buy cialis once daily

Irish Christmas


Lobster Bisque

This Christmas will be my first here in Ireland, since last year I went home to Los Angeles to spend the holidays in my hometown. Though it will be a bit weird being away from home (come to think of it, this will be the first Christmas spent without my own family), I’m looking forward to spending it here with Mountaineering Man and his family.

I suppose in some ways it’s appropriate; ever since I landed here in March 2010, life has been all about embracing change. From adjusting to the cold wet weather to learning loads of Irish slang, I’ve come to realise the best approach is to just roll with it.

It’s been fascinating hearing about all the traditional Christmas foods my Irish friends are looking forward to this weekend – some of which are familiar, some not. Similar to Americans, the Irish love their ham and turkey as the centerpiece of their Christmas dinner table. But here dessert is all about Christmas Pudding, which isn’t what we Yanks know as pudding at all. It’s more like fruitcake, except instead of those hideous candied green cherries popular in the American fruitcake the Irish use raisins and sultanas and nuts. Most make their “puds” – as they call ‘em – about 2-3 months ahead of time because like American fruitcake, they’ll last practically forever.

(more…)

Panetoni French Toast Irish Food

There is a certain quiet that blankets Dublin in the wintertime. People seem friendlier and less argumentative. Maybe everyone is too busy rubbing their cold hands together for warmth or walking a bit faster to get out of the chill as quickly as possible – no time for quarrelling, just a swift “hiya” and a gracious wave.

The streets are hushed as well. Icy roads warrant a slower, perhaps more gentler slog to school and work. Drivers wave two, maybe even three cars to go ahead in the queue down the one-lane streets and appreciation is shown with a little flash of emergency lights – a sort of lit-up wink for their kindness.

christmas table 2

It could be that people want to slow down so they can take a look at the Christmas decorations in the villages around Dublin. Each seems to have its own big pine tree, decorated with long strands of golden lights and a few rustic ornaments. Some have a nativity set or a Santa Claus while others roll out the enormous candy canes and sleighs packed with gift boxes. The morning frost makes everything glisten as if it had been designed that way. And in the evenings the twinkling lights emit a soft glow, giving the impression of warmth on a cold, dark night.

(more…)

garda cookies unedited_edited-1

Dealing with any government agency or office in the United States, at least in my experience, is an absolute nightmare. If you’re calling on the telephone, forget the naïve notion that you’ll actually get a human being on the other end; the truth is you’ll end up going through a series of automated communications designed to never, ever connect you with anything other than a taunting, recorded message. It’s like the digital equivalent of a garden maze, except there is no exit.

And don’t even get me started on the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles), where people go to slowly spiral into mental insanity from excruciating waiting periods and the miles of red tape it takes to do simple tasks like getting a driver’s license, renewing your vehicle registration or filing paperwork to sell your car. People who work at the DMV are a whole other species as well. Generally they are intentionally rude, pissed-off types who seem to take great pleasure in toying with their hapless victims customers.* If you have to accomplish anything at the DMV you need to block out the entire day because you’ll be there under those Vitamin D-draining fluorescent lights, listening to an automated voice calling out numbers (none of which will be yours) all…day..long.

(more…)