Friday, May 30, 2008

What a Sham

Tricks I thought Katie could do:

Turns out Katie might not be the super smartest baby as I've led you to believe. Yeah sure, she is great for parlor tricks, don't get me wrong, but you can't allow for audience participation or the whole room will see the man behind the curtain.

For example, if you were to ask "Where is Katie?" you will get the correct answer every time.

However, when asked "Where is Mommy?" the cracks begin to show...

Ask then, "Where is Daddy?" and the truth is painfully obvious. She is like soo self-involved!

When I talk to my mom, I always put the phone to Katie's ear so Grandma can say hi. So the other day, when I said "where is grandma?" she picked up the phone and put it to her ear. Brilliant!
But, this was today...
(that is the remote control)

And now never you mind about the mess in the background or the little boy outfit I have her in. The maid is off today and this is her super most comfiest coziest lounge wear and she had no idea she would be on camera today. (although what day ISN'T she on camera?)

If you ask Katie what does a monkey say? You will hear " ack, ack, ack, ack" (you try to spell the phonetics of a one-year old). And she does sound like a little monkey, at least like the little monkey doll that we have. If you press her further, however, you will find that the kitty cat, the doggie and a birdie all sound like Mr Monkey.

One day we saw her doing this trick:

And I thought, "hell yeah" my girl can dress herself from now on.

Then she pulled this little number:

Then again, there may be hope for her yet...

Moving on now to...

Tricks I know Katie can do

An homage to Joni Mitchell, Katie shows us how she can look at life "from both sides now"

And as always an avid yoga participant, Katie shows us the 'sniffing booty blossom' pose. Though perhaps not common in the States, this move is indeed all the rage here in Ireland.

Now THIS is the real thing. Our Katie is really growing up! And doing some standing to prove it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I'm passing

You know when a transexual is doing such a good job at impersonating a woman they say she is "passing"? That' s how I feel about thinking that I am a local. Guess that makes me a successful transeurol or something. And thank God there is no big operation at the end to look forward to like my "passing' compatriots.

The other day I was walking into town with Katie and an elderly gentleman complete in woolen cardigan and kangol cap, stops me and with a thick Irish brogue, asks "How do I get to da parade?" - He thought I was a local! And what is even more amazing; I knew the answer. But I was so self-conscious when I spoke to direct him. Like I thought he would be pissed if he realized that I was american. Like I duped him or something. I dont know what it is but I feel that way with all the old men. Old men seem to be the only people who will say "good day" or "lovely weather, isn't it?" as you walk past. Im practicing my Irish accent, but til then I try to keep my answers real short so they wont hear my accent. If they just say good day, I'll just tip my head forward in a slight nod and smile that thousand watt smile of mine. But if they comment about the weather (which most do as the Irish are obsessed with the weather) I've learned a quick "Tis" or "luv-lee" will suffice.

When I walk into town I automatically look right now before crossing the street. Sure, I'll be killed the second I step off the curb the next time I'm in the states, but I know which direction the traffic is coming from here!

Over the last couple of days I've seen 3 different women that I know from Katie's playgroup. Not that I know them well enough to know their names, but enough for a nod and smile or a "luv-lee day". Manus says I know more people in this town now than he does. And it might be true. I seem to go to the same cashier in SuperValu every time. Renata Plonka. (If she wants to pass, she'd better do something about that name. Maybe O'Plonka....Did I mention there are like a gazillion eastern europeans living here in Kilkenny? SuperValu has a dedicated 'Polski Schelpi" section. I find myself walking around saying, "ugh! these damn foreigners!" (please don't let the irony pass you by on that one.)

Then, the other day, this big group of American tourists were standing around and blocking the footpath (even using the lingo with ease) and when they saw me coming they said, "Oh, excuse us" and moved out of the way. So you KNOW they thought I was Irish. I mean, if they thought I was just another american, they would have said "screw you" and kept standing there.

And finally, as I was browsing the aisles of Euro 2 the other day (otherwise known as the $3 store) I saw something to buy and said, "wait! I know where I can get this cheaper" And I did too.

I'm just your average comparison shopping-right hand side looking-direction giving orange/white/and green fool! I hope you'll be able to understand what I'm saying the next time we know, the accent might be too thick ('tick' as they say here)

Now, tell me this isn't the cutest little Irish kid you've ever seen:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Only the Kool Kids

Today's post is written in invisible ink that can only be seen by you if you are super cool. Let me know what you think of it.

And that is the secret to life.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Since Last We Spoke

Also known as the weekend roundup. Howdy.

Since last we spoke, my cousin Anne had her third baby. Her first boy and his name is Max Robert Croyle. So congratulations to the Croyle family and welcome Max!

"Go Ma-ax, It's your birthday, go Ma-ax it's your birthday!" (and it was too!)

We went out with Paul and Ann, the people from whom we are renting our house on Friday night to listen to a man named Phil Donnelly play his guitar and sing. You may recognize the name as he played with Donovan back in the day. It was a very good show. He had a fun sense of humor and I liked the music. You know, he played with Donovan... The show was held in a small back room of Cleere's pub, a place well known for its musical acts and impromptu 'sessions' with local musicians. Somehow though, word must not have gotten out that a man who played with Donovan was going to be there as the audience was only about a baker's dozen. I mean, he played with Donovan, man! Did I mention he played....?
He's the one on the left. And another difference here in Ireland; Paul wanted to buy him a whiskey when the show was over and he said, "ah, man.. I'm actually a recovering alcoholic... I'll just have a glass of Guinness." That is hysterical. And, ps, this picture is just one I found on the web to show you the one, the only, the man who played with Donovan. I don't have any clue who the two on the right are...

Anyway, Saturday we slept in a bit. ahem. Then went for a walk out to the county hospital to visit Manus' aunt Mary. She looked quite good but OMG! the hospital!! Definite culture shock. Won't get into it now, but maybe its not such a bad thing that I cant work there...

Sunday we went to Dublin as we have to exchange our rental car every 30 days. This time we got a Ford Mondeo. It is so strange to have Fords and Toyotas and Hondas, but never a model I've ever heard of in the States. These are also known as Ford Contour or Mercury Mystique. Those I've heard of. Anyway, this old baby has been rode hard and put away wet, but she'll do for the next month.
Again, stock footage. Ours is black. And not as shiny.

We did some walking around in Dublin and I got my sushi!! Oh, it was soooo good. I can't wait til we have to go back! I love walking down Grafton (thanks O) street as there are always street performers or "buskers" and these two were really good. Well, I guess not that good considering the classical quartet was playing in the same spot last year when we visited...

And speaking of things that were in the same spot as last year..... So were we!!

If anyone wants to friggin help me format these g-d pictures so they can just sit next to each other, by all means do so. I am two photos away from seeing if this computer can fly.

We met Manus' cousin Mary and her daughter Maha for dinner Sunday night. We were to spend more time with them Monday morning (with the camera) before returning to Kilkenny, but alas, the bad old bug is back.
Both Manus and Katie had rough nights Sunday. I have been spared for some reason. I have been trying to But see, Ireland needs me as a nurse after all.

We made it home to Kilkenny yesterday afternoon and everyone is feeling a bit better today.

I've taken the cue from Ireland and am trying to find even more ways to go green! so I said "lets kick this energy conservation up a notch" BAM! and eliminate the clothes washer altogether.
Just hang your clothes up right before a damn rain storm and don't take them down til they're dry. These should be done next Tuesday.

And finally, it seems Katie's love affair with vegetables is over. She has become such a picky eater in the last few weeks. She has even taken to reaching into her mouth with her fingers to fish out any veggies that I sneak in and sticking her tongue out to block when I try to spoon feed her some greens. So I've taken to mashing up veggies and hiding them in things she will eat like porridge and eggs and pudding. She has even gotten to smart for that...

Okay, so maybe zucchini in apricot yogurt wasn't the most stealth move... But then -

...She shows me her gang sign and threatens to stab me with her Dora spoon if I ever try something like that again.

So I thought, hmm... there's a lesson to be learned here...

I guess she knows who's the boss now, huh?!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

You don't expect me to blog on one of our nation's most important holidays, do you? A day for solemn reflection. A day for remembering and showing our appreciation for all the memorials and stuff.

Puleeze, I am an American still, after all.

I'll see you heathens tomorrow.

Oh, and in case I forget to mention it later, don't look for a blog entry next Monday as it is a very important Bank Holiday in Ireland. A day for... (you know the rest)

I mean, I am living in Ireland after all...

Friday, May 23, 2008


I spoke to one of the assessment officers today from the Irish Nursing Board and he explained to me the problems they are having with my credentials to register me to work in Ireland.

As I understand it, the EU and Ireland specifically do not have an exam like the US's Nursing Boards which, upon passing you are licensed to work and recognized as "meeting the minimum standard to provide safe care". Here, you pass your school classes, you are a nurse. So, my registering with their country is completely based on my education.

And apparently, not even so much on how well I did in school, but how well my school did me. When they asked the almightly MDCC how many hours of theoretical study I received in nursing the reply was 368 and hours of clinical practice is 736. Hell.. that sounds fantastic, right?

An Bord Altranais (Irish Nursing Board), as apparently dictated by somewhere within the EU, requires minimums of 1533 and 2300 in theory and clinical practice.

So barring some miracle of number crunching as I work to gather my continuing education credits, talking to Baptist about documenting my hours as a preceptee and MAC training courses, I'm not going to be a nurse in Ireland.


I mean, ask anyone in the nursing education system of the US and they will tell you that nursing school is just to lay the foundation for your learning and just to give you enough knowledge so you don't KILL someone on your first day of work.

I have an unblemished work record of 5 years. I haven't even killed one person! That should count for something.

To hear this man today speak, and I must say he was very nice and said he was doing what he could, but it seems as though cases will not be taken into consideration individually, either you have the numbers or not.


I guess I'm not exactly speechless on the subject. Just most thoughts I have on it are filled with profanity.

So, thats it in a nutshell. I am currently taking suggestions for alternate careers. Which, in this country (oh, you've done it now - don't get me started on the work situation here...) is going to be extremely limited as you take a series of tests at the end of 'high school' which determines what you will study in university which determines what you will do for the rest of your life. There is no such thing as changing your mind. I couldn't even go and apply to nursing school here.

So, think of all the best minimum wage jobs you've had in your life and recommend one for me. - No, don't say secretary or "administrative assistant" (though I've already been a few of those) because they require formal education too which is not available to me.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Upside of IREland

There was just a little cinematic reference for you in the title, a little play on words, if you will. 20 bucks to whoever gets it first. (hint: Kevin Costner)

See, I can offer $20 bucks to you because I'm here in Ireland and $20 is only like 15 euro so, HA! bargain city... oh, wait..

But this post is about the good things in Ireland. It has come to my attention that I sometimes hit a sour note when singing the praise of differences between here and home. ex-home. Land of the pilgrim's pride. From every mountainside....

For starters, I got on the scale this morning and I only weigh 9.6 stone. That's a true measurement and "although no longer an official unit of measure, the stone remains widely used within the British Isles as a means of expressing human body weight. ... " (thanks, Wiki).
So, okay 9.6 stone (is the 0.6 referred to as pebbles you may ask, and officially I don't know - but in my mind it does..)
9.6 stone = 61.5 kg
And the rest is obvious. C'mon 5T..don't disappoint me now, kg-lb conversion. I'm lobbing an easy one at you..
61.5 kg = 134.6 lbs!
Sounds better at 9.6 stone, right? I know. And I think it is quite bold of me to announce my weight on the internet too, but this is the thinnest I've been in a while. Definitely since Katie. I just don't understand why my friggin jeans are still so damn tight.
Granted, the weight loss could stem from all the quality time I've spent admiring the plumbing fixtures over the last week, but it could also come from all the walking Katie and I have done.

Segway to good thing #2. Irish Weather! No. really. believe it or not, the last few weeks, really since we got here have been beautiful. Warmish, sunny, birds-singing kind of pleasant. So we get out and enjoy it as much as we can. Its so much like Miami winter! (disclaimer - today is shit. Im sure its just a fluke.) The other day I was cooking something in the oven and it warmed up the kitchen so I just opened the french door toward the backyard and let the cool breeze come in. I was sitting on the floor taking silly pictures of Kate and thinking, This is the life!

Good thing #3. Ireland and all of Europe really are very green. They've been green longer than green was the color to be. Recycling is a given. In fact, you pay for your trash can (rubbish bin) and recycle bin here (which I guess through taxes its true in the states too) but, you choose the size you want and they will only take what fits in. And pick up is only once every OTHER week. So, you learn to Reduce unless you like the smell of stinky diapers. Then in the stores, everyone uses the "green bags". Its not a hippy, granola thing, its just what you do. If you need a plastic bag, you have to pay for it. So there is your Reuse. But, there's more:

This is our "flush button". A slightly more sanitary take on the old favorite, "if it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down", you can press just the round button quick rinse or both for when you really mean business (or more accurately, have finished your business)
And this is our electric emersion.

This enables us to take a hot shower by only heating the water we are going to use, not fill a whole hot water tank. And does it work? You betcha. If Paris Hilton were showering in our house, she would say, "That's hot!".
And finally, this is our outlet.

You have to switch on the power with the button so you aren't sending electricity all over where it isn't needed.
And another thing and who knows if it's more energy efficient, its just plain weird in a cool way is our clothes dryer (though I havent been using it much as the weather has been so fine) sucks OUT the water in our clothes. For real, I have to empty out a tank of collected water after each load. freaking brilliant.
I think that is enough "good things" for today. I don't want all of you to get super jealous and start to hate me. Or worse, threaten to come over and stay for a while. I already have my cousin coming to stay with us and help herself to all the irish goodies. (I'm just kidding Lar, I am SOOO looking forward to your visit. I can't wait to have you here!) And I'm tired of going around the house taking pictures of strange things. I'm starting to think of myself as a weirdo. (no comments from the peanut gallery please)

I think now I'll just sit back and relax. It's amazing how much free time I have now that I've got someone to do my chores...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Betty Crocker Homemaker of the Year

Today's post has to be a brief one I'm afraid, as today I am cleaning the house. I know! I'm as shocked as you are, now climb back up into your chair. I'm just taking a breather now while the floors are wet. You know you are supposed to mop those things?And with water? I'm on a roll, though. Next thing you know I'll be making a casserole and knitting baby booties.

One of the women in playgroup today asked me if I'd knit Katie's pink Old Navy hoodie. Now, I dunno, maybe that was meant to be a compliment, but I think in the States that is an insult, isn't it? "Oh, how cute... did'ja make that yourself?, you know it's got that real homemade look to it." Now, mom - don't get into a tizzy like thin lizzy, I don't mean like the stuff you sew. Like those scrub tops? I always got compliments on them and then when I'd say my mom made them, they would be like, "no way!" and I'd be all, "Way". But that's just it; the compliment was in the person thinking that it was store bought. That a real machine had made it. (hmm, and why is that a compliment, again?)

I'd like to bring you back now to an earlier post on Sniglets. I was thinking about them today and how no one seems to care about them. But they are so necessary. Take for example,

Carperpetuation (kar-pur-pet-you-ay-shun) n. The act, when vacuuming, of running over a string or a piece of lint at least a dozen times, reaching over and picking it up, examining it, then putting it back down to give the vacuum one more chance.

You know everyone has done it, and there has never been a word for it. How can we ignore that injustice?

I needed that word today because as I was vacuuming (I know!!) the kitchen I came upon a cheerio that just wouldn't get sucked up. And I actually stepped on it to crush it so that I could then hoover up the crumbs. I couldn't believe it for a moment that I'd actually done that instead of picking the damn thing up, but no... And you know what, it worked like a charm so, when I came across those other two cheerios....

I'll have to keep Manus away from this site today, tell him I didnt have time to post or something cause then he'll know all my dirty cleaning secrets (hehe, dirty clean). Like I just couldn't have him stumbling onto my 'mouthwash-down-the-sink' technique for making the whole room smell minty clean.

You mean I was supposed to move the kitchen chairs, not just mop around each of the legs?

Ha! I kid (wink, wink) You know, even after all this time, Manus doesn't always know when I'm joking (see sarchasm on Sniglets page) and that's bad, you know, cause I truly and seriously love him and love my life and, sure I kid and tease Ireland, but it knows that I'm only yanking its chain. I am happy. (maybe the meds have kicked in).

But that leads me to my closing thoughts. Again, I refer back to a prior post when, in the way of "if a tree falls", I ask you; If I make a joke and I'm the only one who laughs, is it still funny?

'Cause Manus says no but I'm looking for a consensus.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

E! THS: The truth about Katie

While Katie isn't famous or in rehab somewhere (yet), E! found the sham of a blog I sent out yesterday detailing Katie's birthday and decided that the truth must be told....

This is E! True Hollywood, (FL) Story : The Truth about Katie

What started out as a few innocent drinks with friends to celebrate the big 0-1 soon devolved into such debauchery, few can stomach the details...

Our crack team of undercover investigators snapped these photos of Katie's binging. She was confronted with the evidence, but...
She refused to listen. A source close to Katie is quoted as saying, "She refused to listen".

And 'the drink' wasn't all Katie had gotten into. She'd discovered.... sweets.

As we know all too well, sugar is often called 'the gateway drug' and in this case, sadly, it appears that it is true. While we haven't been able to verify the authenticity of the following image, we believe these things were going on right under the very noses of those who claim they love little Katie the most.
All this partying began to lead to some strange behavior

But she was living the life...

She drove fast cars and hung out with SUPER smokin-HOT women. And I mean really good-looking, model types.

Unfortunately, her indulgences ran on the extravagant side, and there was a short time when she had resort to showing some skin to score her next fix.

But even this wasn't enough to convince her to slow down.

She was at the height of her birthday partying when her whole world came crumbling down.

She was arrested for speeding and driving under the influence of birthday cake. She tried to talk her way out of it. Witnesses claim she was furious, shouting taunts and insults to the arresting officers. "You'll never get away with this... Don't you know how cute I am?" she was reported to have said.

However convincing Katie's arguments may have been, the photo evidence was damning. She just could not walk a straight line.

Her mug shots reveal just how her night in the fast lane had taken it's toll.

And THAT, my friends, is the truth. The whole sordid affair. The reason behind Katie's sudden "taking ill". Now you may ask, why then weren't her parents quick to heed the warnings and avoid being holed up in the crapper for two days? Well, as someone who knows them well has said, "Those two would let a toddler party by herself. They are much too thoughtful to do that." The pair declined to comment.

Well folks, there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel. Katie is clean (diapered) and sober (looking) now for nearly 24 hours. No more vomitus maximus and she is said to be 'DI-Reee' free.
She was spotted grocery shopping with her mother and standing (yes, for about 10 seconds) in the castle park this afternoon.
She is getting on with her life. She is happy and thanks all those who sent their love and support. It is rumored that she has even begun talking to someone to work through her pain...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Katie

Well, Friday was Katie's birthday and despite a cake my Mummum Rice would be proud of, our celebrations were a bit dampened by illness.
Katie started getting sick on Thursday. Fever, vomiting, (loose stools too, if you will). She was so drowsy and so pale that she was blue even that we took her an after hours clinic. The doctor there said most likely it was just a stomach bug and tylenol for fever, fluids etc. etc. (remind me at the end to talk about how easy and quick it was to have her seen). So, anyway, here it is Monday and long story short, the stomach bug proved to be a birthday gift that keeps on giving and Friday night it got me and by Sunday morning Manus too was praying to the porcelain goddess.
But, as they say on Broadway, the show must go on.

With enough food and drink to feed an army (yes, Ireland has one... drove by the barracks just the other day) we awaited our guests.
"It's my party and I'll cry if I want to..."
(l-r) Papa Niall, Manus and the party animal, Aunt Peig, Nana Kay
Sean and Monica
(l-r) Orla, Nana with Katie, Niall, Jake and Manus

So then we all sang, Katie blew out her candles, we ate cake and everyone went to bed.
Well, maybe there was more, but it's taken me all day to muster the energy to post this much, so I'll have to work on it again tomorrow. Unless my head is back in the toilet. just to leave you with a pleasant thought...