It's time to change up the flowers here. The pansies and geraniums are still going strong but the window box impatients, stock, lobelia, and petunias have finally given up the fight. I had to begun to consider just doing a nice, avant guard cultural statement with nursery six packs but we finally got a fairly pleasant afternoon where everyone was in a quite good mood so a-planting we did! The major winter window box plants here are cyclamen, pansies, and tiny evergreens- boxwoods and the like. Of course, the day after we got this done, I picked up 2 more six packs and some anemone, paperwhite, and crocus blubs/corms which will sit in an artful arrangement for another 2 weeks. :-)
This is me at Newgrange. I apparently look pretty Irish. I'm actually quite solidly Scots and English- at least based on the highly reliable source of last names. Based on a couple of my uncles and a close connection to sailing, I'm also betting on some Scandinavian hanging about in deep background. But, they do all share a pretty close gene pool, so, here we are. Anyway, this means I spend a fair amount of my time completely confused. With no visual cue to remind people that I'm not actually from around here, they forget to modify their speech. Generally, people with pretty heavy Irish accents are really kind about the issue of intelligibility. They tend to be aware that even their fellow Irishmen may have trouble following them and make a conscious effort to slow their speech as long as they know you need them to. But, if you look Irish... I keep having this overwhelming desire to run over to the many international nannies I see at the park and say "I have no idea how to tell which one is the 1 Euro and which is the 2, either! I don't know which train to take to get anywhere! Take me in!" It's a new experience, but really eye opening.
The kids run into similar difficulties at school. Charlie came home excitedly telling us that Ms Swanton told him that they "only needed to wear jumpers in the yard." When asked what she meant he said "I don't know!"
It took a year or so but Allen and I finally figured out that I am a much better mother if I take a Sabbath. I need a block of 2-4 hours a week where I am alone doing things that pretty much only directly benefit me. I read, I watch True Blood, I drink a cup of tea while it is still hot. I often sneak in a bit of laundry, grocery ordering, etc but it's mostly time just for myself. I get the impression this is what happens for other mothers during nap time. Around here, nap time (no longer in existence) is instead known as "why mommy drinks." My children are many wonderful things, sleepers is not one of them.
In the US, we often got a babysitter for a few hours on the weekend to facilitate this but we don't have those resources here. So, Allen takes the kids out and about on Sunday afternoons when we aren't touring about and the weather is decent. The big thing they do is go to the zoo. We got a family pass for the year and I think it may have been the best investment EVARRR.
This is my very sad coffee cup. (artfully backlit at model's request)
You know how pinterest is bursting at the seams with pumpkin everything right now? Everyone is sipping their pumpkin lattes and eating pumpkin bread and all manner of apple products. Not so much, here. There is rumor of pumpkin spice lattes at one of the Starbucks but I have yet to lay eyes on one. I don't usually get them too often. The way they stain everything bright orange slightly freaks me out. But there are also no pumpkin displays at the grocery store; no pumpkin candles at Yankee Candle; there are no overwhelming apple and cinnamon scents wafting about. I have a plan involving combining various scented tarts to make a counterfeit American fall I'm putting into place this weekend.
To add insult to injury, not only is my mug bereft of synthetic pumpkin, it also doesn't get any cream either. Refrigeration seems to be treated as more a suggestion here, even by the grocery stores. This is fine in many cases but it means that my cream goes bad before I can possibly make it through a halfpint. So, milk it is. Rich, creamy, overflavored coffee will have to wait until we get back to the US. Until then, I will have to console myself with thickly buttered, freshly made soda bread...