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.