Saturday, January 31, 2009

Things I've learned this week

It was a very busy week. It was an enjoyable week, but a busy week! I learned a lot...

* Plunkett is just as nice a guy as we remembered him being. He is just as thoughtful, talented, and skinny as the last time we saw him. He is also currently on a cruise ship showing off his musical abilities.

*Plunkett is also still as popular as the last time we saw him. We went out to the pub on Saturday, to Dave & Jodi's house for Babyfest 2009 a BBQ on Sunday, dinner at Dawn's house on Tuesday, dinner at Sue & Bob's house followed by a musical performance at the pub on Wednesday. Each time there was a crowd waiting to see the guest of honor!

* I cannot remember the last time I went out six nights in a row. We are too old for this.

* The two most talked about topics as we visited with our friends this week: Facebook and babies. The Irishmen and I tried to stick to Facebook conversations, but it always comes back to babies. Plunkett got to meet a total of nine babies this week.

* Saturday night we were with a group of friends (late 20's okay so that is just me/30's/barely 40) and had wrapped up the evening at about 10:45 when three more friends (50's and 60's) showed up. We reluctantly stayed for another hour or two. The topics of conversation remained Facebook and babies. Hmmm...

* Grandma Betty turned 75 this week. (Happy birthday GB!) Grandpa Boo ordered in food for a party at her house on Monday night. I used to think it was just her cooking I liked, but I think it must be that all food SERVED at my grandparents' house just tastes better. Yummy!

* Given the right conditions, you can recreate a picture from seven years ago. The first was taken during the "Rivers and Rainforest" session at summer camp in 2001. The second was taken in Sue's backyard on Wednesday night.

* Add some work on Photoshop Elements and it gets even better.

* I have a bad habit of leaving Irishmen at the side of the road. I've mentioned before that my husband and I carpool to work and he hops out of the car when we get to the light. Well, Plunkett's boss forgot to leave the key out for him on Thursday night when they took the private jet to Key West. He asked if we could wait until 11pm to drop him off. Plunkett saw my eyes closing during dinner that night wouldn't let us do that, so he had us leave him at the doorstep at about 9:45. I felt bad about doing it, but he has lied to me assured me that he was only waiting for 20 minutes.

* In addition to the late nights, I had morning duty, afternoon duty, and it was my week to write the newsletter. By Wednesday morning the assistant principal started to ask if I was okay because I looked tired. I learned that this is a sign that I should go home early for a nap. She told me that.

* I have a strawberry ready to pick in my Square Foot Garden. Is it considered cheating if I bought the plant with a strawberry on it? I had to wait a week for it to ripen...

* I do not like keeping secrets. If you are gong to have a baby, please do not feel obligated to tell us first. It's okay, really. This one was a surprise. Now you want to know too, huh?

* My students seem not to have learned that cooties yucky germs are an exception to the sharing rule. My throat is on fire hurts. Happy weekend to me!

I am off to curl up with a blanket and watch a movie with my husband. I had a great week and love to learn, but I am hoping next week will be a little quieter!

Monday, January 26, 2009


The Irishman and I stopped at Target on the way home from work Friday night. While at the store, we had a converstion that went something like this:

The Irishman: Will you pick up some treats for the boys?

(Note: To get the true effect you must read the Irishman's lines in an Irish accent. You do not have to read them OUT LOUD in an Irish accent - in your head will do just fine...)

Me: I don't know which ones you given them.

(The Irishman goes to pick out the treats and I stay with the cart at the other end of the aisle. There is a woman studying two items on a lower shelf trying to decide which item to get.)

The Irishman: Oh, they only have the little bags.

Me: (From across the aisle) What?

The Irishman: They are out of the big bags.

Me: That's okay. I have a feeling Moses will be on a diet soon.

The Irishman: What? How is Moe going to be on a diet?

Me: He is going to the vet soon and I would not be surprised if the vet puts him on a diet.

The Irishman: WHAT? He doesn't need a diet.

Me: Have you seen him recently?

The Irishman: Cats can't go on a diet!

Me: Yes they can.

The Irishman: No. Cats can't go on a diet!

Me: Yes they can. I am telling you the vet is going to put Moses on a diet.

The Irishman: Not Moses.

Me: Yes Moses!

The Irishman: What? That is just would you...

(We left the kitty aisle at about this time with a small bag of kitty treats.)

The Irishman: I think that the woman picking out kitty litter was laughing at us.

Me: That woman was definitely laughing at us. I think we made her night.

(Side note: I just read this aloud to the Irishman for approval. I looked over and saw Moe's eyes wide. I didn't mean for him to find out that way...)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"American" Plunkett is Here!

Well, we drove our car to the house to pick up Plunkett. We were presentable. The owners of the house and the Grammy-nominated Irish musician and his wife were all extremely nice. We stood around and chatted for a bit before they handed Plunkett over to us.

Confession: I did try to park behind a very large bush hoping they would not notice my car. It didn't work. They all walked out into the drive way and watched me pull out and drive away. Oh, well. We lived!

Last night we went out with friends. The Irishman organized "American Plunkett Returns" via Facebook. The two most common topics of conversation: Facebook and babies.

The Two Irish Men

Plunkett & the Daddies

Sue surprised us all by stopping by on her way home from the airport!

I did not get pictures of the other side of the table. They were there. You can trust me on that. It was a very late great night. It has been several years since we all got together, and I'd say our conversations have aged changed a bit in that time.

To accommodate the mommies and the babies who want to meet Plunkett, we are going to a BBQ this afternoon. I've baked some Rosemary French bread in my bread maker to bring along. Yum! I love an excuse to make bread!

The Irishman and Plunkett have gone out shopping. The Irishman is driving. He also drove home last night. This is a lot of driving to stress me out for one Irishman. Now let's see if they make it home in time for the BBQ...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Famous Friends of a Friend

This afternoon, the Irishman and I are going to pick up one of the most sought after backing vocalists, piano and fiddle players in Ireland. Our friend Plunkett has finished his first Caribbean cruise with a Grammy-nominated Irish musician and has a week before they head off on the next one. (By the way...Plunkett didn't know about the online bio that I keep referring to, but the Irishman and I have been teasing him about it anyway)

We have been arranging get togethers for everyone to meet up with Plunkett. (All the crowd from summer camp.) The first was supposed to be last night, but Plunkett had to work so it was rescheduled. He is currently staying at a friend of a friend. The owner of this house has a private jet and is friends with Harrison Ford. Seriously.

Plunkett asked if we have GPS so he could send us the address. The Irishman panicked right away. His first question to me was, "Do you think we could borrow a car from someone?" I guess he has a point. We will look a bit out of place driving up in our beat up '99 Ford. Hmm...

The Irishman's second question was, "What will we wear?" Hmm...another good question. I suggested he wear this:

(This picture was cropped to protect the innocent..and because the Irishman wouldn't let me post the original)

Yep. That is Harrison Ford on his socks. My mother-in-law bought the Irishman two pairs of Indiana Jones socks. Need a second look? I thought so.

Okay so the socks might be a bit too much. Maybe he could show up like this:

What do you think?

The owner of the house where we are picking up Plunkett today also invited the musicians to a Panther's hockey game. He told Plunkett he could bring us along. This should be good...

So I am off to finish the last minute preparations for our house guest. I am sure that we will have tales to tell after this week!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Well, I wanted to post tonight, but I am tired and lacking inspiration. I had an idea about hot water bottles (yes, we are still in our "cold" snap!) so I was looking back through some old files. This was originally posted on a different blog I was keeping at the time, but it still makes me laugh. Rafa would have been about 4 months old at this point. The Irishman will be thrilled to see I am bringing this up again...that's what happens when you go to bed early!

Monday, May 14, 2007

I have just finished three assignments for an ESOL course I am taking. They were due tonight and I turned them in at 11:59. Some things never change...

Anyway, I was upstairs working on my "mini-paper" when I heard a commotion downstairs. Morgan was shouting at Rafa to get out of there. Now, there seemed to be an urgency in Morgan's voice so I went downstairs to see what the fuss was about.

My husband peed on the cat!

Now those of you who know how Morgan feels about cats are not surprised, but based on the shouts, I do not think it was intentional! Rafa is a very curious cat. He seems to really like water. He has wondered in the running shower on more than one occasion. It seems he heard the noise and wanted to find out what was going on.

Morgan said the darn cat wouldn't move even after he got wet, but he had just a little spot on the ear. I got a wet paper towel and wiped his wet spot. That cat has not peed on the floor, but my husband has peed on the cat - go figure!

I told Morgan a while back that we could get a dog when he quit leaving puddles on the floor (from the shower - he would leave the curtain open slightly)

...maybe now I should say he has to stop leaving puddles on the cat!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Admitting Defeat

I didn't expect it to come this soon. I've given it a lot of thought though, and it is time.

I am ready to admit partial defeat.

My name is Jenny and I have failed on my New Year's Resolution.

Okay, so in Ireland over Christmas I had grand plans. Somehow I convinced myself I would start the new year with a new me. The first plans for daily yoga.

I thought about blaming the cats. You see, Rafa tried to strangle me last week. (Note to, a small space, a loving cat, and an iron sitting on the ironing board is a recipe for disaster.) In an unrelated incident, do you know how hard it is to transition from downward dog when you have sleeping cat on the mat under you? Even Moses seems to think my yoga mat is his own blue scratching pad. (Rafa gives him bonus points if he catches my toes!)

In all honesty though, it is a time factor. I have a few "On Demand" yoga programs I enjoy on the DVR. In the last few weeks though I have decided that at 5:30am my fingers are better at typing than my body is at stretching. I have nothing against yoga, but I am giving up on my notion of 20-30 minutes a day. I am thinking 1-2 times a week is plenty for now.

So I will take a few deep breaths and move on to my next failure in the making New Years Resolution. It is time to go shine my sink...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Think Cold Thoughts

Well, it is going to be 72 degrees today. This is AFTER two cold fronts. Ahh...winter in Florida. This is the reason why it is so crowded around here during this time of year...welcome to the snowbirds! (I will not say any more because one of my favorite snowbirds reads my blog!)

This is also the time of year that the bookings start. We welcome our first house guest of the new year on Friday. Our friend Plunkett is currently playing gigs on a cruise ship with Phil Coulter. Plunkett is a fantastic piano and fiddle player. He was a groomsman in our wedding, and we were thrilled that he played the piano/sang a few tunes there as well. He did Ár nAthair (Our Father), Wild Rover, and Friends in Low Places. Did I mention his talents are a bit diverse?

Going back to winter weather, the Irishman was watching the news last night and commenting on the earmuffs and hat look the poor reporters in D.C. were sporting. I started to remind the Irishman of how bundled up he got for our trip to Dublin a few weeks ago, but I decided it was more fun to share in our at home commentary.

So, to make it feel a little more like winter, I am thinking cold thoughts and looking back through my vacation pictures of Central Park in the snow. (Or maybe I am just avoiding cleaning the guest room...)

Ah, look at those jackets that have been packed away in boxes until next year. For those of you that live where it is cold...stay warm. For the rest of us...enjoy the beautiful day!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Irish Christmas: A Guest Post by the Irishman

~Jenny is not allowed to edit any of this. She may however provide a glossary at the end!

(Okay so I do not follow directions well...I added my own comments anyway!)

Christmas Eve in Ireland is always a special evening. Last minute preparations are completed around the house to make ready for Christmas Day. Cooking and cleaning and the wrapping of presents all combine to make it a busy evening. As usual we all went off to midnight mass (10pm Irish time).

(Note from Jenny: That always reminds me of the Jeff Foxworthy skit. "What time is Midnight Mass?")

It was great being back in my local church and to have all of the family together. Squeezing into one pew, and taking a couple of seats in the next few show how numerous this Irish clan is. Mass finished up at around 11 and we made our way back to the house.

While there may not have been chestnuts roasting, there was an open fire that was warm and cozy. Within minutes the cups of tea were being poured and glasses of Tanora were being knocked back. Add to that some of Robert's delicious roasted ham sandwiches and we were all ready and waiting for Santa's arrival. Typically Santa arrives just after midnight. Santa has many helpers in our house and this year was no different.

As we all sat around the fire, we all handed out our presents one by one. With all of the family handing out gifts to everyone, there were soon presents all over the floor, with any available spaces being taken up by the discarded wrapping paper and the dog, Sprig (who was trying to sleep on the floor).

Finally the Santa Claus pillow cases arrived. (Yes, we do pillow cases in Ireland as you can fit so much more in there than a stocking!) I do not know how he does it, but Santa and his helpers always seem to outdo themselves every year and all were thrilled with all that was given and all that was received. By 1.30, we were all ready to head to bed, bringing the Irish Christmas Eve to an end.

And so we arrive at Christmas day! Following the late night on Christmas Eve, we all slowly got up on Christmas morning. My mother as usual, was up first, and was in the kitchen preparing the first steps for the Christmas dinner. A very light breakfast is the norm on Christmas morning with all aware of the large feast ahead!

(Another note from Jenny: The Irishman seems to have neglected to mention that he and his father snored on the sofa in front of the fire during all of the dinner preparations. Notice in the pictures he was ready to help once the food was cooked!)

We sat down for Christmas dinner at 4pm. A feast of every kind of food was enjoyed by all. Turkey and ham and spiced beef and brussel sprouts and broccoli and corm and carrots and stuffing and roast potatoes and creamed potatoes and thymed potatoes and sweet potatoes (and that was only the main course).

(Jenny here again: Did you notice the many varieties of potatoes? The Irishman always insists that they don't really eat a lot of potatoes. I beg to differ...)

After dinner we decided to take a little break before diving into the now legendary sherry trifle. As ever, the sherry trifle was worthy of being served in any top class restaurant around the world.

(Jenny: It is good enough that the Irishman and his father both almost cried when the first triffle went bad before they could finish it. We had to pry it out of their hands and promise to make another!)

After all that, I fell asleep on the sofa in front of the roaring fireplace in the front room, with coal and turf keeping us all warm into the evening. Christmas night is also a time for visiting family, and we also stopped by our cousins house for a few hours before bringing Christmas Day to a close

Jenny's "glossary": I linked to Tanora before. It is a tangerine soda that is very popular in Cork at the holidays. Spiced Beef is very nice and also a Cork thing. I think we had everything listed on this site. I can't think of anything else that needs a glossary.

The Irishman did well! Thank you sweetie!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Florida "Cold"

Before I go any further, please let me stress that I am NOT complaining about Florida weather.

I love Florida weather during this time of the year. When we get a "cold" front it is delightful! What drives me crazy are south Florida meteorologists...and some of my co-workers...and my husband

This morning they were talking about the "coldest weather we've had this year." I looked up when I heard them talking about parkas and mittens.

It is currently 54 degrees outside.
The high is going to be 70 degrees.

Parkas and mittens? Really?

WFMW: "Foiling" the Cat's Plan

Welcome to another Works for Me Wednesday!
A couple of months back I decided to try a new kitty litter. I wasn't happy with the regular scoop-able variety we'd been using, so I tried the pine stuff. Moses didn't seem to mind - he's such an easy going cat. Rafa was ready for revenge not at all happy with me. He let me know of his disdain. The sink next to the little box became his new "litter box."

(This is an older picture, but it shows his rascal ways!)

After a week, I'd had enough. I tried to keep the sink full of water, but it wouldn't stay full. I shooed him out, but it didn't matter. I went back to the old litter, but he continued to go in the sink.

I decided that if he was going to go in the sink regardless, I would try something else. We switched to the scoop-able pine litter. It does not smell at all. (Which is good seeing as the little box is in the half bath that guests use when they visit our house.)

Well, I finally found a way to thwart Rafa's evil plan.

Two weeks ago I put a little piece of foil in the sink. He has not "gone" in the sink once since then. Better yet, he is using the scoop-able pine litter that even our good friend/kitty sitter said was quite nice.

Mission accomplished!

Visit here for more Works for me Wednesday hints!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Love that Dog

Last year when Grandma Jo got sick, a friend gave me the book Marley & Me to read. I am not sure what made her think that book would be the best thing to read as my grandmother was on her death bed, but I LOVED the book.

The book takes place in our area. The scene where Marley is tied to the table and runs off taking the table with him? That took place at the shopping center walking distance from my grandparent's house. There is SO much in that book that made me laugh.

I was thrilled to find out they were making Marley & Me into a movie. Unfortunately, we were in Ireland when the movie came out. Tonight we finally got to see it. It was not quite as good as the book, but we still loved it.

Morgan and I were trying not to laugh out loud during the scene in Ireland. The only other people in the theater were old more mature, so I had to elbow the Irishman a few times before the people around us started to complain about his laugh. I'm not sure anyone else found that scene quite as funny as we did. He threatened to stand up and tell everyone that Irish people were really not like that. I'm not so sure...

Rafa is so our Marley. He has calmed down a lot, but he is still a rascal. (I may have some posts to come from this.) It was fun to watch. We could really relate to so many parts of the film.

My mom has a firm policy not to read/see any book/movie in which an animal dies. The movie did have its sad moments, but all in all I enjoyed it. We did give the boys extra loving when we got home!

In other news, I got most of my "to do" list completed this weekend. Best of all I got to spend time with the Irishman. Ready or not, the weekend is over. Good night!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Does a 'to do' list count as having weekend plans?

The Irishman finally caved last night and joined Facebook. I had to share this post with him. He didn't want to admit it was true! We'd planned to go to bed early last night, but Morgan was uploading pictures. And asking questions. A lot of questions. For such a smart guy, he isn't too quick on all this.

How did they find me?
Can everyone see this?
What if I don't WANT to be their friend?
The picture needs to show that I live in sunny Florida. Wait, I don't like that one...
Can everyone see this?
How do I...

Fun times. He is currently up to 37 friends. The Irishman is a popular guy. He is taking a break now for the Liverpool game.

So that leaves me with a to do list...I was adding to it this morning when Rafa came to greet me with a good morning purr...


This bag of papers need to be graded.

The yogurt needs making. (Okay so I took these pictures before and I have since started the yogurt, but I know from experience would imagine that forgetting to put it in the fridge when it is finished would ruin the whole batch...)

I am really trying to do a little yoga each day this year.

These things all need to be mailed. I should probably aim to get to the post office before it closes. Oh, and the bank, too.

The compost bin is taunting me. I have been avoiding it, but I have a bucket of greens and a bag of browns to add. It needs attention. Truthfully I am always a little frightened that there will be a surprise critter or bugs in there to get me.

The nine empty squares in my square foot garden are also calling my name.

Although the seeds in the last picture are not the ones I want to plant. It seems I have lost misplaced those seeds. They must be found before the growing season is over.

I did take down the final Christmas decoration this morning. Now I just have to talk the Irishman into putting it with the decorations we packed away mid week. I better hope Liverpool wins!

My IPOD still has Christmas music on it. I have missed listening to it in the morning. I think this one is taking priority status. I also have new CDs to add to the mix.

I doubt I'll get to it this weekend, but I walk past this pile of books multiple times a day. How I love Paperback Swap. Now I just need to read the books I've acquired!

Of course there are the things I didn't take a picture of...planning for CCD ...finally posting about "Irish Christmas" and our trips to Dublin and New York...seeing a movie...picking strawberries...making more bread...

The best part is I am so happy that it is Saturday that I do not mind at all! Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Little Women's Christmas

I'd planned to post about our "Irish" Christmas today on the 12th day of Christmas, but the guest post is not quite ready. It is a work in progress though. We'll just hope it is worth the wait!

Today is Little Women's Christmas. When the Irishman first moved out here he asked me what I was going to do for Little Women's Christmas. I had no idea what he was talking about. As I later learned, it is a big deal in Cork. (The part of Ireland where he is from.)

In Irish it is “Nollaig na mBan” and it is January 6, the Epiphany. It is really a girls' night. We are usually back to work by then, so the Irishman treats me either to dinner out or he makes me a nice dinner.

The Irishman's 'Mam' and sisters had dinner reservations for tonight. I got a text message from June wishing me a Happy Little Women's Christmas.

When we made the menu this week, we decided we needed to use up the chicken. I already had a meal in the crock pot. I felt like I needed to celebrate the day though, so I called Grandma Betty. After school today I met her for gelato. She loves these kinds to traditions, so I printed off an article about Little Women's Christmas for her to read.

I loved catching up and getting to spend time with my grandmother today. As it turns out, she had her own treats planned. To celebrate the start of Mardi Gras, she brought me some homemade Pralines. Oh, be still my heart!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Home at last

It has taken us 19 hours, but we are finally home. We left my in-law's house at about midnight Florida time. It was lengthy, but we had no real adventures in traveling.

We had some nice things waiting for us when we got home. We opened Christmas cards and a package from my mom. Our wonderful pet sitters left us gifts...and they were doing US a favor! What great friends! Unfortunately we also found ants invading the kitchen. Oh well! I guess I'll be calling the pest control company on Monday.

I've already vacuumed the kitty litter from the floor. The angel from the top of the tree is now next to the tree. All in all though the boys seem happy to see us. I had a great time across the pond, but I am so happy to be back to my own bed and to see my kitties!