Wednesday, December 31, 2008
It is just after midnight on January 1, 2009 here in Ireland.
Most of the people who read this are on the other side of the pond from where I am now, so let me be the first to wish you a happy 2009....from 2009.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
(I'll get to that in a minute though!) So much for a lazy day! We did get to sleep in a bit I suppose though. Morgan and I spent the day with his sister Rosemary and her family. She and her husband Don have two little girls. They have a very nice house outside of the city so we got to spend the day in the "country." It was quite nice to get to spend time with them all.
After dinner I met up with the Irishman's other two sister. We were invited to their friends' house for dinner. Morgan's sisters and their friends are wonderful at getting dressed up and throwing nice dinner parties. The plates were set beautifully and dinner was fantastic.
We'd gone back to the dining room for our tea when June noticed a funny smell. She walked into the front room to discover the table was on fire. There had been a beautiful candle arrangement lit on a table in front of the window. The flames at that point were about three feet high. The room was filling with smoke.
One of the hosts did not skip a beat though. She grabbed a fire extinguisher from the wall and started to spray the fire. By this point the smoke was quite thick. She was able to put out the fire with the small fire extinguisher.
We opened the all the windows and doors and stood on the front porch for a while. I have no doubt that they were about 20 seconds from loosing the house. There were heavy drapes behind the table that would have easily caught fire had it gotten any bigger. It was truly frightening to imagine what could have been.
I know that all 5 of us there are now believers in fire extinguishers. I have done the training at work, but I had not really given it much thought until tonight. They really would have lost the house had it not been for the fire extinguisher and some quick thinking.
Do you have a fire extinguisher? Would you know how to use it if your house was at risk?
Now, if you know us well you know that we are
The Irishman had a party after work on "American" Christmas. I'd stayed at school late to get things ready for January (knowing that I will be exhausted and playing catch up anyway when we get back). I then ran to the mall to re-buy a gift for one of the Irishman's sisters. He did SUCH a good job of throwing her off track about what we bought her that she went out and BOUGHT HERSELF the gift we'd picked out.
Anyway, my quick trip to the mall was anything but quick as I finally found an outfit to wear for Christmas night in Ireland. I'd been looking for weeks, but then the night before we leave with no time to spare I have luck in the sales. Sounds about right, huh?
We finally got home at about 8:00pm. We had a shuttle scheduled to take us to the airport at 4:30am. We still had to clean, pack, and celebrate "American" Christmas. Add to all that the fact that the Irishman used a Christmas bonus & his coaching paycheck to purchase an IPOD Touch for himself. (He had retained the option to purchase one during the previous cell phone negotiations.) So as I cleaned and packed, he downloaded songs and got his new toy ready to take with us.
It was a bit rough.
At about midnight we decided to take a break and exchange gifts. I did not have time to wrap his gifts...thank goodness for the Santa sacks!
We both went overboard again...but each managed to give a few surprises. Even though it was VERY late and we still had to finish packing, the Irishman decided to try out the Wii game I gave him. In the end we went to bed at 1:30...and got up at 3:30.
On the way to the airport, the Irishman surprised me with a box. It had a very pretty necklace it in. (I wore it on "Irish" Christmas...pictures to follow!) He is very good to me!
Next up...Irish Christmas!
Monday, December 29, 2008
So, here is a quick preview of what is to come:
* Empire State Building
* Central Park in the snow
* "American" Christmas with pictures
* "Irish" Christmas with pictures
* A walk around the marina with a few nice views of Blackrock Castle
* A day trip to Dublin
We have a quiet day planned for tomorrow so I hope to get something up then. I have loved reading all the different Christmas posts. I have lost track of the day and the time...traveling across the pond does that to me. For now I think I am going to curl up in front of the fire with a good book!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
It will be Christmas here in just about 5 hours. My husband is tearing apart our suitcases. We exchanged most of our gift last Friday on our 'American Christmas Day' but it seems he cannot find the gift he brought for me to open here. He is going crazy. He went so far as to accuse me of finding it and hiding it from him.
We will soon be getting ready for Mass tonight. We bought extra bottles of Tanora and are preparing the ham and spiced beef for sandwiches after 'midnight' Mass.
While we can get carried away with the Santas, and trees, and
After Mass we both said we felt like we'd been led there by the Holy Spirit. We took some time to pray and reflect before moving on. It was quite special and something we will remember. The pictures do not do it justice.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
One of our first stops in NYC was Macy's. A few years ago we went with the Irishman's sister Christina to see Santa at Macy's. We were SO impressed. They have all sorts of decorations in line - it almost Disney like. When you finally get to Santa's Village, there are a number of little cottages and you get ushered into one where you meet the man in red himself. It is really well done! Best of all, they take an
On the way up, the Irishman stopped to write his Santa letter. I offered to take a picture for a few ladies in front of the display. They asked if I needed my picture taken, but I had to say no because I was with the grown man in a fuzzy red hat writing a letter to Santa.
Now, there are not many sleeps left before Christmas so it was quite crowded. The
I asked Santa for a car that did not break down in front of Macy's when I drove it. The Irishman asked for Liverpool to win the league. He asks the same thing every year, but last time we went to see Santa at Macy's Liverpool DID win the league, so he is hopeful! He prefers the American Santa to the Irish Santa...the Irish ones are more likely to argue with Liverpool winning the league! The Irishman refuses to believe that Santa is a United fan.
On the way out, the Irishman threw a snowball for MN Mom. (In front of Macy's, not at Macy's!)
I hope you enjoy!
Monday, December 22, 2008
We had a WONDERFUL weekend in NYC. The Irishman
I did have a couple of inquiries regarding the hats. It was SO bitterly cold that we wore double hats all around the city. We were stopped regularly by random strangers making comments or asking us where we bought them. As for Santa himself...we cheated and took two pictures. The first one was without hats and the second with the hats. We haven't seen the pictures on the big screen yet to decide which we like better. I'll keep you updated!
The Irishman DID get to see snow. I have a few posts planned about that part of our trip. Morgan's catch phrase for the week was, "You can put THAT in your blog." I think he is getting into this whole thing.
We got to Shannon airport this morning while it was still dark. (Which is actually disappointing because I love looking at the fields as you fly in...it looks like a green patchwork quilt!) After discovering that the bag the Irishman was trying to cram into the trunk of his parents' car was not actually ours but another green bag, we got things sorted and were on the road to Cork. I slept most of the 2 hour drive.
We have already seen all 5 siblings, 2 nieces, and his brother-in-law. The Irishman is in the front room watching a soccer game. He is happy as a clam.
I have already taken a 3 hour nap...and could sleep a lot more. Thankfully I accidentally left the pile of papers I was going to bring with me to work on over the holiday. I guess that means I have nothing to do but relax. Oh, darn!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
That is until he shouted, "YES! Will you look at that?"
He was looking up the weather forecast for New York City. This morning weather.com was predicting 100% chance of snow showers on Friday. We get there Saturday. The Irishman decided it was close enough. With 100% chance and scattered snow showers on Saturday he's SURE he will see snow. There was also a slight chance of snow in Ireland for the 26th. It has since disappeared, but he has gotten his hopes up.
(I am not sure I want to be the one to tell him it is now "Snow to Wintry Mix" on Friday. That doesn't sound good for GETTING to the city! An even bigger concern would be the "70% chance of Wintry Mix" scheduled for when we are leaving for Ireland...)
Regardless, the Irishman is super excited. You should see the list of places we have to go have our pictures taken. We will be there for less than 48 hours, but you wouldn't think it listening to the Irishman. Going to New York City and Ireland in one week is almost too much for him to take.
This morning he decided that the weather will be cold enough to wear the Santa hats in NY. (I decided not to point out that we wore Santa hats to Disney and it was
He said I could write about that on my blog.
I could even do one of those survey things.
So, please humor my husband. Take a second to tell us whether it is okay for us to wear Santa hats in our picture with Santa at Macy's.
The Irishman thanks you.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The Christmas Meme is every where. I've read it here and here and here and here and here. The Irishman was looking over my shoulder as I read this and he decided that he wanted to take part as well. I'd already filled in one and saved it to post later, so the Irishman decided we should do it independently and then compare answers. I was at Target finishing my Christmas shopping when I saw that he'd e-mailed me his answers. We're
dorks high tech like that.
(Needless to say we actually filled out two different meme's. The Irishman's simple idea has taken me a lot longer to sort out than he anticipated. Thankfully I am waiting for a loaf of bread to finish in my new bread maker so I'm staying up late anyway!)
So, here is a joint Meme...or Meyou...or Usus...you get the idea!
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Me: We wrap the presents and then stick them in a Santa sack. We each have a Santa sack that we stash each other's gifts into. There is usually one night designated for wrapping. The Irishman goes upstairs and I'll stay downstairs wrapping his presents and listen to
him swear as he wraps mine some lovely Christmas music.
The Irishman: paper if I am receiving (more exciting to open) and bags if I am giving, easier to wrap!
2. Real tree or Artificial?
Me: I would love a real tree but it does not make sense in Florida when we travel for the holidays. Can you say fire hazard? Our current tree was purchased at Target's after Christmas sale. I took the Irishman with me when it was 75% off and by the time we got there they'd marked it 90% off. Morgan had pined after that tree all season.
The Irishman: Real all the way! I love the smell. BUT if I can pick up a bargain $300 for $30 I can be persuaded!
3. When do you put up the tree?
Me:We go to Houston for Thanksgiving, so the decorations go up some time during the week we get back. It just depends on how tired we are when we get back!
The Irishman: In America the week after Thanksgiving, but in Ireland around the 12th-15th
4. When do you take the tree down?
Me: The Irishman would wait until St. Patrick's Day to take down the decorations if I would let him. The goal is "Little Women's Christmas" (The Feast of the Epiphany) but it is usually the weekend after.
The Irishman: Never before the Feast of the Epiphany
5. Do you like eggnog?
Me: Not a fan. I much prefer hot apple cider!
The Irishman: horrible stuff
6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Me: A Fisher Price telescope and then a "real" sewing machine stand out.
The Irishman: Liverpool jersey, Luke Skywalker action figure, Roy of the Rovers Annual
7. Hardest person to buy for?
Me: My father and his wife
The Irishman: My brother Robert.
8. Easiest person to buy for?
Me: Usually the Irishman, but this year he already had everything he wanted!
The Irishman: My wife, she drops lots of little hints
9. Do you have a nativity scene?
Me: We have several. The Irishman bought a nativity scene for his "lad pad" when he first moved out here. It was like $2 from Walmart. I also have 2 that I picked up at craft shows.
We also have two nice ones. My parents had a craft business many years ago. I have a nativity scene that they made that is extremely special to me. My MIL gave us a beautiful Newbridge silver crib. (Side note: My Irish in-laws refer to it as the crib and not the nativity scene. Each church around town sets up a "crib.")
The Irishman: My favourite is the one in my home church in Blackrock
10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Me: I have one family member who is notorious for giving bad gifts. I will not incriminate myself any further than that!
The Irishman: That would be unfair to answer
12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Me: I love White Christmas and Love Actually. I like most Christmas movies. I cannot watch The Santa Clause though. It gave me bad dreams. I don't know what it is about it, but I dislike that movie greatly.
The Irishman: So many! National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, Home Alone 2, Santa Claus the movie, The Santa Clause, the new Miracle on 34th Street
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Me: The Irishman gets getting into the Christmas spirit in October. We start buying gifts by November. We really do a lot of our shopping on Black Friday.
The Irishman: Novemberish
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Me: Yes. When I know something will be better used by someone else I have no problem passing it on. My Grandma Jo thought this was the funniest thing ever. (She loved being on the receiving end. One man's junk is another man's recycled present!)
The Irishman: yes - from Jenny's wonderful collection
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Me: This is tough. I love my mom's sweet potato casserole, but it has been a few Christmases since I've gotten to enjoy that. In Ireland we have spiced beef which is quite nice.
The Irishman: Turkey and Ham and all the trimmings and of course Sherry Trifle
16. Lights on the tree?
Me: I'm not really bothered either way.
The Irishman: I like the plain white ones
17. Favorite Christmas Song?
Me: I love the entire Carpenter's Christmas Portrait. I can sing the entire CD from beginning to end. It is the best!
The Irishman: Fairytale of New York
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Me: We will be traveling across the pond again this year. The Irishman is the only one in his family that does not live in Cork, so it is important for us to get over to see everyone!
The Irishman: My wife and I always agreed that if we were living in America, we would travel to my family in Ireland for Christmas and if we were living in Ireland we would travel to her family in America for Christmas
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
Me: That would require thought. I am sure I could if I tried.
The Irishman: donner and blitzen and cupid and comet and dasher and... Rudolph came later!
20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Me: I'd asked my mom for an angel for the top of our tree. She'd tried to find one like the one we had growing up but didn't have any luck. In the end she gave me the angel that she'd made when I was a kid for the top of our tree. Now we have the angel my mom made at the top of the tree and a tree skirt my grandmother made at the bottom of the tree. It makes me smile!
The Irishman: Of Course
21. Open presents on Christmas Eve or morning?
Me: The Irishman and I have an "American Christmas" and then an "Irish Christmas." We have been fortunate enough to travel to Ireland each year we've been married. We do not want to pay to lug out gifts to each other across the pond, so we have a special day that we designate "American Christmas" as a special day before we leave when we open the gifts to each other.
Only one of Morgan's siblings has children, so the other 5 siblings get together on Christmas Eve. After Midnight Mass (which starts at like 9pm...try and figure that one out!) everyone gathers in front of the fire and munches on ham and spiced beef sandwiches. We all visit and talk until midnight when the gift giving begins.
The Irishman: It depends. We try to wait until after midnight before handing out, but all depends on the time that Santa arrives
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
Me: We travel for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Decorating, shopping, and then traveling makes for a hectic time. It is nice to get to Ireland and just relax though!
The Irishman: It always goes by too quickly
23. Favorite Ornament theme or color?
Me: When the Irishman proposed at the top of the Empire State Building, the second thing we did (after we called half the world to share our news) was buy a Christmas ornament. It was the middle of March, but we wanted a Christmas ornament to remember the occasion. Each year that is the first ornament we put on the tree.
We collect ornaments when we travel. We also have a wonderful collection of Newbridge silver ornaments from Ireland.
The Irishman: the Newbridge ornaments my mother sends us every Christmas
24. Do you own a Santa hat?
Me: We not only own Santa hats, but often wear them in public. I have pictures taken at Disney and all over New York City of the two of us in Santa hats. Sad but true.
The Irishman: Of course!
25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
Me: I actually had a rather long list this year. It was quite out of character. I am sure Santa will treat me well. I am already using my early gift! I've made two loaves of bread since Sunday. (Thank you GB & GB!)
The Irishman: As every year, Liverpool to win the league. i will settle for second spot and the Champions League
Monday, December 15, 2008
The Irishman would have nothing of it.
He said his family expected the whole "American" experience. The photo card. The letter. I gave in.
The Irishman usually writes the letter himself. This year I was a bit of a Scrooge and vetoed the letter
Never thought THAT would happen!
Last night I had a migraine. I was not good for anything. I had SO much planned for last night. Instead I spent the evening on the couch with an ice pack.
After about an hour on the computer, the Irishman read me
I woke up with morning to see the letters printed and stuffed. I did the verbal okay, but I never proofread the letters.
I am letting go.
I love him and this was his project. There are just some run on sentences and some missing commas.
Friday, December 12, 2008
I love all the build up to Christmas, but I was a bit upset driving home this evening though. Because the Irishman and I carpool, I do not usually have a lot of time in the car to myself. He road to the party with
I realized on the way to his Christmas party that I missed my school party last year as well. That was the day after Grandma Jo went into the hospital and we went to visit her instead of going to the party. That was the start of it all. She was in the hospital and then the awful nursing home for all but three days between then and the end of January when she passed away. Looking back it wasn't that long a time, but it felt like an eternity.
We all miss her so much. I catch it in the little things. I logged onto Walmart.com this week to order Christmas presents for the Irishman and had to change my shipping address. I'd always sent my gifts for him to her house so he wouldn't find out. Morgan and I both catch ourselves thinking of her or something that should would have liked.
My mom has asked for me to have this picture framed for her this year. It was from 2005. The Irishman and I had Grandma Shutterbug take some pictures of us at the beach. I am so grateful that we also took this shot.
I know my mom and my uncles miss Grandma Jo more than we could ever have imagined. I know we certainly didn't expect to celebrate Christmas this year without her.
Monday, December 8, 2008
The Great Pepper Incident of 2004
The year before we were engaged, the Irishman came to Houston for Thanksgiving. I was so excited to get to take him to see where I grew up. Of course, a trip to Houston is not complete without visiting Pappasitos.
Look at all that yummy goodness.
You see, Pappasitos always puts one whole jalapeno pepper on the top of the fajitas. As for me, I avoid the thing like the plague. I don't do hot peppers. I watch other people
The Irishman loves the
The Irishman decided it could not be as bad as we suggested.
He took a
As with most hot peppers, the first couple of chews are fine. As he started to say, "It's not that ba-" it hit him. His eyes began to water. His face turned red. He had a mouth full of fire.
I almost fell out of my chair laughing.
When he retells the story, it seems that all he could think about was the fact that his future mother-in-law was at the table. He would not spit it out in front of her. His eyes were watering too much for him to see the bathroom. He was stuck.
Mom and I tried to steer him away from the water. We suggested tortillas instead. He went for the water.
He must have really stood out. The waiter could tell that he "wasn't from around here" and gave us free sopaillas. I am fairly certain that he thought the Irishman was visiting from Ireland and not via Florida, but after the events of that day, we decided that we would just go with it!
The "Some-People-Never-Learn Incident" of 2008
Now Thanksgiving of 2005, my mom knew that the Irishman was determined to have a rematch with the jalapeno. He was mortified when she asked the waiter to give us a mild pepper. Thanksgiving of 2007, the Irishman and Julie's boyfriend each munched on a pepper. (Men!) Last August, the peppers were recalled. Mom and I had forgotten about the Irishman's pepper problem. Thanksgiving 2008 we had a repeat of "The Great Pepper Incident of 2004." I've come up with many names for the event.
Those darn little peppers. (Sorry for the fuzzy picture. I used my phone.)
This picture was actually part of the problem.
The Irishman saw me take this picture and was not happy. You see, the picture was proof that he hadn't eaten the whole thing.
So he ate the rest. Only he didn't eat it quick. Mom and I were
He didn't trust us. He ate the whole darn thing. Slowly. It sat on his tongue for long enough that you could visually see that it was red and swollen.
I think it is a man thing.
I did disclose that his eating the whole pepper meant that the whole ordeal was considered fair game for blogging.
That comment must have been after this picture was take. I believe he spit out his water when I said that.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
We always made Christmas cookies growing up. There are three or four recipes that I love to pull out each year. These cookies are a bit like Gingersnaps.
Crackle-Top Molasses Cookies
Makes 45 cookies
2/3 cup veggie oil
1/4 cup molasses
2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
2 to 2 1/4 cup flour
* Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
* In a large bowl, combine oil and 1 cup sugar. Add egg, beating well. Stir in molasses, 2 cups flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger.
* Form dough into balls and roll in 1/3 cup sugar. Place three inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
* Bake 12-14 minutes or until golden brown and tops crack. Remove cookies and cool on racks. (Note: I found 10 minutes was enough!)
This afternoon the Irishman and I went to a Christmas concert with Shannon and her mom. We both got to save on postage and hand over the goodies we would otherwise have had to mail. It was great to get to see each other in real life!
This recipe makes more cookies than the Irishman and I could ever finish so I was happy to send some home with Shannon!
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Wednesday night the Irishman and I got home at almost 7:00pm. Now, we look for packages
He was puzzled by a medium sized box addressed to me. As we walked into the house in the dark he tried to make out the postage. It was from Texas, but it was not from my mom.
It was from the Secret Ornament Exchange hosted by Julie at Abbilyeverafter!
I was spoiled rotten by Lisa AKA the Bombastic Bandicoot.
The "Finders Key Purse" is a little clip for your keys that hooks over the side of your purse...
...and just when I thought it couldn't get better, a Borders gift card and a Texas cookbook! I found a recipe in there for sopapillas that I cannot wait to try! Yum! I LOVE sopapillas!
Thank you Lisa! Your generosity is greatly appreciated! It made my week!
Be sure to visit Abbilyeverafter to everyone else's goodies!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
We put the tree up tonight. It is a little
Monday, December 1, 2008
I saw this last week and decided today is the perfect day to try it out. Visit My Charming Kids for more details! So...without further ado..
We DID NOT get back to Florida at 12:30am this morning. The Irishman and I DID NOT swear off the midnight flight after last year. We DID NOT change our mind this year because it saved us $100. It was NOT US in line for the shared ride taxi that had to stop off at my place of employment before taking us home. I DID NOT get drenched by the automatic sprinklers as I tried to pry the mail from the over stuffed mailbox. (After all, I DID NOT forget to put a hold on the mail or have a neighbor collect the mail!)
I DID NOT insist on unpacking the suitcases when we finally got home at 2am. I DID NOT have to get up at 5:45 this morning. Of course it was NOT ME giving the Irishman dirty looks as he made international phone calls this morning as I was trying to get ready for school. It was NOT ME that chose an outfit this morning based on what would not require shaving of the legs or painting of the toenails.
I DID NOT forget my umbrella in school. It was NOT ME who ran to the car in the rain. It was definitely NOT ME who dumped her husband out in the middle of the street in the rain with just a lightweight jacket to protect him from the elements. I DID NOT apologize to him as I did so rambling about the fact that it was 7:26 and I had 7:30 morning duty.
I DID NOT walk into the building this morning to hear myself being paged for morning duty. I DID NOT have to stand in the rain with the school administrator who had me paged for
I DID NOT hold a class meeting this morning to inform my class that I had only 3 and a half hours of sleep and was feeling cranky. I MOST CERTAINLY DID NOTturn my lack of sleep into an impromptu lesson on elapsed time.
It was NOT ME who decided to put up Christmas decorations in my classroom after school instead of grading multiplication tests.
I WAS NOT secretly thrilled when my husband decided to cook dinner tonight.
It was NOT ME who packed a $28 vacuum covered in bubble wrap in her suitcase yesterday. I DID NOT decide to test the vacuum out tonight while the Irishman made Cyber Monday gift purchases instead of going to sleep early.
It is NOT ME who has decided to stay up WAY TOO late to finish this post...
You must have me mixed up with someone else!
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Timestamp: 2008-12-02 03:06:41 UTC
Comment #3 was Shannon! Congratulations!