Thursday, March 30, 2006

Catch up - 30th March 2006

Not much has happened since St. Patty's Day.
We've been prepping for the arrival of TY this Friday (he's now got a bed, blanket and pillow), we've been cleaning and organizing the apartment so that we don't look like slobs when he is here, we've been working our butts off, Luke's been jamming and we've been having a good time on the weekends.
This past weekend, as you can see, we went to the Polish Pub we had been hearing about. Our evening started off in a classy manner... we went for Tapas at a lovely Spanish restaurant in the Grafton Street area called Salamanca where we each had a beautiful glass of Sangria and some Seafood Tapas. Delicious. Once we had eaten Luke and I went to The Porterhouse, a great, packed bar/pub that has TONS of different types of beers and other beverages. As I walked up to the door with Luke I was told to 'Hold on'. The bouncer asked me how old I was. I said 'Twenty-seven'. He laughed and said 'Ya, right'. I laughed and said 'I'll prove it'. and he said 'Oh, you'll prove it, will you?' like he didn't believe me. I pulled out my ID, handed it to him, he had a look and said 'Holy shit. You look so young. You're lucky!'. He actually didn't even believe that I was eighteen. Can you believe it? I'm nine years over the legal age but I still get carded. Gotta love it. From there we headed to the Polish Pub where I met a very enthusiastic gentleman. He danced me around, dipped me around and twirled me around for a half dozen songs (See photo). Luke and I made friends with three polish guys who took us to another pub once we were kicked out of the Polish one (Not because we were bad, simply because it closed early, at 1:00am). The group of us continued on to a few other bars until we settled at one for a while where I got a Guinness spit on me and had to break up a fight between a Croatian gentleman at the bar that I was talking to and an Irish woman that I spoke to. It was pretty messy and unfortunately the spit that was intended for the Irish woman also got all over me! Major bummer. Luke also had a close call with an Irish guy that evening. The locals were restless it seemed. From that bar we went to a final one (a Slovakian bar) that was closing down. The bouncer wouldn't let the guys in but I managed to bat my eyelashes and get us all in. We had a few drinks, made some more friends and then called it a night. All in all it turned out to be a bit of a piss up, but it was definitely good.
Since the weekend we've been working, and working and working and Luke jammed on Monday. The music seems to be going quite well. They're putting together some really incredible songs that you'll all eventually hear.
AND... WELL, TY ARRIVES TOMORROW!!!!! We've got a great week and a half planned for while he's here. The plan is to an absolute blast! The next blog I do will have TONS of fantastic photos. I won't tell you everything that we're doing. I'll keep it a surprise instead. You can hear all about it once he's headed back home. YAY TY!!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

St. Patty's Day

St. Patty's Day.
Luke and I met up with Tom and Sarah downtown by the end of Grafton Street, at 1:30pm which was quite a feat as there were tons and tons of people. In some ways I expected more people but it was FREEZING and HAILING so not everyone ventured out for the parade. The parade was... interesting. Nothing all that Irish about it. American marching bands and cheerleaders and trippy floats with mushrooms and butterflies and things. We didn't get a good look at the floats though as there were about 5 rows of people standing in front of us up and down the entire parade route so we mainly saw bits and bobs of it through people's heads. Once we got our fill of the cold and the parade the four of us found a nice, warm Irish pub to go into for a pint. The first pub we went to was lovely. It was warm and cozy and there were tons of people but somehow Sarah managed to secure us all a table and chairs. About halfway through our pints a traditional Irish band started to play (2 fiddles and one guitar), which was great fun to watch. A gentleman from the crowd entertained everyone by standing up, taking the mic and singing along to Danny Boy. Magic. Everyone cheered him on. It was fantastic. Just the kind of thing you'd hope to see on St. Patty's Day. From there we separated from Tom who had to go to work and then Luke, Sarah and I headed to the Fun Fair in the park. They had rides and hot dogs (Yum!) and bumper cars and a ferris wheel. It was good fun. The three of us started on the Bumper Cars which was just as fun as I remembered it to be. We all giggled and bumped our way around. It was fantastic. From there Sarah and I went on Drop Zone. Luke wasn't interested in going on the scary rides. After that the three of us went on the Ferris Wheel, which was one of the daftest ideas we've ever had. We thought it was freezing when we were on the ground.... it was MIGHTY freezing up there at the top of the wheel. Poor Sarah had never been that cold in her life! For real. After the Ferris Wheel we headed to a vendor and bought a hot dog. It was Yum-my! From there we went to another pub for a pint and by 6:00pm we were all ready to go home. Luke and I went home and took it easy. Hit the sack fairly early as I had to work at the Marine Show over the weekend and had an early bus to catch.
Not much to report for the balance of the weekend. I was put up in the Citywest Hotel out in the middle of no where for Saturday night. Luke was kind enough to meet me for dinner and a sleepover to keep me company. We ended up staying up late with some of my colleagues and waking up with hangovers. Not fun.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Sunday 5th March, 2006 - Bray (South Coast)

We finally made it out to Bray. Luke had been dying to get out there to see Bray Head and the sea but we had just never gotten our shit together and gone.

We got up, ate brekkie and were on the DART at about 1pm. We arrived in Bray around 1:45 and it looked like the sun was trying to shine. Don't get me wrong, it was a lovely, fairly warm day with no rain, but it wasn't as sunny as it could have been.

We started our afternoon by walking along the beach, taking in the waves and the pier and the cute little seaside village itself. Absolutely lovely. I had been there years ago when my parents took Laura, Seamus and I to Ireland for the first time. We visited Father Anselm and he took us to the Bray boardwalk where he sang 'Danny Boy' for us. It was wonderful. This time it was just Luke and I but I still found it wonderful. We walked the length of the beach and then found a little cafe where we sat on the patio enjoying a cappuccino and a cookie in the fresh sea air.

After the cookie we found ourselves walking up to Bray Head. We started up the path and ended up walking halfway to Greystones before we realized that the path we were on didn't head UP the hill, it headed AROUND the hill. It was well worth the jaunt around the hill though as the view of the sea and the cliffs was spectacular as you see from the photos. We doubled back and found the path up the hill. Now, when I say hill, I don't mean something like that big hill at Mooney's Bay/Hog's Back. I mean a REAL hill. Not big enough to be a mountain, but not really small enough to be considered a hill. Let's call it a mounthill, shall we? So... we headed up the side of the mounthill and trudged up. And up. And up. And stop. And try to breathe. And up. And up. And sit down. And up. And up. And... well, you get the picture. We FINALLY made it up the mounthill (In reality it only took us about 20 minutes cause we booted it up the hill but it felt a heck of a lot longer than that). At the top is a massive cross. It was lovely and the view was spectacular. It's on a point of earth that sticks out into the sea (A peninsula, I suppose) so when you're at the top you can see water halfway around it. Amazing. On the way down we took the route that everyone else seemed to be coming up from. When we got to the top of the pathway down we realized that we had taken THE hardest possible route up the mounthill and that everyone else knew the easy, normal way up. We felt like morons but we felt kind of tough cause we did do it the hard way. The way down was priceless. I laughed and giggled pretty much the whole way watching Luke slide around in the mud. It was incredible. Neither of us had shoes with grip so we were hanging off of trees and weeds, sliding down the pathway in the mud, almost losing our balance and face-planting, but we didn't. It was bloody priceless. Hilarious. Even more amusing was the fact that Luke wasn't laughing at it. He was angry that he may be getting a little muddy and he was desperate not to fall as he HATES being dirty. That made me laugh even more. 'Ha ha ha ha.' I would say and 'It's not THAT funny!' Luke would yell. Then 'Ha ha hardy har har (right from the belly)' I would laugh. 'Argghhh!' Luke would shout. Priceless. Bloody priceless.
By the time we got to the bottom my side was splitting I was laughing so hard. And what happened next? On the last step out off of the pathway Luke almost took a nose-dive. I could have DIED laughing! Luke recovered and I contained my laughter and from there we walked to a local pub for a pint on the patio. It was lovely until it started to rain so we moved inside. After the pint we made our way to the DART station and headed home to make dinner and do laundry. All in all, a good, clean fun kind of a day. Enjoy the photos!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Happy Birthday Luke!

Well, I am now 28 and still don't feel old, or mature...It's a good thing!
But my wife now calls me the creepy old man...hahah

The plan for my actual birthday (Saturday) was to have a nice dinner at home and then go out. I wanted and have been craving Indian food so we were doing that for dinner but we'll get to that later.

1st...Friday was my last day at MBNA...this time for good! It felt great! Mind you I enjoyed MBNA Ireland way more then MBNA Canada. But that is done and over with, right now I am sitting at my new desk in my new job (still not sure what it is that I do) and typing this. So Friday was a good day to celebrate.

During the week the guys (band) figured it would be nice to go out and help me celebrate my birthday... I thought it was a good idea as well, plus we finished our 1st 3 song demo, so another excuse to celebrate.

We decied to meet up at the Stags Head, one of my favorite pubs, and go from there for dinner and then continue to party.

We all started to assemble at the Stags Head between 730pm and 830pm. The lads brought their girlfriends as well, so there was a good crowd...and they are all really nice as well. Anyways, Jess and I showed up 1st followed by Darragh(singer/guitarist) and Mary, then Mark (drums, vocals) showed up (his girlfriend met us bit later at dinner - Clare) then Slev (bass) and Anna showed up last.

After 3 or so pints Slev ran over to the Cafe Deli Bar inside the Bewley's on Grafton Street and made us reservations for dinner. The Cafe Deli Bar ended up being really nice with good food for a decent price and we had our own little "room".

After diner we went to a couple of pubs and the night for Jess and I ended around 3am. I think Mark and Darragh kept at it, like the Irish do.

Over all a great night, good company. We had some laughs and good conversation getting to know eachother a little more.

On Saturday we woke up in good form but damn hungry. We went across the street to our local butcher and got sausages, black pudding, rashers and chicken breasts. Breakfast was great, eggs and fresh meat from the butcher. (No we didn't eat the chicken for breakfast!)

We then walked to the Temple Bar Saturday Food Market to get Samosas and some homemade Chutney. Then we walked around downtown enjoying a nice sunny day. After some other small shopping we went back home.

Recently we joined Busy Bee DVD (You rent movies on the internet and they mail them to you... it's great) so we started watching our 2 movies.

The original Saturday plan was to go out to the Irish party, but we just felt like staying in and having some drinks and nice dinner together alone watching movies etc.
And that's what happened.

Jess made an awesome baked curry chicken with Samosa's for appetizers.

I was very happy and satisfied with my little Birthday Weekend.

P.S. Jess also got me a Playsation 2 and NHL 2006 for my birthday... cause I've been bugging her for a while. Thanks baby! ;)

Monday, March 06, 2006

February 28, 2006

Today is actually 6th March, but I'm going to publish this and I'll throw on another entry to bring you up to date.

Well, not much has really happened since we came back from Liverpool. The week following the trip was short thanks to our having taken Monday off, so that was good. Helped the work week pass by faster. On the weekend we didn't do much. Luke didn't jam on Friday night so the two of us watched a movie and stayed in. Luke hasn't been feeling well. Some kind of flu bug/sinus problems. Not good. We got into our pj's early and hung out on the couch. Sometime during the evening he got a call from the guys. He was going to have to go out to Gorey for the afternoon on Saturday to put some finishing touches onto the demo. He got up early on Saturday morning, we ate breakfast and then he headed out to the bus stop. He waited. And waited. And waited. He arrived at the bus stop at 11:00am to catch the 11:15 bus but ended up standing there until about 1:00 when he decided to head back to the house. He then got a text from one of the guys, who was going to be catching the 2:00 bus so he bolted to the bus station and made it in time. Off to Gorey. Luke finished the finishing touches on the songs and then headed back into Dublin. He got back at about 10:00. We had something to eat and then headed to Pearse Tavern for a round of BINGO. (We hadn't been there in weeks). I didn't win, of course, but we did have fun. A few pints (One of which were bought by that couple we often see there) and we were invited to a party next Saturday night. Our first real 'Irish' party. We can't wait. Should be a ball. (Saturday is Luke's Birthday so hopefully we'll enjoy ourselves!). Sunday we walked to the city centre and went to Argos where we bought ourselves a shelf for the livingroom and a shoe rack to keep the shoes from being kicked all over the hallway and dumped all around the house. We put these together and put everything where it belonged. Luke swept and mopped, we tidied the bedroom and VOILA! Our apartment looks under control! This week has gone alright (It's currently Tuesday at 4:36 and I'm ready to go home). Luke went home at lunch time as he's not feeling well and wants to be rested for Monday cause that's when HE STARTS HIS NEW JOB!!!! Yes folks, he pulled it off! As you are aware, his contract with MBNA ends on March 31st.. Well, he got his shit together, sent out his resume and landed himself a job in marketing at a company where he will be in charge of two people. The hours are better (9-5 instead of 8-5) and he makes much more than he did at MBNA. It worked out very well as the office is closer than the MBNA one so it'll only take him 10 mins to walk to work instead of 15. WAY TO GO LUKE!!!

My job is going alright. I don't suck at it... I don't think.

Ty is coming to visit in about a month and Luke and I have planned things out (We did it over coffee last night) so we're VERY excited to see him. We're going to get to do all the stuff we haven't yet done. He's helped us to get off our butts, take some days off work, and explore the country. YAY TY! We can't wait!

I guess that's it. No photos for this entry unfortunately..

OH! I almost forgot! It SNOWED this afternoon. It snowed THREE TIMES this afternoon, actually. And I mean REAL snow. Flurries, wind, all that good stuff. It was FANTASTIC. (I'm the only one in the office that thinks so...!). It is now sunny and there is no sign of the snow but I did enjoy it while it lasted. Everyone is convinced that it will snow again tonight and we're all hoping it does as that may mean that none of us will be able to get to the office tomorrow. They have no idea what to do when it snows. It's hilarious. The DART won't run, people won't drive. It'll be CHAOS.

OH! Another thing I almost forgot! There was a riot here on Saturday (I'm sure some of you read about it). The Orange Men came down from the North to do a march and the people of the Republic of Ireland protested by burning cars and motorcycles and clashing with the Gardai. The threw rocks, poles, you name it, they threw it. Fortunately neither Luke nor I were around to witness it (It happened in the main tourist area - O'Connell Street and then moved to Nassau Street). Many people were hurt but fortunately no one was killed. Not sure why they allowed the Orange Men to march in the first place but they did. It was crazy. Quite the setback for the people that want a united Ireland....