Sunday, January 04, 2009

Happy New Year, Etc...

Hello everyone,
I hope everyone had a great New Year's...Did everyone make it till midnight? We were sick for about a week over Christmas, so we ended up staying home with Ruthie and her boyfriend Rossa. We made margaritas and then popped the Champagne at midnight and had a lot of fun just sitting around having a laugh. I went back to work three days last week, just doing emergency duty, so we had a big mix of social workers from all the offices in the area. It was nice to meet some of the other social workers. We had to do a few home visits but overall it was quiet, which is good news. Yesterday we took Steve's dad to lunch and to the theater to see "The Old Curiosity Shop" by Charles Dickens, which was his Christmas present. It was a nice day and he seemed to really like it. The play was good, the plot wasn't great but the characters were VERY funny. Its a cold and rainy Sunday today...I was thinking of going into town to go shopping, but the weather is awful and I'd just get soaked. I think it might be a day to stay home and work on some paintings. On Friday night one of Steve's friends saw a pic of my painting (that I posted last time) and now he wants me to do one for him too! So that's exciting...maybe one day I'll even be a real artist. I have two more that are almost done, so I'll post those in the next few weeks.

So the pics this week are Steve and I on New Year's Day, me at lunch yesterday, Steve and his dad at lunch, and me and my Canadian friend Jenn on Friday night. Let's see...what else is new?? My mom will be here in about a week, so that's exciting! We have lots to do and so little time. I still have to turn in my new visa application, so I have no idea what's going to happen with that, and won't know until probably the end of January. My boss at work has her fingers and toes crossed that I'll be able to go back to my job soon. Another two people in my office got offers elsewhere so we're crumbling as far as staff goes...anyone want to be a social worker in Dublin?? Also we've been looking for apartments and I think we'll be moving out in the next month! Woo hoo! It will be nice to have our own place, although it might be strange at first to live somewhere quiet again.. :) And the best part, once we move out, we're getting a dog! Yes...a little immitation Toulouse I think, except we're going to call it Vincent...

Oh! Dana Jones got engaged last weekend in Mexico! So we are all very excited for her and Josh. They're trying to plan it for this summer if possible, but they have to see if they can find a place to have it that's not already booked out! Hooray for her! ...So I think that's about all the info I have for now...comments please!

Love you all,

Amy (and The Mick)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas!!

Yeah, over here they don't say Merry weird is that? I had drinks with this girl Jenn yesterday, she's a new friend of mine from Canada, but she's married to a paddy, so we had a good long chat about the weird words here. Like HOT PRESS. You think...something that you use to make a panini? No. Irish people say hot press when they mean, the closet where your hot water heater lives. Just another oddity that I will never understand.
How do you like my pics? Let's see...we have me and linny and jason with G&G at the Chop House for their Annual Dinner Night, then the demolition of the front of the house, Steve put in a huge new front window and did plenty of damage taking out the old one, then is my first painting that I've completed in art class...not a great pic of it but the painting turned out really well. I'm on to my second and third now...and finally is Steve and I at a fancy hotel we visited a few months back, which was a birthday gift from his family. Sweeeet.

So what is everyone up to for Christmas? P.S. sorry I've been delinquent with this thing...very busy with work and all but still no excuse... I think I heard everyone is going to Auntie Laurie's for Christmas Day? What about tonight? We're probably staying in tonight, although it seems that Christmas Eve is a "go out to the pub" holiday here...I suppose any excuse for a pint, really...haha. Just Kidding! Steve, Ruthie and I all have head colds, so I think its PJ's and bad TV for us. Tomorrow morning we're going to his sister Lynn's house for breakfast and then Ruthie is making a ham and a turkey tomorrow night. Friday is a holiday here too. It's called St. Steven's Day, so I assume Steve will think we are all supposed to walk around worshipping him. I'm going to hide all the grapes just in case.

All is well here. Work has been VERY busy and we are still very understaffed, but I still really like the job. My mom will be here in three weeks, which is cool! My immigration expires while she is here, so we will be in Ireland for a week, then Scotland for a few days and then to London for a bit. Then I'll stay in London an extra week while I wait for my new paperwork to come thru...fingers crossed that it does...

My friend Evelyn from DC emailed me last week to see if I want to meet her in Spain in March, so I said Woo Hoo! Count me in! Sooo...Madrid is on the horizon. You ahve no idea how excited I will be to get some sun!!!

I hope people are still checking this, I'll send a reminder email that a new post is up and then everyone can get to commenting. I want to hear what everyone got for Christmas!!

P.S. I am sending gifts home for mom, dad, linny and jason with mom next month. I didnt get to the post office in time for the "Christmas Post" and everything shuts down here completely from now till about January I said...strange land...

LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU!!! Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

save the date!

hi guys,

my plane ticket has been booked! i'll be home november 8th for a week! woo hoo!!

okay okay, everyone take a minute to wipe the tears of joy from your eyes so you can continue are things? all is well here. Linny has been asking for more one is me on the pier in howth (five minutes from our house) and then of course you have one of us hanging out with a random leprechaun...they're EVERYWHERE over here! steve and i are babysitting tonight because its Ruthie's 30th birthday, so she's off for a night with the girls. i was meant to go along too, but i was out a little too late last night with the girls from the office, if you know what i i'm gonna pass tonight (gorgeous pic of me in the kitchen is proof of my fragile state...taken a few minutes ago).

work is going really well. i have ten families now so im constantly busy and spend most of my days tramping all over dublin on home visits, meeting with psychiatrists, visiting clients in the hospital and tracking drug use at the methadone clinics. never a dull moment. i'm hoping to find out next week if my boss will sponsor me on for my green card. if she does, then ill get a 2 year permit to live and work here. (the permit i have now expires in january) if she won't, then unfortunately ill have to look for another job that will. immigration laws are no fun.

im still doing hot yoga on tuesday nights and its a lot harder than i thought it would be! im always sore after...and then i've got art class on thursday nights, which i love. im one of the only people there under 60...but they're all really funny. i'm just finishing up the sketch of my first project and next week ill start painting it. i'm going to try oil paints, which i haven't used before, so we'll see how it goes. i'll post pics when its finished.

not much else to tell...the weather is really nice, 50-60ish and sunny a lot of the time, so pretty soon you'll all be jealous of me, rather than the other way around. i'm really excited to come home and see everybody! hope all is well, hugs to all the kids, and ill see everyone in a few weeks!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's sunny in Dublin for the second day in a row! Yippeee!!! So it's been a beautiful weekend here and we've been making the best of it. The past few weekends have been nice, actually. Last Satuday we took Cillian to the beach (see pics) down the road from us...Yesterday Steve and I did the cliff walk around Howth (the area of Dublin where we live...see pics) and today we had a barbecue with Steve's dad, Ruthie, Cillian, Lynn (Steve's other sister) and Johnny (her new baby). We made greek salad, corn on the cob, baked potatoes and shish ka-bobs (also see pics...haha...I thought I'd be like my dad and send pics of food). Everything else is good. I really like my job and I have nine families for now. They're nice people and I've got my work cut out for me, but I think they're all going to be okay. I've also been going to some trainings and seminars and learning about how things work here, and going to court every now and then. Outside of work I've been really busy, going to hot yoga on Tuesday nights and painting class on Thursday nights. I've been painting a little at home, mostly flowers (for me) and skulls (for Steve). I posted a pic of the "gallery" I'm starting on our bedroom wall. Lots more art to come. Besides that, nothing much going on. We usually babysit one or two nights per week and we just finished watching season one of Deadwood. Have any of you seen it? Go to Blockbuster and get it!! It's so good!!! Although the characters have filthy mouths so watch it after the kids go to bed. Hope everyone is enjoying being back in school. Congrats to Mark, Carrie, Jeff and Katie on the new babies! Post some comments and let me know how things are going. I'm planning a trip home in November for about a week so I'll see you all in a few months. xox


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Week at Work

Hi Everybody,

Well I started my new job yesterday. So far, so good. My two office-mates, Bronagh (pronounced "Brona") and Michelle are both new as well, so the three of us will all be figuring things out together, which is nice. They both just finished their social work degrees at Trinity College in Dublin, one a bachelors and one a masters, and are both really nice. I'll have nine families to start out, but I haven't gotten my case files yet so I don't know what kinds of issues I'll be dealing with. We spent a lot of the day trying to get our office organized and setting up appointments to meet with some of the service providers in our area (housing/homelessness agencies, drug rehabs, family centers, etc...) because these are the kinds of services we will need to be getting for our clients. Sooo...we're gonna be going around this week and next to get to know what kinds of resources are available. I had computer training all day today to learn the system we use to do casenotes, referrals, child abuse notifications and how we put new families into the database when they enter the system. All pretty basic but mandatory training. Unfortunately it was kinda designed for people with very little computer experience so I was sorta bored a lot of the time. I have to go back for another day of training on Friday and then I'll be an expert at the "Social Work Information System". Haha...

Tomorrow we're visiting a community development organization and a family resource center and Thursday we're going to women's shelter, I think. It's nice that we get a few weeks to get oriented with the area and the services before we're meant to start working with our families.

No real news besides that. Just excited to start working. Thanks for singing Happy Birthday to me on Sunday! It was actually hot and sunny here that day so I got to lay out in the back yard and read a book all afternoon! (Although here, they call it the back "garden"). I'm trying to spread American-isms here though. I've got Steve's 2-yr-old nephew saying "yikes!" and I'm working on "later dude". And Steve and his sister Ruthie have started saying American words like "sweatshirt" (they say jumper here) and "stuff" and Ruthie swears she's starting to talk with an American accent. She's even using the Chicagoan method of ending a sentance in a preposition...she asked me yesterday..."do you wanna come with?" haha...I'm contagious!

Right, well, I'm tired so I'll leave it at that for now. My office is ugly and miserable at the moment because its a gov't building with no character, but Bronagh and Michelle and I are determined to fix it up so I'll post pics once we get it looking a bit more presentable.

Love you all and miss you, especiallly Linny, although I talk to you nearly every day...Good luck to all the kids going back to school soon and congrats to Auntie Laurie for getting some of your life back during the days! Ha!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Adventures of Travel Teddy

Travel Teddy hitchin' a ride to Wales in Steve's back pocket... TT having a morning coffee break on the ferry...TT hanging out over the bar at the Porterhouse...TT sippin' on a glass of oyster stout...TT taking the bus home after a long day (Can you see him?)

It's raining. Again.

Bonjour friends and family...

How is everyone?? Some of you guys have been asking about where I live here, what's the house/neighborhood/etc like... so here are some pics to curb your curiosity!
First we have a pic of Dublin City Center first...thats the River Liffey in the front. That's what a lot of the "downtown" area looks like, although "downtown" isn't really the right word for it...they just call it "in town"...Then there's a shot of Travel Teddy after too much Guinness. He's been having a lot of fun lately, so stand by for more pics of him soon. Moving on, you'll see a shot of the coast. I was out for a walk on my birthday and thats where I was walking. It's about five minutes from where I live. Next is a pic of the house I'm living in...and last but not least, Steve and me after my bday dinner. So, hope you like the pics.
Yesterday we took the ferry to Wales because I had to re-enter immigration to activate my work permit, so stay tuned for Travel Teddy's "trip to Wales" pics. When we got back to Dublin we went to a place called The Porterhouse, where they have Oyster Beer! They shuck live oysters into the tank! Eek! It's so delicious though. Anyone coming to visit must try it. Today I have to go to an orientation meeting for my student work permit thing...its mostly for Americans who just got here, to tell them where to go, help them find jobs, apts, it's a bunch of info I don't need but I have to go anyways, to get my ID card. ugh. At least maybe I'll meet some nice people.
Thanks for all the birthday wishes! Hope Jaimee and Sam had good birthdays too! It's raining again...good thing Linny sent me a sweet pair of Kate Spade Wellies for my bday!! Love them Lin. And I will use them ALL THE TIME!
Love you guys, talk to ya soon!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rain rain go away...

Hi everybody,
I'm slowly but surely getting more pics on here. This time you'll see a great view from a doorway in Santorini, the Grand Canal in Venice...doesn't it look fake? like a movie set??...the Amalfi Coast just north of Naples, Italy, and me "falling" into the gondola parking lot just off St. Mark's Square. Back here in Dublin things are lashing (dublinese for rainy) and gray at the moment, but wait 20 minutes and ya never know. This morning Steve's sister Ruthie needed to go into town for an appointment so I took Cillian (her two year old...are you guys starting to remember the names or should I keep re-explaining who everyone is??) to Stephen's Green, which is a big park in the middle of the city. It was warm and sunny, and we walked around a bit and went to the playground, then met back up with Ruthie and made it back just before the rain set in.

It's Steve's birthday today, he's 31! So for two days he's going to be 6 years older than me and I haven't been letting him forget it. But then on Thursday I'll catch up again and it's back to 5... No huge plans for my birthday, probably a nice dinner out somewhere. I talked to Auntie Laurie yesterday and she said you'll be celebrating Jaimee's, Sammi's and my birthday over the weekend, so eat some extra cake for me, okay??

Tomorrow I have a job interview with the HSE, which I think I've mentioned previously. Its the gov't social work agency here and getting a job with them would be fantastic. Plus, the office where the job is located is in the exact neighborhood where Steve and I want to get a place! We took a drive over there (to Stoneybatter) on Sunday and it's a really cute area with lots of cottages and little roads, and a nice main street with shops and pubs. We can't wait to find a place and get settled in so you guys can start flocking over to visit!! Anyway, wish me luck on the interview!

Other than that, just been hanging out. We rented "There Will be Blood" last night, the one about the oil wells with Daniel Day Lewis, but we both fell asleep before the end so we'll have to try to finish it tonight. Movie rentals here are only good for ONE NIGHT! Can you believe it??

Congrats to Ronny for getting registered for high school, it's gonna be a lot of fun! And Happy B-day to Jaimee and Sam, and hi and love and hugs to everyone else. No one is commenting on this thing anymore though, is anyone actually reading it?!? Grandma and Grandpa, haven't heard from either of you since my last emails a week or two ago, how are things? Love and miss you guys...

Well that's all for now. More soon!


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Photo Time

Bonjour family,

As promised, here are (finally) some pictures from the cruise. From top to bottom we have a huge mosque in Istanbul, a stall at the spice bazaar in Istanbul...Istanbul is such a cool place!, a gorgeous view of Fira, a town on the Greek island of Santorini (have any of the girls seen the sisterhood of the traveling pants? it was filmed here...), then you'll see me on a black sand beach on the opposite side of Santorini, and finally a hot shot of Yin and I sporting our super-cool helmets on our afternoon of riding 4-wheelers on narrow two-lane cliffside roads!

I finally found my camera cord so I'll post more in the next few days. Love and miss you!


Monday, August 04, 2008

Happy Bank Holiday Monday

Hi everyone,

So here in Ireland there are holidays for no actual reason. It's called a bank holiday and everyone has the day off just because! Fun! Today is a bank holiday and we had a nice one. Got up early, had some breakfast, layed around watching TV...then we went for a nice walk by the coast (it's really pretty here) and then made dinner. We made a pork roast stuffed with peaches, butter and thyme, with roasted potatoes, corn, and cheesy spinach. Mmmm...

Dublin is really far north, about even with northern Canada, so it doesn't get dark in summer until about 10pm. But then in winter it gets dark really really early... Right now it's 7:30, and bright and sunny out.

Tomorrow Steve goes back to work and I get back to looking for a job. My work permit will be valid starting Aug 18th, so I have two weeks to find something. Besides the autism school, one of Steve's friends works for the government social work agency, so she's sending my resume to all her bosses. Fingers crossed that something will come up soon.

How's everything at home? Are the kids headed back to school soon? Love and miss you guys!

Love, Ame

Friday, August 01, 2008

Hi hi hi

Hi guys,

Well I've made it safe and sound to Dublin, after a total of 12 hours in airports and planes! I had a one hour layover in Paris so I got a small glimpse of the Eiffel Tower during our landing! My last night in Barcelona was a lot of fun, six of us went out on the town (since the ship was there overnight) and since it was my send-off to Ireland, we went to three different Irish Pubs. Ha! Like I won't be getting enough of those over here!

I've spent the morning unpacking all of my stuff and getting organized. Steve told me he was going to put up some shelves for me so I'd have some space to keep stuff, so I was expecting a few plywood boards held to the wall with brackets. I was wowwed when I walked in our room and saw a huge, gorgeous wall unit/bookcase/shelving extravaganza waiting for me! I keep forgetting that he can actually build furniture! I'd take a picture and send it, but I can't find the cord to connect my camera to the computer and the memory card isn't formatted right, so my pics are stuck in my camera for now. Once I find the cord I'll post the photos from my last two cruises. Istanbul was really cool and the pics of the mosques are amazing.

After I finished with the organizing, I went to Penneys (which is like Target) with Steve's sister Ruthie (Steve is at work so I'm on my own for the day). I picked up a pair of dressy jeans and some corderoy pants and a rain jacket because most of the clothes I have with me are for hot hot hot weather! So I learned that in Ireland, "pants" means if an Irish person was reading this, they'd think I was out buying corderoy undies! haha. I have to start saying "trousers" instead.

Now I'm just checking some emails and sending out resumes. I'm hoping to have an interview at a school for autistic kids in the next few weeks. My experience with Aubry, plus my social work degree should make me a pretty qualified candidate! Anyways, that's about all that's happening over here today. Monday is a "bank holiday" here, so we'll have a long weekend. No plans yet but if it's nice out I hope we can head to the beach or something like that. It's strange going from 90 degrees and sunny for five weeks, to 60 degrees and drizzly! I heard its been sweltering in Chicago lately...

Okay well, I think thats it for now. Love you all. Oh! Thanks to everyone who sent your love and support via email. It means a lot to me.



Friday, June 27, 2008


Hi Everybody!

Well I arrived on the ship 2 days ago in Barcelona and today we are docked in Monaco. It's been a great day! I've been at the beach in a little town called Eze-Sur-Le-Mer where me and four other girls had a nice lunch (although the service was SO one is in a hurry in the French Riviera I guess...) and then had a really good swim. I'm so buoyent in salt water!

I actually don't have to work until 9:30 tonight so I'm back in for a shower and then going to have a cocktail at a bar on the dock called Stars and Bars. Tonight we set sail around 11pm and head to Livorno, Italy which is close to Pisa and Florence. Everyone here is really nice and so far I haven't had to work too many hours but that could all change now that we have a new cruise director on board. Just have to wait and see.

Ireland was fantastic. We spent a lot of time just relaxing and took a drive to the country for a few days. I've got some new that some of you already know, but Steve has asked me to move to Dublin when I finish my ship contract. So...I'll be living in Ireland starting this fall! We spent a lot of time researching the visa requirements and job stuff and I think everything will fall into place. Anyway more on that later but just wanted to let you all know. I told Steve I was gonna post a message to you all saying :

Dear Amy's Family,

She's mine now.

Love, Steve

Haha. Aren't I funny?

Okay this is expensive so I'll say bye for now. Pictures soon!


Sunday, June 01, 2008

More Family Weekend

Here's a photo shoot of the Thorn kids at their second Chop House dinner in 2 weeks...Spoiled??


Hi Everbody,

Thanks to all of you who made it to my going away/graduation party this weekend! For those who didn' missed a great time and for those who left missed watching my entire family dancing on the Ginger's bar! The rest of family weekend has been very busy. Linny, Mom and I went to Spacio for massages yesterday afternoon, last night we hung out at our place and watched movies, today we all went to MayFest in Lincoln Square and then to dinner at the Chop House. Now I'm completely stuffed with prime rib and ready for bed. Linny is moving into her new home tomorrow and I'm starting to move my boxes into storage. Can you BELIEVE I'm leaving in 9 days??

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I've poured my last pint :(

Sunday night I worked my last shift at Ginger's Ale House. I laughed, I cried, I danced on the bar one last time... I'll miss it there a lot!

Saturday, May 24, 2008


On Wednesday night Auntie Ronni, Uncle Lee, Linny, Jason, Dana and I had a delicious dinner at the Chop House. MMmmm... I had the prime rib and it was very very good. It was a graduation/bon voyage dinner for me and I was very lucky to receive happy graduation, bon voyage, happy birthday AND merry christmas cards all at once! Also, Auntie Ronni and Uncle Lee gave me a Sony Handycam so I can record all the amazing places I'm about to see! Cool! I think there's a way to post videos on this thing...I'm going to figure it out. I shouldn't even be online right now, because I have 45 pages of papers to write before Friday, but it's okay, it will all get, done, right?? I'm really tired, worked last night and got up early today and have to work again tonight so I think Toe and I will take a nap. Love everyone.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cubs Game + Steph = FUN...and other news...

Hi People,

The past two weeks have been kinda busy for me. Last Wednesday I, along with my fellow McCormick Tribune people (the group of us in the scholarship program at school) put on a symposium (conference thing) on community revitalization and gentrification in Chicago. It was actually a big success and over 110 people showed up for it. I was facilitating a group on how community groups can be involved and it was a good conversation that I wish we had more time to finish. My biggest complaint is that we didn't get to really synthesize things because by the time we got done talking about the issues we only had a few minutes to think about solutions. Overall it was a good night and I think it at least got people talking. I also got my mid-terms back and got A's on them. It's not all me me me though...Linny is working really hard at school right now and has been writing papers and taking tests left and right. She has a straight A average and plans to keep it up. Ms. Smarty-Pants. She will be finishing up in October if all goes according to plan. Finally, Mothers Day was mom's three year sober anniversary and we are all really proud of her. We went to Arlington Park for a few hours, but it was cold and we were all tired (for varying reasons) so we made it an early day. My dad won some big bucks on the last race thought! Woo Hoo! Last night I went to the Cubs game with Steph, my friend from Gingers. It was a lot of fun and the Cubs kicked butt! We had hot dogs, bud lights, and of course, cotton candy. Whoever figured out that spinning sugar at high heat would make that deliciousness was a genius! We left after the eighth inning because is was FREEZING and met Linny for some hot chocolate and baileys at Gingers. A good time had by all. That's about all I can think of for now. Tomorrow is my last day at my internship, so I'll have extra time in the next two weeks to get my finals written, then it's just packing and moving time. They took me out for a nice lunch at the Cheesecake Factory and said nice things about me and gave me presents! It was nice to see all the kids even though it was just for a little bit on Sunday. Let's try to find a night to go to Brunetti's before I leave..

Love you guys,