Friday, February 11, 2011

Playful Paws lead me to Bootcamp

Well folks, laugh you may, but tonight I am off to Bootcamp.  I consider this my one good turn of the day directed solely at the soon to be Mrs Baker.... and how did I end up having a friday night date with Bootcamp?  Well, I can simply thank my best 4-pawed pal Jozy.

A lot has changed this week other than the obvious new home, new surroundings.  I have been rigidly taking our sweet pup Jozy out every day.  We live on the top of a hill - like a fort.  Every which direction you look in, there presents a great excercise challenge.  Should you go down the hill once in the day on foot, you will inevitably have to climb your way back up it to get home.  Well may it last, but I have actually taken this as a challenge this week and not chosen to stay home lazily, knowing that leaving is not worth the coming back.  So, down the back of our house, you come to a river.  Over the bridge, take a right and you are at a beautifully big, dog-perfect green.  It stands side by side with the river for about a half mile, then there's a bit of forest, then a small housing estate, and then..... you reach the canal.  What's amazing about Leixlip is the amount of water.  As you walk up and down the hills, you glimpse different parts of the waterways and the best part is that they are all accessible and make for great walks.  There is one part where all three water ways meet - the canal at a slightly higher elevation running it's perfectly straight course, the river at the back of our house meeting it a little lower and then on the far side, a drop, and yet another river, joined to the canal by an off-shoot waterfall.

Now, we really couldn't have picked (though technically I had no idea how much there was here) a better spot for our water-loving Lab.  Upon returning from such great territory, swimming, running and playing with other dogs, it's off to the bath tub for a quick hose-off (since we unfortunately do not have access to an outside tap) and then straight to the preferred downward dog position - taking up 3/4 of our 3 seater couch.....typically looking in sequence like this:

As to what else has happened on walks this week, all I can say is that having a dog is a great way to make friends.  I have had some great conversations with other owners and I believe Jozy has been initiated into the 8:30 am walkers club and the 9:30am walkers club.  She has also met the others dogs in our complex and is in love with the other 2 golden labs.  As a result, I have been invited to Tuesday night soccer, Monday and Friday night bootcamps, had coffee in another dog-walkers house, and been invited to a girls night with our neighbours.  Way to go Jozy.  In specifics, Jozy has a new best friend - Maggie, who is a small terrier mix, the exact same age, and can run faster than her.... perfect for Jozy's attempted domineering.  It is maggie's owner who has me roped into Bootcamp and how could I say no... with another Baker wedding looming and a lake holiday with the Limpachs only a few months off...well, there's no time like the present.

As for now, I'd better get started on the chaos of the upstairs.  I will soon have photos and videos to share.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It's the little things that make a house a home...

Well, what a weekend! We battled 120km/hr winds and pelting rain all weekend, but we. are. moved!

It's amazing how you so easily under-estimate the amount of stuff you have.  I mean sure you calculate the size of the furniture you have to move and the TV, computer and Kitchen objects... but you forget about the stuff.  Who knew all those cupboards and shelves you haven't properly attended to for 6 months could contain so many hidden objects!  If I have learnt one thing these past 9 months, it is that leaving anything to complete on tomorrow's task list is disasterous.  Chris and I.... many I, were filled with enthusiasm to unpack wedding gifts and our amalgamated lives and find their special places in our home in Limerick but because we had a few spare rooms, we just didn't deal with any difficult decisions, you know the kind - to keep or not to keep?..childhood memories, books we read 10 years ago etc.  Of course, we didn't get rid of everything, we simply trimmed the excess weight... there's a new diet concept for the start of the year!  We can honestly recommend it to anyone moving or not moving.  De-stuff... cleanse your household.. there's nothing like feeling on top of things.

So, there we go.  Lesson one entering into 2011 is simply:  cut the stuff, be sentimental but don't squirrell...

As to our new abode, it is lovely.  Much more in tune with our lifestyle expectations.   We are close to shops, restaurants and pretty much any other life necessity. Now by close I mean we walk out of our complex, turn left or right and a 3 minute walk later, we're there...and on that note, the decision about the car? Well, I left it behind to be sold by my trusty mechanic in Limerick.  So there you have it - my personal challenge for 2011 is to get my walking shoes on.   (Any suggestions of cute and practical lines to bumff out my cute but not so practical shoe collection would be welcome...I love my trainers (sneakers) but the wearing of those is strictly limited to gymns and walking dogs in Ireland...a real fashion faux pas to attempt to wear them with anything else).

Here is a photo of the little thing that my house a home yesterday:

I realise the photo is blurry, but the camera is currently lost in the sea of bubble wrap so my phone is all I had.  Chris was trying to help me find hooks for my oven mitts and pot holders.  In true woman-stuck-in-a-D.I.Y-store fashion, I found that the hooks were either too practical looking, too large for the objects to be hung, too modern, even too hook-like and yes, my husband was despairing.... until we found this sweet set.  I love it!  What a find - it is copper and chocolate brown metal, delicate but still practical and the perfect sized hooks for the job.... 

...and put together with all the other little things that make any place a home for me, well.... here you have it:

I realise that others would rush to make sure their clothes are unpacked and perfectly hung, or organise their living room so that they can walk around without navigating the makings of the newest assalt course but me?  I rushed straight to my beloved kitchen.  I had imagined each object's place before we arrived and I was ready to create.  Sure there was clutter everywhere else in the house but I created my kitchen space and I was happy.... my house became a home.

My blog name tends to come back and bite me a little too often.  I know it is an ode to my mother's patience whilst I was growing up and my father's sanity... I know it is an ode to my husband's unconditional love for me... but what I am coming to realise is that it is far more than a summary of my actions... it is well and truly a narrative on my life.  There's clutter and there's creating.  Sometimes I'm in the clutter for a long time but somehow, I make it to the creating.... and in those moments, I look over my shoulder with a twinkle in my eye and hope that they all still love me.

The clutter is usually worth it, but as I mentioned earlier, I am aware of it... and working on improving it.

Challenge #2 for 2011? At least to speed up the process between the clutter and the creating.... starting with cutting the stuff.

Tea Break # 3

Yes it is only 12:18 in the afternoon and yes, I am on cup of tea # 3.  The study at the back of the house is quickly filling with boxes and suitcases ready to go and I'm certainly getting a good work-out in the midst of it! So, whilst the laundry is mid-cycle and the pup is napping at my feet, I'll give you a little something for the day...

It feels in many ways like you have all walked through this house several times.  I wish that were true, but it struck me today that we really are leaving our first home behind and since many of you weren't able to trek out here, I thought I'd post a video of our home.  Please keep in mind the following:

1) We are mid-packing... it's a MESS
2) I know my accent is annoyingly messed up between Ireland and the US so humor me and tell me it's cute... For whatever reason, when I'm thinking about america and my friends and family there, the american accent slips out, but the longer I talk and the more I settle into my own mind, the Northerner comes out.... I sincerely apologise..
3) I realise that my video skills are amateur at best so please also forgive the earthquake effects.

I hope it gives you a little glimpse into what life was like in Limerick for us.

{Video upload has failed several days that we are back in the city, our internet should allow me to add it asap! - coming soon I promise!)....