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Showing posts from 2011

Been and gone..

Just making it in before the month and year end, with not much to say. 
Christmas was good, though somewhat of a whirlwind. Staying in my parents', eating in my aunt's, driving west to my Mum's family and then on to his, before making it back home again.
I ate plenty, I drank enough, I got some of the best presents ever; beautiful earrings, cookery lessons, DVDs, books (including the new Rachel Allen, hurrah!), masses of chocolate and a bottle of Prosecco! 
So we're back home and the tree still smells amazing, even through a full and fuzzy head of cold. A great excuse, if one were needed, to stay in this evening.
New Year's Eve has always been somewhere between not important and painful to me, after spending many years with no one to kiss at midnight and generally hating forced enjoyment. Paying in, queueing, standing, urgh. 
Last year, our first New Year's together, we stayed in, eating picky food from M&S and drinking bubbles. This year I have some of Super…

It’s beginning to look a lot like…

Christmas!
I’m very excited. I know, I know, it’s only November. Keep calm and wait till December. I can’t help it though, I’m excited.
I accidentally started Christmas shopping a few weeks ago, when in Kildare village with my Mum. I put the few things I bought away and forgot about them, but over the last couple of day I officially started, though again somewhat accidentally.
You see, November is a busy enough month for me present wise, so I’ve spent some time in the shops. Each week I have a very important person’s birthday. One of my very best friends; followed by my godson, then my mother and then himself.
Last year was our First His Birthday, only two months into our relationship, and I was nervous. This year I’m less nervous, and have been making notes, thinking, looking and consulting with friends for the last while. With his birthday and Christmas a mere 25 days apart I’ve had to think smart, make lists and warn him not to buy anything until January.
So I’ve spent the las…

Sniffle snuffle.

Sniffle snuffle. Cough and splutter.

I have a cold. Not a life threatening or life altering thing, just annoying.

First a sore throat, then an earache, followed by a headache. It moved down into my chest, leaving me feeling like a small (but heavy) child was sitting on me.

Eventually, at 3.45am Saturday morning, it started to clear, amongst painful coughs and child-like tears of frustration at not being able to cough or sleep.

Three days later and it has taken over my senses, of smell, and taste.

They say you can't get the same cold twice. I didn't realise they meant you couldn't get the same cold two days in a row. A magical travelling circus of a cold, currently residing in the nasal passages. For one day only, I hope!

I fear it may be heading north for a grande finale of headachey proportions. But oh, to breathe normally again! To be able to walk for more than 15 minutes at a time, or run up stairs. 

Boring you, am I? Imagine how I bloody feel. Big grumpy snuffly hea…

Nothing to see here..

No really, there isn't. 
Work, gym, spending time with himself, Croke Park, MasterChef, Family Guy, cooking, cleaning, eating, drinking, sleeping.
That's about it really for the last month.
And now I have a cold! Stupid.

Football versus football.

Growing up in my house there were two kinds of football. Football and soccer. No, before anyone starts, we’re not American. We’re Irish. My Mum’s from the hurling side of a Gaelic county and my Dad grew up in Dublin, in a cul de sac full of second generation Dubs like himself, influenced by their culchie parents’ love of the GAA.
That said, my mother somewhere along the lines, whether through a love of Kevin Moran, Denis Irwin or the colour red, became an avid Manchester United fan. I’ve often said she would watch the Paraguayan tiddly winks championship, if there was such a thing, so I suppose she had to pick someone to shout for. 
My Dad, however, only really watches sport when he’s working at it, and only vaguely supports Sunderland because Niall Quinn’s a nice bloke. 
Still though, to save confusion football meant Gaelic football and when talking about the other football, at least until after September, we generally said soccer.
Then I went and met a fella who grew up …

Seven bottles of wine on the floor…

It was a great way to end what was, without a doubt, the best two weeks’ annual leave I’ve ever taken.  On Monday, the Bank Holiday I almost forgot, I met three of my longest serving friends for lunch. At 1pm we met and ordered various combinations of breakfast, lunch and brunch, depending on how long it was since we’d left the bed. Though oddly, the one who was up most recently ordered a burger. I decided on brunch as you’re allowed, if not obliged, to have a drink with it.
Some confusion over the drinks order resulted in a very welcome glass of prosecco followed by a bottle of red wine. The bottle was swallowed in no time and dessert and coffees quickly stepped in to fill the void. We decided to go back to my place for another bottle of wine, stopping in Superquinn to buy some crisps, cheese and goodies for later on, just in case. 
We arrived and the crisps and jellies were immediately opened as was a bottle of wine, which was poured out into three glasses. Pellegrino in a …

Oops, I appear to have lost June!

I think I must have spent every spare minute in June either watering my garden or driving, lessons and practice for the test! The garden watering was calm and lovely but the stress of the test was a whole other thing.
I booked lesson after lesson and came back from each feeling either frustrated at not being a perfect driver, or elated that I'd got a simple 'good' from my instructor. Many times when I got in I thought of, or had, a beer. In part to have a beer and in part to prevent myself from driving again that evening, causing more frustration.
I had a date, for my test, and told only my instructor and my manager, who had to authorise my day off. Not my nearest or dearest, or anyone who asked 'have you put in for your test yet?'. I'd just reply with a vague 'yeah' and hope they wouldn't ask any more. It nearly burst out of my mouth 'IT'S NEXT TUESDAY!!' but I held back, wanting to conquer this thing on my own. 
The Monday before the sch…

How does your garden grow..?

It’s my birthday and I’ll party if I want to..

It’s not my birthday, not yet, but there are a lot of birthdays going on at the moment. Three of my best friends’ birthdays are within 4 weeks of each other between April and May. Some celebrate, some don’t, for different reasons. I have to say I love a birthday party, always have, and support the right to party! In Primary School there were 24 girls in my class so there was a nice, even spread of birthdays throughout the year. I was a bit of a tomboy usually found in a blue tracksuit, with a pink stripe, bombing it 'round on my red bike, but I loved to get dressed up in a frilly party dress and matching hair band. Not much has changed. 
Armed with a pink present, wrapped in pink paper, with a pink bow. Ready to eat cocktail sausages, monster munch, chipsticks, rice krispie buns, kimberleys and mikados. I never took to coconut creams. Playing pass the parcel, musical statues, musical chairs (basically a more violent adaptation) and winning amazing prizes like rubbers with ra…

L is for Learner

When I was 16 I decided I wanted a yellow VW beetle. I started saving and begging my Dad, but neither worked. Any savings I accumulated ended up being spent on holidays instead and my Dad thought I should pass my test first. I’m still not sure of his logic, but it got him out of buying me a car! 
I took some lessons in my late teens and loved it. Myself and my driving instructor would set off, him smoking rollies. It was easy, pedals, gears, mirrors, road markings, easy peasy. Uphill starts, reversing around a corner, three point turns, not a bother! I booked in my test and a load of pre-test lessons. 
A week before my test I got a call to say my instructor had been taken ill. My last three lessons were taken with three different, very different, instructors. The first was a young, good looking, charming, funny guy, who I spent more time looking at than at the road. The second was a tiny little feminist who lectured me on going for my truck driving licence after I got my …

Fish fingers and strawberries

Since I last posted my life has pretty much returned to normal. 
The first week was a blur. Wake on Monday, removal Tuesday, funeral Wednesday and back to work on Thursday. On the Friday I was back on the road again for a confirmation, a welcome break, a chance to escape reality for few more days.
Last week was just a normal week, work, home, eating, sleeping. Of course it's not normal down in my Granny's. I'm not sure if it ever will be. A man lives in a house for 90 years, it'll surely take another 90 to be normal without him.
This evening I had fish fingers and waffles for dinner and some strawberries afterwards. The Irish strawberries have hit the shops, another sign of summer! 
I'm off from Thursday for a week. My plans include cleaning, tidying, throwing out stuff and getting things sorted. There's also talk of a picnic, a trip to the zoo, Tuesday evening drinks and maybe a trip on the DART on a weekday afternoon. Can't wait to turn off the alarm and see…

Last Sunday

Last Sunday my Granddad got up and went to 9 o'clock Mass in his local church.
Last Sunday I got up and brought my mother to brunch at 11.30am in Odessa.
Later my Granddad had a roast goose dinner, followed by trifle and cream.
I had smoked salmon eggs benedict, freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee.
After dinner, my Granddad (aged 90 and almost a half) went fishing.
After brunch, I (aged 31 and almost three-quarters) went shopping.
After fishing, my Granddad walked from the river, through the fields, to the bridge to wait for his lift.
After shopping, I went to lie on the couch in my boyfriend's house, tired from a night out and early start.
Last Sunday, my Granddad sat on the bridge, hands on the stone either side and bowed his head.
Last Sunday, as I started to open an ice-cream and sit on a bench, I got a call from my mother, sobbing.
Never sick, we never expected him to go. His first admittance to hospital was for his post mortem. He went they way he should, aged 90, but still …

Drunk when sober.

Yesterday evening I met a friend after work and we wandered around the shops for a while, overspending, before going for dinner. 
A four course Spring special, that was actually five, pulled us into its clutches and we started to munch and slurp and chat our way through. 
"What is that?", she said proffering a piece of tofu, pulled out of her miso soup, "tastes like what I would imagine gelatine and wallpaper paste would taste of". "pretty sure that's what tofu is made of", I replied.
Through sichuan gyoza, sweet chilli chicken and spicy cod tempura, washed down with two diet cokes each, onto baileys cheesecake, banoffee and coffee. 
Chatting about our purchases, me worrying about the dress I had just spent far too much on spontaneously combusting and in my panic saying contaneously instead and taking some convincing that it isn't a word.
Chatting about her holidays, flight times, accommodation, restaurants, wine and whether spray on or rub in sun sc…

You could have been in a ditch!

Hmm, they didn't answer their phone, it must be upstairs. Or maybe in their coat pocket, or bag. Or maybe it's on silent? Or maybe they left it in work. Or on the bus. Or maybe it fell out of their pocket. Or they accidentally dropped it in the canal.

Or maybe they fell in the canal. Or maybe they dropped their phone on the path and went to pick it up and fell onto the road and got knocked down and their phone got run over and they were brought to the hospital but the hospital didn't know who to call because their phone was broken and and and...

Sometimes, some days, this is how my mind works.

Like the morning one of the lads in work, who was generally about three or four minutes late, didn't show up. When there was no sign of him by twenty past I texted him. No response. Then at twenty to I rang him. No answer. So I rang him again. Still nothing. He cycled to work, so I started to worry. I had him in a ditch.

About five minutes later he rang, sleepily, to tell me tha…

Operation Project

I started this post a week ago, full of vim. Great plans, great thoughts, great ideas, but I didn't finish. Neither the post, nor the sentiments. So, to finish and update.

Operation Box Room (aka Operation Clear Out)
My first mission is to clear out the box room and make it a storage room. It is currently a storage room. 
However, at the moment you need to be flexible, with good balance and quick wits, to manoeuvre your way in or out between the Christmas decorations, rolls of wrapping paper, never used futon, empty suitcases, unwanted presents, bags of clothes, shoes and bags destined for charity shops and documents for shredding.
Not to mention the boxes and general clutter occupying the wardrobes in the spare room and sitting on top of the wardrobes in my own room, which have never been opened since the day I moved in. I know there are months of House & Home magazines in one box, but which box and what is in the others is anyone's guess.
So the plan is to be ruthless! Thro…

So I opened the door in my pyjamas.

Yes, yes, a funny place to have a door... ba dum tish!
On Saturday morning I woke up at 8.13am, then again sometime later, strangely blurrier and unable to read the clock, after ten. I walked downstairs, put on the kettle for coffee and put a bowl of oats, milk and raisins into the microwave.
Then the doorbell rang, a once rare occurrence in this house. There I was, standing in the kitchen, in my pyjamas, Dolores Keane hair, no dressing gown and no clue who it could be. A hostage in my own kitchen. After a few minutes I gingerly opened the kitchen door, looked out and saw a familiar, but unexpected, silhouette.
I let him in, made more coffee and continued about making and eating my porridge.
Porridge and coffee and some time gone and the doorbell rang again. Seriously!
Bolstered by my earlier experience of opening the door in my pyjamas and wondering who it could possibly be this time I went out and answered the door to... the census guy!
I hadn't put a lot of thought into this. I th…

A balanced weekend..

Friday Last day of working solo, my old manager having left at the end of December and my new manager starting on Monday. After a long, busy but boring, two months working alone I left the building with a spring in my step. Ready for the weekend.
I walked down Grafton Street, nipping into Marks and Spencer to fill my basket full of goodies for the first weekend in a few that I will spend entirely in Dublin, and with minimal plans. 
Pastries filled with spicy chicken & chorizo and feta cheese & herb, falafel, Moroccan butternut squash parcels, chilli beef empanadas and a Greek olive selection. Carrot sticks, reduced fat houmous, half fat brie and reduced fat cheddar - fooling myself. Smoked salmon and organic Italian salad. Butter basted chicken breast with lemon and herb, extra fine asparagus, tenderstem broccoli and spuds for baking. (I did warn that food would feature around here!)
Got home, took off my coat, and piled all the food into the fridge. I'd barely finished when …

The sky's the limit

I have developed a recent penchant for the lottery.
My Dad calls it a tax on the stupid. (He refers to hangovers as 'entertainment tax').
I've bought and / or scratched a number of scratch cards in the last couple of weeks. My three stars are in the post (but I stupidly used my Dublin address so it's unlikely I'll be called). My free ticket win resulted in a free ticket of nothingness.

Every time I start to scratch I think I'm going to win. Two €40's, two €80's, two €10,000's... Then crestfallen when I win nothing, then checking and double checking (with one eye closed to ensure accuracy - a sign of getting old) to make sure there isn't a third hiding.
Scratch cards are a new departure from the very irregular lotto ticket buying, which in itself has become somewhat more regular of late.

A panel of numbers made up of family birthdays, another panel of either friends' birthdays plus a random number or, more often, a quick pick.

I used to do i…

When is middle aged?

I wrote a letter today to a supermarket’s Customer Service department complaining that they had no weighing scales in their Fruit & Veg section, leaving me having to guess what 1kg of tomatoes looked like. Granted it was more the attitude of the staff member at the so-called Customer Service desk that pushed me into writing, but still it made me think. I’m old enough (and grumpy enough) to feel the need to write a letter to complain, yet young enough not to know what 1kg of tomatoes looks like. 
I’m somewhere between going out wearing uncomfortable, but gorgeous, high heels on nights out that involve drinking, dancing, shouting over the music till my throat hurts and coming home to the dawn chorus and whatever the future holds for me. Flatter shoes, earlier nights, less drinking, still dancing.
I still have to ring my Mum to ask if 25g of caster sugar is the same as 25g of sugar. It is. I still have to ask a friend if eggshells go in the brown bin. They do. 
I forget to l…

Take my eyes..

I’ve always carried an organ donor card. I’ve always told my parents my wishes, worried that I’d go to waste.
My father would wince, thinking of what would have to happen for me to give life. My mother would wince, thinking of her daughter’s eyes. 
When I was little I would go with my father to Pelican House and watch proudly, and fascinated, as he gave blood. He couldn’t watch as they put in the needle, nor as it drew blood, but he did it regularly for as long as he could. 
I remember getting ‘the owner is a donor’ pencils and ‘drive carefully, you might need me, I’m a blood donor’ car stickers. Back when I still used pencils every day and couldn’t wait to get a car just to stick up those words.
I remember working out how long it would take me to get to 20, 50, 100 donations if I started on my 18th birthday and gave every 90 days. I was much better at mental arithmetic then.
I've since started to give blood, moved on to platelets, took a break, went back to full blood, took …

Spring, forward.

At precisely two o’clock today I realised it was Spring. Ok so it did make my brain wobble a little and think it was March for a second, but still.
I love Spring. I think it might be my favourite season, but then I change my mind every three months or so. What I love about it is that it’s kind of like summer, without the expectation and possible disappointment. 
We have an amazing capacity to completely forget what the weather is like from one year to the next in this country. We are often shocked and horrified at all forms of weather, even rain and especially snow. 
I love how in spring the sun starts to shine, just a little bit, and makes me think that it will be a lovely summer this year. My mind turns to holidays, long evenings, lunch in the park, beer gardens, ice cream and sun cream.
To me it doesn't really matter how the summer turns out, the promise of it is more exciting than the reality. I try to remember the good days and forget the bad, cramming the sunny memorie…

One down, eleven to go?

January over and not a Christmas tree lying in the back garden disposed of. Only today did I finally remember to put out the green bin containing empty Christmas cracker boxes, wrapping paper inserts and various other seasonal recyclables. 
The month saw the end of the longest cold / flu type thing I’ve ever had and the start of a month working solo while a replacement is found to sit at the other desk. 
Weekends were taken up with a half birthday party for the why-the-hell-not of it, visiting friends London, wandering around Kilkenny and holding a baking class for my friend's 12-year-old’s birthday party.
In between the weekends my moleskine filled up with lunches and dinners, a little bit of culture and plenty of sitting on the couch commentating on the ads and falling asleep during the programmes.
I have slipped on the ironing, but not on the fruit and veg. Alcohol has kept itself to the weekends, chocolate has not. Fish and red meat need some work, but I've read plent…

A little guest

For my friend's daughter's 12th birthday I am bringing her to a concert. Not one the cool kids would go to, but I don't think either of us would claim to be one of those. We're going to a piano recital in the National Concert Hall. 
I loved the National Concert Hall when I was her age. I loved it, even though I fell asleep every time. I have no doubt I will do the same this time.
So I booked the tickets and we started to plan.
She can come to my house after school on Thursday evening, have dinner here and get changed. If it's ok with you, and with her, she can stay over and I'll drop her to school on Friday morning? Thursday evening is choir after school. Her Dad will drop her over afterwards. Unless she has a rehearsal for a performance. She can't remember. She'll check. They have a rehearsal but she can't go to the performance, so no rehearsal for her.
Grand so,  sorted, easy. Realising that I will have to send her off to school with a packed lunch I ri…