Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The view from here

Everyone in the United States seem to be talking about the same thing, the devastating tragedy that occurred Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.  As 28 people lost their lives, including 20 of Heavenly Father's youngest and sweetest, the news ripped around the world. 

I'm not much for listening to the news or radio during the day.  My home page for my Linux OS is RTE news but once my Internet is up it typically stays up and I rarely see my homepage.  And so it wasn't until later that evening (local time) that I heard what had happened.  Here is how it has been covered by RTE News, BBC News and Sky News.  Between these sources and the U.S. sources I've been able to keep up on what exactly is going on.  And it's heart breaking.  On Saturday night I had a chance to sit down and watch some of the news coverage done by NBC News.  I sat with my father-in-law and watched clip after clip as the gunman was discussed, the shooting scene was explained and various ecclesiastical leaders spoke.  I realize now and would caution others that this is not a great idea.  It is soundly depressing to spend that much time neck deep in information on such a tragedy.  I wanted to cry.  Literally curl up into a ball and cry for every child and educator who lost their life.  It's not healthy and it's not helpful to the situation either.  I've seen so many posts on Facebook and blogs that I follow going deeper and deeper into the nitty gritty details.  We want to honor the victims, we want to search for solutions to prevent this from happening again.  We can't do that if we ourselves are sunk deep in the mire.  So please, be informed but don't be discouraged.

I'm not one to get on my political soapbox.  I think I broke that thing into firewood a long time ago having learned how dangerous it can be.  So this is not my "this is how we should fix it" post.  This is my "grieving and understanding" post.  As I understand it the shooter suffered from mental illness, a sad situation in itself.  He had easy access to guns. And so there appear to be two issues on the table to be dealt with, gun laws and the overall attitude towards mental health.  The former I believe to be the symptom while the latter is the real disease.  Here's hoping that the people we voted into office make the right decisions.

The Scarecrow and I have been getting a lot of comments and questions lately about when we plan to extend our family.  I think it's the only question people know to ask newlywed couples.  While always well meaning it is also generally very awkward.  PS, the answer is none of your business.  But a thought briefly swept through my head after reading and listening to the news coverage.  Is it safe?  Just because we live in Europe right now does not make us immune to these types of situations.  Our kids will probably do some school in both countries. Should I worry about sending even our little children to school every day?  But because of my belief in Jesus Christ, because of my faith that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us, I know that no matter what happens it will all be OK. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tis' the Season to Be...

Would it be nice if this was a weekly blog?  Yes, yes it would.  Is that going to happen every time?  No, it most certainly isn't.  So here we go, a bit of a re-cap over the past few weeks and the end of one holiday as we approach another.

We last saw Oz at the build up to Thanksgiving.  It was pretty funny to have an American holiday here.  Everyone really seemed to enjoy it.  I got to experience what it is to spend almost the entire day cooking.  I started the day before with broccoli salad, a personal favorite of mine which I think may have stolen the show.  I made it the next week for a family function in Dublin and everyone kept saying, "It's so different, but it's so good!"  So if people ask you if the food is different in Ireland I think we have confirmed the answer.  There were honey glazed carrots, green bean casserole (thanks Mom), stuffing, mashed potatoes, HOMEMADE rolls involving YEAST and a chocolate pie made by Toto and me.  PS, we couldn't get the meringue to work so we substituted it with whipped cream.  We'll be doing this again.  It was a nice night to just sit around, get stuffed and play Bop It.  Oh, and look what my crazy father-in-law got for me!

Yes, it is a turkey hat.  No, I did not cook the turkey.  I've had a bad turkey cooking experience so I left it to my FIL, the expert. He had a friend in the States secretly send him some Thanksgiving decorations, including the hat.  It was so sweet.  I think the American flags are going to be a new tradition in our house.  Besides, what's more American than Thanksgiving?

Limerick has now gone Christmas-crazy.  Both the city centre and Crescent shopping center have fully decked their halls.  The only two topics that anyone seems to be talking about now are the recent budget (pretty scary) and Christmas.  A true conversation now contains both.  Scarecrow and I have been getting ready bit by bit.  We looked at each other one night and said, "Are we really getting ready for Christmas together?  This seems so normal!".  This is, in fact, our first Christmas EVER together.  Can you believe that?  We've known each other nearly 6 years and have never once spent Christmas together.  I've always come over here around New Year's so we've actually rung in a couple of new year's together.  We put up the Christmas decorations and decorated the tree the other night.  It's a real tree that our neighbor grew.  He dragged it through the yard Friday morning and said, "Here you go!".  That night we decorated the tree and in general just relaxed.  Christmas is BY FAR the Scarecrow's favorite holiday.  He could have told you in July how many sleeps till Christmas.  Even if I'm in a bad mood, feeling sorry for myself or what have you, he is brim full of Christmas cheer and it's infectious.

This week it's finishing up Christmas shopping for our American side and shipping that off, Christmas caroling with the youth on Wednesday and two Christmas parties.  Oh yes, tis' the season to be jolly.