2016: New Year, New Projects

As I’ve written before, I don’t do “New Year’s Resolutions”, I just like to work on things all year round. So since it’s a new year, I wanted to write about the projects I’m currently working on, and those I plan to start soon.

Aerial Dance

This is totally what I look like...
This is totally what I look like…

I’ve been wanting to try this out for the last couple of years, and I’m doing it now! I’m taking a class at a local Aerial Arts school. Fun!

Learn to Sew

tn_SewingDesk1My first step in this project was to make myself a Renaissance Festival dress, and I’ve started it!!! I’ve already learned a lot. I will post about it when I’m done. I would also like to learn how to put in a zipper, make pockets, use a dress-form, and use a real pattern (I’m using a home-made pattern for my dress).

Cut The Cord!

Coaxial_Cable1

I’ve been wanting to ditch cable for the last few years, and as online options have become better, I’ve taken steps toward cutting able until I finally took the plunge this month!! I got a basic tv antenna from Amazon for local channels, and I use Roku to watch stuff from Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, etc. on my tv. I plan to make a blog post detailing how to do this, since I think no one should use cable anymore.

Be Healthier

I started this project this past fall, and my main goals were to reduce my sugar intake and increase my exercise.

  1. Reducing Sugar Intake.

I’m always trying to eat more vegetables and protein, but my biggest problem is that I LOVE sugar, and I eat way too much of it.

So here are the things I’ve done so far:

-I stopped drinking soda at lunch. Yes, I used to have about 4-8 oz of soda or juice almost every day with lunch. So that was the first thing to go. I’ve been doing just water since September. I’m surprised at how easy this was for me. Because I LUV soda.

-Next, I’m in the process of cutting out soda almost altogether. I used to order a cherry coke any time I would eat out (because it is yuuuumyy), and I would keep mini-sodas in my fridge for dinners at home. I’ve switched to mostly water at restaurants (once in a while I’ll treat myself; I’ve had 3 glasses of soda in the last two months), and no sugar-added juice in my fridge. At some point, the goal will be to cut back on the juice as well.

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^These are microwaved eggs!

-I used to eat cereal every morning for breakfast, and even “healthier” cereal can have a lot of sugar (and just also not much actual nutrition), so I’m trying to mix it up a bit. Now I’ll have maybe one bowl of cereal during the week, a couple of toast-and-peanut-butters, and I’ve started eating EGGS!!! This is insane for me since I’ve always felt like I don’t have time in the morning for eggs, but I recently discovered that you can scramble eggs in the microwave, which seems to make it faster.

-I still eat more sugar than I should, so a future goal would be to reduce the amount of “treats” I eat (cookies, ice cream, etc.). Baby steps.

2. Increasing Exercise.

-I don’t like going to the gym, so I usually get my exercise through various classes (and outdoor walks when it’s nice out). This fall, I made sure to set up my schedule with a good mix of classes.

-I do Irish Dancing once a week, as I have for the last 7 years. In October, I added a strength training class on Wednesdays (it’s not dance, which I usually prefer, but I needed something that was more muscle building than aerobic. It’s a beast.), and in November, I added Zumba on Thursdays. My aerial class is also strength-building, particularly in the upper arms/shoulders and core. So this adds up to at least 4 hours of exercise a week, which I think is pretty darn good for the Deep-Winter Lazies.

-I did a lot of yoga last year, so I’m a little yoga’d out right now, but I’ll return to it at some point in the future. I really should take up jogging some day, but at this point, running for any length of time is my personal hell. Another future goal would be to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day, and/or to sit less at work. Baby steps.

That’s all the projects for now!

Trip Post #2: Galway

…The adventure continues! Still in Dublin, we got breakfast at a place called Roly’s Bistro before catching the train to Galway.

Once there, we checked out the main street with pubs, touristy shops, and buskers.Galway

Thought this guy was nifty:

Galway BuskerHis little marionette was HIM. Exact same clothing, even had the same tattoos. He was “playing” to prerecorded music (see the speaker behind him). The motions were very lifelike (nodding his head, the hand on the neck of the cello, etc.). And the change hat is a tiny handmade cello case!!! Very cute. If you’re interested, he has a facebook page (the little sign in the cello case tells us): “Galway Puppet“. He apparently also makes alter-ego puppets for people.

Since the weather was yucky, we ducked into a cafe called Mocha Bean, and got a yummy treat:

Treat GalwayYUSSS

After walking around a bit more, we had dinner (vegetable soup and a cheese toasty) at Finnegan’s restaurant, the oldest building in Galway.

Finnegans

We were beat (and rain-soaked), so we headed back to the hotel (The Victoria, we wouldn’t recommend it) for bed shortly after dinner.

The next day, we had breakfast at our hotel, and took the windiest, coldest, longest walk along the sea to the Promenade (a little west of the Galway city center).

Inlet Galway

River Galway

Ocean Galway 2

Ocean GalwayIt was pretty and all, but damn was it cold and windy. Did I mention that it was windy? It was windy. And cold. And it rained on us sometimes.

I did get to meet a little dog that was bouncing around near his human’s campsite. He was really sweet, though I couldn’t get a great picture because he wouldn’t hold still!

Dog GalwayAnyway, continuing with our walk, we discovered that some COMPLETELY INSANE PEOPLE were swimming in the sea. THE COLD WINDY SEA. In the photo below, you can see tiny dots in the water, and those are people. Crazy people.

Swimmers GalwayAfter our windy (WINDY! And COLD! And WINDY!) walk, we treated ourselves to the cutest afternoon tea at a place called Cupan Tae.

Cupan Tae Galway(See the bush? It was windy.)

Look how cute!

Cupan Tae 4Everything was cute!

Cupan Tae 2

Cupan Tae 3I don’t think you understand; those are cucumber sandwiches on a tiered china cake stand. And scones with jam and clotted cream! And mini cupcakes! And I guess there was tea or whatever too. Basically, we were in a Jane Austen novel.

We took a little rest in our hotel since we had walked about 10 friggin miles already. I don’t know how many it was, but it was like double because we were walking into the wind.

Then we did some site-seeing around Galway, including visiting seemingly the youngest cathedral in all of Europe (it was built in the 1960s). Holy crap! I was kidding, but I just googled it to verify the date, and the website literally says that it is “the youngest of Europe’s great stone cathedrals.

And we were all “Umm..if we wanted to see a church from the 60s, we would have visited ANY CHURCH IN AMERICA.” So we had dinner.

Monroe's GalwayI kept trying to find a pub in Ireland where I could listen to traditional music, and I kept failing. See the pub above? This is where we had dinner. See that lovely sign advertising “Ballads and Traditional Music…NIGHTLY!”? It’s a LIE. There was a nice EMPTY little stage taunting us, but no musicians in sight.

But the staff were very nice, and I had the best fettuccine alfredo I have ever had and could ever imagine. (In Ireland? I know!)

I also got a plum tart from a nearby bakery. It was called “The Gourmet Tart Company”, so I obviously couldn’t ignore it.

Plum Tart GalwayIn my ongoing quest to find traditional music, we went to “Tunes in the Church” at like the oldest church ever, St. Nicholas’ Church, which was built sometime around 1320. The performance involved three musicians: a concertina player, a flute player, and a bouzouki player (like a guitar), and a sean nos dancer (Old Style Irish Dancing; older than the style I do).

Musicians GalwayIt wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, because I wanted singing, but they were very skilled musicians (though, I can only say that because other people said it, not because I know anything about performing music), and watching the sean nos dancing was really fun.

By the way, they performed on the top of a tomb-thingy. It looks like a stage in the picture, but that is a very large mausoleum type thing that was half above the ground and half under the floor of the church. But our guide was quick to point out that the actual grave itself was far below the church, so no one was technically “dancing on a grave.” Whatever you say, dude, whatever you say.

Next up, Doolin and Ennis!

Irish Fair

Hooo boy this weekend was busy!

Saturday, I went to the Irish Fair.

Got to see some sheep herding:

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Petted some Irish Wolf Hounds:

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Dat face!

Listened to some traditional musicians:

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And danced!

(backstage)
(backstage)

Then I went to a family get-together, where there was some kayak racing:

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And my nephew snagged my phone and took a selfie…

Photo (29)…and this really artsy one of me:

Photo (30)After that I worked on plans for a Renaissance Fest dress (yes, I’m going to attempt to make one).

Sunday, it was back to Irish Fair for more dancing!

Once more with feeling!

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And then I saw a Fringe Festival show! Ack! A busy weekend! I love summer because of the weather and because there are so many fun things to do, but I prefer the pace of winter. I need a weekend.