Twinkletoes: an existential crisis

Greetings, loyal readers, and welcome back to the BLOB! I make no apologies for the past month’s reticence. I’VE BEEN BIZZY ENJOYING LIFE IN THE REAL WORLD!

Everything has come full circle since I moved here last year. Matt and I chart our year through our TV shows (lame awesome, I know). Late summer/early fall sees the return of one of our favorites: The Great British Bake Off, also known as GBBO!

GBBO is a competition for talented amateur bakers, judged by Paul Hollywood (sourpuss) and my own personal hero and adopted British Grammy, Mary Berry. Mary Berry is the epitome of class and fanciness. SHE IS MY EVERYTHING.
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TEACH ME YOUR WAYS, MARY BERRY
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ADOPT MEEE
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I LOVE YOU FOREVER, MARY BERRY!

Anyway, in addition to my beloved Mary Berry (not to be confused with Mary Cherry from early 00’s hit WB series Popular), GBBO is a fantastic show. Mattsy and I watch it while munchin’ on sweets and soak in its hyperbolic Britishness. Just look at this flippin’ intro. The entire show is a British-themed Pinterest board wet dream.

GBBO has further fueled my love of baking, and lately I’ve been at it more than usual. Earlier this week I made a salted caramel cake (not the best, recipe was a bit bootleg), and this morning I made chocolate doughnuts! Mmmmm…doughnuts.

In other news, I’ve been prepping for an audition with the Belfast Philharmonic Choir! I went to their open rehearsal last week, and was really impressed with the group. Audition is next Tuesday, wish me luck! FALALALALALALALALALAAAA

But finally, the real reason for this post I am suffering from a severe personal dilemma. A few weeks ago, the groundskeeper at work made a comment that I simply cannot shake. As I scrounged for loose biscuits in the kitchen, he chuckled to himself.

“I’m gonna start calling yeh Twinkletoes,” he said.
“Why?” I asked, genuinely confused.
“Because you walk around like this,” he replied, bouncing up and down on his feet like a priss.

I cracked up, reassuring myself that it was just a joke. I don’t have a spring in my step! I’M ALOOF AND INTRIGUING, DARK AND MYSTERIOUS!

Jokes on jokes, but  I really didn’t believe him. It was only when I was relaying the story to Matt did I realize the bitter truth.

“Um, yeah you definitely bounce a bit when you walk,” Matt said.
no
I got up from the sofa to prove him wrong. I “took a turn about the room,” and to my horror, found myself basically doing a scaled-down version of this:

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Oh no. OH NO! This is what I do? This is what I’m like?!ashamed
Matt tried to reassure me that “it’s nice,” but the damage has been done. I now have to try to undo decades of fruity walking, and skulk around like a normal, miserable person.

Dragging my feet,
Lilz

Summertime, and the blobbin’ is easy

And by easy I mean nonexistent. APOLOGIES 4EVAsorry
This summer has been a write-off in so many ways. Shall we name them?

First, the weather. POP QUIZ: see if you can decipher the following conversation!

Paddy: This weather is WICK. WICK!
Seamus: Aye, it’s pants.

What does it all MEAN, Basil?
a) Paddy and Seamus think the weather blows.
b) Paddy and Seamus think the weather is a candle and a pair of pants, respectively.
c) Paddy and Seamus think the weather is splendid.

If you used your context clues to deduce that the answer is A, congratulations! But also, I weep for humanity. Pretty much every day this summer, it has been in the 50s and raining. You know the movie “Wet Hot American Summer?” I am currently starring in “Wet Cold Irish Despair.” This is me every day:
rain
hateeverything
Happily though, we managed to escape to some exotic locales over the past few months (as Facebook clearly reveals!). Here’s the condensed version.

End of June: Rome. Made all the more special thanks to the joyous reunion with the parental unit.

July: Brussels & Bruges. So romantic and gorgeous!

Also July: A wonderful Scottish wedding, complete with a ceilidh (traditional Scottish dancing), men in kilts, and cullen skink. Cullen skink is a pungent fish stew. This was my face when I smelled it:
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But anyway, all that traveling meant lots and lots of delicious foodstuffs. We’re talking pizza & pasta & waffles & frites with mayo & cakes &  beer & wine ALL THE TIME. My summer spirit animal:
chomp
So this summer has also been a write-off in terms of me trying to bear any semblance of health or well-being. Since we’re not going anywhere for the next few months, though, I can try to reach equilibrium once more! Jokes, we all know I’m on my downward life spiral and will only balloon from here!!

The final summer write-off is our bank accounts, LOL. WE POOR NOW. However, we are both looking forward to chilling the eff out for the foreseeable future. Just having some nice, homecooked dindins while we watch Masterchef Australia. Awwwww yiuuuuh. And maybe blogging every once in a while ;).

Tuckered out,
Lilleh

And one more thing from today

It took literally everything I had not to LOL during today’s homily.

Priest: “What is more unbelievable…that Jesus rose from the dead, or that he loves us unconditionally?”
*poignant pause*
Random cell phone: BOYOYOYOYOYOYIIIINNNNNGGGG

Dying,
Bad Lil

I’m a workin’ girl!

Who’s that lady? Whooooo’s that ladaaayyy? The one that’s gainfully employed and pretending to be a real adult? Me, baby! MEEEE.

Yup, started ma new job this week, and things are looking good! Do you want all of the glorious, gory details? Imma fill you in.

But first, let’s get something outta the way. My sordid confesshun: I have accepted my human frailty and have officially given up on driving here. BECAUSE I HATE IT. This was basically me every time I had to get behind the wheel:
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And this was everyone else on the road:
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The combo of learning stick shift + everything being backasswards was deadly and super stressful. So EFF it! I’m throwing in the towel, and no one can stop me. Also, Matt is a saint and totally supports me (aww!). Now I am a proud owner of multiple bus passes, LOL.

My workplace is two bus rides away, which roughly equates to a 50 minute commute. Not too bad! Plus, since I go through the city, I get to people-watch all the kooks milling around Belfast.
looking
Besides somewhat unreliable waiting times, there’s only one drawback to the bus. Matt is gonna kill me for this, but I’m gonna Edward Snowden this piece anyway and divulge one of NI’s darkest secrets: The Belfast Stink™.

The Belfast Stink is a peculiar stench that wafts its way around buses, grocery stores, churches anywhere you can find locals. It’s dare I say it? a regional delicacy. There’s a Tesco food campaign called “Taste Northern Ireland.” I want to make my own campaign called “Smell Northern Ireland” the logo will be a used sock decaying in a brown puddle.

But for real, I have never encountered this smell at any other point in my life, anywhere else in the world. It is totally unique. Matt aptly summed it up when he likened it to “the gym harness that every camper uses at summer camp, and which has never been washed.” It’s not just normal armpit BO. It’s a noxious cocktail of equal parts mildew, human grease and inescapable despair.
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The Belfast Stink makes a cameo appearance on nearly half of my bus rides. The perps always seem to sit in front of me, so I have maximum exposure. Fortunately, once I get into work everything is lovely. The people are wonderful, the job is challenging but interesting, and the local area is really green and peaceful. Actually, I’ve been taking long walks during my lunch hour, since putting on my work pants is currently the human equivalent to this:
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But adjusting to the 9-5 schedule has been hard this past week! I’m pretty exhausted at the end of the day, so this is basically me the second I get in the door:
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All I want is to get into comfy clothes and veg my life away! Hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll readjust to having a normal person’s schedule. Stay tuned for more grown-up adventures!

Zzzz,
Lilleh

Just havin’ a wee jook

Hiya! It’s been a helluva week, seeing as it was BIRFDAY weekend, I’ve been hacking up a lung for 9 days…AND I GOT A NEW JOB!!! excited
The job was just the best present ever, seeing as I’ve been looking for a full-time gig for almost a year. I can’t wait to start! Plus, I’ve already met most of my future co-workers (very small team), and they are basically the loveliest people who have ever existed. YAY!!

But enough about me. I know you’re dying to know more of NI’s innermost freakish secrets. Today’s title was a clue but what’s a jook, you ask?

Well, having a jook means looking at something. Peepin. Creepin??

Though it’s rare, there is a local practice that I simply cannot understand. Certain people, in our neighborhood and beyond, have been known to stand outside their houses ALL. DAY. LONG. Just havin’ a wee jook for hours on end. Just watching the world go by, but in the freezing cold rather than through a window inside the house. I’m talking EVERY DAY these people stand outside, like the world’s most bootleg security guards. WHY THOUGH? What are they doing?!

The woman who does it in our neighborhood is probably in her fifties, and despite being a neighborhood fixture, is pretty unpleasant. She doesn’t talk to anybody, so when you walk by it’s basically like this:
samcat
Then there’s the fella up on the North Coast, who routinely watches the street where Matt’s family have their vacation home. “Wee Jimmy,” as he’s known. We only go up to that house a few times a year but, rain or shine, HE’S THERE. Hands in his pockets, looking at nothing for hours.

Matt also told me that there was an older man who used to do this same thing when Matt was a schoolkid. He’d hang outside his house, and created nicknames for all of the local kids. I thought it sounded a bit creepy, until I heard what Matt’s nickname was and all was forgiven in the name of hilarity. Any guesses?

Matt was WEE LEGS!! LOLOLOLOL

For reals though, if someone could explain to me the rationale behind this insanity, I’d greatly appreciate it. In the meantime, I’ll try to avoid a Curb-style staring contest:
curbstares
Here’s lookin’ at you, kid,
Gingy

Taigs, cakes and politics

Welcome back, folks! I know, I know  you’re infuriated because I ghosted this piece and was out living life like a real human. I’m sorry!!

This is going to be an ultra-disjointed, wild ride of a blob, since I have to cram in the past few weeks of hell-raising debauchery. IS THE WORLD READY?

Let me start with this gleaming pearl of wisdom Matt blurted out last week. We were doing our usual post-dinner-TV-extravaganza, and just as I was thinking to myself that a cuppa would be nice, Matt turned to face me.

“Want me to make you tea?” he asked knowingly.

“BUT…HOW DID YOU KNOW?!” I stammered.

With a sage smile, he dropped this truth bomb on me:
“Lilleh, being Irish means being able to anticipate every time someone wants a cup of tea.

mind blown
MIND. BLOWN.

But moving right along, lemme tell ya’ll about last week: GENERAL ELECTION WEEK!

Since I work for MLAs, part of my duties temporarily included helping with the dissemination of flyers, pamphlets, etc. I was happy to support the party candidate, since I really wanted her to win, but I was a bit hesitant about going around to people’s houses and pushing random hoo-ha through their mailboxes. I felt…EXPOSED. This is basically my reaction to having to deal with THE PUBLIC at any time:

thisistheworst
But the deliveries went smoothly enough, as I didn’t have to interact with many people. In fact, I was right in the midst of enjoying the sunshine and fresh air when the incident occurred.

I was walking along a tiny avenue in the heart of working-class East Belfast. Two young boys were kicking a soccer ball against a wall, and as I passed them, one yelled out, “TAIG!”

LOL. WHAT?
whome
The other boy giggled and whispered, “You can’t say that!” But then he looked at me with a cheeky grin, and echoed, “TAIG!”

Since I’m basically the yellowest person who ever lived, I didn’t react at all and kept walking only to explode with anger once I was at a safe distance. I’ve come to grips with the fact that I am essentially the human version of this dog:
dog
But wait: how did they know? This is what has bothered me the most! It’s not like I was chillin’ with this posse:
catholic
LOLOLOL Dennis Rodman tho.

Several Facebook commenters have posited that my red hair was the big tell. GING = CLOSET CATHOLIC? But there are a ton of redheads at the Presbo church! Well, at any rate, now that I know I can’t pass for shiz in East Belfast, I might as well start sporting my taig paraphernalia at all times.

Anyway, back to da stories. Election day also happened to be King Mattsy’s 30th bday, and the night before his family hosted a lovely pre-birthday pawty. There was pizza, chicken, and a little birthday cake! Which brings me to today’s second truth bomb.

American cake slices > Northern Ireland cake slices.

Now, I don’t mean they are greater in terms of taste. Cakes here are delicious. I mean greater in terms of volume. You get a piece of cake in America, chances are it is an idiotically humongous wedge that you will shovel down your gullet until you hate yourself. It’s not a piece of cake; it is a mountain of cake that covers an entire plate.
brucebogtrotter
In contrast, a piece of cake in NI is a single mouthful of cake. You don’t even get a fork with it, because you can eat it in literally one bite! Piece of cake = microscopic fragment of cake. I usually have to sneak back for thirds of fourths to get my fill, like this:
thief
However, on Matt’s actual birthday, I splurged and bought him a four layer “honeybun” cake from J Bird Bakery (RESPECT MA GANGSTA!). We plunged headfirst into hefty American-style slices as we watched all of the election results unfold.

Though the candidate I liked unfortunately didn’t win in East Belfast, I was just relieved the whole rigamarole was over. Because now I don’t have to put on this face while I listen to people talk about their political/social views:
forced-smile
Free and easy,
Lilly

EVERYTHING IS GOOD ALL THE TIME

I totally pulled a George R.R. Martin on this beezy and have been MIA the past few days  apologies! I’ve been wracking my brain for new topics, and Matt threw a monkeywrench in the works when he DEMANDED I change my tune on dis blob.

During a beautiful sunny afternoon a few weekends ago, we were happily skipping along after a day at the Ulster Museum. Apropos of nothing, Matt suddenly burst out: “EVERYTHING ON YOUR BLOG IS NEGATIVE! YOU’RE SKEWING PEOPLE’S PERCEPTIONS. WRITE SOMETHING GOOD ABOUT NI OR I’LL KNOCK YOUR MELT IN.”

Jokes on that last bit! But I realized he was probably right. I’ve been taking the piss out of NI too much lately, and this is basically Matt’s reaction to every post:
pamcrying
The truth is a terrible, beautiful thing. So how about some happier tidbits? Let me fill you in on the best part about living here, the #1 perk! Surely you already know? That’s right, baby SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. NHS 4 LYFE!!1!1!!

On a scale of 0 to America, how awesome is NHS? Way up there. 9.95.

Matt always loses it at the abstract thought of people criticizing the NHS. “YOU DON’T LIKE IT? THEN PAY FOR IT!” he screams furiously to no one. LOL, he has a point though! You can’t argue with the price tag. Plus, if you want to rise above the great unwashed masses, you have the option to go private and pay mad scrilla for diamond-studded colostomy bags, etc.

I’ve only had good experiences with the NHS since coming here (except for that one time a nurse drew blood without sanitizing my skin, but who cares!). So last week, I had to have an endoscopy due to chest spasms while swallowing. I was dreading it, but my Scottish-Italian cheapskate heart leapt with joy at the thought of a freebie. Who knows what it would have cost back home? The novelty of a free invasive procedure was enough motivation for me to face my fears and go for it.

It was done at the Ulster Hospital, and the doctors were really caring and attentive. Even so, though, the endo was lot harder than I thought it would be (probs cause I refused the sedative like a FOOL).

It basically felt like an eternity of this:
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barf
Still though no complaints!

So what’s the final verdict on NHS? You already know! 10/10 would recommend.

“But it would never work in ‘Murica!” you protest. “Obummer already took my freedom  my freedom to die penniless and covered in gangrene!”

Never change, America. And by that I mean you need a total system overhaul. NI isn’t stuntin with this bizznazz. You’ve gotta up your game.

SEE MATT I WROTE SOMETHING NICE OK

Sunshine and rainbows,
Lilz