Wednesday, September 27, 2006

B&Q = Irish Home Depot

Yesterday afternoon, Pumpkin and I had to bring the car in for an oil change at a dealership that used to be convenient, but now has moved to the completely opposite side of Cork. Had to do it yesterday because it was dreadfully overdue, and my parents, my TNGreataunt, and my middle brother are coming to visit us tomorrow. Hooray!

So we get out there, drop off the car and the keys, get the keys because I forgot our coats (and her precious blankie), give the man the keys back, get our coats on, ask for the keys again because I forgot the stroller, watch the man chase down our car 'cuz it's getting driven in to the service bay already, get the stroller, and get out of their hair. (I think they were probably glad about that last part.) Then we strolled across the road to a big strip mall thing to do some time-wasting while waiting for them to finish.

We visited a tile and bathroom fixtures store. Pumpkin liked that one. "New bathtub! New potty! New sink, Mommy!" We even saw a l-a-r-g-e hairy spider in one of the display showers.

Then we visited a ... soft housewares store? It had sheets and duvets and pillows. It had curtains and blinds and TONS of furnishing fabric and notions. It also had lamps and artwork, which aren't soft, but whatever.

Then we visited B&Q. Oh, it made my heart hurt! You see, it was JUST LIKE HOME DEPOT. It had rows and rows and rows of stuff. It was high school gymnasium tall, just like HD. It even had signs that were almost the same, and selection like I've never seen in Ireland. And their color was orange - even the receipt was printed on orange paper. And oh, did I miss the days of living in our own house that we owned and could paint or fix or improve if we wanted to. And they had gardening stuff, but we can't really take up our landlady's lawn and put in green beans, you know? And wallpaper and paint and tile. Things that made me want to renovate a bathroom just looking at them. *sigh*

And Pumpkin fell asleep in her stroller while I walked and walked and walked around. And so I bought a bucket for E1.48. And a roll of pretty contact paper to cover a box from diapers to turn it into sightly (as opposed to unsightly) storage. And the oil change guys called to tell me the car was done.

And I vowed to never bring my husband there, because if my heart hurt with my lack of homeownership DIYness, his would just give out.

P.S. With my family visiting, posts will probably be few and far between (if at all) for about the next week. If you're really missing me, you can pop over to here, where I started messing around with another idea.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mr. Kluges' Inaugural Guest Post

Ms. Huis Herself has suggested on several occasions that I start my own blog to spew out "ye olde wisdome" to the world. Knowing myself, I told her that I wouldn't do it for several reasons.

1) I wouldn't write regularly enough.
2) It's just a little bit too "bandwagony" for my tastes.
3) She was doing a perfectly good job anyway.

So then she suggested that I do a "guest" post on her blog. So, this is my first (and maybe last?) post on her site.

What do I write about for my inaugural blog entry? So many things come to mind, but our six year anniversary shall be the topic de jour. It was just six years and oh my what a lot has happened in those six years. It's been a whirlwhind.
  • We moved four times.
  • We bought a house.
  • We had four job changes.
  • We moved to Ireland.
  • We had Pumpkin (the child, not the vegetable).
  • We raised and ate pumpkin (the vegetable, not the child).
  • We built a massive stone BBQ.
  • We built retaining walls and stairs.
  • We made maple syrup, mead and beer.
  • We gave up, got back and gave up our cat.
  • We gained some friends (and lost some too).
  • We gained some family and lost some too (quite unexpectedly).
  • We had a Japanese Exchange Teacher live with us.
  • We took six months off and traveled around Ireland, Italy, Belgium, France and Germany.
  • We spent two weeks in Cancun.
And that's all I can think of for now. I'm sure Ms. Huis Herself can add her two cents worth.

Anyway, it's been great. Happy Anniversary!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Pumpkin and her food, a love story

Since Pumpkin started eating solid foods, and got to the point where we weren't stressing out about introducing too many new foods too soon, we've been exposing Pumpkin to a wide variety of edibles. And she loves so many we never would have expected. I know I've told you all before about how she L-O-V-E-S Camembert cheese, black olives, olive tapenade, goat cheese, and, as of today, black licorice. Mr. Kluges even gave her Clonakilty black pudding yesterday that she ate right up. (Stick with me, AKJ... I know those aren't on your list of favorite foods!) Outside, she'll munch away on Daddy's chives, or sage, or a nasturtium flower. Now she does and has turned up her nose at things, sometimes for a while, sometimes apparently for long term, but it's remarkable how broad the spectrum is of foods she enjoys.

So, now we've started to let her "help" us cook. Harder to do when dealing with hot stuff on the stove, but she loves stirring, pouring, and watching Mommy measure when I'm baking. I figure she's entertained, I get some baking done, we all get something yummy to eat, and she is learning about cooking. (And maybe once she's like 4 or so, I can get her to make the banana bread all by herself. Yeah!)

And this weekend she got to help Daddy with this:
Diggin' taters.

Yup, this spring we had some potatoes go sprouting, so Mr. Kluges cut them up and planted them at the edge of the grass/compost heap. We ignored them the whole summer, but when I was mowing this weekend I saw that frost (or the potato blight!) had come through and the plants were dead. So, Mr. Kluges and Pumpkin dug those taters and much fun was had by all!

There's a proper little Irish girl helpin' her daddy dig potatoes!

Sunday, September 24, 2006


You know when you wake up in the morning about a half an hour before your alarm (or your partner's) is about to go off? And then you think, "Oh, I have to hurry up and fall back asleep!"

And then you realize that today is Sunday, and there are no alarms set?

That's a great feeling.

Friday, September 22, 2006

You know you're in Ireland when...

Mr. Kluges put me on to this one. It's current as of today anyway, but I'll include a section from the screen shot since it might change.

Go to Check out the warnings on the right side.
See that second one?

(Click on the image if it's too tiny to read...)

Yup, you read it right. That's a warning about blight.

Potato blight warnings... only in Ireland!

TMNT? What year IS this?

I indulged Pumpkin and myself in a little MickeyD's on Tuesday. Yes, I know, horrible for us, unhealthy, too much fat and too much salt, blah, blah, blah, but sometimes you just gotta have the french fries, you know?

So I opened up her Happy Meal and fell into a time warp. You see, nestled there in its little plastic baggie, next to the chicken nuggets, was a tough-looking, muscular green reptile... with a purple mask on. Yup, Donatello, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, was grinning up at me.

"Wha?!" I thought. "Isn't this from, like, MY childhood years?" Lo and behold, I go to look up which turtle he is (because all I could remember of their color-coding was that Raphael was red, and that only thanks to alliteration) and I found out that there's a TMNT movie in the works for 2007.

So, just for kicks, and 'cuz anything TMNT just seems decades out of whack to me, what year do you think the first (and originally intended to be only) comic book of the turtles was made?

(Happy guessing! I'll post the answer in the comments in a few days.)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Did I mention...

...that this is where she wanted to play on Monday?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Don't Be Missing Out, Mateys, On TLAP Day! Arr!

Arr! This Tuesday, the 19th o' September be Talk Like a Pirate Day, in case any o' you mateys o' mine out on the briny deep had yer heads in the chumbucket like an addlepate! So I be hopin' ye share yer true pirate names, find out what scurvy sort of swashbuckler ye are, and learn yerself some pirate speak! Handsomely now, me buckos! Arrr!

My pirate name is:

Mad Bess Flint

Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

You Are A Pirate!
You Are A Pirate!

What Type Of Swashbuckler Are You?
brought to you by Maddog Varuka & Dawg Brown

Monday, September 18, 2006

Washer Waiting

Last week, our washing machine started to go on the fritz. It took us a little while to narrow down the problem because occasionally in the evening, we'd flip a circuit on the circuit breaker. We weren't sure at first if it was a load issue or a short issue because the first few times it happened, the washing machine was on, the dishwasher was on, this computer was on, and Mr. Kluges had his laptop plugged in and I think the dryer might have been on, too. But eventually we figured it out, called our landlady, she had us call a washer repair guy, he looked at it and said the seals were gone and the bearings were going, and that she'd be better off buying a new one than fixing this one.

(And let me tell you, appliance repair people? Have a good thing going. He wiggled the washer out of its space, unscrewed a few screws from the back, told me his opinion, and charged us 45 euros. For less than 10 minute of his time.)

So Pumpkin and I are hanging around the house this rainy morning, waiting for a new washing machine. Now, I'm not always one to leap out of bed and hit the ground running in the mornings, but today I made sure I was out of my pajamas before 8. Which of course means that they won't come until 11:50 or something. But you just know, they'd be ringing the bell at 7:59 if I would have left my ducky pjs on!

11:30am Update
Washer guy came about 11:15 and delivered new machine & took away old. Now Pumpkin and I are working on installing it. Well, I'm working on installing it, and Pumpkin has decided to try to get into things not usually allowed (like the CDs) since I'm busy. So, it might take a little while to get it all unscrewed, attached, etc.!

11:58am Update
Ok, have transportation safety devices removed, input hose attached, and output hose attached (#$%&* stupid not enough room in undercabinet!!!) Pumpkin watching tv. Now time to level machine on bumpy tile floor.

12:14pm Update
@#$%*&* last adjustable foot! Loosen nut with wrench, my #$%&*! It would help if there was enough ROOM for wrench to actually REACH nut! And for some reason my toolbox does not HAVE an extra extra THIN open-ended adjustable wrench! Probably 'cuz don't even exist! Argh! Will try to tilt up again and hold in place while trying again with stupid wrench. Wait... extra extra thin wrench, hmmmm... have not-too-flimsy-but-very-thin wrenchlette from child gates... may work... hmmmm...

12:19pm Update
Wrenchlette not right size. Too small. Bugger!

12:43pm Update
Ugh. Tried to level using only the other three feet. Looked fine, within tolerances on spirit level, then pushed it in under cabinet. NOT LEVEL AT ALL NOW! Argh. Tried again to get stupid nut on stupid last foot to loosen. No go.
Might wait for hubby to get home so one of us can hold washer tilted up while other one tries to get too fat wrench onto almost-hidden nut. Dirty laundry will have to wait a few more hours. For now, time for lunch! And not working on washing machine for a while!!!

9:27 Update
Now that supper, my belly dance class, and Pumpkin's bath are over, and she's safely tucked into bed, Mr. Kluges and I managed to get the washing maching leveled and pushed in. For that stupid last foot... I held the washer tilted up while he unscrewed the entire foot all the way off from the machine, then he could actually get the nut loosened. The levelling would have gone better had he not set the washer down on my poor little finger, but it's done. Now we're running the first-wash-with-no-clothes-in-it, but I hope to throw in the first real load later tonight. Yay for clean clothes!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I think it's adorable when little kids get words almost right, but not quite. You know, like when they say pasghetti for spaghetti or hangurbur for hamburger. Just cute!

Well, when it's raining, Pumpkin tells me people need to use an "umbrumbra."

She loves "bannas." (This one is odd since most kids will call them nanas, especially since the "buh" in banana is pretty soft, but not our girl.)

But my very favorite mispronunciation is an animal. Granted, it is a long word, and like banna, she gets part of it, but she just doesn't shorten it the way most of us would. It had us puzzled for a bit, so I want to see what y'all come up with for this one. Any guesses as to what a "nah-sah" is?

(And hopefully the fun of an interactive post will make you forget that I was a slacker and skipped a couple of days of blogging! *grin*)

Monday, September 11, 2006

5 Years On

I've heard and read so much about this 5 year anniversary of 9/11 today and this week, and it just seems... inappropriate? to not say something or remember the day somehow.

My experience in the middle of the country was one at a distance. I remember my principal telling us what happened at our morning staff meeting; I thought at first he was starting a joke, but then it was real. I remember my husband's work letting them all leave at noon since they were in downtown Mpls, and nobody knew how much more might happen. I remember some parents coming to school to bring their children home so they could be together.

But here are some of the best, most meaningful posts that I read today.

Sars at Tomato Nation lives in NYC and had been in a panel discussion that morning not far away. Here's her post from today, as well as one she wrote about her experience that day.

Kittenpie lived and worked in NYC at the time. Here are her reflections about that day, along with two photos her husband took.

And Stefanie, at Baby on Bored, whose blog I've just started reading lately, was part of the 2,996 Project, in which bloggers were assigned people to memorialize. She wrote about Rosemarie C. Carlson. (I'm not sure if the 2,996 Project link will work - I think the site is getting overwhelmed with traffic.)

And at the risk of sounding sappy, remember to tell your loved ones that you do love them - today, and often.

P.S. If you can't get to the 2,996 Project's site, but still want to read a few more of those, Amalah's Mom's Daily Dose on ClubMom has a list of some.


Our daughter is learning how to count.

This is how she usually counts right now:


Should we consider her odd?


Friday, September 08, 2006

My Little Flour (Flower?)

Pumpkin and I made bread again today. You would have thought I'd've learned from previous bread making experience, but you know, we both had a fun, if lots-of-clean-up-required time before, so why not do it again?

Pumpkin was enthused right away about stirring up the flour. A little too enthused in fact - she got her wooden spoon in a little deep, pulled a little hard, and POOF, got a little noseful of flour. I wasn't in time to catch the surprised look on her face when it happened, but I think she's still trying to figure out exactly what went on.

(Yes, she is wearing a nice, fully-sleeved, water- (and flour-) resistant paintshirt to cook now. I did learn that from the first time!)

Seconds after that, I turned around to set something on the counter. When I turned back, this is what I saw...

Yum! Flour!

You are NOT a piggy bank, child.

Here's one for the file called "Where did she get THIS idea?"

Yesterday, Pumpkin tried to stick a penny up her nose.
(Actually a 2 cent coin, but it's about the same size as a US penny. )

Huh? I KNOW she's never seen Mr. Kluges or I try that... and I'm pretty darn sure she didn't see it on TV or read it in a book or see another kid do it. So, WHY? It's not like she's trying to figure out how it tastes or anything 'cuz, hello, wrong spot! Decided she's cut out for a career as a piggy bank? Possibly testing its booger-shoveling ability?

Or maybe the same "they" who taught her how to be hard to hold snuck into her bedroom and whispered it in her ear. That's my best guess currently.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Anthropomorphized Veggies?

Recently, our girl has been moving in to a new realm of play - imagining. She pretends to put Dora to bed, "covers up" her teddy bears, and runs around barking. She'll tell us what she is pretending to be with phrases like, "I'm dog. I'm cat. I'm rooster." Which is good, because it's hard to distinguish between a two-year-old running around the table like a cat, like a dog, or like a hippopotamus.

The other day, she was running up and down the hallway when she turned to me and said, "I'm carrot."

"I'm carrot? Wouldn't think they could move that quickly, but ok, kid, whatever," I thought.

About 15 seconds later, she turned to me and said, "I'm rabbit. Hop, hop."

THAT's probably what she was going for in the first place. :)

Monday, September 04, 2006

September Goal - More of the Same

So... new month, new goal. Right...

'Course, that would assume I was happy with my progress on my last goal. Umm... not so much. Granted, I knew that shooting for 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week was my most ambitious goal so far, but still...

The first week (which technically started on a Tuesday, you know), I got in 2 sessions. Not bad, since I hadn't restarted my belly dance classes yet on that Monday.
The next two weeks I did well, getting in my 3 times per week, but I must admit one of those was mowing the lawn. I feel very justified in that, since it was with a push mower, for more than 40 minutes, and most of it was with a 20-something pound child on my back.
Then, I think I got in 2 the next week... and last week, well, just belly dance class.

Not really unqualified success there. Also, I noticed I've started sliding a bit on both the fruit/veg at breakfast and the water.

So, this month's goal is to keep working on those old goals, especially the exercise one. I'm going to tweak it a little though. I very much enjoy my class, and it's great exercise, so that's one session every week. For the other two half hours, I'm going to let myself do them as half hour sessions or as 4 15-minute exercise bursts. 30 minutes in one go just seems like such a big chunk of her nap that I won't get anything else done (so I don't exercise), and such a long time at the end of the day when I'm done in (so I don't exercise). But 15 minutes - that just seems like nothing. (But it will be better than nothing, you know!)

Anyway, there you go - September's goal. (And I have to say that this public accountability piece was completely responsible for at least three exercise sessions in August, much as I cussed it at the time!) Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

In case you were wondering about Heather & Morgan...

According to

Heather Locklear was born on 25 September 1961, which means she will turn 45 this month.

Morgan Fairchild was born on 3 February 1950, so she is 56 (and 1/2).

Now you know. Surprised?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Hedgehog vs. McFlurry

So, McDonald's now has redesigned their McFlurry cups so hedgehogs don't get stuck in them and die. Really.

CNN carries some strange news sometimes.