Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ugliest coldest most miserable weather day ever!

Today is the most miserable weather day ever. It's freezing cold. The internet says it's 39 out, but there are 30 mph winds so it's not like it feels anywhere close to 39 degrees. It's precipitating, but I don't know what to call it. Snowy rainy sleety stuff. Well, now it's just snowing I think. If it's snowing, I doubt it's 39 out! I'd say it's pretty close to impossible to be in a good mood on a day like today, so there's no point trying to adjust my attitude! I've already been out in it. That was two hours ago and I'm still cold.

Well, maybe there's one thing to be happy about. I discovered digestive biscuits with a layer of caramel hidden under a coating of chocolate. But that's the only happy thing! So don't try to make me think of more happy things. I'm working hard at being a miserable grump here!

Monday, January 28, 2008


I finally figured out the magic loop method! It's not looking pretty yet, but I have high hopes that if my patients holds I'll make it through another few rows and things will look a little better.

Yesterday I went out to Blackrock to my favorite knitting shop...This is Knit. Lisa is awesome. She's got great ideas and isn't pushy or snobby and has the most scrumptious yarns. Since mom doesn't read my blog I can post this. I bought her a huge hank of wool. Actually it's 55% Bluefaced Leicester Wool and 45% silk. The brand is Fyberspates Yarn from Wales. I also got mom a pair of beautiful Peace Fleece knitting needles. This way mom can knit herself a scarf while she's here. Very fun! Kevin's been bugging me to knit him a hat, so I made him pick and buy his own yarn. The boy has good taste and picked some Mirasol wool that's a wool, alpaca, silk blend.

All my post-flood thank you notes are written and ready to go in the mail so now I have to stop in town and grab stamps and get them in the post. Tomorrow is knitting group, so I'll have an excuse to knit for a few hours and won't feel guilty about it. Very exciting!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Almost all done!

I'm one step closer to being all the way done with my thesis. Today I picked up two beautifully bound copies of my thesis. My thesis is now available in a hardback edition! It's got a navy blue faux leather cover and metallic gold print. Sounds tacky, but it does look pretty nice. Of course this was to the tune of nearly 70euro. Criminy!

The buses in Dublin are an adventure. To my surprise, the bus fare went up while I was gone. Some grumpy driver barked at me that it's one euro, five cents now. My bad! Used to be 1.40 from home to town and now it's 1.50. That, I don't really mind. But 1.05? That's annoying. Five cent pieces are the same color and nearly the same size as two cent coins and pennies. It's really a pain to dig them out of your coin purse. I'm thoroughly annoyed.

The bus adventure doesn't end there. What's the deal with headphones? Almost every time you ride the bus, you have the pleasure of music. It's not provided by the bus, but usually some moron in the back of the bus who has his iPod on full blast. I worry that my ears may be damaged from wearing headphones so often and I don't even wear them every day and I certainly don't listen to it loud enough that anyone else knows what I'm listening to! I think we should start investing in hearing aid companies.

Another thing is that cars do stupid things around busses. Just yesterday a bus started to pull away from a stop light and some idiot who was to the right of the bus made a left turn in front of the bus. As if the giant double decker bus full of people wasn't going to go on green or something. Of course the driver slammed on his breaks which sent some poor unsuspecting lady flying. Looking in the window I could see people jump out of their seats to help her and she was holding her nose. The bus driver tried running down the street after the car, but any jackass who pulls a left hand turn in front of a moving bus isn't going to stop and see if any harm was caused by his negligence.

Usually I would walk into town, but today the wind was so strong I had to stop on the way down the sidewalk just to get my balance. Didn't seem like walking for 30 minutes in wind like that was going to be much fun. If I can barely walk in the wind, heck if I'm going to try to bike! So there I was...digging through my change for an extra five cents.

On a happy note, I did a little charity shopping yesterday and got a giant bag of wool! No, I didn't need it, but amongst other beautiful yarns there's enough natural cotton/flax to make a sweater. I have to measure a skein first so I can estimate how much is there. I think I even have a good pattern to use! Very exciting!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

One of those great days...

Today was one of those days. I'm looking back thinking....geesh, I got more done than I thought! Tuesday is knitting night. I was so glad to see everyone again. Harriet is using some Noro wool and the color way is so awesome in the hat she's making. It's going to look super cute with her red wool coat!

I went to Aldi today to stock up and can I just say again that I really love Aldi! I spent 25 euro and got so much stuff. There's a new thing going on there and they will always have 6 vegetables on special for 49 cents. Of course I bought all 6...carrots, potatoes, lettuce, broccoli, mushrooms and a cucumber! Even better, I didn't have to buy a bag! I remember to take an empty backpack. I was a little annoyed that I couldn't fit everything in it, but then I as I stuffed a yogurt drink in the side pocket I saw a plastic bag! Brilliant! The most exciting thing I got were lamb chops. I figure with carrots and potatoes surely there's a recipe for lamb chops.

Katharine and I went to the symphony today at the National Concert Hall. It was is good. The music wasn't all that good though. There were three recently written symphonies and none were very pleasing to the ear. One of my professors was there and happened to know one of the composers. Eeee. We were introduced and of course I implied that he was brilliant. Little lies like that are ok I think. Another bonus - our professor took us to lunch!

Wonder of all wonders, I'm actually reading a book. I started it last night: Notes from a Big Country by Bill Bryson. In the States it's called I Am A Stranger Here Myself. Bryson lived in Iowa till he was a teen and then moved to England. He lived there till he was a grown man and then moved back to New England. The book is made up of short essays he wrote about America for some magazine or newspaper. Each essay illustrates idiosyncrasies* in the US that you might only really notice if you had lived somewhere else. For me, it's a really funny book and it's hard to put down. This may be the first time I've ever said that about any book ever. Monumental event here.

My room is clean (well, my side of the room) and I managed to only unpack stuff I think I'll actually need. The rest I left packed up. Seems silly to drag everything out and then have to pack it back up again. Someone removed most of my coat hangers from my closet. Pretty annoying actually since I like to hang up nearly everything. My lightbulb was burned out when I got back, so got that taken care of this evening after knitting. Oh my gosh...I was making space for my groceries and saw an orange juice container marked July 08. Knowing my crazy bunch of housemates, I wasn't terribly surprised to see nasty OJ left from July so I poured it out so there would be room for my milk. As the last drops dripped out it occurred to me that it wasn't July 8th, it was July 2008. Oops! Got replacement OJ on the way home so it should all be ok.

*I actually spelled idiosyncrasies correctly the first time. Just wanted to point that out especially to my sister who knows I can't spell.

Monday, January 21, 2008

211 Things a Bright Girl Can Do

A friend of mine gave me this book for Christmas - 211 Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Bunty Cutler. At first glance I thought it was a children's book and would be full of jump rope rhymes and such. Oh no! Not at all! It's hilarious! For example, how to pour a beer for a gentlemen, how to sound like you know what you're talking about at the butcher's, how to escape the next date, how to escape a vicious swarm of bees, and my to curtsy. There's about 2 pages describing how to curtsy. Then the last sentence says, "Or you could smile and say hello like a normal person." The book is going to have me in stitches!

I was at Clerys yesterday. It's kind of like Marshall Fields. Saw this guy sleeping. Hee hee!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I love Patrick!

Actually I have no idea who Patrick is other than he's some guy who works at iTunes and gave me all my music back! I figured I had nothing to lose by asking, so I wrote iTunes customer service, told them about losing my computer and back-up to the flood, and listed the order confirmation for all the iTunes I bought ever. This Patrick guy emails me back telling me all my music will start downloading the next time I open iTunes. It doesn't end there. He gave me credit for 5 free songs too! Isn't that the greatest? There was only one album that couldn't be replaced. Not too shabby if you ask me! Thank you Patrick!

AnnLaura's house is no longer an infirmary! I'm feeling decently healthy now and no one else here is getting sick. Martin and Annie have the refugee center, AnnLaura has the infirmary...what an accommodating family I have!

Tonight AnnLaura's friend Gia came over for dinner and brought her wonderful baby boy Ari. It's funny to watch babies interact together. Ari is only 4 months and Aurelio was trying to teach him a few things. He would give Ari a toy, then take it back and show him how to use it, then give it back to Ari, then get frustrated that Ari still didn't know how to play with it. I think they'll be good pals and get into lots of trouble together some day!

I'm pretty ready to get back to Ireland. Not that I don't enjoy being at AnnLaura's house, but my system is ready to be in Ireland. I'm ready to take long walks into town and see friends and hang out in a pub. I'm even ready to complain about the crap weather! Can't say the plane ride is something to look forward to, but it's not really anything to complain about either. So off I go...across the big blue pond...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Streak of bad luck!

So I'm not in Dublin yet. I was puking my guts out last night and couldn't make my flight. I mean...who wants to sit next to the feverish puky girl on the plane? Pretty big bummer since I was really looking forward to being back. On the other hand, I get to hang out with AnnLaura for an extra few days here in Chicago. Aurelio even asked for me to hold him today! Yeah for that! Made me feel pretty special.

Turns out Annie was really sick last night too. Anja had the pukies and Juan didn't feel great either. We think maybe Annie's sister was the carrier monkey. I guess her kids were all sick with the flu - that's why they didn't come to the baptism.

I wasn't prepared to stay in Chicago. I have clothes still in Dublin, so I didn't pack almost anything. Just a few pair of underwear, 1 pair of socks and 2 extra shirts. Oh, and my PJs so that I could change into them right away and sleep for a while. Luckily AnnLaura and I are pretty much the same size. Not to mention she has fancy washing machine and I can just wash my jeans and stuff. Still it's weird having a suitcase full of stuff and not really any extra clothes! That means I was a good packer though. Suitcase is full of stuff that will not be coming back with me. Good thing, because whatever is in there seems to be really heavy.

Right, so I still don't feel all that great and I don't have much to say anyway. No point blabbing on about nothing when there's nothing to write about. Adios for now. And yes, I suppose I am looking for a wee bit of sympathy! For Annie too! hee hee.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Anja got Baptized!

On Sunday evening, Anja Louise was baptized! The most fun was the reception at Martin and Annie's house after the baptism. Everything was perfect. They're so lucky to have such a nice house to host things like flood refugees, foster dogs, and beautiful receptions. I don't know where she got it...ah hem...but Annie had the prettiest little table cloth. There were lots of roses and the food was amazing. Annie makes awesome tebulli salad and everyone LOVES it! I don't know anyone who doesn't like it and I don't know if anyone knows how to spell it! Tara made some rosemary butternut squash soup with ham and that was to die for. I didn't have the other soup, but it looked good too. Everything looked so elegant! Oh, and especially Annie. She wore the silk wrap skirt thing. Mom got us each one. Mine is black and brown. I suppose AnnLaura's is green. Annie's is browns and pinkish purples. She looked like a million dollars! Just as elegant as can be. I suppose this is starting to sound like I'm just bragging on my baby brother and his beautiful wife....well, I am! So there! They're pretty wonderful and deserve to be bragged on now and again!

Other updates...I have new glasses! I'm excited to have a pair that I'll be willing to wear. Might be annoying in Ireland though since it's so rainy all the time. We'll see. I also have iTunes on my computer now! Starting to seem a little more like my computer.
Mom and John and the Meeks went to the river today and were able to salvage tons of stuff. Basically all my clothes and most of my shoes. Supposedly my bedroom furniture is looking ok too. Who would have though $250 worth of IKEA furniture would have survived the flood? I'm thrilled. Mom's going to start asking around about a car for me. Any suggestions? I'm thinking something with four wheels, minimal rust and really good gas milage.
Tomorrow's the big day.'s nearly 1am, so actually today is the big day. I'm going back to Ireland. I'm sad that because of the stinkin' flood I didn't get to see a lot of my friends who I was planning to see. Can't wait to be back in Ireland though. I'm ready to go!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The rains came down and the floods came up...

So, if you read my 5 things to accomplish...number 3 is particularly ironic. So is number 4 for that matter. (Thanks for the comments by the way.)

Remember how I said I couldn't live under the bridge because the river is too unpredictable?

Last Monday, my sister and I spent the night at the river cottage with Baxter and Aurelio. Tuesday morning neighbors woke us up to tell us the river was flooding and we needed to move our cars. Well, to make a long story short, by about 9:30 we were escaping through the bedroom window into the canoe that Martin had moved just days before. We canoed through the yard, and up to the road which at this point was probably under 3 feet of water. We got pretty far upstream, but the river was moving so fast I couldn't paddle upstream anymore. We got the boat stuck in the corn field and eventually we were rescued by Sam (the man we bought the house from) and then were super rescued by the Sherrif rescue boat. So far as I know, it's a national disaster area now, so that means we'll get some personal interaction with FEMA.

I got to go back in the house yesterday and it was just a disaster. The furniture is all overturned...even the refrigerator was knocked over. My sister and I both lost our cars. That's a bummer. My computer was nearly 5 feet off the ground and it was water logged. My Molly doll was safe though up on a really high shelf. I'll admit, she's my most prized possession and I'm delighted that she was safe.

Tomorrow's a new day. Mom is going up and will see what's salvagable. I bet a lot of things can be washed because the mold hasn't set in yet. I got a new camera (number 4....check!) and a new computer. American Red Cross was really nice and gave me a voucher for new eye glasses. Plus they gave me a debit card to help out with clothes, shoes and food. They also made me get a tetnus shot. I'm grateful, but now my arm is killing me! Feels like I got punched by Bruce Lee!

I'm still going back to Ireland on Tuesday. It's hard to leave the situation as it is and not be around to help with the clean-up. It's hard to leave anyway! It will be good to be back in Ireland, that's for sure.

Monday, January 07, 2008

No New Year's Resolutions...

I love days like today! To the west the skies are dark and gloomy. But the sun is shining like mad! It makes for the most interesting light! Maybe I should play with my camera a bit and see if I can get some good photos (see number 4).

Lists again! For the sock swap I'm in I'm supposed to blog about 5 things I want to accomplish in the new year. I don't really do new year's resolutions. They're always stupid things that I say I want to do, but know darn well I'm never going to do. So basically I gave up. I was just setting myself up for failure anyway. I'm not going to give up coke. I'm not going to exercise every day. I'm not going to keep a daily journal or read 10 books or run a marathon. I sure as heck am not going to give up McDonalds! I know...I shouldn't be allowed to be a dietitian! Anyway, why pretend? I even read an article in Outside magazine this morning - New Year's Resolutions Don't Work! For all you resolution people out there...more power to ya! I'm just not on that band-wagon.

Here are 5 things I think are pretty achievable for this year. Most are fairly short-term goals. Seems silly to make too many long-term goals since I don't even really know where I'm going to live or where my source of income will come from (see number 3).

1. I want to move back the the States and not have to pay anything extra to get all my crap and clutter from Ireland to Indiana. Here's the plan...I already brought a bunch of stuff home and it's NOT going back with me! When mom and John come, they can each take a decent sized bag home with them. I'll try to send most of my guide books (they're heavy) and maybe my dishes (heavy and fragile so maybe I'll wait on those). When I finally come home in March, I'll just have to figure out a way to get the rest of it crammed into my suitcases. If it doesn't fit, it's not going! Plain and simple!

2. I'd like to knit myself some lovely warm accessories to go with my red coat. With all the projects I have going right now, I almost feel guilty starting a new project though. Hmmm...right...I don't do the guilt thing. Forget that! Suppose it would be an accomplishment just to finish the stuff I have on needles right now!

3. My entire family is hoping I'll find a place to live and have a source of income! I don't think mom minds me being at home...I think she minds all my stuff being at home though. She gave me most of my stuff, but I don't think she really intended to store it for me forever! Baxter and I can't very well live under the bridge - river is too unpredictable and might flood us out. I refuse to live in student apartments. I cringe even thinking about it!

4. I hate my camera. Can't figure out if it's my fault or the camera's fault though. So I would consider it a huge accomplishment to either figure out that the camera is great or figure out that it's not and buy a new one. Suppose I better go talk to Rena about that. Rena knows everything about cameras. I could even run down and see Rena and see what she has to say. Hmmm...good thinkin!

5. My biggest accomplishment for the year 2008 is probably going to be graduation. Hard to believe I'm only a month and a half away from graduating. Graduation will be in St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. I've never been to that cathedral before. Partly because you have to pay to get in and I think it's ridiculous to have to pay to go to a church, but partly because I've heard it's gorgeous in there and I want my graduation to be the first time I walk through those doors. If there are boring speeches I'll be more excited about looking around at the pretty windows!

So there you have it. Planned accomplishments for 2008! Might even have them knocked off by March!

Sunday, January 06, 2008


So I heard about this new movie, The Bucket List. It's about these two guys who I guess are going to die (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman). The have a list of things they want to do before they kick the bucket. Looks kind of like a cute movie. And really doesn't everyone kind of have a bucket list? I've been toying with my list for years but it never gets very long. Some things, like sky diving, are already checked off. Then there's a list of things that weren't really on my list but after the fact, they've been added to the list, like climbing the steps of the Eiffel Tower and Oktoberfest in Munich. Those are things I'm really glad I got to do! I'd say there's still a lot on my bucket list, but the truth is I don't really know what to put on the list. There are a few things that have been on there for a while...

Go to Africa
Go to Italy with AnnLaura
Be in the live audience of a TV show like Oprah or Jay Lenno or Letterman
Hike the Grand Canyon list I guess. So I think I'd rather have a list of things I'm glad I've done before I kick the bucket. And that list is going pretty well at the moment. I still want to see the movie though!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Another Adventure...

For New Years I ended up going to Dallas, Texas. Seems like that in and of itself would be enough adventure. Add in John renting a little Cesna and stopping in none other than Baxter County, AK for lunch and you have a serious adventure on your hands! Texas is an interesting place. I felt very midswestern in a big Texas town. As AnnLaura pointed out my hair just isn't blond enough or big enough! Ended up getting stuck longer than expected due to weather. Don't know why I thought the weather would cooperate. I should have known better! Oh well, an extra day of sunshine never hurt anyone.

I finished my fetchings on the flight. They turned out super cute, but maybe also a bit on the small size. They're a bit tight on me. I may have to make Rena another pair and use a little bigger needle and maybe even a slightly looser gauge. I'll find someone with small hands to give them to! (picture soon)

It's really crunch time for the GRE and PhD application. I'm more nervous about it now too. Partly I'm nervous because it's a big decision and who isn't nervous when it's time to make a big decision? The GRE makes me nervous for lots of reasons! I can't think of a worse test for me to have to take! I've never been great at math and now I have to relearn all the math that was forced down my throat in high school. I remember pie r squared is the area of a circle and that's about so lets hope they ask me lots of questions about the area of circles! Ooh ooh and a squared plus b squared = c squared! Don't really remember what that's used for, but it's something. Then there's the word section. I wish I read books! The only saving grace is that I don't have to know how to spell words. If there was a spelling section, I'd fail for sure! The professor I want to work with is going to meet with me on Monday in the late afternoon. I hope she has a lot of advice and encouragement for me! I also hope she really wants me to work with her! I told mom earlier that if I don't do a PhD, I'm going to move to South Dakota. They need dietitians to work on Indian reservations planning programs in the community. I don't think she was as amused as I was. And speaking of not doing a PhD right now...I realize that this was kind of a quick decision and although it seems rather glorious right now it might be a horrible idea! I have some other ideas up my sleeve. They're pretty far up my sleeve though so don't ask too many questions!