Monday, June 30, 2008

What's for Dinner?

Tonight we had spicy pork chops w/ onions & baby button mushrooms, roasted sweet potatoes, and steamed green beans.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

When A Man Loves A Woman...

You wake to find breakfast waiting for you at the table.

He cleans up after himself in the kitchen and even mops the floor! *Gasp*

He really gets into shopping for groceries! I mean, really!!!

He becomes your shopping donkey.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Belfast Carnival et al...

Woohoo! We had such a productive day! We woke up early in the morning and headed down to the buzzing of St. George's farmers market and bought the freshest cuts of meat and produce. We then headed up to the Belfast Carnival in the City Center and enjoyed the swaying hips of samba women dancing to the beat of the drums on glamorous floats, an array of musical acts, colorful, flamboyant costumes, and circus performers! FUN FUN FUN!!!

Yeah right! In our dreams!...

We just couldn't be arsed!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Difference Between Shankill and Stranmillis Girls

Aye! I'm comin'!

Yes! I am arriving!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Belfastisms: A Quirky Coke Ad

What's the craic? = What's up?

It's Weeker! = Brilliant!

'Bout ye? = How are you?

My head's melted = My head is buzzin'

Wind your neck in = Wise up!

You're a geg = You're funny (in a sarcastic way)


If there is one thing that I am very annoyed about is how many people here are a bunch of FLAKES!!!!

Craig's friends learned of my arrival months ago and invited us to go out sometime when I'm here. Sure! Let's go out to dinner! I'll give you a ring! That was 3 weeks ago never rang! Sure! We'll go out on the town. I'll give you a ring! Never happened!

Just 2 hours ago, Craig texted me that his friend invited us out to dinner and to get ready by the time he gets home because they are picking us up. I wasn't holding my breath but I got ready anyway. Somewhere in between a shower and me blow drying my hair, the phone rings once again and Craig says that we're not going because his friend has a last minute thing to do. Postponed until the weekend. Again! Not holding my breath for this one!

Why even bother to invite us in the first place? UGH!!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Just five minutes ago, I could see blue skies and the sun peering through the clouds. But alas, I knew it wouldn't last too long. The dark clouds were looming in near the distance.

It's seems like it has been forever since I have seen the sun. For the past few days it has been gray, miserable, and raining. I am not used to so much rain in the summer. Being a Californian, where we are spoiled by the weather with sun most of the year, I fear the rain and stay indoors. For Californians, the rain is an excuse to lounge around and be lethargic. I don't mind. It gives me time to reflect about my life and where I think it should be headed.

Lately, I have been thinking about this little experiment Craig and I have got going here. In the beginning, I feared the unknown and full of anxiety. I was afraid that it would fizzle out in no time especially what we've been through in such a short span of time.

Craig is constantly proving me wrong with the little things. For example, everytime he goes down to the kitchen he always brings back two cups of tea or glasses of lemonade. Just yesterday, he brought me a bottle of milkshake because days before I mentioned that I was in the mood for milkshake. I didn't even ask for it. It was in his mind and he just got it for me. He goes for a bottle of milk from the corner store and he surprises me with roses. He certainly is a trooper when I go out shopping, never loses patience and gives me constructive feedback when clearly he isn't interested in subjects like home decor. Or when he comes home from work exhausted, and finds me in bed sick like I am today, he brings me a cup of tea and picks up the slack where I left off: he does the laundry and cooks me dinner, the only dish he knows how to do perfectly...French Toast!

It's these little things that remind me of the relationship my parents have. My father dotes on my mother, he loves her so much and it just makes me wonder how much Craig loves me. Sometimes I watch him sleep, he probably knows since one eye peers open and closes shut. He reaches over under the covers and holds my hand.

It goes to show that he is anything but lethargic about our relationship.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

An Irishman's Idea of Romance

Penny Pinching

I am still grappling with the fact that the £££ is not in favor of the $$$. I checked my online bank statement and discovered everytime I pull out £20 from the ATM, it converts to a whopping $38!!! And on top of that, I get charged a $5 foreign currency conversion fee! UGH!!!

Finances have put me into a panic. Granted, I have a lot of savings but I don't want to touch that account and just want to spend what I have in my checking account. My parents call and ask if I need "help" but I reluctantly say no because I'm a big girl now and it's pathetic for a 35 year old mooching off her parents for money.

I have expressed this concern to Craig and we've come up with the solution that we should try to cut back on our grocery shopping as much as we can and not to exceed £50 per week. He has been fortunate enough to have a gourmet cook and a SF food snob boot, so cutting back on the food front is going to be quite difficult for me as I hate processed food and everything must be fresh and made from scratch from the finest ingredients.

So we've devised a weekly menu which alternates meats and veggie entrees. Knowing what we're going to cook for the whole week comes in handy with a shopping list. Where we stick to those ingredients for the menu only and not exceed the £50 mark.

Yesterday we scoped the various shops in the middle of a monsoon welcoming us into the first day of summer. Other than the Centra around the corner from our house, where I get our missing odds and ends, we looked for other stores that would give us more bang for our buck (er...quid).

Spar on the Malone Road: More or less same prices as Centra. Better selection of meats. Open 24 hours.

Coop Superstore on Lisburn Road: Supermarket that sells locally produce items. Not that great of a selection and no bargains to be found here

Tesco on Lisburn Road: In the end, Tesco won. They have anything you could ever want. Wide selection of produce. Bargains galore. As a bonus we get an extra 10% discount because Craig works for them. So Tesco it is! The negative is that they don't have a great meat selection and it is pricey so we'll just go to St. George's Market on Friday or Saturday for our carnivorous cravings.

AND! We hit the £50 mark with all this loot! Woohoo!!!...

Oh I forgot to mention...I found this great online site which compares prices of supermarkets in your local area. Just fill your shopping cart and it will tell you which store has the most bargain. You can swap for alternative products to save you even more money and you can send your shopping list to the supermarket so they can deliver at your home! Delivery fees vary on day and time. It breaks even if you take a taxi back from the store.

You can find it at Check it out!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The First Day of Summer

We decided to spend the first day of summer indoors (out of the pouring rain) and watch a movie.

I discovered that the Queen's Film Theater was in our neighborhood. When I looked at the website, I immediately knew that this place was right up my alley. They show an array of independent and foreign films which I am a big fan of.

Looks can be deceiving. The facade mimics a narrow brownstone home...

Suddenly to your dismay, is a very modern, ultra hip, and magnificent lobby where you can enjoy a glass of wine which you can take in with you to the theatre. Imbibing alcohol during a movie! Who woulda thunk?!?!

After the movie, we walked through the university grounds at night. Looks like the rain decided to take a break.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Grim Reminder of Home

I went to the post office today to pick up a parcel. Instead of the usual goodies my parents send me while I'm abroad, I get a stack of work related letters and bills. The letters from work immediately gave me feelings of anxiety and I can feel a wave of nausea from the pit of my stomach which begs the question...

Is it worth it to go back? I have been in the UK for almost 2 months now. Riding on the bus the other day in the middle of rush hour, I was surprised how people were generally mellow, calm, and quiet. I remember coming home from work on BART where everyone in the same boat was either, frantic on the cellphone talking about work, stressed out, or generally apathetic, tired and miserable.

I asked FH if this was usual, and he said more or less. People here just don't give a shit. At the end of the day, they leave work at work. They don't talk about work when they are at home. Also, he doesn't think they have as much stake as Americans in losing their job. They don't have to worry about losing their health insurance because they are covered by the NHS. I experienced the NHS firsthand when I was in that motorcycle accident four days into being here. They were very thorough...did xrays, cat scans, lab tests, administered drugs. And at the end there was no bill at all, you just walk out. I was amazed. All the while I was worried at how I was going to pay for all this.

Also they have a great social welfare system. If they lose their job, whether it be laid off, quit, or fired, they still get a check. Nobody ends up homeless here. If you see a homeless person on the street it's because they want to be there because they have subsidised housing from the government (nobody is ever refused). Yes, you pay taxes up the ying yang but I wonder if it's all worth it, living a stress free life, well not completely stress free but less than Americans have to fret over.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Posing on The Peaceline

A photoshoot of "The Ledge" for their next big hit album. Available soon in stores near you!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Yankee Fry

An American twist of the Irish breakfast: beans and a frank, a fried egg, bacon, and a fresh tomato. Invented by yours truly.

Monday, June 16, 2008

George Dubya Bush...

is here in Belfast for the last leg of his transatlantic tour. What do the Belfastians think of my country's leader?

And Americans such as myself are counting the days when his term will be over! Yay!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Our House

Below is a virtual tour of our house in Stranmillis...

Living room view from kitchen


An example of Craig's obsessive compulsive disorder

Stairs leading up to the bathrooms

Second floor Stairs

Stairs leading up to third floor

Stairs leading up to our room

Our Penthouse suite

Dresser Mirror

Our Bed

As you can see, he's very proud of our bed

Opposite side of the room

Penthouse view

Friday, June 13, 2008

St George's Market

We woke up very early and ventured out to St. George's Market. A feast for the eyes, nose, and palate! Me being a San Franciscan foodie, I was a kid at a candy store. We found great bargains such as amazing cuts of meat (sirloin steaks for a fiver), and 2 salmon fillets for £2. A vibrant and lively place, I found it a real treat to sample the local organic produce and other goodies...

Clementines! 8 for £1!

Artisanal Breads! Yum!

I luv cheez!

You name it, they pickle it!


You can get a cup of fresh roasted coffee for £1 here!

Yellowman - A candy made out of honeycomb!

Beeyooteefool flowerrrrrrrz!


Don't forget your sloggy pants cuz we all need those!