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Thanksgiving has long been one of my favorite holidays. Some version of Christmas exists nearly anywhere you go, but not Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the one you must create, wherever you are, the one that makes you American and makes you … Continue reading

The age of unreason (and what we’ve been up to)

As some of you know, I’m woefully behind in blogging because we’ve officially hit the Age of Unreason with the boys and my nerves are thrumming with anxiety. C is fighting his nap and seems to want to clamp himself onto me, even though he is so tired that the tiniest thing will trigger an enormous tantrum.

In light of this, forget any attempt at weaving a narrative. The center cannot hold. Mere anarchy is being loosed upon my world. No update on Sashi, but thank you for asking. At worst, as I understand it, she can come in January when the rules change in our favor, though she will have to be re-chipped (and checked to see that the chip comes up in the scan), and re-vaccinated in the meantime.

So here it is:

First frost. The Arctic air is edging in, but still we've had a succession of gorgeous fall days.

First fire. (That they are aware of.) Over here, we use peat briquettes

First art fair. Our neighbor Esme gave us tickets, so we walked up to the Royal Dublin Society to check it out

The Royal Dublin Society

The art fair ended up being a great place for the boys (as long as we held them). They were fascinated by all the paintings and sculpture on display and we enjoyed listening to how they interpreted them.

C did some performance art of his own

The boys found the art fair inspiring. (I hope our landlord is not reading this.)

Later that evening, we got a knock at the door and met another neighbor from the next street over. Her name is Maureen and she came bearing a bag of apples from her yard (which we made into applesauce, since you can’t find jarred applesauce here), and coffee (LOVED her for that), from her recent African safari. She told Sascha that our two little streets usually hold a block party in the warmer months, which Sascha was extremely excited about. East Williamsburg once inspired him, after all, to write a Blue’s Clues episode about a block party.

A few days later, we enjoyed chatting with Brian, who lives on the same street as Maureen. He was pulling out things from his recently flooded playroom, and gamely allowed the boys to try out some of the tantalizing toys:

On another weekend, we took the light rail south to check out the Dublin Children’s Museum, Imaginosity. It is essentially like Kidcity, but it is very new and is all eco.

No surprise that C wanted to be in front of the camera

Test driving an Audi with Daddy

Power struggle in aisle two

And now I must get to bed.

Goodnight, (full) moon.

Life on the lane

It bemuses me to say “down the lane” and mean it quite literally. Our tiny, hidden street is a mini-community, and that suits us well. Appearance-wise, it couldn’t be more different than the condos we last lived in, which were built in 1980. These houses are at least 150 years old. But there are some similarities in that, like our condo, you usually are not on the street unless you live there, so you come very quickly to know your neighbors. Unlike our condo, however, there are seemingly ancient remnants everywhere. For example, just outside our kitchen, I can see the remains of a brick wall through the skylights. It may or may not help support this house, which is unattached, but the original structure it was part of is long gone.

Our neighbors seem to be a mix of long-timers and new renters. Esme, who lives closest to us in a house that makes me think of the French country side and smile whenever I walk past, raised all four of her children in her house .She has weather-beaten wood shutters and a wild, overgrown container garden out front. You have to look very closely to even find the containers, and that’s part of what I love. It’s almost as if she created a patch of soil from the pavement. She told us an older couple who live in one of the middle cottages have been here the longest, and called them the King and Queen. Avril and Steve are a young couple who live a bit further down the lane in one of the very renovated houses like ours. They have a very young baby—a beautiful girl just a few weeks old–and are surprisingly relaxed for new parents.

Every day, returning from the village, we round a stone wall to get to our lane. A pear tree from a garden on the adjacent street hangs over the wall, dangling its fruit. We spied an apple tree as well when we peered over the wall. It is catty-corner to a small cottage in the middle of a renovation. One day we met Gerry, who lives in the house with the pear tree and is renovating the cottage. Did we like rhubarb, he wanted to know? Gerry is tall and thin, perhaps 6’2, with hair and bushy eyebrows the color of straw and a seemingly-permanent ruddy complexion from working out in his yard. He took great pride in giving my mom and me a tour of the cottage he is renovating. I think, if I recall what Esme said, that he is a retired garda (police officer) who owns a bit of real estate in the area.  Later in the afternoon, he came down the lane later that day with goods from his garden:

Rhubarb, apples, and romaine from Gerry's garden

It was such a lovely gesture. There was an unexpected guest as well, who seemed as curious about the boys as they were about him, but I felt he would be happier (as would we) back over the wall of our garden.

We decided to make my mom’s apple cake to bring to Gerry as a thank you. For those of you who’ve had it, the apple cake is a simple one but everyone loves it. It is usually moist and delicious. I dug out the oven manual and narrowed down our control panel to one of two models and thought I had figured out the correct setting. Everything else was just conversion–cups to ml, Fahrenheit to Celsius. The ovens are fan-assisted, which means things can cook quite quickly. Well, this is what happened to our cake:

I was very disappointed. I don’t think I’ve burned anything like that, ever. I had better success making a strawberry rhubarb crisp, which isn’t as delicate as a cake.

G & C heading down the lane