Friday, August 12, 2011

A True Gentleman

Note: There is a picture of a casket below, so stop reading now if that bothers you.

Just a couple of weeks ago I was excited about my first full Irish wedding and now, I'm sad to say, that I've been to my first Irish funeral.  Derek's friend, Kevin, left us way too soon.  He was only 30.

From what I know of Kevin, he was an amateur boxer, a hard working electrician, and quite a good friend to many.  I'm always amazed at how people can have so many close friends.  It simplys shows his love of his friends and, in my opinion, the quality of his friends as he spent most of his free time with them.  Apparently he was one for going on holiday as Derek said there was often a time that you'd wake up the next day with a hangover realizing that you gave Kevin a deposit for a trip to Spain at the pub the night before.

He was a family man as well.  I was once told that he saw his younger sister out at too young an age and chased her home.  That's one protective brother.

The funeral was a true tribute.  Here they often have the wake at the home of the deceased and if you'd like to have a proper goodbye, you can have that in private instead of in a funeral home with everyone watching on.  Following a day of goodbyes, family and friends walk behind the casket up to the church, where the deceased stays overnight (see for my shock the first time I saw this).  Apparently a few hundred people did this.

The funeral was the next morning and the enormous church was packed.  The people were filing out.  Some of Kevin's football team read, one of his closest friends wrote and read a poem and his sister spoke.  What stands out for me the most was the poem read - I was amazed that, in this friend's grief, he wrote such an amazing poem that even made a few people laugh.  He spoke of Kevin well; you could tell he knew him through and through.  The last line hurt your heart and went something like, "We know you're in heaven and Kevin sleep tight.  The final bell has rung and there's no more need to fight."  Maybe it was a reference to his amateur boxer days, maybe to the general fight of life.  Whatever the meaning, it touched many people.

The casket is carried out and this specific church and funeral home uses a beautiful horse-led carraige and in because I'm really tacky and want to share, I snuck in a picture.  The guy driving the carraige is straight out of Dracula!

The cemetary is HUGE!  I've seen some large and packed cemetaries, but this broke a new record.  I've been told 4 people can fit in one grave site, so the population is even greater than it looks.

If I looked at 10 tombstones that day, I'd guess 8 of them were 40 years or younger - way too young to die.  I'm hoping that was just a coincidence and that the average age is much higher.  I don't think I'll be doing an analysis anytime soon.

Apologies for the really sad post, but I wanted to honor Kevin however I could.  You're sadly missed and will never be forgotten.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The celebrity that fancied me (and food...mmmmm)

Food and celebrity: two of my favorite things.  So, why not celebrate food with two events:

  1. Fabulous Food Trails
  2. Taste of Dublin
When thinking of what Christmas presents to get for Derek, and trying to stay in the theme of getting him a present that I can use too, I ended up with a Living Social deal for 2 tickets to the Fabulous Food Trails - a food walking thingy.  A chance to see more of Dublin, while eating and gently walking off that last crepe? Um, OK!

The basic set up is they only take 10-12 people at a time and you meet in front of this deliciouso restaurant called Fire.  But you don't get to go in there.  Poop.  You set off from there onto the first spot, which is a....

Let me back up a step and just say that Derek hates cheese & garlic.  I know!  Weird, right??  Two major staples of a diet - you must obviously be able to see the hardship that I suffer in the kitchen.  So, the main joke of the morning is: Just as long as they don't have garlic flavored cheese (cue laugh) ahahahahaha....

Now back to our regularly scheduled program:  the first stop?  A cheesemonger!  Here is basically what happened next: 

Cheesemonger person: "Our first cheese has a lovely garlic taste."
Derek: "Crap."

Don't worry, I ate his portion.  A few other lovely cheese selections and then we were on our way.  Next we went to a place called Liston's - a place that I used to frequent with my friend Penny.  I picked up my first batch of quinoa and tried some lovely hummus and red pepper soup.  Then off to a crepe place that I pass every dang day and never even thought to go into.  The owner is actually from France so she knows her stuff.

For the rest of the 2 hours, we visited a coffee shop for a New Zealanders lesson on espresso, a wonderful little bakery called Nelly's for the best brownies (where I picked up some spelt flour which I've yet to use), a sausage roll in a fancy little kiosk, amazing chocolates at Cocoa Atelier and last but not least, quite a spread at Fallon & Byrne.  I was very impressed and would recommend it to everyone!

But here's the most important thing, at the very start this couple came up to the group after most of us had arrived.  I'd say they were in their early to mid 20s.  I immediately noticed how freakin' adorable the guy was, but of course I wasn't going to say anything to my husband next to me.  Then Derek says, "that's one good lookin' guy" - and I'm totally like, "I know right!"  Just when you didn't think he could get any cuter, he smiles: cue reaction, "aw, COME ON!"  We putter along through the day and in a week or so, Derek is in the main grocery store and finds his face on a book!  He's apparently a home cook/rockstar.  How did we not guess this in the first place?

My next step, of course, is to research him on the internet and up pops his blog.  And what's there (??) but a post on the Fabulous Food Trail that we were on!  He was taking pictures the whole time and now the mystery is solved.  Now, when you look at the pictures, it's so obvious that he had a crush on me - proof:

Who is that person in the top left picture on the left in a brown coat?  Me!  And who is that person in the bottom right picture on the left next to the blurry girl?  Me!  I mean, so flipping obvious he was stalking me.  Anyway, you can read the whole post here:

The second food event was the Taste of Dublin, which we make a point to attend every year.

It's situated in a little park right smack in the center of town.  It's not cheap, but you can try food from restaurants that are way outside your budget, so it's well worth it.  We got a beautiful day to boot, so off we went a tastin'.

Oh yeah, this is how we roll:

Derek is much happier after our first bit of food (and the "free" champagne):

It's alive!! I threw back that breaded ball of goats cheese, no problem:

Oh, hells yeah:

Oooh I don't know, do you have any bigger shrimp?

Oh yeah - I had two of those (don't want to be wasteful):

And who is this???  He's found me again!!

Nice cover Donal - putting together a free cooking demonstration for anyone. 

All in all, two fantastic events - now, go be a tourist in your town!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

New favorite comedians

There are many good things about living here, one of them being exposure to a great new list of stand-up comedians.  Over the last three years I've come to know and love a bunch of them from England, Scotland and, of course, Ireland.  Here are a few recommendations and a little laughter break in your day!  There WILL be bad language.  Enjoy.

Kevin Bridges - Scotland - Once you figure out the accent, you're all set!

Des Bishop - Ireland - He's an Irish American, but mostly Irish now.  He was born in the US, moved here at age 14.  There was a similar occurrence between Derek and myself - logged in one of my early posts:

Danny Bhoy - Introduced to us last night by our neighbors: Nick & Imelda

And my all-time favorite, Michael McIntyre - England

And the famous Man Drawer:

More to come....

Friday, February 25, 2011

Where do I begin??

Last Saturday was the 20th anniversary of my husband's dad's death.  It's important to mention his name: Patrick Eagers (this will be important later).  I know what you're thinking, and, no my husband isn't a 60 year old man.  He was only 10 when his dad passed away.  Extremely sad.  So, his mom decided to hold a mass in remembrance of a great man on a monumental day.  7:00 pm on Saturday night - off we went to the main church in Ballyfermot, Dublin.

The church is HUGE.  It's not a cathedral style - more of a later made model, but quite drastic in architecture.  Strangely, the colors are blue, red and white.  More French flag than American flag-ish.  The entire metal ceiling, rafters included, is this dull blue - strange.  Now, if that was the last strange thing that happened, I wouldn't be writing about it.  Where do I begin...

We walked into the church and I instinctively go for the holy water in the little bowls attached to the wall before entering the main hall.  No holy water - or any water of any kind - to be found.  Those bowls have been void of any kind of liquid since the Ice Age as far as I can tell.  Just a little holy dirt in there.  The church wasn't full - a spattering of people who would much rather get their church on after 6:00 pm on Saturday than on Sunday.  It counts according to the "Catholic Rules" - hey, I didn't make them up.  Derek's family filled two pews and eagerly awaited the part of the mass where his dad was discussed.  As we sat listening to the readings (or day dreaming through them - take your pick), I was looking around the alter and spotted a framed picture of a man.  I thought, "Oh how nice.  They have a framed picture of him up there as well."  But then I noticed that it was on top of something - wait, is that a COFFIN??  I nudged Derek and had the following appalling conversation:

Me: Is that a dead body over there???!!!
Derek: Oh, yeah.
Me: *shock, horror*
Derek: The wakes are often held in the actual church and if they don't bury the person on that day, then the body stays in the church.

I mean, you have GOT to be kidding me.  Geez - they can at least drape a holy blanket over the guy.  Kind of hard not to stare now.  The sermon is said - a quick one at that.  Then the priest might as well have said, "And now for your commercial break."  He introduced a nun that had been on a mission in China to spread  her message.  She started off by awkwardly admiring the french-colored church, the people and thanked us for allowing her to spread her message.  I don't remember being advised.  She fumbled through her good work for the Lord in China and how she didn't understand a thing that they were saying.  Or something like that.  Then, of course, at the end she invited all of the young folks to join her mission and didn't leave without asking for donations.  And there it is folks - a big ole sales pitch.  I know, I know - you think me insensitive.  Listen - I'm all about that kind of thing, but after the sermon and before communion??  I just don't know about that.  What made it even more cringe-worthy was her thanking us in Chinese.  And she even came in front of the alter so she could raise her voice and do a few bows.  Thank Pete that was over.

The priest got to the point where we start praying for loads of people, organizations, grocery stores - who knows these days.  We prayed for the sick and the military, the usual.  Then I thought the time had come when the priest said, "Now let us say a special prayer for.... the POLITICIANS."  Huh??  Did I just hear that right??  Now, I know that there is a historical election taking place today, but I don't think any Irish man or woman here gives two hoots about the politicians that they blame completely for the current nasty state of this country.

Now, I was thinking that the entire mass was said for him.  Yeah, right.  When they finally got to the list it was at least 20 names.  It went something like this:

"Let us pray for the dearly departed: Thomas McSo-and-So, Blah Blah O'Connor....skip to the good part...(ok, here it comes - what we've all been waiting for!)...Patricia Eagers, Patrick So-and-So..."

Wait.  What just happened?  Did he really just call Derek's dad Patricia??  No way.  We didn't all come here to have a big ole slap in the face.  I couldn't believe it.  We had to stick it out at this point.  We go through the communion process (every man for himself in this country) and then the priest decides to attempt to apologize while mumbling.  It was the saddest apology I've ever heard.  He said something about a mistake, said the correct name, maybe a little something about so many names to read and then I swear he said "whatever" and stopped there.  Aw, come on dude.

I'm not sure if it was the corpse in the corner, the nun, or the mistaken name that made me think, "I definitely need to blog about this."  There were just too many things to share.

After the mass we made it all better by heading to Derek's mom's house, ate, drank and even lit one of those chinese floating lantern thingys that went so high in the air we couldn't tell it apart from the actual stars.  And Derek's mom was sure that it was going to fall so quickly that it would burn down the trees in the neighbors yard.  Ahhhhh....  I love it here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Snow? In Dublin??

So, prior to moving over to the Emerald Isle, I asked Derek about weather as I was keen to get away from anything severe - tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes - and the conversation went something like this:

Me: So, does it snow in Dublin?
Derek: Snow?  No stupid.  Where do you think we are?  The North Pole?

Ok, so maybe it didn't go just like that, but that's the gist that I got.  Now, this is my 3rd winter here in Dublin (well, County Kildare actually but Derek won't admit that to himself) and I'm pretty sure that it has snowed every one.  And especially heavy last year and this year.  Enough last year that our friends couldn't even get us all of the way home on NYE.  We walked home and I lost my iPhone somewhere between the hill over the train tracks to the house...ahhh the memories.  From what I understand, this year is record-breaking here in little ole Ireland.  The airport has been closed for 2 days, and it seems we have enough salt but not enough money to pay the workers to put it down.  Give it to me!  Oh, and did I mention that not only does Ireland and Louisiana have corrupt politics in common, but also the same driving skills in snow.  It's not good!

Just because it snows, that doesn't mean that the errands get to stop.  So, I had to trudge my way through the snow to the bank and grocery store in the village.  This is a decent size walk in good weather.  Hills included.  A few snaps from the journey:

Dixie in her winter coat.

Catching snow

The house blanketed.

Where's me feet??

Maybe if we run, it won't be so cold.

Winter Wonderland - the field across from the house - high school at the end.

Oscar in his winter coat.

Good one!

First hill to climb - nemesis of many.

It ain't lookin' good for getting out of this neighborhood in any vehicle.  Everyone parks up at the top of the hill shown above.

Right on Dublin Bus.  A for Effort.

Come on big guy.  Cut us a break.

Da Village.

Um, pretty??  One big mess.

Alright you bitch of a hill - bring it on.

Help is on the way!

Thank you Lord for putting a decent grocery store within walking distance of my house.

Hello car.  Looks like we won't be going anywhere in you.  And you need a bath!

There's that same field and our house.  Taken from behind the high school.

Lots of folks having a Duvet Day as they like to call it here.

Ah well.  I made it in the end, complete with wine and the makings for an apple pie. 


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Where have I been, you might ask....

Let's see...what has happened in the last year...  I'll order the biggies chronologically:

  1. Got a big ole fancy ring.
  2. Became a house-girlfriend.
  3. Got another little puppy (Molly) for Oscar to play with.
  4. Brought Oscar and Molly in for the snippy snip and Molly didn't wake up  :(.
  5. Went to the US and got MARRIED! 
  6. Had a drink-filled celebration here in Dublin.
  7. Got another puppy for Oscar to play with (Dixie).  Intend to have no more bad luck in this area...
  8. Took a leap into my next career - I am full to the brim with fitness knowledge.
As you can see, the beginning of 2009 was a few smiles short of a kiddie birthday party.  But we are on the way up!  And of course, the most important update:

Lauren thought Sheila was back, but it was really Sheila's sister who had surgery to look like Lauren.  They kidnapped Jana and Lauren and started confusing everyone else, including Crazy Patty who had her own little surgery to look like Emily.  Of course the crazy look-a-likes met and hatched an evil plan.

So there you have it - your very own Young & the Restless update - now all of your dreams have come true.

At some stage I'll need to put aside the distractions of blogging, facebooking, and watching English and Irish actors doing their thang in the 1500s (The Tudors), to actually study a little anatomy.  What's that you say?  Don't I remember that from Mrs. Lemaire's class my junior year in high school?  If only....

Friday, May 7, 2010

My back yard is like a comb over hairdo

When you cut it short, all of the bald spots are revealed. I made a HUGE mistake in waiting 2 whole weeks before cutting it again. It is ridiculous - my dogs can recreate Tropic Thunder out there. They get completely lost back there and, as a result, insist that they go to the field across the street to do their business. This is sometimes inconvenient for me at 5:30 in the morning after I'm awoken to a complete spit facial (Dixie, not Derek), so I decide to put on my long pants and sweatshirt and head out to the tropical rain forest that is my backyard.

What's that you say? Sweatshirt to cut the grass?? Oh yes my friends. It's something like 55 degrees and misty raining every morning but the grass still insists on growing. I will say, though, that there's nothing better than hearing a lawnmower going on a sunny Saturday because that means......SPRING IS HERE! Oh, unless you're in Ireland. Then it's just the next phase of winter.

p.s. - Joe that one's for you. And considering you have decided to relieve yourself of all of your hair, I can't even make a bad comb over joke. Pffft.