Friday, August 29, 2008

Gaeltacht in English. Lesson 1

How to talk like you're Irish.
This is just an introductory course, as I myself am still struggling to understand what the hell is going on over here. As I learn, I will pass my knowledge on to you. "Gaeltacht" means speaking Irish or Gaelic. You will not actually do any of this as it is all gobbledeegook. If you want to learn Gaelic, play a record backwards. That is what it sounds like.

Everyone thinks it is so easy to live here for me because "they speak the same language over there.." They may speak English but it is most definitely not the same language!

Instead of saying hello, say well. Just "Well". But sort of like it's a question, or you're not sure.

It is a very fair country. Use the word liberally. "In fairness", "Fair play to ya", "In fairness to all involved", "fair facks to ye"

Use the term "lads" for any and all groupings of people.

Even Grannys and Priests find 'feck' an acceptable word.

Only subtle difference exists between a valley girl and an irishman:
A Valley Girl says "like, ya know?!" at the end of each statement.
Irishman says "ya know, like?!" following each declaration.

Embrace Ye Olde English Shoppe of words. My is me and you are ye. All of you are yous.
Me own two lads. Hey dere, yous guys!

To ring is to call, to call is to visit. Usually without warning or invite.

You 'give out' to someone when you are yelling at them. I give out to manus a lot. If someone saw me on the street giving out to him, they might even say I was "effin' and blindin'".

Use a D in place of a TH and use a TH in place of a TT; dese, dem, da, dose.."No bether man for da job". If you live in some parts of Ireland, remove T from the middle of words all together (you might take pho'os of dem moun'ans over dere)

"now, are you alright?" means, what can I do for you?

Weather terms; close is humid. soft is misty and drizzling. Today is a close and soft day. Blasted Weather!

I have not yet found a time where saying "That's grand" would be an inappropriate response.

Thingamagigs and whatchamacallits are yokes.

Just because you call them yours, doesnt make them so. Replace "that guy" with "your man there". Replace "that girl" with "your one (wan) " An ugly girl is a 'wagon'. Your parents are de auld pair"

Him is 'himself'. She is 'herself'. You are 'yourself'. As in: Did'ja see himself over dere talkin to dat wagon? Go on, yourself! You can talk with a wagon or a wanker too.

When cheering for your team, do not clap. Do not emit high pitched "woo hoos". Master the low tones, get gutteral - think whats-his-name from Home Improvement. Say "C'mon [insert full name of player here]" Full name. It will never be, "C'mon J.J.!" it will be "C'mon J.J. Delaney!" Fortunately Kilkennians are flexible enough to create nicknames for long-named players. It is acceptable to call out for "Gerta" instead of Martin Comerford and "Cha" instead of James Fitzpatrick.

Further on the sports topic, go is up. Only if you want to bring shame and embarrasment to your Irish husband will you say, "Go Cats!" It is imperitive that you remove go from your vocab. It is "Up the Cats!" If you want to be disowned by your Irish husband say "Up the Deise" (Day-sha) as they are the opposing team in this year's All-Ireland Hurling final.

Never ask, can I? or should I? always say Will I? as in, "Will I call over to ya on Sa'urday?"

Valuable utterances of disbelief: Aw Begobs!, Go on with yourself!, are ye yankin me chain?, wha a feckin eejit!, Jaysus! Ya Gobshites!
C'mon far fawks seake!

Finally, Always end your phone conversation with a trailing string of 'bye' with a diminishing volume
BYE, Bye, bye, bye, bye, bye....

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Picture Pages

This is what Katie looked like last Friday before heading out to the convent. Had to take a picture to commemorate the day she finally had enough hair for a barrette. It takes a mighty clasp to keep three strands of slicked down wet hair in place. The barrette lasted for 6 seconds after this picture was taken. Not even good enough for a rodeo. We will perservere.

And this is what she looked like leaving the convent.
The nuns got to her ...

She said she wants to be a Bulgarian peasant woman for Halloween.

Seriously, she loves having her shirt on her head. She wore it for two days.

What a weirdo... sniff, takes after her momma...
Elephant girl? Old-fashioned gas mask? Anteater?

She walked into a few walls that day. Lord help me, I laughed. Im going to hell...

As you can imagine, I have hundreds of amazing and beautiful pictures of myse- uh, Katie. Yeah, Katie. all stored away in this computer. Although I try to post the best ones, there are so many that I think are great but they just dont make the cut. This blog business is dog-eat-dog. Certainly not for the faint of heart. You never know if you are going to end up on the cutting room floor...

I want to find a web album hosting site where I can post them all so they are on the net and accessible through the blog, but I want to limit who can see them by means of an approved visitor list. I need suggestions. Picassa doesn't allow for password protected viewing, flickr does, but each viewer would have to be registered for flickr themselves or get issued a guest pass which I would have to resend every time I posted new pics (or so I understood)..Help please..

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Preparing for home

As we are 2-weeks away from our trip to the states, I felt it would be beneficial to practice the language of my native peoples... (Julyer! Julyer!)

My friend smells so bad, I couldn't brief.

Yo, when all my familia gets in the car, there's not mushroom.

My girlfriend wanted me to go to the store, but chicken go by herself.

SPANISH WORD OF THE DAY: LIVER & CHEESE Some guy tried to sweet talk my woman. I told him, yo loco, liver alone, cheese mine.

I wanted to go with my mom to the flea market pero she didn't wafer me!

I had some cake to share with my wife. This is my piece, this is herpes .

I told you if you didn't know how to do it, I could tissue.

I was running after you but I couldn't cashew!

Hey man, Im looking for Paco, tell me if juicy him!

Ju tol me ju were goin to the store and July to me! Julyer!

My old lady caught me in bed wit my lover so I said harassment nothing to me!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Mom Chronicles. Chapter 4

Last week Katie and I went over to see Mary and new baby Conor for an hour or so. Katie was very good with the baby. She didn't try to stick her finger in his eye or anything. Mary is still adjusting to the idea of being a mother of two and I am sympathizing with her. Its funny how just 15 short months ago what seemed like an insurmountable task - taking care of one baby - now seems like a piece of cake when comparing it to trying to take care of a newborn AND a toddler. I'm not even pregnant with the second one and I am already yearning for those days when all you had to do was eat, sleep and poo on the same schedule as your one baby.

I think God does this kinda stuff just for giggles. Its like when you are a kid and you are so mad that you have to take an afternoon nap. You can't wait to be a grown up. Then you become an adult. And you want to go back in time and slap the silly right out of your past self because you would give your right arm to be allowed to play outside and come in for milk and cookies and a little siesta after lunch.

moral: what you dread today will be what you miss tomorrow. oh you cruel, cruel world.

So, back to my story... after our visit, K and I when to do our weekly grocery shopping. Katie is sitting in the shopping cart (trolley) and squealing up a storm. Talking, cooing, squirming... Appearing to be having a grand old time. She burped and a little tiny fleck of something brown and mushy landed on her dress. She looked down and looked at me and I wiped it off with my thumb and expertly flicked it like a big juicy booger into the packages of ground beef. Looking back, I can see now how that should have been an indication of things to come... A harbinger of ugly events, for as we were turning into the cereal aisle, Katie let fly a spewing of her gastrointestinal contents like she was auditioning to be the next Linda Blair.

Time stood still. Images passed my eyes in slow motion. I watched as the chunks and liquid spilled forth from her mouth, down her dress, her arm, her leg, the cart, and SPLATTERED onto the floor. I think actually that I jumped back away from her a few sad that that would be my instinctual reaction. Sorry kid! You're on you own with this one... I always wondered if I would rise up in an emergency. fight or flight? Hasta la vista, baby. I'm just glad I wasn't holding her as now I am pretty sure I would have dropped her into the mess of her own making. She will talk about me in therapy someday.

My first thought was, crap! and her diaper bag is in the car! I don't have anything to clean her up with! I didn't know what to do... Then the two brain cells that were actually still on the job hollered into the giant chasm of empty space in my head and said, "hello?! you are standing in the middle of a store - what do you have in the diaper bag that you don't have here?" good point. Luckily we were a stone's throw from the paper goods and I grabbed the first package of paper towels I could find. Then it was like when you spill a glass of milk and it runs off the end of the table onto the carpet. You don't want old rotten milk smell in your carpet, so you the go straight for the carpet but the milk is still dripping from the table edge so you have to clean from the top down but then you are just looking at the milk as it seeps into the fibers and... I was trying to sop up the puddles on the floor, but Ms. Mt Vesuvius wasn't done. So then I tried to catch the puke as it was coming out of her mouth but paper towel is not that absorbent so it was really just now having to roll off my hand then onto the dress, leg, cart, floor.

Some poor, poor young part-time, after school employees came to my aid. Why they didn't bring a mop, I don't know, but they were going to clean the floor with a roll of paper towels too. I could not in good conscience let them touch vomit! I said to them, now, this isn't in your job description. I will clean it up, 'cause sadly, it is in mine.

So they got some cardboard and we managed to scoop up the bulk of the mess onto the cardboard and into the trash. Katie, all the while, looking on, forlorn and chartreuse. The girls kept saying to me, It's okay, you can finish with your shopping. But I realized, that was indeed the million dollar question. Do I carry on with my shopping? Is she going to get sick again? There couldn't be anything left. But Katie and the cart are soaked and smelly. But, on the other hand, I was almost done...

I kept shopping. Acutely aware of everything I was touching. With my vomit hands. Remember the cold germ commercial where the kid sneezes fluorescent germs then they transfer to the door nob then to the next kid, then to the next? I could SEE the vomit molecule trail I was leaving behind.

When, of course, Katie started throwing up again in the frozen food section... I could have died. How do I explain this to the girls when they come to clean up AGAIN? I had no choice but a quick and hasty mop up job and slink out of the store.

I tell this story today because I went back to the grocery for the first time since 'the incident' this morning. I was half-expecting to find a posted notice with a grainy surveillance camera photo of me and la barfarama mama asking "Have you seen this person? Reward for info leading to capture."

Fortunately our trip was uneventful. But I did however closely inspect the cart. You never know what is going to be dried on them...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Visiting the nuns; out of habit

"Get thee to a nunnery!"

Well, I did it. I spent a whole Friday evening in a convent and not one bolt of lightening struck the building. I know what you are thinking, "that Malinda is really living life on the edge over there in Ireland... wild Friday nights with the nuns." Yes, move over Britney, we are spinning way out of control here.

Manus' mother is great friends with Sister Teresa Landy, a nun in Callan (town in Kilkenny) and she had us out for a fabulous four-course dinner. Not only is Sr. Teresa a nun, she is also quite a gourmand*. (I mean that in the good way).

I don't know if it's because I am not Catholic or maybe they do things differently here in Ireland, but there are a lot of things about nuns that I didn't know...

  • Did you know that nuns don't have to wear the habits if they don't want to?

  • Did you know that nuns drink? And not just holy water. I'm not naming names, but I have met some nuns here that could drink me under the table.

  • Did you know that nuns go to college?

  • Did you know they can't have a car 'cause of their vow of poverty?

  • Did you know that in Ireland you don't even say grace before a meal? - not even in God's house.

I know it sounds sacrilegious, but a convent is so much like a sorority house. The "AlphaOmega House", if you will. Can you imagine living in a house full of women? I don't care if you are on direct speaking terms with God, he cant help you to like everyone... there has to be some passive aggressive back stabbing going on in there.

Can you imagine if they all, eh, 'cycle' together? You don't want to piss off a PMSing nun. Talk about eternal damnation! Are there cliques in the convent? Are there the cool nuns and the nuns no one wants to hang out with? While we were there I saw a nun eating all by herself. Is that because she doesn't have any friends? If someone asks her how many friends she has, will she answer "Nun." ? (!!!!!)

In the evening sometimes Sr. Teresa will invite some of the gals into her room to watch tv. Do they get cable? Is it a rule that they avert their eyes when there is a sex scene? If they peek, god will surely know. Do they discuss who should be voted off Big Brother or who should win American Idol?

There is so much that I don't know, but from what I do know of what Sr. Teresa does each day, I think if I could be a nun as a day job, it would be great. She went to college to learn cookery and home economics, so that is why she cooks like a 5 star chef. She teaches home-ec to the girls at the school, is a career counsellor, visits the elderly at the old folks home (will even take some of their clothes to mend a tear or darn a sock for them), does charity work and Sr. Teresa is an international tour guide. She goes on about 5-6 trips a year all over the world. My MIL goes on one each summer. Off hand, I wouldn't think a trip with a bunch of nuns would be all that much fun, but these are not your run-of-the-mill, Sound of Music nuns. She has the perfect job. Aside of course from the chastity, poverty and obedience things...

Mary's husband Tom says that nuns, on average, live longer than married women. He thinks its because they don;t have the stress of children. Silly man. You know as well as I its because they don't have the stress of HUSBANDS.

Yesterday the sun was shining. I had forgotten what it looked like. So to celebrate we went to the park for a picnic brunch. As luck would have it it was the first day of Heritage Week and there was a day of activities planned.
With over 1000 events taking place around the country during Heritage Week, individuals and families across Ireland have the opportunity to get outdoors and experience their local heritage.
We heard the Kilkenny pipe band and marching band. There was a medieval jester and military display, basket making, stone carving, paper working and farmer's market. (could you tell I was reading off the brochure?)

Again we find ourselves watching the backs of the musicians. I am sensing a trend. (see Hoban monument post)
Two men fighting for my affections. Not actually a part of the festival.

Oh! You slay me!!!"

*Usage Note: A gourmet is a person with discriminating taste in food and wine, as is a gourmand. Because gourmand can also mean "one who enjoys food in great quantities" or even "a gluttonous eater," care should be taken to make clear its intended sense. An epicure is much the same as a gourmet, but the word may sometimes carry overtones of excessive refinement. This use of epicure is a misrepresentation of Epicurean philosophy, which, while it professed that pleasure was the highest good, was hardly given to excessive concern with food and drink.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Move over Fifi

Looks like Katie is the newest Flowertot in Flowertot Garden!

We love Fifi Forget-Me-Not and all her friends. You can learn all about the flowertots on their official website. You can watch it too on Nick Jr. What should Katie's flower name be?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wet 'n Wild Wicklow Weekend

As you know, I went up to Wicklow last week to be looked after by Brian and Bronwyn while Manus was away. It was very tudor-esque... The familial obligation of a man to take in his brother's widowed wife. (work widow, that is) I was very Catherine of Aragon. But I also went to Rathdrum because Saturday night was the first annual Rose of Avondale and if you don't know what that is, worry not! as it is just like the Rose of Tralee.

That is exactly how it was explained to me. I said, uh...thanks. that clears that up.

And so because inquiring minds want to know, you can go to the
official Rose of Tralee website to learn more.

The pageant was on Saturday night and it was intended that there would be festivities in the town square during the day. They planned decorations, live music and face painting for the kids. And the face painting was to be done by me! (So of course, in my mind I saw the weekend as "Come to the Greatest Face Painting Exhibition ever seen!!! And oh yeah, later see some girls walk across the stage in pretty dresses") But alas, it was not to be. The high-flying, death-defying water-based and non-comedogenic facial feat of artistic genius was rained out. RAINED out. Grey skies, strong winds and just persistent cold rain virtually drowned all of eastern Ireland. There was major flooding in and around Dublin leading to closed highways and now concern over contaminated drinking water. But, c'mon flooding? Shouldn't Ireland of all places be prepared for precipitation in abundant amounts? That's like the Egyptians saying, Sunscreen?! What would we need sunscreen for? Or the Pompeians declining natural disaster coverage on their home insurance policy. Of course, hurricane season comes every year to Florida but yet there are still millions of people scrambling for water and batteries the night before a storm (debbie...)

So anyway, day plans were changed but the rain couldn't dampen the spirits of the Rose hopefuls and at eight p.m. sharp we watched as they strut their stuff in the Avondale Indoor Sports Complex. Twenty local girls competed for the title and the 1000 euro in prize money. I don't think Miss Universe should be running scared, but perhaps Miss South Carolina should be looking over her shoulder. When asked what each would do if they won either the prize money or the lottery, most said, "shopping spree!!" This was consistent with the most popular hobby, "shopping" though shopping held only a small lead over the number two hobby, "walking". Yes, they were a lively bunch. I found it no surprise that none of them said they made a hobby of singing, though unfortunately nearly 10 of the 20 chose to sing for the talent portion of the show. Now, let's be fair...."talent" may be too strong a word.

There were a few very nice voices out there and two gals did traditional Irish dancing which I could find no fault in. Maybe for next year they will learn the upper body part... One girl did card tricks (you knew that would be my favorite talent) and some recited poetry. But most of those didn't even memorize the poems. We'll say "reading out loud" was apparently their talent and good for them! Really though, they all deserve my admiration because they all got up there and did it! You wont find me in next year's or any other year's Rose of Avondale. I just wouldn't have the nerve. That, and the small fact that no one has asked me to enter...sniff.

Each of the girls was sponsored by local businesses and thanks wholly to Mr. Brian Walsh, Esq., Esc., & Etc., of the Rathdrum offices, Brenock Technology was the proud sponsor of Rose Lianne. Despite cheering as loud as we could and the 20 euro notes I tried to slip to the judges, Lianne was not the big winner, but in our eyes....

She is #1

All the girls got beautiful silver plates engraved with their names to forever commemorate their involvement in the inaugural event. The money raised by the pageant will go to the Rathdrum "Tidy Towns" fund to help beautify the area. The TT committee members, my SIL, Bronwyn, specifically poured their hearts and souls into seeing that this night went along perfectly and they did it. It was a great night and Im looking forward to next year's.

There were even some celebrity sightings...
The GAA great, Mick O'Dwyer

American Idol's own David Archuleta

Even Alfred E. Newman!! (hello??!...MAD magazine)

This blog post was made possible through a generous endowment by our sponsor...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Recipe for Doug a la King?

I forgot yesterday to put the few pics I took of the King family up on the blog and let them know that we had a great time while they were here and we welcome them back anytime. (Doug just fell off his chair, I am sure of it...)

"Do these horizontal stripes make me look fat?" asked Doug as he tore into his meal, sucking the butter off the carrots then surreptitiously eructing the veggies into his napkin.
Lauren, Marion and Nikki, otherwise known as Shannon, Miriam and Clodagh.

Daddy and daughter.

After dinner at Kyteler's Inn, we went over for some trad music in Cleere's. If you are ever planning a trip to Kilkenny, make sure you make it to Cleere's on High street for Monday night. Local musicians, politicians, farmers and priests make their way in to sing a little tune, recite a poem and make some of the most beautiful music you have ever heard. You are welcomed to join them at the front of the pub and sing a number yourself. The original karaoke night.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Greetings from Wicklow

First off, my apologies to anyone who has a hard time understanding this post as I am writing it from Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow and the accent is just a little bit more difficult here.

I am staying with Brian and Bronwyn as Manus left today for Miami. I know, I can't believe I didn't demand to go along... Certainly not my style. I did however, have a mini-tantrum - laid myself down on the floor, pounded my fists and kicked my feet shouting "It's not fair... I want to go! You never loved me... Katie's not your kid!!"

Manus is so sweet...while we were driving to Dublin airport he said, "I love being married to you." And I laughed out loud, waiting for the punchline. He was offended and I was flabbergasted. I guess I will drive back to pick him up on Sunday.

I suppose you aren't supposed to blog about the fact that you aren't at home in the event that there are burglars reading this site and 'casing me joint'. There really should be a warning note on the Blogger site about that. This new-fangled technology! Well, for all you burglars out there, the doors are locked, the alarm is on, the crossbow is rigged up to the door knob and the arrow is aiming for the heart. If you still insist on breaking in, be a dear and unload the dishwasher and put the clothes in the dryer before you go.

So just a few quick pics to post for your viewing pleasure... We had "the Americans" over for a few days. Our friends from Miami, the King family, took a European cruise and finished it with a few days in Ireland. We met them in Dublin on Sunday and they got to see the greatest game on earth at Croke Park.

What is Hurling?

Nope, not this (this time...)

After watching a bit of this...

We did a lot of this...

And even more of this...

here at Jacob's Well in Rathdrum.

It has been brought to my attention that I should have photos of
Glendalough in the blog as it is here the ruins of one of the most famous monastic cities in all of Ireland lie.

It has oft been written about throughout history and is here that St. Kevin made his home around 500 A.D.

We brought 'the americans' here on Monday morning. As you can see it was a 'soft' day, as the Irish call it. (Soft is loosely translated to "so help me, if we have another flipping rainy day, I think I will lose my mind".)

Manus took his 'tour group' on a walk back around the two lakes that give Glendalough it's name.

Malinda waited in the car to avoid the softness.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday, Monday...

Sneaking a little Monday in on Wednesday - just to see if you are paying attention..

As promised, some pictures of the newest member of the Walsh-Marry family.

Mary and Conor Brendan, 4 days old

Tom and big brother Oisin prepare to blow out Tom's birthday candles.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hot Fun in the Summertime

As you should know by now, a typical Irish day looks something like this:

Actual elapsed time, 0.8 seconds.

Well, luckily for us, yesterday saw a change.

And at the same time as the Irish sun was bursting forth from the cloud's familiar hold, another Irish son was bursting forth from a womb's familial hold. Ah, Sweet poetry...

Mary and Tom Marry had another boy! Conor Brendan Marry was born at 3:45pm on August 7th and weighed in at 8 lbs even.
While I've yet to procure any actual photos of the young lad, just for your reference, I'm pretty sure he looked just like this:
I do have pictures of another babe from yesterday...

Tell me the shorts aren't fantastic! And it was great to have a warm and sunny day in which to wear them. Katie has really turned a corner in her walking attempts. While she still walks half like Frankenstein and half like someone with a stick up their butt, she walks everywhere. Only if we are in a serious hurry does she get down to crawl. Or if she sees a puddle.

Speaking of puddles, Katie got her first pair of wellies today.

And speaking of turning a corner... if you turn the corner from Manus' parent's house out in Cuffesgrange, you will find yourself at the very birthplace of James Hoban! Yes, it's true!! Shocking and hard to believe, isn't it??!! Now, I wouldn't want to insult anybody as I know you all know who J. Hoban is, but since I decided to make this an educational site, I will provide links so you can learn more about the Irishman who became an architect and designed the White House (where the President of the United States lives.) That's right, the one and only. And just in case you think you will forget his name, you can use a little mnemonic that I find helpful; Just think of the regulatory action that could put yo Momma out of work.

Well, architecture students from Wash. D.C.'s Catholic University designed and erected (tee,hee) a monument to the great man (some may remember the original monument in the ditch on the side of the road that looked more like a misplaced headstone) and last night was the unveiling.

It is a beautiful monument and all the local papers say it is sure to put Cuffesgrange, Co. Kilkenny on the map. Which is good, because I looked, and it isn't on any of them at the moment.

We were blessed to have Father Funky Dee and the Holy Rollers there to get down and get freaky.

I just still don't understand why they had their backs to the crowd...

My fellow countrymen.... (Take me with you!!!!)

Here is an article about the events from the Kilkenny newspaper:

It is almost exactly a month 'til we are in the good ole U. S. of A again and celebrating the life of a man made famous in America did little to lessen my homesickness. And neither did this:

I feel like I'm in the middle of one of those old coffee commercials, "We've secretly switched the restaurant's fresh brewed coffee with Folger's crystals... let's see if they notice the difference." Well, I DID notice the difference, albeit not til AFTER I got home from the grocery. Canadian maple syrup and banana nut? Helllllloooo? Where is Cinnamon and my reason-for-buying, Peanut Butter? I'm sorry, you just can't trust a country that doesn't eat peanut butter.

And I think the weeds are mocking me.