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Very Unneccessary: Stuff I didn’t need in Ireland

I’m going to enumerate the unnecessary crap I brought to Ireland that I really really really did not need. At least, not in November.

Unnecessary Number One

While it sounded like a good idea, my computer itself was the most unneccessary and burdensome item I carried to and from Ireland. It isn’t a fast computer, nor is it a light computer and I spent most of my time doing things outside of the house. The few blog posts I did write and publish in Ireland I used my phone to create and post. So, I wasted about 8lbs. of space in my luggage that I could’ve stuffed with souvenirs or just left empty and light.

Unnecessary Number Two

We didn’t have any fancy dinners or balls or what-have-you to attend, so I don’t know why I brought three dresses in which I would’ve frozen to death. They’re some of my favorite pieces, but we only did family stuff and never anything I needed to dress up for more than my nice boots over jeans/leggings. However, when we arrived in Galway, I bought a sweater dress in a charity shop (that’s a thrift shop to us Americans). It is plain black and sits off the shoulders like a Marilyn or Bardot style… I can’t remember which… I wore that with grey leggings and my high-heeled boots that are surprisingly comfortable. Anywho, my point is that fancy dresses were not a good idea to pack as they were slightly bulky and unnecessary. The only dress I wore was one that I bought there, in Ireland.

Unnecessary Number Three

Another unnecessary item for us personally was extra jackets and sweaters. I’m just gonna quickly say, one of each: people who see you know you’re on vacation, while the people who don’t know you won’t give a crap if you wear the same stuff for two weeks. Also undies and socks. The reason I found the socks and chonies unnecessary was that of course anywhere we stay in Ireland will likely be with family, but even in a hotel, you usually have access to laundry! So I have no idea why I packed enough for two weeks when I could’ve just washed stuff…

Unnecessary Number Four

The last category was shoes. I literally didn’t wear two pairs of the five pairs of shoes I chose to bring. That’s what really pissed me off. I brought five pairs of shoes! What the hell was I thinking??? I wouldn’t bring that many pairs of shoes on vacation ever again, for the whole world. I certainly won’t bring outfits that require an extra pair of shoes just for that outfit, which I think would’ve been part of the reason I brought that much. The nude flats just weren’t warm enough for touristy stuff, or even family dinners, bad. The two pairs of different style trainers/tennis shoes were as unnecessary as anything ever would’ve been. I mean come on, Alexandra! Someone was not thinking while packing… although I guess luckily I don’t think I forgot to pack anything that I missed.

Something that’s totally necessary next time:

I would really love to buy a new camera because mine is a piece of crap. The only really good quality pictures came off of my cell phone’s camera. Which made my old camera very unnecessary…
This one looks pretty cool (affiliate Link)

Jet lag is a Bitch

Jet lag is the worst

I have been in Ireland for the majority of the two weeks I get to be here. And I’m dying between the two weekend trips we took to just being tourists. I’ve slept really well almost every night, but without fail, by about 6pm every night I could go to bed and stay there.Unfortunately this common phenomenon called jet lag destroys every traveler who goes more than a few hours different time zones experiences it. I haven’t dealt with jet lag since I went to Germany last time, ten years ago… I thought it would be fine, that I’d recover like I used to, within a few days of landing. Maybe I’m low on B vitamins, or I didn’t sleep enough on the plane, or what, but I’m not fit to be in company by seven. Yawning and literally falling asleep at the table or passing out in a car. I’m sure I’ve been a real pleasure to be around for my boyfriends family…Update: His sister just sent me to bed as I was falling asleep after dinner.

Musing on Galway

Galway begins

Wondering why I’m listening to Cotton Eyed-joe in a cafe in Galway…it’s a pretty strange experience! I remember dancing to this song when I was young, people being raucous and rowdy and lots of movement all round. Here, there’s none o’ that. Lots of chatter in Irish voices except the one beside me who’s also on his phone, reading news or about his favorite sports teams. This is not a new experience for me. Except that everyone has a different accent to mine. D is never talkative off the clock unless we’re at the bar with other people. And I’m always wishing he were. But it’s ok here, his silent way is helpful for my observing nature.

observing the denizens of this Galway cafe

I see so many people who look just like they could be at home in San Francisco too. But they’re here, at home or visiting, in Galway, Ireland.

There’s a lady with a big, fluffy black coat, beanie and sunglasses across the room from us, sipping her drink, some espresso no doubt; I can’t tell if she’s old or young she’s so covered by her trappings.

There are students on their laptops, studying or playing around. And ladies yapping over their coffees. And I’m just an American in Galway…haven’t seen anything but this cafe and the train station. The few pubs surrounding it are of course, as you’d expect, plentiful. But they serve food, people don’t drink like you’d think here in Ireland. I think it’s only the young people who party much and usually in foreign places like America, when they’re visiting on J1 visas.

We’ve come to see the town and yet we’re sitting in this quaint cafe, listening to the full version of The Prince Of Bell Air

Flight to and first day in Ireland

Our flight took forever to get off the ground!

We thought we were behind on making our flight yesterday so we parked in long-term parking. we had no clue it would be about four million miles to the international terminal! Or that we would have to pay $25 per day to use the lot. It was definitely a disappointing experience, when we couldn’t planned ahead and parked somewhere in Millbrae, CA where family friends could keep an eye on my car. When we finally made it off the shuttle and into our gate, we had 45 minutes til take-off. They started boarding the plane less than ten minutes after we sat down, which took maybe ten more minutes. So, we were set to leave on time and arrive earlier than expected! “How exciting,” I mused, but it was not to be… our pilot taxied for half an hour before pulling back to the gate because they had heard rattling in the cargo hold; obviously something that need to be addressed before we took off. However, the crew fixed that and found some other thing that needed to be fixed, of course, and then they had to replenish fuel…so we sat for about an extra hour in the plane just waiting to take off. Needless to say, we were uncomfortable for a lot of extra time. Especially leading to a 10 hour flight!

Arriving in Ireland

When we finally reached our destination after many movies, videos and a few hours of reading, we we jet lagged and fucking sore. I think I dozed off here and there while trying to sleep but I never really managed a true nap… D never even really tried to sleep.

His family were waiting to meet us at Dublin airport and they were growing impatient that we’d never arrived, or at least his little niece was. But we were about two hours later than we’d planned to arrive, so it’s understandable for a six year old to feel that way. She even drew us the cutest “welcome” sign, which I don’t think anyone has done for me. My mom might’ve when I was younger and coming home from Germany, but I don’t remember…

I’ve finally met D’s mother!

The moment I’ve been so so so nervous about is over. I’ve met Mrs. T. And D’s sister and youngest niece. Sweeter than Georgia peaches! I felt like I already knew them five years, they were so easy and welcoming. We got back to Mrs. T’s home and had coffee and nibbles with the three generations of lovely ladies. It was so relaxing, though I felt like I’d fall asleep in my brown bread.

After his sister and niece left, we had a nap which really helped only a little. And let me tell you, I knocked out for two hours, but woke up completely exhausted still. Being awake for over 24 hours will do that to you, though. Actually today I’m still suffering the dreaded jet lag, but sitting in the car on our way to Kerry is making it worse. I estimate it’s a 5-6 hour car ride down. We left at 12:30 ish and I wrote this post at 5:30, still in the car. We did take a lunch break to stretch and pee and chat a bit. I felt like I’d have rather walked for two days; my body is just screaming.

On a side note…

I already miss my little princess butt nugget, Jane, so I’m including the pictures my mom and Uncle sent me when I begged last night.

Ireland, Here We Come!

I’m off to Ireland on Wednesday!

It’s been over a year since I made this plan to be employed by Halloween and here we are, I have the same job I got shortly after I wrote this post. It’s been an interesting year! I’ve gotten a job, and a second job, more recently. My boyfriend and I moved in together officially and now, I’m finally meeting his mother in two days from now. We fly out on Wednesday and arrive in Dublin, Ireland on Thursday. I’m actually very excited, but insanely nervous, too.  I’ve never gone so long without meeting a boyfriend’s mother, usually I meet her within months, not years. It doesn’t help that my boyfriend is clearly nervous, too. He says he’s never brought a girl home to Ireland before at 39, which I still find hard to believe, but he never lies to me.

Anyway, I am very excited to go the land of fairy rings and folklore; I’ve always wanted to go. I’ve been in love with all things Irish since I watched The Boondock Saints my junior year of high school. It’s definitely one of my all-time favorite movies. If you’re unfamiliar, please do yourself a favor and just buy it and the sequel. You can use my affiliate link here:

The Boondock Saints

It really is an amazing movie, if you’re okay with violence and all. My boyfriend could be the third brother in this movie, it’s kind of hilarious to me actually. I’ve never looked for that kind of bad boy with a good heart kind, but they’re all I’ve ever fallen for, of course. I think I may actually have to turn the movie on while I pack tonight! While it’s set in Boston, not Ireland, I can’t help but want to listen to their accents, since the brothers are from Ireland. It’s all I’ll hear while I’m in Ireland, you know!

How to hang curtains: not like this!

A couple months back, our apartment was fresh and new to us, I bought a curtain rod and sheers. They were never hung up until this Wednesday. And while it took a long time to happen, they do look kind of cute now. Unfortunately being a short person compared to our lovely high ceilings, I couldn’t reach the top on a chair. At least not while holding a drill! I didn’t want to buy a ladder for one project with nowhere to store it afterward.

So I made D do it. This is why it took so long to happen! I asked him and he said ok, but then he decided we had too long of a curtain rod and it wouldn’t fit the way I wanted, which I still question even now. Anyhow, I bought three short curtain rods instead, and D finally took down the blinds, which we now have to store somewhere…then put up the curtains. I bought all sheers which I don’t think was the best plan, but when I bought then I didn’t think we would have to take the blinds down. The curtain rods we have up right now just didn’t come out far enough from the molding to go around the blinds, so I’ll have to add another layer of curtains or something.so this is the finished product.

Keeping it Clean

Trying to Avoid Messes

Relationships are notoriously difficult, especially the living together with someone for the first time kind. When you’re both kinda lazy and messy, it’s even more difficult to keep your home clean. It’s hard to see your apartment and not want to have guests over. Especially if it’s because of a butt to seating ratio. It makes you a little crazy thinking there’s nothing you can do to fix the problem because nagging your cohabitant will just end up with major push-back and probably more messes.

BUT, the tip I have for anyone worried about this type of situation is: choose your battles wisely, my dear. Do you love this person more than you hate the mess? Even clean-freak Monica Gellar from Friends was able to make it work. Of course, her favorite thing in life was cleaning, while her worst nightmare was someone messing up the work she’d just done. If you can just suck it up and clean up after your person, do so; if not, have a conversation about it.

Hiring a cleaning service is probably a favorable choice for us. I’m getting to the point where it might just be the ticket. It’s so expensive to live in San Francisco that I see no reason why I shouldn’t enjoy being in my apartment and if you don’t think an extra $100 a month isn’t worth that, you’re sadly mistaken. I’m not a very busy person, but I think that having someone else do a thorough cleaning once or twice a month might be beneficial for people like us. Just so that we get used to living in a clean spot. Then it’s all about maintenance, right?

Clean, Quick Storage

A few other things that may be beneficial for us are some extra storage in certain places. A coat rack in the hallway and maybe a storage bench to throw my blankets in, since draping them on the couch seems to invite us to throw our clothes on the couch at the end of the day.

Some cute options I found on Amazon, with my affiliate link:

Working at the Host Stand

Restaurant Host Life

This is that moment when you’re at work and there’s nothing to do, but your manager hasn’t cut you yet because they might need you. You sit there at the host stand waiting for a cue from your manager and servers. You see guests leave and you assume there’s a table to be bussed (that means cleaned off, for you non-restaurant folk). You go clean it, while narrowly escaping the throng that has formed around the bar. You remember that you’re slightly claustrophobic and definitely hate big groups of people. “Why am I working in a restaurant with a bar?”  Check that, two bars.

It’s ok, really

Now, I’m not complaining; I love my job. I just realized that I prefer brunch, when people are getting tipsy on mimosas and not milling around getting in my way of seating diners at tables. The challenge of my job could be restricted to strategy and a game of Tetris. If we didn’t have a full bar with a small amount of standing room I’d be happier here at night. But the restaurant usually isn’t this crowded. Private events made it so that more bar guests have crowded into the front bar, which is waaaaay smaller than the one in our lounge.

Enough whining. You made it through, so you get Amazon prime at a discount through my affiliate link!

Whining About Wine

Bye Bye, Whiskey

I really just want to learn about wine, but I can’t do that if I’m not drinking it with at least a little bit of frequency. My local bars don’t serve the best cuvees, but I have access to all the restaurants, wine bars, etc a girl could desire. Not to mention, all the wine stores, like Blackwell’s down the street from my home. San Francisco practically spoils me with the plethora of options and I need to take advantage.

It may be time for me to drop whiskey and Magner’s–my favorite cider–in favor of oenology. Drinking the same shit every day, just because it’s deemed “cool” and masculine is pretty lame. But I do it, even though I barely like whiskey. For some reason, people are impressed when a “little” girl like me can knock back a full shot, no chaser. Country songs have popularized the consumption of whiskey and tequila. And hip-hop and rap have popularized Chandon and other fancy drinks.

Hellooooooooooooooooooooo Wine

It’s utterly confusing when you have no idea what is going on with wine. I don’t know anything, except that I don’t like the tannic quality of Cabernet and that I do like Pinot Noir and Rose. I’m getting used to the flavors of a few different white wines as well, but I don’t know which ones I like, yet. Part of my problem is that the minutiae are a little lost on me. I used to think I was pretty good at recognizing different flavors and scents. Apparently, I’ve lost that talent… Or never had it in the first place. I know it’s a build-able aspect in my repertoire. Especially since I’m in love with a bartender and I work with some of the most knowledgeable winos in the business. Oh wait, I also harbor an affection for wine, same as most people who drink.

(I want these socks!)

 

Oenophilia

For the love of Wine

I was reminiscing today about the first glass of wine I ordered in a restaurant. I remember it had a strawberry scent and tasted so pretty, slightly floral and gently fruity. It was so perfect for a beginner’s first taste of wine that my boyfriend at the time took a sip and ordered a glass for himself. We felt so fancy that we even took pictures! All thanks to Beringer’s White Zinfandel…

I have been reading about wine a lot lately, specifically a book called The Juice: Vinous Veritas by Jay McInerney. It is a collection of his essays on wine and I have to say, it is really one of those collections I would actually read again. Most of the essays are articles he wrote for House & Garden and The Wall Street Journal. If you are a budding, or long-time oenophile, or if you just like to read about wine, this is a great book. I don’t recognize most of the wine varietals or winemakers he talks about, but reading his essays is making me want to learn more about them. I’ve never read a book like this before. I’m into it!

I have always had an affinity for Pinot Noir and Rose, but I find myself intrigued by all the different varietals right now, especially working in restaurants as a member of the front of house team now, being exposed to all the crazy options I never knew were available. Wine is the most, to say the least. I’ve never been a big beer or cocktail enthusiast, although I do love a basic whiskey or tequila at a dive bar. But wine has always had an appeal for me. My next step may be to actually take a wine class this year. I want to learn more and more, make it so that nobody could refuse me in their restaurant. I don’t need to become a sommelier or anything fancy, although it would be cool. Does anyone else have books on wine they would recommend to a budding oenophile?

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