Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Music Mondays...on Wednesday

I have decided to come up with a new lazy way to make it easier for me to come up with posts idea for my blog posts on Mondays. I love music, which I would marry if I could, but since you can't I suppose marrying a musician is the next best thing. The sad thing about my love for music is that I am actually not musical at all. I'm what you pc people would call 'musically challenged'. I can sing on key and I do have an ear for picking up harmonies but I cannot for the life of me play an instrument and would rather have had my dad do my makeup on my wedding day than sing in front of people by myself. My mom plays guitar, piano, and sings, and my dad plays drums and is who I get my harmony hearing abilities from. I can't even make armpit farts! (although I can play Hawaiian music with my nose)

So in an attempt to fulfill my musical desires, I am going to be launching Maggie's Musical Mondays. I'm not talking the kind where Branden and I dress like hillbillies and sing Oklahoma songs for the world to point and laugh at; I'm wanting to share my wide musical appreciation with all of you! I feel the need to state now that in no way are you EVER going to find a country song in this collection of my music loves because I don't consider country music to be music (skinning a cat and recording it is just sick, not artistic!) and I loath it probably more than bathing suit shopping! I do like some Folk and Bluegrass music, and there IS a difference, so I don't want poo pooers when I share some of them.

Ok, so the big question is why in the world am I sharing this all on a Wednesday???

Because what better day to share a musical favorite of mine than on Wednesday...Business Time!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Glimpse of My Marriage to an Academic

For today's post there is a bit of background info which comes from a hilarious post from the wonderful Melynda from Crazy World. She wrote a post a while back called The Tribe so I will wait here for a moment as you go and read it (or refresh yourselves on it since I know some of you stalk her as frequently as I do!). I should also mention that I got to use the words "penis splinters" in a comment so you know it must be a good post!

Read it? Good, now back to me! Most blogs I read, my husband reads too (actually I read them to him and we laugh and laugh together over all of your fun posts!) so he was well aware of Melynda's convo with her husband about The Tribe.

Since Branden has been back, we have been just like two middle school sweethearts who can't seem to stop talking. This has lead to hours of laying awake in bed chatting about random things, laughing and generally not able to get to sleep because we are just too happy to be together. One of these nights Branden out of the blue said,   (Branden is is blue and I am in pink)

"So have you given any thought into who you would choose if you were stuck on an island?"

My mind went Melynda's post, but I was a bit thrown off since she posted this about a week previously...and they say women like to bring up random past stuff!

"Are you wanting me to go by Melynda's rules of if I could only choose girls or just if I had to choose from the people I know?"

"You can just choose people you know."

"...well, I would have to choose Chrissy because she's just burls and can take on anything! Then I'd have to have Alicia because she's almost done with medical school so she's practically a doctor. Josh and Jaime would be good because Josh is a nurse and Jaime (his wife) would keep our teeth healthy." (she is a dental hygienist)

*pause (am I missing anyone??) "Oh and of course I'd have to have you so we could populate the island, and you would be our historian to remind us from whence we came." I was thinking I had done fairly well so I confidently asked, "So what about you?"

"Well, I was thinking I'd need at least 10 people because I would need to include some philosophers, electricians, plumbers..."

"Wait, wait, wait, what?? You need philosophers on a deserted island?? And what are you going to do with an electrician in the middle of nowhere?"

"Mags, you can get electrical current through lemons so an electrician would be useful."

"Ok, last time I heard the story, Benjamin Franklin did not have a lemon tied onto his kite!"

We are both laughing ridiculously through all of this btw...

"So you would have a philosopher, electrician and a plumber for your deserted would have the most boring version of Gilligan's Island ever!"

"Well I'm planning for the future of the civilization so these things are necessary."

"Oh I get it, you are playing Age of Empires not Gilligan's Island. Well in that case then I get Ty Pennington to do all of our carpentry work, Bear Grills to catch us squirrels for food, and Oprah to help us deal with our feelings of being left stranded and starting up a new society."

"If you're going to choose celebrities then you could just say Chuck Norris and Mr. T and that's all you'd need."

"No, Chuck Norris, Mr. T, Macgyver and Bear Grills! I win! My island would kick your philosophical island's butt!"

We continued laughing and teasing each other over our different islands for a while longer and have even been laughing about it still days later...but I still win since I have Bear Grills!

From Branden's graduation from The University of Edinburgh last November 
(I think it looks like he graduated from Hogwarts in that robe!)

Monday, August 29, 2011

This Post is kind of a Big Deal...

This is a slightly iconic post for me. This is my 50th post on this blog, I'm back from a week of not being able to blog, and I am doing something I am completely against in the blogging world...vlogging. I love it when other people vlog but for me, blogging is the ultimate platform for the socially terrified who feel safe knowing that nobody can 'see' them. Vlogging makes me seeable, hearable and takes me out of my typing only comfort zone.

The only reason I am vlogging is because Branden left me with the video camera while he was gone so naturally I documented my boring and awkward days without him. I have cut out a lot of footage (mostly due to unsightly angles and lack of makeup in some shots) and compiled it down to a short little compilation of some of the things I did while Branden abandoned me.

Luckily on the morning he left, a care package from my mom-in-law arrived so I had a box of goodies to craft with, some new pj's, a new book (The Help which is FABULOUS!) and TWO family sized boxes of Cheeze-its!!! I don't miss much food from the States but for some reason Cheeze-its are a weakness and I may have almost finished off an entire box by the time Branden got back...may have.

When Branden did get back, he called me as he was walking home. I managed to get him off of the phone so I could surprise him by meeting him halfway on the road. A couple was walking in front of him so he couldn't see me (plus he was looking at an ad for Ireland Master Chef on the side of a bus stop) so he jumped a mile and let out a shriek when I popped out from behind the couple and tried to hug/pounce on him! He must have assumed he was being mugged by the world's shortest mugger! We cracked up all the way back home over it. I can't tell you how happy I am to have him back home again!

 ...although the video footage may give you a clue.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Best Friends

Ho-hum...Branden leaves tomorrow morning and I've been dreading it for the past week or so. We finally got a second cell phone set up so now I finally have my own cell phone again. Branden has set it up for me so that I can get on my twitter and personal Facebook account but I won't be able to blog. He gets back late on Friday evening and I don't blog on weekends normally, so my next post won't be until next Monday. I've told Branden that if he wants to post on my blog while he's in Dublin then he has free reign but he might be too busy so who knows if he'd get to it. In the meantime, I will leave you with another blog to swing by and visit...and I might be able to kick her in the butt and get her to post more!

In all honesty, this is one blog post that I have been putting off. It's been very intimidating for me to even consider how to start it. No, it's not some confession that I really am a man or have webbed feet and a pet unicorn, it's about my best friend. My husband is my bestest friend but I do have a best friend who I have mentioned a few times, Chrissy.

My husband knows me. He knows my past, my inner thoughts and how I tick. But Chrissy gets me. She knows why I am and how I think. It's a big difference, and if I could morph the two together then the creation would probably know me better than I know myself...but that's scary so I'm happy that they have their two sides.

Chrissy and I met through a mutual friend and eventually started our own business together. Her parents owned a number of rental properties and were building more rental properties. We became a business so they could hire us to clean in-between renters and tradesmen so the properties could be re-rented as quickly as possible. This was a part time thing, since we both already had full time jobs, but we managed to have fun (despite some horrid things we came across!) and got to see just how well we worked together.

Our seamless banter, ability to constantly think the same thoughts, and finish each other's sentences, deemed us as an old married couple who had been together at least 30 years! When you put us together you almost got a free comedy sketch as we played off of each other back and forth constantly. When I found Branden again on myspace, Chrissy was away on a missions trip to the Dominican Republic. As soon as she was back into American cell phone service, she called me (having not talked in 10 or so days) and I told her that I had met someone. She has told me that she knew right then and there that this was the one. She could just tell by my voice. Chrissy was always so supportive. She knew that since Branden was going to be gone in Canada for school, that him and I needed to spend as much time as we could the summer before he left. She didn't get jealous, or upset that I didn't see her as often; she was just full of joy that her best friend had found the right man! Of course she was my maid of honor and I keep a photo of us from my wedding day on my nightstand.

We have a lot of funny stories that I will share with you over time. I am also happy to announce that (after a little coaxing from me...although she really wanted to do it) she has started her own blog! She has a much better memory than me and usually remembers more of our adventures than I do! Now she has only just started her new blog so there are only a couple of posts...but that's easy to catch up on!

Chrissy's Blog: Things on My Couch

Friday, August 19, 2011

Things that Melt My Heart

A week ago, I was painting and got a message on Skype from my mom. My sis and nephews are still living with her and my dad so she sent me a message from Hunter (the 4 1/2 year old) that said this:

Hunter says: I love you and when I grow up I would like to find salamanders at your house and go all around the world to find lizard and snakes and amphibians.  I love you so big and so wide and i love you like the whole wide world.

As my friend Chrissy and I always say about sweet nephew moments, I melted into a big puddle of goo! I stopped my painting and called them on Skype. It's amazing how I can still play with my boys with just a webcam. Brady (almost 11months) loves for me to sing him 'Little Bunny Foo Foo', which involves a stuffed bunny we have on our end that I hop around the screen and it bops dinosaurs on the head instead of field mice. We have dinosaur finger puppets that Branden uses, and then instead of the good fairy coming down to tell off Bunny Foo Foo, we have the good turtle which also happens to be Brady's favorite. It's so much fun to watch his face light up on our screen.

On Tuesday, we went to the Bible study put on by the church we found. Branden and I sat next to two sweet old ladies (probably in their 80's). I made my introduction and when I said, "My name is Maggie", the woman sitting next to me raised her eyebrows and said, "Your name is what?". Her expression was more of surprise than of confusion and I repeated, "I'm Maggie". She smiled and told me that her daughter was named Mags and I mentioned that all my family and close friends call me Mags. After a few songs, we sat down again and she put her hand on my back as she leaned towards me she whispered, "I had better warn you now, my daughter was killed 14 years ago so I hope you don't mind if I hug you." My heart melted and I could almost cry as she hugged me and I whispered back to her, "Well, I'm a long ways from home so I will take all the hugs I can get". 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Today's Funny Family Member: Granny

I am extremely behind in Blogland which is not good because next week I will be without a computer from the 23rd-26th as my husband is going away to Dublin for research, needs the computer, and I can't go with him. 
*insert hysterical crying here*

This basically means that I am going to be locked away in my room for 3 days reading my Kindle and watching whatever random crap is on TV to keep me from going insane. If I'm lucky, I will get enough courage to take myself to the park nearby to read if the sun is out...but the thought of going out anywhere on my own is almost enough to make me break out into stress sweats, so I better move on and not think about it.

As I mentioned in my post on Monday, I was feeling very unwell. Tuesday was surprisingly good and we even managed to go on a picnic to the park since the sun decided it was finally due to visit Ireland again this year. Yesterday, I was fine in the morning and we went to a small gallery at the University to see some old Irish book that was on display (and the name of which I can't remember), but when we came out I all of a sudden felt like I was going to barf and pass out all at the same time. We sat on a bench for a while until I felt alright enough to walk home but I discovered that walking make the nausea worse, especially if I walked downhill. Luckily we made it home and then a killer of a headache hit. I was out the rest of the day, stuck in bed and in the dark. We were able to watch Bedknobs and Broomsticks, which was fun amongst the pounding head and churning stomach. Thankfully I am feeling fine so far today. 

For your laugh today, I'm sharing more family stories. This is one that I posted back in October 2005 about my Granny. I start it by saying that "she is one of the sweetest women I will ever know" but she is also one of the strongest women I will ever know. This last time we were back in the States, she was going through chemo and radiation for her 5th bout with cancer. She has had all sorts of different types of cancer over her lifetime but she has always come through and never let it get her down. Branden and I were able to help her out when we were back and her positive attitude never wavered. She is done with treatment and recovering slowly, but recovering none the less. Granny is my namesake so she will always be such a part of me.

My Sweet Innocent Granny

My granny is one of the sweetest women I will ever know. I was lucky enough to get to live with her for about 6 months last year, and she would buy me little surprises every now and then. On Valentines day, I came home to find a red velvet bag with heart socks and red 'love cuffs'. I of course was slightly shocked at the fact my granny bought me handcuffs but then I had to remember she isn't so up on the ways of people today. When I thanked her for the gifts she said, "I just had to get you those handcuffs. I thought they were so cute and thought maybe you could use them on your youth group kids!" (at the time I was teaching middle/high school youth group and Sunday school). All I could do was laugh and think in my head, "Oh sure, I'm sure Marykay Laternou used them on her kids too!" 

Well, I am proud of my granny and I'm proud of her naiveness, so I proudly hung the handcuffs from my rearview mirror. They are there to this day and have only been taken off once because my mom took my car to church one morning and was too embarrassed to been seen with them! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Same Language, Big Differences

I learned a lot of new phrases from living in Scotland. I have to catch myself sometimes talking to friends and family back in the States. For instance, I told my best friend Chrissy that she needed to flog something. I was meaning to sell it, she was thinking beat it senseless...bit of a difference (and neither should be done to small children!). At some point in my blog I'm bound to slip up and call a garbage can a wheelie bin or refer to a last name as a surname or some other random thing I've picked up along my way. There was one specific word that got me into a bit of an embarrassing situation last winter.

My husband and I had acquired jobs at a fireworks company. We were hired on for 3 months to cover the busy period between October and December (Scottish people LOVE their fireworks). I was working in the office doing secretaryish type work and Branden was working in the warehouse, putting together the firework displays. Since gunpowder + heat = Kaboom! the warehouse and all other out buildings couldn't have any heating. My office was the one place with heating (just one little heater), and that helped when we got slammed with over 3 feet of snow and temperatures well below freezing! The crew guys would come in and warm themselves occasionally by my little office heater right in front of my desk.

View from my office window

One day when one of my co-workers (John) came in to warm himself, I said to him smiling, "Come in to warm your fanny?", since he was standing with his backside to the heater.

He looked at me as if I had insulted his mother. In a voice of disbelief, he replied with eyebrows raised, "You are terrible! I can't believe you said that!" Instantly my face had confusion splashed all over it. He continued, "You can't tell me you don't know what that means." and he left my office. I was completely puzzled and didn't think a reference to his bum was that bad.

Later that day, the two office guys I worked with were talking about how handy it would be if the small bathroom building on the sight was actually plumbed and had heaters so we wouldn't have to use the frozen Port-o-Loo...and yes, I mean it as totally frozen. I laughed and said that if the bathrooms had heaters in there then John would camp out in there all the time warming his fanny. You could have heard crickets chirp as their faces stared wide eyed back at me. I finally couldn't take it anymore.

"Ok, what is with me saying fanny?! John did the same thing when I said it to him. Am I not getting something??"

There were awkward glances back and forth as if they were mentally fighting over which person had to explain this one to me. Finally, one of them looked at me (ok, more like the floor in my general vicinity) and attempted his explanation.

"Fanny here means...well, it's's a woman's...front...bottom....uh, know."

My mind all of a sudden put together the fact that I had told my male coworker that he liked to warm his vagina as I managed out an, "Oh my..."

John and I had quite a laugh over the ordeal when I told him that I finally learned what 'fanny' meant and thankfully there was no harm done.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pain and Paintings

I'm in the process of dying apparently. I won't go into details, but I will be better in a few days. Since I am doubled over with a heating pad (thanks Ma for making it!), I find that writing is not working out very well. So here are the two watercolor paintings I've done over the weekend. I have found that I don't do very well painting from photos or scenes, but I do fairly well with illustrations. This inspiration came from watching The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The colors scanned alright but they aren't quite at nice as the actual paintings.

 Pooh falling out of the honey tree

Dumbo being held by his mother

I actually did this one last month after reading Wind in the Willows. Mole and Ratty on the river.

Fingers crossed, I get lucky and tomorrow is a much better day, but if you happen to see Mother Nature, beat the crap out of her for me!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Coach Loves His Cookies

If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm a bit of a sarcastic, sharp tongued woman. Luckily my husband can find it amusing as in the case of the specific scenario I'm about to share with you.

Background information:

My husband has a Nike windbreaker which is very nice, looks good on him, and is perfect for warmish days. I do like it but since I always make snarky comments, I tease him that he looks like a little league baseball coach in it. I'll call him "Coach" and ask him how his boys are doing, to which he usually grins back at me.

So the other day we were headed out:

Branden: Where's my jacket?

Me: Oh, the International Coach's Association came by and took it away because they didn't want you impersonating a coach anymore. *big smile on innocent face *blink *blink

We got quite a good laugh over that one. I'm lucky my husband understands my humor. I do tease everyone. I only don't tease someone if I don't like them, so if anything, my husband should be nervous if I ever stop teasing him!

*Coach getting some good luck for his team!

And now for something completely different! Since we don't usually keep dessert items in the house, if we decide that we want something we have to create it. One of our favorites is my no-bake Nutella cookies. Since this is just a random creation, I don't measure anything, so I'll just have to 'translate' what I do.

Granola (whatever kind you like. I like a basic kind with almonds and raisins)

Put a pot on your stovetop and melt about a tablespoon full of butter in it. Scoop in about 4 big scoops of Nutella into the melted butter. Add a little bit of milk to thin it. Stir it until it is a good smooth chocolate sauce. You don't want it to be too thin and runny but more like a melted chocolate bar. When it is right, mix in your granola. Add enough to completely coat the granola but not drown it. Let it cool enough for you to touch it and enough to keep a shape.

On a greased plate or cookie sheet, make cookie shapes out of your mix. If you wish to add a bit of jam (raspberry is my favorite!) then make them in a nest shape. Stick them into the fridge or freezer to set. When they are solid, you can add jam, eat them with ice cream, or just eat them on their own. They are very rich and very sweet so I can usually can only eat 1 in a sitting. Adjust the recipe as you need, this recipe will make about 6 cookies (I think). Enjoy!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Disturbing on So Many Levels

Today I am being slightly lazy and my mom-in-law wants me to make up a bunch of needle felted cell phone charms for her to sell in her studio, so I need to get crackin! Here is probably the most disturbing child's toy I have ever come across...also the most disturbing father I have ever seen! I hope you 'enjoy' (but not as much as the doll!).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Different Sort of Waxing Story

Yesterday I shared a story about my dad, so today, I'm digging back to my original Padded Cell Confessions blog and will share with you a post about my mom. This was also my first ever post that I wrote back in August 2005:

My Saturday was supposed to be a relaxing fun day with my family; celebrating my uncle's 50th birthday. But of course reality decided that a normal day is not possible with the 'chlorine-lacking' gene pool that I come from.

I got out of my nice hot shower to hear my mother yelling for me. It was quite a surprise to find her sitting on the kitchen counter with her feet in the sink and looking quite distressed. Apparently my mother has a hobbit somewhere in her family tree, which is evident from specific hair growth on her feet. Since she is not going to be cast in Peter Jackson films anytime soon, she decided to wax the nasty hair (that I pray every night has not somehow made it into my list of 'wonderful' traits picked up by my family).

Anyway, I don't know if she just dumped hot wax on her feet or what, but both of her feet were coated in an extremely sticky mess. She tried to get it off with whatever cleaning product was closest to her on the counter, and unfortunately for her it was fruit cleaner. She scrubbed it on her feet, trying to get it off, but only succeeded in getting it all over her hands as well. It was at this point she yelled for me to save her.

I asked her what to use to get it off and she quickly told me wax remover. Great! We had a solution.  Except when I asked where the wax remover was, she informed me that it was at the store. She was too cheap to buy it. So for the next 20 minutes I tried rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, and was about to try Goof Off, when she suggested vegetable oil. I thought that was the dumbest suggestion ever...until it worked! So my poor mom was stranded on the kitchen counter for about 45 minutes until she was saved by the magical powers of Canola Oil...and me!

After this whole fiasco, we took off for the lake for my uncle's party. Now about a month or two ago, my uncle was a 'small time hero' for some troubled paddle-boaters. So for a gift, my aunt made him a special hero suit. She had an old Coast Guard life jacket (complete with flare, whistle, and flashing light that really looks likes a taser) and she sewed a cape onto it! Of course all superhero's believe in safety first so she accessorized it with super goggles. And what superhero is complete without a song? I have been known to make up some pretty interesting ones so I got to work right away. It's to the tune of the Spiderman theme song.

 'Super Greg, Super Greg. He will lend you an arm or leg. He can run, he can dive; But he can't fly so he'll have to drive. Look out! Here comes Super Greg!'

Don't worry, I won't even consider becoming a song writer!

*We could almost be in Awkward Family Photos since my dad had the longest hair of any of us in this photo and I look like I've smelled someone's fart. This was the church directory photo too!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Poor Dad

My poor dad. He lived in a house with 3 women (my mom, my sis and myself) and most of that time was in a 1 bathroom house. He mastered taking a shower in under 5 minutes because we would take up all the hot water. All of his motorcycle magazines in the bathroom were under our stockpile of feminine products. We played girly pranks on him like dye his whitey tighties pink and then hang them on the line outside for him to see when he got home. 

Little did dad know that these sweet little girls would cause his hair to go white very quickly...but we look cute and innocent here! I'm the munchkin on the right who is the same size as the fish. It think dad used me as a fish measurer because we have several photos from when I was a kid, and in all of them the fish is always the same size as me. Anyway, on to a fun story from my very poor memory bank.

One day we were all in mom's car (dad driving) and dad got a bloody nose. Mom usually keeps a horde of napkins in her glove compartment but unfortunately she was out...except for one thing. Mom unwrapped an extra long maxi pad with wings and handed it to my poor dad. At first he refused and wanted mom to keep looking for napkins but after realization hit, he had to take the pad. Of course all three of us girls were laughing hysterically. He couldn't figure out what the wings were, and it was so long he had to fold it in half. After our laughter died down, he looked at it and said, "This thing is pretty absorbent!" We cracked up again and replied with a "well duh!" 

Dad made us swear to never tell anyone about his 'getting in touch with his feminine side' lips are sealed!

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Plea to People with Pets

I have a slight miff with some pet owners...mostly dog owners. Besides the ones who look away when their dog awkwardly has his way with your leg and the ones who don't pick up after their dogs, I get so frustrated over the ones who name their beloved animal "Maggie". Currently "Maggie" is the #1 dog name, but I've also known some cats and other pets that have been dubbed this absolutely wonderful HUMAN name!

You probably have guessed by now that either I have an odd obsession with the name or that it just so happens to be mine. Ok, both are true so now you have another tidbit of information about me. I'm not a Margaret or Marge, I'm just every other female retriever out there. Now I love animals and probably have killed some of my husband's deeply intellectual brain cells from all of the kitty and puppy videos he's had to watch on Youtube, but I don't find sharing my name with a cute animal as an endearing thing.

What is it about the name "Maggie" that just says furry, drinks from the loo, and likes to smell butts? I may be short, find my hair absolutely everywhere and even chase cats down in hopes of cuddling with their cute little faces, but you would never find me peeing in the corner of your living room. I have embarrassingly been known to respond to random people in dog parks and in public just to find that they were calling for their four legged friend! 

So I plea with all of you out there to stop this naming epidemic out there and be a little more creative with your pet names...don't be cheap by stealing mine! 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Search Engine Fun

Since I've only been at this blog thing again for 3 or 4 months, I don't seem to have any good Search Engine hits on my blog yet. So far I've only had "padded cell confessions", "confessions from a padded cell" and "due to technical difficulties message". Pretty boring but I know these will become more amusing with time. In my past blogging days, I received a few funny ones but also a large number of bizarre hits. Here is a list of hits from my blogging days of old!

Funny Google Hits:  

Oh, Poopie!    (Probably an old woman looking up her favorite phrase)

Why is a padded cell fluffy?   (Because it's umm...I know this is a shot in the dark padded!)

Sick and Wrong, we should flog these people, Hits: 

hot granny web cam  (EWWWW! How I came up in this search, I have no clue!)

bestiality confessions  (Worse than the granny one! Did they want the cow's side of the story?)

skinny dipping pics porn  (If you found me from this, get in your shower, turn it on cold and just sit in it for a while!)

Apparently I have a large and random array of topics that makes me ideal for bizarre Google searches! I'm now very disturbed to think that these people are actually living, breathing, and breeding in my atmosphere...

*Afterthought: I've just given these sick people a way to find me again haven't I...Crap!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Country or Paleolithic Period?

Last year while living in Edinburgh, I was employed by a temp agency and placed in reception at a clinic for drug users. Since it was summer time, a lot of the staff were taking their vacations. One guy told me he was going to Croatia because it was so nice and really cheap. I went home and told Branden that maybe we should see about visiting Croatia sometime. Here's how the convo went:

Me: Croatia supposedly has great beaches, nice towns and is much less expensive than going to Spain.

Branden: Croatia? Who goes on vacation to Croatia?

Me: You only say that because we're American and we don't know anyone who has ever gone to Croatia let alone that it is even a country.

Branden: True. I don't think I ever hear anyone mention it back in the States.

Me: I bet most Americans probably think that Croatia is time period where dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

Branden: Sadly, that's probably true...

Now, I'm not trying to sound better than other Americans. I didn't know anything about Croatia or even really hear about it until I moved across the pond. This is just what people over here call "taking the piss" or "making fun of" and I have no problems taking the piss out of myself!

Considering that most of my viewers are fellow Americans, I'm hoping you all can prove me wrong!!  ;)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Thank Heavens for My Camera

Last night, my husband and I headed out to the church we've been attending for their Tuesday night study. It's quite the walk through the University, past a park, along a pub filled road that leads to the huge Cathedral in town, up quite a few hills, through some sketchy neighborhoods, and finally to the Catholic school that the Protestant church meets in.

As we were in the sketchy neighborhood part, I saw a small German Shepherd ahead of us, running like a giddy escaped convict with his stressed owner attempting to snag him. He looked friendly enough and I'm more than willing to admit that I am completely animal starved, so I probably would have thrown myself in front of a stampeding bull elephant if given the chance. The dog hadn't spotted me as he ran in my direction so when he was close enough, I bent down with my hand out and started talking to him like he was a small child. I figured in his mind, he would think, "hmmm, new person...I wonder if it has food!" and come to me, and it worked! Unfortunately he had no collar on so I grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and just started petting him like as if I had never seen a dog before in my life (oh, and the baby cooing didn't stop either). The grateful owner finally caught up and I was able to hand over the adorable dog. Branden and I continued on our way but I quickly realized that my cute furry captive was also very smelly and I was reeking of dog!

When we got to the church, Branden made the ever so brilliant comment that I should probably go wash my hands since I had quite the dog stench on me, so I made the crazy journey up a few flights of stairs and down a scary, possibly filmed in a horror flick, dark hallway to find the women's room. I had never used the restrooms there so I was completely surprised by an object I saw in the women's room and instantly wished I had my camera on me. Totally bummed, I walked out but decided to peek in my purse to see if maybe the house elves had snuck my camera in my purse by chance...and they had! Smiling like an idiot, I got my camera out and went back into the bathroom, checking under stalls so I didn't freak someone out by the sound of photos being taken in the vicinity of them doing their doody. With the all clear, I took a quick snap and quickly put the camera back in my purse, ecstatic that I would get to use this as blog material! So, this is what I saw:

This has got to be the most treacherous baby changing station I have ever seen! My first thought upon seeing it was 'If that's a baby changing station, then I think I know why population in Ireland is so low!'. I have dubbed this, The Baby Changing Station of Death! I'm pretty sure it was made in about the 1950's and I have no idea what sort of safety feature the wheels on the bottom are! It's also at a slight downward slope...very nice for your smooth, round infant.

When we left the church and headed back, I was even more excited when I saw another sight that I was unable to photo due to not having my camera on me...think back to a tip of the day...

Sadly, it's not paralleled parked between some other cars but you get the idea! Considering this isn't the first time seeing it parked in front of that pub, I'm guessing Mr. Power Chair is a regular.

Yesterday taught me a very good lesson: Keep my camera on me at all times and it could practically write my blog for me!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pet Peeve that could be Fatal

Luckily, my particular pet peeve that I'm going to share with you today, is not one that I run across often while living abroad. However, since I have a sad and pathetic guilty pleasure of watching Judge Judy, my pet peeve is alive and aggravating. So what is this horrible irritation that could drive me to drop kick an adorable Disney character?? Quite simply, it is the repulsive way people say "axe" instead of "ask". My toes curl, my eyes bulge, my hair tingles and I just want to fly through the TV and show them what "axing" really means! This isn't just a simple mispronunciation, this simple word could be the difference between life and a torturous death!


Your child brings over a new friend who just moved into the neighborhood. The new kid wants to know if he can stay for dinner. You reply with, "Go axe your mother"...BAM! Potential manslaughter! Now the child probably wouldn't be able to take on his mom but what if you tell them to "axe grandma"??? I don't think people realize how powerful the error of their ways could be!

So that is my nagging pet peeve. Luckily, from the accents over here, people don't pronounce it in the fatal form that some Americans do (and this type is oddly found on Judge Judy a lot!). I do also become highly irritated over the mispronunciation of "breakfast" as "brefix", but since it has no life threatening potential, I let it slide.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Weekend Happenings

I had been dreading Saturday all week. We needed to go to the shops in town so I was dreading the long walk back home with 6 or so pounds of cold raw meat in the small of my back (that's where it settles in my backpack). Surprisingly we woke up at a decent time and could catch the cheap, early showing of the final Harry Potter movie. If you go at 11:30am it only costs 4 euros each which is about $5.75!

I have been a bit hesitant to go see it since it is a tradition that my dad and I always go and see Harry Potter films together. We have managed every single film, even the last one, despite that I was in Scotland when it came out and at the time didn't think I was going back to the States anytime soon. Luckily it worked out that we got to go back for a few months before moving to Ireland so dad and I had our traditional movie date. Since this was the absolute final film, I was a bit depressed that:

1) it was all ending
B) I wouldn't get to see the final one with my dad

I finally bit the bullet and we packed up our backpacks and shopping bags to go to the shops afterwards and made the 30 min walk into town. When the film started, I could feel my heart pounding. It raced and jumped and at times I thought it was going to just beat out of my chest! About 45 minutes into the film I realized this was because I had chugged my coffee before setting off on our walk to the cinema...count this as your tip of the day. I sat with tissue clenched in my hand the entire film, just waiting to burst into tears but I never did. I did like the film but that's probably because it has been years since I read the final book and actually couldn't remember how it all ended.

Ok, sentimental bit over, we did our shop run and packed our groceries like mules back home. Later, we managed to get everyone in my parent's house on Skype, which happens about as often as a solar eclipse. Ma, Dad, my sis Katie, 4 1/2 year old nephew Hunter and 10 month old nephew Brady were all beaming back at us on the webcam. My dad and I got to share our different experiences with seeing the HP film apart from each other and I got some fun updates about my nephews.

My sis caught Brady with her cell phone the other day. He was saying "Dada, dada" into it and then holding it up to his ear like it was a walkie talkie, hoping his dad, who is on deployment, would magically start talking back to him. I thought this was adorable and remembered back to when Hunter was about that age and his dad was gone, and he thought that his dad lived in a stuffed globe we would use to show him where daddy was on his boat. My sis also informed me that Hunter called her a 'sexy lady' the other day, so my sis asked him what makes a lady sexy? He thought about it and replied, "A girl with a nice shirt and pants". Sweet! I've got sexy made then!

Of course it wouldn't be an official weekend without our Romanian neighbors having a fire in the back garden and blaring bad 90's music hits, causing us to have to keep our bedroom and bathroom windows closed or be asphyxiated. If I hear the Macarena one more time, I think I will start chucking bottles filled with gasoline over the garden wall! Unfortunately today is a bank holiday so I have an extra day of putting up with their shenanigans. I suppose I should note, that I don't actually know that they are Romanian. The language they are speaking sounds Eastern European but Romanian has a better ring to it when blogging.

So that was my weekend. Sorry, it was a longer type up than I expected, so tomorrow I plan on a shorter post. I have a nagging pet peeve that I've been wanting to share...

Happy Monday Everyone!