Thursday, November 24, 2011

I did it!

I managed to get my act together and make my Christmas card prototype before even the 1st advent. That must be a first.

And here you have them, the template for this year's creation. And yes, the middle one is wonky on purpose.

Monday, October 17, 2011

New project

Afternoon walk, day 1Mushroom paradise, day 2Walled, day 4Fragile, day 4Fishy, day 5Break time, day 6
Something brewing, day 7Drive slowly, men pointing at boxes ahead, day 8

365 days, a set on Flickr.

Finally, a new post. I haven't had much time or energy to post lately. But what I have been doing is start a new project.
For one year, I will be taking one photo a day. It could be a landscape photo taken on a walk with the dogs. It could be something funny I spot. Or it could be something totally boring because I can't find anything interesting to photograph.
I will mainly be using the camera on my mobile phone and you can find the whole set, as it is slowly growing, on Flickr.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

vegging it and other stories

At this point I'm not even sure how to begin. I haven't posted for so long that it feels like a million things have happened that you should know about. Although that makes my life sound a lot more exciting than it actually is.

And when I sit down to think about it, most of the things that have happened or that I have done aren't really that interesting to anyone else than me. I've passed my reflexology exams. I'm childminding full-time. The latter is only for another week, though, and from September I'll only be doing one day a week. From then on I'll have more time to concentrate on the massage side of things. About time, because with an 11 hour day 5 times a week, and occasionally longer days, I've not been able to even advertise to get more business.

Of the more important things, my little brother has set a date for his wedding, it'll be on the 3rd of September. He's even asked me to be witness at the civil ceremony. I'm over the moon for him. Of course I'm also happy that I'll get to travel to Switzerland. And yes, I have since met his wife-to-be who is a lovely and funny and clever woman.

I'm also signed up for another course, starting in early October. This is probably the last long one I'll be doing, the rest will be shorter courses. Like the ones I'll be doing near Dublin at the end of this month. So, Indian Head Massage, here I come!

And the last biggish thing that's happened, or that we've made happen I should probably say, is that we've gone vegetarian in our house. Interestingly, it was the biggest meat-eater in the house who sparked this off, so nobody can blame me! Since March we've only been eating whatever meat and fish were still in the freezer. I can't say I miss it. Not much at least. I feel better, physically and mentally. I've lost a bit of weight (although that may also have something to do with minding a 2 and 5 year old 5 days a week). I'm not going to go into the reasons for going vegetarian here in detail lest you feel I'm preaching. So there.

My busy schedule hasn't left me much time to shoot good photos but I've been using my phone for snapshots. And so I'll end this short catch up post with one of these photos. This was taken last Sunday evening from our living-room window. The upside of not having a nice summer is that we get to see quite a few rainbows.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I know, I know, I owe you at least 20 posts by now.

Let's just say, life is busy.

I'm studying. Or I should be.

I'm working. Child-minding again, 4 days per week at the moment.

I still waste an incredible amount of time on Facebook. And Twitter, occasionally.

I'm taking photos with my iPhone. Less with my proper camera.

So I figured if I can't bring myself to post anything sensible, then I'll at least give you some of the photos I take.

Dog walk this afternoon.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

We're back!

Yes, I know you probably haven't even noticed that I was gone, considering I haven't been a very good blogger lately. But there's so many other things to do, like doing the reflexology treatments for my case studies, writing up those treatments, walking the dogs, reading books and, worst of all, Facebook. It's been a time-sucker par excellence. If you're not into games then you have no idea how addictive Facebook is.

But, that's not what I was going to talk about today. Because I did take the time to sit down and write. Yes, I should be writing up a treatment instead, you got me. But hey, what's was that with the gift horse? Right.

So, Felix, the dogs and I went on holidays for a week. We didn't go far, just a bit over an hour's drive from home, to the Sheep's Head peninsula. But what a change of scenery. And what a steal, with Sheep's Head being right between Beara and Mizen, you got three peninsulas for the price of one!

The weather was great for nearly the whole week, only about half a day of rain. But it was coooold! But we didn't only spend time climbing hills and cliffs and at the beach.

Luckily we had a very cozy livingroom with a fireplace:

And a comfy sofa:

That, unfortunately, was 'only' a three-seater, so we had to take turns:

I read 5 books that week. Yep. With no Facebook to distract me that was actually possible. I read

  • The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Bag of Bones by Stephen King (left that at the cottage in exchange for Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, which I plan to read next)
  • Across the River by Alice Taylor
  • The Distant Echo by Val McDermid
  • Maximum Bob by Elmore Leonard
My favourite of these was probably The Lacuna.

The cottage we rented was heaven for the dogs with a great garden and a little brook running through the back of the garden, perfect for quenching thirst after a day spent running up and down hills.

So, with no internet, no news (yes, they had a TV but still, with all that was going on in Irish politics I wanted to stay well clear of all that for a week) and hardly any radio we were all very relaxed in no time. So relaxed, that even Honey decided she could sit still for two minutes to indulge me and my camera:

I think she was trying to look like Jack here, she just got the ear wrong.

So, we're back and everyday life has taken right over again. No rest for the wicked. Not even for the not quite so wicked.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's been how long?!

Can't believe I haven't posted since before Christmas. Since last year. I've thought about it many times. I've even put it quite near the top of my To Do list. But, somehow, things a lot further down that list turned out to be more important. Or more doable.

So now I'm sitting here and I keep turning my head to get a good look at that fantastic, big, fat and cheesy-yellow moon out there. It's full moon tonight, I think. If I hadn't already tried many times to catch such a fantastic moon with my camera (and failed) I would try right now.

Instead I'm trying to figure out what to write. Apart from the obvious, that is. Which is that I hope you've had a good start to 2011 and that I wish each and every one of you that this year may bring mostly happiness and good things to you. We need a few niggles, though, to offset the happiness. And besides, the niggles and annoyances will be there anyway, whether we want or expect them or not.

This year has started well for us here. Mostly. We've had a thoroughly cold winter, then a thaw and now we're back to night frosts but gorgeous, sunny days. Well, that's what we had today at least.

At the end of last year I didn't expect this year to bring many surprises or highlights. I know I have my reflexology exams some time in May, but that's not a surprise and I doubt they should be classified as a highlight. As it is, I'm rather dreading them. But then I remember I felt the same about my holistic massage exams last year and I passed them too. So I'm determined not to panic.

But aside from this I didn't think there'd be much to 2011. Until I realised that there's going to be a 20 year school reunion. Or whatever you'd officially call this in English. To clarify, this year it's been 20 years since I left school. There's been many reunions since then, none of which I attended. Well, it is a bit of a hike from Ireland. Plus, I wasn't that interested anyway. I've not met most of my schoolmates in, oh, probably 15 years.

Somehow, though, a few things came together this time. I reconnected with one school friend via Facebook. I got a New Year's email from another good friend who told me of the upcoming reunion. I wasn't on the email distribution list, so I was never 'officially' told, you see. And somehow I began thinking that it could be quite interesting to meet up with some people again. Others, well, let's just say I feel no need to meet them again. So, I decided I'm going - provided my exams don't coincide with this reunion which is on the 27th and 28th of May. This could well happen, as all we know is that the exams are in May. They could be any time in that month. And even though I think it's unlikely that they'll leave them until the very end, knowing my luck it might just happen.

So that's big event number 1.

Big event number 2 doesn't have a date yet but a location. Switzerland. My little brother is getting married! I'm saying little but obviously he isn't that little anymore and besides, he is less than 3 years younger than me. He phoned me this week and told me the big news. They haven't set a date yet as they wanted to tell people first - it's going to be a small wedding, so there aren't that many people to consider as far as dates are concerned. I'm delighted for him and I can't wait to start planning this trip. And to think that I haven't even met the bride yet!

So, that's all the big news so far. Two trips abroad already in the pipeline, one to Germany and one to Switzerland. Depending on the dates it might be possible to combine the two but I'll have to wait and see. And for now it's safer to think about it as two separate trips especially since it would mean an awful lot of driving.

And on the 'home front' we're going on holidays for a week on Saturday. We're not going far, we're even staying in the same county. It's just going to be Felix, myself and the dogs. Salem the cat is not coming, but we have a neighbour coming in to feed him daily. As in the past, he'll probably be crying for us for the whole week. He should count himself lucky that he'll have the run of the house and no dogs to share the bed with. I can't wait for this now, I'm so looking forward to getting away for a bit.

So I'll see you all in a while and I hope I have plenty of photos to show you when I come back.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

And now, even better - we have snow!

It snowed yesterday for a few hours. Not enough in my book because what's on the ground now isn't going to last very long with the sun being out in full force today. They've also predicted more frost over night, so everything is going to freeze and driving will get nearly impossible.

But we don't care. We've done some last minute shopping today and I'll be making a big pot of stew tomorrow. That'll last us for two days and is just the right food for winter. Another winter dish is on the menu for tonight: mushroom and leek risotto.

Have a lovely weekend y'all!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

And - we have a tree!

You may remember that we didn't have a proper Christmas tree for the last few years. This was mostly for a lack of space in the living room, and let's face it, there's not much point in putting up a tree in the spare room where we would have the space. Also, we had a cast iron stove in the living room which created a lovely warmth but would've all but killed any tree we could have put up in its vicinity.

We have made do with a nice little wooden tree thing that takes little tea lights. Now, the stove is gone since last year. However, for some strange reason it never occurred to me that, as a consequence, we now had space to put up a tree. Until last Thursday that is.

So on Friday Felix and I went to the nearby Garden Centre to pick out a tree. It turned out it wasn't that difficult after all - we had kind of agreed to buy a potted one so we could plant it out in the garden in the spring and (just maybe) use it again as a Christmas tree next year.

There wasn't that much choice in potted trees, so we made our mind up fairly quickly. No discussion, we both picked the same one at the same time.

And here it is, just as it arrived at home:

As the one in the family with the most patience with tricky things like strings of Christmas lights, I was tasked with decorating the tree. Since we didn't want to spend more money (the tree was pricey enough) it was going to be a case of 'make do with what you have'. Turns out we had a whole box of straw decorations, never opened! They were kindly left to us by the previous owner of the house, together with other assorted decorations.

Stage One: Find the right space and right table for the tree.

Stage Two: Sort out the lights. Turns out 4 bulbs had blown but the rest is still working, so we didn't have to buy new ones this year.

Stage Three: Sort out the small matter of disguising the pot. A nice girl at the garden centre had wrapped the pot for us so we wouldn't have the soil all over the car. I left that wrapping paper on, got myself an old paper shopping bag, turned it inside out (surely didn't want advertisement for Dunnes Stores under the tree), popped the tree in (with a little help) and then tied some tinsel around it. Voila, a very sophisticated potting solution.

Stage Four: Proceed to drape ornaments in a seemingly casual but very classy way over the tree.

Turns out, the 'Recession Look' is quite a good look for a Christmas tree. What do you think? Honey approves, I think.

I'm not sure whether it looks better in daylight or at night. I just know that I love the smell.

(The photo at the very top is my 2nd favourite Christmas decoration this year, the 'star curtain' we put up in the study window. The bulbs in one of the big stars have blown, so I guess we'll have to get a new one next year.)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

I'm still here

Just a bit frozen, that's all.

Yes, we still have internet. We went back to our old provider and retracted our cancellation. What we don't have any more because we don't really need it, is a landline for the phone. We rarely use it, mostly to make calls to relatives in Germany who are not connected to the internet. Which would be my parents. And to pay a standing charge of at least 25 Euro per month for that, plus the call charges on top of that - well, we just figured we could make quite a few international calls from our mobile phones for that.

And, frozen? Yes, winter is here. Has been for a few days actually. Unlike the rest of the country, we haven't had much snow which is a pity. We only had a little dusting of it over the weekend and a little bit more yesterday. Temperatures are supposed stay as low as they are now which is around freezing. So far the roads haven't been too bad, so I was able to do the grocery shopping yesterday. They have forecast freezing fog overnight, so I'm expecting things to turn bad from tomorrow. The fog is going to settle on the hills, on the roads and freeze. So we'll have skating rinks instead of roads tomorrow.

The dogs don't mind the winter at all. Well, Honey doesn't. Jack doesn't like the very cold wind we've had for a few days but which, luckily, seems to have calmed down today. Honey just zooms around the place, probably even more exuberant than normal. Definetely too fast to take a photo of her in the snow. So I can only give you a photo of Jack - he does what he always does when we have snow. He licks it. He just walks around licking the ground, grass, stones, roads, you name it. And when he doesn't lick snow, he snuggles up in bed where it's nice and warm.

Stay warm and safe!