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...