31 August, 2010

Day Thirteen: Something I don't leave the house without.

Hmm... you mean other than the obvious "purse and keys" answer? There are actually a couple things. Ask me a year ago and i would have definitely said it was my iPhone, but since moving to Ireland and skinnying down to one income for both of us,  i haven't been using it much.
I would have to say i never leave home without a lip balm of some sort. Nivea has been my recent choice, but i've tried hundreds of different flavours and types. There was a point where i had at least two sticks in every location imaginable. Car, purse, work, pockets, in each room... People used to hunt down new flavours just to amuse me! Chapstick was the stocking stuffer of choice for family to give me, and honestly - i loved it. My favorite by far was Dr. Pepper lip balm by Bonne Bell.
For a while i was into softlips - i love the way menthol feels on my lips. I would literally go through one a day. It was almost as expensive as a smoking habit!
I used to joke that i was addicted... and maybe it was true. Some people smoke, some people have lip balm. Either way, it's an oral fixation of sorts.

Over time, i've learned to use less. I discovered that some balms actually had alcohol in them which would dry out the lips after a while making you feel like you needed more. Mentholated chapsticks have somewhat of the same effect, in my opinion... Now i only use mentholated balms for a treat now and then as opposed to the regular use they used to have in my lifestyle.
As for the Dr. Pepper lip smackers addiction... it was wonderful. This glorious flavour was in the background of so much of my life. My first kiss, my first dance, my favourite job interview...
Dr. Pepper was there.
If I could have a lifetime supply of Dr. Pepper lip balm by Bonne Bell... my life would be complete.
I carried around a few (hundred) of these tubes for at least 8 years running. I would freak out a little (ok, a lot) if the store was out of this flavour and would resort to buying the three-flavour pack (with A&W root beer and cherry 7up!) just to get to my precious.
Needless to say, i had a few lonely tubes of Cherry 7up and A&W around. What can i say? I couldn't get enough. I'm not sure when my love affair ended... but i find myself dreaming Dr. Pepper dreams every now and then. Maybe it's time to look for it online? A little reunion might be in order!

30 August, 2010

Day Twelve: A TV show I'm currently addicted to.

Yeah. I just can't get enough of Dexter right now. I've been catching up on the previous seasons in hopes of watching the new season (5) that is set to air this September. Whenever i'm watching a new show, i always try to avoid spoilers of any sort - but in looking for the above photo, i unfortunately have some theories of what might be happening in some upcoming seasons (that i haven't seen yet, as i'm only in the middle of season two). Boo to that!
But the truth is... i can't seem to get the show out of my head. It's disturbing in some ways and hilarious in others - sigh. The perfect show.

29 August, 2010

Day Eleven: A photograph of the town I live in.

Well... technically, i'm a villager. I hope you don't mind that i'm about to post multiple photos of my village. Multiple being THREE, in which you can see the entire downtown downvillage business district, and several apartments :)

 And that, my friends, is the village of Rathcormac, Co. Cork.

28 August, 2010

Day Ten: A photo and description of what's in my makeup bag.

1. My makeup bag, itself. I got it free with the purchase of some sort of Clinique thing.
2. Combination powder and brush. Amazing for keeping things compact inside my bag. I also have a regular brush and powder - but i use them at home. This is a travel-only use item.
3. Tinted face lotion, more or less. It gives me a little glow without making me look orange or like there's "too much".
4. Lengthening mascara. I know, i'm a cheater.
5. Lipstick. I purchased this for my wedding, but in real life i'm not much of a lipstick wearer.
6. Cover-up for those pesky dark circles i never can get rid of. It's slightly mentholated. It's slightly awesome.
7. Bobby pins. Honestly, those are useful in there, but i just shoved them in one day and never took them out.
8 and 9. Merle Norman eye shadow brushes. I got them on my 14th birthday. No Joke. 12 years old!! lol LOVE them though!! I keep meaning to get another set, but when i think about it i'm either broke or can't find them.
10 and 11. Black eye liner from back in my Glamour Shots days. I worked there. I keep those more out of sentiment and emergency than actual usage.
12. Brown eye liner that i use most often.
13. Black liquid eye liner in case i want a nice line.
14. Brown mascara that i use every now and then, but not often.
15. Color stay lipstick. I should probably throw this out. It's oooold.
16. Blush.
17. Blush brush that i got free with my bag.
18. Eye shadows! My favorite set of all time.

27 August, 2010

another project!!

i know, my toes are ugly. I was pining for some Battlestar Galactica so i made a rug. I did the colors wrong for the star, but... V understood what i was doing (which is why he's my soulmate) and that's what matters most <3

Day Nine: A photo of the item I last purchased.

I purchased some red wine to drink with dinner, and a jar of honey to soothe my husband's sore throat.

26 August, 2010

Day Eight: A recipe.

I will now bestow upon you one of my mother's recipes, straight from my recipe box, and one i hope to make and immortalize in my future cookbook project for posterity.

First, i will write it how it is written on the card, then i will decipher the "mom code" for you :)

Corn Bread       375℉
Grease 9x13 pan
4 eggs, 2 sticks butter room temp, 1½ C sugar mixed
Add 2 C buttermilk
Mix 2 C corn meal, 2 C flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp soda. Add to wet mixture. Pour into pan. Bake when center is done. Approx. 30-35 minutes
Sweet + rich... yum!    (note- glass dish 45-50)

Allllllrighty! got that? maybe? ok. Let me help anyway.

Mom's Sweet and Rich Corn Bread

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 sticks of butter (1 cup), at room temperature
  • 1½ cup white sugar
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups corn meal
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 375℉ (190℃), grease a 9x13 pan.
In a medium bowl, mix eggs, butter, and sugar until well blended. Add buttermilk until just mixed.
In a separate bowl, combine corn meal, flour, salt, baking soda. Add dry mixture to wet mixture slowly until it's all combined, and well mixed.
Pour batter into pan and place into preheated oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes (45-50 minutes for glass dishes) or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Life in Ireland

I have to say, for starters - that my life in Ireland is pretty different than how i imagined it. I'm not complaining by any stretch of the imagination - it's just been different. If you did not already know, I am American and moved to Ireland to be with my Polish husband (who i call V on the blog) who i met on the INTERNET! ahahhha! It still has shock value, that. But i digress...

Life itself.

I don't know what exactly i was expecting. Americans have this stigma of Ireland - that it's a magical place. It is, but i find the magic to be more created by all the history (the ruins, the friendliness of the people) and the culture, than it is by leprechauns, rainbows and gold, shamrocks, ghosts, and the like.
For an American having never been in Europe before (except for a 10 day trip to Northern Ireland on a mission trip in 2009... but that was more serving community than touring or learning the ways of the Irish), it was a completely new and exciting experience! The stores, for one, are not open "late" like the WalMarts, Krogers, Meijers, and Albertsons of the USA. They close around 5, and if you're lucky - 6:00pm. Don't be surprised if they're not open on Sundays, and definitely don't be surprised if they don't open before 10:00am... no matter what business they are in.
You'll still be able to find a cobbler in town, but he will likely also cut keys and do a fair amount of tailoring. The signs on many shops are still hand-painted. In some ways, it's like stepping back in time - but in others, you're painfully reminded that it is currently the 21st century, when your cell phone doesn't get reception.
Also, you wont be able to find your "one stop shop" and get everything you need. You'll need to go to the hardware store for nails, the paint store for paint, the grocery store for food, the toy store for toys, and the little shops in town (or second hand) for clothes.

Things are slow in Ireland. Laid-back, is probably a better term. America's fast-paced "now, now, faster!" attitude doesn't apply. If you want something done in a time-frame, i recommend scheduling in advance. For instance, V had asked for our internet to be set up in January in our new cottage. I think it was March before we finally got it.

Things are expensive here. The euro is very strong against the dollar, so it's nice in the way of paying my American bills (darn credit cards!) and that sort of thing - but food is expensive and served in smaller portions, petrol is over $6 per gallon, and electricity is outrageous. We dont even use the clothes dryer because of it. We try to make sure to turn off lights in rooms we're not in, and we do our best not to leave on the water boiler during the day.
Yep. Water boiler. It's a little tank upstairs in our bathroom, in a little cupboard - and if we want a bath or shower, we turn it on about half an hour before we take it - if we want hot water for dishes, same thing.


When i moved here, i had expected to hit the ground running doing things like i did in the states. I expected a busy lifestyle and the ability to drive all over creation at a whim. My thoughts like this came to a screeching halt when i entered the country and realized that without permission for residency, i wasn't going to be doing much - and without a PPS number,  i wasn't going to be doing ANYTHING in the way of working or driving. I found out the hard way that there is a certain order to doing things... take it from me.
Get your 3 month visiting stamp upon entering the country. You'll need that 3 months.

Fill out your paperwork applying for a PPS number. Then wait. You'll get a letter allowing you to stay until your paperwork is processed, about a week after you send it off. I had to send in my actual passport!! Ahh! But i got it back with the letter allowing me to stay... whew!

Then go to your local Gardai office and have them stamp your passport allowing you to stay until you get the paperwork processed.

Apply for residency. This was easy, but a ton, ton, TON of paperwork. We had to get documents from V's work stating he indeed does work there and isn't about to be fired, a handful of recent pay stubs, and some other information as well as an apostille proving the legality of our marriage certificate from the states (where we were married), as well as having to send in an original lease agreement and the certification that we're living in a legal residence... ugh! it was a lot of work to gather these items together because of all the waiting time. I advise that you'll be better off if you're coming from the states, to just get an marriage certificate apostille there and bring it with you. The one i got was $5.

Then wait some more. Your PPS number will come in the mail, and you can go get a GNIB card from your local Garda Immigration officer. If you're married to an EU citizen, it's free, but if you're not - it's €150!! Be sure to bring proof of your address and proof that you live together.

After a while, you'll receive notification that you're either allowed to stay or need to get out. haha Fortunately, i was allowed to stay and granted residency for 5 years.
So, i started the process back in February/March, gathering stuff and sending it in - and only just received my residency, in August.

I can now apply for work! I should get on that.


When we moved into our little cottage - it was charming, until we ran out of oil to heat the place! haha! That was an adventure. It was so, so cold in the cottage that i would walk around in my wool coat over two sweaters, 3 pairs of socks, and two pairs of jeans, and some mittens if i didn't need my dexterity. I could see my breath! It's funny now... but at the time, we couldn't dry our clothes after they were washed because there was just no heat! The clothes would hang wet for a few DAYS before they finally dried out, unless we had the help of drying things by the fire, which was still a long process.
I learned that an open fireplace will suck ANY kind of heat right out of an already drafty cottage, and take your sanity with it. One week, we decided to splurge, and spend €250 on oil to heat our cottage. It was a huge expense for us and it didn't even last 3 weeks.
This winter though, we'll be warm. During spring, we bought a wood stove (and used it all throughout summer...).
Spring was nice! It was a cool spring, but we had lots and lots of sun in May and early June. My garden was so happy! But i wont grow tomatoes again, without a greenhouse or poly-tunnel to house them in. Lesson learned.
Summer has been mild. By mild, i mean warmer than usual, with less rain than usual (according to the locals). It's stayed in the mid 60s (F) mostly and gotten into the 80s (F) only for one or two days.
People dont let rain stop them from doing things though, and i love that about the Irish. They're of the same mindset of those in Seattle - going out with an umbrella, just in case.
I have learned to love the invention called the "umbrella" :)


Something else that i wasn't anticipating for my new life in Ireland - was being cold so often. I love cool weather, don't get me wrong - i had just lived in Ohio (and thought i would be staying there) and banished many of my winter clothes to the depths of a Goodwill store - so i didn't have much in the way of warm clothes, and learned pretty quickly that some of the clothes i had were more for looks than for functionality. My wardrobe has changed, where i can afford it. I would say that if you're expecting to come to Ireland to live, bring a couple rain coats, some wellies (rain/rubber boots), and a good supply of lightweight, heavy, comfortable sweaters, not to mention leggings to go under your long trousers. Summer is great! You wont need that endless supply of tank tops and shorts though. "Style" only seems to apply in certain areas. Everyone here wears what's comfortable and functional for their job and the weather.

Buy a pair of nice slippers if you're moving into a place with hard-woods. You'll appreciate it, even if you're a "barefoot" type of person.

As for me, i'm still learning. It's been an adventure to go see places on the weekend, and try to find stuff to do during the day. I have my drivers license now, so it might be fun to be able to get out and about once in a while... but the tiny little windey, bendy roads are frightening - especially at high speeds (speed limits are high) and with nowhere to go, if you need to go onto a shoulder of any kind (it's all walls and hedges!)
If you're new to the country, i wish you luck! it will be fun, i promise.

date nights are great nights

Last night was the best night i've had in a while. We went to The Booley House in Ballyduff (that is fun to say! Booley house in Ballyduff...) to see some Irish dancing, song, and story telling. It was fantastic! There were several ages of dancers performing, so it was so fun to see the little kids all dressed up, and dancing around - as well as the adults. The music was fantastic, the musicians were great! I had so much fun watching it all... i actually had to check myself a few times. I almost cried twice because of sheer joy, and how good the energy of the stage felt, wafting over me. Ahh! Live performance, stage of ANY kind, feeds me. I kept myself from crying by laughing, then had to stifle my laughter... i felt like i was going to explode! But in a good way.

V brought home some Chinese food before we left, and we enjoyed that together. My mouth was pleasantly on fire for a while. It was very fun to get dressed up a little and go "out". I hope we can have more date nights someday when we can afford to. This was just too much fun!

25 August, 2010

Mr. Owl ate my metal worm...

... is a palindrome for "look how awesome my new Garmin cover is!"

Hand-stitched goodness, made by yours truly :)
Such a pretty face.
Mr Owl ate my metal... Garmin. And yes, i will make you one, for €20.
The gray part is wool felt, the pink paisley part is 100% cotton, the wings, nose and eyes are synthetic felt, the buttons are wooden, and it's all stitched together with 100% cotton embroidery thread.
And of course, a snap on the back to hold everything in :)

Day Seven: A song to match my mood, and why.

Why? Well, there are several reasons...
I love the rain. I really do, so i'm really looking forward to the expected rainfall today. I'm really excited about going on a date tonight with my wonderful and handsome husband, too!
Not to mention that this song always seems to get stuck in my head at least once a week, and i never ever tire of it. This video is from the movie Singin' in the Rain which my mother and i used to watch regularly. I have some very fond memories of listening to her sewing machine while this movie was playing, or doing crafts together with this movie as our soundtrack. Every now and then, i would get up and act out a scene with the movie, and she would laugh and laugh.
This song in particular is a good reminder to me to keep my chin up when things aren't going smoothly, as well as an excuse to actually sing and dance in the rain :)

I'm singing in the rain
Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feelin'
I'm happy again
I'm laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun's in my heart
And I'm ready for love
Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place
Come on with the rain
I've a smile on my face
I walk down the lane
With a happy refrain
Just singin',
Singin' in the rain

Dancin' in the rain
Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah
Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah
I'm happy again!
I'm singin' and dancin' in the rain!

I'm dancin' and singin' in the rain...

24 August, 2010

Day Six: A photo of an animal I'd love to keep as a pet.

this is a hard one for me, because as much as i love animals - one is usually enough for me at one time. I lived with 6 cats once (all indoor...) and as cute and sweet as some of them were, i could see the destruction that was done to my friends' house. Their furniture, their plants, the carpet... no thanks. One's enough.

But if i could consider possibly having another pet in addition to my cat (because i'm certain that i'll always have a cat or dog in my home), it would be this:
image found here

It's a Japanese Dormouse. He's super cute, and i love, Love, LOVE his little fuzzy tail and adorableness. Now that you've seen a photo of something i'd like to keep as a pet - let me share that i do not consider chickens, goats, or farm animals as "pets" per se. I'm sure you can love them like pets, but to me, a pet is something that gets to live with you and share your home - not just your land.
I would love to own chickens someday, and possibly a goat or if we've got the land - a cow. Maybe even a sheep, someday. We'll see.

23 August, 2010

un pea-lievable!!!!

What do you see when you look at this?

i know... a hastily built structure... hush. V built it as quickly as possible because our peas were growing so, SO quickly! As peas do... but look!!!
there are NO PEAS inside!!! I have plucked countless pods from the peas that grew within this structure. Actually - they didn't grow only within the structure - but they grew tall, and bushy, and OUT of the structure! I had to gently fold their little limbs back inside the structure so they wouldn't get *too* spindly.
I came outside (through the jungle) to my (far away) garden to harvest some onions and peas... only to find:
NOTHING!!! Well... i have plenty of onions... but NO PEAS!!! Well... no plants. The plants you see are weeds.
but if you look verrrrry closely, you'll see what is left of my pea plants.
That's it. A couple pods, and the withered, chopped, remains (literally, CHOPPED!!!! CUT UP!!!) of little pea-branches, and pea-stems. See the light-colored things? THOSE ARE THE CHOPPED PIECES of my PLANTS!!! *sigh* Who is responsible for murdering my plants? Well... i have a guess...

OH! did i mention i found a pair of SCISSORS in the dirt by the plants? No?! Well i did. I just picked them up and brought them inside before i decided i wanted to go BACK outside and photograph the crime scene.
Here's a photo of some of the twine that was strung within my structure... as severed by - who knows who.

In other news... Bilbo was super happy to see me when i came home. Haha! Look at his face!!!
i just love it! he's so funny sometimes! Someone, please caption this. It's totally caption-worthy. Leave me a comment!

Day Five: A photo of myself two years ago.

So, in searching for a photo of myself two years ago... it really got me thinking. I am in SUCH a different place in life, in more ways than i can even count. Physically, emotionally, geographically... lol

This is a photo of myself on August 21, 2008. The photos from August 23, in them all have my ex in them too... which A.) I didn't think my husband would appreciate, and B.) the directions are "A photo of MYSELF..."

I had received these earrings from my dad and his wife in the mail and this is a photo i took of myself modeling them for him. I lived south of Seattle at the time, and dad lives north of Seattle so instead of driving over an hour to see him (when i couldn't afford fuel), i sent him a photo. :)

22 August, 2010

Day Four: 20 of my favourite things

in no particular order:

1.) Cool, breezy, weather
2.) the feeling of accomplishment
3.) finding that "comfy spot" right before drifting off to sleep
4.) the smell of firewood, freshly spent matches, and freshly blown-out candles
5.) elementary school supply smells. Scotch tape, a box of crayolas, freshly sharpened pencils, and elmer's glue.
6.) Chocolate Chip Cookies
7.) when V plays with my hair
8.) when V says my name (this happens infrequently because we're always around just each other, so there's no need to address each other... but every so often in the store, he needs to get my attention and says my name <3 Perhaps it's because it's so infrequent that i love it...)
9.) Autumn. Everything about Autumn. This could be a list on it's own!
10.) Temperate beaches. Sandy, wet, not too hot, not crowded, amazing temperate beaches.
11.) The way the sun feels on my hair and on my back on a cool day.
12.) Brisk, crisp, mornings when the frost lines everything - during sunrise, when everything sparkles.
13.) the words, "Kocham cie, dobranoc." As murmured by my husband before we go to sleep.
14.) the first bite of really yummy food. haha, i know this is general - but this also could be a list on it's own.
15.) Sunsets (corny, i know...)
16.) being away from civilization and able to see the whole sky lit up by stars, and realizing I can see the Milky Way
17.) Camping.
18.) The Aurora Borealis
19.) being greeted by family and friends after a long absence.
20.) going barefoot

21 August, 2010

Day Three: My favorite photograph of my best friend.

I'll see your photo, and raise you a poem, Challenge. How d'you like them apples?! haha

Here you see a photo
of an ordinary man
walking at a casual pace,
feet in the sand.

What you may not notice
is a hard-working man
who loves and cares for his wife
just the best that he can.

Something else, you might miss
is a soft handsome face,
a pair of strong, patient arms which
offer loving embrace.

What you'll surely not notice
is his voice - oh! the sound!
When he whispers "i love you"
- always makes my heart pound.

But above all of this
is a heart of pure gold,
a shoulder to cry on -
he's my husband, Witold.

20 August, 2010

Day Two: A photo of myself and a description of how my day was.

You'll have to forgive the tardiness of this post (you'll notice, i've changed the post date to be for yesterday... heh, heh, heh), as it was my birthday and i was pretty busy during the evening.

It has become tradition that i don a crown on my birthday. Several years in a row, i had terrible birthdays where i was either alone or whatever happened. On my 24th birthday though - as i looked ahead to what would be a not-so-great birthday, i decided it didn't have to be that way. I knew i would have to work, i didn't have any friends in the area, my boyfriend at the time and i hadn't really been seeing each other, etc, etc... So i went to the store and bought a little girls' dress up crown. I wore it all day at work, and when i went home that evening, i went to Best Buy (an electronics store) and purchased a remote player for my iPod so i could play the songs i like through the radio in my car (i still have it!). It was a great day for other reasons too. My crown was like my way to be strong even though i knew i'd be alone. In the end, because i was so positive - i ended up not being alone, when i could have been because of my poor attitude.
Shortly before my 25th birthday, my best friend and i had a fight, and i knew that our plans (my only plans) to spend my birthday together were gone. SO the day before, i painted my finger nails hot pink, purchased a crown, and sported my favorite hot-pink shirt to work. I worked with my friend at the time - so even though i tried to make the best of it, it was awkward. But we had pizza (to celebrate) at work and my boss brought me flowers (heck, even my friend brought me flowers) - and i spend the evening with another dear friend eating sushi and drinking wine while watching cartoons. It was a blast!

This post is supposed to be about how my DAY was though - not how i started wearing crowns... 
This year, i couldn't buy a crown - so i made one of felt. I actually didn't get it finished in time to wear around town when my friend came to take me for a day in Cork city. But we went anyway. She was sweet enough to take me to get the final part of my licensing process completed so now i am officially a driver in Ireland! I bought a book for myself at the used books store, and she treated me to coffee, before we went and walked around the market at the heart of the city. It was a fun day! V got off work not long after i got home from Cork, and together we went to our friend's house (the same person who brought me to the city) where she made us all a fantastic meal! I watched Lady & the Tramp, drank a little wine, and was able to finish my crown before the party started! I had a great time!
Not to mention, i received SEVERAL posts to my Facebook wall from my friends and family wishing me a very happy birthday too. It was truly a good day :)

Happy Birthday to meeee!!!

19 August, 2010

Day One: 15 Facts About Me.

In case you missed it, i'm doing a 30 day blog challenge and i'm inviting you to participate, too! Just leave me a link to your blog in the comments and we'll all follow each other and get to know one another for the next 30 days. Anyone can participate, it will be fun!

15 facts about me. Wow. that's a lot. Ok! Here i go...

1.) I was born in Alaska, and even though i grew up there and in several other states - i always tell people that i'm from Alaska when they ask. Mainly because it's true, but partly because it sounds impressive

2.) I do not have natural red hair. I have pale skin and freckles, though so i pull it off pretty well.

3.) I prefer lunch food for breakfast, dinner food for lunch, and breakfast food for dinner. Always have.

4.) I really like my handwriting, but i'm always trying to improve it to make it prettier.

5.) I'm really good/decent when it comes to kids. Kids love me for some reason i dont know. Maybe because i'm always the one who gives them a little attention when i am visiting with their parents... kids don't like to be ignored.

6.) i remember being a kid very, very well. When i was little, my parents would do something and i would do my best to remember it so that when i had kids i wouldn't do it. As i got older, i realized why they did some of the things they did and it makes more sense now... so in the end, i'll just be doing my best - like every other parent out there. haha

7.) I don't like talking on the phone. I hate making cold calls (or warm calls), and i chalk it up to the HOURS i spent on the phone as a teenager. We didn't have that newfangled textymabob back in the day. We had HOME telephones. I loved to dial phone numbers for my mom on my grandmother's rotary telephone though... that was fun.

8.) I am so, so moody. But only to my husband and closest friends. I have this front i put on for everyone else. I dont mean that i'm a hateful person - it's just hard to explain. I'm super patient for some things and for others, i have NO patience and get frustrated easily... Just cuz i'm moody doesn't mean i LIKE to be moody.

9.) I prefer easing myself into the real world upon awakening. When i had to get up for work, i would figure out how many minutes in between snooze alarms, and plan my wake-up to be three snooze alarms after that. I've done this ever since i've owned an alarm clock (i got my first one when i was 12) and have found over the years that 3 minutes is too few, 5 minutes is just "ok", 7 minutes is perfect, and 9 is way too much.

10.) i have a difficult time finishing personal projects that i start.

11.) if i could afford it, i would have Starbucks every day. As it is, i only get something from them about once every other blue moon.

12.) I am often inspired, but rarely act upon it. Last night i drew a little gnome and colored him - then wrote a short story. This was very unusual behavior!

13.) I struggled to remember not to put the letter "u" in things when i lived in the states (ie. "colour", "neighbour", "favourite"). Now, i live abroad where it's normal and i still struggle not to do it because i'm afraid my American friends will make fun.

14.) I really like the smell of spent wooden matches just after they have been struck on the side of the box.

15.) Facebook has allowed me to connect with many, many friends over the years. I have people on my friends list that i never expected to see again. I have my high school bullies (why, i dont know), i have some of my past wedding clients, and of course family that i'm not able to see often - but there's one person in particular i have never been able to find. My childhood friend Steven. We used to play together at camp almost every summer, and he even came to visit me in Utah from Arizona when we were about 12. It was amazing; i think of him often, and wonder how he's doing.

And there you have it! It was actually hard to come up with all that stuff. I hope you enjoyed it as much as i did!

18 August, 2010

A Challenge?! I accept...

So i realize that i've had waves of blogging awesomeness, and failure. I've also heard that it takes 11 days of doing something to develop a habit. Later, i heard that if you know the basics of a language - being immersed in the language for 11 weeks will make you fluent (seems like 11 is the magic number, here....), BUT i did a little research on the subject today and found another site saying that it takes 30 days to get into the habit of writing...
After some further research, and not finding a set of 30 pre-written themes that i like, i decided to compile a list of themes (some taken from other blog challenges, some of my own) myself to blog about daily for the next month.

you're going to have to deal with the dashes because it took me forever to compile this in blogger and when i remove the dashes, the text doesn't all line up... and i'm too lazy to fix it. Sorry, but here's my list anyway.

Shannon, for the next 30 days, you will write about daily, in this order:
  1. - 15 facts about you.
  2. - A photo of yourself and a description of how your day was.
  3. - Your favorite photograph of your best friend.
  4. - 20 of my favourite things
  5. - A photo of yourself two years ago.
  6. - A photo of an animal you'd love to keep as a pet.
  7. - A song to match your mood, and why.
  8. - A recipe 
  9. - A photo of the item you last purchased.
  10. - A photo and description of what's in your makeup bag?
  11. - A photograph of the town you live in.
  12. - A TV show you're currently addicted to.
  13. - Something you don't leave the house without.
  14. - A photo of something that makes you happy.
  15. - Something you crave a lot.
  16. - What's in your purse? 
  17. - A photo of something that means a lot to you.
  18. - A photo of somewhere you've been to.
  19. - A picture of you last year and now and how have you changed since then?
  20. - Your worst habit
  21. - 5 of your biggest pet peeves
  22. - Your celebrity crush.
  23. - Something you could never get tired of doing.
  24. - Your favourite book
  25. - A photo that makes you happy
  26. - A photo that makes you angry/sad
  27. - Your dream house
  28. - An art piece (drawing, sculpture, painting, etc) that means something to you.
  29. - A song that makes you cry (or nearly)
  30. - A photograph of youself today + three good things that have happened in the past 30 days  
Originally, i had intended on starting today, but after it took me about a million and a half years to compile this list, i don't feel like it anymore. Therefore, i shall procrastinate until tomorrow - but only because THIS is my second blog of the day!

Now, i invite YOU to do the challenge along with me. Start whenever you like, but let me know you're doing it! Leave me a comment with a link to your blog! i would love to follow your 30 day challenge too.

See ya tomorrow, blog-readers!

looking to join the work force...

yikes! It's been 9 months since i had a job. I was not one of the unlucky people who were laid off or anything, i just quit my amazing and wonderful job so that i could move to Ireland. haha

I must say, i really, REALLY liked my job and i'm so bummed that i can't work there from afar. Maybe someday i'll go back. Who knows if a move to Cincinnati is in our future (secretly, i hope not).

Anyway - since i am about to become a legal resident of Ireland, and i have had my PPS number for a while (allowing me to work legally)... i am going to search for a little jobbie. I don't necessarily want to work full-time because with one car, it would just be easier if i worked part-time, but the problem is...
I've found my last few jobs on CRAIGSLIST! haha! Craigslist still hasn't caught on here in Ireland - and what little is there, is only in Dublin.
I really miss the ease in which i used to browse Craigslist for work. Now i'm having to sift through sites like Gumtree.ie and... that's it! AND there's not a lot there for someone looking for a job (as opposed to someone looking to get scammed or pulled into a pyramid scheme like AMWAY ps, Amway is the Devil ). Many of the ads are pretty vague at best and without any wheels of my own yet, i'm limited to online research. 


Maybe i'll just call around to some B&B's and see if they're in need of any help from someone as awesome as me... hehehe 


17 August, 2010

what a rush!

This has been a great week... i must say. I mean, wow!
On the 12th, i passed my drivers test. On Sunday, i had an amazing time photographing a couple in Dublin. Friday is my 26th birthday, and TODAY i received notification from INIS (Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service) that i have been:
That's right, ladies and gentlemen, you are looking at the face of a soon-to-be legal resident of Ireland! All that's left for me to do is go to the Garda office and obtain a stamp and a GNIB (Garda National Immigration Bureau) card. This last part is my favorite because it will replace my current GNIB card, on which my current photo looks worse than this:
SUCH an exciting time! It's so nice, after 7 months of paperwork and waiting, that it's finally coming to a head in my favor! Wonderful news!

i love my husband

it's true. i do! He's truly the wind beneath my wings, as cheesy as that sounds.

part of what attracted us to each other in the beginnings of our "courtship" was that we were both photographers. We admire each others' work.
I must say that now that we've had a couple shoots together under our belt, it is just getting more and more clear that V is my true soul mate. Is it weird that i associate that with photography? Let me explain...

Sure, i love photography. I love it more than many things in this world, including (gasp!) chocolate,  and sadly, more than many people. However, there are many things that i love more... I love walking with my headphones drowning out my mind, lip-synching along to the lyrics because i can't get enough. I love the blur of the world as it whizzes by me, the passenger in a car, bus, or train. I love the way the light looks in my husband's hair and beard from behind... I love all of this much, much more than I love photography - but photography allows me to remember it all. It allows me to enjoy it all because as a photographer, i can capture the moments i might have forgotten otherwise. He captures those moments too. But more than that, he completes my heart.

Annnnd that was a little more serious than i intended to be in this post... hahaha

Let's lighten the mood, shall we? Here are some "behind the scenes" shots of us from this weekend's shoot! Enjoy.

this is me acting as a light-blocker for V's lens... haha

13 August, 2010

Ahh... the weekend.

I am really looking forward to going to Dublin this weekend to meet with a client for wedding photography. The last time V and i went, it was a grueling 4 hours on a bus, one way. We met with the clients for about 2 hours (they took us on a "wedding day tour" showing us their venues - which i thought was the nicest thing ever!) then spent 4 hours on the bus going home. Ugh.
If you know anything about me - i have a really hard time with travel itself. I love to do it, but i am so prone to motion sickness (literally, i will look down at my watch, and be sick for the next 45 minutes) that it's hard. For some reason, i'm completely wiped after traveling, too. When i went home to Ohio from Ireland the first time - i slept (no kidding) for about 18 hours straight.
This time we're driving our car to Dublin, so that will be much easier for me to handle. There's much more room - and if everything goes super smooth, i *might* be able to drive a little of it myself!
That's right! I passed my Driver Theory test (DTT)!
Ugh i was so worried i wouldn't though! V brought me home a CD with all the theory test questions on it that quizzes you on all the things that are on the test. It's good practice! But i took the test about 8 times... only passing once. So obviously i was nervous. Not to mention that at the top of the chart showing your progress (i started at the 75% mark and moved up from there... just never really getting to where i needed to be, which is 85%, i think) kept telling me "140 questions asked out of 815".
Really?! I'm going into this testing room knowing that there are any mixture of those 140 questions PLUS any mixture of the 675 questions that i DON'T know could be asked?! EEK! no pressure... right?

So i walk into the testing facility and there are about 10 chairs facing the door, which are mostly filled. Immediately, everyone looks at me... i sheepishly grin and plop down between two teenage-ish guys. Everyone is sitting deathly silently, and i start to wonder if i need to check in (V had registered me online). So i lean over to the boy next to me and ask, "do we need to sign in or anything?"
he answers, "yeah..."
so i nervously laugh and go to the window and wait for someone to notice me so i can sign in! As soon as i get to the window to wait, i hear stifled laughter behind me, and in the reflection of the window, these two teenage boys are smacking each other and laughing at me. Then they stifle themselves a little better and wait to watch what happens as the instructor comes over to chat with me... telling me to have a seat, place my purse in the lockers provided and make sure that i have my ID.
I have to say it wasn't so bad talking to the guy - because as soon as i went to sit down (away from those jerk teens) other people who had been there before me started grabbing lockers too. See?! they didn't know either. I'm not an idiot... at least, i'm not the only one.
The test went ok. I was fortunate to have been asked several questions i already knew (the ones i had gotten wrong on the tests at home and learned the answers from) and a few that i knew the obvious answers to. In the end, i got a 36 out of 40 and walked out with my DTT passing certificate and instructions to get an eye test done.

And that is what i'll be doing today! Getting an eye test. I actually am looking forward to it. I'm pretty sure i don't need glasses (although i have secretly longed for glasses my entire life), but i like to know what my vision score is. I haven't been tested in years.

Back to the whole going to Dublin thing- you know, i can never believe the gall of some people. HAha! Random? Let me explain.
So you may know the whole story about us going to Poland and having our landlords watch our cat (because we watch theirs pretty frequently) and it not ending well. The cat is fine but our relationship with the landlords is not so great anymore because of it. Oh! And our cat is no longer allowed outside because of some crazy and stupid reasons...
Anyhow... They texted us more or less telling us that we need to watch their cats this weekend because they're thinking of going away for the weekend. I mean, they asked, technically, but it was the sort of "asking" that is quite rude...
We told them that we were heading to Dublin and considered making a weekend out of it - implying that we weren't going to be around, and made sure to put "sorry" at the end of the text, closing the question.
Some people dont really know the art of subtlety, i must say - because they responded back with something along the lines of "well, when do you think you'll know about your weekend so we know if we can go or not?"
I was floored. Really? You want to make me feel like your whole life rests upon whether or not we have weekend plans?! Do you really not have any other friends you can ask? I mean i wouldn't be surprised... but i digress...
We ended up weighing the options and V and i decided to stay home (except for our brief trip to Dublin) and enjoy the whole family being gone... meaning the grounds will be silent and amazing. No children screaming at the tops of their lungs for their dogs! No dogs barking at a visiting car for too long... nice, peace, and quiet.
As much as we have enjoyed the cottage itself, and the location (soooo close to work!), we will be looking for another place to plant our roots. We hope to find something out in the country again, so our kitty can be an outdoor cat.

I can not express to you the sadness in his little meows when he wants to be outside and can't. He sits in all the windows and looks longingly outdoors and just... *sighs*. He cries that he cant go outside, and if we go out and leave him indoors, your heart would break when you hear his little meows behind the closed door. It's so sad.

So while the landlords are gone, i shall let my little wanderer out. He has had all his shots so i shant worry about him meeting the "tomcat" that's apparently around (which i have never seen) and maybe he'll hunt down the RAT i saw in the laundry room that was quite honestly almost as big as Bilbo.

And now... i clean. I must find all the places that Bilbo has peed secretly (as vengeance for not being let outside anymore, i'm certain!). Wish me luck!

11 August, 2010


ugh. Don't you hate being sick?
Fortunately, i'm at the end of it - because my nose and lungs feel like they're finally getting back to normal. But enough about that...

I must say that even though i long for social interaction during the day, i am pretty happy with not having a job sometimes. It leaves me free for things like meeting with clients, visiting my friends in Lismore, walking around Cork, and... taking my DRIVING THEORY TEST!! AHH! Tomorrow's the big day. I have to admit that some of the answers to the driving theory questions are completely awkward... i'm glad i have a pre-test so i can practice. So far i've been very close to passing, but haven't yet passed a practice test. It's mainly because they'll show you a photo of a car and a motorcycle driving on the motorway... then ask a question about the situation. Of course, i answer as if i am the person looking at the situation from another vehicle (because they use this photo for another question in which, it's supposed to be answered first person)... alas i got it wrong because (without specifying) they wanted me to answer as if i was the car in front of the photographer.

V and i are really starting to bustle in our little photography business. We've got one wedding a month for the next 4 months and one in February. I think it's exciting! We've met with almost every one of the brides so far, and it's been great. In meeting with some of the brides, i've definitely learned a few things about what to do in the future, how to plan some of our packages better, and what to expect. It's not like i'm just starting out in this business, but in a way, i feel like i am. New country, new people, new customs... it's all very interesting. I'm really looking forward to being more involved.
Not to mention, some of the monetary stress we've been having is lifted for the moment with these weddings. It's really nice to have a little bit of money in my hand, even if it's not much. I will certainly not complain. We seem to be digging ourselves out more and more each day.
Word to the wise: Don't do the credit card thing. Just don't do it. I was foolish in my early twenties and i've lived to regret it since. Especially after unemployment for several months and that kind of thing. No good! Stay away from the credit cards (unless you KNOW you can pay them off each month... and DO IT!)

i've been having some minor issues with my landlords. I wont go into too much detail (and for those who read detail previously on my blog, i've unpublished it) - except for the fact that we sat down and smoothed things over. You know those dangerous chasms of ice and cliffs that make it dangerous to climb on glaciers? What happens is during a warm spell, the glacier melts a little and separates, creating a very deep, very sharp, very dangerous chasm/cliff thingie. The snow following the warm spell somehow covers the chasm, so when you go walking along, you just don't notice it... until it's too late. It's this reason that those adventurous types take a pole with them on their glacier hike to poke the snow in front of them. If the snow falls in, there was a chasm that they have happily avoided, and will now walk around it... without this snow poker thing, they could be in serious trouble.
Basically my landlords and V and I sat down and created a snow drift over the top of a chasm. They tried to apologize, but within their apology was a layer of guilt-tripping (we all apologized, and were about to move on, before the landlord decided to go on and on about how disappointing it was for him to see how we hurt his childrens' feelings... and as a result, he doesn't allow them over on our side of the cottage anymore...) and a layer of attempted guile.
They left smiling, but we have begun to count down the days until we move out of this place.

Oh dear. As if i don't have enough things keeping me online lately, i've discovered Gmail allows people to send SMS texts to phones in America. I have been texting one of my besties today, and i must say it's SO wonderful to have that sort of technology.
I love texting my friends. I don't do it often from my phone because A.) i dont have many friends here that enjoy texting as often as me... and B.) texting to the states is HELLA expensive.

I've been working on clearing space on my computer for a little while. I've been backing up photos from the entire year onto an external hard drive, then deleting them from my Lightroom database. I've freed up about 10GB so far, with more to go. WOO! Too bad i'll be putting more photos right back on it when i'm done. V and i have to design some wedding albums tonight and tomorrow to have some samples for clients!
You know that saying "too many cooks in the kitchen"? Haha i'm sure that's how our album designing will end up. It's the "making up" though, that's the best part, right? hehehehe

05 August, 2010


...i will never live on a property shared with a landlord ever again.

I must say that up until this point, my landlords and i have gotten along rather swimmingly. We share recipes, share food when we make a ton, and casually chat when we see each other. I can't say i've ever had a bad relationship with a landlord - and i still don't want to say that i do, but man, it's hard to bite my tongue when things just "happen".

They have asked me on numerous occasions to watch their cats while they go away on vacation, and once or twice, even to watch the kids when they had to go into town or to meet someone over dinner. No worries, really. I don't even mind. When i'm in their house, i do not snoop (except for perusing their bookshelf which is in the kitchen where the cats eat - peruse, mind you... i don't touch), i don't take anything out of the house, nor do i go into rooms where i'm not invited. In fact, i don't go into someone's house uninvited... i'm like a vampire that way. lol i don't even touch anything that doesn't belong to me.
Or i just have manners...
At any rate, I have never seen the inside of their house other than the bottom floor when i was on a little mini-tour with the landlady. Why? Because even though i'm terribly interested, i'm polite and would never dream of invading another person's space. Mainly because people live a certain way, and i would hate to impose on that.
The same goes for the other way around. I would hate for someone to impose on my life. To be honest, no, i'm not the most OCD of all housekeepers, but i don't like to go away on vacation with a dirty house behind me.

When V and i went to Poland, i seriously scrubbed the bathroom, cleaned the whole house, and kitty-proofed it so that there would be few to no incidents while we were gone. I closed the bedroom door; i actually even went as far as leaving the house and coming BACK inside to make sure it was closed before we left. I didn't wand the kitty to climb all over our shelves and knock stuff off, as he has an affinity to do - also i didn't want him to ruin any yarn while we were away.
With the bathroom, we have a little cupboard in there that houses the water heater. I don't keep much in there because of a rat who decided to tear stuff up while trying to stay while it was cold outside. Against my better judgment, i keep our cotton balls in there because there's no better place for them, and i do keep rat poison in there to ward off future "stinky dead rat" problems. To keep Bilbo out of the cupboard though, i always (i mean, ALWAYS) keep a hair band tied around the handles so he can't get in.
When i came home from Poland... it was not to a nice tidy house. I mean no, the kids didn't mess my house up (that's another thing! Why, oh why send your 9 year olds over to do a job you're supposed to do when you know your kid has a problem with getting into stuff?! irresponsible much?!) but they DID open the door to my bedroom (which they claim was to let the cat sleep in our bedroom... sigh. innocent until proven otherwise, i guess - but why not text us and ASK about that?)
The cupboard in the bathroom? yeah... open. Guess what was completely gone? The rat poison. Now, i know it was there before i left because i checked. I am not diligent about many things, but keeping my home rodent-free is something i am quite determined about. I check the poison every day.
If the rat poison had been gone and the tray would have remained where it was, i would have thought that it was plausible that a rat came and ate it...
BUT the tray was on the floor OUTSIDE the cupboard, empty. Cotton balls were strewn throughout the bathroom and the house torn up, just the way the cat likes to do it (he really does have a method too. he unrolls them, and once they're unrolled - he gets a new one). Not to mention the hair band i keep around the handles was only around one of the handles.
The cat had no water. I mean NO water at all. Not a drop to drink!!! The landlady was adamant that she put water down for him in his dish by his food, and maybe she did - but he must have lapped it all up. The water dish i leave for him upstairs was not only empty, but DUSTY!

The landlady almost accused me outright of lying to her too, when i was explaining these things. She said something along the lines of "either you left the door open or my children are lying..."
i was incensed! I came home after that encounter and nearly threw things against the wall because i was so angry at being called a liar!
I've avoided seeing either of the landlords for the past week or so since we spoke, and it's really for the better, in my mind. Today the landlord came over and asked us to keep Bilbo on our side of the cottage.
Are you freakin' KIDDING me?! How? Please, i beg you... tell me how to keep my cat on my side of the building. What about your dog? Are you going to keep it on your side? What about your two cats? Them too? Does this apply to all the animals on the estate or JUST MINE?
Their kid brought me back my cat today. Allegedly, Bilbo was almost run over by their car. I highly doubt that, considering the cat hates running vehicles. If he's outside when V comes home, Bilbo immediately runs up the tree. If i'm holding him, i will get scratched because he squirms to get away. The cat does not. like. running. vehicles! So i honestly doubt he was almost run over unless they were holding him down (which i am not assuming they did, at all because that would be ridiculous). Additionally, the landlord said that the children will no longer be coming over to drop off the mail, and they'll be keeping their animals on their side. Sigh. What is this world coming to?

With that whole debacle and the septic tank taking well over 6 weeks to be cleaned from the time we complained about it, i am honestly really ready to throw down the towel and move out as soon as our lease is out... damn! Believe me, i'm counting down.


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