Monday, June 30, 2008

You may think it's funny, but it's snot

A big hearty congratulations to my cousin Sarah on her nuptials this past Saturday in Johnstown, Pennyslvania. She married her long-time boyfriend Tommy Riffle. I've only received limited recounts of the party, but as my dad said, "the beer was cold and a good music DJ." I'm not sure if he was aware that his sentence didn't make sense, but that in and of itself is a sign that it was a pretty great party.

This union brings me to today's topic because their wedding announcement will read "Priest-Riffle" wedding. (Sarah's last name was Priest). Bear with me today if things don't make sense as I am all hocked up on cold medicine and can't think straight enough to deliver another installment of Laura's Ireland visit. So, Priest Riffle. That to me is a sniglet. I think the definition would be 'the sound a priest's robes make when he walks down the aisle' or, now that they are all outfitted with portable microphones, it could be 'the sound a priest makes (accidentally) during silent prayers which he then tries to blame on the scuffing of his shoes'.

My friend once dated a man and she said with humorous dismay that theirs would be the "Huge-Fruit" wedding. Fortunately, she is marrying a great guy named Denny Nelson. The two of us (Frum and Fruit) feel that we definitely "married up" (if only in last name).

I know this funny name union is a bit from Leno, but my head is doing swirlies and curly-Qs so I cannot be relied upon for original material today.

Also, if you look at the picture of Tommy above, besides him having 4 arms like the Hindu god Shiva, he looks as though he is channeling Johnny Carson's The Great Karnak.

For these reasons, I think Mr. Leno will let me steal his thunder.

All good stuff.

On a very serious note, my brother-in-law Brian is in hospital in Dublin right now with an acute case of appendicitis. I think he is in the operating room (theatre) as I type. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. Think of him 5 times and you will receive great fortune. If you don't pray for him within the next 10 minutes, you will have very bad luck. Send this blog on to 14 fabulous, funny, smart women to make their day. Don't break this chain or gremlins will eat your brains while you sleep! This wish has gone around the world 13,456 times! Don't let it stop with you! or poor little Brian won't get his appendix took out.

Truth be told, his treatment could have been dangerously delayed, for when Brian first went to the doctor, the MD examined him and said, "Well, Brian, I think you have acute appendicitis." Brian, blushing, said, "Doctor, I came here for medical advice, not for some stupid come-on!"... (but thanks, and your's ain't so bad either.)

I cannot take credit for the above joke. But I did insert the "Brian" where it used to say "Dumb Blonde". That took some work. Donations will be accepted.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Livin' Large with Laura: Ireland is an Onion

Is that a metaphor? I think so because a simile uses "like" or "as" and I always thought that was very juvenile and basic and I am a sophisticated metaphor type. I use it as an ode to Laura, an English teacher and my Travel-Back-through-Irish-history companion.

We took a few tours around town while Laura was here and learned a good bit of Irish history along the way. Some is remembered, some is not. What blows your mind is how old Ireland is and how many layers of history are built one on top of the other. And history is all around you. Driving around the country, look in any field and you stand a good chance of seeing a ruin (remember, pronounce it rooooooooon in your head) of someone's mansion or farmhouse.

Even Manus' parent's house, as I've told you before was the farm manager's house and stables for Desart Court, the manor house that was built in 1773 and burned down by the IRA in 1923. Man! That is old! ... Oh, really?

On the drive out of Kilkenny County, on your way to Dublin is a house that I would someday like to call my own. But, officially it is called "Shankill Castle" It was built in 1708 though I think a lot of what you see now was added in the mid 1800s. I just found out that you can tour the castle and its gardens so I intend to do just that. Someone actually lives there now, an artist named Elizabeth Cope and if she ever reads this I would like to a) ask her if I can have it and b) would she PLEASE take down the big YELLOW "Cope Art" signs that are on the outside walls? But, man! That house is old!..... oh, really?

Right in the heart of downtown kilkenny (using the term 'downtown' quite loosely) is the Rothe House. This house has been restored "to it's original splendor" (I love it when they say that) and we were able to take a tour through the house. It was built by a wealthy merchant (Mr. Rothe) and he and his wife were extremely prolific. In the bedroom. They had 12 kids and so he just kept building houses one behind the other. 3 in total and their very own water well in the second courtyard. Interesting tour and cool to see how people lived back then. It was built in 1594. Man! That is old!

Oh, really....

Kilkenny has it's own bit of witchcraft lore as well. Once upon a time a woman named Dame Alice Kyteler was tried and found guilty of witchcraft after 4 of her rich husbands mysteriously died. Obviously they didn't know how to treat a lady and their's should be a lesson for many a man today. right, MTW? Long story short, she escaped punishment but her housemaid Petronella paid the price, burned at the stake in front of the city hall (which still stands) and her home (which still stands) is now Kyteler's Inn, a pub and restaurant right in the center of town. You can't see the date on the sign but it is 1324.... Man! That is old!.... (you are starting to catch on now!)

Ireland, including Kilkenny and its surrounds has a very long and very rich religious history. Fortunately for us, many of the churches and monastic settlements still stand. Some still hold religious services. I went to more masses and spent more time in God's houses in these last few weeks than I have in the whole of my life prior to Laura's visit. 3 hours in just one day in Dublin. I now know that I can hold my breath for exactly 46 seconds. A priest will say the words "Heavenly Father" an average of 4 times in 10 minutes and Laura gives dirty looks when I use the conversion function on my cell phone to find out how many feet are in 2.71 yards during the Nicene Creed. Below are a few of the churches we visited:

Forgive the photo formatting, as always... Left to Right: The Black Abbey, Kilkenny est. 1225, Christchurch, Dublin est. 1171, St. Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny est. 1202 (note the round tower to the right of the church. We went up to the top for a look around - yes, even Lar) and the last one is St. Patrick's Church in Dublin, est 1191.

Now, I know what you are thinking... Man! Are those churches old! Yes, they are, but we are not yet even close to the center layer of this historical onion.

We went to Jerpoint Abbey, outside of Thomastown in Co. Kilkenny. We got a private tour with Claudia (private cause we were the only ones there, not cause we are special).
This abbey was established in 1158 and was in use by the Cistercian Monks for almost 400 years.

I don't know if you can see the map of the abbey at all, but the picture on the left is where the big red X is on the map. And on the map, there is a room on the right side called the "calefactory" and these monks were such fundamentalists that that room, the calefactory was the only room in the abbey where they were allowed to light a fire for warmth in the winter. They were only allowed to enter that room to warm themselves for 10 minutes at a time, and only 6 times per day. They'd better have the best seat in heaven for all their penitence.

Glendalough is another monastic settlement that will make Jerpoint look downright modern. It was founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin. Some of the structures still remain, though I don't know how much is truly 'original' as the monastery was used for almost 700 years, until 1214 when the Normans invaded and destroyed the site. (bloody french!) I didn't take any pictures of Glendalough the day we visited as I'd been there before and very little had changed in the last few years (shocking, I know), but I did snap this photo of the cemetery that is intertwined with the ruins. The oldest headstone that I could still read was from 1763. But not to shabby a place for your eternal rest, is it?
Now, you are saying to yourself, "Self! That Glendalough sure is OLD! There can't be anything older than THAT in Ireland!" Okay, you're right. Unless you count something from 4000 B.C. older... And I do.

Think -'s a contemporary to these dolmen portal tombs that dot the Irish landscape. They are over 60oo years old and they are just sitting there in some farmer's fields. They are huge and imposing and just amazing.

And Man! Are they OLD!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Mom Chronicles. Chapter 2

My retelling of the Laura visit has been temporarily halted. I am awaiting a signed release agreement from two parties; Laura Rice and Jessica Shamer. Without their consent I will be unable to continue with the trip details. Contact your local congressmen or pressure your aforementioned family members to allow the truth to be told.

I would however like to take this opportunity to share another precious parenting moment from yesterday. But first, did I mention that it is raining today? Oh yeah, it is. Shocking for Ireland, I know, but as I have now become an absolute expert on precipitation, I can say definitively that IT IS RAINING. AGAIN.

Yesterday Katie and I had a date with Nana and her very good friend Kay O'Connell. Katie rose from her nap at two, our date was at three. A quick lunch before we head out the door. I gave Katie a variety of finger foods as I needed to run a cool iron over the dress she was to wear. Nana bought Katie this dress. It is Parisian, from Paris, and it is BEAUTIFUL. She'd worn it a time or two previously and it was wrinkled beyond even my lax acceptable level. At one point I'd run up the stairs for something and Manus, having just gone downstairs with Katie, shouted up to me to bring down the camera. Me, thinking Katie was doing something incredible and picture-worthy but unfortunately dressed in a boring white tee, yelled back, "why?"
"I want to get a picture of you ironing, 'cause no one will ever believe it. You could put it on your blog!" I politely responded that he could just F-off and there is no way I will now EVER iron anything of his (like I would have anyway, but now there is a quality excuse of my indignance.*) and, why would I ever implicate myself on my lack of homemaking skills on my own blog?! THAT would just be silly.

Par for the course, I have strayed from topic.

Katie has finished her meal and I, my ironing, so I grab a few bites of delicious homemade leftover extra garlic-y garlic toast carbonara. (made carbonara sauce for pasta, ran out of pasta so loaded the remaining sauce onto the few pieces of leftover garlic bread- omg... talk about buttery deliciousness!) Katie looked longingly at me as I ate so, reasoning that the PEAS in the sauce are healthy, I gave her a few spoonfuls. She loved it too.

We got dressed and loaded into the car. Had to go out to Desart to pick up Nana as her car was in the shop. I think I've described the drive out to Desart before, but if not, quick description: It is an old country road, planned long before the advent of the automobile and though maybe repaved once since, not widened since horse and carriage. No. Not once. I tell people you know you are getting close to the house by how narrow the road gets. When you, a lone car can only barely drive through the thicket with only a few stray branches scratching your paint, turn left cause you are there. (and this functions as a two-way road). Well, THAT is the "good" road and that one was closed off, so we had to go the back way. Apparently back in the old days people didn't believe in "straight". The tale goes that the Irish planned out their roads so the wind was always at their backs. Well, they planned this one during a hurricane.

Back out on the main road and on our way to Kay's. We take the "ring road" that goes around the town to avoid traffic. Ring roads, as with most Irish roads, use the roundabout system. We were going a complete 180 degrees around the city so needless to say, we rounded 'bout lots.
Do you see what I'm getting at here? We were twisting and turning this way and that. On the last leg of the ring road Katie starts to make faces I'd never seen before. I said, look! She's winking. Look! She is holding her breath. Look! She is rubbing her face. Look! She is turning red. Look! She is barfing her brains out. I was driving, so only turning my head for seconds at a time, but time stood still as molten lava spewed from Mt. Kathryn. I pulled off the road immediately but it was too late. Without going into unnecessary detail, I will just recount what Katie had for lunch; slice of turkey, cheese stick, banana, grapes, and recall, garlic toast carbonara complete with peas.

And apparently, Katie doesn't do a lot of chewing when she eats. The contents retained their original shape and texture. Aside from the banana mush which bound everything else together. I will never look at Campbell's chunky soups the same way again.

Nana holds on to Katie on the side of the road while I look for something to contain the mess. First off, do I have a change of clothes for her? Noooo. Rookie mistake, but I was thinking, we are just going for tea and Katie's already done her morning constitutional. Okay, how about a towel or shirt or anything to clear off the big chunks? Nooo. Okay, wipes. Got wipes. Got... 3 wipes. shit. I took out the car seat completely so as to tip it over in the grass and then realize that the bulk of the 'matter' has slid down INTO the seat (where the waist strap come out from the side). I wipe -er, smear- as much as I can off of Katie and the seat and then off Nana and myself and we hold our breath with the windows down for the rest of the trip.

When we got home I stripped off Katie, clothes to the laundry and Katie to the bath. I removed the car seat from the car, sat it on the kitchen floor and removed the cloth cover, threw it in the washer and tried to jimmy out the remnants from within the seat with everything from a washcloth to the end of a spoon. Manus comes downstairs at this point and says, "Ugh! This place smells like puke! Gross!" Thanks for offering the helping hand, Captain Obvious.

I didn't want to risk shrinking the car seat cover, so instead of tossing it into the dryer when it was done washing, I hung it out on the clothesline. Remember when I mentioned before that it's been raining all day? yep. that's right.

I regale you with this story today, not only because it just happened yesterday, but because today, June...26th (?) is a day that will go down in Katie history.

Katie took her first few steps today.

Applaud if you like, Manus and I certainly did.

Katie, and the dress, both on better days....

*indignance. (n.d.). Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary. Retrieved June 26, 2008, from website:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Livin' Large with Laura: The Early Days

The past two weeks have been non-stop fun and driving and laughing and standing in the rain with our hooded slickers effectively transforming us into round black blobs of water-logged tourist goo. Did I mention that it rained a few times while Laura was here? Everywhere you go you hear the locals saying, "Looks like summer is over..." and "Tis dreadfully blustery, isn't it?". Tis, indeed.

Laura arrived on a Tuesday. From the Dublin airport she took a bus that dropped her right in the heart of Kilkenny. Katie and I were waiting for her at the Hibernian hotel cafe. It was a beautiful day so we sat at an outside table sipping a latte and watching the world pass by. It was the last beautiful day we would see.

And it was the last day Laura had to relax. Little did she know this was a working holiday. First stop, we took her to the Walsh Dude Ranch.

Geared up in her finest western wear and general issue wellies, Laura closes her eyes and says, "Pinch Me!" just to make sure she isn't dreaming.

First stop on the farm tour and always a crowd favorite, Manus shows off the Walsh family collection of "Famous Faces" cow patty splatters. Guaranteed undoctored/never enhanced. Made direct from God's loving hand and the spasmic peristalsis of the bovine intestinal tract. Some folks collect potato chips that form in the shape of states, others see the Virgin Mary in their buttered toast, but no where else on earth will you find a finer specimen of Wilford Brimley formed of cattle excretia.
"Hello Boys"

We are honored with a meet and greet with the artists.

For Laura, it was love at first sight. She swooned over 'Wartsy", a prolific shitter and famous for his "Olsen Twins" collection. One day last May, in a field far from the spectators, Ol' Wartsy crapped out Ashley then two minutes later, Mary-Kate. They are breathtaking and as true to real life as you can get.
Wartsy returned Laura's affections and the two flirted, staring longingly into each other's eyes. The spell was soon broken though, as Wartsy, ever the romantic, thought it would be a great idea to show Laura just what his bowels could do.
Always quick on her feet, Laura took out her intergalactic message transmitter and announced that she was needed immediately on the mothership to attend to a matter of the utmost importance and as much as she hated to do it, Wartsy would just have to move on without her.
"So long, boys! See you again in McDonalds"

Laura may not have left the farm with true love, but she did fall in love with the wellies. Ask to see her new pair.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Blogger Slammed After Promises Fall Short. story at Eleven.

Okay, I know that I promised a big return to blogging today.

But. Its. Not. Going. To. Happen.

I will offer a couple of pretty good excuses though.

Manus' aunt Mary Babe Walsh died on Saturday morning. It was an expected death, she died peacefully in the local hospice and her illness was very brief in contrast to her long and healthy life (87 years old). I had met Mary on a few occasions and perhaps my family will note that they too met her at the shindig that was held in Bollard's during their visit in the summer of '06. Mary was a beautiful soul and for a such a small and frail looking woman had a warm and hearty hug for myself and Katie whenever we saw her.

It would be wrong to allow the impression that I cannot blog due to mourning or my sitting shiva or anything. However, we had a funeral mass and burial today and I sacrificed my blogging time to be in attendance there.

Furthermore, I believe it would be in bad taste to announce a death in the family, hit the return key a few times, start a new paragraph and then launch into the fart jokes and stanzas of the now internationally renowned "Button Mushroom" song that have dominated the last two weeks of my life. I do promise after an appropriate time has passed however, tales will be recounted and the shock and horror will cause you to run from the computer monitor, hands to your head in disgust, shouting "My Eyes! My Eyes!"

I am also so overwhelmed by they list of chores that need to be done now that I am back from vacation, among them getting some diapers as Katie currently has on the last clean one. If this one gets wet, I'll be forced to go MacGyver on a maxi pad and some paper clips.

Laundry, grocery shopping, vacuum, sweep the kitchen, make dinner, put away clothes, tidy all the crap that has accumulated on every horizontal surface over the last two weeks... it is very overwhelming. I think Ill take a quick nap just so I am fresh to get it all done.

Here's to Mary Babe and George Carlin. May they rest in peace.

Friday, June 20, 2008

"No blog for over a week! What gives??!"

I can please only one person per day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow isn't looking good either.

Check back next Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Special Delivery!

My dear, dear friend Georgie sent me a package and it arrived today. It was my Irish Survival Kit. She had been reading my blog and listening to me drone on about things I couldn't find here and she went out and shipped over some of the things I've been complaining about not having. How nice is that? But before I get into that, and completely unrelated, I sure do miss big piles of money, the tight, round buttocks of my youth, and Johnny Depp....

So anyway, I just wanted to tell Georgie and the world how touched I am - and seriously this is not a play for sympathy or care packages* - I am just really blessed. And I am absolutely swimming in the baking goods now (the kind I can't mess up).

I think I'll save the vanilla instant pudding and the yellow cake mix and make up a proper rum cake. That is just one thing, when done right that can melt in your mouth and put a smile on your face for days.

There is also chocolate cake mix and chocolate pudding. Yum! Fortunately for me, the box cover indicates that it has "instruciones en espanol" Aye! Que Rico Suave!

And she sent a Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix "for PMS fix" - seriously, how did she know? No, really, the brownies will be gone by tomorrow. Sadly, I'll still be a moody bitch for another 4-5 days.

What I really love too is she sent along pictures from our last evening out...

(l-r) The Irish Anne, Jan, Georgie and Joy

I left that extra chin in Miami, if anyone is in need of one.

Belles of the Ball

I also know, courtesy of Georgie that 6 oz is exactly 185 gms and half a cup is 110 ml. Such indispensable information should be housed in a prime location. Georgie knows this too, that is why she put the information on a magnet. What she doesn't know is that my refrigerator is not a Trekkie and therefore does not attract Klingons.

That means I'll have to be creative with my house hunting for the Miami Beach magnets she sent too... But just one look was all I needed to get a true pain in the pit of my stomach with homesickness.

The magnets, and this:

Flan, arroz con pollo, cafe con leche.... I can't even get Sazon or Adobo. How can they expect me to prepare my palomilla steak? At first when I saw the box of flan I was thinking I would save it and make it one night as a special treat when we have my in-laws out for dinner. Then I thought. Dumb... that means less for me. So Im going to hide it and wait for Manus to go out of town. Then it can just be me and f-lalalalalala-an alone, all night. Ouch.. Stick-y!!

Georgie also packed my entire educational record from Baptist. So that means that I have to go through it now and see if it can supply evidence as to my nurse's training. I refuse to let this go. I'm not even sure that I would work as a nurse here if given the opportunity (don't tell Manus) but so help me if they don't acknowledge me as capable.

She bragged about how all the stuff I was lacking was stuff that she could find for $1.50 or less.... that may have been true until she hit the post office... Then all of a sudden, boxes of cake mix and a 5 inch stack of paper doesn't seem like such a great idea. Oh Georgie, god bless you sending all that to me...(especially since for the shipping cost you could have hand delivered it...)

I think the best part of the package was the cartoons sprinkled about the cooking implements.

A few of my favorites...

And the absolute best one.... Just imagine the little old lady voice


*Dear Mom, PLEASE don't think that because there has not (yet) been a whole post dedicated to the care packages that you have sent that I don't appreciate them and watch with bated breath for the postman to deliver them. They are truly the highlight of my day. And Katie's too... We love you!

Monday, June 9, 2008

I know, ya know?

Sometimes you don't even know what you don't know and that is a lesson I am learning here.

I was standing in line at the bank the other day (actually I was queuing as we are in Europe) and an officially looking lady with a name tag identifying her as a bank employee came up to me and asked me, "Are you okay?" I immediately took personal inventory. Am I wearing pants? yes. Did I start crying without my own knowledge? no. Oh shit, did I leave Katie somewhere and I am now pushing along an empty stroller (pram, buggy, pushcart)? no. So, I was able to answer quite assuredly that yes, thank you, I am fine. She looked at me strangely and me to her wondering why she had asked me. She then moved on to the next person in line and asked them the same. Only this time the gentleman responded, "I wish to open an account." And I realized: She was asking what I wanted, not what my general state of mental health was. Are you okay? is the Irish way of saying Can I help you?. But how was I supposed to know?

Two weeks ago we asked a cab driver for his card as there are no 888-8888 taxi companies in Kilkenny. They all work independently and all carry a stash of business cards at the ready. Later that day, we called the driver asking for a pick-up from our house into town. When the taxi got there we got in and off we went. Not that I would have noticed that this was not the driver from whom we got the card earlier, but turns out, it wasn't and this driver himself made mention of it. He said he was the one picking us up cause the driver we called was "on his T". I thought for sure that meant he was on his break and had passed along the job to his friend. But, Im getting smart enough to know that I can't assume these things so asked Manus when we got out if in fact that was what he meant. No, it means he was eating dinner. So, technically yes, he was on break, but he was on his tea and tea can mean tea or tea can mean dinner. Im not sure if you have to drink tea with your dinner for this to be true, but I can live without that detail.

As part of my job search Manus' mother suggested I go down to the local recruitment office and register with them. So last Friday I stopped in at FAS recruiters and filled out the forms. When I was telling Manus about it later and how unhelpful I found the F-A-S, he stopped me. It's fas (say faucet and drop the 'cet' part) Its a word, not a set of initials. Its an Irish word and it means "growth" or something like that. I would have been walking around still saying f.a.s. had he not so graciously shown me the error of my ways.

And pronunciation problems don't stop there. The irish language is filled with unlikely bedfellows. Whereas we are comfortable with th- and sh- type digraphs in English, the Irish match up unlikely pairs such as mh or bh. There is a very famous place in Wicklow that my family has been to called Glendalough. That is when I learned that -lough sounds like lock when you are in this neck of the woods so it is pronounced like 'glenda (the good witch) lock". Even some Irish born have stumbled this place's name : Kilmacanogue. Anyone what to take a guess? It's pronounced like "Kill Mechanic". How in the world they get that, I don't feckin know.
So it is no wonder that when I was telling my family about going to Inistioge this weekend, I was saying it wrong. I thought you would say it like In-ish-TOE-g.... But no, it is In-ish-teeeee-g. And it is coincidently where they filmed "Circle of Friends" with Minnie Driver and Chris O'Connell. So get your asses to Blockbuster and feel the luck of the Irish wash over you.

My cousin comes in tomorrow so, I dont know when I will post again. But Ill take lots of pictures while she is here and can regale you with storied of our travels after she is gone.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Left is Right and Right is Wrong

I took the first step towards driving in Ireland on Tuesday, I sat for the theory test. Now I can apply for my provisional license (learner's permit) and learn how to drive! I have visions of driver's ed class at Killian, having to sit out in the heat and I remember one day dropping a pebble down into Luis Bravo's ear and it actually went INTO his ear and then he couldn't get it out and I thought Holy Shit I just killed him. (no, it didn't kill him). Then I was thinking about driving to school in the two-seater 300ZX with Kristy Spade squished into the hatchback.

good times. good times.

These are some of the weird challenges about moving to a different country. They don't care that I have been driving for 15 years (spotless driving record I might add). It takes everything I have not to slip into 'indignant American mode' and roll my eyes and scoff at their rules that shouldn't apply to me. I think everyday of what Georgie said when she said I sounded like the little old Cuban patients that thought they always knew best because "they were a doctor in their country.." If someone from Timbuktu landed in the States and thought they should be given a special pass right to the front of the DMV line because they were the official jitney driving instructor "in their country", we would say, piss off. We, in Miami, have seen how some of the fugees drive so we know that shit ain't the same where they came from.

So, I studied diligently and only missed 2 questions out of the 40 (which is better than Manus' score...) A lot of it is common sense and a lot of it is the same as in the States. Safe driving is safe driving. You have the two second rule for keeping a safe distance, there are red lights and green lights and stop signs, but there are a few things that I've just never seen in the States. Like this sign:

or maybe this sign

or even this one

This one you kinda know what they are talking about, but still it's not a sign you would see in America. And I can't help but think of someone jumping into my car to give me a quick back rub whenever I see it. Yeah, that would calm me.

But can you imagine a sign like that in the States? People would drive by it and be like "What the fu--?" You'd hear honking, they'd give it the finger, Spit on the sign, "I got ya calming right here, muthafucka!" they'd shout while gesturing fanatically at their crotch. I think that section of town would have the most UNcalm traffic around. Come to think of it, that sign is kinda pissing me off. I don't need some sign telling me when I should be calm. I'll be calm when I want to be calm. muthafucka.

Some of the questions did catch me a bit unprepared like:

Q: Why should you drive a tractor more slowly on uneven roads?
A: To avoid severe bouncing. (of course... how silly)

Q: What should you be aware of when driving a tractor over a humpbacked bridge while towing a trailer?
A: Hell, I still don't know that. But, what are the odds of me driving a tractor over a humpbacked bridge while towing a trailer? I mean, without the trailer - that's a possibility, but with...nah.

Q: What danger will arise with the power takeoff of a tractor?
A: You might get jet-propelled into the next dimension. Isn't power takeoff on a tractor how Michael J Fox got back to the future in part I? No, the actual answer is that your clothing might get caught and torn off of your body..
Where is Brad Pitt? I need him to help me with my tractor...

I think this was my favorite one:

Q: If you come upon the scene of an accident, what should you give the victim to drink?

These feckin' Irish LOVE their drink. What should you give them? Wha? Are you kidding me? "Oooh, you're bleeding pretty bad there, Paddy Joe, want me to fix ya a whiskey? It'll straighten that thing right up."

Now I don't remember what the actual question was, but the correct answer was: "There may be livestock in the road"

My friends, I'm not in Kansas anymore... Of course, if I was, maybe that would be a valid answer to know.

As you can imagine, there are a few signs to forewarn of the possibility of animals blocking your path, and if you drive in Ireland, you definitely will get stuck behind a slow-moving cow or two. But don't worry, it only happens like once or twice a week...

If fairness, there were some "gimmes"... like

Q: How do you know when there is a problem with the condition of the vehicle's brakes?"
A: "The vehicle's stopping ability is affected."
Really? duh. I thought maybe they'd just seem dull and lifeless. Quiet and a little subdued. Wonder how many have gotten that one wrong. Yipes.

Or they asked what does this sign mean?

Thank god it was multiple choice.

The testing center was in Waterford, it's the neighboring county and originally I was going to drive myself there, but thankfully my father-in-law agreed to take me. If you were to ask someone directions from Kilkenny to Waterford, they would say, "well that's easy, just get on the "waterford road" and stay on it til you are there." Well, that does sound easy!. But the Waterford road is not a highway. You go in and out of small villages all along the way. And when you are driving, it's hard sometimes to see which way is the right way to stay on a certain road. Especially when the road posts are like this:

I have six months now before I can apply for a full license. I'd better get practicing. Look out Kilkenny!