Friday, December 29, 2006

Crash Course in Israeli Holidays

There hasn't been much time to blog due to all of the fun I've been having. Here are some highlights:

1. Brekhat Ha-Meshushim (Hexagon Pool)

We took a little break in the Golan Heights over Christmas. The Hexagon Pool is on the Jordan River where it meets the Sea of Galilee, and it's this amazing pool of water surrounded by long hexagonal columns of rock and it looks amazing. Any Israeli will tell you about how it's the only place on earth like this. Very special. You like it.

2. The Original Israeli Pancake House. Super Fantastic!

3. Trick! I've been getting plenty of cuddles from my doggie nephew. He winks.

4. The Hevre: in Hebrew, a "hevre" is a group of close friends with names like "Yair" or "Yossi." By definition, they are dependable, funny, and like to drink. Many dinners and poker nights. The fun is non stop!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Holy Matrimony, Batman!

Congratulations on the nuptuals of my good pals Alene and Jim! Now that you are no longer living in sin, your cats can go to school with the other cats without feeling so sinfully ashamed. Mazel tov!

Greetings from the Holy Land

Howdy from Israel, y'all! We're having a terrific time visiting Max's family, eating hummous and generally lazing about. And get this--I've worn my sunglasses for 5 straight days in a row. Can't say that in Dublin.

I promise I'll get some pictures up here soon--Max's mom's roof garden is truly something to behold. Like a little desert oasis, high in the sky.

Next week we'll spend a night at a B&B in the Galilee, and we'll also spend a few days in Jerusalem with some of Max's childhood friends. It's a lovely country, and it's great to have a good chunk of time to spend here. There is much talk of the wedding, especially when it comes to dresses and shoes, and a fair amount discussion involving our plans for the future. This is one place where everyone has an opinion and they consider it their duty to share it with you. Not that I'm complaining--I love it when the conversation is focused on me. Or my dogs and how cute and cuddly they are. On that note, check out LDB's new blog, and scroll down to the last picture in the sidebar. Ultimate cute on all fronts!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Lomo Yes!

Success! The test roll came out just fine.

I couldn't be happier. It's been months since this bugger worked correctly, and while I'm eternally grateful for the few pictures it's taken here and there, I'm thrilled to have a little consistency back with my artsy camera.

That's the unexplained mound in Merrion Square, by the way. If it ever snows here, even just a little bit, I am so sliding down that thing on a garbage bag. It will be a thrilling .75 seconds, and a testament to the lack of snowy hills in my childhood. Even a mound--not a hill, but a mound--makes for good sledding when you're from a place with no snow.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Lomo Maybe

Don't hold your breath, but I think I fixed my LC-A (again). Big thanks to Kristy who encouraged me to fiddle with the advance wheel and the shutter when she was here in November. I finally got around to some serious fiddling, and the first test-roll is at the photo store down the road being developed as I type. Just in time for our trip to Israel this Friday, too. After all, what's a trip to the Holy Land without jaw-droppingly vibrant photos with vignetted corners to show for it? Really.

(If you're not familiar with the LC-A and my continuing Lomo obsession, click here.)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

My Car, My Friend

I miss my car. Sigh.

(I would have linked back to that one post about my car, the one where I complain about getting rear-ended constantly, and there's a picture of my license plate cleverly photo-shopped to demonstrate the frequency of the rear-endings, but I'm still dealing with that pesky missing-pictures-on-all-posts-before-April-2006 thing. So it just wouldn't be the same.)

It's not that I miss owning a car, paying for gas, or getting it serviced. I don't even miss driving really, and I certainly don't miss sitting in traffic. I don't miss looking for parking or maneuvering the car into my inhumanely narrow SF driveway.

I miss the freedom that having a car brings. Knowing I can get in the car and just go; if I'm bored, lonely, feeling wanderlustly but not airport wanderlusty, I can drive. Even more, it's that I don't like feeling trapped as I do without a car. I know how far my feet can carry me in any given direction here in Dublin, and that's pretty much the extent of my universe. Taking the bus or the DART helps alleviate the trapped feeling, but it just isn't the same.

I also miss the home-away-from-home part of having a car. The closet on wheels where you can keep many different coats and shoes on hand in case of sudden changes in weather. The mobile office where you can fill out forms and pack up gifts before you go into the post office. Especially when it's raining. Ahem.

In honor of car owners everywhere, especially those of us who are temporarily separated from our beloved automobiles, I give you Belle & Sebastian.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Cranium Insanium

So we had some friends over last night for delicious delicious lasagna and a rousing game of Cranium. My team kicked Max's team's ass. Yeah.

But wait! There's more!

We had purchased the Cranium game in Ireland, see, so the questions were all weird and Irish (and English--to be fair, I think it was actually a UK version of the game). I had to act out things like "bubble and squeak"--muh??--which is apparently some kind of food involving mashed potatoes and coleslaw--I repeat, muh??? The questions were all about premiership football and Irish horse racing and where Mick Jagger went to college. Talk about feeling like a stranger in a strange land. Take something that I'm really good at and feel comfortable with--Cranium, for example--and change it just enough so that I feel like I'm playing Cranium but in some weird Taco Bell-induced dream.

Did I mention that my team won? Kicked ass over Max's loser team. Yeah.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Red-headed Step Blog

It started like this: I was looking at yesterday's blog post (Jim and Pam!!) and I noticed that almost all of the women in my list of warm fuzzy TV couples have red hair. I decided that was interesting and blog worthy, especially considering that I had red hair last year (It was the only time I had other-than-brown hair that required maintenance and upkeep and looked decent. Other than that, it was brief love affairs with green in high school and bleached/orange in college. Both with minimal success.) and I had recently seen a picture of that red hair which made me consider--for half of a split second--doing it again. Perfect for a Tuesday blog when not much is going on (thankfully) in my life, I thought to myself, and I can link to a previous post from last year with pictures of the locks in question. Brilliant! (That's Irish for awesome.)

That's when I discovered "the problem." Apparently, when I switched over to my own website (before I switched over to blogspot), I lost my pictures, or something equally as fishy. I don't know how I didn't notice it before, but I'm going to fix it. Something must be done. My vast and demanding audience deserves a pictorial history to go along with my past blog entries. I know how much time you all spend reading through back posts, searching desperately for some clue into the blinding ultra-coolness of Me. It's OK, everyone does it. It can't be helped. Well rest assured, I'll find the problem ad figure it out. And when I do, the world will once again have access to pictures of my red hair! Muhahahahahaha!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Baby, you and me got a TV kind of love

Surprise! It rained this weekend! To be fair, even if it hadn't rained, we still would have spent the whole weekend indoors catching up on Tivo. It's been a long couple of weeks for both of us, and we sorely needed some downtime. All that Tivo led to the following compilation:

My favorite TV couples of all times, in the sense that they make me feel warm and fuzzy all over

1. Jim and Pam from The Office. Jim and Pam! I know I am hardly alone on this one.

2. Willow and Oz from Buffy. They may be a fleeting favorite, but I just love them right now.

3. The whole cast of How I Met Your Mother (second appearance for Allyson Hannigan on this list). It's not just Lilly and Marshall or just Ted and Robin, and it's definitely not without Barney. It's the whole group that makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

4. Eric and Donna from That 70's Show. I want to be friends with them.

5. Joey and Dawson from Dawson's Creek, but only when they're not actually a couple.

6. CJ and Danny on The West Wing. Smart, sophisticated warm fuzziness.

You may say to yourself, "But wait! Surely a DeGrassi TNG couple made the illusive list. Paige and Spinner? Paige and Alex? Liberty and JT?" Well, as much as I love the Canadian teenaged dramas--and you know I do--I haven't found the warm fuzzy coupleness from the Great White North that I have from American network TV. And DeGrassi provides so much more than just hormones. After all, they go there.

Friday, December 01, 2006

It's official

I've blogged every day this week. Even if it was only a lame two-sentence post like this one. It still counts! Oh wait, that's three sentences. I mean four! Wait! Dang it.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Holy crap I need to go here

Where? Here! Awesome!

I'm so not a museum person, evidenced by the number of times I've been to the Irish Natural History Museum which is--at most--a 3 minute walk from my home: zero. Also evidenced by Max and my infamous trip to Euro Disney while everyone else went to the Louvre.

However, I am a useful things person. Evidenced by my collection of snow globes. Obviously. And the Museum of Useful Things is the kind of museum I can dig! To be fair, I can also dig medical-historical type museums like the one at Walter Reed Army Base (the best part is the comment. read the comment.). And also the 24-Hour Church of Elvis, which is kind of like a museum. A museum of crazy.

And also here. Because, I mean, come on.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Oh How I Love the Gym

Do you know how they measure body fat percentages? At my hi-tech Irish gym, they take this plastic protractor looking thing and pinch it onto the bulgiest, most sensitive parts of your body and then just let it hang there. They pinch the fat in awful, awful places; on your back, your arms, your waist...the humiliation alone must burn a couple dozen calories. And what about blushing? Does that count as exercise? So why would I write about such horrendous crap in my blog? In my first month of training (they call it "training" here, not "working out"), I went down 4 points of body fat percentage! That's right, I'm a body-fat-percentage-going-down machine. Imagine how many points I would have lost if I hadn't eaten like a frat boy when I was in the Bay Area.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Itsy Bitsy Etsy

If you're anything like me, you like to buy things. You probably like to buy things online, too. And you like to buy things for other people, especially when you realize that all of the knitting projects you thought you could finish by December will remain--unmade--on your yarn shelf.

Have no fear! My friend Liz and her new Etsy store to the rescue!

If you're anything like me, you have also recently discovered the joyous wonder of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'm digging the love match between Seth "he's-as-cute-as-he-is-short" Green and Allyson Hannigan's goofy-smart-Jewish-witch character (before she comes out of the closet and before she's a witch).

If you're anything like me, you like pop. Here's a poppy new song from an Australian band called The Grates that I saw on Pop Scene, the Irish music video show. Pop! If it's got hand clapping and harmonies and you can't not jump around when you here it, it counts as pop, right?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Anecdotes from Thanksgiving

What a great Thanksgiving! It was especially great thanks to a fun-filled visit from Paul and Kristy. Turkey, the Guinness Factory, a day trip to Kilkenny--pictures online at Picasa Web.

It was a cold Thanksgiving weekend, with some rain of course (this is Dublin, right?). But the warmth in this apartment was amazing. A heartily handful of Max's co-workers joined us for turkey (figure 1) and football, brought to us by slingbox.

Figure 1

The only thing missing were dogs to eat the turkey bits that humans don't want and cats to eat the turkey bits that humans do want, directly from their plates.

The Guinness Factory provided delicious beer and top-notch views of the city, while our rental car--a Nissan Micro--provided wrong-side-of-the-road fun for everyone. We drove to Kilkenny on Saturday and strolled around and just absorbed the quaintness. Castles were seen, pub food was indulged in, and yes, good times were had by all.

Now that I'm back in Dublin and house guests have gone home, the routine is starting to reemerge. Work, gym, and hopefully blogging every day. We'll see. Keep your fingers crossed.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Back in Dublin

More than a little jet lagged, I'm back in Dublin. And guess what? It's c-o-l-d cold! Max tried to warn me. He said it was cold enough for thermals. I decided he was being wimpy. I was wrong. He was right. Brrr.

The night before I was scheduled to leave, Miru decided he didn't want me to leave, so the he willed the festering wound behind his ear to fill with puss and explode. Apparently, Milhouse (prime suspect) had bit him at some point during the week, and it had become an abscess. The resulting shaved-neck kitty is pretty funny, but also too gross to show on this blog (even though I know you're all dying to see kitty gore). But here we are at the emergency vet.

And here we are running away from oral antibiotics and warm compress the next morning.

I still left on schedule, but I was full of kitty guilt. Fortunately, I was also full of turkey sandwich. A great guilt fighting agent.

My brother and his Kristy are coming tomorrow to celebrate Thanksgiving. I'm really looking forward to showing off my fancy Dublin lifestyle and our cute little European apartment. I think we're even going to rent a car and go find some sheep. Sheep!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Food makes me happy

It's no secret: I love me some food. The Irish are not known for their culinary prowess, although I do enjoy the odd shepherd's pie or bowl of farmer's vegetable soup at the pub. I knew that when I came to spend a week in SF it would be not unlike a sampling of all the foods I had ever loved. A veritable smorgasbord of tasties. So far, I've dined happily on a chorizo burrito from Pancho Villa, Chinese chicken salad from Max's, Thai red curry, gyros, hummus, tiny cheeseburgers from Cheesecake Factory (a delicacy) and sushi (twice in one day!). I still need to track down the elusive turkey on a soft french roll from Beli Deli, but that's hard even when I live here.

Next stop: Armadillo Willy's!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Having fun, wish you were here

It's been great being back in the Bay Area. Besides the absence of certain people (you know who you are Mir), it's nice to see and be seen. It's also nice to drive. It's great to be back in the office this week; there have been many celebratory lunches. Now if only I could fit those dogs in my suitcase...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

New camera, same dogs

And thank goodness for that!

There is also one grey cat who is happy to see me, especially when it's time for supper. And breakfast.

Supposedly, there's a black cat here, too. I haven't seen much of him, but I could swear there was a furry body sleeping in the small of my back last night.

I've been here for 2 days now, and have spent a great deal of that time lounging in my parent's bed, watching their new plasma hi-def. Do you hear me complaining? My cohorts aren't complaining, either.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

New and possibly improved

I've been toying with the idea of switching to Vox. I have the account, I have the blog, I have the way-cooler-than-this template. It's almost as if Blogger read my mind and made the new beta available to me today. So I'll try the new blogger beta for a bit, and continue the Vox contemplation. Now watch me tag like I've never tagged before.

I guess the secret ingredient is sugar. And salt.

I went to the AWCD penny raffle this morning. For those of you who don't know, I joined the American Women's Club of Dublin. That's where I hike and do crafty things and buy penny raffle tickets. And when you've stopped mocking me, I'll tell you about some of the super cool people I've met. But back to raffle. I didn't win anything, but all of my raffle tickets were used trying to win one of 5 gigantic baskets full of American goodies--Oreos, Goldfish, Jif peanut butter, Kraft Cheese and Macaroni, Bisquick, Jell-O brand dessert, Duncan Heinz frosting and cake mixes, Jet Puff marshmallows--keep in mind that I'm going back to the States tomorrow and could easily buy all of these things. Of course I wouldn't, because nobody in their right mind buys such junk food when they're supposed to be dieting. But the idea of winning a basket full of tasty sweets and salties made me very happy indeed. And it wouldn't be like I bought the junk food, I would have won the junk food. And it was for charity! Eat junk food for charity. I'm nothing if not charitable. And addicted to junk food.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Come on, feel the Illinoise!

What? What's that you say? You recently had the time of your life on a giant ferris wheel? And you just finished an amazing book about the Chicago World's Fair? And you're looking for a theme song? Preferably one with a kick ass horn section and no skimping on the xylophone? Sufjan Stevens has got you covered.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Promises, promises

I promised myself I would blog every day in November, even if it was just a few sentences. Even if nothing noteworthy was going on, even if I just didn't feel like it. It would be a glorious exercise in discipline. I wouldn't do it as part of some "let's all blog every day in November" campaign or as part of some "let's all write novels in November" kind of thing. Not that I don't respect either of those campaigns. I just figured I'd do it because it's a good thing to do.

Well so is drinking 8 glasses of water a day and turning out the lights when you leave the room.

I may have fallen off of the proverbial wagon, but I'm going to get right back on the horse. And many other cowboy metaphors.

Needless to say (and when has that ever stopped me?) I'm very excited to travel to the Bay Area on Friday. That trip has been at the forefront of my thoughts the past few days. I'll have a shiny new toy waiting there for me, and some shiny if not slightly used pets. Huzzah!

In the meantime, I'll curse the rainclouds that make Ireland their home, and get some quality cuddle time in with Max and the Slingbox, my two favorite people in the world.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Bray to Greystones

Yesterday was the perfect day for a hike along the Irish Sea. We walked from Bray to Greystones on this wonderfully level and easy trail. It was the kind of hike where I was chatting it up so much that it was over before I knew it, and I'd hardly taken any pictures. Which isn't to say that I didn't get any pictures. Heavens, no.

There's a few more up on Picasa Web.

We decided to cancel our trip to Brussels this weekend. Everything's fine, but Max has been doing a lot of traveling lately, so a nice mellow weekend at home is just what the doctor ordered. It's also the last weekend I have to get my act together before I leave for the US and before Paul and Christy come to visit for Thanksgiving. I still have to figure out how I'm going to fit a turkey into our tiny European fridge.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


What a terrific Halloween! It all started on Sunday when I was walking home from the gym (yes, I gave up on running and switched over to the whole dry, indoor exercise thing.). Out of the corner of my eye, I notices a wall of posters advertising shows coming to the Dublin area. I rarely recognize the names of musicians and bands that play in Dublin, let alone see a name on a sign where my eyes pop out of my head. But Sunday proved to be what will hopefully be the first in a long string of musical surprises. There on one of the signs were 5 beautiful letters and 1 dazzling punctuation mark, announcing the glorious news that in just 2 short days, on Halloween night, M. Ward would be playing in Dublin! Huzzah!

It was a fantastic show and a great way to spend Halloween, even with the noticeable lack of candy.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ballinastoe and Lough Tay

Another great hike with the club today. The weather cooperated, and the wind made a special appearance while we were on the top of the trail. Honestly, it's been many years since I've hiked, especially regualr hikes, and I'm thrilled to be living in a place where the hikes are many and to have met a group of people to hike with. And it doesn't hurt that they drive me out there, too.

More hiking pics on PicasaWeb, of course!

Not much else is going on lately. Max is in Tel Aviv and I'm starting to count the days until I leave for San Francisco (14). I can't wait to see the dogs and cats--sure, It will be great to see friends and families, too, but the dogs and cats--ooooooh I can't wait to cuddle them! I will force many hugs upon Milhouse in particular because he's the most resistant. Also, I like to live life on the pointy, pointy edge.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I only have Eye for you

Yes, yes, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Tower of London, House of Lords, I realize that London has much historico touristico to offer. But who cares when you've got The Eye?

A big hearty THANK YOU to Kerry and Graham for being the best London tour guides ever!


Happy birthday and welcome to the world, Little Miss RJMR! Baby, you're a Richman too!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hiking the Dargle

The rain didn't stop me from going on my first Ireland hike today. And I'm so glad--it was lovely, just breathtaking.

We hiked along the Dargle River which is this funky brownish-red color because further inland, it flow through the boglands. The bogs are full of turf which turns the rivers very dark. So dark, in fact, that back in like 988 (or very long ago, anyway) the Vikings who had settled in Ireland named the Dublin area--where 2 rivers meet the sea--"Duv Lin" which means "black pool." That may not be exactly correct, but it's close. I think.

And yes, I've switched back to a Blogger template. For now. The site I designed was having some issues, graphically, that I can't figure out how to solve. Someday, I'll actually take the HTML class I've been talking about taking for , oh, 2 years now, and then I'll know how to do all kinds of fancy homepage type things. Flashing headers. Fancy roll-over image effects. All kinds of stuff. But looking at that half-assed site everyday was like looking at a half-finished scarf or a half-schlacked picture frame. Sad. And this template ain't so bad. It reminds me of someone.

We're off to London tomorrow to see many wonderful things, including (in no particular order):

1. Kerry!
2. Wicked (with the original Elpheba!)
3. Londonish things!

Wanna bet I'll take lots of pictures???

Monday, October 16, 2006

Fart jokes are funny in any language

Wow, has it really been that long since I blogged? Goodness me. At least it wasn't out of laziness or lack of inspiration this time. Rhonda cam to visit/work in Dublin for a few days. It's always fun to have a visitor because you get to be a tourist in your own city. We went to the Guinness factory, rode the hop-on-hop-off open air bus, took a walking tour, went to some great pubs...Rhonda knows how to make the most of a 2 day visit. We were also able to get a good amount of work done, so everyone wins.

On Tuesday, we flew to Italy where Rhonda is talking a cooking class this week. She had a couple of free days before the class started, so I tagged along--we stayed in Pisa and took a fabulous day trip to Cinque Terre. Pisa is basically the Leaning Tower and some kick ass food. Cinque Terre is this amazing string of 5 tiny fishing villages connected by a hiking trail. The weather was beautiful, nice and sunny, and did I mention the food yet? Holy crap, I can't even blog about the food; when I start to think about it I go off in a daze and start to drool. Really.

The seaside path connecting the first 2 towns of the Cinque Terre--Riomaggiore and Vernazza--is called the Via Dell'Amore (lovers walk), which is a lovely stone path with amazing views and many professions of love. Take Guido and Irene, for instance.

Our hotel was very cute--the Hotel Bologna. It was a great place to kick back after a long day of touristing and eating (droooooooool) and drinking wine. There's something downright appealing about watching The Family Guy in Italian.

Thankfully, when I came back to Dublin, a nice 3-day clear spell had just started, so Max and I spent Saturday hiking on the Cliff Walk in Howth, (yet) another fishing village just north of Dublin city. There are a bazillion pictures of all of these latest adventures on Picasa Web--I tried to upload only the real winners, considering I've taken over 200 pictures in the last week. There are three new albums--Pisa, Cinque Terre, and Howth Cliff Walk--as well a handful of new pics from Rhonda's visit in the Dublin folder. Enjoy!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Different but the same

I've recently found this great TV show here called Project Catwalk. Sound familiar? It's exactly like Project Runway, complete with some random condescending gay guy to "mentor" the designers ("You don't know what you're doing. Don't you even want to be a fashion designer? I would let my auntie's dog wear that."). Granted, he's no Tim Gunn. After two episodes, his catch phrase hasn't yet appeared ("Make it work!"), but he does show promise. Sadly, Heidi Klum's role is played by Elizabeth Hurley, who is inferior for the following reasons: She's not gigantically pregnant, and she's not sugary sweet--and believably so--as she boots the designers off the show. No "aufidazen." No kiss on the cheek. Hurley just says "Fashion shows no Mercy. Please leave the catwalk." Guh??

Something else in Dublin that is different but the same: Halloween. Halloween is of course approaching, and you can find tacky yet charming decorations at most of the stuff stores that I frequent--Dunnes, Inspiring Ideas Crafts and Gifts, TK Maxx (not TJ Maxx, fitting in with today's theme)--and the grocery store is practically forcing me to buy tiny bars of chocolate in preparation for "the little visitors." How is it different? Well, so far, the youth in my neighborhood (and all over Dublin I hear) celebrate Halloween by setting off fire crackers and minor explosives. The kind that have been illegal in the US since the early 80's. Not the pretty 4th of July kind, but the loud, glass-shaking "was that a bomb?!" kind. And they start celebrating October first. Every night, I forget that I will be scared by a loud nice to the point that I shriek in my living room. And every night, I thank goodness that Ozzy's not here. He'd have had a heart attack by now.

And I keep wondering: do they have Shamrock Shakes in Ireland? (As I searched on "shamrock shake" and found that link, I realized that I've posted about Shamrock Shakes before. Which is just weird.)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

More pictures and things

I just posted the last batch of photos to the Portugal folder on Picasa Web Albums. These are from the fisheye camera, and there are some real goodies in there.

It got real cold here all of a sudden. I finished knitting scarves for Max and myself just in time. I'm also going to Italy just in time. Rhonda arrives Sunday, and after a couple of days of working and touristing, we're off to Pisa.

DeGrassi TNG started last week, and my hunch was right--Emma's a floosy. And what extra super fantastic event happens tonight? The Sharks hockey season starts! We're going to really put that slingbox to the test.

Monday, October 02, 2006

CFTPA Show in Dublin

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone came to Dublin on Friday. It was a terrific show, and the venue was nice and intimate. Last year, after I'd been listening to CFTPA for a few months (another gem introduced to me by my musically right-on brother), I learned that the fella behind the band was the high school best friend of my good friend Alene--talk about a small world! The show was really good and the crowd seemed to dig it, too. It was strange to see what had been a one-man-band for so long play on stage as a 5-piece ensemble. But it definitely reflects the direction of his new album--check it out if you like good music!

Then the rain fell. And fell. And fell. It may have stopped us from going on the cliff walk in Bray, but it didn't stop us from going to the farmer's market (we've been eating delicious vegetable stew for 2 days now) or from seeing movies: The Black Dahlia with Josh "Squinty" Hartnett and Clerks 2 with Rosario "Would you light my candle?" Dawson and Kevin "I spoke with him on the radio once about DeGrassi TNG" Smith. Both were watchable, neither was great. Clerks 2 was all it could be (gotta love Jay and Silent Bob) and The Black Dahlia was aesthetically great with just the right amount of sex and gore, but the story was just all over the place. Did I mention that Josh Hartnett is totally squinty?

Friday, September 29, 2006

A Decade of Nanna

Nanna is 10 this week. Good ol' Nanna.

I miss her so much. How much? Haiku much.

The real black and tan.
Guinness only dulls the hurt
of missing my girl.

The Lomo kind of mocks me

I got the first roll of film from the LC-A developed (the second roll is still in the camera). Only four of the 36 shots came out, and each of the shots were from different parts of trip. I am frustrated, and will hopefully get good advice and help from my local film place--the guy there seemed interested in my camera problem and asked that I bring it in next week for him to look at. He seemed up for a challenge.

All is not lost. Sure, only four shots came out. But this was one of them.

This was on our first day in Portugal, trying to figure out how the hell to get back to the villa. This intersection, of course, became known as "Goat Crossing."

We also used one disposal underwater camera on our trip. That's right!

Bubbles make everything better. So do goggles.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Tales of Porco and Grilled Sardines

Well, we had a fantastic vacation. I've posted some of the digital pics on my Picasa page--I tried to pick just the highlights out of the 220 + that we took. Eventually, I'll get around to developing the Lomo and fisheye films and I'll post those, too, assuming that they come out OK. Fingers crossed!

This was a real, honest to goodness vacation, possibly the longest I've ever taken. Seven full days of lounging in the sun, horseplay in the pool, driving on crazy Portuguese country roads, castles, beaches, fortresses, and salted cod. After spending time in Silves, Lagos, Portimao, Albufiera and Armacao de Pera, we decided that we liked Praia da Rocha best. It was one of the first resort towns in the Algarve, back in the 1930's, and retains a definite air of fancy old time-yness that's only slightly detracted by all of the pasty Irish and English tourists in their flip flops and vacation hats. At first, I scoffed at the coffee bar set in the old ruins of a fortress, but it really was quite awesome. The Portuguese were very friendly and accommodating, and they were very helpful when we tried to find something on the menu besides grilled sardines and twelve varieties of pork.

The sun was quite intense, and when there were clouds in the sky, they were the huge, cottony, towering kind that we never see in San Francisco. (I'm not sure what kind of clouds we see in Dublin because it's too hard to differentiate the clouds from the grey sky behind them.) The ocean water on the beaches was cool and refreshing, an obvious draw for the hundreds of sun bathers. Nearly every little beach had a bead bar, too--a great place to watch the waves and enjoy a tall, cold Super Bock, the national beer of Portugal.

Being able to go to places like Portugal was a big draw when we talked about moving to Dublin. The whole time we were there, I never stopped thinking about how amazing this whole experience is and how dang lucky we are to be here for this time. I'm so glad we're taking advantage of our location--in the next 6 weeks, we'll be going to Italy, London and Brussels for long weekends. Sure, it's no Disneyland, but you won't catch me complaining anytime soon. Not even about the weather. Really.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bom Dia!

We're back from Portugal, but this will be little more than a safe-arrival blog. I'm sorting through the dozens and dozens of photos that we took--castles, beaches, cities--trying to narrow down to top pics for uploading. More soon.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The fickle finger of shirt

You know how sometimes the gods of fashion lead to that unexpected place where you find that perfect shirt/hat/scarf/pair o' jeans/shoes (usually it's shoes) that you were looking for? Sometimes you didn't even know you were looking for it. Other times, your were looking maniacally for it all over a strange city, and you had one more day to find it before you left on vacation. Maybe it was the perfect light-but-long-sleeved button-up shirt that you planned to wear over your plethora of tank tops when the sun went down on your beach vacation to Portugal, and you'd already seen this shirt at this one store, but they didn't have your size. Maybe you'd stopped by that store nearly a dozen times to see if they had pulled out some more of those shirts, which they never did, and maybe you eventually gave up a few weeks ago. And then, maybe, you were wandering around a new-to you part of the city one sunny Friday afternoon, and you didn't realize that the street you were on would end up taking you right by that store with the perfect but non-fitting shirt, and when you realized where you were, you thought "what the hell?" and checked the store just one last time, and lo and behold, they had your size, and it was 30% off? You know how that happens sometimes?

I do.

Fancy orange bedazzlers.

And fancy orange snaps.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

By the way

I may complain a lot, but dang I love the sound of the rain falling outside. Go ahead, call me a hypocrite--I don't mind.

Dublin's New Slogan

We took a cab home from the movies Sunday night because I, being fashion forward as usual, wore the wrong shoes for the 30 minute walk home in the rain. Max, being the charming and friendly guy that he is, chatted with the cab driver about the weather, who sighed and remarked, "It's never raining in the pub."

Amen, Mr. Cab Driver. Amen.

I am simply beside myself with excitement about going to Portugal. We leave in just over 72 hours, and I've stocked up on sun block, bug spray, and underwater cameras. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed so that the LC-A is working--it's been on the fritz for a few months now, but tweaked the film advance wheel and prayed to the Lomo Gods so I'm fairly optimistic that we'll get some super fantastic shots of the beaches and the cliff top vistas. Lomotastic!

Ooh, and more travel excitement to look forward to: we're spending a long weekend in Brussels in early November! Gotta love those Aer Lingus 9 Euro sales.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Lost in your eyes

Ozzy Update: yesterday the doggie eye doctor told Ozzy that he has 100% vision back in both eyes. 100%. Just two short months ago, he woke up blind. Retinas totally detached. And he's now made a full recovery. Even within the first week he was 90% recovered. That dog has some serious recovery genes. I also believe he is meant for great things, and he needs his eyes to see those great things. Gosh, I miss him. I miss all of my furry friends.

I can't dwell on how much I miss them. It makes my everything hurt.

Two sunny days in a row! This is a real treat here in Dublin. I felt like mole man this morning, looking out the window, squinting, emitting a low-to-medium pitched growly moan. But now I've had my coffee and I'm getting a little itchy. Time to do some work then go for a walk in the SUN!

One more super fantastic thing: I'm going to Italy next month! I'll be spending two days in Pisa with the lovely Miss Rhonda before she goes to hunt truffles and cook them. I've heard they have some sort of tower or something there?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The ravioli that almost kicked my ass

Yeah, homemade ravioli. For someone who has cooked more times in the past two weeks than all previous times combined, I should have known that this was out of my league. A little too ambitious. Making the pasta dough wasn't the problem, even without a rolling pin. The filling was easy peasy. Putting the two together proved to be a bit more challenging than I anticipated. I stood there in the kitchen for nearly two hours, madly crimping the edges of those damn ravioli. For every edge that I mashed between my thumb and forefinger, another edge would burst with ricotta and mushrooms. All the while, those fresh-faced kids from Dawson's Creek whined about their problems on the TV in the other room. As if getting fired form your production assistant job because you slept with the lead actress and she's jealous that you're still in love with Katie Holmes even compares to my ravioli crisis, Dawson. Sheesh.

About half of the ravioli were deemed un-boilable. My genius fiance suggested that I bake the rejects and top them with a bit of reggiano. Did I mention that he's a genius? Best mushroom empenadas ever. Even the regular boiled raviolis were perfect. With a super tasty roasted red pepper cream sauce (we bought the roasted red peppers at the farmers market and the resident culinary genius made the sauce), everything was just terrific. And I triumphed over the raviolis.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Movies and mushrooms

We saw a terrific movie over the weekend--Crank. It's got something for everyone: severed hands, Turkish from Snatch, Google Maps--a good time was had by all. And as much as I hate to admit it, the love interest was a great role for Amy Smart.

On Saturday morning we discovered the Temple Bar Farmer's Market, which was just fabulous. Great fresh vegetables, delicious cheeses and fresh breads--but the best part was the Indian food stall where they had super tasty spicy kofta served with sweet tomato chutney exactly like the stuff they used to serve at the Indian food stall at Saturday Market in Eugene (you ex-Eugenians know what I'm talking about!). I hadn't tasted that stuff in nearly 10 years...and now you know where you'll be able to find me every Saturday for the duration of my stay here in Dublin. Yum!

We bought a bunch of beautiful fresh mushrooms at the market, shitakes and some other kind that look a lot like chantrels. Tonight I'll be trying my hand at homemade ravioli. Wish me luck!

Oh, and a couple of shout-outs: Good luck Dedi on day one of the new job! And love to Miriam who's beginning the Texas chapter of her life with some major hurdles--I'm thinking of you.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Soggy is as soggy does

After living in Eugene, Oregon for 5 years, I never thought I'd live in such a rainy, rainy place again. The summers in Eugene made the long, grey winters worth it. The summers brought the promise of swimming in lakes and rivers, camping and cookouts, Saturday Market and afternoons at the Arboretum. Even then, the winters were hardly bareable. Wet, long, muddy--a real drag. A lot like this past winter (and spring for that matter) in San Francisco. It's like global warming is turning the whole world into Western Oregon.

Dublin has the beautiful tell tale lush greeness that comes with a rainy climate. The smell of wet pavement in the street and wet green vegetation in the parks. It's still summer here--that's how I account for the generally light rain, the drizzle. I can only imagine what sort of epic floods the winter has in store for me. At least I get to live in a really, really pretty place.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pointy Dublin

I've posted some more pictures on Picasa Web Albums. There's a new folder where I've begun to post pictures of The Spire--the real beauty is in the ever-changing Irish Sky. I've also added some photos to the Dublin album--general pics of the stuff I see when I'm walking around the city, waiting for the DART, and whatnot.

We're taking a vacation next month--what they call a "sun holiday" here. We're off to Portugal where we'll be staying in a villa in the Algarve region in a village called Caramujeira which is just outside of Carvoeiro--check out those beaches! Some sun and surf will be a welcome break from the clouds and drizzle of Dublin.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Hunka hunka burnin' rasher

Grafton Street is one of those no-driving streets in the middle of a big city where you'll find overpriced boutiques, carts full of crappy jewelry, street performers, and inevitably a McDonald's. I've walked down Grafton Street a number of times since I've been here--at first because I could find and recognize it easily as it ends right at St. Stephen's Green, and there are signs for it all over, plus the lack of cars made it substantially less frightening. You know, back when I was still mildly afraid of crossing the street here. Yesterday I was walking down Grafton Street on the way back from checking out the Markievicz Leisure Center (making sure it wasn't scary before I went swimming there. It wasn't scary, and I swam there.) and I passed a couple of the dime a dozen guy-painted-silver-or-gold-who-stands-like-a-statue-
until-a-tourist-puts-money-in-his-cup/can/whathaveyou, then I passed a couple of the two-guys-with-guitars-singing-their-little-hearts-out, both of which we have plenty of in San Francisco. But then I passed the guy that *almost* made me stop and throw some coins in his guitar case, something that for whatever reason I never, never do. I passed the white-and-gold-
jumpsuit-and-sneaker-wearing-Elvis-impersonator--who sang in Irish. I may not know Irish, but I know Viva Las Vegas when I hear it in any language. Super awesome.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Weekend Excursions

We are all about site seeing. We're all about taking trains, trams, and pictures, reading maps, walking, and buying touristy crap. The rain cannot stop us.

This is the picturesque fishing village of Bray. I tell you, they don't call this country the Emerald Isle for nothing. Despite the random and unannounced downpours, Saturday in Bray was delightful. Except for when the bumper car operator scolded me--repeatedly--for driving on the wrong side of the bumper car rink.

On Sunday we went to Kilmainham Gaol. When imprisoned during the Irish Civil War, Grace Gifford Plunkett smuggled some paints into her cell and painted this picture of the Madonna and Child. Sad and stunning.

We also saw a great movie at the Irish Film Institute, Look Both Ways. Yes, I know it's Australian. Not Irish.

I've uploaded some photos from our weekend outings--enjoy!

Friday, August 18, 2006

A big cheer for two years

Happy Birthday, Blog! You're two years old today! Does this mean you're going to start throwing temper tantrums and demanding chocolate cake for every meal? Are you about to go through one of those phases where you'll only wear your red cowboy boots and refuse to take baths unless I sing the special 18-verse blog bathtime song? Oh, goody.

Two years. I have been blogging for two years. For two years, I have been sharing glimpses into my job, my mind, and my life with people via this blog. I've gotten comments from complete strangers weighing in on my hair color. I've gotten emails from folks who've discovered fatty tumors on their dog's ribs and want to know what to expect. This has totally been an extra super fantastic experience. Here's to two more years of blog! Yay blog!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Feed me

Hey--you see that shiny orange button in the left-hand side bar there? Shazam!

Thanks, Arturo!

Eye of the tiger

It's been a long time coming, and I'm not saying that is it, but I've started doing something I've been wanting to do for a long time. I've tried to do this particular thing before, a couple of times, and always with very limited success. A number of different influences and circumstances have led up to this most recent attempt, and I'm feeling pretty optimistic about it. Still, I almost don't want to blog about it just in case I drop the ball again--this post will server as a reminder of things tried but never really completed.

I've started running.

I hold Kerry responsible, and also Gary. Cool people who also dig exercise. Kerry's a runner, and apparently a good one at that. All kinds of trophies and marathons and stuff. Gary blogs about his bike the same way he blogs about his daughters. My brother runs, and he's always been good at finding stuff to do that really counts--taking pictures, collecting really great music, traveling.

Moving to a new place seems to be a good reason to try new things. I had a feeling something like this would happen. Whether it's dropping bad old habits or finding good new ones, a new place is a good place to re-evaluate. And then Miriam sent me to 43 things and evaluation turned into obsession. As often as I look at my life and say to myself, "Holy crap, this is awesome!", I like everyone else, can get ultra-critical when faced with all of those things that I said was do/be/see/experience by the time I was 25, 30, whatever. I'm not quite ready to share my list yet--I need to re-re-evaluate and not be so harsh on myself. I'd rather have my list be about what I want to learn and do and less about what I want to change or stop doing.

But all of that led up to me running. Not fast, and certainly not far, but it's a start. And today when I was running down Lower Mount Street and it started to rain, I felt like Rocky. Eye of the tiger. And I got motivated to make the Best. Running. Playlist. Ever. And even though I truly hate running (all kinds of exercise in fact), I have faith in the possibility that I can grow to not hate running. I could even grow to like running. OK, let's not push it. But a little bit of exercise is good for a person, especially a person who's just moved to a country where everything worth eating is served on a buttered baguette. And I'm not about to say no to a buttered baguette.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Will burn for food. Or feeding.

Ok, so I'm starting feel really stupid. I can't figure out how to make an RSS feed of my blog. Even though the instructions are as simple as "Ready to burn your feed? Type your feed or blog URL here" on, the issues I'm experiencing are numerous. There's nothing like having attempt after attempt returned with errors about being invalid. I'm valid! My blog is valid! We don't need your stupid burny feed thing anyway. So there.

Except for that we do. Not only are all of the cool kids already doing it--have been for years--but I actually got a request for an extra super fantastic feed:

"Anonymous said...

Yo Deborah. Totally unrelated to this posting: where's the link to your RSS feed? I want to get your bloggy goodness in my RSS reader rather than having to come here to the site. Get hep to it, yo."

Oh, how I would love to get hep to it. I've always considered myself a pretty hep to it kind of gal. But alas, I cannot get my blog hep to feeding or burning.

This is an official cry for help. If someone wants to burn my blog or perhaps feed it, I will provide all of the necessary informations hertofore hidden in the bowels of the "settings" tab of my blogger dashboard. After all, setting things on fire is fun! So is feeding things! Especially when the thing you're feeding is a small but spunky goat at the petting zoo, and the things you're feeding to it are small but spunky goat pellets that come from a handful-of-candy vending machine.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

mmmm, tastes like random

There's a large, blank, white wall in my apartment. It creates a hallway and separates the living/dining room from the bedrooms. It's screaming out for a mural to be painted upon it. One with a unicorn and probably some lightning bolts.

There's a great show on RTE every afternoon called Reeling in the Years. It's a half hour long and each episode features one year between 1970 and 1999. It's basically news clips and images from the year's milestone events (both global and Irish--the Berlin Wall comes down, then Cork's hurlers beat Galway in the All-Ireland Hurling Final) set to music from the year in question with home video-esque captions identifying each event. It's awesome. I wish it was available on DVD.

Speaking of things I would buy if I were still in the habit of buying things (remember, I'm a minimalist now. Cough, cough.): oh, my lord.

RIP, YKW?? You'll be sorely missed. And eventually forgotten. But not until I update my link list, so you've got a while.

2 photo essays I'm planning for the near future:

1. The Georgian Doors of Dublin. Brightly colored, shiny lacquered doors? Me like!

2. The Spire of Dublin. AKA the millennium Spike. Built for the millennium, this shiny bit of pointiness was completed in 2003. I'm not sure I like it all that much, but I can't argue with its bigness. Or pointiness.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Exciting New Developments

I've started using Picasa Web so that I can share pictures with everyone. There's a new link up there in the "me" section--the best section--of the sidebar. Or you can click here. We'll see how good I am at updating it.

The albums called Glendalough and Powerscourt are from the day trip we took on Saturday to the Wicklow Mountains ("the Garden of Ireland") with Aldo. It's a beautiful place, very foresty and lakey and green. We drove along a scenic highway for a while and it really reminded me of Skyline, except less dark and cold because the trees aren't as tall or dense. It took me a while to be able to actually enjoy the scenery; I had to work on overcoming the feeling that we were just about to crash. The whole driving on the wrong side of the road while sitting in the wrong side of the car thing is really hard to shake.

Everything in olde time Ireland is made of rocks.

How awesome is that? A hundred awesome.

Also a bunch of awesome is Casiotone for the Painfully Alone's newest album, Etiquette. If you haven't heard it yet, go hear it. He's playing in Dublin next month, and that is on the level of 300 awesome.

Another awesome thing, but the sad, very sad kind of awesome, is this movie I saw last night: The Wind That Shakes the Barley. Tough stuff. Make sure you have lots of kleenex on hand.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Embassy-tastic: Bur-ROCK-racy!

I spent this morning at the US Embassy. It was, surprisingly, a very pleasant and friendly experience. Well, maybe not so surprising, considering that all of the employees were Irish. I was expecting a DMV-like experience, which it was, but one where all of the DMV employees are happy little sprites who give you candy.

I found the Embassy on my map and proceeded to walk down a quiet little tree-lined street, not at all sure that I was going in the right direction. Is this it? No, this is the Ukrainian Embassy. This? Nope, Czech Republic. Hmm, there aren't many buildings left on this street. Then I noticed the HUGE building at the end of the street, the one with 3 security guards standing out front and an unbelievably long line stretching around the block. Oh, DUH.

If being a US citizen with a US passport was ever a super awesome thing to be, this was the time. I was told by the really very friendly security guard that I was to bypass the queue and go straight to window. Which I did. Pretty dang cool. For someone who hates waiting in lines as much as I do, this was a fantastic way to start my Embassy experience. And it only got better.

Long story short, my new passport will be here in 2 weeks, and the whole process took less that 2 hours. Including having to get 2 sets of passport photos (I didn't specify US passport when I got the first set of passport photos on my way to the Embassy. Even living overseas, I'm full on ethnocentric.). And Irish people really are the friendliest people ever. Really!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What's Weird?

OK, lots of things. But right now, weird is watching Sponge Bob Square Pants in Gaelic. Which, I've been told, is no longer called Gaelic, it's called Irish now. So weird is watching Sponge Bob Square Pants in Irish.

My Neighborhood

Merrion Square Park

The parks here are very clean and well maintained. Even in iffy weather, people picnic, nap in the grass, play with their kids--it's great. There are some really interesting sculptures. I'll have to get a picture of the zombie statue. It's probably something religious, but Leor and I are pretty sure it's a group of zombies operating on another zombie.

This weekend we're renting a car and going to the country. It's a bank holiday (that means it's a 3-day weekend) and I think we'll try to see the West coast of Ireland. There's supposed to be some pretty dramatic cliffs and stuff. There's a place called Dingle that I've heard is pretty amazing...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Rain, Ice Cream, and Damn I Miss Hockey

It's my fourth day in Dublin, and I've seen it all: the rain, the drizzle, the sprinkling, as well as the beautiful blue skies and the mugginess that reminds me of childhood summers in upstate New York (but I don't think that last one is normal for these parts). None of it has been all that severe; pretty mild and mostly harmless (kind of like the food so far). It really is pleasant for the most part, but I'm holding my breath for winter.

Some of the things I've noticed so far:

They have ice cream trucks here, and they play music that sounds an awful lot like something I would classify as a jig.

There are 2 big parks near my apartment, and one of them has a come-hither looking statue of Oscar Wilde. The other one has a pond with ducks in it. I can't remember which is Merrion Square Park and which is St. Stephen's Green, but they're both really freaking cute.

Just like the French, the Irish put butter on everything. This makes me happy.

Dubliners love their Friday nights and their pubs.

It was at least this happening when we left last night around 1:30 am, and half of the patrons were still in their suits and high heels from the work day. Very impressive. Thankfully, the quickie mart type places (I haven't figured out what they're called here yet) stay open real late in the drinking neighborhoods so you can chase your Guinness with a Magnum or a Flake ice cream. They even have (get ready for this, Dad!) Tim Hortons donuts! Talk about a small world.

Friday, July 28, 2006

I live here now!

Well not in the River Liffey. But down the street! Exciting!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Erin Go Bragh

Safe arrival post! Made it to Dublin safe and sound. The apartment is wonderful, the city is beautiful, and the people are friendly. I'll try to get some photos up later today after I've done a round of site seeing.

I love new adventures!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

So this is what "intensive" means

Wow. This publishing course is no joke. I don't know whether I'm coming or going. For all I know, I'll wake up tomorrow and it will turn out that I only dreamed that I posted to my blog. Eesh.

Does anyone who reads this blog go to Stanford? Is the dorm food always this good?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Is it the first day of the rest of my life yet?

So in about 2 hours, I'll be checking into my dorm on the Stanford campus--my home away from home for the next 10 days while attend the Stanford Professional Publishing Course.

Yesterday I cleaned out my desk at The Planning Shop. All of my snow globes, my box of Farrah Fawcett heads, my stacks and stacks of crap--gone. Boxed up. There's no sign of Deborah in The Planning Shop office other than my shadow box from team-building day. That and the weird dog smell.

In 12 days, I'll be boarding the plane to Dublin. I plan to sleep on the transatlantic flight. Sleep and dream of leprechauns.

So if I don't blog much over the next couple of weeks, it's because I'm busy learning, networking, and experiencing life-changing events. And if I do blog much, it's probably because learning means reading (and we all know how I feel about reading), networking is scary, and life-changing events have pretty much been the norm this year. Either way, I'll be having a great time.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Wild Like Children

Mir and I went to see Tilly and the Wall last Saturday. It was my last hurrah in the city before I leave for Dublin. They played at Cafe du Nord, which is 2 blocks from my old apartment. No, there weren't any tears (not from me), but it did contribute to the growing general feeling of "Wow. I'm leaving the country. And my hometown. For, like, a long time. Cool!"

Sure we could have gotten a better picture, but I really didn't feel like muscling my way through a bunch of sweaty hipsters. Sheesh, what a fashion show. And hair show. Good music though. It's hard to beat the poppiest of pop combined with tap dancing. Even if the tap dancer might as well have been holding a big cardboard sign that read "Look at me! I'm super cool!" Listen, sweetie, you're already a tap dancing percussionist for a pop band. From Omaha. We know you're cool. You don't have to convince us. Now take off the tutu.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mine eyes have seen all kinds of stuff

Ozzy update: it's a miracle!

We went to the doggie opthamologist this morning, and Dr. M. told us that Ozzy's got 100% vision in his right eye and 90% in his left eye. The side effects of the prednisone--lethargy, general mopey-ness, peeing like there ain't no tomorrow--will subside as we lower the dosage over the next couple of weeks. He will need to take a low dosage of prednisone for the rest of his little doggie life, but it won't have any of these adverse effects on him. It will just keep his little doggie eyeballs from breaking again. Good boy!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I'm seriously not kidding

Oh crap--it just hit me that I'm going to really miss some people when I move to Dublin in a few weeks.

Like, *really* miss some people.

Can you guess who I'm anticipating missing right now? That's right--Dolph Lundgren.

This one's for you, my once and always doppelganger.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Knee-deep in the hoopla

We go together like, um, public beaches and illegal fireworks. Together forever like, er, 12-packs of Bud Light and illegal fireworks.

Spending the 4th of July at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk was as fun and entertaining as it was surreal and terrifying. The fireworks display after sunset was huge, impressive, and in no way approved or regulated by any official body. The quarter-mile long stretch of beach was occupied by dozens upon dozens of pyromaniacs equipped with large and loud illgotten fireworks. As long as you stay aware and be ready to run if you see someone sprinting away from a box or tube or anything smoking or with a fuse, you'll probably be safe. And the view can't be beat.

Ozzy update: Poor guy. His vision seems to be returning, at least some of it. It looks like he's responding well to the steroids that the opthamologist prescribed, but the pills are making him feel and act out of sorts. Our next eye doctor appointment is scheduled for Saturday morning. He's a real trooper, that's for sure!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Slightly more pathetic than he was last week


"What did you do this weekend?"

Examples of acceptable answers:

"I saw a movie and went for a hike."

"Met some friends for dinner and drank way too much."

"Nothing really--puttered around the house and did laundry."

"Ran around doing errands, took the kids for ice cream, watched the ball game."

And then there's my answer:

"I woke up Saturday morning and my dog had gone blind."

Seriously. Blind as bat. Blinder, actually. Only Ozzy could experience spontaneous blindness. One diagnosis of two detatched retinas and a prescription for prednazone later, his eyesight is slowly returning. I wish the same could be said of my sanity and low blood pressure.

Thankfully, he's not in any pain. I think he's rather enjoying all of the extra attention. "Here, Oz, have some hamburger. Let me carry you to bed, buddy." I sure do love that accident and illness prone dog. Even when he's got goofy eye.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

That's what I get for eating Taco Bell before bed

I had a dream that I was falling. It wasn't one of those falling dreams where you suddenly wake up all startled and covered in sweat right before you hit the ground. I dreamt that I was on this falling team lead by Heather Graham. I think it was the Heather Graham from Scrubs, not the Heather Graham from Drugstore Cowboy or Boogie Nights. We had these lime green and black spandex suits, and we jumped feet first from a platform in outer space. Then we continued to free fall for the equivalent of 14 miles--this was the part of the dream that actually took a long time. I remember the fall, and it took like 20 minutes. But that's probably only like 10 seconds in dream time. At the end of the fall,we landed in a body of really cold water (we're talking Fall Creek, Oregon cold), still feet first. In order to keep my lungs from freezing or collapsing, I kept repeating this rhyme in my head. Sadly, I couldn't remember the rhyme when I woke up, but that would have been awesome. I swam away from the landing site, and then Heather Graham told us what a great job we all did and high fived all of us. Then we stood around talking about how far we had come as a team.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Lover Girl

I got back from Minneapolis last night. Spending the weekend with the lovely and talented Richman Family allowed me to get my fill of baby for the next little while. Babies (at least this baby) are like crack. No, actually, they're more like Taco Bell. Addictive and super tasty, and more time you spend with them the worse your tummy hurts. Or maybe that was all the taffy we ate. Either way, I just can't me enough of that baby. At least I was able to buy a pound of taffy to bring to Ireland. If only I could buy a pound of baby. Sigh.

Check her out. What a sweetie pie. It turns out we have a ton of things in common. We both love our mommies, and we're both all about giving high fives. And then there's the chocolate.

Well, I think you know how we feel about chocolate.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Nice melons! High five!

I love cartoons. Sure, I could be a snob and say that I love animated shows for adult audiences, which is more accurate and doesn't conjure so much the image of me sitting 6 inches from the TV eating cereal and watching Bugs Bunny. But while I love The Venture Brothers and Home Movies, have a soft spot for Sealab 2021 and The Family Guy, and am even starting to not hate Squidbillies, I truly dig the non-Adult Swim varieties as well. Currently, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends and The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy are taking over my Tivo. I think I've seen nearly every glorious episode of The Fairly Oddparents and far too many SpongeBob SquarePantses. And now Ren & Stimpy reruns are being shown daily on not one but 2 cable networks! Surely you can picture the smile on my face as a drifted off to a peaceful sleep last night while watching Rocko's Modern Life--it was the one where think their friend is an alien who disintegrates people by high fiving them.

Genius. Freaking genius.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Should I be saving all of my toenail clippings as well?


You'd think that I, watching the amount of Discovery Health Channel that I do, would have heard of this before now.

Regardless, YUCK. Super YUCK. Maybe if they gave it name like "Super Amazing Life Juice" I wouldn't be so appalled. But freaking cord blood?? Gross me out.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

St. Vincent sure is tasty!

Well, nobody "tagged" me or anything, but I really liked this meme that Clamhead posted. So now I'm posting it. Try and stop me, yo.

The instructions:
1. Go to Wikipedia.
2. In the search box, type your birth month and day (but not year).
3. List three events that happened on your birthday.
4. List two important birthdays and one interesting death.
5. One holiday or observance (if any).

January 22

1. 1947 - KTLA, the first commercial television station west of the Mississippi River, begins operation in Hollywood, California.
2. 1973 - The Supreme Court of the United States delivers its decision in Roe v. Wade striking down state laws restricting abortion during the first six months of pregnancy.
3. 1984 - The Apple Macintosh, the first consumer computer to popularize the computer mouse and the graphical user interface, is introduced during Super Bowl XVIII with its famous "1984" television commercial.

1. 1849 - August Strindberg, Swedish writer
2. 1965 - DJ Jazzy Jeff, American rapper and actor

1994 - Telly Savalas, American actor (b. 1924)

Feast day of St. Vincent

What fun!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Pass the taffy

Hooray for today, the official end of the Great Dental Uprising of 2006! If I were you, I'd buy dental floss stock.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Take my Xbox, please

Who among my reader loves them some Xbox? It's OK, I still love you. Poor Max had to leave behind a bunch of his treasured toys when he left for Dublin, and there's a box full of delicious Xbox booty under my bed. But not for long....

Obviously there is some poetic justice involved. I'm hardly in my mid-twenties at this point. And I rarely drink tequila.

If anyone wants to drive their girlfriend to babbling, drooling insanity or rage-induced homicide, this auction is for you! Save me from having to explain to Max why I dumped his beloved Xbox-y things in the Foster City Lagoon.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Just for larfs

Two incredibly amusing things:

    1) From Overheard in New York,

    Girl: I'm going to bed when I get home.
    Mom: OK, if I get up before you and I want to do something fun, then should I wake you up?
    Girl: It depends on what "fun" is. If it's one of your ninety-seven Starbucks runs, then no. If it's chasing the dog around the house going "Eeeeee!" then, yeah, sure.

    --B train

    2) The entertainment for Max's company party tonight in Munich: one Mr. David Hasselhoff. For serious!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Into the Wild

I just got the first batch of pics from my brother's stint in Alaska. He's filming Into the Wild, and aparently they are not kidding!

Rat Roulette: Now that's wild!

My brother the mountain man! What a looker.

And I love it in spite of Steve Carell

Let's talk about The Office. The US version of course, because we're the best at everything we do. Duh. But seriously, how did I not immediately understand how great this show is? It took me far too long, but I finally came around and now I see the glory that is The Office. I would have known this pleasure were it not for the glory that is Tivo. Life freaking rocks in the 21st century.

Friday, June 02, 2006

It Is Not Easy

Desmond Dekker died last week, and since then I've meaning to post my thoughts on what he meant to me. But I guess other things have taken priority. Things like sushi with Rosa and Dave, disappointing grilled cheese with Miriam, 2 more fillings at the dentist, and life in general.

Desmond Dekker made beautiful music, some of the only music that I listened to in early college that I still listen to. You won't find any Grateful Dead or Bob Marley on my iPod, but you'll find Desmond Dekker.

Intensified Festival 68 - Desmond Dekker & the Aces
Honour Your Mother and Father - Desmond Dekker & the Aces
You Can Get It If You Really Want - Desmond Dekker & the Aces

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Countdown to Ireland

So Max is in Dublin, fighting jet lag and apartment hunting. Oh, and working. Poor kid arrived Monday morning and went straight into the office. If I ever start a business, he's the first guy I'll hire. He gets the job done! He doesn't sit around all day blogging and reading Paris Hilton gossip and, er, um...never mind.

The first few days after Max goes away, I always feel like super woman. "Now that I have all of my free time to myself, I'm going to learn how to cook and organize my iTunes and walk the dogs 10 miles a day and do all of the laundry that was ever created and have dinner with every friend that I haven't seen in weeks and finish watching Lawrence of Arabia and..."

Yeah. Good luck with that.

It's nice having a person around on whom I can blame my lack of stuff-getting-done-ness. What did I do the first 2 days after he left? Watch a bazillion episodes of Walking with Prehistoric Beasts with my Mom. And eat brie. In my defense, I have managed to walk 9 miles with the dogs since Sunday morning--the weather's been ridiculously nice--but I'm sure I ate 9 miles worth of brie last night alone. There's nothing like butter masquerading as cheese.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Check me, like, totally out:

But this will only apply on Monday, May 22, 2006. After that, I'm just me again.

Speaking of me, I had a terrific time in Tahoe. Max's game is black jack. He knows about when to hit and when to stay, when to split aces and when to double against a ten (never, apparently). He's a good tipper and friendly guy, and truly seems to enjoy himself at the tables.

Then there's me. I like to play skee ball.

Our hotel had an arcade in it so I was happy as a clam. They had 2 mediocre pinball machines (Lord of the Rings--feh--and Batman, the one with half-naked Kim Basinger on it. Shudder.) and I played my first Dance Dance Revolution ever (did you know that a video game can "boo" and "hiss" at you?). But the skee ball was unreal. Something truly amazing took place in that dark room full of epilepsy waiting to happen.

See, I never play the end lane, it seems to squished for the wide range of skee ball motion necessary to dominate the game. I usually pick the lane second from the right. It's just my thing. But for some reason on Saturday, after about 3 games, I moved to the furthest left lane and after about 10 seconds, I realized what was happening. Every time the game started a new play, the points meter would instantly register 450, regardless of the actual points being scored, and the ticket dispenser would spit out 20 tickets. Now, my average game that day was closer to 240 (I never said I was good at skee ball, just that I like it) which is worth 7 tickets. After about 6 consecutive 450 ill-gotten point games, it dawned on me that my game card (tokens are so 2005) had about 2000 points on it, and one game of skee ball was worth 21 points. I could stay here at this wonderfully busted lane and play...a hell of a lot of games of skee ball. And "win" 20 tickets per game. I played for a while, but I kept getting really nervous. How could they not know that the machine was malfunctioning? Would they be suspicious when a 30 year old chick wearing Bermuda shorts and flip flops stepped up to the prize counter with a bazillion tickets? Could I get arrested for this? Which prizes would I choose in exchange for my morally questionable tickets?

I kept freaking myself out with these questions, and every so often I would leave the busted skee ball lane, feed my pile tickets into the automatic ticket redemption machine (counting your own tickets is so 2005) and go play mediocre pinball. But the lure of the Broken Skee Ball Machine kept calling me, and I returned to the Lane of Temptation again and again. It wasn't my fault the machine was malfunctioning. It was a victimless crime. Right? Right.

By the end of the afternoon, I had acquired 2,180 tickets. I had played 109 games of skee ball. I had hurled 981 heavy little plastic spheres at the funnel-shaped targets. I walked up to prize counter and handed my ticket count receipts to the 17 year old counter boy with the droopy expression.

Me: "Let's see..."
Him: "..."
Me: "Hmmmm."
Him: "..."
Me: "I'll take one yellow Care Bear."
Him: "OK."
Me: "And one purple Care Bear."
Him: "OK."
Me: "And one blue Care Bear."
Him: "..."
Me: "And the Monkey Care Bear, er, the Care Monkey."
Him: "..."
Me: "What is that one? A dog?"
Him: "Yeah."
Me: "I'll take that one. Oh, it's a lion. It's not a dog. It's a Care Lion."
Him: "Yeah, it's a lion."
Me: "And that pink one. The Care Elephant."
Him: "OK."
Me: "How many tickets is that?"
Him: "1,800."
Me: "I'll take the balance in Pop Rocks."
Him: "..."

And I left the arcade with 6 Care Bears and 8 packets of Pop Rocks.

And my arm is KILLING me.

Best. Tahoe. Trip. Ever.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Friday, May 19, 2006

Oh boy oh boy oh boy

I'm really excited to go to Tahoe today. I could really REALLY use a little getaway, especially one that has 2 outlet malls on the way. This will be nice. Like a bite-sized road trip. I still really want to take that cross country road trip that I've been talking about since 1995. The one that goes through (in no particular order) Arches National Park, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, the South in general, the Great Lakes, Atlantic City, the Mississippi River, Deadwood South Dakota, Cedar Point Ohio, Pennsylvania, Yellowstone, Thousand Islands, Dollywood, and Graceland. Holy crap, that's going to be an awesome vacation. It will be the kind of vacation where we rent an RV, I think. It will be the kind of vacation where I spend weeks beforehand at AAA pouring over maps with handful of hi-liters and attraction brochures. How grand!

Not to take away from the excitement that a weekend in Tahoe so rightly deserves. The drive is going to be great, and the I've got a hankerin' for some black jack and a horseback ride. I know it's supposed to rain a bit this weekend, but right now it's still sort of muggy and warmish--good traveling weather.

I'll let John Darnielle tell you how I'm feeling today. He does it so damn well.

Noche Del Guajolote, The Mountain Goats

Eye eye, captain

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Breakfast of Champions

Whoever it was that decided that there is any real difference between cupcakes and muffins doesn't hang out at Starbucks. Not that I'm complaining. I would never allow myself to have a cupcake for breakfast--well, not on a weekday anyways--yet this peach-honey concoction filled with super sweet blackberry jam is entirely appropriate for a Thursday at 9 am. It has to be. The little sign behind it said "Whole Grain Goodness." Damn it, it would unhealthy not to eat the sucker.

I know you've all been on the edge of your seats waiting to find out where we'll go for our little teeny tiny not-quite-vacation-get-away. We decided to go to South Lake Tahoe because it has everything: smokey black jack tables and gin and tonics, long banquet tables filled with fried foods and shrimp cocktail, bathrooms with televisions in them (I never noticed this television-bathroom phenomenon in Las Vegas or Reno, only in Tahoe. Hmmm.), plus a big beautiful lake and pine trees--everyone's a winner.

Everyone, that is, except you know who. Nobody cried, but there were many utterances of the F word in my parents' living room last night as the Sharks' season came to a close. The tears only came after all was said and done and our favorite bald color commentator announced that he will not be returning next year. Then everyone cried.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Somebody stop me

Do I really want to go to Disneyland over Memorial Day Weekend? Is it just the dumbest and most un-fun idea ever?

The driving forces behind the idea generation:
    1) It's Max's birthday
    2) It's our last chance for a vacation before The Move
    3) That crazy lady from Clamhead is giving up her glamorous Disney lifestyle in order to move to pee-smelling SOMA (She's making the right decision, of course. Even pee-smelling SF is better than LA, no matter how it smells.) and ever since I read about it I've dreamed of living near Disneyland, which I kind of do
    4) It's the happiest place on earth!
No place is the happiest place on earth during Memorial Day Weekend. There has to be a better solution.

Originally, I wanted to take Max to cowboy school for his birthday, and there's a one-day class in Elko, Nevada that looks pretty promising. Reno is halfway between here and Elko, so we could make it a fakey-Western road trip and play the Bad Livers and Willie Nelson the whole way there. Of course, that necessitates the eating of many ribs, and I'm still fighting this multiple root canal battle a bit.

But look how happy we were last time we went to Disneyland for Max's birthday:

But then again, Cowboy School...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Oh how I love a good vacation

And boy do I love the Sea Ranch. Not much to do there but nap. And knit. And nap. And nap!

Ozzy is quite possibly the best napping partner known to man. He even holds hands.

It's been almost a month since we went to the Sea Ranch, and seeing these pictures makes me want to go back, desperately. Of course, being outside in this weather--even if it's just walking to the lunch store and back--makes me want to spend a few days on a tropical island, too. In a hammock. And passing the Disneyland billboard on the way home from work everyday (well, until we left the city anyhow) has made me want to go back to Disneyland. Desperately. DESPERATELY. Seeing the trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean 2 last night didn't help, either. And here's some glorious free association you: Pirates of the Caribbean = Monte Cristo. We can thank Laura for that one. Apparently, the Blue Bayou restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride has the best Monte Cristos anywhere. Unfortunately, even if I do make it to Disneyland before we leave for Ireland, the Blue Bayou--and Pirates of the Caribbean--are closed for remodeling. I guess I know what I'll be cooking for dinner this weekend!