WOW! Free gifts!

I am so lucky! I have just been with a lady from Dublin Tourism and she has given me...well, how can I describe it...a CHRISTMAS DELUXE GIFTPACK of free tickets and stuff.

Well, I won't have to worry about spending too much money this Xmas. For one thing, my parents are coming and I daresay they'll be picking up tabs at restaurants and stuff (Thanks, Mom and Dad.I do appeciate it and when I am gainfully employed I will return the favour). For another, I now have free tickets to:

1) the the RDS. That's this weekend and I am going to invite Saoirse's Mom. It's not necessarily my sort of thing, but I think it is hers and she has been so sweet and welcoming to me that I'm happy to have the chance to do something for her, too;
2) The Christmas Carol at the Gate Theatre. Super! And nineteenth century literatre is my thing too. This is practically studying!!!
3) Loads of tickets for ice-skating in Smithfield! I've already been but I'll go again. Might even take Mom and Dad. Dad used to play ice-hockey and will chew your ear off about how he could've gone pro if he'd only been given the chance (etc.)
4) Four Dublin City Cards. She gave me some of these when my sister was over with her family and they saved a bundle so I might try to keep my one for when Uncle Joey so that I can give it to him because he loves a bargain.

Well, that's all good. And tonight? Well, tonight: I AM COOKING DINNER FOR MY BOYFRIEND!

As the only thing I know how to make is soup, we're having soup. However, I have it on the best of authority that it's very easy to cook a baked potato, and for the second course, I have something very special in my kitchen cupboard... something romantic! Something that will knock his socks off! You guessed it: MOM's BOTTLED MOOSE! Who could resist! Ha. So: a cosy night in. Bepe is working until late so we'll have the apartment to ourselves. I think his girlfriend will be staying over tonight so I guess, hm, well, will we be three or four for breakfast?

yuk -- Boys and their stupid toys

Bepe and a couple of his loud friends from the restaurants are noisily sprucing themselves up in the living room prior to going to what's got to be the daftist waste of money IMHO: A show about cars.

"Top Gear" is a show on TV that is now...ugh...I mean, how is this better than those Monster Truck Rallies they go to in the US?

I know: we all have different tastes blah blah and sure, I hope he has fun. But I also hope he doesn't bring those noisy idiots back to the apartment afterwards 'cause they'll probably be all over-excited and wake me up.

Yes, I am a grouch. But that's because MY hobbies are COOL and HIS are SILLY!!!

Now I feel guilty. I guess it's a good thing that in this rich tapestry of life we all have different interests. Imagine if everyone wanted to go where I did! There wouldn't be room for me!

Anyway, speaking of tasteful venues, I'm going to have a quick dinner and go to the Long Hall, absolutely one of my favourite Dublin pubs of all time, for a drink. It's so pretty there! Mirrors! Chandeliers! Good-looking bar staff! Traditional and history!

And most of all, appearing tonight, my boyfriend! I already saw him once today but going out in the evening is different; it calls for a change of clothes, some make up and the vintage hat I bought when I was supposed to be shopping for presents. I've never been crazy about being tall but you know what? There are advantages. Let's face it: from up here all those short people in hats look like mushrooms. Instead, I think I look pretty fetching in my 1950s velvet number! Yup: hats were really made for us beanpoles.

It's the end of the world as I know it in, I've been quite cocooned here in my own little life in Dublin and suddenly worlds are going to collide. Mom and Dad will be here in just under two weeks. They'll have to stay in a hotel for a couple of nights, but then Bepe's going back for his first Xmas in Italy in two years, and we'll have the apartment to use.

Although I've reached the ripe age of 23 (!) this is my first Christmas away from home and it feels strange. I don't know how to have Christmas in a city apartment. Should I get a tree? Should I attempt to cook dinner? I think that there are some hotels and restaurants that do Christmas dinner but is that, well, not homey enough? Or would it be a nice break for Mom who, let's face it, would likely end up doing most of the cooking anyways.

Also, what about my boyfriend. We're on a "go slow" system because it's all very new, but should I introduce him? Or not? I mean, he's not introducing me to his folks 'cause they are still upset about his split with his daughter's Mom. On the other hand, it's apparently OK for me to meet his little girl. He's already invited me to a Christmas toy fair with her. He always tries to do stuff with her at the weekends which means that if I want to see him Saturday and Sunday (and I do) I'm gonna have to get used to Disney movies and playgrounds and all the rest of it.

Ah, life.

The Christmas shopping continues. Who knew I had so much to buy? I did find this cool (and very Dublin) arty place near Camden Street, Mayfly, which is near a very funky cake shop. Not to easy to find as you have to wander away from the street, down an alley and into a funny building that's a traditional Dublin rowhouse from the front and a curious eco-art-building at the back. But very cool and I like the way Dubliners are arty and unpretentious!

So...I'm still at college. It's windy today and I forgot my hat so I guess I'll download some pictures from my phone and put 'em up here in the hopes it calms down before it's time to head home...

stars in my eyes

Things did not work out for me this weekend exactly as I had planned.

In fact, they took a new and interesting in turn.

In fact, I have a new *boyfriend*. It's still very early and well I am not sure how it will work out long term but I am so excited. Too excited to go into it here. I am superstitious and it is too early to talk about it. I haven't even told any of my friends.

This morning I woke up and Dublin had never looked as beautiful as it did when I opened my curtains. Sure, maybe it's because of the Amazing Events of the weekend, but the sun was shining and everyone just looked cheerful and happy although they think it's getting cold (I am from Newfoundland -- I know cold. It's not really that cold).

I missed an appointment in college and wandered about the neighbourhood taking pictures instead.

The bridge near my house.

This is Dublin's Spire. It's near my apartment but I have to leave the building and walk a couple of minutes to see it. I totally love it, but apparently it's controversial and it has a bunch of nicknames. One is "The Nail in the Pale" which I don't understand.

I was talking to the greengrocer about it.

"I used to hate that feckin' thing," he said, "and I was dead opposed to it but seeing it every day I'm after getting used to the bloody object and I wouldn't be without it now."

Translation: He likes it. I love that man. He is a poet. And he doesn't know it.

My Mom and Dad will be here soon!!!! So I have to get their presents, like, yesterday. Well, I am organised. I have bought my Dad a tweed hat at a shop on Nassau Street that must've remained exactly the same since, oh, 1930 or so. They have fantastic men's stuff there. All those classic tweed suits and things... why don't young men dress up more? I think they would look amazing!!

I haven't got my mom anything yet though. She's tricky.

Oh, and I will have a new person to buy a gift for this year [blush]!