Monday, June 29, 2009

The life of leisure

Well I am now heading into my fifth week since my exit from my previous job. The time is just flying by. Going on holidays for 10 days in the middle of the month broke it up hugely, but I still can't believe a month has gone by. By and large I am really enjoying the time off. It's great to have time to just look after myself. I was given a number of vouchers for a local beauty salon, so I block booked myself a course of swedish massages. So now every Wednesday, I go for a 30 minute massage. It's pure bliss.

The other thing I am loving is that I have really got back into cooking for the first time in years. For the past ten years or so I have been working in large organisations with subsidised canteens, so I had totally gotten out of the habit of cooking dinner during the week. In the past year or so, the standard of food in the canteen was going downhill, but I still didn't bother cooking dinner. Now I cook good healthy dishes for dinner every day. John hasn't been this well fed since he left his mother's house! We had our next door neighbours over for dinner last week, and I even baked a pavlova. I filled it with raspberries, and topped it off with grated dark chocolate. Yummmm. It's been about two years since I have done any baking, so I was really proud of myself.

Anyway, I promised you some Italy photos, so here goes....

Street scene, Riva del Garda

Us on the ferry from Riva to Desanzano, with the Dolomite mountains in the background.

Beautiful Lake Garda
I read in a guidebook that the emblem on the rails outside the Colleoni Chapel in Bergamo of three testicles is a fertility symbol, and it's good luck for couples trying to conceive to touch it. So I duly dropped the hand on the three goolies. Desperate times, desperate measures :o)

While in Milan I decided to take a cultural walking tour....
which finished with us taking in the cafe culture.

This little D&G number was a snip. Perfect for those dominatrix nights.

And finally, a couple of nice pics of me and mah honey.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bella Italia

Bon giorno internets! It's Sunday evening, the sun is shining and we have been in beautiful Riva del Garda 4 days now. All I can say is wow. We have totally fallen in love with Italy. It's our first visit and we are just loving it. We arrived in Bergamo on Thursday morning, picked up our hire car, a dinky little Fiat 500, at lunchtime and took our life into our own hands on the Milan to Venice motorway. I thought Irish drivers were crap motorway drivers, but we're in the tuppence ha'penny league compared to these guys. As a front seat passenger, I would strongly recommend a valium sandwich for lunch before you set off, possibly with a stiff G&T chaser.

Once we left the motorway and got onto the Roverto to Riva road, we entered a long tunnel, which took an age to exit. We soon realised that the traffic was backed up at least a mile. It turned out there was an accident up the road. But even in a traffic jam you couldn't help but smile when you are surrounded by breathtaking scenery and rows of vines at every turn. We got to Riva in the early evening. As luck would have it, our hotel is just on the edge of the town, so we found it in about 3 minutes. It's a stone's throw away from the lakefront, with the dolomites providing a dramatic backdrop. Gorgeous.

We immediately warmed to the Italians. Neither of us had a word of Italian before we arrived, but a quick consultation with the Rough Guide language section afforded us the basics. The old "cupla focail" (couple of words) of Italiano definitely endears you to the locals. Mind you they're probably smiling at us warmly while disguising their mirth at our pathetic attempts to speak their language. So far they seem to be like Paddies with suntans and a jaw dropping sense of style. When it comes to style, these people have it in spades. Same goes for charm, and sense of humour, as well as the innate ability to flirt. I love them. Next life, I want to come back as an Italian.

I'm off now for a swim in spectacular Lake Garda. When I get to it I will uploads some photos, just to piss you all off even further. So until next time internets, ciao!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Joy to the world.....

ET and Xbox have good news!

May I say in my inimitable Wesht of Ireland way, I'm feckin' delighted for ye, lads!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Another proud godmother moment

On Saturday, my twelve year old niece and godchild Lisa captained her school's football team to victory in the county schools final. I'm convinced she will play for our county yet, and when she does I will be there in Croke Park cheering her on. What a wonderful talented kid. I'm so proud to be her godmother.

In other news, AF rode in on her red broomstick this morning. To be honest, I wasn't all that disappointed this month. If anything, after all the partying of the last week in honour of my 40th, I would have been a little freaked out at the thoughts of a pregnancy this month. I pretty much knew that it wasn't going to be our month so no major let down there.

We are all set for our holidays (did I mention we are off to Italy? No? Well we are, on Thursday, nah-nah-nee-nah-naaaaaaah!) I was in Limerick yesterday in TK.Maxx and picked myself up the most blingtastic pair of Versace shades for €80. I mean dahhling, if you're going to Milan, you've got to look the part, right? Oh I can't wait....only 3 more sleeps to go and we're on the plane. Wooo hoooo!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Life begins

I have been keeping a low profile in blogland for the past week or so. Partly because I have shuffled off the shackles of full time employment, so I'm not tethered to a desk and computer for seven hours a day anymore. You can tell I obviously loved my job, by the way. Anyway, a brief rundown of the past week:

Wednesday night was the night before I was due to finish up at work. I was doing some shopping for the birthday party that evening, and then I called in to see a friend of mine. It was 11.30pm before I got to bed, and when I did, the most crippling gut pain enveloped me. I ended up running in and out to the bathroom all night. And not in a throwing up, might be pregnant way. More in a bad food poisoning Johnny Cash song way. Not good. The following day, I phoned work to say I wouldn't be in until lunchtime. So in I went around 12.30. Most of the day was spent copying files and photos onto a memory stick, emailing my goodbyes to overseas colleagues and saying goodbye face to face to Irish based colleagues. I was presented with a yummy cake, a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and a voucher for my favourite beauty salon from my department, along with a 40th birthday card and a Sorry you're leaving card.

That night was a repeat of the previous one in terms of the tummy bug. John was working tirelessly on the sunroom all week to try and get as much of it completed as possible for the party. Mainly cosmetic stuff like indoor plastering and cladding. The house pretty much still resembled a building site the next day when I hit for Dublin to bring my niece to Beyonce. I still had the remains of the trots, but I managed to make it to my sister's house in Kildare by 5.30, and from there we bussed it to the O2 stadium for the concert.

I have never in my life bought a Beyonce CD, but I figured she would put on a good show, and that my 14 year old niece would get a great kick out of going to see her for her first big grown up concert. I was very right on both counts. The show started at 8pm with a warm up act from a singer called Chantelle. She said she was Beyonce's sister, but I don't know if she meant blood relation sister or sistah. Either way, she had a fine pair of lungs on her. The main woman herself came on stage around 9.15. And wow, she was totally worth the wait. As stunningly gorgeous in the flesh as she is on TV, she treated us to what can only be described as a spectacular show. She even belted out an Alannis Morrisette song at one point, as well as a rendition of Ave Maria in Latin. Amazing.

The following morning I was on the motorway again, heading home to prepare for the party. Thankfully the tummy bug had left the building at that stage. When I got home, John presented me with the first part of my birthday present, a Wii! I loved it! Then came the big surprise, when he brought me out to the sunroom to show me the work he had done, and there mounted on the wall was a 42 inch LCD TV. To say my jaw dropped would be an understatement. Shortly after that, an interflora van arrived, with two beautiful bouquets of flowers and a bottle of champagne from some friends who couldn't make it on the night.

I then set in and started vacuuming and making up beds for guests. At around 2pm my cousin phoned from the local hotel where she was staying. She turned 40 that day, so it was lovely to share a big milestone birthday together. For somebody who had never visited us in our house before, she totally rowed in and helped us with the cleanup. It was like "Hi Siobhan, welcome to Tipperary, happy birthday, now here's the vacuum cleaner, I'm off to the hairdresser's, see you in two hours, byeeee!" I had a hairdresser's appointment at 3.45pm, so I had to abandon ship for a couple of hours and leave my army of helpers to it. By the time I got back the place was gleaming, and my parents, sister and more friends from Dublin had arrived.

I had hired two eight foot tables, sixteen fold down chairs and 30 champagne flutes from a cater hire firm in Limerick. Totally worth it. Also, I went very grown up and posh and hired my next door neighbour to do the catering. And what a job she did. Her and her fiance slaved over a hot barbeque, and served up a feast. We set up the sunroom with the tables, chairs, white table clothes, silver star table confetti, gold helium balloons and lighted tea lights. It really looked fantastic. My mum had seen the building site that was our house that morning, and said the transformation was like something out of a reality TV show, like Changing Rooms!

We partied until the sun came up, and long after. The funniest part of the night was when the assembled crew sang happy birthday to me, with the help of the remaining helium balloons. It was like being serenaded by a small army of smurfs! One of my friends caught it on video, so when I get it off her I will post it on here. My brother brought his guitar, so around 2.30am the obligitary sing song started. Around 4am I have hazy memories of playing a four man game of Mario Karts, which I had to do with one eye closed as I was having difficulties focusing on the screen at that stage! All in all an excellent party and a fitting way to embark on my new decade.

The other amazing thing about the past week has been the weather. The mediteranean miraculously came to Ireland this day last week and it hasn't left yet. The weather has been up in the late 20's, although it cooled down a little today. This has meant we've had a few very pleasant evenings since the party, sitting in either the garden or the sunroom sipping rose and feeling like we are on holidays, which we will be this time next week. So I am taking to this life of leisure really well. Already my energy levels are higher and I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. My 2 week wait is due to end on Monday, and quite honestly I'm not obsessing about it, which is a huge change for me. Long may this feeling last