Just got back a few days ago from a lovely 9 day trip to Ireland with my best friend from college, Gaile. We tried to do as much as possible in the time that we had, but of course the official motto of the trip quickly became "We'll do that on the next trip!" We visited Kilkenny, Rock of Cashel, Killarney National Park, Dingle and the Dingle Peninsula, the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, Galway, Connemara, Clonmacnoise, Trim, Newgrange / Bru na Boinne, and Dublin. Every place was great, but I have to admit that i absolutely loved the western part of the country. We saw more sheep, cattle, and gorse bushes than can be counted, as well as hordes of German, French and American tourists.

Yes, I tried a Guinness, And no, I didn't like it.

I'll post some pictures as soon as I go through them all, but here's one from Dingle.


Sometime life sucks

My mom's Boston Terrier was hit by one of her neighbors this morning, right after he'd been let outside to do his morning business. He made it back inside before he collapsed, and then died shortly after. I didn't see him (my sister and Dad had brough his body to the vet before I got there), but I suspect it was from internal bleeding. Mom is devastated, of course, and I have to admit that I am as well. I really loved that dog - he was always happy to see me, and we'd always play or go for a walk. Every time I think about it, I start crying. I don't know if it was better or worse for my mom to be there for his death. She didn't want any company. I'm working from home today and giving extra love to my cats.

In other bad news, the daughter of one of my favorite co-workers (actually the one that just left the company last month) died suddenly on Friday night. She was 27 and had just given birth last fall to his first grandson. I can't imagine what he's going through.

The problem with pfeffernusse

It's not about the cost of the ingredients, or the time and effort it takes to make them. I'm happy to support the cookie fundraiser for the kingdom travel fund.

It's not even about the spelling - I happen to like silent letters.

The problem is this: how do I refrain from eating all of these yummy cookies for the next 10 days???
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The Revenge of the Neglected Garden

The family and I got back this weekend from a nice week up at Cape Cod. On Saturday afternoon we went to check out our garden (we're once again doing the community garden thing). I'd picked some zucchini and squash on the previous Sunday before driving up to the Cape, but there were a lot of smaller ones that I left one. I thought it would be okay to do so, because my Aunt M. was supposed to come over once during the week to water and presumably pick any produce that was ready.

Um, no. Aunt M. watered, but didn't pick anything except a few basil leaves. I've told Mom that she's fired as a garden sitter. What's the point of not picking the produce??  <sigh> If she didn't want anything, she could have given it to her daughter!

So, when we visited the garden on Saturday, we were greeted by the sight of overgrown basil plants, mounds of yellow squash, zucchinis the size of small baseball bats, and a long row of bush bean plants that were completely full of green beans. Nothing else was ready yet, thankfully, though we picked a few small yellow peppers. After picking everything and divvying them up, I knew that I needed to do something ASAP.

On Saturday night, I made three batches of pesto with the basil, and I still threw some of the basil away because I didn't have the energy to get the hydrator out.

On Sunday, I put my new small batch canning book to good use and made 4 pints of pickled zucchini, 5 pints of zucchini pepper relish, and 3 pints of dilly beans. I also cooked one of the yellow squash and ate some of it with dinner.

Tonight I'm baking two loaves of zucchini bread, which used most of the remaining zucchini. And now I'm wondering what I can do with the rest of the yellow squash.

I'm also afraid to return to the garden....
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BBM Investiture

Well, it was quite a busy two days. I planned to take a half-day off from work on Friday in order to finish last minute items (like the bisht for Dinsdale), but one particular lawyer-boss made that impossible. Instead, I took a 1/3 day off. After bringing the cat to a check-up, it was down to New Britain to help set up the site. I bugged out early in order to go home and finish sewing the trim on the bisht. I was feeling a bit guilty, but it turns out that my leaving early was exactly what people wanted.

Leandra and I arrived bright and early on Saturday and settled into running Gate, where things went pretty smoothly. After initially being worried that I wouldn't have enough help, I actually had more people than I could use, which was a lovely thing to experience. By and by, Royal court started, and it was one of the best courts I've ever attended. I though that Queen Avelina did a wonderful job, and it was great to see several people in the barony receive awards that were overdue. Dinsdale and Aelfigfu spoke movingly about their time as baron and baroness, and the ceremony for deinvestiture and investiture of Dorigen and kls_eloisewas very moving. Dorien and kls_eloiselooked fantastic, as did Miss Charlotte. Their initial court, as well as their evening court, were great, and I'm looking forward to their reign.

My big surprise of the day came when I was called into Royal court. I was completely baffled and thought maybe I was going to get a Queen's Order of Courtesy. But when HRM Avelina mentioned the word "testimony" and Mistress Aelfgifu began speaking, I realized that I was receiving a Laurel!!  I was quite flabbergasted and my heart was racing, but I managed to really listen to the lovely words spoken on my behalf. I'm quite humbled by the praise, as well as all of the hours of work that my friends put into this award.

kls_eloiseproduced a stunning scroll filled with the type of legalese (from a period document, no less) that warms the cockles of both our hearts. She also spoke on behalf of the Laurels, and while she once again tried to blame me for the whole weaving thing, I'll always treasure her words. She and Dorigen also gave me a beautiful pelican/laurel enamel medallion which is absolutely beautiful. Mistress Aelfgifu spoke wonderfully for the Pelicans, and made me a laurel wreath from the bay laurel in her backyard. Mistress Camma read very kind words from Master Allyn, who spoke for the Chivalry, and Baroness Elspeth spoke for the Ladies of the Rose. lucianusmade me a gorgeous partlet embroidered with a wreath of laurel leaves on the standing collar, and he and jdulacgave me a wonderful medallion on a necklace that lucianusstrung himself, as well as a beautiful pottery "pig" made by thatpotteryguy. I also received a wonderful CD of Spanish pilgrimage music from Evaine. And to top it all off, jtdiii cooked up a wonderful reception for everyone to enjoy, despite the fact that he couldn't be there for the day. His Pies of Paris are so incredibly yummy - you just can't eat one.

I'm still feeling very overwhelmed by it all. It was a complete surprise and an honor that I thought wouldn't happen for years, if at all. I will try to be worthy of the order, and more importantly, of the faith that my friends have in me.
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I fought the law, and the law won...

So I've started to take classes towards earning an ABA-certified paralegal certificate. My current position is technically a paralegal position, but my workplace doesn't require the paralegal degree/certificate, so I'm just doing it to increase my knowledge and future job opportunities. When I registered last fall, I was able to get a business law class waived because I had taken something similar in my undergrad schooling (never mind that I barely remember the class). I made some inquiries about getting a waiver for the legal research course, but didn't push it at the time. Instead, I registered for the Intro to Law class, another requirement, and I've been taking that one this semester. The first third of the class was strictly review for me, but I have been learning some new stuff, so it hasn't been a complete waste of time.

Knowing that registration for the fall semester was coming up soon, I met a few weeks ago with the paralegal program coordinator to discuss the possibility of a waiver for the legal research and writing course. After all, I thought to myself, you took a legal research class in graduate school, and you have mumble years of doing legal research as a career! This should be a no-brainer! And I can take an additional elective course to take it's place, and therefore learn more! It's all good!

Um, no.

Basically, my chances of getting a waiver are slim-to-none, for various reasons I won't bother to repeat. I have three choices: take the class as it is and have an easy time of it, work with the class instructor to focus on things that are less familiar, i.e., some of the legal writing, or submit an independent study proposal which will allow me to do something I find interesting while satisfying the requirements of the class. I know I should probably go the independent study route, but frankly, taking a class while working 40 hours is a somewhat tiring endeavor (I know, I know, it's just one, but still). I'm not sure how much I want to challenge myself at this point, especially for something I'm doing for the heck of it. It annoys me that i'll have to pay the school to learn something I already know, but I'm still not inclined to go all out by designing my own special course. I need to think about it some more.

At any rate, I'm avoiding the issue for now by signing up for two more required courses for next semester: a 1 credit course on legal ethics, and a 3 credit course on litigation. Both are on Thursday night, so I expect I'll be a bit of a zombie on Fridays.
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