See you in the spring when the mattress falls through

The first couple months of 2012 have been quite the ride… long story short I am single after almost eight years, resulting in being mostly homeless, haven’t felt too great and accidentally lost a bunch of weight during the anxiety of work and relationship woes, and now I’ve come out the other side. To get there I consumed a lot of drinks at bars and met up with some interesting people along the way, my work project was completed successfully, I bought a new wardrobe, and I found myself living with my best friend and also dating someone new and really enjoying myself. No idea how long the latter will last but it’s pretty fun for now! It’s looking good at least. Oh and I started drinking coffee.

I have had the rehab house for nearly two months now and so far it’s been gutted down to studs and now is being rebuilt. The new electric is nearly done, but everything else is pending… plumbing, HVAC, insulation, walls, floors, appliances, furnishings… all those things that make the house more than a shell. I’m glad I have a great place to stay in the interim because it’ll be awhile until it’s time to move in!

The animals are in flux. I hope to have Arliss and Clover move with me this week. The fosters are being scattered about to other homes. I see the dogs when I go feed the buns, but it’s hard not to sleep with a greyhound or Mr. Sensitive Walter-pup hogging the bed.

Today I’m relatively happy and I have hope. Most days have been trying but always still hopeful. A lot of friends, family, and coworkers have really come to my aid (seriously… even my boss offered to have me move in with her!) and I think that has made all the difference.

Here’s to a new house, coffee, first dates, and Manhattans!

On my mind

A lot… but a lot can’t be said here.

I’m in South Bend for my great uncle’s funeral. It’s sad of course, but also nice to be with family. I am glad my family is close and I hope my great aunt feels the love of family during this time. My brother and I have nice memories of staying with them when we were kids. He claims Uncle Firm rescued him from being stuck between the wall and the bed when he fell out one night. We remember going to the pool and their dog and eating a lot of ice cream with them!

I am supposed to close on a house tomorrow in Indy. It’s in a really cool neighborhood and I’m partly excited about it… it needs work and there are other considerations about the future use/habitation of this property, but overall I know it’s a good deal and I’ve always wanted to have a home in a place like this. I hope the surrounding crime-y neighborhood doesn’t infiltrate! Watch this space for my exasperated experiences in remodeling a century old home.

Work is kicking my rear and has been for quite some time. I was able to offload some routine work to be able to work on a project that is due around my birthday. I will need many stiff drinks to celebrate when it is done. So far we are moving along and I’m trying to balance the need for management feedback on the work in progress with the need not to waste their time or slam their calendars if I don’t have everything done that I need to get done.

That’s all I can say for now about the compartmentalizing of my thoughts and energy these days. I must get back to editing some slides! I love data but I’m not as big a fan of trending it some nights.

10th anniversary of!

April 5 is the tenth anniversary of this website! I can’t believe that much time has passed. For an example of how it looked in times past, check out old I had an even older site hosted in college (I was the first person in my dorm to be able to see — get this — PICTURES on the web using my data phone in my room), but that’s been, oh, 15 some years and it makes me feel old to think about it.

Now that that’s out of the way, no real news. I’m slowly organizing things at home after being away. With every item that goes to Goodwill or the used bookstore or the shredder or the free junk spot that is our curb, my mind clears a bit. Arliss also has shared her thoughts on being back home at her blog, including a few pictures.

Come on spring! The weather here is really crazy/unpredictable compared to what it was in Ireland.

Who loves ya baby

David shaved his head a few nights ago. I had to help. I think this is going to be higher maintenance than the short cuts with clippers we have been doing for the last year or two. He brought his fancy clippers here but they aren’t behaving quite right, so he decided to dispense with all the hair I guess.

So which famous bald guy is he? He asked if he looked like Bruce Willis but the eyebrows put him more in a Telly Savalas-You Don’t Know Jack-Patrick Stewart-Mr. Clean-Andre Agassi category. At least he doesn’t look like Sloth from Goonies, one of the pictures that came up in a Google images search for famous bald guys!

We finally got a response from the immigration department, and now they want more evidence (back in time) of our relationship to allow him to stay. Time to dig out the old hard drives to see if we can come up with what they want; my purging philosophy means I probably don’t have copies of plane tickets from trips we took together six years ago and even my email has changed. Even harder is that we left anything old and paperwork-y back in the US! It’s frustrating because we’re here spending money and paying taxes (my ability to be here and work is not in question), we’re not trying to get him a work permit, and my employer has supplied a letter in support of his being here with me. We already gave all the evidence that he’s on my insurance and we both have income/bank accounts to support ourselves. Once again, sneaking in would be easier! Harder to do in an island country, I suppose.

By the way, my friend Kathleen has a blog now that she’s here working as well. We’ve been taking some trips together so you might hear about our days in Waterford and Clonakilty faster from her!

Garrettstown beach

First, some housekeeping items:

I kept seeing red L signs in rear car windows. I thought it was supporting some team, maybe Leinster, but we are in Munster so it was odd to have so many L fans. Then I found these at the grocery store: Learner! I considered putting one in my window to warn everyone of my bad driving, but then I figured there are probably rules for Learners like having a “mentor” in the car and not driving after certain hours, so that might backfire. I’m not sure anyone would respond to my transgression, though, because I’ve never seen anyone pulled over (I have yet to see speeding or aggressive driving), and cops themselves are pretty far between. They aren’t even usually armed and yet crime is really low. The local radio stations report on murders nationwide and they don’t seem to happen every day. Heck, they report on deaths in car crashes nationwide and even those don’t happen every day. Ireland is the size of Indiana and seems to have a bit fewer people, but apparently having no guns *ahem* other than for hunting would be my guess as to the lack of violently-dead people. That is a much bigger topic than I have time to get into here.

Because: a grammar find! This is the second time I saw a corrected sign, which means there are others like me on this side of the pond. This one is awesome because someone corrected the Gaelic! It’s at a coordinated stoplight near Ballyfeard, I think, that controls who gets to use the one lane of traffic while the other lane is under construction. Note the inserted letter and Gaelige!!! admonishing the sign maker.

Another expat and I like these signs that look like the car is chasing down the pedestrian to run him over. (The first times I saw it it didn’t mention kids…) Are those rocks spitting out from the car tire at the edge of the road, or is the tire excited for a fresh victim?

On the way to the local beach today (Sunday), I made yet another wrong turn and found this classic view looking back over Kinsale, where I live. Fields are starting to get greener and daffodils bloomed last week, but a lot of trees still don’t have leaves, so it seems similar to home (except there are fewer trees here, I think). However, I don’t know if the dry/cold winter here affected what is normal for the island.

The local strands are at Garrettstown, though I mostly saw signs for Ballinspittle. The first thing I saw at the beach was a cow. This reminded me of my friend Jason who is touring the world and posted a picture from India this week on Facebook with cows on the beach with him (the pic is not on his blog yet, but I’ll update when it’s there because it’s pretty funny). I guess the Irish cows, being bounded by electric fencing across the street, at least won’t leave us piles in the sand.

This view looks back at the beaches/cows. Do you see the people surfing when it’s 50 degrees out?? The Irish are serious about their watersports and wetsuits. There were many people at the beach, food vendors, you name it. Kids were digging in the sand wearing hats and coats.

I drove out to Old Head, the tip of the land in this area, where you can’t get past those ruins because yet another golf club has put a fence around their precious holes in the ground. Sorry, I just don’t get golf. On the plus side, the golfers are greeted with the constant odor of dairy cows.

A typical street in the town of Kinsale. I like this Guinness sign.

About a block from that pub is St. Multose, a church built by the Normans in the 1100s!! It’s still in use today; I went inside and saw that people from several countries had signed the guestbook this weekend. It smells old inside but is in very good repair.

After the local wandering, I picked up the slowest fast food I’ve had in awhile (plus I had to walk to get it; does that even count?) and went to the gym for the first time, which is a hotel exercise room! We can get passes through work and it’s a rather nice hotel gym (even if the scale weighed me in stone), so I may even join it. The fact that it’s five minutes from home and has a hot tub weighs into this heavily. Anyway, after that and the previous day’s long hikes, I’m all joint-crunchy and sore and I’m guessing tomorrow will be worse. That will be the day to hit the hot tub!

I had many adventures on Saturday, too, but felt this post would be faster to craft and I need to get to bed. We moved the clocks to “summer time” this weekend so we’re back to five hours ahead of the eastern U.S. My trainer and I only missed one international conference call last week due to the misaligned time changes. There was talk on the radio here that they might switch to a different European central time; I can only imagine the fights after the last couple of years in Indiana! I imagine a Hoosier saying it’s important to stay on Greenwich Mean Time because that’s how the rest of the world bases their clocks and therefore we’re more important.

Obligatory year end/beginning thoughts

As I’ve stated in the past, I’m not big on goals and year summaries and plans. But I’d like to comment on a few items from the past twelve months in an effort to at least remember where we’ve been and where we’re going. This blog serves as my diary, so when I forget everything I have a place to go to review my life!

2009 was a big year for personal finance since I became debt free and increased my retirement and savings significantly. I finally opened that Roth, messed with life insurance, and purchased disability insurance. I even got tough and ditched my financial adviser, who wasn’t the right fit. David and I became officially domestically-partnered in the eyes of my employer, which will simplify health insurance this year even if there are some tax penalties. Financial freedom makes just about everything else possible, like…

Planning a move to Ireland! Yikes. Looks like it will be early March now for the actual flight. I’m excited but that is overwhelmed by the, uh, overwhelmingness of it all. I am really worried about my sick pets right now and I’m trying hard to get them stable to prepare for this move.

Half our pets are mostly geriatric and have been ill lately, and of course we lost Joey this year, but it’s still worth having them around for the years they do allow us to share. Remind me of this the next time I have to think about something happening to Casper now that she’s dealing with renal failure.

Rabbit rescue lightened in volume, part of a planned effort for several of us not to drive ourselves the rest of the way crazy, plus in this small house there just isn’t room for many fosters. Still, I can recall that Tink, Harrison, Louie, Jolene, Baxter, Quincy, Eponine, Bill, Tegan, and Raquel stayed here in 2009, and 43 were adopted from the chapter. Always good. And no giant horrible neglect cases to sap our strength, either, thank goodness.

Work is still good, in that so far I still have a good job I like and while the industry has its significant struggles, as of yet our pay and employment haven’t been affected (and they’re sending me to Europe, ya know!). Bonus time is around the corner, one which should be good this year but I expect the next few years will have none. All the more reason to be debt free and have an emergency fund!

I was hit by a car while on my bike and lived to tell about it! Other mentionables, most of which I’m too lazy to link: I made a good attempt at gardening, and I’m proud of my efforts even though David focuses on my failures; more cooking experiments; trips to Chicago, the Smokies, Oak Ridge and Air Force museums; a stolen credit card number; Casper won a photo contest; charity walks and rides; sold my house; DNA tested our mutt; joined the worthy timesuck that is Facebook; got a real haircut (and still don’t do anything with it!); a few more dental adventures; and of course all the recycling and veggie dishes you could stand. We are also now the proud owners of extra insulation, a rain barrel, and Energy Star-rated toilet, fridge, and water heater.

Regrets. Well, I never feel in control of clutter or time or sleep, and I wish I had exercised more, but overall there are worse things to regret. I need to make peace with these stressors, and I think moving abroad will help me focus since I have to leave the clutter behind. Will someone please get rid of it while I’m gone? Small plans include revamping the blog a bit and getting rid of more stuff around the house. Big plans include moving to freakin’ Ireland and taking advantage of that adventure! I have a few ideas in mind.

Let’s wrap up with how the world sees me through Google!

Clickthrough : Users clicked on your site in these searches
# % Query Position
1 27% cork ireland 2
2 13% poo chart 2
3 12% bristol stool chart 2
4 6% cork, ireland 3
5 3% stool chart 2
6 3% animal testing 6
7 2% natalie portman feet 1
8 2% cymbal monkey 2
9 2% bunny teeth 1
10 2% my feet 1
11 2% county cork ireland 3
12 2% flemish giants 3
13 2% evil-lyn 17
14 1% natalie portman’s feet 0
15 1% stop animal testing 1
16 1% guinea pig teeth 2
17 1% monkey symbols 2
18 1% abused animals 20
19 1% allihies ireland 1
20 1% cork ireland pictures 1
21 1% the bristol stool chart 1
22 1% cork county ireland 3
23 1% ireland cork 3
24 1% ribbon like stools 3
25 1% county cork 5
26 1% mallet toe 5
27 1% betadine 12
28 1% elfyourself 23
29 1% feet 62

One dang post each on feet, poop, and Ireland kind of skews the results. I made some edits to try to steer away the feet weirdos, at least. This Google search also found my site: “farts you just can’t trust them”

And, of course: Village Panty.

All she wants for Christmas is no front teeth


Arliss has been sick lately. A few hundred in diagnostics and supportive care early this week didn’t turn up much more than the dental disease we knew about and dehydration, but now she was needing tooth trims every six weeks or sooner, so it was time to ditch the incisors.

Over four years ago she had one removed, and I commented how she would hopefully not need trims in the future. Well, we got through the meantime with fewer-than-annual trims, but suddenly she was having problems, so there ya go. I let that vet back then talk me into just removing one tooth, and I guess four healthy years aren’t so bad.
Well, now it was time for the other three to go, this time with a different vet. A few hundred more bucks, and she came home today looking rough (the first picture) but at least is eating on her own. The vet did find some pus down in the lower root area, which mirrors the problem four years ago. Hopefully her flushing it well will prevent further abscessing. The vet suggested something like that probably happened from an impact or fall, and I was thinking how she used to geronimo off the closet shelves in my old house…

We had some serious bonding time today when I discovered they’d forgotten to take the catheter out of her leg and I had to do it! I had a hard time getting the bandage off and I’m sure it hurt to be moving that thing around, but she put up with me. I gave her good pain meds and she’s resting somewhat comfortably now. Arliss will be ten in a couple of months and has been pretty healthy over that decade, and I’m hoping this will be the last major thing for the rest of her life. Her molars and bloodwork look good, so I’m hopeful. The vet said as we were leaving today she hopes we can make her “one of those 14-year bunnies!”


Walter took this opportunity to ask for a belly rub.


I am not responsible for that window trim color, which looks worse in person. Let’s just leave it at that. (You may remember our house painting argument history.) But did you notice my cascading flowers are still doing great on December 4? And that orchid just below grew all those buds in the last two weeks. Who says there’s no global warming…

Happy veggie Thanksgiving

I took this week off work and have been pretty much lying around, still recovering from last week’s illness and also unfortunately doing some work from home. I have (not particularly intentionally) reverted to my night owl ways, staying up very late and sleeping until normal persons’ lunch times. Something about 2 a.m. just seems like a great time to start projects or settle down to watch TV to me.

After illness and work stress and just not wanting to leave the house, we decided to stay home for Thanksgiving. It’s the first time I did not eat with one of our families. It was great! Of course I missed the folks at home, but I just didn’t want to drive six hours in a day, or even to David’s family event closer to home. And get this: I made great food I was excited to eat! Being vegetarian at Thanksgiving provides a lot of side dish opportunities but is overall not the meal I used to look forward to when I was a kid. This time, I chose the menu, and holy cow I haven’t had gravy that good in years.

thanksg09b thanksg09a

The mushroom and spinach galette was ok to good (NPR article/recipe); the pastry is a bit dry for my tastes but the filling has promise in another application. But the gravy recipe at that page was terrific! I suppose all the fat (olive oil) and flavor (onions, garlic, veg broth, spices) just came together in a way that reminded me of the tasty drippings of yore. Tasty, yes, but again this year I adopted a turkey instead.

David made mashed potatoes and I whipped up the standard roasted veggies for a meal so filling I didn’t have room for the pumpkin pie I also made. I’m excited about the (gravy) leftovers! I had intended to do a Quorn turk’y roast as well but Kroger was out and we had way too much food anyway.

eat more chicken vegetables graffiti, Indianapolis

Of course today was Black Friday, and while I look forward to the ads for some reason (still a holdover from a history of the expectations of the season), I’m not usually compelled to go out in the fray. This time I considered it, then figured out I could shop online and actually pay less with online discounts than going to the doorbusters at ‘o-dark-thirty. Then I went back to bed!

When we were kids, we would craft our wish lists from looking at the Sears Wish Book and any other catalogs that came to the house. We often had rating systems to indicate how badly we wanted particular gifts. I remember the moms and grandmas and aunts getting together after Thanksgiving meal to discuss who was buying what for which kid–we knew to stay out of that room so they could decide! From then until Christmas was an exciting time, and I don’t think we were too spoiled, but maybe I just think that because our cousins got more junk than we did! It was easy to think we sacrificed for the family financial good when they had new stereos and TVs in their rooms each year while we just shared a video game system two years after it was initially released. I think our families were careful to get the items we would really play with, and the anticipation of Santa and stockings and the surprise Big Presents at the end of marathon gift opening sessions all made for a pretty neat holiday–not to mention the big family meals and waiting to watch each person open something in turn rather than tearing into the pile at once.

I still really enjoy Christmas, but I try very hard not to ask for or purchase items that won’t be valued and used. I definitely take more pleasure in buying for others now and in watching what others receive. It’s relaxing not to worry whether I’ll get some new gadget because I’m now in a position to just get it myself if needed. I try not to take that for granted. And I’ll be making my own gravy this Christmas as well.


“What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?”
-Adam Smith

The quote doesn’t have direct relation to this post but I really liked it the other day, and identified with it. It does set the stage for how I feel about preparing myself to be more flexible for opportunities that come my way by being “stable” in life, which I guess is a comment at least on financial and professional well-being, or just being in a good place. Allow me to share the big news, the decision that has given me nightmares, the huge change on the horizon:

We are moving to Ireland. Holy shit.

A couple of months of are you mobile? will you? maybe? for two years. is there a budget? wait for the meeting. what do you think? here are the benefits. dog quarantine. abandon pets. no, wait, only for a year and lesser benefits. hand wringing. never mind, good benefits are back. paperwork issues to cover domestic partner. how about insurance? most questions answered. And the answer is…yes?

Now, nothing is official until all the paperwork is done and visas are granted, but after all this time of not knowing and feeling like life has been on hold while figuring out how to handle an international move without really telling anyone has been pretty challenging. I feel like I will regret it if I don’t take this opportunity and I’ll never be offered another chance if I turn it down now. My employer is cutting jobs and yet asking if I would like to spend a year abroad at their expense. I’ve always wanted to do something like that. In fact, it’s just ‘life’ getting in the way that makes it hard: David’s business and our pets, and the general hassle of figuring out what to do with your stuff. But I have been saving money, simplifying my possessions and expenses and life, all to be able to take an opportunity just like this! It seems almost perfect: I’ll have the same job but in a new place and my employer pays all the expenses to get me there and back, and pays for my housing and car too. There will never be a better offer, I will never be less entrenched in life, I have enough funds to make it fun and I’m still young enough to call it an adventure but old enough that I don’t want to always sleep in hostels when I go on vacation. Add to that a partner who seems willing to try the adventure and we’re in business.

David and the dogs get to come. It’s hard to figure out how he will maintain a business back home (let alone an income in Ireland without a work permit), but we think he’ll stay behind the first couple of months while the dogs finish their at-home quarantine. Now I have to work to find guardians for my rabbits, an agonizing part of the decision to go. I have bunny friends I trust and I will set up a stipend plus cover vet fees, but a lot of my nightmares have been about doing wrong by my pets. Was it not contacts in rabbit rescue that got me this job in the first place? How can I send Arliss and Vegas to live with someone else? They’re OLD! Plus the pigs, who at least seem to have a place with my parents. And there’s even a frog becoming homeless.

There are so many things to plan I don’t quite know where to start, but at least I seem to be past the nightmare/decision stage and now we’re getting into the practical planning stuff. Departure for me won’t be for a couple of months. Just how much prep will I get done? Can I purge some of my belongings? I love the idea of living simply (a furnished place where I can’t haul most of my stuff anyway is a great starting point), but wow. Just figuring out what to do for a cell phone (this would be why I still haven’t gotten that iPhone) and banking and OH GEEZ I HAVE TO DRIVE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET… it can be overwhelming. Exciting, yes, but I’m a planner and this is stressful.

Short term: line up pet care (and get the buns healthy) and figure out what’s going to happen to the house while we’re gone. Mid-term: buy raingear? Couple months: move by myself and entertain myself for a couple of months. After that: stress about dogs in cargo hold.

But I bet County Cork will be fun!

Allihies, County Cork, Ireland

Any advice is appreciated.