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Mornings are Different


From the time I wake in the morning to my dreams when I sleep, I am reminded that I am on the other side of the world. I throw off my duvet at 7am, no top sheet. That was how the bed was made when we moved in, and though I’ve done laundry since then, I never made it to the mall to pick up a proper set of 400 count beauties. So I sit up and right away brrrrr! I needs my slippers! and my wool sweater. and my scarf. and some coffee.

Then, I traipse downstairs to make so coffee. Yes traipse. That’s how I roll. No, I don’t roll downstairs, I traipse. ANYWAY - - we finally got a coffee maker so I don’t have to go outside to rinse the coffee grounds out of the press with a garden hose. But, there is no CoffeeMate here. Well there is powder - fhwrdh found it at Spar (that’s like 7/11 but Euro) but powder is not the pure liquid hazelnut-flavor hydrogenated fat I require.

Then, its time to take a shower. To take a shower, first, I have to pull a string coming out of the ceiling to turn on the electricity to the water heater. This electric water heater is, alarmingly, right in the shower! But the water is hot, and the pressure is good, and the shampoo is Pantene so who am I to point out how water tends to conduct electricity (even the Irish 220v - no ESPECIALLY the Irish 220v)?

Then, its breakfast time! MMMM Museli! I used to eat nothing for breakfast, but now I enjoy a blend or sunflower seeds, oats, wheat husks and dried fruit topped with 1% organic milk. “Facty!” you might be exclaiming, “what commune have you joined and can I get some of your hippy herb?”
“Well, first of all”, I answer “I don’t have any hippy herb because I am NOT A HIPPY. I am NEW WAVE. Second of all, You should try some Museli because its plumb good”. I am sick of answering to you reader’s imaginary questions so I am ending this paragraph right……now.

After breakfast its time to take my children to school. Oops! one of my children isn’t in school yet. Don’t worry though we found Jelly a school and he will be starting as soon as they can hire an aide for him. So I take little Helly to school in her cutie cute uniform. School uniforms rock. You always know where you stand laundry wise and there are no fights due to belly buttons showing or questionable neck and hemlines.

The schools here also rock. School starts at 8:30 with a daily assembly where they sing, pray and hear announcements from the principal. Then the kids go to their classrooms for learning - no crazy spiral curriculum or partial sums. They actually have to memorize their tables. There is a morning snack break and an afternoon lunch break. Class size is about 30 for all grades but there are two teachers per classroom so every child gets individual attention every day. My daughter is thriving.

So that is my typical morning in Dublin. More to come but I don’t want to overwhelm you with my culture shock. Also I want to tell you about my project: National Novel Writing Month. I have no idea what I’m going to write - I’m just going to sit down and write 50,000 words and hope they all make sense together. Probably it will turn out to be kindling, but at least I can say I wrote a broom. I mean at least I can say I wrote a bag. Damn I cant say it yet.

Four Things I Have Learned in Ireland


1. Every second in the city of Dublin, some bastard is stepping in poop. Thats right, its one of Dublin’s little secret surprises: There is dog poop everywhere. You will step in some. If you are my mom, you will throw your shoes away.

2. Bees can fly in the rain. Bees don’t seem to care if its raining or not, they are gonna get drunk on flower nectar. You go, bees.

3. Chips are fries, fries are fries, crisps are chips, biscuits are cookies, and cookies are cookies. There will be corn in your tuna and butter beneath your mayonnaise. The peas are still heaven.

4. The cost for an Ireland TV license is 155 euro. You can get yours at the post office.

Finally! Hello from Ireland!


Hi! Its me, Facty posting from the Emerald Isle. It has been a long month getting here and getting settled in - to recap:

The first week of August, an amazing crew of workers came into my house and packed up all my stuff. They separated it into three piles: Plane (stuff to take with us on the plane, which included our clothing and thats about it), Boat (stuff that was going to go into a huge cargo container and take the 6 week journey from LA to Dublin by sea. It included stuff like pillows and cooking pots - only 29 boxes!) and the final pile Storage (Holy crap it was an amazing amount of stuff! Will we even want it when we get home?)

We stayed in a hotel for about a week until our flight left - It was weird feeling like I was ready to go home before the journey even started.

Finally it was time to take the flight to Ireland. I had taken as many precautions as possible - I had called ahead to have us escorted though security just in case Cal started talking about bombs or something. I had a purse full of pop tarts and sudoku puzzles, 2 fully charged Nintendo DSs and was actually looking forward to 10 hours with nothing that had to get done. Everyone was great and the flight was lovely. The Aer Lingus crew were super nice and very understanding of Calvin not wanting to try anything but crackers. He even got to peek into the cockpit after we landed!

Next was getting to the hotel with 10 pieces of luggage. We took an airport shuttle and made it but poor Franklin had to carry all the bags from the shuttle stop to the hotel (did I mention I had hurt my back and couldn’t lift ?) We made it to the hotel and had just begun settling in for a rest when the phone rang. It was our housing coordinator and he had a property for us to see ASAP. Evidently he thought it would be the perfect place for our family, it was well priced and would be snapped up if we didn’t move fast. So we gathered up our exhausted babies, jumped in the housing guy’s car, and set off to see the property.

Of course it was perfect. Furnished, 4 bedrooms, washer (in the kitchen) dryer (in the garage) huge garden for the kids (full of fairies) and cable ready. We decided to take it on the spot. Little did we know it would take a whole week before we would be able to move in. A whole week in a teeny tiny room with four people and 10 big bags. We were all going a little crazy by the end and were glad when the lease signing day finally came.

Guess how hard it is to get money out of your bank account when you are out of the country? If you bank with Washington Mutual it is nearly impossible! We tried everything to get dollars from the US to Ireland from Western Union to Moneygram to American Express. We needed about seven thousand dollars for the security deposit, rent and fees and you’d think we were trying to smuggle rocket launchers full of cocaine out of Thousand Oaks. Finally we had to just go the ATM and pull out as much cash as we could 300 euro at a time. We gave the landlady all the cash we could come up with (about 1600 euro) and promised to secure an International Wire transfer as soon as we possibly could. Our lucky break finally came when The bank opened Monday and I called and found one of the bankers who knew me from poker. He helped us get together our wire transfer (did you know you are supposed to do those in person? ugh) Anyway the cash was delivered and we are home.

The next step in the settling in was to get our utilities switched on. Now luckily we had water, gas, and electricity, but phone, cable and internet have been more of a challenge. I ordered the phone service no problem, but when we got to the end of the call the nice Irish agent said “a workman should be there in about 28 days.” *gasp* “Then, another 5 days after phone service starts, we can test the line for DSL” aaaaaaaaaa! No Internet for a MONTH??? How would I live?

Well at least my computer arrived so I could set it up with my itunes and games and stuff right? I unpacked it excitedly and got ready to plug it in. I had already made sure it could handle the power change and had an adapter ready. I plugged, and….nothing. Hmm maybe I needed to get a new power cord from Sony - luckily there is a Sony store just a short bus ride away. So I dragged the kids, got them some McDonalds, and bought a couple of power cords. When I get them home I plugged in my computer with confidence….and…. POP! Smoke started pouring out of the machine - I lunged for the cord and pulled it out of the wall. I picked up the computer and ran to the kitchen where it smoked for about another two minutes before fizzling out. Then, I cried. I cried and cried and cried. I called Franklin and cried to him. He was great about it - he didn’t even mention that I had forgotten to flip the little step down power switch on the back of the box.

So how am I writing this? I am on a borrowed laptop while my new Dell is being delivered. I ordered this crazy wireless internet that seems to go out whenever the clouds roll in. And I finally have a minute between getting school uniforms, books, and lunch makings ready for the first day of school Friday.

Stay tuned for next post, “Coys?” Till then - Slan go f√≥ill (goodbye for now!)

I’m Back From Vegas Bitches!


There has been so much going on in life since I last updated you - where to start? I think first the big news: our family is moving to Ireland. We have spent the past month preparing our house to be rented and getting our ducks in a row to leave at the beginning of August or thereabouts. I hope to write a little bit every day about the entire experience of moving a family of poker players (ok, Calvin more a video gamer) to a new country.

But today we aren’t talking about that. Today it is time for a Las Vegas Poker Recap! I’ll keep it in little bite size pieces so you can read it in the bathroom.

Day One

It was July 7 - fhwrdh and my 12th wedding anniversary… little did we know, one Degree All In Moment may have made it our last. (dun dUN DUNNNNNN)

Our goal was to kiss the kids, fly to Vegas, drop the bags and head to the Rio to register me for the WSOP Ladies event on July 9 (thats my birthday y’all!) and that is what we did. I am not even going to review the Excalibur Hotel room we stayed at - suffice to say that there is no fluffy bathrobe and the sheets had poop on them. Yes poop.

Down at the Rio we swept through the WSOP Tourney area. I followed fh through the room as he pointed out pros. I wasn’t wearing my glasses plus I don’t care about poker pros very much so I just nodded my head and enjoyed the crowded blur.

We made our way to the cage and purchased my seat at the Ladies event it was pretty cool handing over 1k in an envelope and getting this:


After a refreshing nap, we went over to meet the other bloggers at the MGM Grand Poker Room. Bloggers everywhere! At the HORSE table were Absinthe, Colombo and the Mrs., Eva Can Hang, Falstaff, my husband, Felicia, and… dang I cant remember who else! (email me please and I’ll add you). I am frightened of stud and razz (ok and Omaha too - gimme a break I have two little kids) so I decided to play some 2-4 limit where I am the queen of the table!

Name on the list, check. Time to buy some chips! The elderly woman at the cage calls me honey and I open my wallet and take out a hunny.

FG (that’s me, bitches!) “100 chips please!”

Elderly Lady “100 whites?”

FG “are whites one dollar?”

EL “Yes. What game are you buy into?”

FG “the 2-4″

EL “you are going to need more than that! You need at LEAST 200 for that game!”

FG “OK you are the expert! Ill take 200 whites!”

I’m starting to think that maybe she thought I was buying in to the no limit but no worries, I got me two racks of pretty white chips and I am ready to use them! But its not my turn to sit down yet, so I head to the bar where there is Joe Speaker, Iggy, Al, and many more hanging out. Jkat bought me a drink and soon my name was called for my table. I carefully carried my wineglass and my 2 racks of white beauties to the table.

“Hi everyone!” I exclaimed as I tried to fit my wineglass into the drink holder cup on the table (tip: regular wine glasses don’t fit). I began unloading chips, nodding at Helixx down at the other end when suddenly the table began laughing. I pretty much ignored it with the firm knowledge that my fly was up and there were nothing hangin out of my nose and began to play my poker.

Fun poker commenced and I won a few pots and started making friends with the fella on the other side of me - one lady from Simi Valley was so nice we chatted and bonded over our suburban life.

“So were you wondering why everyone was laughing when you sat down?”

“I was!”

“When the last guy got up and left, the dealer said he wanted the next person in that seat to be a pretty drunk girl with a lot of money.”

Thats it for day one - more tomorrow bitches!

You dont say it how you think you say it.


Today came lessons 2, 3 and 4 of Irish culture 101 and here they are for you:

1. (just in case you missed yesterday’s post) The Irish are quiet. fhwrdh observed that it is as if the entire country is playing golf and speaking in low voices waiting for someone to make a putt.

2. The peas are different here. Peas in the USA are tiny sweet little bright green babies that pop a little when you bite into them. Irish peas are bigger and less sweet with no pop and a slight mealy-creamy consistency. Closer to garbanzos. I am in love!

Dear Irish Peas,
Lets run off and get married!

3. It is not pronounced how you think its pronounced. Tanney is really Taynee. Dun Laoghaire is Dun Leery. Ranelagh is Ranahla. Better just point to the map until you are sure you are saying it right. Also Gaelic lessons seem like they would be helpful.

4. For as quiet as the people here are, they love to talk; and as much as they love to talk, they love to listen. Everyone we’ve encountered seems to enjoy conversation and will stop their day for a bit of talk. They are excellent conversaionalists, making warm eye contact and listening with interest. I am charmed.

Tonight we are heading out to Temple Bar (its named after a guy named Temple, and its not a bar, its a street with shopping and galleries.)

In other news, the PTA had their installation luncheon yesterday and they all found out who their secret pals are - that is everyone did except me! Give it up PTA Ladies - who is it?

You owe me an Ice Cream!


On the way to the hotel from the airport the shuttle driver leaned his head out the window. ‘YOU OWE ME AN ICE CREAM!” he shouted at a passing plumbers truck. I can see why he wanted to call that marker in - Dublin is in the middle of a pre-summer heat wave that the locals are greatly enjoying. I, however, am so disappointed that the gray-green Eire that I’ve seen on the travel channel is just as hot and muggy as Los Angeles.

Oh, yeah, by the way, I’m blogging from Ireland this week. I haven’t been able to write much lately, over the past month we have had landscapers trapesing through the house, renovated the kitchen and I am trying to shepherd my children through the final weeks of First and Third Grades. We landed at 11AM which my body is screaming is really 3AM. Im jetlagged and further from my children than I’ve ever been before, but so excited and happy to see Europe for the first time.

Before you jump to the conclusion that I have run off with the newly available and ever sexy Joe Speaker, rest assured that I am here with the long committed (to me) and ever sexy (to me) fhwrdh. Speaker is way down south , I assume hopelessly entangled in cards, whiskey, and lasses. Pure coincidence is what happened to bring no less than three Los Angeles bloggers to Ireland at once.

After our plane landed and we checked in to our hotel, fhwrdh and I took a 2 hour nap. When we woke up we decided to take a walk. This is when we discovered one of those personality differences between us that might render another marriage asunder, but keeps ours balanced in a yin/yang kinda way.
“Where are we going?” fhwrh asked.
“Well, that fella over there - he recommended going right, then going straight.”
“Where will that take us?”
“I don’t know. Lets go get lost!”

FH was dubious but once we got moving he realized that he knew the layout of the city pretty well. He pointed out the River Liffey, St. Stephens Green, and Grafton Street. I thanked my lucky stars that he had poured over guidebook after guidebook. I have my own personal tour guide.

It is now 9PM. before I head to the bar for a nightcap, a quick first impression of Dublin. It is the quietest city I have ever been to. No horns honking, shouting - even the bustling crowd at Grafton was a low murmur compared to Third Street Promenade. If Ireland is the Nation of Welcomes, Dublin is the City of Whispers.

More tomorrow - maybe even some poker!

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