Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wild Night......Not

Its just approaching 7.30am on New Years Day and yours truly is up. Wide awake and alert. Well, wide awake at least. “Why you up so early Shinks, on this a global holiday? Perhaps you just got your disheveled, one shoe on, one shoe off, mascara running down the face self in from some jam packed bar, club or house party?”
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.

Happy New Year

It's New Years Eve and I just got off work extra early, score, and I don't have to show my face for the rest of the week, major score. As of right now I have no big plans, but I have a sneaky feeling that if I follow the many champagne rivers that will be floating around the city tonight, all will lead to some pretty serious New Years celebrations.

So HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone. Have a fun, festive and safe night.

On The Road Again

It’s now time to pack up, leave the Emerald Isle and go back to our base in Atlanta. I say base cos we’ll only be there for 3 days, enough time to unpack, re-pack, show a face at work for a few days, then hit the road one more time to visit Husband’s family in Boston.

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 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.

Merry Christmas Y'all

We made it to Ireland. I survived the last minute shopping, so now its time to kick back and enjoy these brief days with the family, eating, eating, eating some more and showering each other with the fruits of our laborious shopping trips.

So have a very Merry Christmas everyone. I’ll work hard at getting my blogging frequency back on track soon enough.

A Little Dramatic? Maybe

Christmas is fast approaching and I'm definitely feeling the pressure. As per usual, I have left everything until the last second and I mean everything, including where Husband and I were going to spend this festive season.

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.

Ladies Night

Last weekend myself and some of my best girlfriends decided to enjoy a dinner at one of Atlanta’s finer eateries, “The Sun Dial” restaurant. This is a revolving restaurant that sits on top of one of the tallest buildings in downtown Atlanta and as you can imagine, has just the most amazing views, especially at night.

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.

A civilized group shot, captured before the wine arrived and things began bordering on crazy.

While waiting for dessert to arrive we decided to capture a few pictures of the amazing views of Atlanta, and ourselves.

Trying to get creative with a fabulous booty shot.

"Tyra Banks, you know where to find us, we'll be waiting for your call."

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.

Look who stopped by for a cocktail, Ms. Jackie O, or someone who had had too much to drink and thought she was Jackie O.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pet Rescue

Friday I arrived home from work, anxious to get showered and changed so I could head out for an evening with the girls. Normally when I walk into the house, it’s only a matter of seconds before I’m greeted by the sound of a tiny bell, jingling its way towards me, Fintan. I listen out and I look forward to seeing his little self round the corner and lay on his back at my feet, looking for a belly tickle. He has missed me all day and this is his way of showing it.

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.
Ian wants to hold a blanket out at the base of the tree, start throwing stones in an effort to force him off his perch and rocketing towards the safety or the blanket, but I’m horrified at that idea.

A grown up suggestion comes from Chuck, ladders. But nobody had one ladder long enough to reach him. Chuck however had a couple of ladders that somehow if we could tie together then we had a shot at reaching him. And so began the ladder project.

Once all the ladders were tied together, we had the huge task or trying to negotiate it into place. Honestly, it looked very wobbly and unsafe. But we got it in place and discovered that it could now reach right up to where Fintan was stuck.

It was Chuck who took on the dangerous task of climbing the shaky ladder to rescue my kitty. I would have taken a few photos of the actual rescue, but we were all frozen in silence and doing our best to keep the ladder secure as Chuck worked his way slowly to the top. Thankfully Fintan co-operated and latched onto to Chuck straight away and stayed perfectly still until they made it safely back to earth. My god, the relief. The relief that the ladder did not collapse and send Chuck plummeting to the ground and the relief that my cat was not going to die of hypothermia or starvation up there in the tree.
Big thanks has to go to everyone who pitched in and helped recuse Fintan. But the biggest thanks clearly has to go to Chuck for getting the ladders, setting them up and then climbing those shaky things.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Lets Escape

Since my little Fenway got mangled in a threesome, oops, I mean, a three-car pile-up, I had been riding large in a Ford Escape. Yes, the insurance company hooked me up while I waited patiently for the life assurance policy on Fenway to cash in, and I have to say, “I LOVED IT”. It’s an SUV that doesn’t scream “Soccer Mom”, but it does scream “Sporty”. It’s neither too big, nor too small, it’s simply my Goldilocks, everything about it was just right.

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

Fintan did his best to stop the insurance company showing up to claim back their vehicle by constantly patrolling and securing it's perimeter. Such a loyal kitty.