S. (tax reasons)
2. Pretty nature to hike in and I like waterfalls (big ones).
3. Not touristy/tourist trap/resort
4. We want a balance of nature and culture

Update: I forgot to say, we are having the wedding/reception in the U.S. and are planning autumn 2008 but don't have a date set yet. So, for the honeymoon, we could leave from the U.S. or Dublin.