Friday, December 24, 2010

A Jew on Christmas

Growing up Jewish, I never really gave Christmas too much thought.  Sure, the trees were pretty and we helped neighbors decorate, but December 25th was just another day.  A day, of course, that often included Chinese food and a movie.  I had Jewish friends, and most of my other friends understood the fact that I just didn't celebrate Christmas.

Fast forward a few decades, and move across an ocean.

People ask, "what are you doing for Christmas?" and seem genuinely shocked at the answer of, "nothing".  Here in Northern Ireland almost everyone celebrates Christmas.  Granted, this is because most people are Christians, although even my Atheist friends celebrate it, Santa and all.

Now, I have nothing against Christmas in and of itself.  The commercialization and the constant advertising does get annoying.  The unfortunate lack of understanding is worse.  People tell me that Christmas isn't Christian, and has nothing to do with the religion.  This, of course, hearkens back to the invention of the holiday, placing it whack in the middle of loads of Pagan and Roman winter celebrations and borrowing traditions.  That's fine. But that's not a reason for me to just put up a tree, roast yet another turkey, and eat mince pies.  I've seen the stress Christmas can bring..the need to have all the food, the exorbitant sums of money spent on useless presents just to give a present, and all the chaos.  I don't want it.  It is not, nor has it ever been, part of my life. Period.

And, ya know, that's OK.  My husband is Christian, but isn't hung up too much on the holiday, so we have agreed to celebrate Hanukkah as our "gift-giving" and "cookie-making" holiday.  We light the menorahs, have gelt and I make latkes and rugelach. And it's 8-days long, so I can always go to the store and get potatoes.

I am not missing out.  I am ok.  December 25th is just another day for me, and although I miss my Chinese food, I am happy to have it as nothing more than a day off to watch bad movies on TV.  A Christmas Story, anyone?

So to all my Christian friends: Merry Christmas!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Beer and Whisky

Sadly, my foray into whisky sampling by the dram hit a hiccup when I discovered that there was only one free sample per person! I don't blame Master of Malt, but it was a bit unclear at the start.

I did, however, order this neat pairing while ordering a bottle of whisky to take back home to my mom.  An English whisky and a London porter! Who could say no to a free bottle of beer?  The other night, with no where to drive, I sat down and opened the porter. The bottle LOOKS  big, but really it is less than 2 imperial pints so I didn't feel bad about not being able to seal it back up and drinking it that night.  I have had Meantime's London Porter before and I really love the chocolate and coffee undertones.  My 2 favorite and chocolate in a pint glass!  I then opened up the bottle of The English Whisky Co's Chapter 9.  It's nice and peaty, even though it is a very light colored dram.

Sip of one, then the next.  Hm.  Can I say "yum"? Perfect compliment.

Then I had a better brainstorm.  See...earlier in the day I had made some chocolate cookies with macadamia nuts and bourbon. Knob Creek bourbon, to be specific. One bite into the smoky flavored cookie was all it took for perfection.

So there you go. A fantastic indulgence.  Want to try? Click through my blog to Master of Malt before the special deal runs out! And have-at that cookie recipe, too.  You can diet next week!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Whisky Review : Bowmore 26 Year Single Cask

In most things, I do not profess to be an expert, yet I am happy to try, to learn, and to experiment.  A short time ago I came across a great little opportunity : whisky blogging!  I get a sample of whisky, I tell you all about it, and send you off to the Master of Malt shop for more information.  And, of course, to buy a bottle if you are so inclined.  And if you are so inclined, please click through from my blog!

The Bowmore 26
Monday morning this little beauty arrived for me.  Now, I couldn't really justify drinking the dram before lunch, or even after, so it was left aside for when I returned home from a night of JuJitsu. A lovely treat!

As I said, I am not an expert. To be honest, all of the tasting notes for whiskies tend to leave me a bit baffled.  But, I know what I like and that's a good enough place to start.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Vibram Report #1

I am not a runner. I am not a doctor, nor am I qualified in any way to make recommendations.  That being said, I got new shoes!!
toe shoes and toe socks!

I've was diagnosed with what I'll call chronic tendonitis in my quads, due to being slightly knock-kneed.  My doctor said, "don't run, but swim and bike". The problem was that my knees started to hurt long before I built up the surrounding muscles.

Recently, after getting my black belt and staring down my 2nd Dan test in about 7 months, I decided that enough was enough. I will not let this silly physical anomaly stop me! So shoe hunting I went, and I ended up with this daft looking creations! The Vibram FiveFingers KSOs!  And of course, fun toe socks for cooler days!

I started by simply walking.  Loki gets a daily walk, so what better way to break them in?  All the sources say to ease into them as they work differently than normal shoes...

Friday, October 01, 2010

Coming Soon!

very soon I will be blogging all about my new shoes and whiskey! Watch this space!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


So, we have had the annual Twelfth parades.  Called marches here.  Celebrating when a dutchman came and conquered the Irish for the British Crown.  This means locally that it is a "loyalist" and a "protestant" event.  There are organization and lodges all over that are into this bit of history and like celebrating it. See...N.Ireland is still part of the United Kingdom and loyal to the Crown.

So..they get pipe and drum bands together, and wear pretty sashes and carry large banners through local towns.  This is all known.  They do it every  year.  And every year there are problems.  You see, there is "the other side".  People...sometimes known as "republicans" or "catholics"... don't like the idea of the pretty bands marching through the towns one weekend per year. Or something.

So what's the deal?

Saturday, January 02, 2010

A New Year

New Years tend to come with resolutions. We make them, and generally...we break them. So instead of making a whole list, I will just have one. To get things done. I will pick a thing that needs to be done, and strive to do it. Then, I'll pick another one. With a few underlying goals for the year, such as being a bit smarter about managing my diet and exercise, and putting away extra money for "treats". To accomplish the last I have set up a brand new savings account, just for the leftovers at the end of the month. We shall see if it works. But my first real "thing"...clean/organize my office. It holds some of the last remaining moving boxes, as I don't have as many closets here. It also holds everything else that doesn't have a "home", or I just don't want to deal with at any given moment. Company coming...all the clutter gets transferred to the office. It has reached critical.
But enough of that. Iain and I went to Wales over the Christmas week to visit with some friends. Avoiding the family pressures and stresses sounded like a good idea, and it also meant I was under NO obligation to contrive something for "Christmas".

We spent lots of time engaging in non-Christmas-like activities!