Entries tagged with “clare kleinedler”.
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Sun 7 Apr 2013
When I first moved to Ireland just over three years ago, I was a wide-eyed American girl with sense of adventure and an open mind…or so I thought. After the initial excitement of living in a new country wore off, I started to realise that living in Ireland meant I would be getting a lot of practice working on something I wasn’t so good at: Patience.
I recall the first time I strolled down to the post office during lunch, just to find out many post offices are closed during the 1-2 PM lunch break. Seriously? How does this make any sense? Most people use their weekday lunch time to run errands, like go to the bank, drop off the dry cleaning and GO TO THE POST OFFICE. GROAN!
Particularly when I lived in Drogheda, a trip to the grocery store could take twice as long as planned thanks to the chatterboxes that work the cash registers. Oh Mary, you’re looking well! What are ye up to? Aw that’s a lovely restaurant, we love it. Make sure to get the steak and….oh sure treat yourself, you deserve it! This could go on for minutes…tens of minutes. Never mind there’s a half-dozen of us in line behind Mary, waiting to get back to work or back to the car that’s sitting in the pay-by-the-hour car park.
Mon 4 Mar 2013
Exactly three years ago today, I landed in Ireland as a wide-eyed and optimistic American in search of a new adventure. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I’ve found far more than adventure; in Ireland, I’ve found a new life.
It’s fun to look back on old blog posts to see what I went through in the early days. I can recall my surprise when I saw how dressy girls would get for a night out. I was from Los Angeles, where a typical Saturday night out meant a nice pair of jeans and a dressy top, and here girls were putting in hair extensions, spraying on the fake tan and slipping into their best dress for a night out. There were many lessons to be learned in those days…remember how I struggled with understanding the accent (in my case, the not-so-listener-friendly dialect of Drogheda, where I first settled) and how much fun I had upon discovering the charm of the good, old-fashioned country pub?
Like anyone adjusting to living in a new country, I had major moments of frustration; what with the weather, the summer greenfly infestations and major lack of good customer service some days were trying to say the least. And I had some really low points too. I missed my family and friends, felt hopeless about dating here and at times wondered if moving to Ireland was the right decision.
But the good outweighed the bad by overwhelming numbers and that’s what kept me going. Ireland, with all of its quirks and oddities, is an endless source of inspiration and I am always discovering something new and unique. I even learned to cope with the weather, though I will admit I still struggle with it at times. And while many Irish questioned why on earth anyone would want to move to their crippled country, I found many reasons why I wanted to stay and met many locals who felt the same.
In the last 36 months I’ve met so many incredible people, developed some amazing friendships and met & married the love of my life, Mountaineering Man. It’s wild to think that so much can happen in such a short time, but I suppose that’s the magic of Ireland.
Smoked Mackerel Pizza
This dish is a little Los Angeles and a little Ireland all in one. I discovered it when my sister made it for me on our recent trip to LA, but found it works great with the local smoked mackerel (she used trout in hers). It’s super easy and quick to throw together for a dinner party appetizer and you can find all the ingredients at your local market.
1 large pizza crust, baked & cooled. I found mine at Fresh market in the deli section; there is two per pack and bakes up in about 8 minutes.
5 tablespoons crème fraiche or plain yogurt
3 tablespoons horseradish cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1 fillet smoked mackerel
3 tablespoons chopped chives
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the crème fraiche (or yogurt), horseradish cream, lemon juice and salt. Using a spoon or spatula, spread evenly over the baked and cooled pizza crust. Using your fingers, take small pieces of mackerel fillet and place the pieces evenly over the crème fraiche on the pizza. Sprinkle on the chives, slice and serve. Goes great with champagne!
Sat 19 Jan 2013
Resolutions – everyone has an opinion about them. Some friends of mine refuse to partake in this annual New Year tradition while others write entire lists of what they’d like to accomplish over the next year.
Me? Well I personally like to take advantage of that bright-eyed, optimistic feeling that comes with every new year. And I like to go big – I mean, why not? I think the last few years have taught me more than anything that aiming high and dreaming big can only lead to great things; less than three years ago I was a single gal living in LA, frustrated with dating and wondering where my life was going. Today I live in Dublin, an married to an amazing man and work in the digital creative agency business. I find myself smiling sometimes when I’m walking down the coast road, looking out at Howth from Bull Island and buttoning up my coat thinking, “Wow…this is my life.”
I guess my point is that if you aim for the stars, you might just reach them – and even if you don’t, you may reach the treetops, a mountaintop and maybe some low-level clouds, and that’s higher than you were before.
With that in mind, I’m starting the new year off by aiming to shed the extra weight I’ve been carrying for a number of years. I’m not seriously overweight or have any weight-related health issues, but if I’m being honest I’d say I could stand to lose 20 lbs. (about 9 kilograms) and moreover could do with some toning and strength training. I have some back issues and tennis elbow problems (not from playing tennis but from repetitive typing) and getting into better shape will help alleviate those issues. I also desperately need to finish a book proposal I’ve been working on for far too long and get back to blogging on a regular basis.
Tue 11 Dec 2012
It’s been awhile, and I apologise for my absence but it’s that time of year when everything just seems to go batsh*t crazy all at once. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing; it’s just a very hectic time of year.
One reason I’m finding myself increasingly busy lately is because I’ve taken on a new role at work. I’m now managing the Social Media team as well as one of our largest accounts – a juggling act to say the least! I’m so wrecked at the end of the day I find it difficult to find the brain space to write blog posts, hence the long silence.
Another reason for the mad schedule of late is that this is the season of entertaining and gifting and meeting up with mates; all good but time-consuming endeavours. In the last few weeks I’ve gone to two work ‘dos, a friend’s housewarming/Christmas party, one wedding and have spent several hours Christmas shopping in between. In the next few weeks we have a brunch, an engagement party, Christmas drinks and Christmas Eve & Day at the in-laws before we’re off to Los Angeles for a warm and hopefully relaxing New Year’s holiday.
Tue 13 Nov 2012
It’s been just over 7 weeks since my wedding day, and I’m finally ready to talk about it.
By it, I mean the dress.
Though everything worked out in the end – thanks to an insanely talented, Dublin-based dress designer named Sarah Foy – it almost didn’t. In fact, the story of the dress is one that almost ended very badly, with me frantically searching the wedding sales racks at Monsoon (which I did) and had my best friend from America sending me her own dress (which she did) in a last-ditch effort to find me something to wear on the big day.
It started out innocently enough. Back in late March, I started the search for my wedding dress and found what I thought was the perfect dress within 40 minutes of walking into the first shop – Berketex Bride in the Jervis Centre. I went with my friend Sinead, and a very helpful saleswoman named Claire chose a few dresses based on what I said I wanted and my body shape. I fell in love with the third one I tried on and decided to buy it straight away. I paid for it in full (big mistake), and Claire advised that I write down my wedding date as August 3rd, well over a month before my actual wedding date, just so I could be sure to have plenty of time to get alterations if I needed it. “It’ll be our little secret,” she said.
She also stated that the dress would be ready “around July 20th” and that someone from the shop would ring when it was in the shop. Done and dusted!
Sun 14 Oct 2012
Despite a forecast of thundershowers and a few looming clouds the night before, we awoke to blue skies and sunshine on our wedding day. I walked up (and up and up – it was long hike!) the grassy aisle with my father and married Mountaineering Man in front of a small group of family and friends in Tuscany.
The predicted rain and the long walk are good metaphors for my journey here; when I moved to Ireland two-and-a-half years ago, I did so out of a desperate need for change. Though on the surface my life in Los Angeles seemed great, inside I was unhappy and my future seemed clouded and uncertain; I felt if I didn’t make a big change, there’d be little hope for sunny skies in my future. It wasn’t just about meeting someone, it was about feeling fulfilled and challenging myself to try something new, something different.
It wasn’t easy, but I took a leap of faith arrived in Drogheda in March 2010. In September of the same year, I met MM. After a few dates, I think we both knew this was something significant, and a few months later we realised that this was it – for both of us. We got engaged in February of this year and we started planning almost immediately.
We knew we wanted something small and in Italy; I’ve always loved the country and MM has always wanted to visit, plus it was close enough for our Irish guests and appealing to our American guests, all of whom decided to make a proper holiday out of the trip. What better place to holiday than Tuscany, the region of wine and food and beautiful, rolling green hills?
Sun 7 Oct 2012
It’s hard to believe, but just two-and-a-half years after moving to Ireland as a single girl, I got married in a dream wedding in Tuscany to my Mountaineering Man. For those of you who started reading this blog from the early days, you’ve shared the journey with me and for that I am very grateful. It’s been such a fun, crazy, sometimes scary trip and having you along for the ride has been a wonderful source of support.
And because this is a blog about my transition to life in Ireland, I promise to post more details and photos on all our wedding festivities, which started with a welcome dinner at our rented Tuscan villa and finished with a fantastic honeymoon on the Amalfi coast.
But for now I will leave you with a photo from our special day and a reading that was chosen by MM himself and read at our ceremony by one of his best mates, Kieran. It is part of a longer reading written by the late great David Foster Wallace, and for us sums up the true meaning of marriage and partnership.
This is Water
There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, "Morning, boys, how’s the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, "What the hell is water?"
If you’re worried that I plan to present myself here as the wise old fish explaining what water is, please don’t be. I am not the wise old fish. The immediate point of the fish story is that the most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities are often the ones that are the hardest to see and talk about [...]
Our own present culture has [...] yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom to be lords of our own tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying.
The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom.
The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the "rat race" – the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.
None of this is about morality, or religion, or dogma, or big fancy questions of life after death. The capital-T Truth is about life before death [...] It is about simple awareness – awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, that we have to keep reminding ourselves, over and over: "This is water, this is water."
Tue 18 Sep 2012
I’ll start with another apology for being MIA – it’s been a crazy few months and trying to get a blog post up once a week has been next to impossible! I promise after the wedding/honeymoon, I will be back to my regular posting schedule. Thanks for being so patient!
We’re nearly there, and tomorrow my parents land in Dublin from Los Angeles – the first guests to arrive. They’ll be here for a few days and then we’ll hop in the car with Mountaineering Man and drive to Wexford, where they’ll meet MM’s parents for the first time. We’ll do our courthouse marriage ceremony there, have dinner with MM’s family and then head on back to Dublin the next morning.
My parents have been to Ireland to visit me before, so they’ll leave ahead of us and fly to Italy for some R&R before the wedding in Tuscany next week. A day after they depart, my best friend Stacy and her husband Brian, along with my cousin Dana, arrive in Dublin.
As this will be the first visit to Ireland for all three, I’ve been trying to write an email to prepare them for what they can expect while here. As I write an entire blog on the subject of Ireland and its culture and people, it’s been difficult to craft a succinct email on the subject. There’s so much I want to say but I don’t want to give everything away; I want them to experience it with fresh eyes.
What I can say is that they can expect bipolar weather conditions, as in showers one minute and sun the next with a few other bits thrown in between. They can expect friendly folks, who will happily give them directions if they get lost, and perhaps even a tall tale or two before they get back on the road. Recently a taxi driver told me about how when he was a child, he was standing on the sunny side of the street while watching it pour down rain on the other side. Ah the Irish love their stories, and true or not they’re always told with earnest.
Fri 6 Jul 2012
“Did you put a clean tea towel in the kitchen?”
It’s a Saturday afternoon, and Mountaineering Man and I are doing a full house cleaning in preparation for his parents’ visit. While I’m in the bedroom primping the bedcovers, he’s finishing up the kitchen.
“Yep, all done!” he says.
“Is it the dark blue one with the stripes?” I ask.
“Yep!” says he.
“Noooo – not that one,” I said, before grabbing another tea towel from the hot press and running off to the kitchen.
MM looked confused, and understandably so. The blue striped tea towel was clean, and fresh from the press. But what he doesn’t know is that this particular tea towel is a mockery of a tea towel, or any towel for that matter. It has a large weave and a very rough surface and is cheaply made. When you wipe it across a wet surface, it doesn’t soak up any moisture; it merely spreads the water around, creating big streaks of wetness across the counter – the kind that dries into a pattern of unattractive water spots, ones you have to then wipe over again. To add insult to injury it lost its rectangular form after the first wash; it’s now just a sad, shapeless version of what it once was, when I first spied it in the kitchen aisle at TK Maxx and thought it would go nicely with some navy oven mitts I already had.
Tue 12 Jun 2012
Do you ever have one of those days where you just need a few more hours to get everything done? Lately I’ve been feeling like that about entire weeks and months; it seems I always need more time to do this or that and more time to actually get some rest in between all the chores!
Though I don’t necessarily *feel* super stressed out (I am not gritting my teeth and clenching my fists…yet), I’m quite frazzled these days. Between work, wedding planning, blogging, creative projects and my everyday chores, by day’s end I feel tattered and worn. I realise this isn’t a problem specific to me, and there are plenty of people in the world with far greater issues than these. But as they say it’s all relative and lately I am feeling the strain of it all, which is typically made worse by the bi-polar Irish weather and all its resulting irritants (dampness, pollen, crazy traffic – ARGH!).
There are the necessary chores like grocery shopping and cooking, which I usually enjoy greatly. Last Sunday I spent hours in the kitchen making our usual baked oatmeal, baked ham (for Mountaineering Man’s sambos) and veggie curry with quinoa (for my lunches) plus a gluten-free brownie cake for my coeliac co-worker (just for fun) and a batch of vegan banana ice cream (just for fun). But on top of all the regular cooking the extras proved far too much work, and I didn’t enjoy it like I normally would. Because MM takes on most of the cleaning and laundry duties, I always assume I have enough time to do those pleasurable cooking projects – but somehow take on more than I can handle!