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I am in the throes of a terrible case of homesickness.

    All the wonderful things about Austin are heavy on my heart.

Going for a jog with my little Big. Taking my Little big charity shop hunting. Sauntering through my tree filled neighborhood, in sandals and summer skirt, to sip chocotinis with friends while listening to groovy tunes on the patio at Dolce Vita. (the huffington post obviously loves Dolce, too – see slide 4). Bike rides to Wheaties for nourishing locally grown organic food. Time spent in meandering conversation with friends. My purple room, and my purple chair. An easy bus ride downtown for any number of art, club, restaurant, outdoor, tank top wearing pursuits. Walking 3 blocks, accompanied by bird song, to any of 3 great coffee shops. My spiritual community.

Help?

    Have you ever felt homesick? How did you cope?
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Well, the signs are pointing toward my ability to look for work! As well as offer my services to private clients. I have an appointment on 7 Feb to acquire my residence card, which will allow me to get my PPS number, which will allow me to send letters of enquiry, along with qualifications, to suitable clinics and health centres.

And the sign said long haired freaky people need not apply

I ran across a brochure in town the other day for an acupuncturist. She is using the same graphic motif used on my business website. It’s a beautiful brochure, and since it would work so well for my upcoming marketing strategy, I emailed to ask which printer she used. She got them for reduced rate from vista print. What a great money saver!

Now, if we (i.e. “He”) can just decide whether we are staying in Meath or moving to Dublin or Cork, I can get some business cards printed and sort out my own treatment room.

:fingers crossed:

There are times a girl has a hankering for homemade flour tortillas, and no matter how she tries to distract herself; green curry, red curry, anchovies, hot chocolate … she must eventually succumb. Today, was my day.

Flour tortillas are ingredient light. All you need is flour, baking powder, salt, vegetable shortening (or lard), and hot water. I had everything but the shortening. Back home this humble ingredient can almost be had on any street corner. Down the baking goods aisle are buckets and tubs of various brands of shortening and lard. After all, it use to be a staple in EVERY southerners home. So today, I sauntered down to the local market to grab some.

Olive oil…… corn oil…… sunflower oil……ummm, all these are liquids. Ok, start again. Beginning of the aisle. Seasonings….. “sad excuse for” mexican food ingredients (old el paso)….. italian food ingredients…..thai food ingredients….Olive oil..corn oil…sunflower oil….OH, there it is!! Wait. Ooops, that’s only goose fat. OH, wait. Maybe it’s on the other aisle where the flour and assorted baking ingredients are.

self rising flour….. organic flour…. cake flour…..castor sugar….brown sugar….icing sugar….bextartar….shredded suet….eggs (yes, on the shelf, not in refrigerated). WAIT. There’s no oil here…..:grumble: Maybe I could try butter??

To the refrigerated butter and cheese section I go….and there, I see this: Along with small squares of lard, the vegetable shortening was in the refrigerated section next to the butter! Who would have know.

So, if any of you find yourself with a strong hankering for homemade flour tortillas…you know where to find ’em!

I love vintage. Charity shop hunting is a favorite pastime. The thrill that surges through my being when my hand alights upon an exquisite item, discarded by its previous owner and ready to become mine for a song, can not be described. You must experience it to understand. I think it’s what my ancestors must have felt when a prime berry patch was discovered. I have been searching out second-hand shops in Dublin over these past weeks and Saturday I stopped into three of them. As my eyes scanned the racks, looking for quality fabric and my colors, I spotted a luscious thing of linen and silk. Bark brown linen with delicately sewn accents of bronze silk, stitches carefully and delicately made, a single row of gold brocade, and fully lined in golden liquid silk. I knew the frock had to be mine. The Adolpho Dominguez dress, in my size, came home with me for a mere €9. Saturday was good hunting!

Since Himself was with me, and has a recent love of Japanese food, we stopped at Yo!Sushi on Clarendon street. It’s a sushi bar with the little conveyor belt system. Small round bowls in a never ending stream float by your table. If the sushi parade doesn’t satisfy your fancy, you can push the red button and order from the hot menu. (the red button sets off a siren, with some crazy Japanese music as accompaniment, and a light flashes at your table) It was nice enough, and He really enjoyed the eel, but it was pricey (those little bowls add up!) and since we have to watch our nickels and dimes, we might not be back.

After food and shopping we visited The Morgan for espresso martinis. This bar is cool! I will return, definitely. Although the martini wasn’t as good as the one I had at Solas, the people watching was superb and worth the €10 drink. Funky curtains of blue lights separated the interior from Fleet street, and inside beautiful and interesting people chatted. We were sandwiched between a local TV personality who was out with a very young and anorexic looking girl sipping diet coke and two french couples who sent back their first bottle of wine because it was corked.

We ended the evening at The Abbey Theatre, where we laughed and cried our way through Arrah-na-Pogue. This delightful, and wonderfully acted, melodrama was outrageously funny! I won the tickets the day before by answering a question on the Abbey’s facebook page. It was great to have a free date night, especially since the martinis were so expensive. 😀 Seriously, if you are in town while this show is running, go see it!

As we waited for the bus home one of His friends randomly strolled by! In fact, he had been running the light board at the show we just saw! Small world, and small city. Naturally, we had to go for pints. Around the corner and to the Celt Pub on Talbot street we went. I think this place is generally a tourist destination but there was trad music and cider. (word of caution: never drink Bulmers light. It tastes like CRAP) There were loads of people, all in good spirits. We stood wedged into the crowd, discussing the Irish language and which county is prettiest (they are both from Donegal, so the deck was stacked) while neatly finishing two rounds (there was jostling over who had the privilege of paying for each) and made it back for the last bus just in time.

All in all, a nice way to spend a Saturday in Ireland.

….or have done,
and hope to again!

The Irish Wedding. It’s a “thing” and I experienced my first on New Year’s Day! (which, with no disrespect to the happy couple, is a most inconvenient day to have a wedding. SLEEP PEOPLE! it’s important after New Year’s Eve)

We woke at 7:30am to pack, dress, collect a work colleague, and make the drive to Kilkenny. The wedding mass was at 1:30pm and we were hoping for some soup before the shindig. For those who don’t know, Ireland is Catholic. It’s not that everyone is a practicing Catholic, but it seems so interwoven with the national identity that even Himself says he was “born” Catholic. I wasn’t reared in this tradition, so I enjoy these sociological perspectives.

The wedding mass was held in a small church in the bride’s home village. It was enchanting. Pale blue walls, effigies of saints, a massive statue of the Lady (how I love her). Everyone was dressed impeccably. The woman singing had an angelic voice and the selection of songs was a mix of classic and modern. I don’t kneel when everyone else does. I think this is more respectful, since I’m not Catholic. Part of me does want to kneel though, because I can feel the ancient significance of the action. The murmur of everyone’s voices as they repeat prayers, the ceremony and care when handling the holy implements, the scent of incense. These trigger primal memories within me and I long to reach my arms out to the All. I also stand aside when everyone goes forward to receive communion. This choice, again, highlights my difference.

After the mass several of the guests went next door to a local pub for drinks. I REALLY wanted a nap, and would have happily taken myself back to the hotel for the indulgence, but, alas, I am not insured so I was chained to The Man as he drank and talked. We made it to the hotel about an hour before The Dinner. This part is different than I remember from receptions back home. People invited to the “afters” actually have a meal, which includes wine, starter, main and dessert. There are speeches by both fathers, the groom and the best man. I didn’t see anyone cut the cake and there was no feeding of the cake to each other by the new couple. After the speeches people are asked to move into the bar, for more drinking, while tables are moved and the dance floor cleared.

Then the night gets crazy. The band starts, there is more drinking, there is dancing, more drinking, moving from table to table for the “craic”, more drinking, some dancing, more drinking, maybe a few ties are removed now, more drinking, the DJ takes over, more drinking, women’s heels are off, more drinking, some men take their shirts off, more drinking, ties are put around the head Rambo style, more drinking, pants are rolled up and bizarre semblance of Irish jigs are performed, more drinking, there might be something like moshing or body surfing attempts, more drinking…..

A note on the drinking. Ireland complies with a “round system”. Everyone is expected to buy a round. I don’t know who decides to start it, but they ask everyone what they are having and a few minutes later a drink appears before you. Perhaps the next round comes when the thirstiest person finishes their drink and wants another instead of waiting. By about 2am I had three drinks queued up waiting for me! This system is one of those unspoken societal things. If you don’t buy a round, everyone notices and comments on it to each other. They also comment on the person who mistakenly decides on an expensive drink, as now everyone buying rounds is obliged to spend €18 on that tiny bottle of champagne! (yes, she did. yes, everyone talked about her.)

I want to make a quick comment here. I met almost all His firm’s partners (and their wives) at this event. This was the first time I met any of His work colleagues. In fact, the newlyweds work with Him, which is why they were all there. For those who know me…there is one word (and you know what it is)…….AAAAGGGGHHHHH!!!! Nerves!!! Biting of Nails!!!! Nightmares!!!! (literally) They were pleasant, and many of them made a point of coming over and engaging me in conversation, but still…….AAAAAGGGGHHHHH!

We were in our hotel room by 4am, which, as I understand, is early for an Irish Wedding. Bleary eyed and barely conscious we drug ourselves out at noon and, being unfit for the drive home, wandered around Kilkenny. I highly recommend this town. It boasts a medieval castle which has fantastic grounds! (I’ll post a few pics later) There really is nothing like hanging onto your partner during a hang-over. (I wonder if that’s the etymology) It was a most surprising bonding experience!

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