Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Christmas everyone

I'm not a practising Catholic anymore and working on getting myself removed entirely from the church but I was raised that way and it feel normal to wish people happy christmas so I continue to do so. Hope everyone has a great time whatever way they choose to celebrate this time of year (or not).

Yesterday was solstice and my brother was supposed to be coming over for some mince pies. I didn't tell him I was also planning on cooking a nice dinner and getting him to fill out his bit of my Christmas book. I'll be in Florida with my little sister and her new hubby for Christmas and he'll be on his own for the first time. He's even less inclined to celebrate Christmas than I am and isn't bothered at all but I don't like to think of him being on his own. He's supposed to be spending the day with a friend so hopefully that'll work out. Yesterday, about the time he was supposed to be ringing me to tell me he was ready to be picked up, he rang and said he wasn't going to come over after all because he'd just been fired and was going to go and get shit-faced (his expression, not one of my favourite ones!). I felt like I'd been kicked in the stomach when he told me. He was on the dole for about four years and only started working properly last September and it had really seemed to be working out well.

He ended up not going to a friend's house but to a pub near where we both live on his own so I called in there on my way home and kept him company for a while and then drove him home. He brought home a few cans of beer as well so at least I knew he was safe at home and could just fall into bed when he needed to. He had a huge argument with his boss and did think that if they could talk today they'd be able to sort it out. It sounds like it was something that blew up out of nothing because his boss was in a mood and my brother was tired after working early and doing a nine-hour shift with no break. Of course I don't know if there's been anything going on in the background but I also know I have to leave it up to him. It's one of my big problems that I try to look after everyone in my family when really they're all well able to look after themselves.

Anyway, I'm at the airport now, waiting to find out if my flight to Florida is delayed. Got up horribly early (for me) after staying up much too late (hadn't planned on not spending the evening at home so was up till after one packing and clearing up). Didn't realise how sleepy I was when I got up until I went to the toilet in the airport. I'm just finishing my period but decided since I'm travelling to take no chances and use a super size sanitary towel. It was one of the ones with wings and somehow I forgot to take off the little bit of paper on the wings and fold them over. I've done stupid things when sleep-deprived before but this is definitely a first. Didn't feel I thing either during the hour or so until I saw it. What a strange way to start my day!

Must go now. I'm using one of those internet kiosks where the screen is at head height standing and it feels like everyone must be reading this over my shoulder.

I'm looking forward to a week of little or no rain and lots of sunshine/light. Hopefully that'll keep me going through the next month or so of dark winter days here. I also booked cheap flights to Germany to visit a friend in January so that should help too. I was speaking to a friend's sister the other day and she has just moved into a new house and has a huge garden she wants to plant some trees in. So I'm going to buy some trees for her in the spring and consider that my contribution to offsetting my air travel. It feels good to have decided to do something.

Happy Christmas all. I hope 2007 brings you everything you wish for and need.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ecological footprint

Am very, very, very busy (along with lots of other people I suppose). What little time I've found to get online over the last week or so I've spent reading other blogs and discussion forums. Two more choir performances this week, a birthday party on Saturday night and gift wrapping for charity on Sunday afternoon and Wednesday evening next week are the only things left on my hectic list of appointments for December. Otherwise I just need to pack for Florida - yay!

I did my ecological footprint score before but don't think I wrote down the score I got. Have done it again today and my total footprint is 3.7 hectares. That's 1.2 for food, 0.3 for mobility (this seems low to me, maybe I got the litres petrol/100 km wrong - it was my best guess, will keep a diary for the next few months to check it), 1.1 for shelter and 1.1 for goods/services. The average in Ireland is apparently 5.3 per person so I'm doing pretty well. This makes me think I need to check my answers rather than feel like giving myself a slap on the back though! So, if everyone lived like me we would need 2.1 planets - and that's if everything I answered is definitely correct! I've set a reminder in my diary to retake this quiz in three months and will concentrate on having the correct date to hand then.

In other news my 3 little things and 5-a-day have fallen compeltely by the wayside over the last week but I hope by this Sunday I'll feel a bit more like time is my own and to catch up then. I've admittedly not been eating well at all so I also need a couple of hours in the kitchen to stock the freezer again. However I think I'll leave this until I return from Florida. I still have quite a lot of cereal left over from summer so I think I'll just eat lots of that over the next week to get rid of it as well. I got my sister those lovely GAA bowls from Kellogg's Cornflakes as a small wedding pressie (one for Dublin where she's from, one for Cork where he's from and one for Galway where they got married and plan to live - well I thought it was a cute idea) but since I was only able to get a couple of tokens from other people I ended up buying a gianourmous box of cornflakes which I'm still not even halfway through. To make up for all that processed food I'm going to make sure to buy some organic milk at the weekend!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

32 today

Inspired by something Liz from Pocket Farm did recently on her birthday, here's one fact about me for every year of my life so far:
1. I love to sing and am a member of two choirs
2. I eat too much and don't exercise enough (although trying to live locally and simply is slowly but surely changing this)
3. I like to wiggle my toes when I take off my shoes and socks when I get home from work
4 I make excellent tiramisu
5. I also make very good apple tart
6. I love Tupperware
7. I don't like working on my birthday and always take a day or two off work
8. I love to travel and have a hard time reconciling this with my wish to be eco-minded
9. Family is the most important thing to me (even a large, more than occasionally frustrating family like mine)
10. I consider many of my friends to be family too (my "urban family" if you like)
11. I try to follow the happiness manifesto at least in part every day:
12. I'm single and a romantic at heart who'd rather be that way than settle for Mr Almost-Right
13 I've recently started knitting (half a jumper when I was in school doesn't count)
14. I don't like olives (but wish I did)
15. I don't like peppers (but wish I did)
16. I've been an orphan for almost 10 years
17 I have eight nieces/nephews
18. My oldest nephew finished school last June which made me feel quite old
19. I don't like turnip either but don't wish I did
20. I recently applied to join WWOOF and hope spend a few weeks next year volunteering on organic farms in Germany and France
21. The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my all-time favourite books
22. The Parent Trap (esp. the Dennis Quaid, Lindsay Lohan version) always makes me cry!
23. I love happy endings
24. Pet peeve: people thinking they don't need to wash the outside of the saucepan they've been cooking with as well as the inside
25. Realisation: I'm getting too old and cranky to be sharing a house with other people
26. So far since I started knitting I have made 2 scarves and 2 hats
27. This weekend for the first time I drove through badly flooded roads, strange and a bit scary - I know now why they tell people to stay at home unless absolutely necessary
28. I am going to learn to use a sewing machine next weekend and have already bought gorgeous material and a pattern to make myself a sleeveless jacket
29. I speak German
30. I have long hair and love the feel of it even if it's the traditional Irish frizzy kind that doesn't look too good unless you spend hours and a fortune on it (neither of which I do)
31. I am a secretary
32. I am 32 years old today

Down the country

Have had a lovely couple of days out of Dublin although it's just like me to choose to go west during some of the worst storms for years. At least I now know what it's like to have to drive through a flood so it was a learning experience which is always good. Isn't it?

Unfortunately the storms also meant that the internet access in the hotel I was in got knocked out so all of the catching up on blogs I intended to do didn't happen. I have been keeping up with the 3 little things although I need to do enough this evening to make up for the last few days. 5-a-day hasn't gone so well although I did bring a bag of apples away with me to make sure that I had at least some fruit.

I brought some knitting with me and got the hat for my brother done. I have loads of wool left and am planning on doing hats for my nieces and nephew in France for Christmas. I also brought my music and choir rehearsal tape and did loads of practice so am feeling much more confident for the concert on Sunday.

From a money point of view I didn't do too badly. I had the money for the hotel and feeding myself while I was away put aside and overtime money from last month to pay for my massage and facial. Which were lovely. I bought a small milk jug as my souvenir but I only have one small jug so it is something I will use. I also took the opportunity, since I was down that way to stop into Fabrics Direct in Rooskey. Lovely shop and now that I've seen it I think I'd be more inclined to order stuff online from them. Ann, the owner, took ages to talk to me when I explained that I was only starting out and I decided to get a pattern and bought the material to make it as well. She went through loads of stuff on the pattern giving me hints and tips so I feel much more confident that I'll be able to do it now. And on the way home I stopped at Liffey Valley, a big shopping centre not too far away, and bought a top for my work Christmas party this Friday (am wearing the same skirt I wore last year) and one new shirt for work which was on sale. That's it though, will be on strict budget for the rest of the month as I want to have some money to bring to the States with me. I asked my sister how much I should bring and she said about $400 would probably be enough. Her husband said I'd need $800. I was hoping to only need about $200! At least the exchange rate is good at the moment and after talking to her I think I've convinced her that I really don't want to spend the day in Disneyland or any of those kind of places (I hate rollercoasters and rides like that anyway) and just want to chill out and hang around doing more or less nothing. I'm going over to visit her more than to visit Florida really.