Factgirl

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How Not to Look like an Asshole when Visiting Dublin

March17

The people of Ireland are some of the best, most fun, friendly wonderful people in the world. They will welcome you with open arms, even if you make some of the mistakes below. For real, they need the money around here, but do you want them to serve you with a smile while they think to themselves “What an asshole!” No. No you don’t.

1. Just wear the feckin’ green on St. Patrick’s Day. Really, join in the fun and leave your political/religious message (that you obviously have no clue about Irish History) for another day.

2. Don’t order a Black and Tan or an Irish Car Bomb. You might just get yourself tossed out on yer arse.

3. Your Irish accent isn’t as good as you think it is. Save it for your community production of Finian’s Rainbow.

4. Subjects to avoid in the Pub: The Troubles.

5. Also at the Pub, if sports are on, cheer for the team everyone else is cheering for or shut up. I have a friend who spent two hours listening to a rugby match in the car because she made the mistake of cheering for England.

That’s it! Now go out there and make Bono proud!

Bono

Cambridge Day One

July6

Here I am, in a tiny dorm room at a tiny college in Cambridge University. I woke up way too early, 6:30 when breakfast won’t be served ’til 8 so I thought I’d give a little update.

I am traveling with Sarah, another student at in the Purser-Griffith program at UCD. She turned out to be a lovely driving companion and the music and chat made long journey fly by. The drive from Dublin was pleasant and we were lucky more than once, first in upgrading ourselves out of the poorly-behaved-child hell of the Irish Ferry, and secondly in finding excellent food along the drive from Holyhead, Wales to Cambridge.

We stopped at a Welsh castle, a good old ruined one just how I like em,  old and ruinous. I will post pics as soon as I have a moment to upload them to Flickr.

The weather in England has been very hot and muggy and we arrived in Cambridge just in time to make a quick dash (and get lost) to the electronics store to pick up a fan for the tiny dark dorm rooms. There is nothing better than the white noise of a fan to fall asleep by in an unfamiliar place.

Last night was the reception and welcome dinner. We were able to meet the directors of the program - one who seems to be channeling Stephen Fry - which made much more sense when he confided that he was originally an Oxford man. There are only 43 of us in the program so I expect we will get to know each other well before the two weeks are up.

Today we have class from 9:15am - 9:00pm (there is a lunch and dinner break in there somewhere) so you wont probably hear another peep from me until morning. I will try to get some pics loaded in for the next post.

This is What Happens

March7

Wow - so much for writing a little something every day. But I’m not apologizing. First, everyone who blogs she swear off the “sorry I haven’t updated in so long” post. Blog when you can, I have your RSS feed and will be glad to read when you get around to it.

Now for my excuse (even though I’m not apologizing) : you will notice that my last post was way back in September. This coincides with my returning to school at University College Dublin to study the History of European Painting. And study I am. The course is amazing and difficult and rewarding as I dreamed. I have been using every spare moment to study and try to retain what I can for exams.

I really want to start posting regularly again though because I have some exciting stuff coming up that I hope to share here. This year is my 15th wedding anniversary, and two days later my 40th birthday. So how to celebrate? Leave!

I’m taking two weeks to study Modern Painting at Cambridge University. Yes, I will miss my husband and my birthday will be spent in a dorm writing essays, but this felt like a once in a lifetime deal. I have to go and am so lucky to have fhwrdh and kids so willing to send me away….HEEEYyyyyyy….

So instead of celebrating our 15th around my birthday, we are going to make fh’s birthday our fakeiversary. We will go to Bray, England and eat food and look at old castles and stuff.

Our last travel adventure was a weekend in Spain. It was a total last minute trip caused by my long lost sister emailing to tell me she had a timeshare and would we want to come down and meet up for dinner? Four Ryanair tickets later (NEVER AGAIN RYANAIR!) we were in Marbella enjoying sunshine and my sisters cute daughters and seafood paella.

We rented a car and drove up to Madrid with a stop in Toledo, which was full of American students trying (and failing) to read maps. One of the best parts was hot chocolate and churros for breakfast. It wasn’t like American creamy hot chocolate, it was like a bowl of melted chocolate bar. And the churros weren’t like Disneyland, they had no sugar dusting so you dip them in the cocoa. mm mmm

Finally, I changed the blog layout again. The three column layout was too much, and the ads were getting out of control. If you are an advertiser and you are sad because you miss your ad on my blog AND you have a non-obnoxious ad that I don’t hate then email me at factgirl-at-factgirl.com.

So that’s the scoop. I will set a goal for myself for one blogpost per week. As long as I feel like it.

Latest haps in Factopia

September4

Hey readers! August was such a fun and busy month. We did some traveling and eating and exercising hmmm where to begin….

WiiFit

I bought myself a WiiFit for my birthday but didn’t pick it up until just this month. I. LOVE. IT.

Yes thats right, I all caps love it. At first I was totally offended when I stepped on the WiiBoard and it said I was overweight, I ran dramatically crying to my room where the full length mirror confirmed WiiFit’s opinion. Sure I carry it well, but I will never make it be America’s Next Top Model all jiggling out of my jeans.

So join me, won’t you as I try to lose some weight with my Wii! I will update, as always, when I damn feel like it.

Travel

We took the kids to The Netherlands and Belgium. We started in Amsterdam, which shocked one of the friends I told. To some people Amsterdam is a big red light district peppered with pot-sellin-coffee shops, but I have to say, it was one of the best kids cities we have visited. The people are super friendly and seem to never be put out by speaking English (which they all seem to do really well).

We took a fun canal boat cruise, ate pancakes, and visited Nemo, a super-duper kids science museum. The Van Gogh museum was like a greatest hits collection of all the paintings you’ve seen in books. It was exciting being so close and seeing how the paint is layered, making an almost 3D effect. One part of the trip I particularly enjoyed was taking the kids to the Anne Frank house. We read a book about Anne Frank so they understood the story but it really made an impact on them to see how they hid and how quiet the family had to be every minute.

muscles and beer in BrugesIf you ever go to Belgium don’t miss the little town called Bruges. Though the main industry has been tourism for over 100 years, you wont find just souvenir shops and tourist traps. There is a great little brewery called the Halv Maan (Half Moon) and they brew the local nectar, Bruges Zot.We took a tour of the brewery and stayed for lunch and beer. Even the kids tasted a little beer but didn’t like it. Whatever, at least they can always say their first beer was in Belgium!

Brussels was a bit of a disappointment, but mostly because the hop on hop off tour company we bought from the hotel was horrible. Brussels is not so much a tourist city, evidenced by the fact that the main attraction is a fountain of a little boy peeing.

Another of Brussels fine attractions is called Little Europe. You pay 15 euro to walk around little dioramas of famous spots in Europe. At each diorama there is a button to push that plays the nations national anthem… yeah good times.

Thats it for now - I plan on posting a big old write up on Electric Picnic soon - my brain is buzzing and I cant wait to share; but I gotta go have lunch with muh gals! Later potaters!

I’m Busy

July28

I thought I posted this way back in March, but it has been sitting in my drafts folder. I thought I’d post it anyway, especially because I’ve had my ingrate kids home for the summer and am so sick of Super Smash Brothers and Hannah Montana I could scream. Really. Save meeeeeeeeee.

_____________

March 30, 2008

Hi everyone!

It was Spring Break these last two weeks (or Easter Holiday if you are from Ireland. I looked so forward to having my offspring home for a couple of weeks. I imagined we would sleep in, hang out, and maybe squeeze in a trip to someplace in Europe we haven’t seen yet.

That was pretty much how it went, a little sleeping in, a trip to Denmark and Sweden, and hanging out. It’s been great. Really. so. great.

BUT ONE MORE DAY WITH THESE CHILDREN IS GOING TO DRIVE ME MAD. GET BACK TO SCHOOL YOU LITTLE INGRATES!

Arne Jacobsen ChairsAhem. Where was I? Ah, yes tip to Denmark and Sweden. We flew into Copenhagen (pronounced CewpenHAgen) and found the trains to be prompt and clean. A direct line took us from the airport to our hotel, the jewel of CewpenHAgen according to our tour guide, the Radison SAS Royal designed by Arne Jacobsen, the father of Danish modern design. The hotel is a throwback to 1960’s martini-swingin-fabulousness, but with a recent refurb was exceedingly comfortable. The beds were like clouds.

At first I thought we were going to have to cancel the trip altogether. The day before I had a monster headache that progressed into a sore throat and cookie tossing that night. Not to worry, the hotel doctor came to the rescue once we arrived with a phone diagnosis of strep and a prescription for some penicillin. I was right as rain the next day.

Now, to start, a warning: most people don’t, and should not, go to CewpenHAgen over Easter. Not only is the famous Tivoli Gardens closed, but the Danish take Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday off, leaving you with no shopping and a deserted city for most of the weekend. Of course this was no problem for the fact family, as the male half of us hate crowds.

We geocached a little and took a lovely little tour to Sweden where we got to drink hot chocolate at anGeocaching in Copenhagen! outside restaurant with blankets on our laps.

I would love to go back to Copenhagen again one day and see the Tivoli Gardens. Even closed, it looked spectacular.

Princess BirdI leave you with one more vacation pic of Birdy trying on a 1600’s princess costume at the castle in Fredericksburg, Denmark. You can always find pics of our adventures at fhwrdh’s Flickr photo stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fhwrdh/

Here we go!

June5

Oh wow it’s been a long time. Sorry for that but no excuses here. I blogs when I feels like it.

So much is going one this might ramble a bit. Firstly I will hit the poker update because I know that where my bread and butter and marshmellow is:

Poker. Is. Awesome.

I made a few final tables recently and was itching to blog them. Most notable was the $9,500 guarantee at Full Tilt.  I made the final table and just knew this one was mine. Though there was another great player at the table: Rex55. She is also a blogger so check her out - She is exactly the kind of player/blogger I admire. She has a lot of fun at the tables while wielding a ruthless game. She is cordial and had a LOT of railbirds. She ended up going out third or fourth but I totally thought is was going to be us heads up. My payday for winning the whole mess whas $3,100. Not too shabby!

I am feeling focused and ready to play with the intensity the game deserves. I will try to keep you up to date.

We are about to move again. Not back to the USA, just two miles down the road. While I will miss my view of Dublin Bay, we will save a little scratch and be closer to Fhwrdh’s work.

As I try to get the house ready for landlord inspection, I have used all my housewifely wiles and come up with a list of stuff you need in your house if you have kids:

Dryer Softener Sheets: If you get them wet, they will clean gum out of the dryer better than anything ever invented.

WD40: Not only will it fix the creaky car door, it will get Silly Putty off the carpet.

Ice: Freezes gum so you can scrape it off fine furniture.

A Tupperware Cake Holder: to throw up in.

A Lice Kit: A metal comb and some poison. Buy it now. Trust me. When you find your child has head lice will be Sunday at midnight.

Secret Chocolate: Hidden somewhere the children will never find it. For PMS.

Thats all I can think of now. Watch my Twitter feed for more.

I wish we were heading off to Vegas to be with the rest of you crazy bloggers. We will miss you way more that you miss us I’m sure! For my birthday/our anniversary (14 years!) coming up, Fhwrdh is taking me on a trip to… somewhere. No idea where we are going, though Fhwrdh keeps joking that we are going to Port Laois (where the National Prison is located). I am hoping against hope that wherever we end up is more romantic than prison.

That’s it for now - but I promise now that I can log in I will post and post and post. Unless I cant find my PMS chocolate.

Bodog Online Blogger Tournament

March6

Did you know Bodog runs a Poker Tournament for bloggers? The first series just started! It runs every Tuesday until June 3rd for the final table round.
The winner will take a seat at the WSOP along with a huge prize package.
Thanks Bodog!

Poker, Papers, and Popcorn

February8

Poker

Had a great day at the rainbow magical world of Poker the other day - though it started out crappily. I sat down to play poker after an incident-free session of vacuuming and laundry. My favorite new tourney has been the Deep Stack Knockouts the Full Tilt recently added. Even if you don’t make the $ you can usually out knock a few suckas and at least cover your rake. Anyway, I saw that a $3 90-player SNG was filling up and joined in. Second hand dealt KK, all money in before the flop, A-10 straight fills up on the river and I’m out. I owe you a buck.

Not to be deterred, I see that a $10 90-player SNG is getting ready to start, still within the budget, so I sit. This time AK gets me no love and I am Gigli! AAAAAAAAA

Now, readers, I think you know how hard it is to tilt me, but that day for some reason, I went off. I went back to the lobby and saw a $24 90-player SNG and hit REGISTER. This is definitely NOT in my budget. We’ve all done it, I bet. Either taken a shot or steam-joined a table beyond our bankroll. Usually we get spanked and drop down to where we belong. But sometimes…

…you actually play like the champion you are and it gets rewarded (read: you play solid a little, you get lucky a little, and you make a final table just when you need it). So I came in 3rd, $252. Rock.

Usually after a finish like that you are on such a winner’s high, you join another tourney only to find out you don’t have the stamina for two tournies in a row, or you join and play the first table like it’s the final table and you end up giving back a portion of your proceeds. But I took a break to pick up kids from school and help them with homework and all. THEN I joined another tourney. But I rocked that out out too! It was a little $5 knock out. I ended up knocking out 12 people (at a buck a pop) and then taking fifth for another $109. Good day.

Papers

Remember how I voted in the primary election the other day? Well, while I was there a news photographer asked if he could snap my pic while I put my vote into the black box. I said ok even though I didn’t have any make up on - and guess what? I made it into the newspaper! From the Irish Independant:

Extra! Extra!

Here is a close up of that goofy pic:

Me, Voting!

and finally,

Popcorn

I got nothin. Popcorn looked good in the title. I almost used Pickles but didn’t want anyone assuming I was pregnant. Which I am not. I’m done with that noise. Recognize.

Sick Day

January25

Yep I took a sick day yesterday. Its the crazy weird flu going around - fh had it for two days, I escaped with just one day.

I had a creepy dream where we were all digging in the garden for mushrooms when we got some kind of spore on our hands. It made us grow mouths on the backs of our hands that bit everything that got too near them. Plus they were contagious.

Today was a much better day - no more sickness, but the house was a mess fit for Wilbur and Templeton.

Thank you to all who have suggested reading for Birdy! Some great ideas and we will be going to the bookstore tomorrow. One thing we found is that some American authors are not as readily available here. It stands to reason that Europe would prefer Roald Dahl to Laura Ingalls Wilder.

My first novel was Little Women. I was in third grade, went to the school library and chose the thickest book I could find. I read every page, even though I had to keep it an extra week to finish. I was so proud of myself!

OK I am just writing lame stuff so Ill sign off.

Oh, one more thing: your computer screen is dirty - get it cleaned!

How to Break Your Daughter’s Heart

January23

Some PigBirdy and I have been reading Charlotte’s Web together for the last week or so, one or two chapters before bed every night. Despite all the foreshadowing that little spider and humble pig could muster, she never saw it coming, that final last gasp of Charlotte, the great writer and friend after laying her 514 eggs in the state fair stall.

I looked over at Bird between sentences to find her mouth clenched in a tight little frown, fat tears rolling down her red little cheeks. When she caught my glance she sobbed. Of course this made me lose it too and I had to complete the longest death scene in children’s literature in between choking back the full on crying torrent and cuddling my poor grieving child.

We finished the book and are ready for the next one. Suggestions welcome!

_____________

In other news, I want to point you to my dad’s new blog, In the Day.  Judging from his first story, this blog is going to be something special. Leave him a comment and tell him to keep writing.

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