Monday, September 28, 2009

The Great Escape

I begged my cousin to keep driving.

No, I pleaded.

I didn't really want to leave my uncle in Ireland, but sometimes collateral damage is necessary for the common good.
He stopped. Damn it! He must not love me!
Tom should've been with me about this. In the middle of our 8 hour drive across the country to pick up Charmaine in Dublin, (don't get me started on that), Tom pulled over and said he had to go to the bathroom. He hightailed it across the street into a pub.
Given the opportunity to pee, I ran after him. He was not, in fact, in the bathroom. He was sitting at the counter ordering a beer. He told the bartender that he had to get away from "the two old farts" who were driving us nuts in the car. Understanding his frustration, I joined him.
Eventually the 2 old farts found us and we got back in the car.
I think my Skeletor and I need to take a trip to Africa!

You might wonder why I would want to leave Skeletor in Ireland. That is, if you haven't met her.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Gormleys Are Vicious!

I know they look like a sweet pair of 86-year olds in Ireland. That's their cover.

When I was a helpless 2-year old in Ireland, I attempted to escape the insanity that is my family. In the cover of night, in my jammies, I surrepticiously walked 2 doors down to the Gormleys house.

I quietly knocked on the door just as they were headed to bed. They let me in. I was saved.

My grandmother discovered that I was missing and headed to the first place she thought I would go - the Gormleys. (Damn, I knew I should have hidden in the bushes!) She attempted to retrieve me from my safe haven, but I refused to go with her. Even at 2, I had a keen sense of self-preservation. Defeated, my grandmother went home alone.

Yippee! I had a new family :) !

For the next few days, my grandmother came back to abduct me. But, I wasn't born yesterday. I was born 724 days earlier. So, just like Anne Frank, I hid in the attic. (I hadn't read that book yet, but great minds think alike.)

Eventually, the Gormleys made me go back with my grandmother. I'm pretty sure there had to have been a threat of violence. My grandparents were well-known in Ireland for their involvement with the IRA.

Still, the Gormleys abandoned me. I never saw them again - until last month.

I had been waiting for 43 years to tell them how much they screwed up my life by making me go back. But I couldn't do it.

They had to be the sweetest old couple that I've ever met. They gave us tea and "Digestives" (which are fabulous cookies with chocolate on one side). So I forgave them.

I mean chocolate - who could ask for more!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why I Hate Vegetables

Very few people know how to make a proper vegetable tray. Many have tried - but most fail.

I know what you're thinking. How hard is it to throw some veggies on a plate with some ranch dressing? Or for the less motivated, grab a plastic tray at the grocery store.

That's where you would be wrong.

After my father died, my mother tried to start a catering business. My sisters and I were required to help. We each found our particular niche. Charmaine is artistic, so she was able to carve apples and other food items into things like swans and people.

I'm not sure what Erin did. I think she just walked around with trays of hor's doevres looking pretty.

For some reason, I had a HUGE problem with serving people (It could be that "false pride" Charmaine keeps saying I am cursed with). But that's neither here nor there.

I discovered that my particular talent was repeatedly plunging my hands into ice cold water until my hands were blue in order to grab elegantly carved crudites that had spent the night in ice water and then placing them in an aesthetically-pleasing (some might say anal) fashion on a tray covered with leaf lettuce and then completed by clumps of parsley separating each type of vegetable. My veggie tray is a beautiful thing. Seriously. I sooo wish I had a picture!
You might think that the tray pictured above is a nice veggie tray. You would be wrong. Look at the carrots and celery - they're not even stacked straight with the same side down. There is no reason why one should be able to see the stalks of broccoli. Each flower should be placed in such a way as to hide the stalks of the previously placed flowers. I'm too distressed to even address the problems with the cucumbers!

The problem now is that I cannot look at a vegetable tray without mourning the beauty that it could be. And, God forbid, I am MAKING a veggie tray. The process of cutting the veggies in such a manner that they will flair in a particular manner following a period of time submerged in ice water, followed by the meticulous placement of each carrot and broccoli flowerand others, followed by parsley separating each type of veggie, around the outside of the tray, and between the veggies and the dip, takes AT LEAST three hours which consist entirely of me screaming profanities at the fricking radishes that didn't turn into roses.

I know that sounds insane to most of you. (It actually sounds insane to me, too.) My husband picks up on my stress (God knows how), and asks why I can't just put veggies on a fricking tray like a normal person. (You would think he would know by now that I am not normal).

I keep doing this, even when mere mortals have no idea the time and effort required to produce such a thing of beauty, and, therefore, do not lavish me with appropriate compliments. I understand. They haven't done it. But at the end of the night, if the veggie tray remains mostly intact, I have been known to slip into clinical depression.

I'm not a perfectionist. In fact, I put very little effort into cooking (as my husband would attest). But a veggie tray? That's when the gloves come off.

Grocery produce guy - be afraid! I have a party coming up.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A New Generation of the IRA

You may have thought that the fighting between the IRA and the Brits was over. I'm here to tell you, Ireland is growing a whole new set of terrorists.

Look at these rebels. I was just walking down the street in Tralee, (during the Rose of Tralee Festival), when I was accosted by these heavily-armed rebels demanding euros in exchange for a picture.

But I knew how to handle these terrorists. Afterall, my grandfather was in the IRA. So I outsmarted them. I enticed them with quarters, which they accepted under the naive belief that American money is worth more than euros.

It was about then that their leader (ok, their mother) came out of a store and summoned them to their tank (umm, her car).

As they say, "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Are You Feckin' Gorgeous?

I ask this, because, according to the men in Ireland, I am.

Ok, so it's just Irish men over age 70.

Well, I guess it was just ONE man over 70.

Ok, so he was drunk, in a dark pub, and he had one eye, but still, he said I was "feckin' gorgeous" and that's good enough for me!

No, it wasn't this guy! Jeez!

I have heard it suggested that the Irish spend a little too much time in the pubs.

I don't know what they are talking about!