Sunday 31 January 2021

Return to sender

I saw these cute little straws in Half Shell Bar and bought a couple to send to my sisters and friend back in Ireland, and Spain and The Netherlands.  

They all know Half Shell well so I know they will like them.

They also are good for posting home, because they were not expensive.  And postage is expensive, particularly packages!!!.  What I am going to do is pop one in an envelope and put an international stamp on it ($1.20), i.e. post it as a letter versus a parcel...if it makes it, it makes it, if it doesn't, it doesn't.

Coincidentally each straw was $1 each.  I was shopping for a reusable straw, and saw these fancy ones - in packs of two for $9.  And then, the girl behind the counter noted to me that she had some "old stock" left at a dollar each.  There were 9 of them! So for the price of two, I bought all nine :) 

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Living in Key West. Some fun facts!

1. It is Florida. Things grow reeeeeally fast
Coconuts and the coconut tree in your yard for example.  This will need to be trimmed VERY regularly so as the coconuts don't fall on someone's head and kill them. It is a huge piece of work but there is the reward of fresh coconut water after all your exertion

2. It is Florida. Things propogate reeeeeally fast.  Got a problem with mosquitos in your garden?  It is likely that you have "standing water" somewhere.  (a) It doesn't have to be there long for the mosquitos to arrive, we are talking hours and days, not weeks and months (b) It doesn't have to be much water.  A friend told me, that once they saw a mosquito grow/feed in a fanta bottle cap

3. You will see (and hear) really cool aircraft above your house.  The Navy fighter jets do their training out of Boca Chica and over Key West, so it is pretty much a twice weekly event seeing Top Gun style planes.  And every couple of weeks these massive carrier aircrafts go over.  

4. You can live on the same street as Tennessee Williams used to live.  We do! Two blocks away :)  I pass it every day on my cycle to work, how cool is that.

5. They don't call it Key Weird for nothing. 
A gem, below, from the Key West Lost & Found Facebook page

*Apparently only 70% sure, because "it might have been a lemur"

6. You can buy a book in a bookstore and it will be rang up at the till by JUDY BLUME.  She owns a fabulous book store on Eaton Street

7.  Things rust and rot reeeeeally fast here.  Our barbecue, bought just two years ago, all shiny and new, is now rusted like crazy and on it's last legs

8. You will hate leaving the island and want to get back as soon as you leave.  We had to go up to Miami (shudder) before Christmas and have not stopped talking about how we don't want to have to go there again for a long, long while

I will add to this as I think of more things you might find interesting or amusing

Monday 25 January 2021

Yellow tail snapper

 Fun times in the little baby boat continue, with plenty of fishing and crabbing ahoy!

We had a great day at the weekend where, amongst plenty of others, Patrick landed this sweet 14 inch yellowtail snapper.

Seasoned with olive oil, garlic, lemon and rosemary and fried up on the barbecue made for a lovely dinner.

Porgy on the left (known as seabream in Ireland) and that wonderful yellowtail on the right!

Shed clean up number ???

 I can't believe I am writing this but I cleaned up (out?) our shed again.  How many times is this now??  Five??  How does it keep getting cluttered up?

Anyway!  I have to say it is looking great now and I am really delighted!

There is one more clear out/clean up due:  we are planning on booking the refuse company (or is the city?) to come in February or so to remove a load of rubbish we have been cleaning up and collecting for a while - old wood/broken garden furniture from the previous owner/our old rusted barbecue etc etc.  I am going to go through the shed at this point and check all the products and paints on the shelves and throw out anything dead or that we won't use.  My goal is actually to maybe even get rid of one of those shelves. The less in the shed the better! 

Part of the clean up was parting ways with something that gave me great sadness... From the previous owner; these really cool old metal table top and leaves.  Really, really heavy! Maybe 1950's I think?  So, I've had them a year and have done nothing with them.  Six months ago, I made a pledge with myself....that if I had not used them in a project then they were going out.  Well that day came :( 

I put an ad up on Key West Yard Sale on facebook that they were free to take away and, 30 minutes later, they were gone. To a good home am sure.

La La Land. Again :)

 If you've been following my blog you will recall my love (ok, obsession) for La La Land. Well it is with great pleasure, I tell you about a lovely event hosted by Key West Film Festival, in the Perry Hotel on Stock Island, that I attended last night.

Myself and my neighbour Feliz got a lift over to Stock Island from Patrick.  It is not far away - maybe a 5 or 10 minute drive.  We had some nice food of burger sliders and french fries.  The sliders were good - a very nice char grilled flavour from them.  Two cocktails set us up and over to the screening area on the lawn.

What a cute set up!  Social distanced and outdoors.  I felt very safe.  

Today - What I did

 God, I was busy today.  This was my morning

- Doctors Appointment, nothing major, just my regular check up

- Bank visit to discuss interest rates to see if we can make our money work more

- Visited the Driver License's office and attempted to renew my Florida ID or get a Florida driving license.  Long story short, I couldn't do either and it looks like I need to do a computer test and driving test to transfer my Irish license to a US one.

TJ Maxx - bought a ton of new Pretties.  Ahahahahahahahah.  Are you thinking, what the heck are you on about Amy?  Article here.

- Post Office.  Posted a parcel to Ireland for Alice and a parcel to Enid in Spain.

- Ross: checked if Ross got any new shoes in.  I need a new pair for work.  Nada.

- Dennys. Monday: it's got to be pancakes and New Yorker time

- Went online to renew my fishing licence but the issue with my drivers impinged on this.  So next Monday my priority is getting the ID/licence situation sorted

I think that is it!

Thursday 21 January 2021


Two days ago I was in CVS....buying new foundation and razor blades....and perusing the aisle with all the Valentine's stuff. Whoa, that is a lot of tat!  Yay, I can't wait for Feb 14th!  Lol.  

Anyhoo.  I digress. At the end of the aisle they had a few tiny bits left over from Christmas reduced to like 89c each.  I noticed some nice Christmas face masks and threw them into my basket, thinking they would do for next year, I would put them in the shed with the Christmas decorations and I'd find them next year when needed.  But suddenly I was struck with the awful thought of what this meant....would we still be wearing masks in a year?  Surely not?? So I decided to think positive and put them back, hopeful that the vaccine would be widespread, that indeed I would have had the vaccine and that the masks would be no more by the end of 2021.

The other hugely optimistic thing was yesterday with the inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris. The last 4 years feel like a bad dream but the thoughts of tomorrow are already starting to erase the hideous memories.

Speaking of memories, I still remember what I went through 4 years ago when Trump won.  My sister wrote about her experience/memory of it in her blog here, and I have something similar. The count started and it was looking positive for Hillary Clinton, I was getting more and tired watching it in Ireland (remember the time difference) and eventually fell asleep.  At about 4 or 5 am Irish time I remember waking up and hurriedly switched on the tv to see what was happening, intending to watch for 5 minutes and then go back asleep for a few more hours before work.  Well,  I turn on and see Hillary Clinton and in my sleepy state, and based on what I had seen before I fell asleep, I interpret this as Hillary had won. So I quickly switch off and go back to sleep, delighted with the result and with a smile on my face.  You can surely imagine my disorientation, disquiet and upset when I wake up and see who actually won.  I felt like I was part of the twillight zone - how could this be??? I had seen Hillary win already.  What the heck was going on.  I am still not entirely sure but I think what I saw (and remember my drowsy, still asleep state) was Hillary doing her speech to concede, and my addled brain seeing something else. At the end of the day I still can't believe he won....  I still can't believe people voted for him in 2020  either.

But. I digress. That is all negative thought.  Today and tomorrow are days for positivity and optimism.  May the universe bless President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris!  They did it!  And now they have the job to do, and what a job that is, but they can do it, I know it.

For posterity, today I wore a new Lilly Pulitzer mask.  Let these be cast into history soon I hope... But for the meantime, can't beat a bit of bright coloured beachy Lilly!

Oh sure go on, here is another photo of me, wearing my Lilly earrings. 

I loooooove them

Monday 11 January 2021

Monday, January 11th 2021

 Here is a summary of what I did today.  Brace yourself, a lot of "and then I went to", "and then I got" over and over again

1st Stop. I got up this morning quite early considering it was my day off, around 7.30am, and after a cup of coffee headed into the hotel to pick up a credit card.  My boss (the GM) is off on vacation at the moment so there are gaps that need to be filled.  I headed to Home Depot to buy some temporary blinds for two of the rooms, while we wait for our fancy ones to arrive.  Quite the conundrum getting the right size and the best material that I could, but I think I got there in the end.

Stop 2 was dropping it back to the hotel where I handed them over to our maintenance guy. They are his baby now!  Took a call from Patrick where he had super news, that he had found a great dentist that took our insurance, and that he had got me a same day cancellation appointment for 1.45pm

Stop 3 I came home for a bit, and then headed to Dennys for something I like doing every Monday or every second Monday.  Pancakes, coffee and reading The New Yorker.

Stop 4 Headed to the dentist.  Thank you Patrick for arranging! My first appointment with an American dental clinic (office?) and I was very impressed.  Full set of xrays, inspection done by the dentist and then a great clean/scale/polish by a lovely hygienist.  They all said my teeth and gums are in great shape which was a relief.  I will go back for another clean in 6 months.  10 out of 10 for service.  And 10 out of 10 for being just the cutest little dentist I've ever gone to.  Photos below...

Stop 5 I took the Christmas tree down :( The decorations had been off it about a week now.  But it still looked just so lovely lit up every evening.  I am going to miss it.

Stop 6 We headed off for dinner in one of our casual favourites, Half Shell Raw Bar! And it was just lovely as always.  A bucket of steamed garlic clams, buffalo shrimp and fish dip - all to share. Fabulous.  And a few little drinkies.

I think that.  :Let's not talk about Stop 7 where I went online to Bath and Body works and did some drinky shopping :)))  Let's just pretend that didn't happen lol!

Good night friends!

Photos of my dentist below:

Isn't this cute? I love the ceiling fan

Socially distanced waiting room

Irish dentist waiting rooms do not look like this!


 Two years on the island.  One year in the little blue house!  Time to take stock and celebrate...with a feast of champagne, crab claws, cupcake sushi and (not pictured) mac and gruyere cheese.

Here's to hoping for many more!

Sunday 10 January 2021

Valentine's Day suggestion - give an everlasting gift...

 Too early to talk about Valentine's Day?  It's just about a month away now.  If your plan is to wait until closer to the moment and pick up a nice card and a bunch of flowers or a box of chocs for your significant other, well that sounds just lovely! And you can look away now as it sounds like you are all set - although, if you are open to one suggestion from me, it would be: get a hearted shaped box of chocolates! :) Even better if the box is a plush red velvet!

If you are thinking about going a little more adventurous, and doing something more long lasting, then here are some ideas for the Pigsy art lover in your life - included are suggestions to suit all budgets

Option 1

Irish artist Pigsy, Enamel Art Mugs are priced at euro24.99 and are a pretty cool gift in my opinion.  They can be used for hot drinks, tea, coffee. but also they are pretty awesome for using for cold drinks, beer or cocktails etc too. Perfect for use every day, but also cool for displaying on a shelf and showing off your art in a quirky way. He has just launched a Limited Edition mug "The Kiss" for Valentine's Day 2021

Option 2

Who wouldn't love a striking print in a bespoke frame, custom designed by Pigsy, in their home. Limited Edition prints offer an accessible entry point to becoming an art collector.  Why not get a print for you and your beloved this Valentine's?! Limited Edition prints are available through Designyard in Dublin city, in various sizes, prices starting at euro790.  View available prints here! Contact Ronan Campbell at Designyard on +353 1 474 1011 or Pigsy directly .

Option 3

Big and bold! Go big like Pigsy's paintings and push the boat out. View his latest work, the "Seven Spanish Angels" collection  

Bringing art in to the family home brings an air of creativity, tranquility, inspiration and positivity,  It opens up the potential for anything to happen in the future, and it is inspirational for all who live with it. Contact Pigsy directly to talk about purchasing an original paintings or contact Ronan Campbell in Designyard +353 1 474 1011.

Whatever you do, enjoy it!  2020 has been a challenging year, 2021 is looking very similar right now.   As Burt Bacharach said, and Jackie DeShannon sang "what the world needs now is Love"

Thursday 7 January 2021

Better days are coming

 I don't think I have the words or energy to summarize what happened in Washington yesterday.  I think I will leave that for the historians because I have no doubt it will feature in the annals of dark days of the USA in the history books of the future.

I will try describe my personal experience and try put words around how I am feeling... First of all the morning, the growing, tentative, elation that Georgia had been won by the Democrats.  Then the afternoon, when at about 2.30pm Patrick texted me describing the situation in Washington.  "It's bad", he said.  My initial reaction was that I felt like crying. Anger, frustration and shame.  And fear.  How bad could this get?  Obviously anger and frustration primarily about that fucking idiot Trump.  But a lot of frustration with the authorities.  How was this allowed happen?  Why were they not better prepared? And shame, shame that one of the best countries in the world, and my adopted homeplace, had come to this.

We decided we would go out for the crabtraps after work.  A distraction.  Definitely needed...  It was awesome out there! Conditions were just right - not too flat to be boring, not too wild to be dangerous, but a little bit of a battle to be enough of a challenge.  Definitely needed...  And we scored big!  Caught about 10 crabs in total, throwing back 4 and bringing 6 claws (one monster sized) home.  An awesome day but still, always in the back of our minds we knew we were going home to face the toxicity on the tv and internet.

I didn't sleep great last night.  I tossed and turned and my mind raced all night.  I got up at 5.30am and drank coffee watching the sun start to light up the house, leaving for work around 6.30am.

This afternoon, I opened an email from my dad - who seems in good spirits even with all the covid restrictions going on in Ireland (lockdown 3), sharing news about the light sprinkling of snow (we are a family of weather nerds and love a bit of snow! lol). As usual, but even stronger than before, he urged to be careful about the situation: "keep your opinions to yourselves, no flags or bumper stickers".  I appreciate the sentiment..  Things are different here in Key West to bigger cities in the States, and we are little insulated, but still, like I said, I appreciate the sentiment - and the reminder.  It makes me sad though that that is one of the things he thinks about when thinking about my life over here.  Although he also said how lucky I am, out fishing and crabbing in January so it is not all bad!

And it IS not all bad! Patrick, always good for bringing levity to a sitution when I am feeling down made me LAUGH last night. Kaitlan Collins reporting from the White House told how people in Trump's cabinet were considering resigning.  She says " these are not lowly communications people, these are senior officials.  From the couch beside me I hear "Heeeeeeyyyy!  Harsh Kaitlan, harsh.  That hurt Kaitlan".  Ha! Lol.  He is so funny.  (Patrick works in communications fyi!)

AND we have Jeopardy.  Alex Trebek's second last episode played tonight.  While tipping our hat to Alex at the start, boy was the competition fierce throughout tonight.  I won though.  I always win.  Jepardy, It's my thing.

So. We've got to stay strong.  It's 13 more days.  Trump will be gone as President.  No doubt he will still be creeping around in shadows of a crappy conspiracy laden right wing tv channel.  But on a day to day basis, and as a leader of  "the free world" he will be gone.  Better days are coming.

Better Days Are Coming.  Say it with me. BETTER DAYS ARE COMING.

Sunday 3 January 2021

A great start to the year!

 It feels like since we came back from Miami we have just been celebrating or having a lovely time - whether with friends (OUTDOORS to stay covid safe) or our own eating out or eating at home.  It is like...things were good before that trip, but they are even better now.

New Years eve:

I worked until 3pm when Patrick collected me which was a nice treat.  Easy to throw the bike in the back of the jeep when the roof is off.  Later that afternoon/early evening we had a few drinks and a bottle of bubbly (prosecco) with our neighbours out the front of our house until about 8pm. We then had takeout of awful dirty sweet fire chipotle chicken wings which were fabulous! Toasted happy new year and were in bed asleep by 10.30pm lol (I was in work next morning at 7am fyi)

Half Shell Raw Bar:

Happy hour.  We were sat at the bar for the first time in forever.  While there was a big (nice) space between us and others at the bar which was good for covid safety, it still just felt nice and almost normal.

Saturday evening in our friend's house:

Yesterday we visited with G&K for drinks and dinner. We bought a bottle of bubbly (cava) and dinner was an amazing home made in the crock pot bbq pulled pork and divine mac and cheese. We ate outdoors.

Sunday on the baby boat:

Mixed it up and went out this afternoon rather than our usual Sunday morning trip.  Caught some throwbacks - an exotic looking (and foul tasting lol!) porkfish, and a big (but not big enough) mutton snapper.  And then caught some keepers of lovely porgy (aka "Sea bream" in Ireland). And three crab legs to add to our stockpile. 

Normally Patrick pulls the one crab claw off the crabs.  (Did you know? You take one, they grow it back. You don't take two as it leaves them defenceless).  Today I took over that task. It is hard! They are TOUGH! You need to be so careful you don't have your fingers near their pincers and then you really need to push/pull with all your strength to get the arm off cleanly.

Back to work tomorrow for this lad!  But I think he will tell you himself that he had a good break, and this was a great ending to his Christmas vacation

New year, same old Amy

 This is the 10th year of me blogging!  Quite pleased with that actually :)

Just three resolutions for the moment, for 2021

- Keep on blogging

- Do more bikram yoga 

- Choose happiness

And my new wishes for you, dear reader?  To quote the indomitable Dolly Parton: "I hope life, treats you kind. And I hope that you have all that you ever dreamed of.  And I wish you joy. And happiness.  But above all of this, I wish you love"