Friday, November 30, 2007

Random tag

A while back, I got tagged and haven't played the game. Here are the "rules"

8 random things.
Rules are as follows:·
When tagged, you must link to the person who tagged you.·
Then post the rules before your list, and list eight random things about yourself.
At the end of the post you must tag and link to eight other people.

So, 8 random things about myself.

1. My favorite color is purple. Nice, dark, rich purple that is hard to tell if it black, blue, or purple.
2. I started out college pre-med and while I was trying to decide on a major, my brother-in-law suggested that I check out that speech pathology therapy thing since one unemployed college grad in the family was enough (he was joking about the unemployed part).
3. I had a Siamese cat names Smokey when I was a kid. I absolutely loved that cat.
4. I met John in an "Irish pub" in the U.S. where a mutual friend went weekly.
5. I have a brother and a sister.
6. One of my favorite books is "So long a letter" by Miriama Ba.
7. I like white cheddar better than red/orange cheddar.
8. My friends tell me that I make the best chocolate chip cookies ever!

So, I am supposed to tag others. I am only going to tag a couple others: Chick with Stix, Lien, and Lisa.


OK, Thanksgiving was over a week ago, but I am a bit slow on the posting lately. On Saturday, we had some people over to celebrate Thanksgiving. It was my second time cooking a turkey and like last time, it got done early. However, not believing that it could be done, I let it cook longer. It ended up a bit overcooked but it still tasted good.

To help John and me out, our friend N came over around noon. By this time, we had been up since 9:00 AM trying to get a bit of cleaning done and defrosting the turkey. This year, we had a cooler that the turkey fit in so we filled it with water and let it defrost. We changed the water every 30 minutes to try to keep it as sanitary as possible. While the turkey defrosted, we cleaned and did other meal prep. Shortly after N arrived, it was time to put the turkey in. However, the inside was still frozen! I ran lots of cold water on it until it thawed, rinsed it out, patted it dry and put it on the baking rack. It was then that I noticed an extra pack of "stuff" in the turkey. And this stuff was frozen in a plastic bag. That meant running the turkey under more cold water, rinsing it again, and drying it again before seasoning it. We eventually got it all thawed out, seasoned it and got it in the oven.

Around 4:00 PM, the other guests started showing up. We ate at 5:00. We had turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberries, green bean casserole, corn, jelly (jello) with pineapple, bread, pumpkin pie, apple crisp (I didn't have enough pie pans), and pecan pie. We all ate until we were stuffed an couldn't eat anymore. Then people just drank more. The last people left about 1:30AM! All in all, it was a good meal, good fun, and good people. (but I forgot to take pictures)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I once heard a quote that "perception is reality." To some extent, I think that this is true. If you look for the bad, you will find it and your personal reality will be colored by the negativity. However, if you look for positive things, your perception will be colored by this as well.

For a few months now, I have been a bit down about living in Dublin. Relying on public transit sometimes gets a bit tiring, especially when it is cold out and standing in the dark waiting for a bus. The medical system is SLOW here as it can take months for a referral. Currently, the Health Service is in an advertising freeze. No new posts can be created. Existing posts can't be advertised (and therefore filled). This affects the health service as well as any agency getting money from them. And there is no word on when the advertising freeze will be over. Meanwhile, people wait even longer for care. And meanwhile, Bertie got a big raise. Now, I understand that money may being mis-spent in the health service but it isn't good form to give the leader of the country a raise when people are being denied medical care. So recently, I have been affected by the stress levels of people around me and the politics and seeing the negative of living here.

Recently, that changed. I got two tokens of appreciation in one week (which really lifted my mood)! Since then, I have been trying to see how I make a difference. I have been actively looking for the positive things. Like today, I gave a friend a birthday present. She seemed so appreciative that I gave her a present and even more appreciative that I made it for her. :) I also listened to a couple people vent about things that the had encountered and they seemed to feel better afterwards. Recently, I saw a mate was stressed and gave her a quick shoulder/neck massage and she looked so much more relaxed after it. These were all little things that didn't take much time, but they made such a difference in my day and the day of those around me. It is these things that make life happy. Well, that and the pilates class really relaxed me so I am better able to deal with the stress of day to day life...

Friday, November 16, 2007

A day in the life

Today I woke up, got dressed, and went to work. I thought that I should look nice for work today since I had something during the day, but I thought about the clients that I would see before that and that I am sick and decided, nah, go for comfort. Anyway, I left the house and walked to the bus stop.

I waited at the bus stop for about 15 minutes, about 10 minutes longer than usual because there is a bus strike happening and some of the buses aren't running. This means fewer choices for me (but luckily still have choices and not a taxi or walking to/from work). So, I get on the bus and look out the window. One of the first things that I notice is a woman running down the street. And her dress was quite low cut and her breasts were bouncing. Oops, one fell out! We pass her and then I noticed the Jesus statue standing on a base that looks like the EU emblem (often notice this and wonder why it is in downtown Dublin and why it was created to begin with). The sculpture is under Plexiglas so it can't get wet or graffiti on it.

I get to work and get ready for my day. It was a good morning. I wasn't the recipient of any challenging behavior. Later in the day I was the recipient of a token of appreciation. That made me feel really special and appreciated. It was also quite unexpected.

Eventually, it was time for me to go home. Again, I waited for the bus. Of course it was full (they have been much more full with the bus strike) and a little boy gave me his seat! He stood near his mother and let me have the seat that he was sitting in. It was so sweet. He was an adorable little boy, too. I got off at my stop and started to walk home. I stopped at the grocery store to get a few things. On my walk to the apartment, I saw this big group of guys. They all had black t-shirts on and they also had some glow in the dark writing on the back. Each shirt said something different but it was obviously a stag party. The bachelor was wearing a white shirt and a little skirt thing. While walking behind them, one of the guys calls out something and they all start jumping on each other's backs for piggy back rides and then trying to race of some sort. It was quite the sight to see grown men jump on each other's backs (up to three of them) and then try to run!

Now I am safely home, looking forward to a nice quiet evening of being home snuggled under the blanket. Maybe I'll make some dinner, maybe I'll try to convince John to bring home dinner...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Jerpoint Abbey

On our way to the Jerpoint glass studio, we found the Jerpoint Abbey. Of course we stopped. We also happened to be the first people there. This is yet another site run by the OPW and we looked around the reception area a bit before getting a guided tour.

The Jerpoint Abbey was founded in the second have of the 12th century by Cistercian order. It's "claim to fame" was that the monks didn't follow rules very well. The Cistercian order had very strict guidelines as to how a monk was supposed to live and what an abbey was supposed to look like. The walls of the abbey were supposed to be absent of adornment/decoration. However, this abbey is known because it has carvings/stonework in some of the walls and pillars. There even appears to be sculpture work of people who may have donated to help build the abbey.

The monks were supposed to spend a large percentage of their days praying but were also supposed to be self sufficient. However, due to the amount of time that they needed to spend in devotion to God, they had men who weren't connected enough to get into the abbey live there and grow the food and such. The monks were allowed a small amount of food and a good bit of (weak) beer during the day. They were only supposed to be near heat for a very short amount of the day.

The monks also engaged in "blood letting" where they let some of their blood out of their body (don't know what happened to it after it left the body). This was believed to cleanse their bodies of evil spirits or sickness. There were strict guidelines as to how often monks were supposed to let their blood and how much to let. However, these Irish monks supposedly let their blood more often because after you let blood, you got to spend time by the heat and got extra food!

Dunmore cave

While in Kilkenny, we toured the Dunmore cave. It is an underground cave and guided tours are provided to a very small percentage of the cave (which is still a decent sized area). The cave was the site of a massacre in the year 928 AD! The locals used to use the cave as a hiding place when they were attacked. They would hide in some of the chambers of the cave because most people were afraid to go into it because they thought it was the gateway to Hell.

The Vikings were raiding the area and weren't afraid of caves. So, when the women and children ran into the cave, the Vikings killed the men who were trying to defend it. The Vikings then ended, took any treasures, and set fires in the cave. Most of the people in is suffocated from smoke. During the massacre, the Vikings dropped coins (which they apparently adhered to their bodies with wax) and these were left in the cave. During later excavations, these coins were found! Human remains were also found and the excavation results corresponded with the local legends of the cave.

The cave itself is interesting. I have never been in one like it. There are many interesting rock/calcite formations. As usual, the OPW guide was excellent and very engaging.

Small world again

Today I had to take Darshin to the vet. He was sick earlier in the week and I had to take him back to get checked out again. Anyway, as soon as Darshin got into the vet's office, he started growling. He did this last time, too. We waited for a while and the dogs all went into the vet and later a couple with two cats came in.

The woman was wearing a brightly colored jumper/sweater and I thought that I recognized the colors of it. I looked at her a bit more and looked at the sweater and decided that it definitely looked hand knit. She was very outgoing and chatted a bit about our cats. She let one of her cats out and look around the waiting room. When the cat got back into the cage, she commented that the carrier was broken and she was using a knitting needle to hold it shut! I then asked her if she made her sweater and what yarn it was. It turned out that she got her yarn from This is Knit down in Blackrock which is also my local yarn shop. We chatted a bit more and then it was my turn to go in to the vet with Darshin. On my way in, she asked to exchange numbers. When I was done with the vet, the receptionist got the knitter and she gave me her number. It turns out that she sometimes goes to one of the knitting groups that I go to as well!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Rock of Cashel

While in Kilkenny, we took a side trip to see the Rock of Cashel. The rock is an outcrop of limestone and their are ruins on top it. Cashel was the seat of the kings of Munster prior to the Norman invasion. The site has a round tower (these are unique to Ireland) built in the 1100s, High Cross and Romanesque Chapel, Gothic cathedral built in the 1200s , and 15th century Castle and the restored Hall of the Vicars Choral. There are two sarcophaguses in the ruins as well. There is also a cross on display that legend says if you can reach your arms around it, you won't have a toothache for the rest of your life.

We took a tour of the ruins of the site and as usual it was an excellent tour. I have to say, I am quite impressed with the quality of tours provided by the OPW. The tour guides seem to really know about the sites and be interested in Irish history.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Black Abbey

While in Kilkenny, we wandered around and happened upon the Black Abbey. It was founded in 1225 by the Earl of Prombroke. A tower was added in 1507. Inside, it was quite unique. Most churches are in the shape of a cross or a rectangle. This one was an "L" shape. It was still quite nice inside and has been well restored. While it was being restored, an alabaster statue of the Holy Trinity was found in a wall and is displayed in a wall today.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


While in Kilkenny, we went into a couple pubs to have a couple pints and sometimes get food. While sipping our pints, I observed the people and noticed some things that I found interesting. First, when I asked for my Bulmers with a splash of black current, they gave me a quizzical look (it tastes really good). After the wait staff/bartenders recovered from that, they always asked me if I wanted a glass or a pint. I always responded that I wanted a pint. I generally don't drink a glass of beer/cider since it looks wimpy and then I'd have to order two eventually.

While watching people, we noticed that the vast majority of women were drinking from smaller glasses. Almost none of them drank pints. We also noticed that many of the women were drinking beer, but they were lighter beers, often things like Coors Light, Budweiser, or Corona. Very few women drank what we classify as "real beer." Meanwhile, most of the men drank Bulmers cider or darker beers from pint glasses. Many ordered bottles but then drank from a pint glass. Only one man drank from a glass. We thought it was strange because it wasn't the proper glass for the beer, so that couldn't be the reason that he was drinking from a glass instead of a pint glass.

To contrast, in Dublin, we frequently see women ordering pints. I rarely get asked if I want a glass or a pint when I order here. People just assume pint unless told otherwise. I also notice a wider variety in what women drink. Men seem to stick to cider and varieties of beer. I wonder what that is. What makes cocktails and wine more of women's drinks while in pubs?