Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve, new beginning.

We arrived in Dublin this morning at 9am. Our arrival was much smoother than our departure from Los Angeles. The flight was the smoothest, least turbulent flight we've ever had. As the kids get older, they are definitely getting easier and easier to fly with. Our 9 monstrous bags (including one bike box) actually fit onto two baggage carts and into the back of my dad's commercial compact SUV. We picked up our rental station wagon very quickly and were soon across town and unlocking the door to our new home. The house was remarkably warm considering the heat had not been on for two weeks. Of course, the photos online definitely made the rooms seem bigger, but the house is lovely and cozy and perfect for us and our current needs. The kids were excited because they knew Christmas presents from Grandma and Grandpa were awaiting them (we strategically planned to have these waiting, knowing they were special and big and would keep them occupied the whole day. These big lego sets would also have been hard to pack if they were already built). I was excited because the location is AMAZING!  My dad met us at the airport and had already picked up some brown bread, tea and sausages. So the day was off to a great start.

The stress of the last few hours, few days, few weeks, few months (few years) already felt quite far behind us. (Though I can't shake the guilt about all that I left for my mom to deal with and clean up because we were not on the ball enough to have it together before leaving.) The amount of "stuff" we had to abandon, even though we thought we had whittled it all down to 5'x5'x8' was quickly becoming "what stuff?" 

Note* I didn't have time in the last frantic few hours to post about DH arriving at Uhaul, 3 hours behind schedule, with our carefully curated Ubox only to be told it was over weight capacity, WAY over weight capacity. So, he had to completely unpack the Ubox, that we had spent 4 days carefully packing and open box after box to see what could be eliminated. First to go were all of our books (what? NO books?????) because they are so heavy, and then some furniture. During this time, the kids were on the verge of major dys-regulation from boredom, hunger, frustration, nerves, etc...  and I was ready to join them. So we headed out to find food and to buy some extra luggage because it was becoming very apparent that what we were planning to take on the plane was also exceeding our current baggage capacity. A trip to Target with two unraveling children, and one over-extended mommy is not a fun time. So when DH and I got back to the house after our separate ordeals, we jammed what we could as quickly as possible into the 9 bags we had now allocated and again had to whittle our "stuff." (Even accidentally leaving "essential" items behind). We made it to our hotel, again with the help of my mom and brother-in-law, after delivering our two cars to their new home. Seven hours later it was time to wake up and make our way to Dublin (via Chicago).

Picking up Pepper (our dog, who is joining us in Ireland. You can read about that ordeal here) was relatively easy, considering.... Even though we had previously been told to pick her up after 2pm at the Lissenhall Veterinary Hospital in Swords (about a half hour drive from our new home), we received a call at 12:15pm saying that the facility was closing in 15 minutes because its New Year's Eve and "were we coming to get Pepper?" DH turned on the charm (for those of you who know DH, you might be as amused as I am) and we jumped in the car and drove as quickly as possible towards the hospital, though we had no Euros to pay the tolls on the bridge and through the tunnel (*NOTE: don't arrive in Ireland with no Euros!) But we made it, albeit a little past closing, and the lovely people at Lissenhall turned a vociferously whimpering Pepper over to my tardy charge.

The afternoon was lovely. The kids built lego, I had a much needed nap. Pepper snuggled up to each one of us in succession. We walked to a local gastro pub called The Chop House and had a nice dinner. My dad arrived again with libations and housewarming gifts. DH crashed, the kids kept building and I am blogging before we all turn into bed to face a new year, in our new home with so many new adventures waiting for us all. Bring it on!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Our last night in this house

Tonight is our last night in this house. We have been here 6 and a half years and I am very happy to be leaving. Its a beautiful house, but it has not been good for me. As my BFF (yep, I just used that abbreviation) Nicole says, "it's like the beautiful dress in your closet that you never want to wear because its not comfortable." Such an astute observation. This house was not comfortable for me. I am not happy to be leaving the wonderful friends that I have here in Los Angeles, but I am hoping (assuming!!!) they are going to come and visit us in Ireland and we are going to show them all that we love about being there. We are also excited about meeting up with anyone who travels to Europe. My fantasies may exceed our budget (surprise, surprise), but one can aspire (I do not say dream), right? RyanAir, we are there!

Our goal is to eventually find a cottage down the country, where we can escape the city on weekends/during the summer and spend some wonderful times with visiting friends and family. I am even excited about exploring the diverse countryside in hopes of finding that hidden gem. That will be part of the fun- exploring Ireland to find where we might actually put down a permanent (gasp!) base.

This week has been insane and I was having the most intense heart palpitations yesterday morning. I have been continuously emptying this house for the past 4 months and yesterday morning it still felt full. There has also been the issue of Pepper's travel. In order for Pepper to travel to Ireland, I was at the vet on Monday for health clearance and paperwork, a one hour drive and 2 hour wait at the USDA on Tuesday (where they turned me away, because the vet on Monday had not filled out my paperwork correctly). Back to the vet on Tuesday, to get the papers fixed. But could not return to USDA til Thursday because they close at 11am EVERY day, and were obviously not open on Christmas day. Back to the USDA on Thursday, with success. YAY! Then vet again on Friday for deworming. Pepper gets picked up at 9am tomorrow morning, by her driver! She will go to the airport for check-in and fly to Frankfurt. She arrives there on Monday. She will stay overnight in Frankfurt, be allowed out of her cage and then fly to Dublin on Tuesday, where we will pick her up after she has gone through customs in Ireland. I feel horrible for her, because I can not explain what is about to happen and I think this will be quite traumatic.

So, all of that dog travel stuff accompanied trying to empty the house, pack up what we consider essential AND the holidays with the kids off school. Yeah, I think I lost a few hours off my life yesterday morning. Sitting at the vet, I was fielding texts from craigslist about furniture "oh, uh, I am interested in your furniture, but I forget what piece it is, can you send me a photo, and how much is it?" and the emails from the people who had arranged to come and get something, saying they weren't coming and realizing that I don't have the time to go back through all the emails about that particular piece to find the next in line, but my house is full of furniture and it needs to go. Anyway, its been a stressful few days AND our house still feels full- though most of the furniture is finally gone. Phew. I think we have almost filled our 5'x8'x8' container with the stuff we consider most essential- for instance, my paintings. Oh did I mention that I finished a portrait this week too? Here is is:

Tomorrow we leave a big mess for my poor mom, who has been battling the flu for two weeks to deal with. She is her usual helpful self- never a complaint! There is lots of junk left, to be hauled away and much to coordinate and I know its in good hands. I couldn't be happier to be finally leaving this all behind and moving on, though its so  hard to say good-bye to so many wonderful people.

Friday, December 27, 2013

3 days and counting

We leave in 3 days. This morning as DH was talking to the people at Uhaul about our international move, they drop the bomb- oh you need to have each of your boxes numbered and a complete inventory of all the contents of each box. What???? We have been packing for four months and some boxes are just labeled "kitchen" or something general like that. Apparently, that is not even close to sufficient. Nor is it allowed to write "nik naks". Ugh. So, now we have to unpack and repack with a running inventory.

We had also originally planned to bring 2 Uboxes, but have decided that since we packed up a load of stuff months ago and are living just fine without it, we can probably get rid of most of what we already packed and just go with one box. When we originally packed, we had no idea what kind of living situation we would be going to, had no idea how much (or little) our house would actually be selling for. We did not know our new place would be furnished (even if I don't want the furniture that is in there.) With so much in limbo, it was hard to judge what we would and wouldn't need. Now that we know what we are going to, its easier to gauge and decide. So we actually feel we need even less than the little we originally thought.

So, we are whittling the contents of our overstuffed 3000 sq ft house (and two car garage, and crazy big attic) down to fit into a 5'x8'x8' box:

As has been the case for the last 4 months, no matter how much emptying I do, our house still feels full and I have 2 days to get it empty. Arghh. On top of that, I have just discovered after a long crazy day of USDA visits, errands and packing that the wine opener is packed. Double Ugh.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

our new home awaits

Today, DH signed a lease. I am elated. A big part of my elation is relief. I was very, very worried. We had a few things working against us. Firstly, the school that we will be sending our kids to (one which I am VERY excited about) is in a rather expensive part of town. Dublin is already expensive, without choosing the expensive part of town. But, we really, really want to be able to walk the kids to school. We are leaving Los Angeles, where you generally have to drive to everything (and I also picked a charter school across town.) So, we want to be able to walk to as much as possible, especially the place we have to go to twice a day.

Our second difficulty is that we are bringing our dog. (You can read more about part of that hurdle here.) That leaves very slim pickings as far as rentals are concerned. My dad warned me of the difficulties and we knew what we were getting into, but the kids are so attached to our dog. We feel the move is enough of a change. The dog is their living security blanket and we couldn't imagine putting them through this move and losing the dog as well. So, we have been scouring daft.ie daily. Of all the rental sites servicing Dublin, this site has a filter for "Pets allowed." So, DH has been viewing all of the places within walking distance that also show up in "Pet's allowed"  and of course, within our budget. They are expensive and TINY!!!! Mostly they are apartments, but some houses (they are not detached, so they are more like townhouses or row houses.) They may say 2 bedroom, but you have to realize that most houses in Dublin have what is called a "box room." This is a bedroom that's just slightly bigger than a single bed. So, 2 bedroom might sound big, but if the 2 kids are going in a box room, a bunk is mandatory and it is tight quarters! And don't let me start on the kitchens in these advertised spaces, in this part of town!!! If you can call them kitchens. They are tiny corners of the living room that have a stove and a sink, what you would see in a "bachelor" apartment here in Los Angeles. No room for my bone broth and pickle pot that's for sure. I know I should not be complaining, these residences are not designed for families. They are really for the well heeled, working professionals (who probably eat out every night). But, we want in!

After losing out on a house that we really, really wanted, we were feeling a little dejected and worried. So today, DH went to look at a house (a townhouse) that is a 5 minute walk from the school. Its small, VERY small, but not tiny. It has two bedrooms, each with a double bed though! The kitchen is more than a corner of the living room. It is it's own separate room, with quite a bit of counter space. AND this house was within our budget. This house did not show up under the "pets allowed" filter, so I was not optimistic. Then I received the text!!! They were OK with our dog and DH was signing the lease. I have not felt so light and jubilant in a LONG time. We have a new home!

It may be small, but I am excited about all that it entails (I just want to figure out how to get the "furnished" furniture out and something that I choose in.) It is in a part of town that is not only convenient to school, but walkable to the city center and so many places that I will want to go. Its a really beautiful part of town. I like that minimalism will be enforced (by necessity, not by me). There is no other option. Giant toys and excessive materialism will not fit. We need to learn a simplicity that has been seriously lacking for the last 10 years. Its kind of the opposite of what we have now- a big, complicated space in a not so great locale. I am excited about this tiny, simple space in a great locale (that includes our dog). Yay.

Now, we just need contingencies to lift this week and I will really be breathing a huge sigh of relief.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

We are in escrow!

Today is Thanksgiving. I am really, really thankful that we will hopefully have no more viewings or open houses.

This morning we accepted an offer on the house and are now officially in escrow!That means the countdown begins. The next 14 days will be filled with inspections and if all goes well, contingencies will clear. I now have 30 days completely pack up this house, and sell off whatever we are not bringing to Ireland. We are not bringing much though. Most rentals are furnished, and DH is actively looking for a rental for us. We don't have long term plans at this point and are looking forward to being untethered, so we are paring our "stuff" down to the bare minimum (with kids, its still quite a bit though.)

With 30 days to pack and sell, I have decided to change my flight from Dec 18 until after Christmas, that way DH can come back for Christmas and help me with some of this daunting process. Seeing as he left a lot of stuff in the garage and attic when he left, I am very relieved that he is coming back. It may mean having our Christmas dinner picnic style, sitting on the floor but I am really looking forward to this holiday none-the-less.

Today, however, we will be eating at the dining room table! This is very exciting. It has been "staged" for the last 2 months, in order to optimize viewings. Though, we are having a very uncomplicated, mellow, lazy day at home, we will pour some sparkling cider into the "fancy" glasses and toast to adventures ahead.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Bringing a dog, the saga...

So, along with my fourth straight week of dealing with my recurrent migraine problem, I had a lot of fun on the phone today, trying to secure our dog's passage to Ireland. As if the prospect of trying to find a rental property with a dog is not bad enough (thank goodness for daft.ie for making me feel confident we will find something,) making sure that the dog makes it there, is one of the biggest trials I have faced so far.

Though we are not planning to bring a whole bunch of stuff with us, we are planning to bring our dog, Pepper. We adopted Pepper a year and half ago, after months of begging from DS. I was very nervous about getting another dog, but I did a lot of research before looking and I think we ended up with the perfect dog for our family. So, we are intent on keeping her a part of the family, even through this current adventure.

Not too long ago, if you wanted to bring a dog to Ireland, it would have to be quarantined for 6 months. Yikes! Nowadays, one can bring a dog to Ireland, so the websites I have visited state, if you jump through the right paperwork hoops. No quarantine involved. So, when John received his job offer, I immediately looked up the requirements for bringing a dog to Ireland. I was directed to the USDA website and ended up calling them on the phone. The process seemed simple enough. She needed to be micro-chipped, have her rabies shot (after the microchip was implanted), get a bordatella shot and de-worming (all on a set schedule) and have the vet fill out some papers. Get the USDA office to notarize some papers, pay a $35 fee and good to go! I could handle that, or so I thought.

By the time it came for DH to leave (2 months ahead of me), I could see there was still a lot left on my plate. Plus I would be travelling solo with the two kids. On the aer lingus website, when I looked up "travelling with pets" it recommended contacting an organization called PetMove. It gave no other information. This seemed a little ominous to me. So, I decided to get a quote. The quote seemed like a lot to me, especially in our current financial state, but I was worried about how much I had to deal with and also was more worried about what would happen if Pepper did not make it through customs. I could not do that to the kids. I feel this move is going to be hard enough.

So, after much back and forth with PetMove, we contracted with them to handle Pepper's transport. 

After paying the hefty bill, and emailing all of the papers I had gathered thus far, the adventure really began. I was told that my rabies certificate was not sufficient, I need an "ink signed" rabies certificate. So I rummaged through the adoption papers and called the veterinary hospital on the letterhead for her original shots and they told me that I could drive over to Venice, CA to pick that up. Fun. Yay. All I need is a drive from the Eastside to the Westside to make me ecstatic that I am leaving Los Angeles.

Next, I am told that I need an "ink signed" letter from the vet who implanted her microchip, stating that the microchip was implanted before her rabies shot was administered. OK. The hospital listed on the letterhead tells me I should call the rescue agency because that was handled at the original shelter that the rescue agency rescued her from. I call the rescue agency and don't hear back immediately. When I do hear back, they were mesmerized by such a request. I find "downey shelter" listed on some paperwork from them and decide to give them a call. The first person I spoke to really did not want to help. Her response was, "we don't deal with paperwork once a dog leaves our facility." I tried to tell her that our dog might unfortunately be back at her facility if I can't get this paperwork in order to take her to Ireland. 

After much pleading on my part, I was put on hold for about half an hour until someone else (much friendlier) came on the line. I have to say, I totally understand this is probably an area of work that is overworked and underpaid and my request sounded totally unreasonable and ridiculous, but I was trying my best to keep our rescued dog in our family. I tried to explain my needs to this next person and she responded that it is highly unlikely that the vet who performed the procedure is even still with the organization, but she put me on hold again while she contacted the current vet. I finally got to speak with the current vet, who asked me exactly how I needed my letter worded and when I needed it by. I explained that I was working with an organization that handles pet transport and she asked if she could contact them. Kudos to the vet at LA City Services. Thank you, thank you! I get an email from my contact at the organization saying that they are in touch with City Services and so, I think we are in the home stretch. (I don't play base ball or know much about it except for doing the wave, but I thought I should be doing the wave at this point.)

Around 4:30pm, I get a call from PetMove telling me this: it looks like, after further investigation by City Services, there was a mix-up with your original paperwork and your dog never received the shots that are listed on the adoption forms. The city is being helpful, because of this mix-up and have contacted our current vet to let them know of the mix-up. But Pepper is not current on any of her shots, so I will need to start the process from the beginning. After spending a good six hours on the phone, after sending in all my paperwork that I spent an inordinate amount of time dealing with. ARGHHH! Did I mention that I had a migraine all day on top of this?

Part of me is banging my head on the wall and part of me is really and truly glad I plunked down that ridiculous chunk of money to work with our pet transport agency. Otherwise I would have been walking into customs with a dog about to be sent home. My kids may have just announced that they don't believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Toothfairy and that's OK, but I don't think they would be OK with their beloved dog being non-existent. 

So, the countdown continues with more paperwork, hoops and red-tape. I hope we all make it out on the other end.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pros and cons of moving to Ireland

This morning while taking a shower, I was musing about the things I will miss and things I might like, when we move to Ireland. This came about in the shower because I was appreciating the power of our water pressure. I love a nice strong shower and in most likelihood, that is going to be something I will miss. I do not understand what is up with the showers (that I have experienced) in Ireland, but they just don't have the pressure that we do here. It can't be about conserving water. It rains 20 out of every 30 days for crying out loud! We live in a dessert here in L.A. and the water pressure is amazing. If its the mechanics, I don't understand why they have to be so different there.
However, I will gladly take the measly water pressure, in exchange for my sunblock and sunhat collection. Yep. I hate the sun. I hate having to lather my super-pale kids (or myself) up with sunblock. Not only do the chemicals in sunblock scare me and I don't want to put it on my kids, but they hate it and resist any vigilant effort I make. These are battles I have no desire to have. Hats don't fare much better with the kids. In general, I opt for clothing coverage over sunblock anyway, but there are often long, sunny days at the beach or in a pool where sunblock is necessary and I always seem to miss a spot. Anyway, I'm glad that I won't have to worry about sunblock or hats nearly as much. I also really hate the heat. I know most people don't think of moving to Ireland for the weather, nor to escape the perpetual California sunshine, but that's me. Bring on the rain!
There are many other things I am looking forward to. The ability to travel so easily around Europe, for instance. That is probably the most exciting part. I can't wait for all the weekend getaways we have ahead of us. Both inside and out of Ireland. Especially to share these travels with the kids. I love boots and sweaters and tights and coats. Govinda's aside, I am sick of trying to find light clothing that gives me complete coverage. (Did you read my post about “shopping at Govinda's”?) I like that the fish we will eat might be more likely to come from the Atlantic than the Pacific (I know I am a little neurotic about nutrition, but I do worry about the radiation from the Fukushima disaster.) I know my fantasies about local, grass-fed meat and dairy are probably not totally aligned with the current reality in Ireland (horse meat anyone?), but I do hope that with my usual level of diligence, I have a better chance of sourcing healthier food for my family. I love watching "Clodagh's Food Trails" on PBS and want to visit each place they feature. There is also the topic of school/airport/wherever shootings. I don't think I will have as much to worry about in that department! I don't care what your position is on the the topic of guns and gun control, I just won't have to deal with that in Ireland and I couldn't be happier. I like the architecture and the scenery. I have friends and family who I would like to see more of. So, lots of pros!
What will I miss about L.A.? Well, obviously not the weather. (Though who knows, absence may make the heart grow fonder.) The thing I am most conscious of missing at this point is the people. Both generally and specifically.
Generally, I love the friendliness, positive attitude and supportiveness that I encounter here in Los Angeles. Whatever crazy idea you have, at whatever point in your life, people will cheer you on, help you out and totally root for you (and not just to your face)! If you achieve success in something, people will be happy for you, genuinely! This is a place that people with ambitions and dreams move to, from all over. Though instead of a dog eat dog world, we're all in it together. I may hate the sun, but I love the collectively sunny disposition that I associate with Los Angelenos.
Along with this positive attitude and supportiveness, people here seem more inclined to be straightforward and honest too. Even if the news is not good. I happen to love this. I love knowing where I stand with someone. Of course, I am all for politeness, but not when it requires two faces.
Specifically though, I will miss my community and circle of friends. From those who I see way too infrequently, to those I am lucky to see every day. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by an amazing group of people who I think are phenomenal, whose company I thoroughly enjoy, whose values I respect and who I am really glad to know. Los Angeles is a place that attracts that wonderful set of ambitious, creative dreamers and doers. People who are so alive in their doings and positive in their attitudes, and I count many of them as my good friends. Though I have some wonderful friends I cherish in Ireland and I am sure I will make many more in the time to come, I will really, really miss my circle here. I hope we get some visitors once we are settled.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

half way there

At 5am this morning I drove DH to LAX, where he caught his flight to Dublin. He will start work at Brown Bag Films on Tuesday. He will be staying with my dad until I arrive with the kids. We will be leaving Los Angeles on December 18. That is less than two months away. There is so much to be done before we leave that I am feeling a bit queasy. The most important thing is to sell our house, of course. Once that is done, everything else will fall into place. So if you know anyone in L.A. looking to buy a house, send them our way. We have an amazingly beautiful old house, with incredible views, lots of space- 4 bedrooms, 2800 square feet, plus a 1200 square foot apartment. Its on a quarter acre lot, with a vegetable garden, play structure and chickens!
In the meantime, I still have to deal with the contents and though we have been constantly purging, the house is frankly still full. Yay! Luckily DH's vintage video game collection will be going to a video game museum, so that takes care of that. But, all of the little bits and pieces that are still there when you think you have tackled everything have to be taken care of.
I had hoped that I would just spend the next two months painting and writing some music til we leave. I've been waiting 8 years to actually have some real time to devote intensely to my work. Both kids are now in school full time and I have been looking forward to this day for what seems like eternity. With the amount of stuff left here to deal with though, my work may be put on hold yet again. I have two paintings in progress that I want to finish and two paintings that I have not yet started, but would like to both start and finish. Even if I had nothing else on my plate, that's a lot for me to try and accomplish in less than two months. Here's hoping that I can learn to function on less sleep. Ha!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Atari in the attic

I have always maintained that I would rather "do things" than "have things." It is one of those mottos that I smugly think I live by. For instance, I would rather go to a restaurant than buy clothes (and I love clothes!) I would rather take a trip than have a fancy car. That said, I have still accumulated a "small" collection of stuff in my 40 years on this planet. Until a few weeks ago, I had 5 guitars (1 acoustic, 1 acoustic-electric, 2 electric and a bass.) I have had even more than that when I was active in the band (Remember The Renders? http://bitly.com/1bZSeil Probably not. We were not famous. Though we were on the Tyra Banks Show and Gene Simmons' Mr. Romance.... anyway...) I have 4 amps, a PA, mic stands, recording equipment etc... and I consider myself a minimalist. Ugh. I also have a few easels, plenty of paint and other art supplies. I have art. Some that I have painted, some that I have collected (not nearly as much of the latter as I would like.) I have small antique items that my dad has given me. All of which I have carried to the U.S. from Ireland in my suitcases, that I must now bring back. I don't really own much of any monetary value (I am not collecting Picasso's that's for sure), but its all stuff that holds value for me.

My DH, on the other hand, is an aspiring (but until now, failing) minimalist. He is a brilliant human being who can make or fix anything. He is an immensely creative person who sees potential where no one else would. For instance, a ceiling fan will break, he will say "oh, I can use those parts to build a robot." (*NOTE, DH reads this blog and adds "I would not build a robot out of a ceiling fan. Its the wrong type of motor." Well its for illustration purposes, the KIND of thing he would say. Anyway...) And so, said ceiling fan will find its way into our attic. Let me tell you about our attic. It starts with our living room. The living room is a big, glorious, light-filled space. It measures 15'8" x 25'5". Above this living room is a walk-in attic that we can access from the second floor. This attic has been jam-packed with big rubbermaid bins and boxes full of "stuff." Aside from the electronic casualties hoping to be upcycled, there are old clothes, toys (when you work in animation and visual effects, as we both have, there is an endless supply of marketing materials, I mean toys, to be acquired.) etc... As ardent DIYers, there are tools and supplies for just about anything we might want to make. Soap, you say, who needs to buy soap? We have the supplies to make it in the attic. Somewhere, hmmm, where would those be? That is the problem with our state of abundance. It is not organized and we can never find the soap-making supplies when we want to make soap. There is also a two car garage, again full of "stuff." Not sure what, but if we need something we probably have it. We just can't find it!

We also have two kids. Kids get SO many toys! Even though I try to keep it minimal. Its not always within my control. The excess and materialism that is my privileged children's existence really disturbs me. So now, we are being forced to cull the herd and I like it.

We have taken so many trips up and down our three flights of front steps with boxes of "stuff" and our house still seems full. Its like a clown car, the stuff just keeps coming. I think in all its lonely years hiding in the attic and cracks of our house, our "stuff" has figured out how to multiply. Nonetheless, DH leaves in little over a week and he has been putting in such a valiant effort, so I am finally optimistic that we will see the light at the end of the tunnel (or attic, in this case).

I am SOOOOOO excited about this international move, because this big issue of "stuff" that has loomed over our ten years together finally HAS to be dealt with. It can no longer be swept under the rug or avoided. We need to purge this stuff that is often more of a burden than a help. Its that simple. I am so excited to explore the idea of "distribution of labor." We don't really need to DIY everything, do we? We can buy soap!

**NOTE If you want to see an example of what was in our attic- check out my DH's atari (and vintage video game) collection here: http://bitly.com/175ce1n  Make sure you scroll through the whole collection! Yep, he is getting rid of that too. I am so proud.

Drum roll please... We are moving to Ireland!

Yes, you read that correctly. We are moving to Ireland! Dublin to be specific. DH has accepted a job offer from Brown Bag Films in Dublin and I have family that I would like to see more of. So we have decided to pack it in stateside and see what it's like across the pond.

I originally left Ireland in 1982, right before I turned 9. So I will be returning almost 32 years after I originally left. I also lived there in 1986/7 and have returned for many vacations since then but Ireland has changed a lot since I have lived there (and obviously so have I). The kids have had many visits and though DH is American, he has developed a great fondness for Ireland since visiting with me. So, we are not moving to somewhere unfamiliar to any of us, but its an adventure all the same.

Our house has been on the market now for over a week. In the last couple of months we have been manically prepping our house to sell and trying to whittle our possessions down to a more minimal and manageable lot. (We had started this process even before DH got the job offer, as it had started to finally look like a good time to put the house on the market.) Anyway, this has not been an easy task! We have accumulated an inordinate amount of stuff in our not so short (anymore) lifespans. So, with an impending international move and the prospect of tighter quarters on the other end, we have been forced to do what we have been intending to do for many years. Purge!

There are a lot of factors to sort out with any move. Even more with an international one. Not just getting rid of a house, three cars and a ton of stuff. Things like- we have a dog, Pepper, who we are planning to bring with us. We have two kids who will need to go to school in Ireland. DH needs a work visa as I am planning to let him travel ahead of me so that I can take care of so many things on this end. Luckily, I can work on my art and music from anywhere, but I do need to figure out what to bring and what not to bring. Every day is a plethora of details to barrel through in between getting out of the house (with the dog) so that people can view the premises. Though I only updated my blog occasionally before this, I hope to be more diligent about posting now that I have this adventure to chronicle.

Let the adventure begin!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bone Broth

Once a week, usually on Monday, I roast a chicken for dinner. The next day I make a batch of bone broth. Bone broth is an amazing source of minerals and boosts the immune system. According to Wellness Mama

"Its high calcium, magnesium and phosphorus content make it great for bone and tooth health. Bone broth also supports joints, hair, skin and nails due to its high collagen content. In fact, some even suggest that it helps eliminate cellulite as it supports smooth connective tissue." It also a very inexpensive addition to the diet.

I go to the Farmer's Market every Sunday. That's where I prefer to buy my chicken. I feel I have a better chance of getting a chicken that is not only organic, but maybe also got to run around and eat some bugs rather than just being fed grain (even if that grain is organic). If I am lucky, my chicken guy will also have a bag of chicken feet for me. On Tuesday, when I go to make my broth, I add a few chicken feet to my leftover chicken bones and this makes a lovely gelatinous broth. If I didn't manage to get feet, I also sometimes use backs or even turkey necks. Feet, backs and necks are extremely cheap, so I usually keep a few of these in the freezer to add to my bones.

After my bone broth is made, I keep it in the fridge for the week and use it to make gravy, soups, mashed potatoes (in place of milk) and I also drink a cup of it every morning. Seeing as I don't drink coffee or tea (caffeine doesn't agree with me, even the small amount in decaf,) I love having a warm cup of something in the morning to sip. My daughter also likes to drink it and I feel I am giving her so much wonderful nourishment in every cup.

I make my broth in the crockpot. Sometimes I do it overnight, and sometimes I just let it go all day. Either way, it requires so little effort. I have made broth on the stove too, but its just easier to let the crockpot go and not think about it.

To make my broth:

- bones of one chicken (I remove any meat and save that for salads and lunches)
- 4 chicken feet or one chicken back or one turkey neck
-. 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 ribs of celery
- 1 or 2 carrots
- 1 small onion
- 1 tbsp celtic sea salt

I put all the ingredients in my crock pot, cover with water and cook on low for about 8 hours.

When its done, I strain it and have my weekly ration of chicken broth! So simple, avoids waste and adds more nourishment for my family.