Sunday, December 14, 2008
Well, as a matter of fact you would be wrong on all accounts. This year there was some very unShinks like behavior going on. Shinks, did NOT go out. As a matter of fact, Shinks did not even stay awake long enough to see in the New Year. “What the hell is wrong with you Shinks? That just sounds so unlike you? Are you sick or something?” Yes, yes I am. Luckily I’m functional sick, not the type that has me bedridden or anything but just feeling miserable.
Yesterday evening, not long after placing several bottles of wine in the fridge to chill, I started to get a pounding headache. Initially I thought it was my body getting a head start on the hangover it was anticipating at the sight or all the wine. But several glasses of water, a hot tea, millions of pills and a lay down later, I was feeling no better. In fact, I was feeling worse. How could this happen? Why was my body trying to intercept my New Years fun? Who knows. But eventually I stopped trying to fight it and just went to bed and slept through the dawning of a new year. Booooooooooooo.
On top of all that, I finally get the opportunity to sleep in cos I’m not working today, but somehow I find myself wide-awake at the standard get up time of “crack-of-dawn o’clock”. So frustrating. But a least my headache has subsided a good bit and I’m now just left with a few low impact tremors. And since I was awake anyway, I decided to get up and be a little productive by way of cleaning the kitchen. That lasted about 10 minutes, so I decided to get online and see if any of my European friends were knocking around Skype. But alas, no. They are all probably nursing hangovers from the previous evenings festivities, Silja, I don’t know what your excuse is, maybe your helping Vignir nurse his hangover, but know that I have been waiting and waiting for you to show your pregnant self online so we can chat.
Anyway, in the absence of any Skype action, I got this opportunity to put my little rant on the blog. Hope everyone had a great New Years and don’t worry, I will get my chance to celebrate 2009, it will just be a little later then the rest of the world.
So HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone. Have a fun, festive and safe night.
Although our visit to Ireland was brief, we did our best to pack in plenty. I kicked off Christmas morning with a 1 mile run for charity. Then it was back to the house for the big gift exchange. Afterwards my plan was to help mam get started with the dinner, but the jet lag was kicking my ass so bad that if I sat for more than a second, I was off to sleep. I was worse than a 70-year-old bird. Hang on, that may be an insult to 70 year old birds everywhere, cos I’m sure they had more energy and spunk then I was displaying most of Christmas Day.
Here I am ready for some serious charity running.
The following day it was down to my brother’s house for dinner, wine, chocolate and a “friendly” game of Wii golf. Then today we did a BIG spot of shopping, met friends for a long lunch and even managed to squeeze in a training session. Need to get a head start on forcing the large amounts of potatoes, stuffing, apple pie, whipped cream and chocolates lodged in ass, hips and thighs..........off. Luckily New Years is just around the corner, so my body will just automatically morph back to its pre-Christmas bingey self, without any effort what so ever on my part. If only.
So have a very Merry Christmas everyone. I’ll work hard at getting my blogging frequency back on track soon enough.
We try to keep it balanced and alternate between both our families each year. This year it was Irelands turn, however some major things had the potential of happening that in the name of playing fair, we decided to do Christmas in Boston. But the major things did not end up panning out, not yet anyway, so we’re adhering to the rules established and making Ireland our holiday destination.
And due to the fact that I cannot stand the malls, cos I can’t stand crowds, especially this time of year, I have avoided doing any Christmas shopping. But as usual my back is against the wall and I’m seriously running out of time. So now I must face the dreaded mall with it’s full to capacity parking and it’s under pressure, agitated and aggressive last minute shoppers, just like myself. I’m absolutely dreading it. Honestly, you have no idea what a nightmare this will be and cos my heart rate is through the roof and my mind is racing in anticipation of the inevitable, I can’t even put together a thoughtful blog on the issue.
But it must be done cos I don’t think my nearest and dearest will appreciate, although animated and dramatic, my long list of reasons as to why they have received the gift of nothingness for Christmas. I could always argue that just my being there is gift enough, but am sure nobody will buy it.
It appears to have become a bit of an annual thing for us during the festive season, that we try to upgrade our dining experiences by choosing a restaurant frequented by the Humvee and Esquilade driving, Louis Vuitton and Jimmy Choo wearing side of Atlanta society. It’s definitely not a world any of us participate in on a regular basis, but for a couple of hours on a Friday night, its fun to pretend. However this year we were one man down. Due to the fact that she is currently chained to her kitchen sink, all barefoot and pregnant back in Iceland, Silja had to miss this years shenanigans. Gone was the girl who force-fed us minty, chocolaty, liquorices flavored shots of last year. Now with responsibility looming for Silja, it was left to the rest of us to fly the flag of irresponsibility and even without a full team, we did our absolute best. Girl, you would have been proud. And we missed you. Hurry up and have the baby, so you can get back here where you belong.
Mike enjoys "cocktail hour" before dinner.
I have a feeling the server knew the only way to get us down off the ledge was to bring on the dessert, so he did, in a big hurry.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
However, today I hear nothing. Weird, I think. But I assume he is still outside playing so I go about my business of decompressing from a long day. But it’s starting to get dark, time for him to come inside. I walk around the side of our house towards the back where he likes to play. I call him and once again wait to hear the sound of his tiny bell racing towards me. But nothing. He must be playing in the neighbor’s house, another one of his hangouts, so I walk towards the fence that divides both our gardens and call out again. Still nothing. Something wasn’t right. It never takes him this long to respond. A little bit of panic hits me and I start walking down towards the creek, calling and listening, calling and listening. At one point, I think I hear something. So I stand still and perk up my ears. Yes, I definitely hear something that sounds like my kitty. I call his name again and hear a tiny cry. Sh*t, that’s not good. I’m walking around trying to follow his little meow. I know he’s in trouble. I can’t hear his bell, which means where ever he is, he can’t move. I keep calling and he keeps responding, I think it’s coming from the neighbor’s house, so I immediately go and knock on their door and ask if I can look around the garden for Fintan.
The neighbor was sweet enough to helped me look. He too could hear him, but was unable to figure out exactly where it was coming from. At this stage it’s getting dark and cold. I’m starting to freak out. My cat is trapped somewhere and I can’t find him. I race into the house for a flashlight and try to call Husband. No answer. I call again and again and finally I get him. I’m in total panic at this stage. I’m thinking the absolute worst has happened to Fintan and I just can’t get to him. Husband makes a few calls to have some friends come over and help me look. With flashlight in hand, I continue to search. At one point I hear his bell, good that means he can move. I remain frozen to the spot and listen hard. I hear his bell again, then a bunch of leaves fall down next to me. Oh my god, he’s up in a tree. I turn the flash light upwards but can’t see him. At this time of year, he is the same rusty color as the remaining leaves and cos my eyesight is not great, I think ever cluster of leaves is him, until I turn the light onto a certain spot and see 2 tiny eyes flash back at me. I found him. Somehow he managed to get himself stuck up in the neighbor’s tree. Way up. About 40ft or so. At this point some friends arrive thinking they are just going to help search for Fintan, but quickly they discover that they are now in fact part of a rescue operation.
A group meeting begins, how are we going to get him down? Fanz wasn’t to climb the tree herself and even though she is an excellent climber, unless she’s spider-woman, its going to be slightly impossible.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I told Husband I was keeping it. The Ford Escape was now “Mine”. The insurance company could say whatever they wanted, but the vehicle was in my hands now and I was keeping it. So inspired by the name was I, that I even planned road trips and day trips up into the mountains, just me and my Ford and a couple of friends. Life was so much better with my Escape. My daily commute to work had become a joy, wait, that’s the wrong word, commuting to work every day is certainly no joy, but in this car, it was definitely more bearable and fun.
“Was, had”, all words representing the past tense, cos sadly, the check arrived the other day for Fenway and so my foster vehicle was ripped from my kong fu like grip and returned to it’s rightful home, back at the rental agency. To be honest it took everything in my power to not throw myself on the floor and start kicking and screaming like a spoilt 2 year old. I wanted to keep it so bad. Husband told me I could drive his truck until we sorted out another car, but I took the keys from him with a bowed head and puffed out lower lip mumbling something about it not being the same. Childish I know, but I couldn’t help myself. I Loved it. I got attached so quickly and I miss it every time I get behind the wheel of any car I drive lately.
Look at his shiny, sporty self. So perfect
Sunday, November 30, 2008
As is the norm for us each and every year, our house is bursting with quite the international bunch. This year we had 8 Irish, 1 Hungarian and 1 American. Yes, we felt it only right to throw in the token Yank, since it is essentially an American holiday. The lucky Yank this year was of course Husband. For the past 3 years he has been the sole US representative at our Thanksgiving table. The rest of the table is usually made up of some of our European athlete friends who have based themselves state side to do a chunk of their winter training. As a result, the food is more European than it is American. The potato was hugely popular this season, something to do with all the Paddy’s (Irish) I guess. We just can’t help ourselves, we love our spuds. Mashed, roasted and baked, whatever we could do with them we did and served it all up with pride. It was carbohydrate heaven, or hell if you’re from the Atkins School of eating.
Après dinner, the dining room table was cleared and transformed into a poker/blackjack table for an evening of “friendly” gambling. It was hard to tell from all the yelling and abusive language that it was faux casino filled with friends and not a bar filled with warring gangs. That’s what happens when you fill a room with highly intense and competitive individuals.
Some of the lads show their support for Husbands turkey slicing skills.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
For the first couple of mornings, I was unsure how long the commute would take, so I left in plenty of time to allow me some wiggle room for anything unexpected that may show up en-route. You know, like the odd 3 car pile up, cough cough. Well, when I was arriving at the office a good 30 minutes before I was due to, I figured I could afford to steal an extra 10 minutes of sleep and still be able to make it to work on time. And even though it may not sound like a big deal, trust me, if you get up at 5am every day, that extra 10 minutes can make a world of difference to your mood, to your energy levels and not to mention the dark circles that start to present themselves under the eyes. But the first morning I experimented with my later departure, I almost didn’t make it on time. It’s hard to believe but those stolen few minutes, translated themselves into a commute of about and hour, as opposed to my standard 35 minutes. So instead of being under any punctuality pressure, I needed to surrender my precious 10 minutes. Not cool.
But on top of all that, each and every morning, I find myself locked in a race and a battle of wills against one of those giant symbols of American culture…………….. the school bus. Let me tell you, it’s driving me crazy. One in particular rolls through our neighborhood at about the same time as I leave the house and if I manage to get stuck behind it? Then whoa, you’d want to hear the ranting and raving and extensive use of colorful language that falls from my mouth.
I just don’t get it. First of all, the thing only moves at like 10 miles an hour. Then it stops every 50- 60m to pick up, sometimes just one child. No joke. It stops at a corner where there's maybe a child or two waiting. Then it drives, every so slowly, roughly another 60m or so where there is another child standing, alone. Once that child is locked and loaded we proceed another few meters and stop. But there is nobody around. So why are we stopping? I wait patiently, ok that’s a lie, I have absolutely no patients for this and I am going nuts in my car trying to figure out why we have stopped. Is the driver just trying to piss me off, cos I don’t see any children? Then the driver toots his horn and a few seconds later a child appears from the door of a house and runs towards the bus. Are you f*#king kidding me? So now the bus is a taxi, with special individualized service. It’s blowing my mind. It makes absolutely zero sense to me. I mean why is it so hard for all the kids from the same neighborhood to congregate at one designated spot and have the bus just make one stop per hood, load them all up and get on its merry way?? Why? No, instead we get this slow moving, unnecessary daily parade, designed specifically to work my nerve first thing every morning. Yes, for me and this particular bus, it’s become personal and I do feel slightly victimized.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Even yoga couldn’t help me. I went on Saturday to see if I could balance my inner most self and have Wanda, our yoga instructor, use her smelly candles, her plinky plonky music and her magic brass gong to release the negativity that’s been hanging around my karma lately. But alas, not even Wanda could help. Once I left her class, my day did manage to take yet another turn for the worst. But she did give my muscles a serious stretch out.
So I’m ready for a new week. Or is it that I’m just ready for last week to be over?? Probably the latter. I'm a broken woman. And in the absence of any great will and fight left of my own, I will pull on the words of the great Tim Gunn (of Project Runway fame) to help me through this testing time, “designers, carry on”. And that's just what I’ll do. I will “carry on”. Damn it.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Anyway, my reason for being late? A 3-car pile up, which I was involved in. It was pretty bad. So bad that my car, we all remember little Fenway, well he didn’t survive. He is dead, totaled, written off or whatever the right terminology is. He was badly injured and once the standard procedures of pulling off the highway, calling the Husband and then the cops, giving the statement and filling out the reports was all complete, Fenway was rushed to the emergency mechanic. He fought hard for a few days, but at approximately 5pm today, the insurance company declared him, DEAD. Pause for a second in remembrance…………..Myself and the 2 other drivers all managed to escape without injury. Which right now, I am very grateful for, however at the time of the accident, all I was worried about was being late for my first day. It was much later when the whole thing clicked and I realized how lucky all 3 of us had been, delayed reaction I believe its called, things could have been much worse.
On a totally different topic, but very much a theme in my life right now….. babies. Babies are everywhere. Obviously I shared Silja’s news over the weekend, but it doesn’t stop there. My brother, Edward, the older one and his wife, Sarah are also expecting their first child this February. Very exciting. Then yesterday, another friend of mine, Caitriona, came clean, via e-mail, that she too is with child. As Helena, friend from Belgium ("Hey Girl"), was saying a few weeks ago while we were discussing this very topic of too many people we know having babies, “It’s a crisis”. Yes, according to Helena, having all these babies, much like the present economy, is a crisis. And she may have a point, pretty soon, most of my spare time may in fact be taken up with babysitting duties and that my friends, may very well be a crisis.
But I have a feeling I'll be playing favourites, just a bit. Below is my little niece or nephew in the making. You can see its still very much a work in progress, but no denying, its definintely a baby and I think it has my ribs. We do know the sex of the baby, but I'm not allowed to say cos my parents want it to be a surprise and I certainly do not want to be the one to ruin it for them.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Some of us manage to stay active and maintain a basic level of fitness and while the ripped and shredded factor may be reduced, we still retain that toned appearance.
Then there are those who feel they have physically worked hard enough during their professional careers to warrant never ever stepping inside a weight room or onto a track again. They have paid their dues, so now its sofa and pizza time.
Now we all remember my dear friend Silja, who decided to retire from the world of track and field back in July. Well, in the few short months since her retirement, I’m sorry to say that Silja has managed to let things slip, just a little. I recently, as in early this week, received an e-mail from Silja and with it was a photo of her and another friend. I’m not sure if it was the angle of the picture or the type of clothes she was wearing, but girl looked FAT. I couldn’t believe it. She was so big that it looked like she'd swallowed a small person. Which is actually not too far off the mark.
Cos SILJA IS PREGNANT. Yes you read it correctly. Silja and Vignir are having a baby. And even though the news was a bit of a blow to both of us (myself and Silja) at the start, we are now completely on board and cannot wait for the little Ice-Berg to get here.
So CONGRATUALTIONS SILJA AND VIGNIR, I know I am not directly related to either of you, but that has not stopped me claming the title of Auntie Shinks. Weather you like it or not, its gonna happen, so get use to it. And P.S Silja, those clothes you’re wearing look waaay too tight, I’m going to finally send you that MuMu we’ve been talking about. It’s not the most flattering, but its best for the baby. Ha!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
On a personal note, some big things have been happening in the world of Shinks. Some I can't blog about until a later date, and the other's I'm just too tired to blog about right now. But I did feel it necessary to finally put a new post up, just to let the world know I still exist.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
As for Husband’s management party, well, it was something else. I haven’t danced, sang, laughed and drank so much in a long time. And a large part of the reason we all had such a good time, the band. The band, Radio Daze, was absolutely unbelievable. Along with their massive singing abilities, they yelled and swore at us, dragged defenseless females out onto the dance floor, leapt on top of tables and downed a round of shots with some of the agents and athletes, all without missing a beat of the music or a word of the song. They were so rock n’ roll and if I wasn’t already married, no doubt they would be the band to play at my wedding. They were the centrepiece of the night and absolutely the reason we all enjoyed ourselves so damn much.
Once again, for a little visual effect, I've added some photos. It just helps paint a picture of the evening that words cannot. Enjoy.
There is the band, Radio Daze.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Kim Kardasian, who you may or may not have heard of, was having her birthday party at the night club in our hotel last night. She is basically a socialite who is famous for being famous, but has never really done anything to justify the fame, yet somehow she has managed to get her own reality show, was on the US version of Dancing with the Stars and is dating an NFL football player by the name of Reggie Bush.
So knowing that the club was going to be crazy with people trying to get a look at Ms. Kardasian and her NFL hunk, we planned ahead by getting one of the managers of the club to hook us up with a VIP pass. Cos that’s how we like to roll. We had our own curtained off area that looked down onto the dance floor and table full of pre-ordered booze that was served to us by our very own big boobied, short skirted, Vegas style bar maid.
The night was so much fun and cos really I’m too hung over to keep blogging and thinking, I’m just going to let the photos speak for themselves. Well, some of them anyway, the rest will just go in a vault somewhere, never to be seen again.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Previously the whole US tax thing never scared me, cos I was a resident of another country, so Uncle Sam couldn’t touch me. Now however, I have become a US resident and Uncle Sam wants his share. The only thing is, I have no idea how to go about giving it to him. I don’t know why, but y’all here in the US of A, have a very complicated system when it comes to tax paying, which is a large part of the reason I have assumed the ostrich* position on the issue. That and the fact that Husband had told me not to worry about it, cos we were filing jointly, so I didn’t. Only one day the thought struck me, “wait a second, if you haven’t done your taxes in years, and we are filing jointly, then that means if you are going down, then I’m going down too? Ok, that sh*t ain’t happen’in, let me go get myself an education on US tax sorting out of receipts, tax filling out of forms and tax sending of the money to the government, or if luck be on our side, collecting of a rebate.
I told Husband that we needed to get it together on the taxes. That its time to play grown ups and finally get on top of the situation. I also insisted I be apart of the process, that way I could learn and know what I was doing every year the taxes were due. Husband said, “Oh, you want to be part of the process? You want to learn? No problem, here you go” and he handed me a huge stack of invoices, receipts, bank statements, credit card statements and expense reports to sort through. The good news was, that was just for 2007. There were many more piles where that came from for 2006 and 2005. What had I let myself in for?
So for the past 2 days, I’ve been locked up in my tower, ala Rapunzel style, combing my way, not through hair, but piles of receipts and documents in an effort to organize and re-organize them into their proper years, categories and sub categories. It’s a slow, soul-destroying process that has caused me to develop the posture, back pain and ass numbness of a women in her late 90’s. I also think my mental health is in danger, cos I often catch myself talking to the receipts. “Now where did you come from? What pile am I suppose to put you in? Oh, I suppose you so special, you want a pile all to yourself, like you is exclusive of some’in”. I even do accents, you know, for the receipts and expenses from other countries. “May wee, leetal receipt, where ‘ave you come from?” That’s my French accent in case you were wondering.
But there you have it. I wanted to help and learn, so here I am, helping and learning my ass off. All in the name of giving the government my share and more importantly, keeping myself from ever having to meet and befriend Bertha.
* Ostrich Position: burying ones head in the sand on important issues, in the hope that they will 1. sort themselves out, or 2. just go away.
This is my current work space. Trust me, its organized chaos. But you can see why my brain is close to being fried right now.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
This little guy pulled no punches in getting his message out there loud and clear. He used his mad computer skills, tapped into his creative side (notice the jolly font and cute ballons) and even hired an assistant (as eveident by the random hand left of shot) to help get his message across. And boy did he ever.
See how he nailed the presentation.
"Baby Paul, thank you so much for all your hard work. I know it may not have turned out exactly as you planned, but that was probably your assistants fault. It's so hard to find good help these days ; )"
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Each and every year I wait for the clock to strike midnight on October the 14th and move itself onto the 15th, cos that is MY day and I want to enjoy every second of it. Sleeping just gets in the way of some good birthday activities. And this year was no different. I kicked the day off by meeting my friend Martina for a training session, followed by a birthday cappuccino. Then it was back for a quick shower, before I met another friend, Derval, for lunch.
We drove out to a little restaurant in Clontarf, which is right on the Dublin coast and enjoyed some yummy sea food while discussing the break up of Madonna's marriage to Guy Richie, husband's and boyfriend's, the latest track gossip, clothes and shoes.
Afterwards Husband and I went strolling along the sea front of Malahide checking out the yacht's of some of Ireland's rich and famous, while getting the heads blown off us by the high winds. We endured it for as long as we could but eventually had to escape the elements by ducking into a local chipper for some fine greasy food.
From there it was onwards to Kildare to meet up with my parents and my younger brother for a bit of a birthday dinner. My older brother Edward, that's him next to me in the photo, was working late, so after dinner we dropped down to see him and his wife, Sarah.