Sunday, November 27, 2005

Shades of Autumn

OK so technically it's Winter already but the road that runs into our little village still holds the colours of Autumn and this weekend I finally remembered to bring my camera along so that I could try and capture them before the leaves are all gone and all that is left is grey.

Pretty, dontcha think?

Friday, November 25, 2005

'Tis the Season

The first thing I heard this morning was the DJ on the radio saying cheerfully, "It's been snowing all night and traffic is chaos so make sure you leave yourself extra time to get to work this morning."
So naturally, I expected to be greeted by the sight of at least 3 feet of snow when I left the apartment.
Instead, it looked like an angel had burst a bag of icing sugar over Dublin during the night. The rooves, window-sills and cars, the railway sleepers and the stones in between on the tracks, were all dusted with a fine layer of white powder that more closely resembled icing-sugar than snow.
But yes, traffic was chaos. I again thanked the gods of public transport for the commuter train, which fortunately was unafflicted by asshole passengers this morning.

Do you remember what I said at the beginning of the week, about Balance? How I wondered what was in store to balance out the beautiful weekend we had?
Well, I think this might be it.
Reasonably chilly has given way to Friggin' Freezing. Walking home last night I felt the icy fingers of a winter wind clawing at my face and I stopped for only a moment to enjoy the sight of the Christmas lights that were turned on in the village for the first time this season, before scurrying home, buried deep inside my coat, hat, scarf and gloves.

This morning by the time I got to work all my energy had been used up just keeping warm, so I allowed myself a nice warm croissant with butter and strawberry jam from the canteen, with my coffee at my desk. Yes, I had breakfast twice. I needed the fuel. Sue me.
I am now happy and warm - much better for everyone, I'm sure you'll agree, than a cold, hungry, miserable Terri. We all know what she can be like...!

And then it hit me: In exactly one month it will be Christmas! I was overcome by a sudden urge to sing "Jingle Bells" but fortunately I had a mouthful of croissant at the time so was physically unable to burst into song, and the urge passed quickly when panic set in because I haven't even started my Christmas shopping yet!

But you know what? That's okay. Why? Because I'm too excited to let stuff like that bother me. Next weekend my stepchildren and their cousin arrive from SA for a 5-week visit with us and for me that is the best present any of us could hope for. Having not seen them since January, I also have no idea what they would like from Santa this year... okay, I may not be able to get away with the whole "from Santa" thing anymore since they range in age from 13 to 16... anyway, the point is we can all go shopping when they get here.
And boy! Christmas shopping is fun in this part of the world!

Yes, there is an over-proliferation of Christmas jingles played in every shop you enter.
Yes, it is dark from just after 4 in the afternoon until 9 the next morning.
Yes, it is freezing cold (in fact, it's snowing at this very moment).

But Christmas in a cold climate is beautiful!
The long nights are broken by bright lights and decorations everywhere, and if you go into town there are groups of Carrollers on every corner and you just can't help getting swept up in the spirit of things.

I know I have a tendency to "Bah Humbug" the whole thing, but I must confess, I love Christmas.
I love having the family together to enjoy a special meal - it's the one day of the year I don't mind cooking a great big meal.
I love buying and wrapping the presents, and putting the little gift tags on the paper.
I love decorating the Christmas tree, right down to watching Hubby getting annoyed trying to find the one light on the string that is making the whole lot not work - because there is always one, you know ;-)
I even have a double CD of Christmas songs to play in the background while we're eating and then unwrapping the presents.

For me, Christmas happens on Christmas Eve. We always celebrated it then when I was growing up, a legacy of my German family roots. Christmas day was spent with the other side of the family. But Christmas Eve was always the best and I'm convinced it was because everything looked more beautiful and exciting when it was dark outside.

That is what Christmas means to me. It's not the presents, or fighting off crowds of shoppers or stressing about giving or getting the perfect gift.
It is about being with the people you love and enjoying the time together.
It is about making memories that the children will remember with warmth and fondness when they grow up, the same way I remember my own childhood Christmases.

So the next time you're tempted to Bah Humbug Christmas, grab a glass of eggnog and chill out. It only comes but once a year - enjoy it while you can!


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Recipe for disaster?

- A decision that I need to be more assertive in life.
- A pet hate of bullies, or being bullied in any shape or form.
- A high level of irritibility
- A percieved bully
Mix together on a dark, cold winter morning when caffeine levels are particularly low in a commuter train.
Stand well clear.

Some years back a friend of mine insinuated that I have a 'weak' character. I believe her exact words to me were, "I am much stronger than you." Knowing her as I did, I decided against arguing with her at the time, for a few reasons. You see, I knew nothing I said would change her opinion so I figured it would be a waste of energy to push the point. I don't like arguing with people like that. I don't like arguing, period. In my heart, I felt she was wrong and that it takes a different kind of strength to ignore silly disputes, not make issues out of them, and just say ,"Yeah, whatever" and move on. I felt I was right. But perhaps she saw that aspect of my personality - staying silent instead of arguing - as weakness. Who knows?
The trouble is, a few years down the line, it has come to my attention that it is not always in my best interests to avoid confrontation and conflict at all costs. Over the years, continually keeping quiet about things has caused a certain amount of internal conflict and, I suppose, a fair bit of anger to build up. It's not healthy to keep it all in, all the time. This is something I am trying to work on... being more assertive - not necessarily aggressive, mind you - but just making myself heard... so as to avoid the volcano effect, where one day I end up completely blowing my top due to a major shift far beneath the surface, y'know?

Don't ask me how, but I am aware that this ties in somehow with my intense dislike of bullies. Nothing annoys me more than people who force themselves or their opinions on other people. In the same way a Staffordshire Terrier has no concept of size and will tackle the biggest dog around in the course of defending what they see as their domain, there have been times when I have stood up to people twice my size when they have tried to bully me or anyone I care about. Oddly enough, bullies normally back down immediately if you stand up to them.

This is my belief.

So, fast forward to this morning;
It was dark;
It was freezing cold (literally ... 1 below zero when I left home to walk to the train);
My irritation levels had started going up yesterday already, partly due to hormones, I'm sure, and partly due to people like the blonde bimbette who started yesterday morning off by pushing in front of me in the queue for tickets. Yes, I know - get over it, right?
Only, the trouble is, once the irritation levels start to rise, they tend to increase exponentially with every minor annoyance that crosses my path. I'm sure at least some of you know what I'm talking about.

Back to this morning on the train...
I was as comfortable as I could be in my seat next to the window, half-dozing as I listened to my MP3 player. A girl sat down opposite me, and her boyfriend plonked himself on the seat next to me. A large lad, he then proceeded to bump me a few times as he shoved his hands into his jacket pockets... which of course made him expand sideways even further.
And suddenly I wasn't comfortable anymore.

The man was In My Space.
I pushed myself as far into the corner by the window as possible, but I still couldn't sit back in my seat without feeling him rubbing against my shoulder.
Hoping to drop the hint that he was crowding me, I shot him a dirty look or two.
No dice.

You know that feeling when something annoys you, and the more you think about it the more your blood begins to boil, and you find you're clenching your jaw and your heart starts beating faster and you hear a rushing noise in your ears and you realise you're Getting Really Angry Now...?
Well, I do, and I did.
At which point something inside my head decided in its infinite wisdom that what this neanderthol was doing was in fact a form of bullying.
This guy thought that just because he was bigger than me, he could do what he liked and push me out of my space.

Hence, the recipe for disaster was born.

Actually, I thought I was quite polite, all things considered.
I yanked the earphone out of my ear and asked him if he'd like to swap seats, that way he could sit opposite his girlfriend and quit squashing me against the window. The way I saw it, I would then have an aisle seat which would leave me more room to move and he'd be able to see her more clearly, or whatever.
But of course the dumb asshole took offense and said something like,
"Oh if I was squashin' ya against da winda' ya'd know about it, I promise ya!"

Er, does that sound like a threat to you?
'Cos it did to me.

Now, I'd like to tell you how I felled him with one swift, well-placed blow, but I would, in fact, be lying.

As tempting as it was [I actually had one of those "Ally McBeal" moments where I visualised myself beating his head to a pulp with my bare hands], I did the prudent thing instead, and as calmly as I could I just explained my reasoning again.
[Also, I had realised by then that he was probably about 6'4" and not exactly a weenie, despite the glasses]

You know, I got the distinct impression he was pissed off - in fairness, I probably would have been if I were in his place, but I really did feel justified - but I also felt in my gut that he was trying to intimidate me for speaking my mind in public. Only, it didn't work. I don't get intimidated by bullies, I get angry.

Nonetheless, that was where it ended. [sigh]
He declined my kind offer, muttering that he was getting off in a few minutes anyway.
I don't know if he heard me say, "Good!" because I stuffed my earphone back in my ear and spent the rest of the journey staring out the window, looking stern and pissed off.

And for all his objections, he shifted slightly and I felt not a nudge from him again.
The person who took his place after he left perched on the edge of the seat, as far away from me as possible.
In hindsight, it was actually quite funny because you could almost feel the other people in the carriage shrinking into their seats, trying to get as far away from a Potential Incident as possible.

So okay, this was probably not the best or most subtle way for me to begin asserting myself, but I gotta tellya, I felt better for having said something, however inappropriate or misguided you or he or anyone else may think I was.
So there... Get over it!

Sunday, November 20, 2005


One of my favourite things to bitch about, since we moved over to Ireland from SA, is the weather. Seriously, Irish weather on the whole sucks. Big time. But I must say, on days like today - even though it can be reasonably chilly - when the sun shines and the sky is clear and not a breath of wind stirs it can be one of the most beautiful places to be. I'm pretty much convinced that days like today are given to us just to make up for the crappy excuse for weather that normally envelopes the place... which leaves me wondering:
What exactly are we in for this Winter that deserves a day as stunning as today (and yesterday) to make up for it?
'Tis a question I think I will refrain from pondering too much, preferring instead to enjoy today and any other good days which may be sent our way, and deal with whatever follows when the time comes.

I took this photo earlier - just after 3pm, I think - on my way to do the weekly grocery shopping. This is why I never leave home without the digital camera.

But life is all about balance, isn't it?

For example, the stunning weekend we've had will no doubt be balanced out by an equally cold, rainy, windy and miserable one at some point (probably sooner rather than later if I've learned anything during my 4 years here).

And to balance out the peace and tranquility of the moment spent taking this photo, I then almost fell on my ass getting back to the car when I stepped on some particularly slippery mud in the grass because I wasn't paying attention. Very graceful!

Yep, it's all about balance, hehe.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

First, last and now...

I decided yet again to take Undr up on his offer taking one of his famous 'meme's' and making it my own. Sheesh, the guy's gonna start pressing for royalties soon if I don't watch out.
So anyway, here we are...
You're my first, my last, my.... current??
OK enough messing around, on with the show!


First best friend: Cindy. We met when I was 2 and have been friends ever since.
First Car: Red & white VW 'Citi' Golf. I loved that car!
First kiss: Brett, age 12. All the girls thought he was gorgeous. He was also shorter than me. He was also my first heartbreak.
First real kiss: John, age 14... I had NO IDEA what to do when he kissed me like that!
First makeout: Ian, age 15. The less said, the better.
First big trip: My mom took us to Durban for a week and I remember lying on the beach watching the Gunston 500 surf competition from behind my first pair of sunglasses. I was 12.

First time skiing/Snowboarding: January 2006 I'm going skiing, yay!
First concert: David Essex (please remember, this was the early 80's, when the movie Silver Dream Racer was popular)
First Alcoholic Drink: Black Label Beer from my Dad's glass when I was very little. Later on? Oh, I can't remember when the rot set in...
First ticket violation: I have never violated a ticket. Oh wait, you mean...? OK then, it would have been a parking fine. Bah humbug!
First job: Working afternoons and Saturday mornings in a second-hand bookstore. Heaven!
First date: What, you mean real date? Like being taken out somewhere? I have no idea.


Last car ride: Visit to the doctor (don't worry, she says it's not contagious and chances of survival are way up around 5%)
Last kiss: My hubby, you (and he) will be pleased to hear.
Last time you cried: When my Mom & sister left Ireland to go away again after their visit {sniff!}
Last movie watched: LOTR: Return of the King. Gooooooo Hobbits!!!
Last food you ate: Pizza. Um, ja, part of my new balanced diet.
Last love: I can't remember when I loved anyone besides my Hubby.
Last temptation: The most beautiful leather bound antique-looking chest / trunk I've ever seen. Did I mention I like boxes? Hmm... I may still go back and buy it.

Last item bought: Hehe, you're gonna love this... a storage box that fits under the bed :-)
Last annoyance: The damn fire alarm that was going off all afternoon.
Last time wanting to die: Probably the last time I had to sit through a meeting.
Last alcoholic drink: Red wine with dinner last week. And I don't even like red wine. This will have to be remedied... what if I get hit by a bus tomorrow? The last drink I ever had was something I don't particularly like? This will not do! Oh wait... do cyberdrinks count? Yes? In that case, it was tequila.
Last concert: OMG you're not gonna believe this. It's almost as bad as David Essex. It was... wait for it... Duran Duran! No, wait, I lie (sorry!). It was Elton John. I think I'll have to go back & re-think the question-before-last...
Last phone call: My sister in London :-)
Last friend you added on MYSPACE: What the hell is myspace?


Current Best Friend(s): Ooh, tricky, 'eh? Y'know, I don't like to name names so I'm going to skip this one.
Current Car: Audi A3. Yes, it is my car. Hubby is just borrowing it for a few years. But it's mine, I tell you, mine!
Current love:
Yep, you guessed it, the secret's out... it's George Clooney. Hahahahaha gotcha! Ah, no, it's Hubby :-)
Current drink:
Coffee. Oh, you mean like when I go out and such? Gin & Tonic.
Current activity:
Duh! Blogging! Well, it keeps my fingers active..!
Current annoyance:
There's no music playing. Well that's easily fixed... hold on a sec. Ah, that's better. OK now it's a cigarette that someone didn't put out properly which is now stinking the whole place out... best I do something about it before it sets off the damn fire alarm again.
Current mood: Goofy. Not that you'd notice.

And now comes the time of reckoning. I know you're all quivering in your shoes (or toe-socks as the case may be), wondering, "Is she going to tag me? Is she? Is she?"
Er, no.
Unless you've been having trouble finding things to blog about lately (no names mentioned... anyone for vodka?) in which case please feel free to copy and paste - do not 'forward' ;-) - this into your own blog, changing the answers to suit yourself.


Or not, as the case may be.
The damn fire alarm in our building is faulty and keeps going off for no reason. Maybe it’s lonely, who knows? Regardless, I took the afternoon off today and was just settling down to do some Blogging in peace when…

I finished posting my comment and then moseyed on outside just in case this one wasn’t a false alarm, to find the geriatric couple from across the hall pressing all the buttons they could find on the panel in an attempt to silence the beast. A few minutes later a plumber appeared, grease on his hands, apologising profusely because apparently he was fixing a boiler on the 5th floor and some smoke appeared… and the rest is history.
Actually he didn’t really apologise, come to think of it.

It was more a statement of fact.
Thanks, Buster… shall I beat you about the head now or later?

Anyway, that was maybe 20 minutes ago and the thing is still ringing it’s head off at full volume.
Do they have to make them so freakin’ loud???

It went off in the middle of the night a couple of weeks ago. We had houseguests at the time. It was somewhere around 2am and we were all well away in dreamland by then. And then the fire alarm went off.
Now normally, I sleep through just about anything.
However, as some of you may be aware, I have a mortal fear of fire.

So that night – or rather, morning – I was up out of bed almost before it started ringing. A quick lap around the apartment reassured me that it wasn’t our place that had set it off, so the next step would be to evacuate in a nice orderly fashion.
Only… speaking of fashion, I was, at the time, clothed in my purple dressing gown and matching fluffy slippers. Yeah, right, I’m going to be seen in public in that outfit and with no makeup on, hehe!
So I stood for a few seconds in the darkness of our bedroom until Hubby gave in, admitted he was awake, and very kindly (if somewhat grumpily) offered to go outside and check it out. Which he did – wearing his more masculine navy-blue bathrobe, but he’s a man. They don’t care. Do they? Never mind.
It turned out to be a false alarm anyway and half an hour later they finally figured out how to switch it off…

… Yay, it’s stopped!
Oh wait, it’s started again.
No, it’s stopped again! Yay!…

… Anyway, to get back to my story:
Oh, wait that was it. Yep, they switched it off and we all went back to bed. Our houseguests slept through the whole thing.
I was just amazed at how I will sleep through all manner of nighttime noises but as soon as the fire alarm goes off I’m up and awake. I mean really awake – and without coffee, to boot!

Phew, what a relief that the shrill ringing has stopped. Now if I could just switch off the noise in my head

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Not poetry, but...

maybe we'll call this poeterri...

Disclaimer: Do Not Take This Personally - it's not intended for you!

You used to be a friend of mine.
We'd talk and laugh and dream
about the perfect man, the ideal job,
the grown-ups we were going to be.

I attended your wedding and you were at mine;
True friends we would remain, it seemed
but gradually, over time
our calls grew few and far between.

You see, my friend, there's more to this
than might at first have met the eye.
Between the good times came the bad
and I, too young, could not see you were lying
to me, misleading me;

Though at the time our bond was such
that I forgave the breach of trust.

But trust is such a fragile thing
and as the years went by I found
the hurt began to settle in
my heart and in my mind.

So now the time has come for me
to move along and cut the ties
that all this time have held me back
and brought me down and made me cry.

For though it makes me sad to say
these words, I say them anyway;
Because I can't forget the lie
Goodbye old friend,

Now... if you haven't yet had enough of my drivel, I've also posted something new(-ish) on terristories.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Hey hey it's Friday!

I love listening to the weather report here in the mornings. Today it went something like this:
"It'll be mostly dry this morning with gale-force winds and blustery showers, but this afternoon will be a little damper, with squall-ey showers expected. Currently in the city it's 13 degrees, with expected afternoon high's of 8."

Hm, it's them 'squall-ey' showers ya gotta look out for.
Dang, it made me wanna get straight back in bed!

But I didn't, no way, not me. My middle name is 'Diligence', you see. [No, not really, but it should be!]. Even though I worked late last night. As the latest addition to the DBA team I have to take some responsibilty and show some committment. Hehe... actually it's really just my warped sense of diligence and anal-retentiveness that won't allow me to leave if I'm in the middle of something that needs to be done.

OK now that I've harped on the subject of My New Postion a bit, I will continue.

I was on the train this morning, sitting with my elbow propped up on the little ledge by the window so that my hand could in turn prop up my head comfortably, because I hadn't really properly woken up yet, you see, and my head is rather heavy at that time of the morning. I had my earphones in and I was listening to Juluka, and gradually I began to wake up and become aware of my surroundings.
As I glanced around, my eyes fell on a headline in the newspaper the girl next to me was reading.
Now, I must confess, I think I may be one of those annoying specimens who reads other peoples' newspapers over their shoulder on the train, although I do try to be surreptitious about it.
The article in question was about immigrants to Ireland, and being a foreigner here myself, naturally I was interested in reading it.
Well apparently I'm not as surreptitious as I thought, because the next thing I knew this girl had whipped out a second newspaper from underneath the one she was reading (there are 2 free newspapers available at the train stations in Dublin every morning) and offered it to me to read... obviously instead of having me read over her shoulder.

Oops - Bust!!!

Well I must admit I felt a little embarrassed but I just smiled and declined, put my head back in my hand, closed my eyes and continued to listen to my music again. But OMG I wanted to laugh out loud, hehe... that is SO something that I would want to do - in other words, "Back off Bitch, get your own damn paper and stop invading my space!"
It was hilarious to be on the receiving end of it for a change!

Oh wow, you wanna see the weather that's coming over now... eeeuw!!!!
As I look out of the window I can see the sunrise reflecting orange off the buildings opposite while the sky beyond is deep, dark, blue-grey, thick with swirling clouds, and the trees are dancing in the wind.

And on that note, have a good Friday and a lovely weekend, everyone.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

It's a girl!

Due to popular demand, here it is - living proof that I, too, can be ladylike!

Yep, here's me in my skirt, worn on my first official (unofficially) day as a DBA.

Remind me next time to make hubby take it from a more flattering angle... no, I am not preggers, hehe!

Monday, November 07, 2005

It's Official! (Unofficially)

Three months ago I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to work on a short-term basis for a different team in our IT department while someone was on leave and then otherwise occupied with a big upgrade project.

I had been working as a regular ol' Techie up till then, for the past two & a half years or so. When I took the Techie job initially, it was a bit of a step back for me but it suited me because the money was good and it meant I didn't have to drive an hour & a half each way to work each day. I could take the train instead and get there in a little over half an hour with no traffic stress (I am slightly prone to road rage). Also, it was a permanent job, whereas I'd spent the previous year working on a contract basis, which was a little too uncertain for my liking, living as I was in a new country and all.
So it was a very practical decision.

But let's be honest - a job that involves a lot of crawling on desks checking cabling, and carrying computers and other bits of hardware around the place, is not really the ideal job for a thirty-something woman.
And I was b.o.r.e.d. out of my mind!

So last year I bit the bullet, paid the money, took unpaid leave and did two courses to help me start along the path of becoming a DBA - still in IT, still technical but not so physical, and more desk-based and brainpower-oriented.
And I made it known that this was what I wanted.
And then I waited.
And waited.
And waited.

And finally the opportunity came up to use my newly acquired knowledge (albeit really rusty by then) and I jumped at the chance.

Well, ladies and gents, it turns out patience does eventually pay off. (I wouldn't normally know much about this because patience is not exactly one of my strong points, but anyhoo...)

*** ! ... CUE FANFARE ... ! ***

Today, after weeks of wondering, and a complete restructure of our IT department, I was asked if I would like to stay on in the DBA team permanently.
Would I ever..!!!

Now, it won't be official as such until the new organisational chart is released (hopefully sometime this week) but it's official to me.

And tomorrow I will do what I promised myself I would do if I got to stay in this job.
For the first time in my three years of employment I will wear a skirt to work.
'Cos you see, it's not really practical for a Techie to wear a skirt (you just never know when you're gonna end up crawling under desks, y'know?!).
But hey, I'm (unofficially) officially not a Techie anymore!

So there ya go - all is not doom and gloom (until you look outside and see one of our lovely Irish storms raging but that's a completely different matter).
It turns out Mondays can be good days too.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Winter Dawn

I took this photo this morning on the way to work. Since daylight saving time ended last weekend it has once again been light already by the time I get to work. For now, anyway.

I've been carrying my camera with me because at this time of year, for just a few days, I cross the river just around the time of sunrise. If the weather is just right, the view is spectacular.

Today wasn't one of those times.
Maybe next week, if it doesn't pour with rain, I'll be able to show you what I mean.

Well that's it, nothing more to say today.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

My Mythical Alter-Ego

Well my friend and her hubby have scooted off down to Cork, in the south of Ireland, to start their new life. They stayed with us for about a week and it was great to see them again, but now they're off to make their way in the world. And in this case, the grass is greener on the other side - much greener, in fact, on account of all the rain, see?

And I'm back to having time to blog in the evenings. So, although I'm a little sad to see my friend go away again, I'm also happy to be able to check in with my blogging buddies. Clouds and silver linings, eh?

Speaking of which, did I ever tell you that I like quizzes? [
Yes, I realise that wasn't the smoothest transition in history. Call it poetic license. Or something. Whatever. Get over it.]
Do you like quizzes? I love quizzes. And I especially liked this quiz - got the link from
LoriNFlorida's blog and I liked the answer so much I decided to share it with y'all.

Because, you see, it says I am just like my favourite character in The Lord Of The Rings.

It says that if I were a character in an epic fantasy, I would be...


You are the Ranger, whose most
famous representation would be Strider from The
Lord of the Rings. Rangers are mythic heroes
akin to samurais and cowboys. They are loners;
they roam the woods and wildnerness, and while
they will not throw themselves into a fight
they will defend whatever cause they have taken
up. They are great warriors, but they will not
choose willingly to go to any battle. Rather
they will fight for their own beliefs, when
they want to, and where they want

Color: Forest Green
Animal: Eagle
Stone: Jade
Symbol: River


Who would you be if you were a character in an epic fantasy?
brought to you by Quizilla

...Hm, who knew girls could be Rangers?!