Monday, March 31, 2008

Trying To Make Things Right

I’m lousy at keeping in touch. I have lost contact with so many amazing people I went to Secondary School (High School) and College with and I hate that about myself. I can’t explain exactly why this happens or maybe I can. Its not that I don’t ever think or wonder about them, but something happens, or doesn’t happen between the thinking and wondering and the actual writing of an e-mail or making of a phone call. But having said that there are some people I have managed to stay in touch with. The die-hards. The ones that will never go away no matter how many weeks go past before I return an e-mail, text message or phone call. They know me well and as a result will not let me off the hook when it comes to the keeping in touch side of things. I love them for it.

One such friend is Sinead Galvin or just Galvin as we like to call her. Galvin and I have been friends since we were about 11 years old. She was a track athlete and I was a track athlete and we belonged to rival clubs. But somehow we both managed to bridge the competitive gaps that divided us and became good friends. She even ended up being maid-of-honor on my wedding day.

However, at this point I have to come clean on another negative thing about myself and that is my awful, awful memory when it comes to names and dates or basically anything to do with numbers. I have to hear it a million times before I will remember what time you said we were meeting at. I will not remember a phone number if you tell it to me, I must, must see it written down if I’m to have any shot at retaining it. I’m so bad that often I have to turn to Husband for assistance if someone asks me what my fastest time for a 200m or 300m is. Seriously, its that bad. And now everything is done with PIN’s and passwords and personal access codes, so you can imagine how ugly things get for me.

So even though we have been friends for all these years, I still, each and every year manage to forget Galvin’s birthday. On a good year, I’m just late. I’ll remember but I end up being a few days or weeks off the actual day. But for the most part, I just plain forget. And this year was no exception. But luckily, it was a good year. I was just late, 2 weeks late.

So in order to make it up to Galvin, I felt the need to go that extra mile in wishing her a Happy Birthday. So I dug deep into the creative part of my brain and decided that I would draw up a little sign that said “HAPPY BIRTHDAY GALVIN” and carry it around with me for a week, asking random people to hold it up and show their love and support for her special day.

Here are just a few of the people I managed to grab.

Some kids on the Marietta High School Track Team.

The wonderful Jen, Husband's assistant.

Husband himself. Fintan (the cat) is actually up there in the tree too.

Our new Intern, Gordy was planning to jump onto the Police motorcycle for this shot, but lost his nerve.

Me & some random fan at the Ice Hockey game.

Some kids at the Georgia Aquarium.

Front Desk staff at The Cheesecake Factory (it's a restaurant).

Our server, James at Flying Biscuit.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Nice To Meet You

This weekend we finally got to meet and hangout with our new nephew, Paul. He is now just 10 days old, so he's still very much in the wormy scwormy stage. Everything about him is so tiny and delicate and soft and he has a talent for making everything he does very cute and adorable, even the gross stuff like spit-up. We all gooo and gaaa in amazement, "oh look, how cute, he spit-up". He doesn't have many tricks yet, but I'm sure at the rate he's eating and growing, those days are not very far away.

Here are just a few of the dozens of pictures we took.

Already a Patriots fan. Poor kid has no idea the emotion that goes along with this territory.
Snug as a bug.

Nothing like a shot of spit-up to give you a reality check. Husband got a bit flustered and confused by the experience, bless him.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Miserable (a la French pronunciation)

I’ve been struggling with a cold for the past week. That’s why the blog updates have been kind of slow. Colds suck man. Your not really sick, like a flu where you have to stay in bed for many days, but your obviously not really healthy either. You can still get on with your daily commitments but cos of your cold; everything feels so much harder and more draining then normal. I’ve had to dig deep into my physical and emotional reserve to try and get through my week and as a result I’ve been slightly moody and irritable.

Then there is the constant blowing of the nose and the bad nights sleep cos if my inability to breath. Also, when I lie on my left side, I can feel all the congestion blocking up the left side of my head and face. If I then turn to my right side, I can feel the same congestion, shifting to now block up everything on the right. It’s so uncomfortable and a little gross I guess.

Anyway, hopefully I’m nearing the end of my misery. I’ve been lashing the vitamin C into me and I seem to be getting there, slowly but surely.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Can Anyone Relate To This Pain??

I know some of my track friends out there will be able to relate to the pain I captured in these pictures yesterday.

My friend Jeremy is a 400m hurdler and I’ve been putting him through his paces for the 2 weeks his been here. Yesterday he had a real ball breaker of a session. We’re talking 450m’s, 300m’s 250m’s and 200m's, with 2 minutes recovery. Lets just say the lactic was flowing.

This is just the begining. He's finished the first run, which was a 450m. Hurting just a bit, mostly out of breath.
Now the lactic is pumping. At this point he's done a 450m, 300m, 250m & 200m. The good news is, he has 6min "rest" before he repeats it all again.
He's trying to get to his feet, but it's really not happening.
O.k, we're on the feet, but barely.

Fast forward to the end of his second set and this is what we're left with. Just a shadow of his former self. He managed to move from this extended fetal position into regular fetal, but thats about all he could manage for at least 10 minutes.

This is just me getting artsy fartsy with my camera.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Friday Night Lights

Last night I went to my first Ice Hockey game. Jeremy’s 2-week visit has given me the opportunity to be a tourist in my own city. Neither of us knows much about the sport, only that it’s fast and violent and there is the possibility of a blood bath happening out there on the ice. Not a bad way to spend a Friday evening.

Husband had a new intern start with his company this week, Gordy. He’s originally from Boston and has been playing ice hockey since he was 3 years old. He was very vocal and negative about The South’s ability to play “real” hockey. But we decided to drag him along anyway. He spent the whole drive to the arena prepping us for bad hockey. But this being our first game, Jeremy and I had absolutely no benchmark of what an excellent hockey game looked like.

We were hoping to get seats right behind the glass so we could experience the full emotion of the game and more importantly, be right there when the players where getting slammed up against it. But no such luck. Our tickets were about mid-way. No problem, we got totally into the game. The crowd was loud and abusive. The music was being pumped out at such a volume that our seats were vibrating. The snacks and drinks were severely over priced and the men on the ice were big and strong and aggressive. It was great.

The Thrashers (Atlanta team) were winning 3-1 with only 8 minutes left in the game. But The Capitals (team from Washington) turned it on, or, The Thrashers just switched off, cos we ended up getting spanked. The final score was 3-5. But no big deal. We were just there for the experience. And we weren’t disappointed there.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Totally Inappropriate

So I’ve recently had to interact with this man, who for the sake of the blog we are calling Knob. Knob, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is Irish slang for fool, eejit, loser, whatever, but it’s definitely not a compliment.

The reason for the negative name is that this guy is totally inappropriate all the time. From my first meeting with Knob he was making these gross smutty jokes and comments about women and our varies bit and pieces. I swear it caught me completely off guard. I was so confused and surprised when it happened, that my only reaction was this nervous laugh, along with a pair of wide eyes. Bare in mind we were in a business meeting. We weren’t just hanging out, having the craic. Not that that makes it’s any better, but you certainly don’t expect someone to reveal their nasty side in a professional setting, right off the bat. Anyway, I let it go largely cos I couldn’t believe what I just heard. I drove off confused, wondering if I just imagined the whole encounter.

We’ve worked together a couple of times since. On one occasion I was totally absorbed in my work. I was in the zone and oblivious to my surroundings. Next thing Knob is right there, sitting next to me. I had no idea where he came from but it sure shocked the hell out of me for a split second. I acknowledged his presents and kept going with my work. But he leans in close to my left ear and whispers “have you seen that lady over there? I lift my head slightly to see a lady standing close by with her back to us. “I’ve been working her hard (as in, he's been chatting her up) for the past 15 minutes, I think she’s hot, a real MILF”. Eeeeeuuuu. This guy is something else. Oh, and did I mention he’s married, with kids??

But the fun doesn’t stop there. He was around again the other day looking all tanned. So I asked if he’d been away for the weekend. He said, no, that he has a sun bed in his basement. Summer is coming and he felt the need to get his tan on. Ok, que the face with the crinkly nose, and the “seriously?” expression. For some reason, a grown ass man with a sun bed in his basement doesn’t scream REAL MAN to me. It screams total KNOB.
I hope you don’t get your cancer on too” was my response. He assured me we were all going to die someday anyway, which of course was news to me. Then he took it to the nasty place and said he was hoping to die of………………(insert any awful STD here and you wouldn’t be far off the mark). I was disgusted. “Your gross, do you know that? Seriously, you are not hilarious”. But he is such a Knob that he took it as a compliment. He gave a big deep, belly laugh. Like my reaction was just what he was looking for.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no prude. I am in no way innocent and I have laughed hard and shared my fair share of grossness. But there just seems to be some people, Knob for example, that when it comes out of his mouth, it just feels so wrong and uncomfortable. I shudder and start swatting at my arms and legs like I’m trying to cleanse myself of his comments and the imagery they bring to mind. And its beyond me why he thinks its ok to share this stuff with me. Also, if he's this bad talking to a women, how bad must it get when he's hanging out with his male friends? Gross

Note (if you want to know what a MILF is, I suggest you go rent American Pie on DVD)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Congratulations Stephen & Dinara

Husbands brother (Stephen) and wife (Dinara) just had their first baby last night. Its a boy. Paul Richard Doyle. Baby Paul has made us both an aunt and uncle for the first time. That's his chubby little face above.
Unfortunately, we have to wait a week before we can go meet him in person. But I'm sure he won't mind. Gives him a opportunity to catch up on some Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Today is a great day to be Irish or to celebrate all things Irish. So lets pause for a second and think about all the things Ireland has given to the world.
  • Guinness, Whiskey & Baileys
  • Cursing & swearing
  • Ginger haired people
  • Freckles
  • Potatoes
  • Irish stew
  • Leprechauns
  • Harp's
  • Shamrocks
  • Aran jumpers (sweaters, for my American friends)
  • Colin Farrell (although, this may not be a good thing)
  • JFK
  • River Dance
  • The ability to find the humour in EVERY situation
  • The craic
  • Pubs
  • U2 (as in the band)
  • Cups of tea
  • Every shade of green you can imagine
  • Full Irish (only the true Irish or those who have spent a considerable amount of time there will understand this)
  • The Chipper (again, it will make sense to the Irish or people who have visited)
  • And of course, St. Patrick's Day

So in honour of our patron saint, we went to our local Irish pub, Keegans, and had the absolute craic. My friend Jeremy, who is visiting us from Ireland, was only hours off the plane when we whisked him off for a night of ceol agus ol.

Jessica, Jeremy & myself.

The sign says it all.
Slainte, bottoms up ladies & gentleman.
Its hard to tell, but the beer is actually green
Mike, Jessica & myself.

Jeremy & Mike sporting the colours of Ireland.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I'm Sorry, I Don't Speak Man

Plumber arrived today. Halleluiah. And water has been restored.

I took plumber to the bathroom that’s under construction and pointed out where everything was going to go. Showers, sinks and toilets had all been marked out and Husband had drilled me on what I was to tell him and what I was to ask, since he wasn’t going to be here for plumber’s arrival. It was all going fine until plumber started reading from his own script. He was throwing question after question at me with words like “valves, pipe lines, drainage, systems”. My brain was spinning. I was in panic mode and my only thoughts were “oh shit”. I know he must have seen pure terror in my face, but he was still paused, waiting for answers. I was frozen. He repeated the questions again. Honestly, he could have repeated them all day long. Put them in a fancy poem, wrote a song, free styled it all and bust some moves and I still would not have understood.

In the mean time, electriction shows up. He too has a whole bunch of questions for me about wires, currents, voltage, breakers and lord knows what else. I’m in complete mental overload. My thoughts are racing and I think I feel a hot flush coming on. I need to get control.

Ok, boys, as you can clearly see, I am a girl. Whatever you’re all asking me right now, I don’t know the answers to. I don’t understand. I don’t speak man. All I know is that I want a fabulous bathroom, with water that comes out when I turn the tap, a toilet that flushes when I push the knob and lights that come on when I flick the switch. Whatever you have to do to make all that happen, do it. Any other questions you may have, please, hold them until Husband, who speaks perfect man, comes back.”

As you can see they took me at my word and began to tear up my house. Ceilings were pulled down and walls were busted through. I can only hope it was all necessary and that they weren’t just having the craic, at my expense.

This is the ceiling in our foyer. Nice, hah?

This is the wall in the downstairs office. Bare in mind the bathroom is upstairs, but plumber assured me one of the pipes he needs to move, is running through here.

Fintan doesn't trust him and begins his own search for said pipe.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Held Hostage by a Plumber

You may have read a couple of blogs back that we are renovating one of our bathrooms. Lovely. Well Husband was in the throws of demolition yesterday, when he hit a snag, or more accurately a pipe. Yes, he was going man crazy with his power tools and managed to cut into a metal pipe, causing a slight leak. So all the water had to be shut off. Ok, not a problem, since the plumber was scheduled to come today (Wednesday) to re-pipe for the new showers and sinks. So we only needed to suck up the lack of water for less than 24 hours.

However, plumber called to say, “so sorry, but won’t be able to make it until Thursday”.
Are ya kidding me?? An extra day?? No can do. Not only am I not able to do my dishes or laundry, but I can’t shower, wash my hands, face, brush my teeth or pee. The pee thing is killing me. For those of you near and dear to me, you know I pee, A LOT. I’m a constant drinker of water and as a result, I’m a constant presents on the loo. When I fly, I must always have the aisle seat, cos I’m up and down to the bathroom so much. At home we have it down, but when we travel, Husband knows that the side of the bed I sleep on, is determined by the quickest route to the bathroom. It’s just the way it is.

But now my tiny bladder and over active kidneys are being pushed to the limit. It’s killing me. I’m like a dehydrated camel. I’ve really cut back on my fluids and I’m in a constant battle to fight the urge to pee until I have to go out and run an errand. Never have I been more excited to be at work, purely for the accessibility of a bathroom.

How dare plumber do this to me. He is using the power of his wrench and his low-rider jeans with the peek a boo crack to hold me hostage. Its not hilarious and he better not call to cancel again. My crampy stomach just can’t take it another hour.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Language Barrier

Let me just say, the people of Valencia have zero English and I have teeny tiny Spanish. Which made for a very long and difficult trip back from the stadium to my hotel last night.

A bunch of us jumped on some public transportation i.e the bus, after the events of Saturday night wrapped up on the track. We had no idea if it was the right bus for where we were headed but as long as it was city bound we’d figure it out. It did take us into the city. The others were staying at a different hotel to me, so they hopped off while I remained on, confident the bus was headed onwards towards my hotel. But it took a left, then a few rights and some more lefts. Ok, now my internal compass had well and truly been turned on its head. I asked the person next to me if she spoke English? She looked like a student, so I was secretly hoping she was a student of my language.

But she looked at me blankly. I said it again “english?”. She said, “No, no englais” but still proceeded to give me what I can only assume was her life story, in Spanish. She went on and on nodding and pointing and throwing hand gestures all around the place. Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla…….bla blao. I was looking at her in amazment. Was she serious? I tried to cut her off. I shock my head from side to side and said “Por favor, no espanol”, so shut up. But she was having none of it, “si si” was all she said and went on with her story. So I stopped giving her eye contact hoping that even in Spain, that ment the person you were talking to was no longer listening or interested. But she was not to be stopped. I decided to bail and find a taxi. I got off at the next stop and Student was still trying to tell me something as I was getting off. I just waved “peace out”. As the bus pulled away it dawned on me that I didn’t have a clue where I was. Shit, what if Student was trying to tell me “No, you must not get off here. These are the ghetto’s of Valencia. You will be robbed, raped or murdered within 5 minutes”. Now I was starting to feel nervous. My first thought was, thank god I didn’t wear heels today, cos I have a feeling I may need to run.

I begin walking and franticly looking for taxi’s. But no sign. I’m heading towards the busiest areas. I need to have lots of people around, so there will be plenty of witnesses to my abduction. It took about half an hour, but I eventually got a taxi, this guy, no English either. I just told him the name of my hotel “Holiday Inn por favor”. That was all the encouragement HE needed to start HIS life story. Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla HOTEL bla bla bla bla bla HOLIDAY INN bla bla bla bla. These were the only key words I picked up and so I was all “si, si Holiday Inn”. So off we went. But wouldn’t you know there are a billion Holiday Inn’s in this town, so I got taken to the wrong one, twice.

This was getting seriously frustrating, so I decided to get out of the taxi at the second Holiday Inn so I could ask them for the address of the one I’m actually staying at. The reception lady had excellent English, my god, the relief. She told me it was a 15 minute walk. I refused to walk. I had been lost enough times tonight and at this stage all my friends are waiting for me in a bar downtown. I told her to just call me a taxi. “No, no, its 15 minutes you must walk. Here is the map”. Me, “no, no, I’m done walking, taxi por favor”. Her “no, its 15 minutes, here is the map”. I see the damn map. I don’t want it. I want to be safely delivered to my door. But she refuses. I take the f*#king map and walk off in complete hostility. As I march my way toward my hotel I am hot. I’ve had it up to my face with this place for one night and even though he is not with me, he’s in meetings somewhere, I decide its all Husbands fault. I haven’t figured out how yet, but give me a second and I can become very creative. I mean, it’s hardly my own, right??

But I made it “home”. And had like 5 minutes to get ready and head out to meet the others so we could test out the cities nightlife. This city owes me something. And you best believe I took 50 business cards with me that had the address, phone number and e-mail of my hotel. Lesson well and truly learned.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Hola Hembras

I’m in Spain. Valencia to be more precise. Husband and I have traveled here for the World Indoor Championships (in Track & Field). So exciting. I’ve been to Valencia before, in fact, this is where I started off my career as a professional athlete back in 1998. The European Indoor’s were held here that year and I ran the 400m, for Ireland obviously. Oh, the memories. But I didn’t get to do much of the tourist thing back then, it was all business and I’m not too sure I’ll get to do much of it now either. I have a lot of friends competing , so I’m going to be up to my eyes with cheer leading duties.

Anyway, I’ve literally just arrived at our hotel and I’m so tired. It feels like I’ve been traveling for 56 hours. In reality it’s probably been about 16, but when your head is foggy from jet-lag, every little thing feels more dramatic then it needs to be.
I have to say I don’t enjoy flying. I love being in new and not so new places, but the actual flying? Hate it. Its not that I’m scared, it’s just that I hate to be stuck in a tiny seat for all those hours with lord knows what type of random character showing up in the seats next to you and around you. And all that recycled air. That really bothers me. Especially when I hear someone sneezing or coughing. The very thought that those airborne germs are now going to get recycled and re-pumped right back at me for the next however many hours, makes me just want to reach for my SARS mask. I can only hope my immune system is up to par.
Also I’m one of those people that doesn’t sleep on flights. I wouldn’t say I get zero sleep, but 10 minutes here and there to me, is not sleeping. In those rare minutes I do get to pop off, I’m a real twitcher and jumper. Yes, I am that person next to you who suddenly jolts around like they’ve just been poked with a cattle prod. Its pure embarrassment and I regularly try to play it off like I suddenly got a cramp and needed to quickly adjust my position. I know nobody’s buying it, but it helps ease my shame a little.

I’m going to wrap it up. My eyes are heavy and my brain is going to that weird silly place it likes to go to when I’m sleep deprived. You know where your own body starts to feel way too heavy, you say and laugh at the stupidest things and your so messed up you don’t know if your tired, hungry, happy or sad? But recoverd or not, I will step up and do my best to have a blast this weekend.

(A trip down memory lane. Me in the blocks at a race in Prague, Czech Republic, 2004. I couldn't find one from Valenica 1998, but I'll keep looking.)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

One Busy Day

Today, Husband and I were truly domesticated. We kicked the morning off in the garden tackling 2 trees that have been in dire need of a trimming. The branches were so out of control, you could easily have lost an eye by just walking out the front door or picking up the mail.
In the afternoon I played my first ever game of Softball with some friends of ours and I have to say, I didn’t suck. I’ve never played the game before and was nervous I would just end up spinning around on the home plate as a result of big missed efforts at hitting the hell out of the ball. But I managed to hit the hell out of the ball.
Then we got back to the house and began to tear up the bathroom. Yes, we are finally renovating our main bathroom into 2 much-needed separate bathrooms. So armed with hammers and drills and crowbars we began to bet the crap out of the place. We tore down walls, ripped up floors and pulled out sinks and toilets. Right now the place resembles a war zone and it’s hard to picture the final fabulous result. It’s going to be quite the process, we're already bickering and fighting, but hopefully it'll be worth it.

And lastly, its mother’s day in Ireland today, so “Happy Mother’s Day Mam". I'm not going to write anything mushy. You know its not my style. Plus, we talked for over an hour on the phone this morning, so you know yourself. XOXO