Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Fun

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! We sure did! There is a jazz festival going on in Cork, so Branden and I were able to head to some pubs for free live music. It really couldn't have been anymore ideal. We found a cozy corner, hidden away from all the ridiculous dancers, snuggled up, and swayed to the music. At one point, our secluded spot was empty so we practiced our swing dance moves...we're a bit rusty, but it was fun!

Back in the day when we were slightly less rusty

On Sunday night, the church we've been attending had an International Feast. The church is very international, so there were over 20 countries represented in the way of their local cuisine. Branden and I joined the American forces with our homemade chocolate covered peanut butter balls. Chocolate chip cookies, macaroni and cheese, and chicken parmesan, also represented the USA. Branden did the rounds, trying to get as many small tastes of things as he could. He would then bring a plate full back for us to try together. The most surprising thing I had that I really liked, was a Lithuanian dish of raw pieces of herring in sour cream with onions and tomatoes. I had a hard time at first trying to convince myself to taste it, but when I did it was absolutely delicious! The event was fabulous, with tons of good food and even better company! We made some great new friends and had such an incredible night.

Since it is Halloween, I have to give you something fun for your Music Monday. Here is a bit of a laugh for your Halloween Monday!

And for any of you going out to Halloween costume parties tonight, here is a reminder to not get drunk and do karaoke!

From the bottom of my cell, I wish you a safe and Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

My "I don't believe in ghosts, Ghost Story"

As you all learned at the beginning of the week, I did Civil War reenacting when I was a young teen. With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it would be an appropriate time to share a spooky tale from those days.

One year, Gretchen's family took me to Fort Simcoe. It was built in the 1850's to establish peace between the Indians and the settlers...I use peace loosely here because we were informed that the playground area at the Fort is actually built right where the hanging tree used to be. There were some nice white houses, one really nice one being the Commander's Quarters, which we were also informed was haunted.

Gretchen and I sat around a fire the afternoon we arrived and listened wide eyed to the tales of the lady who haunted the Fort. I hope I remember this all correctly but I'm pretty sure this was basically the story.

Back in either the 1850's or 1840's, in New York City, a wealthy woman married a military man. She loved her lavish city life, but sometime in the 1850's her husband received orders to move to Fort Simcoe as the Commander. He whisked his bride all the way across the country to what the wife could only see as a God forsake place in the middle of nowhere. Supposedly she hated it there, and was frustrated at her husband for making her live in such a savage place. At some point they had a child, and soon after the child's birth, the Civil War broke out. Her husband was called off to war, leaving her and the baby with some military men in Indian territory. Some sort of illness broke out at Fort Simcoe that the woman and baby both caught. The baby died, and soon after, the woman died as well.

Since her death, there have been reports of a woman in a white blouse with a large black skirt, which practically melts into the ground, roaming around the Fort. The man who told us this tale also told us about an encounter he had with the woman. At first he thought it was his wife. After all, this is a place for Civil War reenacting so there are a lot of women dressed as the 'ghost' would dress. He followed what he thought was his wife around the houses one night, wondering what she was doing. When she disappeared, he went back to the fire to discover that his wife had been with the rest of the people around a fire the entire time. Everyone else was also accounted for, so they knew it must have been the 'ghost'.

The house that she lived in is viewable by the public in the day. The furniture is still in place, and one particular item, a mantle clock, hasn't worked in many many years. Oddly enough, the clock will occasionally go off only at noon. Nobody knows how or why, but it just does. I also remember being told something about acorns being heard falling on the roof, and you can find acorns on the ground around the house but there are no acorn producing trees in that area. Now I can't remember what the trees were like. That's just what I remember being told.

After listening for a couple of hours about the spooky ghost woman of Fort Simcoe, Gretchen and I decided to take a tour of the house...not a good idea. First of all, this is where I fell down from running in my hoop skirt and flashed everyone and secondly, despite being two girls who don't believe in ghosts (and I still don't), our imaginations were probably running a bit too wild as we stood clinging to each other before the front porch. We heard our comrades laughing as us in the distance, so we finally hitched up our skirts and made our way through the door. Ever so slowly and silently, we baby stepped our way into the hallway. There was an open doorway a few feet on our right and another open doorway a bit further ahead on our left. Since I was on the left side of Gretchen, I was the first to get a glimpse into the doorway on the right. It was the living room with the notorious mantle clock. Unfortunately for me, that wasn't the first thing that caught my eye. The first thing I saw in the room was a figure in a white blouse, with a big, dark skirt and a lifeless look upon her face...I let out a shriek! Gretchen caught her first glimpse, and we both darted out the front door, screaming our girly heads off!

Then the laughter hit us, as we realized what we saw. Nobody told us there were period dressed mannequins set up in the rooms! Mannequins are scary enough in their own right, but they really take on a new form of terror when you aren't expecting them! After we composed ourselves, we made our way back into the house, and I think we ended up singing to try and handle our nerves as we made our tour through the two floors. We survived! There were some other creepy mannequins all through the house but at least we now knew to expect them.

That night, we had a small dance and get-together in the small log shed type thing across the yard from the great house. It was next to a small apple orchard and was a nice place for evening chats and laughs. Gretchen's and I headed off for the night while some stayed to continue on through the night. About 100ft or so from the building, I for some reason turned around to look back. There was the happy little log building we came from, with candle light seeping from the doorway and windows. You could hear people laughing and some stomping as someone was trying to dance again. Something in the apple orchard caught my eye. I just noticed more with the sweep of my head as I turned back to walk towards the camper. A woman was standing in the orchard, just staring at the building. She was in a white blouse and a skirt that could have been made of shadows. My conscious mind registered what I just glimpsed as I whipped my head back around to confirm the image...but it was gone.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday Mashup

Since my editor now has a real job, I will have to apologize now for my posts not being as "grammatically perfect" as they normally are. Also, since I woke up at 7am with a feeling of food poisoning in my gut, I am not able to give a full blown post today.

From the Award granted to me by Paige yesterday, I have some more work to do and need to pass it on to 15 people. Paige did grant the award to some of my fellow bloggers that I would have thought deserving enough for me to pass on to so I will eliminate those from the 15. Then divide by 3, multiply by the square root of 2, put my left hand in then take my left hand out, shake things about and I come to a number of 1. Sure it may sound like a cheat but I have a blog sister that is very versatile so I am choosing to just bless her today with it.

Stephanie writes funny, she writes emotionally, she writes poetically, and mostly, she writes wonderfully! You would be hard pressed to find a sweeter blogger out there...well maybe her daughter Peanut (I kid, I kid). Peanut had to learn it from someone! I have enjoyed every bit of watching Stephanie's journey. She learns from life in a way that is enviable. If you haven't ever met Stephanie, please do. And if you email her your birthday she will post you a Happy Birthday! Mine's March 24th btw  ;)

So Stephanie, this is for you and it very well deserved!

Now, I have met a new blogger (introduced to me by Joshua) called Scope. He is trying to raise money for breast cancer via reader participation. Please go check him out and see if you can help.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

And the Award for "The Best Week Ever" goes too...

What a difference a week makes! I don't think anyone noticed but last week I didn't have any current funny moments or stories. Instead, I dived into my archives for laughs because there wasn't much fun happening over here. Thankfully I learned something very important: When you are just managing to stay afloat, always keep your eyes to the sky in order to not drown. Seems obvious but for some reason it's really easy to look down into the deep watery abyss that wants to swallow you up instead.

As a lot of you have read, Branden has been trying to get a job for the past 7 months. He has applied for job after job after job with not so much as a call back. Finally he caught his break yesterday! It has been a long time since I have cried for joy so I think I tried making up for lost time. Not only does he now have a job (he starts training today) but he gets to work in the fabulous English Market.

Think of it as a giant, indoor farmer's market. It is a huge tourist attraction (the Queen of England visited this summer) but it is also a wonderful place to do your shopping! For the most part, we find the prices to be cheaper than that of grocery stores so we love to do our shopping here. The store Branden will be working in sells fruits, vegetables, teas, and herbs. It is surrounded by a butcher shop, a cake shop, a bread baker, and a Mediterranean store that sells olives, cheeses, and sausages. He is very excited to start and we are just so overjoyed to be blessed with this job!

Another wonderful surprise was yet another blog award granted to me by the enviously funny Paige Kellerman! It has been really terrifying nice to see her blog steal all the people who could be reading my blog and will never find me funny after reading her posts grow and get the attention it deserves. If you for some reason haven't checked out her blog then you really must never do it or you will be sucked in and never come back to me check her out and laugh hilariously over her brilliantly worded posts. Branden and I have actually had a few conversations about how to knock her off because she is seriously the biggest competition I could ever come across incredible her writing style is and wondered how she manages to come up with such uniquely funny ideas.

In all seriousness, go check her because she is honestly one of my favorite reads on the web.


Here are the stipulations for receiving the Versatile Blogger Award:

1. Thank the person who shared the award with you by linking back to them in your post. *Check
List seven things about yourself. 
3. Pass this award on to 15 newly discovered blogs and let them know that you included them in your blog post.

Now, if any of you are still here and not over at Paige's, here are my 7 random things about me.

1. I am left handed and only have scars on the left side of my body. Even the chicken pox scar in my eyebrow is on my left side. I actually like my scars because they are all stories. So I have The Apple Pie Scar, The Tried Killing a Bee Scar, The Puncture Wound from Fishing Scar, The 7 Stitches from a Stump Scar, and the I Have No Idea What Happened To That Elbow Scar. Stories behind these may just need to be posted at a later date.

2. Besides my fear of spiders, I also am terrified of sharks (I used to even be scared of swimming in lakes when I was little...), I'm claustrophobic, I am a pansy about heights, goats freak me out, and blood makes me woozy. There really is no reason for me to be terrified of sharks except that my Grandma, who doesn't have a belly button anymore because it's been sewed up from a surgery, told us that she lost her belly button to a shark who bit it off.

3. My family only had Irish Setters growing up. My dad loves the breed so that's all he would get. Technically I've had 3 in my life but the first died when I was a baby, the second one we had to give away when I was little, but the 3rd one, Bonny, lived to be 14. We got her when I was 8 and she was quite the interesting dog. Irish Setters are gorgeous but they aren't known for their intelligence...

4. I've never been to the East Coast of America. The farthest East I have been is Wisconsin. Branden's never been to the East Coast either and people seem to find this odd since we now live "just across" the Atlantic from it.

5. I loath black olives, goat's cheese, ginger, fennel, malted milk balls (I believe it's really dehydrated stomach bile) and anything slimy like pudding or even jello. I can't even watch someone eat pudding without being grossed out of my mind. The worst thing I have ever 'eaten' is dog poop. I was only 3 years old and was the victim of a poopy snowball to the mouth...I still remember the taste and the never ending vomit that followed.

6. In American terms, I'm short. I'm only 5'2" and Branden is a whole foot taller than me. After moving to Scotland, I discovered that I'm average! Thank goodness Ireland seems to be the same and now Branden gets to be the tall freak.

7. I don't know if this classifies as a random fact or not but if any of you happen to come to my little part of the world, I would be more than happy to give you a tour and have you over for dinner. 

Alrighty! Now you have more useless info about me so on to step 3...tomorrow  ;)

I've got a bit to do today (this is my excuse for my severe engrossment in my book Jane Eyre) so tomorrow I will be passing on the love. This is actually my plan on getting you all to come back after you read Paige's blog!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I was a Yankee in the Civil War

Yesterday, I mentioned that I did Civil War reenacting in my early teen years. My wonderful friend Gretchen, who I've known since birth, is a great lover of all things historical, but the American Civil War really sets her heart a flutter. Over the years, Gret developed her 'character' as a male soldier and participated in many battle scenes. Growing up in Washington State surprisingly provided a lot of opportunities for reenacting and there are many events throughout the year, even down into Oregon and California.

Gretchen and myself in our early high school years...this is the only photo I look tan in

Gretchen's family were all into the fun of dressing up and camping out for a weekend of living in the past, and I got to tag a long. I have always adored dressing up, so getting to flounce around in a hoop skirt all weekend was extremely appealing to me (enough at the time to make me overlook the atrocities of camping!). After public demonstrations during the day, we would party it up with dances...typically waltzes, and I sucked at them. Sadly, I didn't have the passion like Gret did to really hone in my character and make myself as period as possible, but I had a decent enough crack at it and found it to be very fun.

There were a few 'memorable' moments that you may find entertaining. Chrissy left me a comment in yesterday's post about my crochet abilities. Stinker! One thing I liked to do when the public would be wandering around, viewing us re-enactors, was to plop myself under a large tree with my basket of yarn and start crocheting. People would pass by and see me set up in the shade, full skirt fluffed around me, and me intently creating something with my yarn. Luckily, it wasn't enthralling enough for them to stick around for long because I couldn't for the life of me crochet rows. I could crochet you a chain as long as you liked but that's as far as I could go. Picturesque me would be crocheting up a nice line, people would slowly walk by, I'd glance up and smile, never stopping in my work, and as soon as they walked away, I would rip the whole line out and restart for the next group of people that would happen upon me. I probably would have made a fabulous animatronic character in The Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disney Land. The one time I did try to crochet a pot holder resulted in me making a crocheted kidney...

Another problem I had was also something I loved: my hoop skirt. I had a 3 boned hoop skirt which wasn't massive but was still fun. One evening, after the public had long gone, a bunch of our friends were all sitting on the ground around a campfire, chatting away. Someone said something so funny that I fell back laughing, at which caused more laughter and Gretchen to immediately sit me upright. If you are on your back in a hoop skirt, you more or less make a nice round window version of a peep show to your panties. Thank heavens I was being authentic that day and wearing bloomers. I was more careful after that incident, but still had another bad situation when I was running ahead of my friends, tripped on my skirt, and fell face first in the grass. My skirt flashed me again, but sadly I wasn't wearing my bloomers...I was even told I had a wedgie...

I don't have any photos of my days as a Civil War belle (at least not in Ireland, I may have some in storage in the States) but that's ok by me, since Gret was strict on not letting me wear makeup because it wasn't authentic. She also did my hair in the 'fashionable' middle parted style, which makes me look ridiculous! Not many people can say they have rocked a side part since 2nd grade or so (I would have made a lousy hippy). It was a fun time in my life, and maybe over here I can get involved in some Celtic War reenactments and then I don't have to worry about flashing my panties, since my outfit would most likely be blue paint...thank goodness my Grandma doesn't read this!

Civil War reenacting may be looked upon as nerdy...but at least I'm not this guy!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Time flies and I can't keep up!

I am terrible with dates. Since I don't work anymore, it really screws up my concept of time and dates. Also, since Facebook screwed with their format (and I am now more often on Pinterest), I seem to completely miss everyone's birthday notifications and thus become the least festive person to know on Facebook when it's your birthday.

Luckily, I was on this morning and saw a reminder that my sis and bro-in-law's wedding anniversary is today! Even though I was in the wedding, I still am having a hard time believing it's been 8 years! Earlier this month was my sis's birthday and Branden and I Skyped her to sing to her and even sent her a Happy Birthday video. It wasn't until the end of the day that I realized that she actually turned 30! I just have a hard time thinking that any of us could be married longer than 5 years, and we can't ever leave our 20's! As if I don't need any more shocks, my oldest nephew is going to turn 5 on the 1st of November! The youngest even started walking last night!

Thank goodness I have a some time before my birthday comes up so I can prep myself for approaching ever closer to 30. Since Branden and I are married, we share everything, right??? So why can't I trade ages with him??? I would love to turn 25 next year instead of 28, and in his academic circles he sometimes would much prefer to be turning 28 because it seems that the older you are, the more serious people take you. Anyway, Congrats Katie and Jared! I hope you are able to have a wonderful anniversary!

On to the music!

I have to raise my hand and admit that I am completely out of touch with who and what is popular in America now days in the form of music. When I heard this band a couple of weeks ago, I was blown away and amazed at their talent. They are the American group "The Civil Wars" and they may be winners of every single Grammy for all I know. The only thing I do know is that they are new to me, the guy looks like Captain Jack Sparrow, and the girl is cuter than a bug's ear.

This is their incredible version of Billie Jean. I'm pretty sure Branden and I both watched this whole thing with our mouths hanging open. I'm smitten and have been listening to them over and over again on youtube.

As fabulous as that cover is, my favorite is another song that they performed on this show. It's called "I've Got This Friend", and I probably listen to it as much as my young teenage self listened to My Heart Will Go On after Titanic came out (just minus the crying and tearfully whispering, "I'll never let go Jack", in between verses). I can't get over their harmonies and it makes me long to be in a choir again or to be able sing with my mom again. *sigh*

I hope you have enjoyed The Civil Wars as much as I have...unless of course everyone already knows all about them and I may as well have just posted Panda Sneeze because it's that well known. But maybe I have just fed you some musical crack and you will be instantly addicted like I am! 

*Random odd fact about me:
I actually used to do Civil War reenacting in my early teen years. Don't ask me any Civil War trivia though, because I was not really into the history of it...I just really liked playing dress up with a big hoop skirt!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tooth Fairy Trouble

My sister Katie is two and a half years older than me so she got to go through all the fun first child experience stuff.

She's going to hate me for posting this photo, but don't worry Katie, I'll show them all how well you turned out.

When she lost her first tooth, I was about 3 or 4, and my parents decided to go all out and make it a big deal. Katie put her tooth under her pillow that night, excited at what the tooth fairy would bring the next morning. My parents, wanting to make it a magical and memorable experience, made a swirly trail of glitter from my sis's pillow, over to her nightstand, down along the floor and finally ended the trail by putting a small pile of glitter when it reached the wall.

The next morning Katie excitedly woke up to find this magical fairy trail and her excitement brought little me and my curiosity into her room. My parents also came in to smile over their creative work. In all the excitement I exclaimed, "Look! The tooth fairy got drunk and hit the wall!" Firstly, I have no recollection at all of my parents ever drinking when I was a kid so how I knew what a drunken trail would look like is beyond me. And secondly...that was the last time we ever saw a tooth fairy glitter trail.

Katie with dad. See, I told you she's gorgeous! And no, we don't think we look alike.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Funny Search Engine Stats

After 6 months of blogging, I am finally getting freaks psychos perverts people finding my blog from their bizarre and entertaining search engine searches. No need to congratulate me on hitting the big comes with the territory! I know I'll be really important when I start getting spammers! I actually did have one but I think he finally got bored of never having his random spam posted so he must have given up. I do kind of miss him..

Anyhoo, onto my favorite search engine hits!

This first one, I do have to admit that I practically asked for it. The first time I posted my Skinny Dipping Story I received endless search engine hits about it, so no surprise that I find a horde of these in my current stats:

skinny dip, skinny dip stories, skinny dippin stories, naked skinny dipping, skinny dipping photos

To all of you looking up skinny dipping stories, I will withhold judgement since I have a blog post with this as the title. I even find the "skinny dippin" searcher a bit of a good laugh because I can just hear your deep south accent saying it! But to all of you skinny dipping photo searchers, shame shame!! It's perverts like you that could have turned my innocent story into a porn site! (and now I can't become famous because of you since there is a chance that those photos could surface one day!)

Onto some people who are nice and should teach those creepers what is acceptable to look up on search engines...but still don't have much to do with me.

pretty hummingbirds

There is nothing wrong with looking up pretty hummingbirds. I just find it ironic that the original post that drew this attention was a rant about people's stupidity over confusing a kingfisher with a hummingbird! I really hope the people read the clarification that the photo was NOT a hummingbird or else the vicious cycle of stupidity will continue.

brown paisley design

This doesn't seem too odd. It came from my Random post from not that long ago, but my mind keeps thinking that brown paisley designs in a padded cell are most likely done with excrement, so I don't know if this searcher was a fabric lover or poo perv.

These next four searches just make no sense. Who searches these things anyway and why in the world did they find me in the process??

have to put bars

the bench and attempted

i have mentioned

the newer version of

Maybe the 'bars' came up from my title of "Padded Cell", but I'm pretty sure I haven't mentioned bars because I don't literally live in a padded cell! The second one makes no sense whatsoever. What were you trying to find?? Maybe someone attempting to bench press but dropping it on their head?? You have a pretty dyslexic way of putting things. The other two are just plain boring! Do you even realize the things you could be searching online!?! My world has been transformed from searches of "kitty cute enough to make your head explode", "pranks using saran wrap", and "baby laughing over pony pulling a cart, driven by a lemur with a puppy being groomed by the fluffiest kitten wearing a ladybug costume"! (Ok, so I may have made that last one up but how cute would THAT be!?!).

ridiculous christmas sweaters

I blog 1 photo in a recent post and I'm already getting a search hit from it...sweet! Christmas is still 2 months away, so maybe I'll open up to a whole new group of readers! Bring it on bad Christmas sweater people!

korean boobies

Um, what!?! I really hope this person disinfected themselves before they left my site.

thats just gross

I couldn't agree with this more! And the best part was that this one is listed right below my "korean boobies" search hit. Even my blog stats are prudish!

Branden loves checking my stats and especially my search engine stats. Just two days ago when I posted about the creeper who wanted to photograph me naked in a rural area, Branden smiled after reading it and said, "I wonder what search engine hits you're going to get from this!".

Crap! Sometimes I just ask for it!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Marshmallow Story

Yesterday, Paige Kellerman shared her horrific story about a chicken wing...Read it and cringe!

She asked if anyone else had any food mishap stories and I mentioned that I have been hanging on to one for a while. Since she insisted that I share it and my brain cells are currently fried on bleach fumes and I am not going to be able to conjure up something intelligent on my own, I'm digging back into my archive of stories. This tale includes my best friend Chrissy, who was practically just an acquaintance at the time and I think this was even the first time I had been to her house. Chrissy and I were introduced by a mutual friend, Sarah, who is also in this tale. So without further ado, I give you The Marshmallow Story!

Last winter my friend Chrissy invited me and my other friend Sarah on a trail ride. Since I no longer have horses, I used of of Chrissy's horses. Her brother Jon came with us and this was only my second time meeting him. The first time I met him was for maybe five minutes when he came out to Sarah, Chrissy, and myself giggling on the couch and I piped up with something about us all turning lesbian.
*Bring me home to mom boys, because I'm GREAT at first impressions!*

Anyway, we went on a 3 hour trail ride, which was awesome, and when we got back we were all freezing. Chrissy's mom made us hot coco with little marshmallows in it...mmmmmm...perfect! The three of us girls grabbed the mini marshmallow bag and headed to the table in the living room and Jon went to the other room to watch TV. Keep in mind that I am the oldest here (I was 20 at the time). So me being the mature adult, put two marshmallows up each nostril and proceeded to pull my finger to trigger blast off! Since I wasn't by a garbage can, I put the two tainted mallows next to my mug so I would remember to throw them away when we took our mugs back to the kitchen.

We left everything on the table and moved over to the couch, and as we were chatting away Jon walked by. All of a sudden, Sarah couldn't speak out of laughter but kept hitting my arm. Finally she managed to get out that Jon grabbed the marshmallows and ate them! Now I was dying from laughter and somehow managed to translate what happened to Chrissy who of course joined our' death by laughter'. Jon came back into room and quizzically looked at us and said, "What happened to those marshmallow?" We of course laughed harder and couldn't answer so he went back to the TV only to return minutes later saying, "They were up someone's nose, weren't they?" No answer from us because by now the tears were rolling down our cheeks and our sides were killing us from laughter. That's when he looked at me and said, "They were up yours weren't they?" I was amazed at how well he knew me for only meeting me twice!

Of course I did defend myself because he took two marshmallows that were right next to my mug and he could have taken them from the bag which was in the middle of the table! According to me it was his own fault and stupidity for eating the mucus marshmallows. We still laugh about it and if we ever have a marshmallow roast they always buy the jumbo ones to be safe...but I love a challenge!

I do have to make an after note here that Chrissy's mom thought I was a terrible influence after this incident. She didn't want me coming to the house and didn't particularly like Chrissy hanging out with me either. I find this hilarious in itself because Chrissy and I ended up owning a small business together and I'm now practically one of the family. When I visit the States, I end up having to split my time between my family, Branden's family, and Chrissy's family. 

Small business owners

Recently, I sent some personalized cell phone charms to Chrissy. I needle felted them and based them on stories and memories of our times together. One of the charms is a pair of small white marshmallows with green wool at the end of each of them. Sorry, I don't have any photos of them but they were pretty cute. Oh, and I don't know if her mom found them funny or not. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Reason #1,382,946.7 of Why I LOVE being Married

I was looking back on my locksmith days again and remembering all of the old man freaks that used to hit on me. Have I ever mentioned to all of you how OVERJOYED I am to be married!?! Some married women enjoy flirtatious attention from other men...I am not one of them. If I forget to put my wedding ring on in the morning and go out, I freak! Especially if I'm with Branden because then I am obviously his mistress (since he always remembers his ring). I have actually refused to go buy birth control without my ring so I don't look like some scuzzy floozy prepping for my weekend with my married boyfriend.

As if I didn't need anymore of a reminder that I am extremely relieved to not have to date, flirt or pay any attention to any man (other than Branden), I ran across this old blog post from April 2006. I don't know why I always managed to attract the nastiest of the nasty but I suppose it's what I got for living in ridiculously rural America.

And the Bile Worthy Customer Award goes to....

I get some funky old guys hitting on me but the one yesterday blew them all away. Firstly, he was completely bald on the top of his head. This typically isn't that big of a deal but he had long grey curls all along the sides and back that he decided would look fabulous in a ponytail. He needed 10 keys made and then have them put on individual key problem. I finish, he signs the tab, then hits me with it:

"Have you ever considered modeling?"

"Umm, no." I'm just waiting for the rest of a pick-up line but curious since he has a wedding ring.

"Well I photograph," hands me his card, "and it's...bla bla bla...(I'm noticing the pic on the card) look up the website and give me a call if you'd like."

Trying not to look weirded out, "Uh...ok, have a nice day, bye."

The card was a black and white photo of a naked woman from the back, one had against the wall, the other holding a scarf covering her back and just managing to cover her butt. You can see all the curves though. He shoots 'sensual' photography in rural settings'. rural settings???

I have an image of a hay barn with banjo music and being greased up buck naked with a pig. Just for curiosity's sake I look up the website. Um, eww. No actual  nudity is shown except see through lingerie and sheer tops to still allow visuals.

The thoughts going through my head went like this:
"...maybe I should be flattered...come on, there aren't many good looking people in this town so it doesn't take much to qualify...but should I feel flattered?...he's a creepy grey haired married man that wants to see your boobies...ewwie that's just gross...maybe a little flattering??...looking at your boobies...ok, sick! Not flattering! That is so gross!"

When my boss got back to the office, I told him about what happened and showed him the card. He laughed hysterically.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dance like Leprechauns are attacking your ankles!

I like music and I like comedy. This is probably why I enjoy UK and Irish folk music so much because quite often the lyrics end with a punchline. This song is no different and comes from the English band Bellowhead. This was aired on one of my favorite musics shows, Later...with Jools Holland. It's on late Friday nights and Branden and I stay up to see what wonderful and diverse musicians will be playing on the large oval set. A couple of weeks ago, there was a Jamaican band that played versions of Nirvana, reggae style. Sometimes the show has some really odd bands on but other times it's magical like this last week when Peter Gabriel played Solsbury Hill with a 44 piece orchestra.

Anyway, this performance was so much fun I have to share it in hopes it makes your Monday a bit more tolerable. (Please feel free to dance or do a jig)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's...passed out on the floor?

It's time for another look back on my past days as a locksmith. During the day, it was just my boss and myself in the office but since we had to be available 24/7 for people getting locked out of their houses and cars (and he wasn't going to send little girly me to unlock the drunks' houses in the middle of the night) we had help from Bob, our night worker. Usually I would transfer the phones to Bob at night and let him take all the lockout calls. Bob did help out on some of our big jobs as well and he was a blast to work with. This is a story that Bob shared with me and it is one of my favorites. I blogged about it back in December 2005 and I can't believe I've held on to it this long without sharing! So here ya go!

I work with a guy (Bob) who's had all sorts of different jobs and he has some pretty good stories from them. Years ago when he was a paramedic he got called out to the strangest scene I've ever heard. Here's what happened: A guy was sitting in his apartment when he heard his neighbor's wife screaming for help. He ran over to their apartment, the door was unlocked, and he went in. Her screams were coming from the bedroom so he entered. Here he discovered the wife completely naked and handcuffed to the bed. On the floor, crumpled in a heap, was the husband dressed in a Superman costume and not moving. 

Apparently when 'Superman' came in to 'rescue' the woman, he jumped up on the bed, hit his head on the light fixture, and knocked himself unconscious! His wife thought he had somehow killed himself so she started screaming for help. How the neighbor managed to take all of this in and not die of laughter, I'll never know. I probably would have walked and said something like, "Sorry lady, but if Superman couldn't save you, I don't think I could either!"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Point and Laugh

As you could tell by my last post, I enjoy a good tease of people's shortcomings. I snicker when someone trips, giggle when someone minces their words, and I will point and laugh if they completely fall (as long as they didn't hurt themselves in the process). Honestly, I am a very nice person and I feel I can do all of these because I am laugh worthy myself. Need a few examples?? These are just a few "Fail!" moments I had this past week (oh and I'm throwing some of Branden's in too because they are pretty humorous!)

1. My Mom's birthday was last week so Branden and I tried to figure out what to make for her birthday video (this is what po folk do for gifts when they live far away). I came up with a 'brilliant' idea that we would spell out each letter of Happy Birthday with our bodies...didn't work so well with our little non-wide angle Flip and our small living room space. However, we did practice on our bed and I almost got dropped a few times (ironic since we practiced on the bed thinking it would be safe and cushy). We then decided we needed to scale down the idea and just use our hands. So we sat on the end of the bed and spelled out Happy Birthday with our hands. Then we just cut and pasted all the parts together so Mom didn't have to watch all of our poor first attempts and random laughter outbreaks. As we were cutting and pasting the letters from the video, Branden asked, "Is there a 'b' in happy?" to which I sarcastically responded back, "Why yes, we just pronounce it wrong. It's really Habby Birthday!". This sent us into another outbreak of laughter and then we realized a small problem...we forgot to make the 'th' in 'birthday' so then we were really laughing over "Habby Birday!". We ended up reshooting to make the 'th' but when we put it all together, we noticed that Branden had done a costume change so our mistake was a bit evident.

2. We needed to get some groceries and we only had 7 euros on us. We figured out what we needed and about exactly what it would cost. After gathering everything but the cereal, we discovered that the store was rearranging the cereal, so there were no prices listed. Since we only had a bit left of our 7 euros, we looked for something else for breakfast. Lo and behold we found a box of 12 frozen waffles, and they were cheap! Quite happy with ourselves, and happy since I can't even remember the last time I had waffles, we headed home with our groceries. When we were putting them away, I noticed the picture of the waffles on the front of the box was of waffles on a plate with peas and carrots... Then I saw "potato waffles". "Um, Branden...these aren't exactly what we thought they were." And in my head, "Well, duh they are potatoes! Everything in this country is potatoes!". Branden however, took a more positive look at things and said, "Well we could still probably eat them with honey!" My mind ranted again, "Who are you, Pooh!?!" But instead I said, "Honey!? Eww! You don't eat potatoes with honey! Mmmmm, how about we put some Nutella on them too? Yuck!" We both cracked up at this and managed ok with our waffles as lunch instead of breakfast.

3. Yesterday we were watching some program where a woman from the UK went over to LA to see the gyms there. She took a spinning class and when they showed her pedaling away Branden all of a sudden said, "OH! That's spinning??" I looked at him as if he were a martian sitting next to me and asked the obvious, "Well what did you think spinning was??" to which he replied in a giggling tone as he realized how silly he was going to sound, "Like people spinning in circles." (sorry, I have to pause in my typing to laugh again!) Thank goodness I wasn't drinking anything or else it would have been shot out of my nose in an instant! I managed to ask in my laughter, "So you thought it was like what 3 year old little girls do in their twirly skirts?? How is that an exercise?!"*more ridiculous amounts of laughter from both of us* Could you imagine how dizzy people would get after an hour of that?!

So there you have it. I am allowed to laugh at people because you all just laughed at me. I am no better than anyone. But having said that, I do have a witty moment to share before you go. One of my friends on Facebook had as her status, "Nobody puts Baby in the corner!" to which I commented, "SuperNanny does!". I scoured the internet to see if anyone else had thought of this and to my surprise, I couldn't find anything!

So I created this:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Locksmith Memories

As I have mentioned before, I was a locksmith for almost 6 years and it was during these years that the original Padded Cell Confessions was born. As much as I loved being a locksmith, I had a major pet peeve.

Here is the original post that I wrote back in October 2005 (can you believe that was 6 years ago!?!).

I am a locksmith. I've been one for 4 1/2 years. When a customer comes walking through my door the first thing that is directly in front of them is a counter, me behind it (smiling of course), and 14 rows of keys hanging on hooks. This is your typical locksmith shop. The #1 question I get asked is, "Do you make keys?". Duh we make keys! We're locksmiths! What do you think all these keys behind me are...contemporary art?! I am soooo baffled by this and to top it off, not only does this happen to me but it is the #1 question of ANY locksmith. It is pretty much the locksmith's #1 pet peeve too. My word of advice for you is: NEVER ASK A LOCKSMITH IF THEY MAKE KEYS!!! Or else I will put you into the category of beyond brainless and shouldn't breed!

Please readers, tell me you've never done this!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Random Stuff About Me

Last night Branden and I ate ourselves into a sugar headache from some homemade peanut butter balls. Ok so we only had 3 each but that was enough! Of all the headaches I get, I don't mind sugar headaches since they are the most fun to get. I found the recipe on Pintrest and it was taken from a blog. You can find this super easy, minimal ingredient recipe HERE

They really do taste like a Reese Peanut Butter cups if not better! The only differences we made to the recipe were using butter instead of shortening (since we don't have shortening) and we melted a milk chocolate bar that we had for the coating. One of our housemates was in the kitchen as we were making these and he asked what they were. I told him "American crack" since it seems like most people we find over here don't like peanut butter. One of our past Spanish housemates would even wrinkle his nose up at the thought of us eating ground up peanuts (he wouldn't even taste it). I guess that means we won't be having to share!

Onwards and upwards! Elle at The Erratic Project Junkie was recently tagged and when tagging others back, offered me her final tag. With me actually having things to do today (what is this world coming to!?!) I am taking it! So on the the questions!

1. Favorite Color
Green. I love all shades and no this isn't a sense of "Irish pride" because actually the national color of Ireland is blue (see you do learn things from TV quiz shows!).

2. Favorite Animal
This is like asking me to pick a favorite hair on my's just so hard! I have always been an animal lover so I don't know if I can narrow it down to one. I really like ocelots and wombats but pygmy marmosets are also super cute! And don't even get me started on slow lorises!!!

3. Favorite Number
24. I like how divisible it is and also my birthday is on the 24th (of March). Plus who else am I going to find with that as a favorite number!?! It might seem like a slightly odd favorite number but Branden's is 37 so I'm not that weird!

4. Favorite alcoholic/non-alcoholic drink
Again, almost like asking me to choose a favorite animal! My favorite non-alcoholic drink would be Sobe's Black and Blue Berry Brew. It is super sweet and I don't even think I've seen it over here, but my goodness it's like drinking a purple Skittle!
My favorite alcoholic drink is a toughie...I like wine...I like Irish whiskey...I like cocktails...decisions, decisions...
I think I'll have to settle on Brandy. No specific brand but I like the ones that have a nice toffee flavor running through them. I really like it when it is served slightly warm so then the smell is fabulous! It is a very rare occasion that I have Brandy but it's still my favorite.

5. Facebook or Twitter
Well they are two different worlds to me really. Facebook is my space for family and friends and Twitter is for my blogging friends. I am on Twitter a lot more though...

6. Your Passions
Crap, I thought this was going to be an easy, quick post!
I love reading. If I start a good book then I get sucked in and will ignore the world around me until it's done. Because of this, I had a rule to not read often because I have too many wonderful people in my life that I don't want to shut out because of a fabulous storyline. Since my cousin gave us a Kindle, Branden is busy with his PhD studies, and I can't work, I have started allowing myself to dive headfirst into books again. It's good to be back but it's still hard for me to tell myself that it's ok to start a new one.
I love creating things but I'm still trying to discover what my style is and how I can work it with my small living space and limited supplies. Branden's mom has sent me some crafty stuff so I'm working on figuring that out (plus Pintrest has helped!).
I love blogging as well! I loved it when I did it years and years ago, missed it when I had to stop, and have really enjoyed getting back into it!
I also love kids and elderly people. They are both wonderful ages. Kids are on one side of the scope where they are like sponges and are so creative in their desire to learn where as elderly people have gone through so much in life and have learned so much! I love learning from both of them and find it sad that both get put off too often...but that's getting more into 'soap box' than passion.

7. Your Wishlist for this Month
That I'll get to start babysitting for my landlady, that Branden and I get better at scheduling who gets the computer now that he's started a class, to read more books, and to see my family and Chrissy more often/regularly on Skype.

8. Favorite Pattern
I don't know if I ever thought of this before. I think I'll have to go with paisley...despite learning from living in Scotland that paisley came from a suburb of Glasgow called Paisley and it is now quite the sketchy place. Branden had to work there once and I told the guys he was going with to make sure to bring him back without a knife anywhere in his body! But the pattern is very nice and I like this one because it kind of reminds me of the shape of a peacock and I love all things peacock!

9. Favorite Day of the Week
Sunday. If the weather is dry, we manage to go to church and then some Sunday's we get a Formula 1 race. The most I love about Sundays are the fabulous midday times where everything is peaceful and lazy.

10. Favorite Flowers
I love lilacs. They are my favorite scented flower. We had one in our yard all growing up and when it bloomed, we would cut them and let the scent flow through the house. When I lived in my first house by myself, there was a miniature lilac bush outside my bedroom window and I loved when the sun hit that side of the house and heated the scent that came through my window.

If you would like to take a tag from me and do this little questionnaire yourself, then feel free to take it! I'd love to read some of your answers!

*Note: If you find any grammatical or spelling errors, that's because my editor (Branden) is away at the University all day. (and I woke up early so there may be a few!)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Phantom of the River is Here...for you to laugh at

I am not a big sports person. I played volleyball and basketball in middle school but I couldn't stand watching football (US football). In over 2 years of living abroad, I have never had to watch a US football game because people here seem to share my idea that it is a boring sport, so the few times it is played on the television, channels give it a time slot in the middle of the night between the ShamWow and Zumba videos (I believe this is the true place for football).

The few sports that I do enjoy watching are Formula 1 racing, Motorcycle racing (usually Supercross), basketball (although I've never seen it on TV here but I hear it's popular in Spain), and although I have a lot to learn, I've enjoyed the bit of Rugby I've seen. Do you see a connection here?? I like sports that are more fast paced and don't stop every 15 seconds.

The other night, Branden and I were blown away by a new sport: Freestyle Canoeing

My first thought was, "Those Canadians do the oddest things for entertainment," but apparently it's in America too. I couldn't believe it was a serious competition but this is this guy's 3rd gold medal it happens more than just this once and other people are doing it seriously too. The first couple of minutes are almost like the same thing over and over again (because come on, how much can you really do with a canoe!) but the last minute he really turns up his drama and I don't know why that audience keeps clapping and doesn't just double over with giggles! There is no way I could have sat there without having a laughing fit. I think Pocahontas would even think it's cheesy!

So what do you think? Is this ESPN's newest and hottest thing or are you all just laughing your pretty little heads off like I am?

Monday, October 3, 2011

I may not have much, but I've got it all

As most of you could probably tell from last week's posts, Branden and I enjoy a good laugh. We are always making each other crack up and are willing to be ridiculous in front of each other. You know the phrase, 'if you weren't laughing, you'd be crying'? That's probably very true for us, but we choose to laugh. Some days we do cry though. The pressure of no job prospects and fear that we can't manage this for 3 years has eaten away at the back of our minds despite making it for the past 6 months. The worst fear of all was the thought of me flying back to the States so I could work and sending the money over to Branden while he finished his PhD in Ireland. Even if he's gone for just a few hours for something, I am like a labrador who acts like he's been away for years!

I know a lot of people thought we were crazy and especially thought I was crazy. Branden and I had only known each other for a year and a half and had only been married for 2 months when I willingly and excitedly moved to Scotland with him, knowing full well that I would never be moving back to America again. I left all of my family, all of my friends, a good paying job, and just trusted in the plan that was laid out before us. I think that it was the best thing we could have ever done for our new married life.

We live halfway around the world from our families and friends so if we ever have a disagreement or frustration with each other, we can't just call them or run off to find support with them. We have had to work everything out on our own. I had never even had a roommate before we got married so having to figure out how to live harmoniously with my new husband in a foreign country, in a 400 square foot flat, and Branden having to deal with my anxiety and depression, was quite the challenge!

But we did it.

Branden's mom was chatting to us on Skype last week and said something that struck me. She said that all the stresses and crazy things we have had to go through already would tear up even 25 year marriages let alone our little 2 year old one. It really got me thinking because I knew that a lot of things we have gone through and are going through are things that have caused divorces...but I couldn't understand why. In all of what we face, the only stable thing I have on this Earth that keeps me sane is my husband. We may have nothing else in this world but we have each other and that is really all we need. I could not do this without him and he could not do this without me, so why in the world would I leave him???

Branden's mom opened my eyes to really see the miracle and blessing that we experience by drawing closer together through all of these storms instead of letting them rip us apart. Sure there have been many, many days where both of us have wished and prayed for life to be easier but when we see just how much love we have for each other and know that somehow we will manage to love each other even more tomorrow. We find peace in our storms and bless them for giving us a great foundation so we can make it until death do us part.