Friday, May 27, 2011

The Joys of Food!

I love food and thankfully some of my random food dislikes have even dissipated as I've gotten older...maybe the only positive thing about aging. I used to never eat tomatoes and didn't even really like red sauced pastas but now I am obsessed with fresh and tasty tomatoes and love popping cherry tomatoes for a snack. I also used to very much dislike dark chocolate but now I have to be more convinced to eat milk chocolate and I keep my dark chocolate stash on my nightstand. My dislike of black olives and goat's cheese is still alive and not budging, but I'm ok with that since olives are easy to pick out of anything and goat's are just plain terrifying!

Living in Scotland meant that most of our food was most commonly organic and untampered by hormones. Now that we are in Ireland, we are extremely spoiled to have The English Market which is like a huge farmer's market with lots of local meat, produce and fish at better than grocery store prices! Of course this does mean that we have to pack our lovely food 1.25 miles back to our house, but quality food at cheap prices with a 'workout' included can't be too bad right?

With tomatoes in season in Italy and Spain hitting our grocery stores, I am doing something out of my norm and putting in a recipe I made up while having a major craving for tomato salad. It was super easy and amazing tasting! All you need is:

Fresh and tasty tomatoes
Seasonings (I used salt, pepper, dried coriander (for Americans this is cilantro), dried parsley, onion powder and garlic powder)
Olive Oil

Roughly chop up your tomatoes then season them with your salt, pepper and fresh or dried herbs. Let that sit in a bowl while you prep everything else. Cook up your bacon. I used rasher bacon but I don't remember seeing that in the States when I lived there so it probably doesn't matter. Chop up your bacon into bits and put aside. Fry your chopped onion and chopped mushrooms in olive oil; I seasoned these with pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. When they are cooked to your liking, dump everything (including bacon) into your tomato bowl and mix. Badda bing badda boom, You have amazing tomato salad! My husband and I ate this for lunch with some buttered toast but you could also have it for a side dish. It is quick, easy, and most likely you have all the ingredients already. You may notice that I don't give any quantities of your ingredients because I don't measure anything. Just do what you like and taste as you go!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dang I'm Odd!

I have been thinking about my life lately and am realizing that as wonderful as it is, I am nothing like a typical American 27 year old woman...and those that know me, know that I love being completely different! In the last 3 years, I have met and married the man of my dreams, sold mostly everything we owned, moved to Scotland, moved to Ireland, haven't had a car, had to carry all of my groceries home, lived 1.5 years without a clothes dryer (the worst thing to lack in life!), and have also detached myself from a cell phone to the point that when I go back to visit the States, I text like an 85 year old.

Now that we are finally getting settled in Ireland and facing the rest of our lives here, I'm also realizing that I will most likely never work again (due to stupid immigration laws not allowing me to work), never drive again (because it takes years and tons of money to get an Irish license) and I will sadly have to bite the bullet and learn the metric system.

I'm ok with all of this since now I have an excuse to jump headfirst into a life of doing volunteer work which is what I have ultimately wanted, I won't have to drive the terrifyingly twisted and narrow roads of Ireland that stress me out to no end, but I will most likely be mistaken for a Canadian more often when I finally get all the metric crap figured out...oh well, everyone loves Canadians in Europe.

So many people seem to think that living a life abroad is very romantic and exciting but it is in no way easy or as glamorized as it's made out to be. Don't get me wrong, I love life over here but things are very expensive, fridges you would find in a US dorm room are normal sized here, walking 2 miles to get to church and town may sound like a good exercise plan but it gets old really fast, and for some idiotic reason, people don't clean up after their dogs on sidewalks.

I am glad I will be raising my kids over here and hope they develop the 'less waste' lifestyle that I have grown to love. I also hope they will get to travel everywhere since Europe is at our doorstep but sadly we haven't been able to see it since our 'student husband and not allowed to work wife' income doesn't support the travel lifestyle. Only 3 years left until my husband will have his PhD (all by the time he's 27!) and then he can hopefully get a Professor job here in Ireland...which so happens to be one of the countries that pays it's professors the highest one day Europe will be ours for the taking!

For now though, I'm happily content to live my much simpler lifestyle and sharing the American Irish dream with my husband!

Friday, May 20, 2011

I met the Queen! what I wish could be the title

Today was promised to be a good day. The Queen was coming to Cork and my husband and I were planning on seeing her. We tried to get a good night's sleep and even resorted to an instructional relaxation audio in order to get to sleep sooner. At one point in the audio, the instructor's voice informed us to relax, breathe in and smell the sweetness of calm. This was easy to do since I had chocolate chip cookies and a dark chocolate bar on my nightstand but soon enough, we were relaxed and went to bed at a decent hour.

Unfortunately this didn't mean that my husband's body was going to be waking up at a decent hour and he was wide away and ready for the 8am. Now I know this may not seem like an ungodly hour to some people but I am a non-working woman with no children yet so I am savoring these sleep-in days! With my sleep horribly disturbed by a peppy and smiling husband, I replied with a not so nice 'good morning'. I couldn't remember what I said so I asked Branden at lunch and he informed me that I growled, "don't think your smile will save your sorry a$$ if you wake me up this early". No wonder he let me sleep till 10:30! Although there was one further disruption...

If you have read my 'Oh the joys of womanhood' blog then you would know that the #1 annoyance on that list was listening to my husband eat (specifically breakfast). So about an hour after he woke up, my husband got his breakfast and was eating it in bed which of course woke me up could I possibly sleep through that noise!? I wasn't facing him but I was thinking, "Goodness! He must think I'm asleep because he is eating it so obnoxiously loud and annoying!" Instead of shooting another remark at him, I put the pillow over my head and fell back asleep. Later in the same conversation at lunch, I informed him that I indeed was not asleep when he had breakfast and that he couldn't have consumed his breakfast in a more irritating way. I also let him know that by putting the pillow over my head, I was trying to spare him from another verbal assault to which he laughed and said that he wouldn't have cared because he had been listening to something on the computer and had his headphones on! That insight then caused both of us to laugh...although at the time, I would have been extra peeved if he didn't answer my scolding!

So morning survived, we managed our way into the city which was actually more packed with people than we imagined. Apparently 30,000 turned up for the event! We found a place along the road that the Queen and Prince Phillip would be driving down after her trip to the English Market and then back again after her visit to the Tyndall Institute. An English woman who had been living in Cork for the last 35 years was standing next to me and a couple of Irish girls were standing next to Branden. Everyone was excited and the protesters were very respectful and kept to a specific area that wouldn't interfere with the Queen's visit or the crowd of onlookers. At one point while we were waiting, a man with RTE (which is like the Irish version of BBC) came by and interviewed me, Branden and the English woman. It was audio only but he said that it was for a documentary that will be coming out in July so to watch out for it. He was very interested in our thoughts on the Queen's visit, how we liked Ireland and then was particularly fascinated in my husband's PhD study into mediaeval Irish female saints...I know, I'm even surprised that I'm married to such a brilliant man.

The Queen eventually drove by but I was so concerned with getting a good shot with my camera that I didn't see her and still got a horrible shot. When she came back though, I did get a good shot but I still didn't see her since I was fiddling with the camera. Branden got video of both times she drove by. We found it ironic how we didn't go to see the Pope when he came to Edinburgh last year when we lived there, but we made an effort to see the Queen in Ireland. I guess we just figured that we'd have more chances to see the Pope in Ireland than the Queen. It was a great state visit and the news reports have been nothing but praise and welcome.

Next big visitor: Obama...but we aren't going to see him. He's going to be up in Dublin which is too far away and I kind of could care less. Although I have found it hilarious that the news has been labeling this whole affair "Obama's coming home!" just because his great great great great great great grandfather happened to live in Ireland making him 3.5% Irish. Unless he helps make things easier for American immigrants living in Ireland, I am not going to be giving much of a hoot.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Slightly ironic follow up post....

In my last post, I discuss my husband's terrifying ability of sleep yelling while making mention that I talk in my sleep and think it's perfectly normal....

Rewind to last night: It was evening and I was looking through the MSN news stories and came across a list of the weirdest things men have married. Of course I'm going to want to broaden my mind with a gem of a story like that so I started my journey of reading about some vain man marrying a cardboard cutout of himself, a man forced to marry a goat since he was caught trying to make it a goat of ill repute, a similar story about a man and a cow, and then a guy married a horse.  He wasn't forced to either...oh no, this trailer park inhabitant freely chose to marry this horse and has been married to it for many years. Besides the fact that a freak and a horse have been married longer than I have, he lives in America and apparently it's not illegal where he is! I was so sickened at this thought and really hoped that at some point the horse would bite his nasty bits off!

Anyhoo, my husband and I went to bed (took me a long time) and the next morning Branden told me that I woke him up by furiously stating in my sleep, "Those people who have sex with animals are disgusting!"

Well there goes my 'normal' sleep talking claim!  (although I think I do have good reasoning)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Things that go "AHHH!" in the night

I have always been a sleep talker/sleep mumbler and I find this perfectly normal and no big deal. Once I got married I had to adjust all of a sudden to sleeping with another person. On our honeymoon we woke each other up from talking to one another in our sleep. Slightly confused at first awaking, one of us was talking about bicycles and the other cheese, I thought it was kind of cute.


This sweet little sleep chatting was apparently a rouse to keep me from discovering something much more sinister that was lurking. It couldn't hide forever so one night, a few weeks into married bliss, I woke up to a noise. Since I had lived alone for so many years and was still not used to having a big, macho, protective man in my house, I was instantly afraid of the noise and thought that someone must have broken in or was trying to. I strained my ears, only to hear my blood pumping faster through my mind, and held my breath hoping to not make a single sound. Hairs on my neck standing on end and my skin tingling, my nerves came unglued when all of a sudden there was a shout in the dark, "OH NO!" ...from my beloved husband. My heart pumping like a train, I rolled over to see if he was ok.

"Branden, are you alright!? What happened?" I asked sensitively but still trying to not pee the bed.
"Yeah, I'm fine, I was just dreaming." he said groggily because apparently I woke him up.
"Good!" I responded sweetly, "because if you EVER do that again, then I will have to kill you!"

After explaining to him that I had been already awake and petrified at some little noise, we did laugh and he relayed his dream to me. He was dreaming that it was before our wedding and we had been busy doing wedding planning at my house when we both fell asleep. He woke up, in his dream, to find it was like 4am and he knew his parents would be wondering where he was and worried. Thus he yelled out 'Oh no'. I didn't let him live this one down for a long time.

Luckily when we moved to Scotland 2 1/2 months after our wedding, the new living arrangement and new location meant that I no longer woke up afraid of noises...but that didn't mean I was safe from my husband's loud little problem.

One morning I woke up and was laying in bed listening to the birds out the window when suddenly the peace was horribly disrupted, "Ahhhhhh Sasquatch!" came the shout from my 'used to be sleeping peacefully' bedmate. Groggily he sort of woke himself up and I again asked if he was alright. Another bad dream...and I don't feel I have to state the obvious of what the dream was about but we laugh a lot over that one. There has been one other incident which involved Branden having to yell at a dog in his dream which ended up coming out as a "AHHHHAAAHHHHUUUHHH" sort of thing and he woke himself up laughing at that.

It has gotten better and less frequent which is handy, and so far in our new life in Ireland, he hasn't sleep yelled yet! Thank goodness for that because I don't know what I'd say to the roommates!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Oh the joys of womanhood!

Life has been a bit more stressful than usual which in turn makes me a bit more of a hypersensitive nag. I find that I get annoyed over the most ridiculous things and my poor wonderful husband is the 'lucky one' to be constantly in my war path. I'm beginning to think I know exactly how the idea of Medusa was conceived and wonder if bobby pins can hold my snakes in.

So considering my recent mood swings, I've decided to list my top 5 things that I stupidly get annoyed over:

1. Listening to my husband eat. Now I am all for family dinners and sitting around a table together but for the two of us, we normally have to eat with a TV on. This doesn't usually have anything to do with a concern for missing our favorite show, but because I can't stand to hear the moist noises of someone chewing. He does chew with his mouth closed but there is still a noise and what is even worse is when he bites his spoon while eating granola covered in yogurt with half a banana in it. This has a very specific noise and he can bite his spoon while eating anything else but's just unbearable!

2. One of our roommates drags his feet when he walks. Living in a house with 5 other roommates is actually much easier than I had thought. Of all of the different personalities and quirks, this is the only annoyance so I should be grateful...but the noise of it! He lives one floor above us and when he comes down the stairs, it sounds like he is wearing those footy pajamas with the vinyl-ish stuff on the bottom and then slides his feet across the tiled floor. This results in very loud echoey "swish, swish, swish" noises for every step. I wonder if I put a small, unnoticeable 'bump in the road' then I may fix my problem....

3. My husband tries to talk to me while I'm watching Judge Judy. I realize that Judge Judy isn't exactly quality, educational TV, but when I am stressed I like to watch idiots get yelled at by a little woman in a black robe who could make a viking poo himself; it makes me feel a bit more sane. I don't watch daytime dramas so I feel it's a decent trade off. My husband, on the other hand, really can't get into it so he usually is checking his email, facebook, and any interesting news story online to drown out the trailer park drama that entertains me so much. Occasionally he will find a story he finds interesting or a video and decides he wants to share...right then...not at a commercial...and usually at the part when 'Kiki' is presenting evidence that her 'baby daddy' sent her an illegible text about how "gr8 his life is with Shanaynay cuz they b in luv." This results in me missing out on the tongue lashing that Judy bust out with and the verdict which for some reason, my husband doesn't see as a valuable piece of information I should have been enlightened with....

4. Cleaners come and clean the kitchen, living room, dining room and utility room once a week. How dare they! Our landlady has her cleaning crew come once a week to clean the shared living space in the house and it stresses me out more than makes me a lady of leisure. They really don't clean that well and I end up cleaning more detailed after they leave. Plus, if anything was left out, they seem to like having us play hide and seek since it will take 10 minutes to find which random cupboard they have put it in. They can even clean our room if we want but I nipped that one in the bud and made my own "Do not disturb sign" so I can clean my own toilet in peace.

5. My husband gets hungry at reasonable times of the day. This one is so ridiculous that I am having a hard time thinking about how to describe it. Basically, I get into a good book, good show, or am just starting a long email when all of a sudden my husband wants to eat. Since I have no concept of time and don't usually think about if I am hungry or not, I get annoyed that yes, it happens to be a normal meal time, but I have to interrupt my 'busy schedule' to go make it.  Now most all of our meals we make together or my husband makes himself, so it's not like I'm the major cooker in the house...apparently I just don't like having my spoiled lifestyle interrupted.

My husband does know about all of these things. We discuss any annoyances we have with each other just so we don't start holding frustrations against one another. Of course when I mentioned these annoyances with him, we both laughed hysterically over how stupid and petty they are and now if he bites his yogurt covered granola with half a banana spoon, I look over at him quickly and then we both laugh. Considering that basically 95% or more of our day is spent together, in close proximity, and these are my only 'issues', I think I'm a pretty lucky wife! Not many couples can stand to be with each other as much as we are so luckily we do get along so well...but I guess that's what you get when you marry your best friend.