factual, friendly, fabulous!

Snake Free and Lovin’ It!


SSSSSSSSSSSSsssssssssssssssssssYep Ireland is snake free thanks to St Patrick. Bear, lizard and decent burrito free too. All you Ireland-haters out there will think of this post one day when you are in California getting eated by a Black Bear. (not a typo. Eated is much much more funner than eaten.)

So, St Patrick’s Day. There are so many solomn traditions associated with this special day, each signifying a part of St Patrick’s life. For instance:

LEGEND: St Patrick was kidnapped from Wales as a boy and sold into slavery in Ireland. TODAY: We watch a parade and drink Guinness.

LEGEND: St Patrick escaped to France aboard a ship carrying Irish Wolfhounds. He paid for his passage by keeping the hounds quiet while on board. TODAY: We avoid dog poop on the sidewalk (seriously, Dublin has nearly as much as Paris) and drink Guinness.

LEGEND: St Patrick became a priest and returned to Ireland. As he camped in Slane, he enraged King Laoghaire by lighting his fire before the king had lit his. He was arrested and when they tried to put out the fire, no one could (because it was so holy and all). TODAY: We thank the Irish government for banning smoking indoors in pubs and restaurants and drink Guinness.

LEGEND: St Patrick showed the Irish the concept of the Holy Trinity by showing them a shamrock. TODAY: We wear green and drink Guinness.

LEGEND: St Patrick stuck his staff into the ground and either a well sprung forth or an ash tree grew. TODAY: We drink Jameson and then drink Guinness.

Well, I hope you found this little lesson in history and tradition edifying. I would like to thank Jelly for his excellent recall of his 4th class St Patrick project last year, and Helly for playing outside and leaving me in peace to write this.

Have a great St Patrick’s Day and remember the most important tradition of all: THE HOLY DESIGNATED DRIVER.


Radiohead: June 7, 2008 Dublin Ireland


 Dear Security,

Why even bother? I could have smuggled a bomb full of cocaine snakes in my bag with the check you did. Just let us the hell in.

Your pal,



Dear Bat for Lashes,

You guys did a very great job as an opening act. Your lead singer girl is very pretty and charismatic and sounds a lot like Bjork; a little too much for Fhwrdh, but he still liked you ok. I particularly liked your stage costumes. You just may bring the poncho/smock (smoncho?) into fashion.

The part of your show I liked the very best was when you started playing the big drum and the tamborines.  At first I was a little upset because it sounded like you were going to play Venus in Furs, but you didn’t. Then Jose and Fhwrdh started singing Baby’s got Back to the beat and I just about laughed my head off.

Thanks for being a sweet opening act.



Dear Guy who used the Port-O-John before me,

I am going to call you Drippy O’Splashy. Did you even get any pee IN the toilet?

Stay gold,



Dear Radiohead,

You made 2008 the best year of the decade. In fact, your show was so good, it improved the entire aughties!

The train to Malahide  took about an hour, and looking around at our concert-commuter-mates Fhwrdh and I were a little worried about the Dublin crowd. Were they going just for the outdoor summer festival venue? Would they just be screwing around, talking loudly on their mobiles, holding their stupid girlfriends on their drunken shoulders, pissing and throwing up in inappropriate places?

I needn’t  have worried. Not a bit.  The summer crowd was in a great mood.  There were smiles and thanks and pardons.  Cameras were held up for a photo and put down again so no one was blocked for the whole show. Dancing drunk guy next to us didn’t pick a fight with anyone. Everyone moved to the music, not like in LA where everyone folds their arms and dares the band to make their head bob to the beat. These people were glad to be there, singing along, dancing.

From the opening song, 15 Minutes, I had goosebumps. I was amazed at how great the sound was. Not just the musical-melody parts, but the SOUNDS that make a Radiohead song so multi-layered and interesting.  I could have enjoyed the entire show with my eyes closed.

I am glad I didn’t close my eyes though, because the stage setup was so amazing. Little cameras set around the stage gave a close up view of each of you on the giant screens behind and on either side of the stage. Thom never forgot that he was performing, and his performance was riveting. I felt like the entire band loves the music as much as the fans do, which I think is especially wonderful after so many years playing.

Thank you for playing my favorite, The Pyramid Song. I was so happy when you started it. With so much material to choose from, you could have played just as long a show without it, or National Anthem, or Everything in Its Right Place. I wouldn’t have even minded - the newer material is so great. But thank you for playing some old songs too.

You would have been really proud of  some people in the crowd. There was of course Coco, who was at her 100th show (it was really nice of you to dedicate a song to her) and Drunk Guy next to us, who was a genial and sharing fella, if a little on the staggery/bumpy side; Steve from the USA who came on a whim for his 40th birthday - used to follow The Grateful Dead and now has tethered himself to you; the couple form Denmark Street in London - see I didn’t forget; and finally all the fellas peeing in the forest on the way out. Way to save water!

In closing Radiohead, I would like to share my thanks to you for making my first show in a very long time one of the top three I have ever seen, ever.




Dear Cab Driver from Dublin City to home,

I hope I answered all your questions appropriately. I couldn’t understand a word you said.



Mid- St. Patricks Day Update


Dublin is alight with color (or colour)  and merriment and tourists.

We dove into the city yesterday morning for the big city-wide scavenger hunt sponsored by Denny Sausages. Denny is the biggest brand in Ireland and even appears in James Joyce’s Ulysses. As a girl reared on Oscar Meyer Turkeydogs, I cant get used to the texture of the Denny Pork sausage, but if they want to sponsor a scavenger hunt, I’m all over it.

Right away we saw teams of people with their scavenger packs, many in crazy costumes, running to and fro, and getting quite soaked. Did I mention it POURED yesterday? No? Well my friends, it POURED yesterday.

Just a note about the weather in Ireland: the Emerald Isle is famous for being a rainy wet bog of peat moss. Though it does rain here, and, unlike Los Angeles, there are four distinct seasons, I have found it rare for it to rain all day long. My husband likes to say we get all four seasons every day.

Of course, yesterday, it  rained all day long. We looked at the locations the hunt was going to take us to and quickly decided that winning all that great Denny Sausage merchandise wasn’t worth getting soaked and tired for. We stuffed the papers into fhwrdh’s backpack and tried to find some lunch.

Tonight we have a babysitter and are going back into town for fine dining. Or, as I like to call it, foin doining.

St Patrick’s Day Weekend


Happy St Pat’s to you and yours. As you might have heard, the day is kind of a big deal around here, as Ireland is one of only two nations that have the day as an official holiday. Thats right, all people who live in other countries besides Ireland and Montserrat, we get the day off Monday! How ya like them potatoes!

Last year we spent St Patrick’s Day in Venice, Italy. We would have stayed in Dublin, but the trip was to make up for the time my back went and the Brimleys had to take me to the hospital. They made us miss our flight! So we had to go on the next holiday weekend - St P’s.

Not this year! My back may be killing me, but we are doing St. Patrick’s Day right. First, Saturday morning we are heading over to register for the Denny Treasure Hunt. I expect our team, Potato Fiesta to do very well, with the logic skills of fhwrdh, the reasoning prowess of Birdy, and the crazy fun-bringing of Jelly.

Sunday is a family day out with a fun fair and all, then Monday is the Parade! Yippee! I will be sure to critique all the floats and marching bands for you.

Have a great holiday!


I Tricked You!


Ha the joke is on you! You thought I was going to take off and leave my blog to moulder in the dank undergrowth of the internet - but no! I am still here. Time for the weekend in review:

Saturday was Birdy’s birthday and I dashed off that birthday post before we left for her special day out at the museum and out to dinner. We went to Collins Barracks in Dublin which houses the Museum of Decorative Arts as well as the Museum of Old-Time Soldiering*. Being with a nine year old birthday girl precluded us from seeing the soldier part and we enjoyed room after room of Irish design, from clothing to furniture and old collections of stuff that someone thought looked good together. Birdy especially enjoyed hanging out with family friends Side Order and her husband The Swede

Currently on exhibition is the Sea Stallion, an amazing example of living archeology. In Denmark, they dug up the ancient hull of a Viking ship. Through testing the wood, they discovered that the ship was constructed in Ireland, and they commenced to reconstruct the ship using computer blueprints created from the original vessel. When they finished they got a crew together and sailed from Denmark all the way to Dublin. They learned a lot about how tough vikings were! Near the Sea Stallion is a geocache but I wasn’t able to go look for it because it was raining and I was trying to be a good mom and focus on Birdy. Oh well, next time I take the kids to the zoo we are stopping and I am totes finding it.

After the museum we went to Birdy’s favorite restaurant Milano. It’s an Italian restaurant that has nice food, but my kids adore it for the children’s menu. They get to order a real starter, main, and desert and it even includes a bambinoccino: warm milk frothed and dusted with chocolate. The staff at the restaurant did a great job celebrating with us and we all had a delightful dinner.

I found it!Sunday was the day I was waiting for. No kids birthdays so I could go back to my selfish self and drag the family on a long cache-expedition. We walked all around Dun Laoghaire and out on the pier were to beautiful views of the Irish Sea. Check out my glee in these candid photos taken by fhwrdh.

Recording my infoFun!

*This is not really the name of the museum, it should be though.

The Damned Gym


 I belong to the gym down the street. Now, when I first got to Ireland and took a look around and saw beautiful Georgian architecture and gated gardens, I thought that the gym would be full of medicine balls, Indian clubs and electric tummy wigglers.

But no! My gym is on FIRE! Seriously, there are flames everywhere - from the moment you walk down the tea-lit glass staircase to get into the gym, to the flaming torches that adorn the walls of the weight room. It looks like the sixth circle of hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy (that is the circle reserved for heretics, where they are trapped in flaming tombs).

Only the swimming pool is spared the tea light treatment. Ok, yes, it is surrounded by tea lights on all sides, but until the day that a tea light can burn underwater whilst ladies bounce through their Aquafit routine in their beskirted speedos, the pool itself remains tea light free. But don’t think the interior design team didn’t do their literary homework! This room looks like a combination of Plato’s Cave and Dante’s fifth circle of hell (thats the one on the river Styx where the wrathful fight each other on the surface of the water and the slothful gurgle restlessly below). The room has a blue hue created both by the blue tile of the pool and the blue lighting above. Its very dark, but only to draw attention to the projection that takes up the entire far wall with a continuous showing of The Blue Ocean. Its like The Cave - but for fish! There are also four inexplicable monitors on the side wall that show Jaques Cousteau specials, Gladiator, some other fish documentary and Gone With the Wind. Because swimming laps is the perfect time to get your movie on!

So a few weeks ago I was at the Damned Gym and I was on one of the weight machines when a woman walked past me and gave me a look like “I know what you did, and I don’t approve”. I smiled at her, ’cause thats how I roll, when suddenly it hit me: the powerful stench of stinkyness. It smelled like… poop.

“Ew!” I thought to myself, “she should say excuse me!” and gave the woman the “I know what you did, and I don’t approve” look.

Then I realized that the woman thought that I was the stinker! When we had exchanged looks we both realized that neither of us was the culprit, so we simultaneously turned our gaze to the two gentlemen at the free weights who had the nerve to already be giving us the stink-eye!

Then someone said “look, its a leak!” and sure enough sewage was spilling through a crack in the ceiling, absolving all of us from suspicion. But for that bare few moments we were all in the sixth ditch of the eighth circle of hell at the Damned Gym. (thats the one where fraudulent accusers go, and listlessly wander around in lead cloaks. We didnt have lead cloaks but those weights were pretty heavy).

So if you move to Dublin, say your prayers, eat healthy, and save for lipo, or you too may end up at THE DAMNED GYM.


Happy Irish Mother’s Day


Good Morning!

Well, today is Irish Mother’s Day. ‘Tis, I admit a little strange that they picked the day after the biggest drinking binge of the year for Mother’s Day, but I am guessing a lot of people are wanting their mothers (and Ibuprofen) as they wake today.

Nothing disproves the old saying “luck of the Irish” more than the Irish mother. If you read Angela’s Ashes like I have, you know that Irish mums are hard working, long suffering women who will lose at least two of her seven babies to typhoid, tuberculosis and streetcar accidents.

So Happy Mother’s Day!

I also wanted to give you a little recap of what our family did yesterday for St Pat’s because it was a very excellent day indeed. Originally, we were going to go the the parade in Dublin, but Greenbirdy was cough cough coughing in the morning so we decided to stay in. Roundabout 1pm, we all got so hungry and Greeny was feeling a little better so we headed off to Dalkey and the Ivory Pub to get some fine brunch.

As we walked in, there were only a few tables taken - the pretty young hostess asked “would ya like to sit up front? Or maybe a table in the back - the match is starting soon.” The match! Of COURSE we would like a table int he back to watch the match!

The Match is, of course, the Six Nations Rugby game between Ireland and Italy. Ireland had won all of its games and was in contention to win the big trophy! We ordered some brunch (fh had Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict, I had a Spicy Chicken Wrap, and the kids had nuggets and chips) and settled in as the crowd grew larger and louder.

The Guinness was flowing and the air was buzzing with the excitement of the fans. The game began with the singing of the Irish National Anthem Amhrán na bhFiann (the Soldier’s Song), which sounds less like an anthem and more like a drunken bar song - everyone sang along loudly and with all their hearts. Then it was time for the Italian national anthem (which may be the only national anthem in the world that thanks all the maidens for their “invitation of love”), the entire pub fell silent - no boos or catcalls, just no reactions at all. The Irish aren’t considered the most sportsmanlike fans in the world for nothing!

So we watched the match and cheered Ireland to a huge victory of 51-24. This nearly gave them enough points to take the Six Nations Trophy - but Ireland lost ground in the last few seconds and Italy closed the gap. This let France score a few more in their game and take the crown. It was interesting when Italy would score, no one clapped or shouted but I heard a couple of people say things like, “they deserved that one” and “impressive run there”.

A couple of cool things happened during the match. First, a guy dressed as a Leprechaun came in and met his friends to drink and cheer - and cheer he did. Anytime there was a lull in the pub, he would shout “Go Ireland!!!” and everyone cheered. I think he got a lot of rounds bought for him.

The other cool thing was when the Guinness Pub Trivia squad came in and asked if fhwrdh wanted to have a go at a game. He could choose the easy questions and get a free pint, or the hard questions and get a Guinness rugby shirt. “I’m American, I may not be able to do the hard ones - but I really want a shirt!” he exclaimed.

“That’s OK, Ill give ya hints.” the Guinness Girl replied. Her companion, who had a flat screen TV and battery pack strapped to his chest came over and the competition began. You can play along with fhwrdh! Answers posted at the end of this post!

1. What is the name of this stadium?

2. Who is this captain of the England team?

3. Who is this #8 player on the Ireland team?

So fhwrdh won a cool Guinness Rugby shirt! Yayyyyy! The owner of the Ivory came by later and dropped a matching shirt off for Jelly so my boys matched!

(picture coming as soon as blogger cooperates!)

Answers to Guinness Trivia:

1. Landsdowne Stadium
2. Martin Johnston
3. Paul O’Connell

Happy St. Patrick’s Day


First, drink a Guinness. This is the best thing you could ever drink.

Then, take this test: CLICK ME, I’M IRISH!

Have another Guinness. You’ve earned it!

Now, go shopping - tomorrow is Mother’s Day in Ireland!

Time for a Guinness with the lads.

Find a cute baby, dress it up in a proud onezie and make it smile. Take a pic!

What? no access to a cute baby you say? Here, you can borrow my friend’s:

That baby is so cute, let’s have a Guinness!

When you wake up tomorrow afternoon don’t forget to drink plenty of water and call your mum!

Slan go foil,

PS: Three months till Bloomsday.

Tie Fighter Restrictions on Dublin Streets


Driving home from Pheonix Park night before last we spotted this street sign; evidently the city of Dublin doesn’t want too many Empire fighters congregating near the canal. In all fairness, the canal area is an excellent place to practice your tie fighting skills, dodging swans, flying under and over bridges, and shooting lasers at pidgeons.

I wonder if X-Wings also get static from the Garda along this stretch of road.


Things to learn from the Irish:


Feeling myspacey? visit my new myspace thingy.


Things to Learn from the Irish

Charity: I used to think of charity as making cash donations or buying candy from the kids to benefit sports teams. Here, charity is a way of life - nearly all the Christmas cards people send benefit a worthy cause. Every week I get more than one visit from someone collecting for the sick, the disabled, or people living in poverty. There are stickers delivered to put on bags of clothes that are sent to impoverished nations. The local church supports an orphanage in Africa. People here think of helping others every single day. The only other person I have ever met who does this much good every day is Miss Cheri!

Environmental Awareness: They go out of their way to recycle - driving (or, just as often, walking) their glass bottles to the local collection point, turning off not just the on/off switches, but the pilot lights of appliances, and warming themselves with sweaters (jumpers) and using the heating systems only when necessary.

Conversation: Though I think this one may be disappearing a bit with the influx of immigrants, the Irish are nearly always ready to stop what they are doing and have a good chat. There is a easy way about the people here, they are genuinely pleased to meet you.

Nurturing Children: My observation the other day after seeing the kids schools was that the Irish schools seem to challenge the kids academically, but nurture them socially. For instance, my daughter’s class is learning “joined up letters” (handwriting), but each morning there is play dough set out for them. In California, the play dough was out in kindergarten, but they wont be starting handwriting until third grade.

Calling Boys Lads: My son played soccer with the lads this morning at school. Hy husband went drinking with the lads last weekend. (they each have their own set of lads.)

Try some of these and see how grand it is to do Irish stuff.

« Older Entries
Player Poker Online at Full Tilt Poker
Learn, Chat, and Play with the Pros at the fastest growing Online Poker Room.