Monday, June 30, 2008

A new local?

This weekend, we decided that we needed to explore our new area a bit. So far, we've been going to places that we know and mostly driving there. So, John had the suggestion since it was a nice evening to walk into the downtown area of our new town and see where we could find to eat. He knew of an "Irish bar" that wasn't that far away and off we went.

After a 15 minute stroll, we were at the pub and sitting outside in their "beer garden" area looking at their menu. I smiled at it since they had two Irish dishes on it: a full Irish and fish and chips. The menu was very beef heavy with only one chicken dish (besides a couple salads). We ordered home made mozzarella sticks as a starter/appetizer (very tasty) and John also got Guiness cheese soup. That was very rich and since it had a lot of sausage in it, I let him eat more of it. I had a chicken sandwich for my main and John had a Paddy Melt. They were tasty and the best part was that they were served with chips, not fries! I was very happy about this since I was missing the Porterhouse chips.

I don't think that they had dessert, but we were too stuffed to get it anyway. However, the chips made me miss sticky toffee pudding (I need to learn to make this myself).

We'll definitely be heading back there.

Slipping back...

OK, I like to shop. However, during our time living in Ireland, I really tried to not acquire too much stuff (besides yarn). We made a few lifestyle changes that I hoped we would continue when we moved back. For example, I like the idea of getting the food you need for the week and going each week to the grocery store (for fresh stuff anyway) and walking to places and taking public transportation. I liked not having a car.

However, upon moving back, I now need a car to get to work. Well, unless I want it to take 2 hours to get to/from work that is. The public transport system just doesn't work well for long distances (and we didn't want to live in area where my new job is). :( I do take public transport whenever possible to places, though. I don't mind taking it and I then John can have the car some. However, I feel us slipping back into driving places, even when they are walking distance away.

Since we've moved back, we've been in major acquisition stage. I don't really know why or how this happened, but we ended up buying a lot of stuff. I needed new clothes for work (I didn't really have summer clothes since Ireland doesn't have hot summers). We also needed bookcases to store all the books that we'd put into storage and have now gotten back. But we have bought loads of other stuff, too. Today we went to one of the ultimate mass buying places that probably don't exist in Europe: a discount warehouse. Everything is big in this store. Everything. I got two 72 ounce bags of chocolate chips and a 2 pound (I think) bag of M&Ms. We also got tortilla chips that came in a package about twice the size of the "normal" here which is about twice the size of those in Ireland.

After we checked out, we thought about how we would store everything that we just bought. I was happy that our refrigerator is probably about 3 times the size of the one we had in Ireland and we have probably about 6 times as much storage space! Everything really is bigger here...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Knit in Public

June 14 was World Wide Knit in Public Day (WWKIPD). In honor of the day, This is Knit sponsored a photo scavenger hunt and graciously let people from outside of Ireland participate in a separate competition for a smaller prize. So, I got my list of items to photograph as well as the points assigned to each item. I then proceeded to get caught up in life and 3 days before the pictures were due, I decided that I should get in gear and try to take a bunch of pictures of my knitting in public.

On the Friday before WWKIPD, we went to dinner and it happened to be sunset when we were done so I made John take a picture of me knitting at sunset near the parking lot of the mall where we had gone to dinner. I then made him "go for a walk" by the lake where we took a bunch more pictures. After going to the lake, we decided to head to the local coffee shop (another of the challenges) and I hit the photo jackpot! See, one of the items was to take a picture in a coffee shop. Other items on the list included taking a picture with a customer at the coffee shop and taking a picture with coffee shop employees. So, we were sitting having our drinks (I had tea, John got a milkshake) and in walk this group of teenagers. I was quite happy that they seemed like a fun bunch because taking pictures with teenagers was involved in 3 of the challenges! So, I approached the group and explained my mission and they happily let me take their pictures. When I also explained it to the staff, they told me that they were also teenagers!

On World Wide Knit in Public Day, I ended up not going to the event here but instead had to take public transport down to a salon that I had gotten some face soap at to exchange it. I then attempted to make my way to Lorna's Laces to try to take a photograph there. I took the train to the exit Google told me to take and then walked to where their website listed as their address. It was a house! I was disappointed because I wanted to get bonus points of having a picture with my knitting at a yarn dyeing company but now I know that they do not do tours for the public and their mailing address is someone's house.

Anyway, this week I got an email telling me that I won the international part of the scavenger hunt so soon I will get some lovely hand dyed yarn from the Dublin Dye Company! These are some of my favorite shots for the contest. And if the staff member from the coffee shop finds this post and responds, yes I will make you a hat.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I wanna Wii

In May, John and I went to a game night at my friend T's house. We spent the whole night playing various Nintendo Wii games, including the Wii fit. It was so much fun, that I decided that we should get one. John has talked about wanting one for a while as well. So, I decided that I should get us a Wii for when John moved home. Easy, right? Well, not so much.

I went around to the major stores that should carry them one day. Nobody had them. One major electronics store said that they were going to get a shipment in for Sunday morning and to come about half an hour before the store opened to get in line to get one. So that Sunday, which was the day John was coming home, I went to the store at 9:30AM and sat in my car waiting for the store to open. There were a couple other people waiting as well for the store to open. When it opened, I went in and asked if they had gotten the shipment of Wiis. The guy at the desk said that they hadn't and that they don't get shipments in on Sundays unless and it would be in their store ad if a shipment was coming in. So, no Wii. I then went around to more stores searching. Still no Wii.

Since I couldn't get him a Wii, I decided that I'd make him cookies as a coming home present. I didn't have any ingredients so I stopped at the grocery store and got what I remembered needing and continued shopping. Finally, I gave up on the Wii search and went home to make the cookies. Problem was that 1) I didn't get everything I needed and 2)because it was summer, the chocolate chips turned into a smooshy melted mass! (no leakage, though)

The following weekend, I went up to my sister's to collect some stuff. While there, we checked the ads and the same major electronics store had Wiis and Wii Fits in their ad! So, I consulted with my sister and we discussed which store had the best chance of having the best shipment and what time we needed to be at the store. So, we got to the store about 40 minutes before it opened and we weren't the first people there! We got in "line," pulled out our knitting/crocheting and sat outside the store for about half an hour before employees came to give us our vouchers for the product we wanted. So, about half an hour later, I was the proud owner of both a Wii and a Wii Fit. We've been having fun using them, too. The Wii fit is so much fun and I am actually "competing" with John to try to get top scores (normally I don't care about such things).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Long overdue pictures

I know, pictures of my nights out are long, long overdue. So, without further ado, here are some pictures of my knitting night farewell.

And my other farewell.

Where ya been?

OK, it has been well over a week since I last blogged. I've been busy, really. I can't really say what I've been doing because the time is just a haze, but I do know that it went by very quickly. I started the new job last week and I think I'm going to like it. I'm not really getting eased into the job but I think it is better that way. I am going to learn a ton and felt like a student at times last week since, well, I was a student 9 years ago!

On Saturday, I went to the hair salon to exchange some face wash that I got and then spent some time in the afternoon taking pictures for the This Is Knit's World Wide Knitting in Public Day Scavenger Hunt. It was fun but tiring riding around on public transport getting the pictures since John had the car. He was playing golf. We then went to the pub to celebrate a friend's birthday. (Note the size of the beer and sangria that John is holding)

We are also getting the house settled in. We went and got bookcases this weekend and John put them together so now we can start putting books away and getting rid of some of the clutter. Slowly, slowly putting things away and getting settled...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

How does it feel?

People on both sides of the "pond" (and even random strangers for that matter) keep asking me things like, "Are you happy to be back," and "how does it feel to be back?" Well, I really don't know how to respond to this because it feels, well, weird! I mean, I am enjoying reconnecting with people that I haven't seen in a while but I also miss my friends in Dublin and we aren't settled here yet.

Actually, to be honest, I feel drained. I am really enjoying this time off work. I am doing a bit of house related stuff every day but just vegging as well. I know that I need that. There is a part of me that doesn't want to start work next week. I could use some more time off. Yet, I am bored, too. Not really sure how that works and I need to get back to work and get into a routine so that I can feel more "normal."

The other main piece of it feeling weird to be back is that our place doesn't feel like "home." I feel like I am in someone else's house because we don't have many things yet (like pictures on the walls). We are still setting up. I am sure that soon it will feel like home. I'm curious to see how long it takes for this house to feel like "home" because it is easily at least twice the size of anywhere that we have lived before (and about 3 times the size of our apartment in Dublin). It is in a nice neighborhood but it is suburban. We are off a main road but there aren't shops or restaurants within walking distance. At least the train is within VERY easy distance and they have made this one more frequent so it is pretty easy to get places via public transport.

The other reason that it feels strange is because we haven't seen our friends that much. Since we aren't leaving in a week, we have time to reconnect and see people when they are free and aren't on this manic "must see people" schedule. That meant that during my first week back, I only saw people a couple times. It was great to reconnect with them but lonely at night when I was sitting in this empty house eating on the stairs because we didn't have any furniture yet. (Don't worry, it wasn't that lonely and I was too tired to socialize much anyway).

What did you do last week?

So, I have been back home for 10 days. They have been 10 long days! Yesterday, John looked around our house and asked me what I did last week since there didn't seem to be much done. So, here is how I have spent my last 10 days:
  1. Sleeping! Last week, I just did not have energy to do much (other than go to Target). I have been absolutely exhausted. J assures me that this is normal (for moving country and changing jobs with the type of job we have) as she was wrecked when she moved from Ireland as well.
  2. Shopping! We got rid of most of our stuff in Ireland and we did have some in storage but we have been acquiring things like crazy. Most big things we are acquiring used which is nice since it is better quality than we would have paid for new and then we aren't adding as much to the mass consumerism...
  3. Laundry
  4. Cleaning
Here is a general idea of what I accomplished:
    • Tuesday (day after arrival): Got new mobile phones for both of us since our Irish ones don't work here (well, we can receive texts/calls but not send). I also got 2 pairs of shoes since I didn't have any work shoes. Really, I didn't. I donated or threw them away because they were worn or not so comfortable or just too big or heavy to bring back with me. After dinner with friends, I picked up the car we are buying from friends.
    • Wednesday: Got the cable and internet set up. After this, I got a bed. After this, I went to Target and got loads of stuff for the house (think garbage cans, garbage bags, laundry soap, etc). I then met up with friends for coffee and unpacked some of the stuff and watched silly cable.
    • Thursday: I don't really remember Thursday. Oh wait, that is the day that I drove out to my new job to see where I'll be working. That took a long time! I meant to go to Ikea but didn't get that far.
    • Friday: I got a few clothes from Kohls (I don't have many work clothes left, either) and visited a friend of mine. It was so nice to see her and her daughter and reconnect with people.
    • Saturday: This was a wonderful day! I had a day at the spa and got pampered and a lot of stress relief. After my spa day, I had more energy than I had in a while. I also picked up John's favorite chair from a friend's who had it in his condo. After that, his brother brought a van full of our stuff to me! Happy days, stuff from storage. It felt like Christmas because I had no idea what John had put into storage since I had moved before him. We didn't get our couch or TV but that should happen this weekend.
    • Sunday: went to many stores trying to buy a Nintendo Wii for John. I was unsuccessful. I intended to make him cookies but that is a different story with a different post...
    • Sunday: John came home!!!!!! His flight was 2 hours late but he made is safely and we had frozen pizza for dinner since he was exhausted.
    • Monday: Checked Craig's list for furniture and responded to many, many ads looking for 2 dressers and some bookcases. Also went to a thrift store and found some decent dining room chairs and a TV/plant stand thing that has been put to good use. We also put together the dining room coffee tables (legs had been removed for storage) and unpacked a bunch of the plastic bins full of stuff and washed loads of dishes. I was wishing for that dish washer...
    • Tuesday: Unpacked more, got a dresser and filled it. John worked from home. I also got to go see the Sex and the City movie with a friend of mine. :) I had missed my girlie movie partner.
    • Wednesday: went to Target again, Home Depot, and the pet store (twice) to get general home/pet stuff. We then went to the electronics store to look at printers and TVs and found ones we liked. We wrote down numbers to check reviews (both got decent reviews but are cheaper elsewhere). We then went and got a bookcase and had dinner with two of John's friends. Stopped at the grocery store at 9:15. :)
    • Thursday (today): got a dresser (pretty close in color to the other one we got) and I filled it with John's clothes. John worked from home. I played online and made cookies.
So, that is how I have spent my last week and a half. Somewhere in there, I also got keys made for John and got a kitty lounger thing and two scratching posts. Tomorrow I get to go on "mission get stuff from sister."