Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Oh, that God the gift would give us To see ourselves as others see us" Robert Burns poem

When my friend Jackie called to ask if we would like to join their table for a Black Tie event, I said "Yes!" before I even knew what she was inviting us to. I was just happy to be invited out- with people! More than getting dressed up and going out, the thought of being invited to an event with opportunities to meet other people made me feel like we are getting more connected to people here. And that felt great.

The event was actually a "Burns Supper Ceilidh", which was organized by a few Scottish expats here, many who have children at the school where the boys will go next year. I had never heard of this before (or even Robert Burns). The dinner was held at the Dun Laoghaire Yacht Club, and it was nice to see that as well. Those of you who know might have guessed that I did not try the Haggis. There were toasts and speeches and the Scots were in kilts. We had a great time.

Wikipedia describes it:

A Burns supper is a celebration of the life and poetry of the poet Robert Burns, author of man Scots poems. The suppers are normally held on or near the poet's birthday, 25 January, sometimes also known as Robert Burns Day or Burns Night (Burns Nicht), although they may in principle be held at any time of the year.

Burns suppers are most common in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but occur wherever there are Burns Clubs, Scottish Societies, expatriate Scots, or lovers of Burns' poetry.

and also defines the Ceilidh as:

A céilidh (Irish pronunciation: [ˈceːlʲiː], Scottish Gaelic pronunciation: [ˈcʰeːli], English pronunciation: /ˈkeɪli/) (in modern usage) is a traditional Gaelic social dance event originating in Ireland andScotland, but now common throughout the Celtic diaspora.

“The national dish of Scotland is something called haggis, the specific ingredients of which I won't go into other than to say that if you can visualize boiled, inside-out road kill, you're pretty close.”

David Grimes quotes (American composer b.1948)

Of Course there were bagpipes

The atmosphere

Ready to go!

Our friends: Jackie & Ian

Saturday, January 23, 2010

“We live in an age when pizza gets to your home before the police.” - Jeff Marder

Well, I thought that delivered pizza was a basic right. There seems to be quite a few Italian Restaurants in the area that do take away and I know serve pizza. There is a Dominos, and there is a place called Mizzoni's two towns over. So when I was planning the boys birthday party, I figured that I would serve the kids (and parents) pizza, have a face painter and games, and then do cake. Easy. I even printed on the invitations "We will have pizza for kids, moms & dads", just to let everyone know that they don't have to feed their kids beforehand and that we wanted parents to come.

As the date drew closer, I realized that Mizzoni's opens at 4 pm. Our party was at 12n, but I still had options. The restaurants either didn't do lunch, or opened at 12n, slightly later than I needed. I was so excited when, on a long walk with the boys, I discovered a place that looked great and they were open at 10am! So I ordered the pizza and pre-paid so that Tom could just run in and grab them at 11:30. I didn't know that they would lose electricity (or so they said) the next day and not have our pizza! At 11:45 I had no pizza for a 12n party.

Dominos came through, a little later than we planned, but it turned out great. We had a wonderful time, and I hope that the boys did too. It was so nice to have so many kids and their parents over. I finally have their names straight!

And it was a beautiful day. I feel like Spring is not too far away!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

“We grow neither better nor worse as we get old, but more like ourselves” - May Lamberton Becker

Christmas 2006

It is hard to believe that this is how I looked three years ago. In this picture, I actually had more than 3 weeks to go before the boys were born. Although that seems like a long time ago, their 3rd birthday has come so quickly. They are such big boys now! They go to school, have friends, and the most amazing ideas come out of their little mouths. I love getting to know them. I have two wonderful boys!

3rd Birthday Party Cake for School

This is the cake that I brought into their school to have with their class. It was plagiarized from a cake that my mother made for my brothers for years, a tradition still carried on by one of their wives. We are having a birthday party at our house this weekend. They were absolutely fine with the classroom party, but Tom and I are selfishly seizing the opportunity to have people over.

Thank you God for these two big boys! I feel like I have become more like myself since they have been in my life.

Friday, January 15, 2010

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page."- St. Augustine

My brother Mike is definitely the traveller in the family. That's is good for me because he is visiting right now. I am so glad that he has also brought his lovely girlfriend Joanne with him. They only arrived yesterday, but I have spent more quality time with Joanne here than I have in the year and a half they have been together! (I struggle to have quality chats due to my children). So I am really enjoying having them here- it is going fast!

Shortly after they arrived at our house, we went into the village to grab something to eat. Bono decided that he was hungry as well and happened to choose the same cafe. After 5 plus months of living in Dublin, I finally had a sighting. It was exciting, especially since our guests were able to experience that as well. I hope that it overshadows the fact that we have only had intermittent running water, and have no idea when it will fully resume.

If the water will not come to the kids, bring the kids to the water. Coincidentally, the boys had their first swim class today. They have taken swimming before, but it has been inconsistent and each time they get in the pool it could be like the first time. Let's just say that half of my children jumped in like a fish, and the other half cried on the pool edge and helped me decide to do naps on swimming day.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” - Thomas Huxley

Last night Tom and I had a date in town. We went out to dinner and went to see the Seafarer at the Abbey Theater. I was looking forward to getting out, seeing a play, trying a new restaurant, and just experiencing that side of Dublin. The only city "nightlife" that still interests me!

I arrived early so that I could walk around a little on my own. It felt great to have some idea of where I was going. There were 3 guys performing on Grafton Street, and they attracted a pretty big crowd. I stood and watched them for a while. There was a guy with a fiddle, one with a guitar and one banging away on something that I am sure had a name. They were young and they were great.

I also wandered into a bookstore where they had a huge section of Irish history books right in the front. I wanted to get most of them. I love my kindle but I love books! There is a queue (a long line) of books that I want to read at home, but it is good to know that there is always another when I need it!

We had dinner at a restaurant called Fire, which is in the Mansion House. The Mansion House is the home of the Lord Mayor of Dublin (Currently Emer Costello) and was built in 1710. The restaurant is in a huge room that historically was used as a banquet room for official entertainment. The house also has a room called the "round room" where the first Dail Eireann met on January 21, 1919 to sign the Irish Declaration of Independence. Now the Round Room is a venue for meetings and large events.

We had a lovely time. And at least the snow stopped for 1 day for us, but it was back again this morning!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Getting an inch of snow is like winning 10 cents in the lottery. " - Bill Watterson

What a nice day we had yesterday! Our friends, Mary Ann & Pat, were passing through on their way back to New York and we met them for lunch in town. They are expecting their first baby in April. It was a beautiful, sunny, albeit very cold and windy day. We bundled up and slid down to the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit). Tom met us at the station and we went over to Grafton Street. That is my 3rd time to Dublin in 2 weeks- my familiarity is increasing. And I will be back in on Friday night for a date.

As long as the holidays are over, it feels great to be getting back to a regular schedule. Undecorating is much less fun than decorating, but I was glad to put the Christmas stuff in the back of the storage! School is scheduled to resume tomorrow but I am not optimistic. It has snowed again and the roads are so icy that those who are choosing to drive are sliding all over the place. The mail has not been here in a few days, and my grocery delivery was cancelled. Apparently it is the worst Dublin winter in 30 years.

So the kids and I will likely be snowbound again. Today might be hard to beat. One of their school friends came over with his mom and cousin. They live across the street, up the hill. Mom and I had a nice time chatting while the boys all ran around like maniacs. They were laughing and red faced- waaaaay different from when we have girls over. When they left my next door neighbor and her 1 year old came over. I really like the next door neighbors. We are very fortunate.

I am going to try to do lots of things together- maybe an art project, oatmeal cookies, memory, puzzles. They are really loving jigsaw puzzles. As I wrote to my mom-to-be-sister-in-law Megan yesterday:

"It's the ultimate introduction to parental restraint. You watch them struggle, putting the pieces in the wrong place. You can help them a little but you can't do it for him. You are dying to, but you know that you want them to learn things and figure them out on their own. It's already hard and this is the easy part!"

You can't tell from this picture, but it is snowing. That is our tree. Tom brought out the living room door and threw it over the terrace until we can drive it over to be mulched.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"Chance is the pseudonym of God when he did not want to sign." - Anatole France

Today I am thinking about the path of my life. How different it is from what I imagined. I am reminded of the importance of faith, and how you can never tell what is to come next. I have been blessed.

Friday, January 1, 2010

"Well begun is half done."- Horace

Welcome 2010. "2010" seems very science fiction to me. We are really in the future! Where are our Jetson mobiles? At least we are not all dressed in the same skin tight space suits.

I haven't really thought much about things that I want to do or change because the calendar had a milestone, but I think it's a great opportunity to do so. Of course I want to go back to paying attention to what I eat because that practice has been on hiatus since I started baking Christmas cookies. The gym was on a little hiatus as well. Boring no-brainers. Since we have been here for 5 months. Yes, 5 months today as a matter of fact, so the "settling-in" excuse has been exhausted. I need to get some goals, and part of them should include daily practices. And I should start today. Sigh.

It snowed here last night and that does not happen very often. We can tell by the lack of plowing/salting and sanding on the roads. We are a little trapped here in our hilly town. Luckily, there is no work or school and we have lots of Fireman Sam videos.

The boys tested out all of their snow gear. They looked very cute and seemed to like the novelty of the cold, white dusting. It actually felt like an accumulation of hail more than snow- but what do they know?

Happy New Year to my much appreciated readers!