Diary of An Irish Woman

musings of an irish lady now living in America.

Friday, May 30, 2008

new verse for song

Thanks to Jan who suggested Dinosaurs instead of roadkill as I originally had in song...

A T-Rex sat on the railroad track, its tail all covered in soil, around the bend came number 10 and a million years and whoot whoot OIL!

I was the only Mummy that had a verse ready so gold star for me. Well that and the fact that my kid still is in same relative place when I put him down so I know that wont last long...

careful with debit cards

So this is a big problem in UK, with gangs putting card readers on ATM's and scanning your card - collecting your pin and then later getting your money.

Here now in US last year I read about a case at Albertsons in Oakland and Alameda. Now a gang has started doing it at Gas or Petrol Stations right beside us in San Jose.

Also same day they found out In a separate case, more than 200 shoppers had their debit card information stolen after swiping their cards at a Lunardi's Supermarket in Los Gatos.

The problem occurs when you use your direct debit card - unknown to you the reader on the gas ATM reader or Store reader has a fake one attached - that's so good its hard to pick up. It scans your card, then your pin when you enter it and you get your gas drive off and they sit nearby with a computer collecting your information.

All they need to do then is pass any card with a magnetic strip on the card (like expired gift cards or old hotel keys) collect the information and then go to an ATM and take out money from your account.

This isn't one of those Internet ghost stories. Unfortunately its quite real. So credit cards are sometimes better if you can and always check the device you are scanning into.

In UK I remember my brother telling me that even if you see its fake to just walk away calmly looking like you took money out or got gas whatever and they call police a safe distance away. The nature of the devices is that the scammers are just nearby to collect the information so safer not to alert them you realize. (A man was killed by a Nigerian gang in UK after trying to take the ATM card scanner off the ATM, another beaten to a coma when the robbers realized he guessed it was a card scanner at a gas station)
As if rising oil prices wasnt scary enough without losing your savings at the pump as well. So be careful and double check before you use that card

Thursday, May 29, 2008


So tomorrow we have
  • Music together class at 1030 - in which we had to make up a verse instead of the one in the song - a peanut sat on a track his heart all a flutter, along came train number 10 - whoot whoot peanut butter! Mine is an apple jumped on the railroad track trying to be higher, along came train number 10, whoot whoot apple cider!
  • Then nap time for wee man - he's usually ready for it by then
  • Hopefully while he naps I can do the planned conference call
  • Then my mate Ciara comes over lunch time with clothes for the wee man and toys that her lad has outgrown. Some of the toys are ones I had given to them from another friend passing to me (ya gotta love fisher price - they last forever),
  • Then over to a friend from Mommys group for hanging out at 4ish
  • Back home for bath time and getting ready to hand over to hubbie
  • Then off to bar for a cosmo before meeting two girl friends to watch Sex in the City

I wont be wearing Carrie Bradshaw type shoes to do the above but I will be wearing my softwalk that I got on Zappo that are super duper comfy and tres moi (brown oxford slip ons/mary jane kind of shoes). Wish I could see Movie with all my mates, especially with my sisterchick in NY but she and other friends are there in spirit.

I joke that I never had such a social life until I became a Mum. I wasn't joking... ;-) Have a good weekend folks

one large step forward

A Neil Armstrong moment last night. We watched the wee man take one step forward in a crawl last night. He went then promptly backwards but was fun seeing him try to go forwards. When he wants to get something he does this commando on his belly, pulling himself by his hands towards the object or pulling it towards him. He's figured out if its on a carpet just to pull the rug over to him. He went off to daycare this morning singing away with a music shaker in his hand. Those musical toys were best thing I got the wee lad. He just loves them!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


My good NY friend Gina's younger brother Leo has been missing since December. Supposed to go to Boston for a weekend, he never showed up and later called his Dad from Ohio border. He was fine he said and was coming home. He never did unfortunately. They then put in a missing report, put notices up on myspace and posters everywhere he was seen near, searched for him, and the police were looking for him but with no luck.

His remains were sadly found this week in a forest, it looks like he been there unfound for several months in West Virgina forest far away from any hiking trails or passers by. He was only 21 and I know that his family are going through agony right now with the terrible news. Gina called me and I cant even imagine how she had the strength to make those calls to friends and family. Shes an amazing person and has held her family together after her Mums passing away when she was a teenager.

I used to tutor him in math a long time ago in Long Island. He was a funny kid age 11 then who was quick to make everyone laugh. While others suggest that finding him is a relief in a sad way as they finally know what happened, it just brings more questions, why was he there, how did he pass away and why didn't he come home. There's no simple answers and all I can think of is saying a prayer and sending my love to my friend and her family.
I didn't know if I should even blog about this. Then I thought well if a few folks who read this say some prayers for Leo and his family then it will have been worth it. Too often we can get caught up with pieces of life that make us forget whats really important. The news would like us to focus on mindless pieces of scary news like are we ready for the big earthquake or how electrical blankets can kill you ( I swear that was a whole news piece one night - how electric blankets can kill you and more about it at 11pm kind of teaser - finally later they showed a frayed blanket that even a dog wouldn't sleep on and said it was dangerous.. yeah duh!). While stories about missing people doesn't usually even make the news at all. So don't forget to tell those folks who you love that you love them and forgive those mistakes you and others made along the way. In the grand scheme of things they just aren't that important.

Diapers and Movies

So local cinema at the pruneyard here in Campbell does diaper night and movies. So at 630pm - they showed Prince Caspian, with the lights on for the movie and the volume also turned down not to hurt little ears. So Mums and Dads were welcome to come with their babies and toddlers. We had a lovely time, wee lad slept for first hour, then was awake, had some food, played peek a boo with baby behind us, laughed at the kid in front of us who poured a bag of popcorn over his head and at one point waved hello at the screen when the girls came on.. Really..

It maybe was a tad too long for toddlers and babies at 2 hrs 20 but no complaints from us or wee man. It was brilliant being able to bring him in and watch and play together and not worry about his singing during the movie. There was about 15 families in there and they don't even advertise it at the cinema so that poor unaware folks don't wander into that screen and wonder what the racket is and why there's a toddler asleep on a blanket on the floor.

We'll be going again!

Now to plan a girlie night to see Sex in the City, I think cosmos are a must before hand!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Weekend

I talked to my Great Auntie N last night. Her husband has been very ill and we didn't know about him being so sick. Every time I had talked to her she had said his back was a bit sore but he was great. That wasn't the case and she was having a hard time accepting it we found out. Who would blame her though, we all want to hope our loved ones get better. My cousin had called me while we were in Florida and let us know how sick he really was and asked me to call my Aunt to see if I could talk with her . (My older relatives in NY seemed to take direction from me that they wouldn't from immediate family, not sure if its because I was from Ireland like themselves or as one job manager suggested to me - that I would do well in customer service as I wore glasses and people take a lot more crap from folks wearing glasses...)
Anyway I called my Aunt and after a week of her phone being busy or no answer I finally got through last night. She said her husband was very ill but she hoped he would get better. She talked about him coming home in a couple of months. The cancer, blocked arteries combined with being a hard smoker and drinker for most of his life was draining his life in large pieces. I didn't press her on how sick he was, I could tell she already knew but was hoping for the best. I'm glad we talked as my cousin called me this morning and sadly Liam had passed away this morning in the VA hospital. May God look after him
My great Aunt and Uncle had met in their late 30's in NY, both immigrants and had no children and loved each other fiercely. My Aunt who let me stay with her when I first came to America and then again after that after the car accident. They were like my adopted grandparents away from home and I would drive my Aunt around groceries and beer shopping or anything she needed. Liam was a dry funny man who could rub people the wrong way a lot of times but I didn't have any bother with him really. He liked a good argument and I had learnt to do that as a young child with my Grandad Mac at home so we had good Irish rows about nothing and then a beer and laughed about it. He loved my Aunt and they were devoted to each other.
He was born and reared in Ireland and is going home to be buried there in Dungarvan. He served in the army here and was proud to be an solider, serving at one point in Germany during the war. He'll be missed and on this Memorial weekend saying a prayer for him and all the family and friends who have passed on. Also saying a prayer for all the troops around the world, regardless of what country they are from or where they are serving, a prayer that they come home soon and safe. We couldn't ask for more on this Memorial day.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

wee laddie

Talking to my Mother in Law today. She said everyone asked her how was her visit with her first grandchild. She said to them, you wont believe me - you'll think I'm just saying it because he's my first grandchild. What they said - well he's as good as gold, was smiling and laughing even with teething, he's a handsome boy and very loving. Ah they said you're just saying that because he's your first they said. Nope she said you're wrong - he is like that. Hopefully we'll see them soon. 3000 miles from one set and 6000 miles didn't seem to far until we had a wee lad to share with them

My Mum has a sign at home, grandchildren are the gift for not strangling your kids... and she's right!
Posted by Picasa

here they are

both teeth on bottom coming through..
Posted by Picasa

The teeth are here!

Right on cue - on the Saturday , wee man's teeth started to pop through. Just in time for Grandparents.
He is still just crawling backwards and commando style trying to crawl forwards but whizzing around the room backwards now. (Maybe like a New Jersey driver who are only allowed to make right hand turns at major intersections ...) Saturday morning we headed to Cracker Barrel country store and restaurant to eat before leaving my folks to the airport and Jans folks headed west back home. It was a fantastic week, we had wee man in baby pool or indoor pool nearly every day and had such a relaxing week. Was brilliant to have both set of grandparents there and will probably be a few weeks before wee man gets used to not having 6 adults around him laughing at everything he does. (Latest trick after Grandad Mac laughed very hard at him doing it is spitting food everywhere after eating it to get a reaction...) So now I sit like nothing happened while I am covered in sweet potato or whatever mush is that dinner trying not to give a reaction at all. Thankfully its diminished somewhat ;-)
Posted by Picasa

Friday night

Friday being Jan's folks 55 th wedding anniversary we headed out to dinner at a place recommended by everyone and they were right. It was a fish restaurant on the harbour. We had already had food in afternoon so we went for appetizers and dessert. Great idea as otherwise we wouldn't have fit in minivan. Even though was past wee lads bedtime he was wide awake, singing away and chatting to everyone. Great food and great place. Margaritas were very easy going down as well..
Posted by Picasa

picture day

Thursday we all headed up to Orlando for photos at picture people. I'll put them up later but all I can say is my wee lad loves the blonde haired women. The photographer was great and he smiled at her, then another lady came to help who was blonde and he BEAMED and began waving at her. Huge flirt. Really great photos and heres ones of my Dad feeding wee lad and then later playing with his soother (binky/pacifier). Wee lad now loves to give to you as we pretend to take it away from him. Also he threw me for a loop when he took it out of his mouth and shoved it into his. Guess those fine motor skills are taking off...
Posted by Picasa


So we hit Johhny Rockets one of the nights there. Bad idea. The only one who had anything he could eat without layer of grease a mile high on cold food was wee lad who was safe with his bottle. Waitress was lovely but food was all horrible. We left quickly after trying to eat some and went back to chill out and watch first part of Color of Magic that my folks brought over after taping it for me at home. Love Terry Pratchett Books and was great to see how they put it on screen.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday Tuesday

So for Mothers Day, treated me and my Mum to a massage, spa pedicure and eyebrow treatment. While we did that and relaxed (after first heading to Space Center again in morning and catching up on what we missed day before). Jan's folks then came into town for the week to stay with us. Wee lad was so spoiled and loving it. His new thing in last photo is making sounds against his hand while waving it. Very cute and funny. He was loving of course all the attention. He went to everyone with ease and just smiled away
Posted by Picasa

Monday night

So that night we went to Bucco the Italian family dining place. Fantastic food I must say and wee man was so so happy with the bread roll (I had taken out all the bread out of it) leaving him a crust to munch, suck and chew on. His teeth were still under two swollen hills of gums but I was hoping they might appear soon. Like before he was 3 and we aren't on soup diets for his teenage years...
Wee man was in great form and we had a nice night in after this, drinking some wine and chilling in the hotel. Earlier myself and my Mum had tried the lazy river. Those tires are not as easy to get in and out of as you might think. In helping ahem my Mum get out of hers I inadvertently tossed her into water completely. Didn't help there was a warm but very very strong wind that day so it was whizzing us around this lazy river at high speed. Tires were literally bouncing across the pool and patio by the wind. The trick to the tire is to get on like a seat while you are out of the water. Trying to get on while in the water and not as flexible as a teen will result in being half in and out and whizzing around the lazy river like dragged flotsam after a ship. Lots of fun though. We also brought down the coffee mugs with wine and chilled in jacuzzi afterwards while men watched wee lad. My kind of holiday
Posted by Picasa

Eagle has landed

Apollo 11 - Eagle has landed. Of course then we tried to remember all the Astronauts names who were on that mission that landed on the moon. We couldn't think of the third guy. And it was Michael Collins which of course we should be seriously ashamed of that we couldn't remember. As Michale Collins namesake is a HUGE Irish hero in Irish Independence. Great movie also by same name if you ever get to see it. OK I digress as usual. See its a huge rocket and we were geeking out big time.
Posted by Picasa

space.. the final frontier

Posted by PicasaIn the space center - they transported all the parts of original Huston mission control to the Space Center. Then went to see the Apollo rocket. Its so large that you see the small scaled down model here in photo. The folks over to the right are standing under the part of it. Its as long as the warehouse. HUGE! Very interesting. Wee man was done by this part though so we headed back to the main part at this point and the men minus baby went on the space shuttle simulator while we chilled in the shade. Very fun day out.

first day in Florida

So first morning we were all up at 6am. Well I was so I showered then got the men up... We went to waffle house for breakfast and they didnt have any apple sauce for wee lad but they said they would bring over grits. I dont like grits, reminding me of that food group that looks like it was already digested by someone else (cottage cheese is in that group...), however we gave it a try. The wee mans face says it all.. Yeuch. He was still spitting out a couple of minutes later. Waitress said guess you're not a southern baby then. I know poor hubbie would have liked to have him love them but guess he's taking after me that way. (In a side note thats how myself and my mate Mo knew we were in the south on our road trip from NY to California. We were asked do you want grits with that...)
Next we drove up to Daytona Beach where my folks had come in the previous night and stayed in a motel 4 blocks from where we were all staying. We picked them up at 1030am and they were great, they pretended that it was about seeing me for about say 2 seconds before I was pushed to the side to go look at their grandson.. My friend Sandi says this is normal and she now gets attention at home by picking up her baby so people look at her before she starts talking to them or they cant hear her... :-)
So wee man was doted on, not shy at all at seeing Granny and Grandad Mac. We went down to the hotel to see if we could leave our bags there and found out we could check in early - woppee!
Wyndham Resort on Daytona Beach is amazing. Its a time share vacation place. Hubbies timeshare (thats not a timeshare I can hear him saying) lets us use our credits at any place around US and other places as well. So we used our credits for a week here and well worth it. Toddler pool with waterfalls, regular pool, lazy river, another regular pool, then a teenage pool with waterslides, plus two indoor pools and 4 jacuzzis and on site spa... Yep we roughed it for the week
So unpacked and the nice folks from http://www.babyequipmentrentals.com/ came over and set up his crib, gave us also exersacuer, high chair, baby bath, monitors all for rent for the week and set it up. I had told hotel about them and guest services was excited as they said a lot of families stay here and having not to drag all that stuff is great.
So after wee man had a nap we of course found super Walmart. Who's surprised? Not me or anyone reading this who knows my Mammy. We did a food shop for the week and actually left there not too bagged down. Of course the fact I had emptied one large suitcase to my Mum may have helped as she couldnt take much else home. I had 5 large travel coffee mugs, tshirts for the neices and nephews and siblings, laundry list of other things asked for and Mum was carting home. We also had other items coming during the week and it nearly felt like home with amazon packages arriving nearly daily...
Sunday we chilled at home and Sunday night was a little rough with wee lad waking up a lot. The new time zone, the heat, also the fact that we didnt realize the bed came with bumper so that when he turned and rotated during night that he wouldnt bang his feet or arms on sides and wake himself up.. OOps.. Fixed that for next day and he was grand.
We were slow getting out of the gate to go to Kennedy Space Center and got there at 3. We did most of the bus tour and just behind photo of hubbie and wee man you can see launch site ready for next month. Its a fantastic center and shouts from me driving up - look its the space shuttle, its the space shuttle, do you see the space shuttle! It was brilliant afternoon and the tickets are good for 7 days so we planned to come back next day so we could catch up some more.
Posted by Picasa