Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Last Post

... For this year, that is.
Isn't it astounding how quickly these few weeks pass? Before we know it we're back to normalcy and heaving sighs of relief that we won't have to cook like that for another year at least.
Anyone else feel like that?
Having said that, I must confess that although I did feel as if I'd spent 5 full days in the kitchen over Christmas, I had my good friend S with me and we spent much of that time laughing. In fact I'm sure we had more fun than the rest of our families did in the other parts of the house, teehee!
All in all I had a lovely Christmas, our first one in our new house, spent with my little family and my very good friends S and R who are almost family too. So even though I wasn't with my Mom and sisters and Hubby's family in SA, we had a warm and glowing Christmas anyway.
And after spending so much time in the kitchen, us gals decided we needed a break so on Wednesday, when the shops opened, we took ourselves off on a bit of a spree, making the most of the first of the January Sales, returning home laden with bags and smiles.

What I haven't gotten to do is practise riding my bike. Today was going to be the day but let me tell you, we have a storm a-blowin' here that would put an arctic ice storm to shame! So hold thumbs it blows itself away by tomorrow, 'kay?

On the other hand, we went out and did something equally fun yesterday: Clay pigeon shooting. It turns out the step-children have inherited Hubby's shooting abilities and our instructor was most impressed with "all the natural talent in this group". Hah! You hear that? Natural talent, folks. Yes, that included me. I miss shooting and I have to say there's something awfully satisfying about shooting those little clay discs into itty-bitty pieces. I think this will become a regular family outing in the coming year.

Now, my final post for 2006 wouldn't really be complete without photos, would it?
Last Saturday we wandered down into Dublin city for a bit of "Ooh, look at the pretty lights", not to mention a cholesterol-rich meal in Eddie Rockets, the only fast-food place in the country that makes a decent hamburger.
I've uploaded a bunch of photos from that night onto Flickr, so all you need to do is click here to take a look if you feel so inclined.
Here is a preview*:

The others are waay better so go on, click the link, take a look - you know you want to...!

And with that I just want to wish everyone

May 2007 be filled with love and happiness for all of us.

*If you're wondering, the "Baile Átha Cliath" in this photo is the Irish name for Dublin. Of course it isn't pronounced as it is written - I'm sure Fence or Anne would be able to help out with the phonetics if you asked them nicely, though.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Merry and all that

First, let me wish everyone a Happy Christmas.


It's gonna be eating, drinking, and being merry a lot and please wish me luck since the cooking will all be done by yours truly.

We're going to a party tonight and I get to wear my pretty 'velvet' dress, yay!
Tomorrow our friends arrive and then the aforementioned cooking and being merry will begin in earnest.
If I'm lucky I may get some practise-time in on my new bike sometime over the next week or so.
I love the sound of that: "My Bike"
You wanna see a picture..?

And here's a picture of "Me and My Bike"...

Am I cool or what?!!
Now I just need to learn to ride it properly, hehe.

Well that's all I wanted to say. It's a busy time of year for everyone so off you go, be festive, be safe, be happy...


Friday, December 15, 2006

ups n downs

I feel like I cheated you guys by posting those pics instead of a 'proper' post. Sorry 'bout that... sort of.. teehee..

I'm all emotional today - not in a I-wanna-curl-up-and-die way but in a ooh-that-song-reminds-me-of-boo-hoo-hoo way. I spoke to my li'l sis on the phone earlier. She's flying off to SA this evening to spend Christmas there with the family and I just wish I was going too. I guess I'm homesick. I guess the fact that it's dreary and rainy in a sort of not-bothering-to-get-light-at-all-today sort of way doesn't help either, no matter how many twinkly lights and Christmas carols are about.
So here I am, not depressed, for a change, just a little, er, emotionally fragile today. Today, the day our company puts on a big Christmas Lunch in the canteen (turkey, brussells sprouts, hot pudding, the works) and throws a bash this evening, complete with free drinks (as long as y'all behave yerselves now!). Somehow I didn't feel very festive at lunch but man, am I looking forward to that first drink tonight! Big talk from someone who get's trashed on 2 glasses of wine, I know.

And then it's weekend, thank goodness. I will be learning to ride my new bike that Hubby fetched from the shop this morning - yay!!! Then there's the last of the Christmas shopping to be done. Tomorrow I'm taking young Cinderella with me to go see The Nutcracker ballet. I'm really looking forward to that - I do so love the ballet!
And then next week it's a 4-day week (for me), a day of manic last-minute shopping (no illusions here) and then our friends arrive and hey presto! It's Christmas and I'm left wondering, "Where the hell did the last year go???!"

And I'm going to stop right there because if I don't I'll start thinking about a birthday coming up soon after that where I'll be wondering where the hell the last 35 years went, but we're not going go to there now; I'll save that particular train of thought for another day.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

As promised...

Photos of our high-tech Christmas tree...




Sunday, December 10, 2006

3 days happy

Do I get a medal or something?

How quickly a mood can change. Since my last post mine has improved dramatically. I guess it started when I heard some very, very happy news from a close friend of mine - the sort of news that made my cry happy tears (yes I know I cry at the drop of a hat these days but it really was that sort of news!).
And all of a sudden the world was a better place.

My boss let me go home half an hour early on Friday, just because it was quiet and it was Friday and... well, just because.

I went to the hairdresser yesterday morning and I am really happy with the result (my bad- to good-hair-days since the last haircut have been in the region of 30:1).

And yesterday evening my stepson arrived from SA and will be here for a month.

Those were the highlights but I'm convinced it was that astoundingly happy news from my friend that triggered off my happy feelings. And it feels really good to feel good.
I've had energy galore - got tons of stuff done yesterday including all the housework, and went shopping today in that same mall that I was bitching about last week, and I actually wanted to stay longer to do more shopping today - but poor Hubby had hayfever and the boy-child (although at 17 that nickname doesn't really fit so well anymore, especially since he now towers over me) looked like he'd had enough of trudging through shops for one day so I called it a day when we had almost everything I'd set out for.

Oh, and one more thing. After tossing the idea about for months I have finally made the decision to get myself a small motorcycle - for practical purposes, not just for fun, in case you were wondering. Making decisions is not necessarily my strong point and now that I've made one - one that I'm happy with - I feel like I have accomplished something.

I think we'll put up our Christmas tree tonight. Hubby decided he's tired of finding pine-needles in the house up till July so we've gone for an artificial one that has fibre-optic lights on it. Photos will follow shortly, no doubt.

So it looks like my Christmas Spirit didn't flee the country after all.
Yep, I'm three days happy, and counting.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

freaking out just a little

On the one hand my mood -which has been wallowing in a black hole the last few weeks - is beginning to lift a bit. I'm starting to take an interest in things and even - despite my last post - started planning Christmas yesterday. That's right: lists have been started and cards have been sent. I was even clear-headed enough to wash some bedlinen in preparation for my Stepson's arrival on Saturday - which I am now eagerly anticipating, as opposed to feeling sweet bugger-all about anything - without too much muddleness of the head. That may not make a lot of sense to some of you but at times even the smallest task takes a really huge amount of mental effort from me.
So the fact that I've managed to get stuff done at all without feeling befuddled is a good thing, trust me.

But on the other hand it seems that in my not-so-clear-headed mood I have successfully managed to alienate myself from people I would have considered 'friends' at work. Well, maybe 'mates' is a better word than 'friends'. I feel like a total outsider - left out of the loop on virtually everything. Even work-related things, although this last is perhaps the thing that p*ssed me off in the first place and made me withdraw. The words 'overreaction' and 'over-sensitive' come to mind, but I have possibly not been able to deal with things as well as I should have - or at least as well as I once would have.
It makes coming to work every day really hard. I used to be part of 'the gang' but now I'm simply a shadow that hangs around, occasionally doing something useful. Ooh, that sounds terribly self-pitying, doesn't it? I hate self-pity. Everyone hates self-pity. Which is why hiding under the covers in bed all day sounds like a much better option. If I don't have to face all this, then I won't feel so bad about it, then there won't be self-pitying to be done... d'you catch my drift? My sister accused me of becoming a hermit not so long ago, but is that really such a bad thing? I just feel like a piece of driftwood that has been battered ceaselessly agains the rocks in a storm. And when one is hurting already, it doesn't take very much to make it worse. So I guess what I'm saying is, this piece of driftwood needs to be washed up on a beach somewhere to be still and dry for a while.

So what's stopping me from taking some time off? I guess it's because I don't want to admit to failure. When I came off my medication it was on the advice of my doctor, who said she felt that I'd be OK to just stop, as opposed to weaning off them. I had finished my cognitive therapy sessions a couple of months prior to that - the psychologist felt I was doing just fine. So admitting that I'm actually NOT doing OK doesn't sit well with me - it's like saying I couldn't hack it on my own and one thing I've always held dear is my independence; Now that I've put that in words I must admit it sounds like slightly skewed thinking; I mean, if someone I knew said these things to me my advice would be, "It's not that you've failed and it's not an independence thing; you don't have to do this alone." Trouble is I think I've had double standards for a very long time - one set of rules for everyone... except me. Learning to cut myself some slack is one of the hardest things I've ever attempted and I'm still not great at it.
I also don't have a lot of leave days due and the couple I do have I want to save for my trip home to SA next year. Which leaves me only one alternative: go back to the doctor and get her to book me off for a week or even two. Doctors don't like doing that though and I guess I'm afraid she's going to want to put me back on medication and I really don't want to go back on medication because it makes me drowsy... it sort of takes the edge off life which I suppose is sort of the point, but how am I ever going to learn to cope with it if I'm not really facing it?

Oh my, so many questions. Don't panic - most of them are rhetorical; I think I know the answers in my head, if not my heart. Sometimes it just takes a bit of spelling-out like this for me to make any sense of things.

Normal service (HA HA!) will resume shortly.

Monday, December 04, 2006

there's no avoiding it now

I've ignored it as long as I could but it's December now and the Christmas season is upon us whether we like it or not. My favourite pastime - shopping, in case you haven't been paying attention - is now simply an irritation until January.*

Even the simplest errand, like going to buy a couple of groceries, becomes a nightmare of screeching children, manic mothers and frightened fathers all determined to get their goodies before someone else does. We can't have little Timmy going without the latest action figure now, can we?! I swear these people would happily step on each others' heads in the fight to get there first.

Of course, in an attempt to fool everyone into believing it's the Happy season, the malls are populated with carrollers singing Joy to the World and whatnot...

I think I may get to a point where I enjoy Christmas. I'm almost sure I did last year - I guess I could go check my archives to see what my stance was a year ago. But this past weekend the only thing that made me not want to hurt people was when I caught someone in a Santa outfit... worn over a Grinch outfit.

Now that I could identify with.

And that's all I have to say on the subject. For now, anyway. If my family is lucky then this little outburst will have gotten all the bad stuff out of my system and I'll soon be rushing around like a madwoman decorating the tree and doing whatever I can to bring Christmas to the household.**

Of course it's possible they may then wish I were feeling as I do now instead. Apparently there is a limit to how many times teenagers can listen to the same Christmas CD in a month without losing their sense of humour.

* Can you blame me for being upset?
** I should probably mention here that I did buy a string of icicle lights to hang by our front door on Saturday when I went out to get milk.

Friday, December 01, 2006

friday fings

I'm supposed to be meeting up with some mates this evening for a few pints but to be honest I don't know if I'm in the mood for it.
It means leaving work at 4:15 (or so) to catch the train to be home by 5:20 (or so), which leaves me some time to make myself presentable* and have something to eat** before catching the 7:23pm train back into town to meet up with me mates around 8:15.
Sounds like an awful lot of effort for a pint, don't you think?

And if that's not enough here is a peek at the weather :

How they get 'partly sunny' when it's still dark out, I'm not sure, but you get the idea, and I don't imagine it'll be any warmer this evening.
Have I made enough excuses yet?
Can't I just rather go home as soon as I can possibly escape the office and go hide in my cocoon away from the cold and the noise and the big bad world?

* ... as opposed to the ogre who arrives home from work at the end of the day, having sent the perfectly-groomed woman I started out as to never-never land some time between lunch and the end of the day.
** I may even feed the husband and child while I'm at it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

a beach of a day

My sister was here for the weekend from London; we took her to the beach yesterday.

I suspect she'll enjoy going to the beach a bit more when she goes home to SA for Christmas in a few weeks.

It was about 6 degrees outside. But if we thought we were cold, I can only imagine the eejits who were kiteboarding in that weather!

It may be only mad dogs and Englishmen who go out in the midday sun, but who, other than Irishmen, would be out doing water sports in the middle of Winter?!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

music, movies and kisses

I feel like I owe you a decent post after yesterday's pathetic attempt. So today I'm going to talk about... I dunno, just stuff, I guess.

We rented a couple of DVD's on saturday night for the first time since we moved into the new house. Mostly 'cos we have the full Sky TV package so we've sort of made do with what's been on. But that's beside the point.
The second one we watched was 'The Wind That Shakes The Barley'. It looked like a good movie but I must admit I gave up after half an hour and went to bed. It was a little too aggressive and raw for my mood. Hubby seemed to enjoy it, though. Am I turning into a wuss?
Tough sh*t if I am; I just wanted to hold onto the mood that the first movie put me into. 'Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest'... now THAT's what I'm talking about!
I love fantasy movies and I loved the first one and I have to say this was one sequel that was easily as enjoyable as the first movie was. Plus, we got to see Johnny Depp kiss the girl.
Not to be disloyal to George Clooney who is still top of my list of sexiest (fantasy) men alive but if there was a best (fantasy) kisser award I think Johnny Depp should get it.

From movies to music (I've been storing this stuff up for a while)...
I recently purchased some new additions to my CD collection. Two in particular stand out.
I finally gave in and bought that James Blunt album that half the world was raving about and the other half was dissing. I figured there were one or two songs of his I'd heard that I liked, and it's always good to have a mellow CD around for background music. This seemed like a better option than Westlife since my stepdaughter has threatened to disown me if I get a Westlife CD, hehe!.
The verdict? Well I have to say I'm with the second half of the world. There are a couple of good songs but I actually can't force myself to listen to the second half of the CD anymore. I always listen to an album all the way through a couple of times when it's new so I can give it a chance but this one - Oy! It's not that it's really bad... it's just really overrated, as far as I'm concerned.

The second one is a different story altogether: The Snow Patrol album (I can't remember the title but it's the latest anyway) is one that grows on me a little more every time I hear it on my MP3 player. It may not be the most uplifting album but the music is lyrical and has substance. What I look for in music is its ability to envelop my entire being so that I don't just hear it, I feel it.

Snow Patrol: 1
James Blunt: 0

But that's just my opinion.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I've started this 4 times now

... and I haven't yet written anything I'm happy with. Probably 'cos it's first thing Monday morning and I'll be leaving for work shortly and I normally only wake up some time during the commute so ... what was I saying?

Oh yes.

Basically I am as yet incapable of coherent thought.

So here's a photo in the meantime:

I took it last night while hubby was trying to watch "Top Gear" on TV. Can't have been easy with me bobbing around in front of him trying to get the angle right. We had the fire burning on account of the freezing winter storm that was howling about outside. Was there a hurricane warning I missed somewhere? 'Cos I had to go trudging around the garden this morning collecting up all our furniture again. The wind, she was very very bad.
The icy rain - well it's Winter in Ireland so it was sort of expected.

So OK I have to go now else I'm gonna miss my train. What did everyone get up to this weekend? Let me know in the comments...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Go Bokke!!

No I mean it. Go. Go home. Go practice. Go do something, just don't do it in Ireland anymore.

I was so looking forward to this last Saturday - we bought tickets to see the South African rugby team play Ireland at Lansdowne Road. Tickets were scarce as hens' teeth but we managed to get some for our friends, who drove up from Cork, and for my cousin Del and his buddy who flew over from London to see the game. It was going to be monstrous - The Boyz were going to do us proud. Hubby even met them in town on Friday and they promised they were up for it; they lost to Ireland the last time they played here and it was time to redeem themselves.

So we left home around lunch time on Saturday and headed into town, had a couple of pints in a pub beforehand and then joined the thousands of South Africans (and a few Irish, of course) streaming into Lansdowne Road stadium.
And what happened?
The Springboks choked. They were abysmal. We stood for two hours in the freezing cold, in the rain, shouting encouragement until we were hoarse... and all for nothing. They didn't just lose, they played really badly and were soundly beaten. The final score was 32 - 15, I think. By the end of the game it didn't really matter.

Do you think they know how much this stupid game means to those of us living 10,000km from home? Do they care that we put all our support behind them, that we pay good money to see them, so that we can spend a few hours together with some sense of national pride... only have it obliterated? And then we have to go back to work on Monday and take the flack from our Irish colleagues who are now convinced they're the next world champions, having beaten the mighty Springboks.
I could shake Jake White so hard his whole family tree rattles!

Jake: take your damn experimental teams somewhere else. Give us a break.
Once was painful.
Twice is too much.
I won't go to the next one.

Before the game, during the anthems, when we still had hope.


Disillusioned as we were after the game, it would have been remiss of us to have not gone for a drink afterwards with our countrymen. Men and women of varying shapes and sizes but all sporting the Springbok emblem somewhere on their attire filled the pubs and spilled out onto the streets. It felt good to be surrounded by familiar accents, strange thought it was to hear so much Afrikaans being spoken in Dublin.

And for all my bitching, our Irish hosts are as magnanimous in victory as they are in defeat and it turned into a fun night. We met a group of men who had flown over from Johannesburg on Thursday just to watch the game, and were flying back the next day. At least I hadn't gone to quite those lengths, so I felt a bit better. They kept trying to figure out why we were living here. It's so cold! they said. And here I was thinking it was actually quite a mild night. There's something to be said for acclimatising, hehe.

The funnest part was when my buddy and I went outside for the occasional smoke... now that
was entertainment! Let's see, there were the three drunk Irishmen - brothers - who for some reason kept wanting a group hug. Then there were the two drunk Irishmen and the drunk South African who were together but seemed to be having three different conversations. At one point one of them said something to me and my witty response was, "Are you on drugs, buddy?" The joke fell flat when I saw him taking half a joint from his mate just as I said that.
Oh, I almost forgot we also met The Most Boring Man On The Face Of The Planet. He was an accountant, and he wouldn't stop talking. Eventually we just skedaddled back inside while he was half way through a sentence. He didn't look offended - I kind of got the impression he was used to it.

I'd forgotten how much fun a night out on the sauce can be in Dublin.
I'd also forgotten how horrid a hangover feels.
I think next time the Bokke come here I'll just skip the game and go straight to the pub.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

making a write mess of things

I think I may have given up writing. Probably not forever, but for now yes. It's like this, you see...
Last week I signed up for NaNoWriMo on the advice of my good friend Reluctant Nomad who, incidentally has become an even better friend 'cos he really did post his carrot cake recipe on his blog.
Anyhoo... it seemed like a great idea. I had a storyline complete with beginning, middle and end, and everything!
So I started writing.
And I was trying to keep up with the blogging too because I feel it's a bit rude when I don't visit the people who are nice enough to visit me.
And I was working late - at my job, that is.
And I was trying to make dinners and do laundry and keep the house clean.
And... by Sunday evening I had written about 4500 words of utter crap, and was feeling really stressed about the whole thing.

So I did what I do best: I threw a tantrum. It was a mini-tantrum, but a tantrum nonetheless. A sort of "I don't know why I'm bothering / this is a pointless waste of time / I'm not going to write anymore so there!" tantrum.

For the rest of the evening, I didn't write. I closed my laptop and read a book in between making dinner.
I didn't write on Monday either.
By Tuesday I realised that, y'know, I'm the one causing myself the stress. I actually feel better having let go of one of the things that I was stressing about.

And therein lies the key - not "giving up" but "letting go". It's something I have never been able to do very well and it has caused me all manner of problems in life. Perhaps this is the beginning of learning how to let stuff go.

I'm sure at some point I will write again and in the meantime, I don't think I'll be leaving Blogland any time soon. But perhaps I just need to take some pressure off myself for a while.

That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Commuting is such fun

Take this morning, for example. It was cold but sunny when I left home, plodding along the country roads at a gentle pace towards the train station because for once in my life I wasn't running late. The train wasn't too crowded when it arrived (almost on time, too) and although there were no seats available there was plenty of standing room. I found a spot in the aisle, which is my favourite trick because that leaves me favourably placed in case someone who has a seat gets off at one of the outlying stations. On occasion I have been fortunate enough to not have to stand for the full 40-minute train journey.

So there I was, unhurried and stress-free, my MP3 player blaring sweetly in my ears, when movement from one of the seated passengers caught my eye. I really need to pay more attention to my surroundings, people. The two seats next to which I was standing were occupied by a guy and a girl, who I'd estimate to be in their very early twenties at the most. She was all in black, with her rather jelly-like boobs almost falling out of her top. Not something I wanted to spend too much time looking at. The movement, however, was coming from her companion, a little blonde-haired fella with blue eyes, also dressed in black, and flapping some sort of red scarf - sorry, bandana would probably be more accurate - around. To attract attention, obviously. He was looking at me, daring me to.. I don't know what. He seemed to be expecting some kind of confrontation. Instead, I gave him a wink, like a mother might give to a wilful child. He acknowledged this and turned back around. It was then that the smell of beer wafted up from his girlfriend's can to my nostrils. Pleasant odour, so early in the morning. I shifted position so I was facing away from them but I wasn't going to move away just because they were there, or just to avoid a situation. I may have mentioned this before: I don't like bullies. And I refuse to be intimidated. But at the same time, I'm not easily inclined to provoke an unpleasant situation.
{sigh} Unfortunately not everyone has the same attitude. About 10 minutes along the tracks our bandana-waving youngster must have decided he wasn't getting enough attention, or perhaps he is uncomfortable with the special kind of lazy silence that is typical of the morning commuter train, because all of a sudden I could no longer hear my MP3-player music because it was being drowned out by some ghetto / rap crap blasting out of said scumbag's ghetto-blaster. (I don't know if they still call them that but it certainly fits the situation.) Now, I while I realise there are some people who enjoy that sort of 'music' but quite frankly I find it offensive to hear a stream of bad language being bellowed out to a tuneless 'doof-doof-doof-yo' first thing in the morning. I'm sure most of my fellow passengers felt the same, judging by the look on their faces.
But... nobody said anything. They all just sat or stood there in agony and let this young asshole act out like a spoilt child.
See this is where I tend to get myself in trouble because I get REALLY pissed off when someone invades my space in any way.
So I took my one earphone out, leaned over and said (nicely, I might add, and without any filthy looks), "Would you turn that down a bit, please?"
I though the woman standing next to me was going to fall over and the rest of the passengers in the carriage looked at me with something approaching horror.
You know what happened next?
I put my earphone back in my ear and turned around again. And he turned down the volume.
And I wanted to shout at my fellow passengers: "Grow a pair, you spineless twits! He's one small spoilt brat - why do you let him treat you like this?!"
But I kept quiet and continued doing my best to ignore the young couple.
Which was going well right up until the bit where the man and his daughter sitting opposite them got up to leave the train two stops later.
What a dilemma! Here were two empty seats, and about twenty people standing in the carriage, who would normally just about step on each others' heads to get a seat. But because the seats were opposite the two young lushes, nobody made a move.
Nobody except me, that is. I figured, why should I stand for the next twenty minutes if I didn't have to?
So I went and sat down opposite these two, still listening to my MP3 player, and turned my head to watch the countryside speed by past the window. Not long afterwards an elderly woman and her husband moved down and she sat next to me, with he standing next to her with a protective hand on her shoulder.
By now the young oxygen-waster was bored again so he once more turned up the volume on his noise-maker, and once again everyone around just looked pained, but said nothing. I gave him one filthy look then turned my head again to ignore him, which I did successfully for the rest of the journey.
He turned it down after a while when he realised he wasn't getting a reaction.
And in the end, I almost felt I was as bad as the rest of the passengers, just letting this boy get away with anti-social behaviour. But there were a few things that stopped me doing or saying anything further:
One: my husband's voice in my head saying, "He's just trying to get a rise out of you. Don't give him the satisfaction."
Two: the fact that they had both been drinking and we all know that trying to reason with a drunk person is like trying to convince a woman with PMS that chocolate is a bad thing.
Three: fantasizing about smashing his head repeatedly against the window until he stopped. Just stopped.

And in the end, I did get some form of satisfaction: When he eventually realised that I wasn't going to react in any way, he picked an argument with his girlfriend instead, and by the time they left the train the people whose day had been spoiled the most was theirs.
Karma, people, karma. You get what you give.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Oh look, it's Halloween again. When did that happen?

I was working late so I didn't get to scare the crap out of the small children that came a-knockin' at the door this evening, but Hubby got to dish out the sweeties. Next year he's going to get a big ol' gorilla suit so he can do more trick and less treat. For the first time since we've been here we were in a place where kids go trick-or-treating. And for the first time, he hadn't gone out and bought sweets specially for that purpose so he was most distressed to have to dig into his secret stash of sweeties to give to the young 'uns.

The Irish love Halloween. It's a great excuse to let off fireworks. Fireworks are illgal so everyone drives up North across the border and buys them there. I got to watch a lovely display while I was standing on the cold, dark station platform this evening waiting for the train. Bang! Crackle, sparkly lights all around. From the moment the sun set (which was real early since the clocks went back on Saturday night again) Dublin sounded like a war zone, and there were some really weird characters out in the streets when I left the office. It was kinda nice and the childlike pleasure I get from watching fireworks made me forget all the bad stuff for a while. I think I will petition to make fireworks a nightly event.

In honour of Halloween - or perhaps more to give people a chance to adjust to the time change - this last weekend was a long one. We took the opportunity to drive down south to Cork to see our friends. It took about 3 1/2 hours to drive the 250km there on Saturday morning, and about 5 hours to make the return journey yesterday.
We encountered this about 100km outside of Dublin...
I still haven't gotten used to these traffic jams that appear in the middle of nowhere on Irish roads.

The rest of the weekend was good, though. Some serious shopping was done on Saturday afternoon. My favourite purchase of the day was a stunning pair of black shoes to replace the pair that lives under my desk at work. Shoes not suitable for commuting, so I wear sneakers/trainers/takkies (depending on where you live in the world) to get to and from work, and then I walk around in pretty shoes during the day.
But enough about my footwear, let's get back to the weekend:

My friend is a really good cook so we ate well...

... and after supper on Sunday evening she and I left the rest of the clan watching movies and we kept a bottle - ok maybe a bottle and a half - of red wine company in the kitchen and did what we do best: long talks late into the night till long after everyone else had gone to bed.
These girly chats of ours are really good for the soul and mine felt much lighter the next day. My head, not so much, but everything has a price, hehe!

Our plan of going for a scenic drive and / or walk on Sunday was completely destroyed by the weather. Sunday was a true Irish day: grey, cold, drizzly and foggy. It's kind of pointless going for a scenic drive when you can't see more than twenty feet in any direction, which was a bit disappointing since I'd hoped to take some nice photos. However, I managed to get one or two during our drive down on Saturday morning and back again yesterday.

We saw some roadside art near Cashel when we stopped for a rest on the way there...

... and some cows on the way back while we were stuck in traffic yesterday:

Yep, cows. Lots of cows. I would show you more photos but, well, they're only cows, people ;)

And now winter is upon us. The short days have arrived all of a sudden and even though the sun was out at times today it was, quite frankly, bloody cold, despite what the Irish might say.
I guess now that Halloween is over - and it must be over because the constant popping and banging outside seems to have stopped - it's time to accept that the cold season has once again begun. I have no doubt that all over the country, hundreds of underpaid and overworked shop assistants are busily replacing the witches and pumpkins in their displays with all things Santa.

Anyone know how many shopping days 'till Christmas? Too few, I'm sure.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Well I felt a lot better yesterday, not quite so apocalyptic. Which is not to say I wasn't a tad moody, mind you. It seemed to turn into a different type of mood though. One of those if-you-look-at-me-skew-I'll-rip-your-head-off moods. I have to say, though, that I amaze myself with the amount of self-control I am able to summon.
Or perhaps shock handicaps one's reaction times...

I was working away at my desk, trying to do something involving one of our critical systems at work, and my boss was next to me was doing some of the stuff on his PC, because it was reasonably complicated and timing was everything. I was poised to strike the 'Enter' key on my keyboard at the right moment, and while waiting for the moment to arrive, I was scooted over to his desk to watch what he was doing... when this arrogant b*tch walked over and plonked her arse ON my desk, her right cheek missing the 'Enter' key on my keyboard by millimeters, and demanded - yes, demanded - that we reset her password for a reporting application immediately.
My jaw dropped and I unceremoniously shunted my keyboard away from her Gucci-clad butt muttering something about please don't sit on my keyboard.

Instead of swatting her, though, I leaned back in my chair, folding my arms, and said, "...and you are..?".
The words were polite but I can assure you the tone wasn't and I suspect my red face (because by now my face was red on account of all the blood rushing to it in annoyance) was saying something more along the lines of, "Who the f*&! do you think you are, you irritating cow?"

She turned out to be one of the sales managers.
Well what could I do? My boss was sitting next to me, and his boss was 2 desks away. I couldn't very well smack the head off her now, could I? But oh, how I wanted to!
She could not have been ruder or more in-your-face if she'd tried, trying to pull rank because she presumes she is in a position of authority.
I think we all know by now how well I respond to bullying.
What I wanted to tell her was this:
"Lady, I don't care who you are. Get you arse off my desk before you break something, and I'm not talking about the keyboard, I'm talking about the company's Financial Reporting system. You are not singularly more important than what I am working on at the moment and we will deal with your query the same way we deal with all queries: in order of priority. And you can be damn sure that in the future the priority of your calls is going to be way down on the list. Now be a good girl and f*&! off and let me get on with my work."
Either that, or belt her.

But I did neither.
Instead I reset her password and sent her on her way, then turned to my boss and said, "That was a little rude, don't you think?"
He, of course, was trying to distance himself from the situation. He knows me well by now and I'm sure my face was like a thundercloud.
"It was, rather," was his reply as he furiously continued typing away at his keyboard, without looking at me.

And so I didn't explode. And I didn't harm anyone. And I didn't forever tarnish my impeccable work record by doing something silly that might get me fired.
I am proud.

Monday, October 23, 2006

this is my fruit bowl

Yes, it's a little empty but look how it glows in the dark. I liked the way it looked when I walked into the darkened room the other night, all lit up by the light filtering in through the blinds at the window.
That's all. You can go now :)

feel free not to read any further

Seriously, feel free to stop reading now. This is not the most uplifting post I've ever written.
I won't hold it against you, promise. Just enjoy the photo and move along quietly.

I just have to get this stuff out of my head and since I don't seem able to express it out loud, this place will have to be my outlet.

I don't know how to do this. I don't remember how it feels to be a happy person.
I started on anti-depressants about a year and a half ago and stopped taking them about 3 or 4 weeks ago. I went for cognitive therapy with a psychologist. And now here I am... I don't know how to be happy. Every day is a battle. I struggle through the day at work, feeling like a deer caught in headlights every time someone talks to me and expects a response. I have a husband and a 16-year-old stepdaughter to take care of at home and all I want to do is hide in my room.
I can't believe I am talking about myself here. This doesn't happen to me! It happens to other people. I feel unable to interact with anyone or anything in my life. I feel isolated and alone. How can I share this with the people I care about? They're entitled to be happy; they don't need the burden of some miserable cow who seems to spend her time snapping at them for the slightest thing. The only thing that is keeping me going is the thought that maybe this is still side-effects from coming off the tablets. But I don't want to have to take pills just to be able to get through the days!
I can't write, either. And that used to be my salve.
Well perhaps it would be more accurate to say I have no inclination to write. Bloody hell, I have barely enough inclination to wake up in the mornings.
Sorry folks, I warned you. I'm not looking for sympathy; I'm not even looking for a response. I just needed to get some thoughts out of my head. Maybe that will make me feel better.
Because I really need to feel better.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

wanna see some pictures?

I uploaded some more photos from our trip round Europe. You can take a look at them here if you like.

Haven't made much headway on the accompanying story I'm afraid. I'm sure it'll fall out of my head and onto paper (figure of speech - I mean onto the laptop, of course) when it's good and ready. Hopefully that'll be some time this century, but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.

Besides, a picture is worth a thousand words, isn't it?
It's just as well 'cos I'm fresh out of words at the moment.

So what do we do when we run out of things to Blog about? We go to Blogthings of course.

And in keeping with the fact that I saw my first Christmas display of the year in the supermarket last weekend....

You Are a Christmas Sweater!

Over the top, colorful, and totally flashy.
You're not afraid to be a little tacky.

Sad, but true.

Friday, October 13, 2006

freaky friday

I would like to cancel today. It's Friday 13th - do I need any other reasons? Didn't think so.
However, my illustrious employers would more than likely not be terribly understanding were I to simply leave, because believe it or not, I don't really have the authority to cancel a day. Not even Friday 13th.
But on the bright side, at least it's Friday, and the weekend is just ahead. Not that I have anything terribly exciting planned, but at least I won't have to drag myself out of bed to sit at my desk all day. At least not for another 2 days. Ain't life sweet?
It's been a rough week. All that's left of my 'discontinuation effects' is a tendency to want to cry with very little provacation. It's really difficult to maintain professionalism at work - especially during a busy and stressful week - when I keep wanting to burst into tears. I've managed to avoid tears by not doing a lot of talking. I'm sure all the girls will agree with me on this: when a woman is feeling emotional and on the verge of tears, the thing that will push her over the edge is the simple act of speaking. So yes, I've been very quiet this week and probably noticeably withdrawn. And now I need a rest - a break from holding in my emotions and smiling at people to make them feel more comfortable when all I want to do is throw a hissy fit. 'Cos seemingly unprovoked hissy fits also don't really fit into the whole professionalism thing very well.
But never mind, I think I'm on the home stretch and soon I'll be back to my vibrant, bubbly, pleasant self.
Um, ja.
In other news... nope, that's about it. I'm sure there was something else I wanted to say but whatever other thought flitted through my head when I started typing this has long since joined all those socks that seem to go missing in the wash.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

One Moon

One night, not long after we moved to Ireland, I was speaking to my Mom in South Africa and I remember saying how beautiful the moon was, and I wish she could've seen it. She laughed.
"We have the same moon here, remember?"

Thanks for reminding me, Ma. Now when I look up at the moon I know you can see it too and you don't seem so far away.

It's my Mom's birthday today and I'm missing her like mad.

Happy Birthday Ma!!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Actually it's not Friday, it's still Thursday night here but why get hung up on details.

We've had some rain here this week and look what sprang up outside our front door:

I managed to get this snap in before Hubby destroys them. In Hubbyland mushrooms = weeds, or something. I think it's a case of "If I didn't plant them, they shouldn't be there."
Me, I don't really care. I think mushrooms are pretty.

The discontinuation effects (thanks Jason) from my medication are still in evidence and I've had a crap week at work. It could be a chicken / egg situation, I'm not sure. The good news is I haven't actually fallen over, even though I've felt wobbly enough to have done so... which is actually a better track record than some weeks when I haven't been wobbly.
Go figure.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I wonder if heroin addicts get this?

Here's the thing. I've been on certain medication for just over a year. Last week my doctor and I decided the time had come to stop taking said medication. She warned me there may be certain side-effects for the next couple of weeks.
So I asked for Thursday and Friday off work, just in case. I couldn't really explain to my boss the real reason which was that I couldn't really be sure how I was going to be for those two days, i.e. "Well, Boss, there's a distinct possiblity I may become psychotic but I can't really be sure." So I just gave him the form and didn't elaborate.
He gave me Friday off but I had to be in work on Thursday. It was a very long day indeed. The good side-effect is that for the first time in many, many months I didn't feel completely drowsy all day, although let's face it there is something to be said for going through life half-asleep. On the other side of the coin, I developed a screeching headache accompanied by nausea and what can only be described as a lot of noise in my head. But I made it through the day and spent Friday and the weekend happily doing as little as possible.
On Friday I began to get these odd little episodes where it felt like the world was tilting, interspersed with the sensation of being wrapped in a jellyfish that would squeeze different body parts at different times. It felt extremely odd so on Friday evening I got Hubby to help me get rid of a bottle of wine or two. I figured if I was half plastered I'd be dizzy and semi-numb anyway and in fact, I was right, although I'm not sure the hangover on Saturday was altogether worth it.
By yesterday the giddiness seemed to be abating although my mood started to take a serious nose-dive.
Today, being Monday, I'm back at work. Perhaps I should have asked for more time off.
The giddiness has turned into round-the-clock dizziness and I'm quite surprised I haven't actually toppled over yet.
But it's the mood that is causing me the most problems. Yes, I'm feeling down, but even more than that my fuse has disintegrated completely and there have been a few times today where I could actually visualise myself throttling / punching / dismembering certain people. Not great for harmony in the workplace.
Let's hope the next couple of weeks pass uneventfully and without me falling apart completely.
But just so you know, my favourite cake is carrot cake.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Better late than never

I know it's a day late but HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Linda and Lori for yesterday!!!
Here's a belated birthday present: twin roses from my garden, as if they were just waiting for your birthday.

I couldn't decide which photo I liked best so I figured what the heck, I'll put both up, one for each twin ;-)

I have the day off work today - no reason, just felt I needed a day off for me. No housework, no chores, just me. I think everyone should get a day off every so often just to rest. Call it a 'Mental Health Day'. I'm enjoying mine so far. I phoned an old friend in South Africa earlier and we chatted for almost 2 hours. I took some photos of my (sorry, Hubby's) roses. This afternoon I intend to sit down for a few hours of serious writing. I have the radio on, soon to be replaced by a CD (I bought Pink Floyd's "The Wall" last weekend at long last - now there's some music to get the creative juices flowing!) and There Will Be No Television Until I Say So!

Happy Friday everyone, have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Big Brother

We had a team meeting at work yesterday where we were told, amongst other things, that 'they' are beginning to monitor the email. In other words, don't send anything that could get you hauled up in front of HR.

Now, while I'm not in the habit of emailing porn and stuff around the place, and while most of the crappy jokes & stuff that land in my mailbox get deleted , I do receive the odd funny and sometimes I like to forward these things to a few select people who (whom?) I think may get a laugh out of it.
I like to make people laugh.

So now the first question is: What constitutes 'inappropriate'?

The second question is: Are they reading my personal emails?

I am actually quite annoyed by this whole thing because without email I would have very little contact with my family and friends, what with them living on the other side of the world and all. Now I'm going to have to watch what I say to them and Paranoid Terri wants to know how long these Mail Monitors will be able to keep the contents of the emails to themselves. I am personally acquainted with these people and have no illusions pertaining to privacy and professionalism.

We can take this thing a little further down the line too...
If they're beginning to monitor email, and they are already blocking internet access to loads of websites including Flickr and other photo sharing sites, then how long will it be before they realise there are blogs out there???

I fear, my friends, that the day is drawing nigh that I will no longer be able to access my or any other blog from work and when that day arrives, what will I do?
Will I down tools in protest?
Will I resign on the grounds of having my basic human rights violated?

Probably not but doesn't this stuff really piss you off?!

Will I ever get to a place or an age in life where I don't get censored, or told what I can or can't do or who I can or can't see? This is a weird rant for someone who is normally quite happy to follow rules and guidelines but then as someone once pointed out, I'm always quite happy to follow the rules as long as they suit me.
Um, fair enough, I can't really argue with that one.
Nobody ever said I was rational.

Phew! I'm working myself up into quite a little frenzy here and the day hasn't even started yet. Best I finish my coffee and get to work before Big Brother shackles me to my desk.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Bad Carma

We were visited by what was left of Hurricane Gordon last night.

Holy moly!

Now I grew up in Port Elizabeth which is known in South Africa as "The Windy City" but I have to say I haven't often seen wind like we had last night in Dublin. Hubby, Cinderella and myself sat inside our new home like the three little pigs while a ginormous Big Bad Wolf did his best to huff and puff and blow our house down. Luckily he failed. The power went out a couple of times but we came through pretty much unscathed.

So this morning I decided to not even think about attempting to come into work by road. I got Hubby to drop me at the railway station and caught the train in instead. The trip was uneventful and when I got to my desk I rang Hubby on his celphone to find out how far along in the traffic he was.
Well blow me down if he wasn't just getting to his office!

So let me get this straight: The storm of storms crashed through here last night, trees were blown down, power was out, lakes sprang up all over the roads... and yet the traffic was fine. I can only surmise that it's my presence in the car that causes the traffic to back up so badly every time I get a lift to work with Hubby.
We'll chalk it up to bad karma and leave it at that, shall we?

The train is my friend
The train is my friend
The train is my friend

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pink ice, anyone?

So often during the day something grabs my attention and I think, "Ooh, there's a great blog post in there!" and then 2 minutes later poof! it's gone.
I know that's not an original complaint but today it's mine.

I don't have a lot to complain about. In all honesty, I have a great life. I have a husband who loves me despite myself, a stepdaughter whom I adore living with us, a nice new house, a good job and I get to travel a couple of times a year. As I said, not too much to complain about at all. But I'm human, and human nature is such that even when we get what we want, it never keeps us happy for very long and then we move onto wanting something else. I reckon it's a built-in failsafe mechanism to ensure the entire human race doesn't suddenly get complacent and lose the will to continue. Whatever the reason, despite all that I have, I do have a complaint. You've heard it before - quite a lot in the recent past actually...

I Don't Have Time To Write.

And it's frustrating the hell out of me. We went on this 2-week tour of Europe over a month ago and I've written exactly 1 page so far. People, I suspect there's a whole book in that tale but if I don't get it out in black and white soon it's going to be lost forever!

I can almost hear you whispering amongst yourselves now, "So why is she wasting time writing a blog post then?" Well the answer is, I'm doing this at work. 'Cos blog posts don't require uninterrupted concentration like writing stories does. So I'm typing this up in an email using a really tiny font so the people around me can't sneak a peek at what I'm doing, hehehe. Because I don't want to NOT blog, because for me it's a social thing.
Somehow I need to reorganize my priorities so that writing is not the last thing on the list. I know that. Doing something about it is another story, of course - I don't change easily.

Yes, I know what I need to do to make the change to lessen the frustration by giving myself time to write.
Yes, I know there's nobody to blame but myself.
But you know what? I just feel like bitching about it today.
I want to shout and stamp my feet and hammer my fists on a wall in tantrum because I want to do something and I feel like I cant!!!
And don't be giving me that "There's No Such Thing As Can't" speech either 'cos that just ain't gonna fly with me today, ok?! I'm annoyed. Let me be annoyed. It's not healthy to ignore feelings of annoyance, lest they build up inside and eventually explode like a bottle of pink champagne that's been in the boot of the car in 35 degree heat all day and then put into a freezer to cool down.

Trust me, I've had experience with both.
The pink ice is not worth it.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Happy Days

I finally got round to uploading some more photos of our trip around Europe - you can check them out on flickr if you feel the urge. Unfortunately I've now reached my upload limit for the month so I'll have to wait a couple of weeks before I can put up any more.

What's that? The story I've written about it? Er, well, y'see, it's like this... It's sort of not written. Yet. I mean, I've started it but I didn't get very far and stuff has been getting in the way of my writing time. Like work and such. It's all terribly annoying. But I feel very positive about the week ahead and I'm now itching to get writing again.

Meanwhile to get back to the title of the post, I've had a great weekend. The weather has been gorgeous since Friday, I got a really good haircut yesterday, and today we did a whole bunch of home-improvement stuff like hanging towel rails, putting up shelves and planting daffodil bulbs so I'm just feeling good. It does make a pleasant change!

And so I thought I'd spread a little feel-good-ness around.

This is for those of you who want to stop and smell the roses but can't find a rose garden.

For the record, its scent is enough to make you giddy, so just pretend, OK?

Well it seems I've run out of weekend and out of things to say.
For now.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I can't help falling..

I fell down the stairs this morning. That'll teach me for, uh, getting up to make coffee. Don't worry, apart from a sore shoulder, skew neck and bruised back I'm okay. Really I'm only surprised it hasn't happened sooner.

The other day the local radio station invited people to text in their experiences of embarrassing falls they may have had, prompted by a story told by the lady presenter of a wedding she had attended that weekend. Apparently she had decided - no doubt emboldened by a couple of pints - that she was a world-class dancer, and had launched herself across the dance floor into the arms of her one-and-only... only he wasn't quite on the same wavelength and had failed to, well, catch her, sending her plummeting in her fancy outfit into a heap on said dance floor, head first.

My own beloved wanted to send a message in, along the lines of, "My wife falls down so often I think she is more likely to be surprised to find she is standing up".

While some may think this is a mean thing to say about the woman you love, I have to admit it's not far from the truth. Perhaps I should share some anecdotes to illustrate the point.

I think I'll start with this one...
Picture it: a svelte twenty-something Terri, all dressed up in pretty sandals and evening dress, attending the company Christmas dinner at a posh restaurant. All was going well and I had only had one glass of wine (yes, really!), when I decided to step outside for a cigarette. It was midsummer in South Africa and it was just dark out. A light drizzle had arrived to cool the evening down after the heat of the day. Pay attention now, because this is your lesson for the day: Pretty sandals, glossy floor tiles and light rain do not make for a particularly gripping situation and in one not-so-elegant misstep I tumbled down, landing with a sharp CRACK on my right knee. What escaped my mouth was not particularly elegant either, and the sight of my boss rushing towards me in consternation did nothing to help my humour. It hurt like hell, and all I could say, while rubbing my knee and trying not to lose consciousness from the pain was, "Don't touch me! Don't. Touch. Me!"
Embarrassing, you think?

How about diving nose-first into the couch after my rubber-soled shoe sort of got stuck on the floor (I don't know how, but it left a skid-mark!)? Thank goodness the couch was there to break my fall before my nose could break the floor. Ah well, at least only Hubby was there to witness that one. He had the good grace to wait until I started laughing before he exploded with mirth.

Unlike the time, shortly after our arrival in Ireland, when we went a-walking in Howth, a beautiful harbour on the North side of Dublin. If you walk to the top of the hill, the view over the little town by the sea and the Island just a little way off, is quite breathtaking. In Summertime that part of the world is always filled with tourists. This particular day we were on our way back down the hill. Yours truly, distracted by the pretty view, wasn't watching where she was walking. I stepped in a pot-hole in the road and the next thing I knew I was face down on the ground in the midst of a group of Spanish tourists, all of them enquiring as to my well-being. I guess that's what they were saying, anyway, judging by the concern on their faces, since I don't speak Spanish. Grrrr! If I wasn't so sore (that dreaded right knee again) and grazed from the tarmac I would have been Really Pissed Off.

And I'm sure I don't need to remind you of my attempts at skiing earlier this year, but in case you've forgotten, the easiest way thing to do is watch "Bridget Jones - The Edge of Reason", specifically the part where she goes on a skiing mini-break with Mark Darcy. It was on TV on Friday night and I just sat there with my mouth open thinking, "That's Me! I know exactly how that feels!" And to think the first time I saw that movie I thought the scriptwriters were exaggerating.

Yep, I'm pretty much always sporting a bruise somewhere on my body. If I'm not falling over something, I'm tripping over nothing. Uh-huh, it's true: I have been known to trip over mere shadows on the ground. More than once. Then there are all those hazardous corners on desks, counters, beds, chairs - you name it, I've walked into it. I once went to work with a massive bruise on my forehead - I genuinely did walk into a door. It's amazing how difficult it is to convince people that this actually happens. Of course, once people have spent any length of time in my company it's much easier because my klutziness is pretty apparent.

I think it's a spatial awareness thing. Apparently I don't have any.
Ah well, I guess everyone has at least one downfall in life ;)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I just plugged in my router in case someone had switched on our Broadband and... IT WORKED!!!

Someone must've forgotten to inform us but that's beside the point.

I'm wired (or in this case wireless'd) to the World again, yipppeeeeee!!!!!

You know what that means, don't you?
It means I can once again browse your blogs at my leisure at home - no more sneaking quick peeks and only getting through half a post from work.

This is gonna be great...!!!!

Ooh, it also means I can start uploading photos to Flickr again. Hmm, best I start editing them properly first. I started last week but, well, it takes a while to get through over 350 photos when you're trying to make each one perfect.
Yes, perfect - I'm a perfectionist, remember? Although it's fairly soul destroying at times so I'm thinking perhaps some of them can be left as is.
I'm babbling now. Sorry. I'm just so happy to have broadband again :-)

Darn, supper's ready, I gotta go. But rest assured, I will be back!


PS... I almost forgot again! Reluctant Nomad, you asked for a present, but I couldn't be sure what you'd like, so here's a pic of a naked man in a pond for you :)

I think it's Neptune, though what he's doing in the middle of a green lake at Fontainebleu, I'm really not certain. Anyone got a guide book?

Friday, September 01, 2006

This should be interesting...

But it's not, really.
Sorry 'bout that. It doesn't take long for the daily grind to overtake one after a holiday, does it?!

The story of our trip is nowhere near ready although I have actually managed to start it. Meanwhile it turns out some people are feeling left out because they didn't get a present in my previous post, so...

Ben O, did you ever see the Olympic ski jump in Innsbruck, Austria?
That's what it looked like from our hotel room.

Or if you're looking for something interesting, how about these weird cube apartments in Rotterdam...

Lori, I'm feeling bad that you & Linda had to share, so you can choose a couple of eggs from this Easter Shop in Salzburg. But since you shared her chocolate fountain, you gotta get at least one for her too OK?
Those shops are amazing - they have Christmas Shops too, filled with loads of Christmas decorations & chocolates & stuff all year round but the photo I took of that didn't come out so well.

EKapa, I thought you could use one of these while your car is in for repairs - less chance of having to replace body panels in the event of freak accidents, hehe!
Yes, it's a tank at the D-Day memorial / museum at Omaha Beach in Normandy.

I also realised I didn't give Chitty anything, so this one's for you, darlin'...
Sunset over Lake Geneva, from a town called Montreaux. Why this one for you? Because if ever you were looking for a beautiful spot to take the gf to ask her if she wants to be your wife, this is it!
Personally, I intend to retire there.

Now I know that's not everyone but if I ever intend posting this thing I'm going to stop here. If there's anyone else who's feeling left out, let me know if you have any preferences and I'll do my best.
Jeff, I think I mentioned already that I was going to bring you one of the Concorde but we whizzed by it so quickly I didn't even have time to dig the camera out of it's pouch before it was gone, sorry buddy!