Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Who Does That?

Who shows up to photography class with no camera? If there was a world record for raising ones hand in the air, then I just smashed it. GUILTY, "I" show up to photography class with no camera. Don't ask me what I was thinking, cos clearly, I wasn't. And having to borrow the teachers camera of one of the assignments, meant having to say out loud, to the whole class, "Hi my name is Karen and I show up to photography class without a camera". "Hi Karen". Oh the shame, and you call yourself a professional??

Who hears a simple question like "What's your favorite color?" and immediately goes into panic mode? Once again, GUILTY.
Its a simple question right? But for some reason it triggered a very stressful and unnecessary internal dialogue with oneself. Its pink, my favorite color is pink, so why couldn't I just say it and own it without all the drama. For some reason it felt like a trick question, like the answer was somehow suppose to reflect something deeper. So instead of announcing loud and proud, I tried to figure out where this was going. Why do they want to know? What is the right answer? If I say pink will I be perceived as feeble and girlie? So maybe I should go with black, I do wear a lot of black and black feels tougher, stronger and more independent, right? OMG! what to say, what to say? What's wrong with being girlie anyway? I am a girl after all. Eff it, here I go "Hi my name is Karen and I like pink". "Hi Karen".

Monday, March 29, 2010

I Blame The Lucky Charms

Its ok to sound Irish”, was what Husband said to me the other day when I hung up the phone. He’d been listening to me chatting and noted my effort in trying to sound less Irish. And its true, when I’m talking to new people, people who don’t yet know me very well, I work hard at toning down the accent. Not because I’m embarrassed, ashamed or don’t want to stand out, but because I’m trying desperately to avoid “The Lucky Charms” experience.

True story, when I first moved to the US I found myself in a conversation with someone who’d just been introduced to me. We were doing the usual small talk and chit-chat stuff you do with someone you just met, when all of a sudden dude discovers I’m Irish and right out of nowhere yells “Where’s me Lucky Charms?” It scared the bejaysus out of me and with a nervous laugh I began scanning the room for a couple of guys in white coats to tackle this man to the floor and have him readmitted to the crazy ward.

Later Husband, who was Boyfriend at the time, explained that Lucky Charms was in fact a popular American cereal who’s branding was based largely around a jolly Leprechaun famous for uttering the catch phrase “Where’s me Lucky Charms?”. Oooh, well that explains it. Dude wasn’t crazy, he was just trying to be funny. And now I knew.

The second time it happened, the second time the infamous Leprechaun words were yelled (don’t ask me why people feel the need to yell) at me I was ready. This time I laughed knowingly. I was in the loop. I got it. However, the joke gets old very quickly and when you’ve been yelled at for the 500,078th time “Where’s me Lucky Charms?” it ceases to be funny. But I try not to be rude. Every new person who yells it truly believes that they are being completely original. That no one else has had the wit or wisdom to come up with such a funny Irish connection before now. So I laugh politely to avoid any hurt feelings but make a note to work on toning down the Irishness next time I’m introduced to someone. Just until we get over that initial bump and any urge they may have to yell cereal catch phrases my way.

Here is an image of the Leprechaun who is causing all the problems. This little guy really has some explaining to do.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Love-Hate Stuff

Technology: Love it because it keeps me connected, organized, efficient?? (when I'm not getting side tracked by Facebook, blogs, You Tubes etc, I guess I'm efficient), it now comes in pretty girlie colors and for the most part, its small enough to fit in my purse.

Hate it because I am not by nature a technical person. Technology puts the fear of God in me. I will resist it until I can resist no more. I am stone-age. I am give me a pen and a piece of paper age. I am let me read a book I can smell, feel and add to my bookshelves age. The adding to the shelves is very important. It makes one feel smarter than a 5th grader.
But this week technology has pushed me all the way to the edge. I'm tittering and my new Blackberry almost pushed me over. It arrived at a time when HTML, RSS, Layers and mouse over effects were literally kicking my ass. I had all the technology I could handle and now the new Blackberry shows up in a box full of little cables, booklets, CD's and SIM cards. I wanted to cry. So I did what any sane girl would do, I had a 20 second breakdown (angry words accompanied by almost tears) stuffed new Blackberry in a drawer and pretended it never existed. And now I'm begging and bartering with Husband to take this one technical task off my hands. To remove the phone from my sight and just hand it to me when its set up and ready for action. So far no joy, but I'm not done begging and I can be very annoying when I want to be.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Solace Sabotage

I know its not a library, the bookstore that is, but for some reason, and I believe I'm not alone, when I go to the bookstore I immediately adapt the behavior of a library. My phone goes on silent and I become very aware of the tone and volume of my voice. So imagine my horror last night when I rocked up to the bookstore with the goal of seeking solace in some literature and a green tea and instead found myself with a ringside seat to the cellphone conversation of a teenage girl in the midst of some BFF drama. And we are talkin some major drama. The elevated voice, the waving of the hands and the slapping of the thighs were all tell tale signs that things between these teenage girls, were very serious indeed. "Do you know what she had said?" "....and then I was like" "....Oh no, you don't do me like that" ".....who she think she is?" "and then she was be'in all emotional and I was like, "girl, why you bin all emotional?""
On and on teenage girl went. Saying the same stuff. Going over the same issues at a volume best suited for a crowed night club and not the tranquility of a bookstore. Myself and my fellow bookstore'ers (new word, not yet in dictionary but is used in reference to people who hang out in bookstores. No I didn't just make it up, how dare you) exchanged knowing and supportive glances. Supportive in the hope that 1. teenage girl would wear herself out 2. lose her voice 3. her phone battery would die. Things were looking up when teenage girl uttered the words "hold on hold on, girl wait. My battery's about to die. No, no, I got it right here. Hold on" Are ya kidding me? Teenage girl had her phone charger with her, in her purse and the cheeky little thing starts dragging her chair (more noise) over to the nearest outlet, plugs herself in and without missing a beat is off and running her mouth again. I couldn't take it anymore. This attack on my solace, my me and quiet time was totally premeditated. How rude and I try my best to communicate this to her telepathically and with aggressive, disapproving facial expressions. But she's oblivious and can only think about how she is gonna handle herself once she gets to school tomorrow, "I'ma wait and see what she has to say". And with that, I was out.

However, I hate to end my blog/rant on an aggressive note, so I thought I'd include this silhouette of Husband & Dexter, taken just before sun-set this evening and I believe this is the waltz they're practicing.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Yes, it was that time of year again, the time when it's great to be Irish, although it wasn't so great trying to get into an Irish pub yesterday and believe me, we tried 3. Wall to wall and ceiling to floor packed full of people, Irish and otherwise. We couldn't get in the door, never mind finding our way to the bar for a green beer and some chicken tenders, so we left. We left and made our way to a traditional American Sports bar where there was just as much craic but also the ability to grab a seat and order a beverage with some food. Wait a second, I just re-read my last sentence, wow do I sound old mature. Gone are the days when I would see a packed out pub and think "sweet, this place is jumpin, better hurry up and get inside". Now I see the same packed out pub and think "No, this place is jammers. They'll be no seats, no hope of getting to the bar, a queue out the door for the toilet and I won't be able to hear myself think let alone talk". Maturity really does sneak up on a girl when she least expects it.

Anyway, here are a few snaps from our very "mature" St. Patrick's Day celebration.

Chief of Shamrock Police for the evenings festivities was of course my good self. There's me flashing my badge to prove it. Among my many duties was to maintain a very high level of craic and to make sure nobody's beer ever ran empty.

I don't know what Fanz was drinkin but it appears to have taken her head to a place far far away. A place of leprechauns and shillelaghs

This is Nikki and Cuppy. Nikki is Jamaican but this day she went all out flying the green of Ireland. Here we have her fabulous ear-rings.

Which also went well with her green shoes and high-end green and white Coach purse. "Dang Nikki, you went all Atlanta Housewives on us"

Monday, March 15, 2010

I know Me So Well

I've been working on a project most of last week. A project that is focused on an area which is not a big strength of mine. An area I find challenging, frustrating and emotional. But I'm near the end, maybe one more days effort and it could be complete. I say "could be complete" cos lets be honest here, when something is that challenging for an individual such as myself, I will work hard filling my available time up with anything and everything possible just to avoid going the rounds with my computer. All of a sudden my house needs to be cleaned from top to bottom. And those gutters, well Lord knows when they were last cleared. And while I'm at it I may as well pour the foundation of the new house we're planning on building. You see, so many things need my attention, how could I possibly find the time to put into my project?

Oh the games we play. Luckily I know myself well enough to realize that all I'm doing in participating in a game of avoidance. If it was a yoga pose, I would call it "The Ostrich Pose" because of its head in the sand style reaction to any and all signs of challenge and danger. So with this valuable insight into all things "me", I'm able to push on and force the tantrum throwing kid inside me to sit her ass down and get focused. Its not easy I can tell you, I'm very stubborn when I want to be.

Last week I also forgot to write a fair-well to Peter and Michaela. Peter is a 1500m runner from South African and he and his adorable wife had been staying with us for the past 6 weeks and when I tell you they were the perfect house guests, I am not lying. Every day I came home from work they had a hot meal waiting for me. They baby-sat Dexter (which believe me is a serious challenge I would hesitate to wish on anyone) and Fintan when we needed to duck out of town and they scoured the forrest for firewood when the snowy evening was upon us. They were just a big fat pleasure to have around and the house is not the same without them right now.

This photo was taken at the local supermarket. Why? Why not. We just happened to have a camera. In it we have Peter, Michaela (told you she was adorable), Myself & Cuppy (short for Cupcake)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hell Ya I'm Fabulous

Today it rained. Today it rained in a way that could only be best described by those who wrote The Bible. Rain of biblical proportions. Noah's Ark ain't got nothin on us today. Its still raining as I type. It many never stop.

I've been indoors most of the day. There was no real reason for me to venture outside getting my hair all messed up and what not, or so I thought. Dexter had other ideas. Dexter is a dog with lots of energy. He needs space, he needs to be free, he needs to run. Rain keeps Dexter inside and Dexter does not like this. Having reached my breaking point with his chewing up of half the house and basic terrorizing of Fintan, I decided it was time for some drastic action. Both of us were going to have to go for a walk in the Biblical rain. Lord save us.

But rain or not, there is absolutely no reason for a girl such as myself, not to look her most fabulous as she miserably walks her dog in the continuous downpour with the odd flash of lighting and clap of thunder. No reason what so ever. So I put on my most fabulous wet suit, over the cutest little wellies (goulashes I believe is the American word) and hooded it up over a baseball cap. God I can be so trendy it hurts. I have a strong feeling my look will be picked up by many a high end fashion house and debuted as early as Fall/Winter 2011. Seriously, keep an eye out for it.

Here are my cute little wellies. A gift from my very fashion forward parents and perfect for the weather we're having right now.

That is one wet dog but one fabulous dog owner.

This is Dexter's way of thanking me for taking him out. But honestly, no thanks were needed, especially the slobbery, wet kind.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Growing Like A Weed

He's cute as a button and I'm not just saying that cos I'm his aunt, my whole family agrees that my nephew is adorable. Its been 6 months since I've seen the little guy and let me just say, 6 months in baby terms, is a long time. On our last meeting Evan was, for want of a better word, follicle(y) challenged, think Marlon Brando in his later years and food was still being served a la liquidation (yes, I believe I'm making up words here, so just go with it, its what I do). Now however he has cultivated himself a very fine head of hair and everything, I mean everything, edible of otherwise goes straight into his mouth full of new teeth. He's building an extensive vocabulary in a language designed by himself and working tirelessly on his walking/sprinting skills. All in all while my back was turned, my nephew has been growing like a weed and it was really cool to hang with him all weekend and celebrate the milestone of his 1st birthday.

Evan was cool enough to allow me tag along to one of his daily trips to the Fun Factory and of course I was that annoying aunt with the camera in his face for a small part of the fun, but he didn't seem to mind, actually he thought it was quite funny.

This is the face of a baby post trip down the slide.

Everything in his opinion, looks good enough to eat.

When you ask him to smile, this is what you get. Cutie

Evan's beverage of choice. What a sophisticated little boy. Maybe he's part french.

This is him ordering me to get him a glass.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bring On The Bouncy Castle

I'm back in the homeland for a big party. This weekend my nephew turns 1 year old and never one to miss a good party, I've flown to Ireland to help him celebrate. Rumor has it there will be cup-cakes, chocolate as far as the eye can see and drinks of the fizzy, artificial coloring kind normally reserved for the banned list due to its hyper-active properties. But on Saturday, all bets are off. Toddlers and grown-ups alike will be pumped full of sugar and things may very well teeter on the side of "out of control". Throw a big old bouncy castle into the mix and all I can say is "look out kids, Shinks is not afraid to use her elbows in an effort to get on that bouncy castle first". Bring your A-Game children and bring on the bouncy castle.

Monday, March 1, 2010

All My Children

When you've gone from having 1 pet to now having 2, there is low level desire of wanting to keep the attention showered on both as evenly divided as possible. However, when you have a dog thats still very much a puppy in his mannerisms, is a complete loose cannon and resembles the proverbial bull in a china shop, then your focus tends to be hijackred in one particular direction. Taking your eyes off him is not an option. It can lead to disasters of an enormous kind. As a result the kitty cat, who is the absolute perfect pet, gets lost in the drama.

So having spent a bit of time snapping a few photos of Dexter this past weekend, I felt it only fair to also grab some of little Fintan. Fintan is definitely much calmer than Dexter but a little more challenging to shoot. He prefers to do his own thing and if you want to take some photos, then by all means go for it, just don't expect him to do any kind of sitting, staying or posing. He's all about the candid.

This morning he found his way into, onto and next to the car, so I followed along as inconspicuously as possible and tried to capture the candid.

But guess who showed up wondering what was going on? Yep, our little bull, Dexter. And since I didn't have the heart not to, I took a few more of him too but changed things up with a little Black & White action.