Thursday, December 9, 2010

Click. Boom. Boom.

Just a song I've recently found that happens to be wonderful.

:)




(Emily Wells - Symphony 2 & the Click Boom Boom)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Santa Suits and Flannal Whisps...

Ok, back in early November (approximately the 7th), one of my girl friends, Jeanene (Amy!), asked (half jokingly) whether I wanted to run a Santa 5K with her on Black Friday. And I teased her back by saying "Sure! Why not?"

And so we both registered for the Provo race and started preparing for the little run.

The week of the race I picked up our packets (and outfits). We had both selected the 'Small' size because neither of us are very large individuals, and we had been warned that the sizes were mens sizes. So we went with the small. However, the day before the race...or maybe even the day of the race, I tried on my suit. Now, once you get past the fact that these suits were super-duper flimsy flannel, shed everywhere, and were basically 100% ridiculous, they were also really small. As in, I could get into it, but I didn't want to move at all for fear of ripping the delicate fabric.

So, when we'd both arrived at the race, day of, I went up to the check-in desk and asked if they had any larger suits....and they did! I tried the medium on and it was still a little too snug, so I asked for a large. The lady helping us laughed because that was the size that she would have recommended us, but some previous runner had been offended when she had recommended that size.

All set with our new suits, we donned the pants, jackets, hats, beards, and belts. Did I mention it was cold? Yeah. Really cold. (Of course later, once we got running, that wasn't a problem, but in that moment, not cool!)

And then before too much longer, we left our gear with the Joey, and ran off to circle the area three times! And there were llamas! For the parade!

All in all, in was a fun experience, but I think I'll pass next time. I'd rather have received an awesome shirt for the race rather than a crappy suit (which I chucked). Plus, those silly suits shed everywhere and I constantly seemed to be fishing little whisps out of my mouth! No thank you...

...but it was fun. :)

I think I'll opt for one of those zombie runs in late October, or maybe a Guy Fawkes run in early November...I'd rather be wearing either of those costumes than a crappy Santa suit. But, if by some chance I do end up wanting to run the Santa run again, Jeanene and I have agreed that we'll have to come up with a sexy Santa outfit....none of the stuff. :)








































































































Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A few happy thoughts...

Ok.

First. Two songs by a band called Kila. Which I've had a very difficult time tracking down online. No videos to add of them today. Although, if the links below don't work, you should be able to google either the songs (artist first, song second) and the first option should be to play the song on ilike.com.

But, you should be able to listen to the first here. It is a song called Ní Liom Féin.

And the second...well, the second I can't seem to find. Hey professional bloggers out there! Can I upload music to make it available to listeners without violating copyright? Or in other words, without making it downloadable (I don't think that's a word...)? Anyway, it is a song called An Tiománaí, and you should be able to find it online too. Same thing. Just google it. It's wonderful. Both of those songs are too happy to be anything other than wonderful. I particularly like singing along to the second one.

Second. I watched this movie on Netflix a few days ago. A friend recommended it to me, knowing my Celtiphile tendencies. It is called "The Secret of Kells" and it is a little animated film sort of about the Book of Kells and the images in the book, mixed in with a bunch of the history of the book and a good dose of folk lore to go along with it.

Here's a preview for the film.



(The Secret of Kells - Promotional Trailer)

And a song from the film.



(Aisling's Song - The Secret of Kells)

It isn't necessarily anything extraordinary, but on a day when you need a few extra happy thoughts, or something beautiful, it is nice to have things like these.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Here, and there, and everywhere! Thoughts on a wonderful day. :)

Happy Veterans Day!

As many of you know, today is also my birthday, or rather, my 'Asian' birthday as my dear friend Kirsten can explain in picture format here. Another year has passed in a whirlwind, bringing in good things and spitting out bad things. And I have to admit, this has been a pretty dang good year for me. I've made more progress in the last twelve months as an individual and as a part of this world than I thought I possibly could. And it feels pretty good. I feel like I know where I'm going and I've been able to leave unnecessary baggage behind me ( I like to travel light ;) ) while picking up a new perspective and a new direction. Woohoo!

Rather than going into the details of all of those things, let me instead describe some of the highlights of today. Although much of the snow from a day or two ago has melted away, today was very wintery and bleak. But also beautiful in that sense. After breakfast we went for a brisk walk, layered up to stay warm.

Before I go on, I feel I should mention that this was my first experience in a community that celebrates my birthday (and Veterans Day) by taking the day off from school! How extraordinary and marvelous! No school means no work for me! Could it be possible? Yes, in fact it could.

We traveled to Omak today for lunch, visiting the Breadline Cafe (which I've mentioned in an earlier post) and I finally got to try their Tirimisu Crepe which ended up being just as delicious as I suspected it might be. I hadn't previously had much favorable exposure to coffee flavored ice cream, but what I had today was perfectly scrumptious!

We ran a few other errands but ended our travels once more at home, topping off the evening with a light supper of cheese, crackers, and apples, and a delicious chocolate cake.

It may not sound like it, but I've had more than my fair share of food and fun today. And it has been perfectly wonderful. Not to mention the beautiful flowers sent from my dear boy in Utah, or the cards and other miscellaneous objects hinted to arrive in the subsequent future (most people (including myself) forget that the United States Post Office takes a break on my birthday!).

To my many well-wishers, thank you. Thank you for your well wishes. And for your joy and energy. It has been most appreciated!

And now, I'm going to share a few favorite songs with the lot of you, a little bit of who I am on day that I claim a little piece of as being mine.

This song I also owe mostly to Kirsten. I'd heard it before, but she played it on multiple occasions when we were roomies, allowing my to recognize the song and the fact that I loved it. The music video is very...disturbing.



(MGMT - Kids)

This is just an awesome song period. The video can be found at here, but you can find the song below.



(Ain't Nothing Wrong With That (Video))

And the last one for now, is a song which I heard on a bus in the Bahamas. I had no idea what it was, but I liked it. So I scribbled down as many lyrics as I could catch and then looked it up later online.



(Dido - Everything To Lose)

And that's enough for now! Happy day. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Snowflakes That Stay On Your Nose and Eyelashes

Enjoying the snow. Kyle took this picture.

Today was my first day of snow this season. And it was quite lovely. I took a short nap late in the morning and when I came out to eat lunch, it was snowing! And there was a roaring fire in the stove, crackling and popping merrily.

Off driving through the snow I enjoyed the little diamond flecks as they raced by my window, hurrying in another direction, flying to join their companions to coat the ground in a thin layer of clean white fluff. It occurred to me while I was driving that I didn't have a window scraper in my car (yet) which could possibly lead to some small trouble leaving work later.

At work we took some of the children outside for a little bit and while they ran around in the falling snow we threw snow balls at the beams of the structure we were standing under (I hit it on my second shot, and then repetively in the same spot the next several times...yeah, I'm kind of a good shot... :) ) until our hands grew too cold, at which point we hustled everyone back inside.

On my way home a little later, in the evening after it was dark, the snow was still glistening past me, and as the song below played on the radio, I laughed at the Christmasy thoughts that floated in my mind. Which is odd for me, because I usually try to push those thoughts away until at least past Thanksgiving. But this time around, I just enjoyed the wonderful ambiance of the snow and of the beauty of winter.



(Frank Sinatra - I've got you under my skin)

I love winter.

And did I mention why I love winter?

Because of hot chocolate, roaring fires, warm coats, long scarves, fitted gloves, tall boots, steaming muffins, fresh cinnamon rolls, glowing candles, elegant hats, snowball fights, hot tea, gooey cookies, delicious soup, white landscapes, brisk walks, abundant holidays, gleaming icicles, outdoor ice skating rinks, melting snowflakes on eyelashes (I know...makes you think of a certain song from a certain musical...), cross country skiing (and downhill skiing), thick blankets, baggy hoodies, fuzzy socks...what isn't there to love? If you're cold (which it is likely you will be) there are a million ways to warm up and a million things to enjoy while you're warming up.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bach vs. Jem (although it doesn't really matter who wins)

I've been a fan of the musician Jem for a number of years now. I was introduced to her by an awesome roommate freshman year.

So when I was at a piano recital last night and heard this,



(Bach: Prelude & Fugue No. 12 in F Minor)

my first thought was, "Where have I heard this before?"

It took me about a minute to realize that I'd heard it from Jem in this song,



(Jem - They - Official Video)

I'm pretty sure I've blogged about that song before, as it is one that I particularly like for the lyrics.

Anyway, I guess I was just amused that I connected that soundbite with Jem before Bach. I was definitely introduced to Bach long before I was introduced to Jem, but somehow I had never heard that particular song by Bach until now...

Interesting, but entirely unimportant!

And on to better things, Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rather common, in point of fact...

This morning at our book group we were all sitting around talking about our book and I noticed that my purse was on the other side of me sort of by the next person over to left's feet. I felt a little bad that it was sort of in the way but I didn't have the presence of mind in that moment to reach over and grab it. On with the discussion.

Ten minutes later I wanted my chapstick so I reached over and grabbed my purse (oddly light...) and unzipped it and noticed a weird blue paper sticking out of it.

Give it...two more seconds.

Hmph.

That's weird.

This isn't my stuff.

But this is definitely my purse.

Although....I don't normally put it over there...wait...

Wait a minute! My purse is right here on my right side! What?...How?

...

Yeah. We just had the same exact purse. And it was surprising, but also surprisingly...unsurprising. I've seen the purse advertised all over lately. I got it the first time I saw it...but now...it's rather common. Which doesn't change it being a good purse, just not a very unique one.

















Actually, what the whole situation sort of made me think of was that story about the man with the bag of cookies (you know...that one story with the man who buys a bag of cookies and goes and sits down at a bench and a stranger sits down too and starts eating his cookies and they take turns eating the cookies and the guy gets madder and madder as the stranger continues to eat the cookies, only to realize after the stranger has left that they were eating the stanger's cookies all along and that his cookies are all whole and uneaten hiding underneath the newspaper). If my left hand neighbor had noticed me grabbing her bag and opening it up before I realized it wasn't mine, what would she have thought? I would have thought it was very strange.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

For my beloved....












Ok. I'm writing about my cat.

My beloved cat.

Mimpy.

Mimpy, the wimpy baby.





Mimpy was acquired as a kitten, purchased even, from a mall pet store. She was one of those little store front kittens. The ones in the window. She was originally my eldest sister Carina's cat. I was approximately between the ages of two and three when she came home.

I think her name may have been 'Mint' originally. I'm not really sure why Carina picked that, but she did. And then Mint changed to Minty and then Minty changed to Mimpy (or Mimp or Mimpsy). Why the change? Because Mimpy rhymes with wimpy, and if there was ever a pathetic, wimpy little kitten, it was Mimpy. She would crawl around on her belly outside, frightened of everything. She was that cat that would dash away at the slightest little sound.

As my sister tells it, on at least one occasion there was a hot air balloon landing in our yard outside the house and Carina ran to watch them land and took Mimpy along with her. They got pretty close and the hot air balloon let out a little more hot air which made a loud whoooshing sound and Mimpy was free and flying, like a lightning bolt, back to the house into some bushes. You've never seen a cat run so fast.

Carina also talked about Mimpy coming in and jumping up on Carina while she was asleep and licking her face until she woke up. :)

I also had a little bird when we were growing up. A little parakeet. I seem to recall that its name was Budgie....or something like that. A rather nasty bird, but I loved it all the same. Budgie resided in a little cage which rested on the ledge between the kitchen and the TV room. We came home on one occasion to find the cage knocked over and feathers everywhere, leading up to my sister's room where Mimpy usually hid. Yes, dearest little Mimpy had indeed eaten Budgie. We found a foot. I may have shed a few tears, but Mimpy's only punishment was that she had to stay outside for a few days. And then she was back in and everything returned to normal. I never got any more birds.

Let's see. Over the years, Mimpy mellowed out a great deal. We stopped dressing her up in doll clothes, which I'm sure she appreciated. For a year she lived with my grandparents in Colorado, quite comfortably, I assume, and my grandpa always called her "Persnickety". I'm not sure why, but that was his name for her.



After we moved to Indiana, Mimpy was an inside/outside cat for the most part. She lasted through a number of other cats who came and went (we've never had more than three cats at a time, but we've had a lot of cats. They come, we decide to keep them, and then they often disappear.), and learned to get along with most of them.

I remember that at one point my mom was painting the door from the house into the garage and Mimpy decided she wanted to come in so she quickly squeezed between my mom and the door (the wet door). Shortly later my brother and I were in my room talking, and we heard the most atrocious noises coming from the bathroom. Apparently Mimpy had taken a little of the paint from the door with her (into the house) and my mom was attempting to remove it. Mimpy never did care for baths. We gave her a number of them, although more and more infrequently (since it was never a fun experience for anyone involved), and every time she yawled and ended up looking like a little drowned rat afterward. A very unhappy little kitty.





In the last couple of years I would spend as much time as I could with her, petting her and holding her in my lap when I could. You kind of had to work up to doing that because she had trouble taking care of her coat and tended to shed as well as having sort of oily fur. But the more I pet her and brushed her, the smoother and nicer her coat was. She would sleep on top of my dad's corvette, nestled between the front windshield and the little part of the engine that popped up.

Mimpy's biggest claims to fame, aside from being ridiculously old, were that she liked to eat fruit (apples and pears) and that she had the most beautiful green eyes flecked with amber. Dragon eyes. Probably some of the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen.











Mimpy passed away last night, likely in her sleep. My mom found her in the little cat condo (three door with insulation and a heated blanket).














Twenty (ish) years. Not bad for a cat. It is a little difficult for my brain to process the idea of her not being there since she's been there almost as long as I can remember. I remember getting her, but I don't really remember much of the time before she was around. So it will be strange going home to my parent's house and not having her trot out to meet me, meowing to be loved.





Again, we've had lots of cats, with varying personalities and not all of them have been perfect. However, Mimpy really was pretty wonderful. The wimpiest of cats to begin with, but entirely focused on loving and being loved in the end. That's all she wanted. Just as much love as you had time to give her.














She'll be missed now that's she's gone, but she'll also never be forgotten!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A few thoughts on Seattle

I've sort of been in a bit of a writing slump lately. I've been off my regular energy levels the last few days. Not sick or anything, just not as peppy as I usually am. I'm probably not getting enough sleep...or exercise...or something. Anyway, it has resulted in a somewhat decreased desire to write. Which I am currently fighting.

Fight. Fight. Fight.

This last weekend was very good. Joey came up and we divided our time between driving (most of the driving that was mentioned in my last post took place during this last weekend), Twisp, and Seattle. Lots of driving, some time in Seattle, and a little time in the Methow.

This is a beautiful time of the year. Driving through the North Cascades was pretty breathtaking. It was raining in Seattle. Not a heavy rain, but just what you expect when you're there. Enough to get you wet but not enough to keep you inside. No umbrellas needed.

We ventured around the city a little, to the library and to the Space Needle. We got a delicious fresh crepe with strawberries and custard in it. Yum. :) We rode the monorail. We drove down to the airport (SeaTac is the most ridiculous name out there...I mean, come on, I know the location works, but couldn't they have come up with something a little more creative?) and picked up my mom and then finished up our exploration at the Pike Place Market. So many things to see! Flying fish and fresh flowers. Crafts and antiques. And delicious foods. We tried something at a little Turkish (I think..) place as well as following our noses to a Polish bakery where the line was quickly growing. When there are so many tasty things to try out there, why not try them? If you don't like it, how much risk was really involved? And if you do like it, how priceless was the experience of trying something new and discovering something wonderful?

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the next trip to Seattle, whenever that is.

Oh! And I almost forgot (which means I did forget but am now catching)! This is my 100th post! Woohoo! A lot of my posts have been pretty fluffy, about random words and such, but it doesn't matter! This makes 100!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cops: No longer the threat they once use to be

I've done a lot of driving in the last week (twice to Seattle, twice to Spokane) and as I was last driving back from Spokane, I was driving through one of the little cities on the way and there was a cop parked right at the beginning of one of the lower speed areas. First off, I think that is kind of a (no pun intended) cop-out location to try and catch people speeding, because it is possible that they'll still be reducing their speed from whatever it was before. I mean, I know that it is important to slow down when driving through those little towns, but seriously, can't you wait a little farther in? Just a little? So as to give people time to slow down? Second, it occurred to me that I felt absolutely no threat whatsoever from this cop because I was, in fact, going exactly the speed limit.

Before, I mostly sped around, usually going about five over the speed limit, but now, I've rarely gone over the speed limit anywhere, simply because the roads are small and curvy and I feel safe going the speed limit. I still speed a little on the interstate, but there aren't a lot of interstates around here, so I don't speed very often.

I guess it was just really nice to realize that the cop had no power over me at all because I wasn't doing anything illegal. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate cops and all that they do for society, and I've never been in a position where I felt like the cop was abusing their government granted authority, but I know of plenty of friends who've been taken advantage of my cops. Friends who have been given tickets for kind of ridiculous reasons. So, for any of you out there who are cops, don't be offended by anything I say. I appreciate you for the things you do, as long as you are being considerate of people and situations. I want you to do your job, but also to recognize when it is appropriate to make exceptions.

Anyway, where I felt slight increase of heart rate when I would previously drive by cops, usually because I was speeding, it was really nice to feel no reaction whatsoever.

That's right. You can't touch me.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Eleven Romantic and Beautiful Songs

In honor of a certain persons yearly celebration of their entrance into this world, I have a list of songs I'd like to share. All of the music should be here, but some of the 'videos' aren't really videos...so, just listen to the music! There are, of course, some good music videos, and what's here is mostly wonderful, but a few of them aren't that great.

The thing that really makes these songs shine in my mind are their lyrics. I'd include the lyrics...but then this post would be ridiculously long...and it isn't that difficult to look up lyrics...so yeah. Enjoy!

1.) Lovers Dream Featuring Fyfe Dangerfield – Anna Ternheim

This one is probably one of my favorites (song wise), and I'd never seen the video before, but it is beautiful! Really, really beautiful.



2.) Strange & Beautiful (I’ll Put A Spell on You) – Aqualung



3.) Brighter Than Sunshine – Aqualung



4.) If I Fall – Aqualung



5.) Distraction – Angels and Airwaves



6.) The Adventure – Angels and Airwaves



7.) The Gift – Angels and Airwaves



8.) Good Day – Angels and Airwaves

Angels and Airwaves - Good Day from martinsays on Vimeo.


9.) Colour My World – Chicago



10.) Falling For You – Jem



11.) Dreams – Cranberries

I love "You've Got Mail," so this song is kind of wonderful because of that, and because the lyrics are beautiful.

The Doghouse Diaries

The first thing I think of when I think of the "Doghouse" are the following advertisements.

The first:



(Beware of the Doghouse - Hilarious!)

The second:



(Return To The Doghouse)

(In no way am I endorsing buying jewelry as a save all for every mistake, but they're so funny...)

So, having been exposed to the above videos, when I saw that there was a comic strip entitled "The Doghouse Diaries," I was very interested.

I now keep a regular update running on the comic strip (though it is in no way related to the above videos) through blogger, but today's comic made me laugh so I wanted to share it.


"Girls are like ninjas.....seriously."

We really are that good. Most of the time. If we want to be. :)

I think, if you click on the picture, it should take you to the actual website, which will take you to their archives, which you should definitely explore, because they're wonderful.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Random Restaurants

We were in Okanogan, Washington today. I finally got a temporary plate for my little car. That sounds so nice, so simple, getting a temporary plate. But it wasn't. It was a headache. A week long headache. I don't get frustrated too often, and there aren't that many topics that set me off. But, after a week of trying to get these ridiculous plates figured out (car bought in New Jersey, current owner in Indiana (love you, Dad), actual address in Washington, combine all the laws for Washington and Indiana, include all the paperwork, include varying opinions on what we can and cannot do, include awkward hours of operation), talking about them for five minutes made me frustrated and cross. And that's why I'm so happy to finally have a temporary plate! :D

Anyway, we were in Omak actually around lunch time. We went to this adorable little place called the Breadline Cafe. The interior design just really called out to my personality. There were old pictures on the wall, and a few paintings. In my mind I wanted to say, "This is sort of steam punk," but it wasn't really. There wasn't any futuristic anything. And not too much Victorian influence. Instead, it was sort of homey, and french, and bronze, and brass, and eclectic, and 50's. In the restroom there were newspaper clippings and pictures on the stall door. It was just details like that which made the place wonderful. There was a kind of lived-in feeling. Anyway, I'd go back just for the atmosphere and environment, but also for the food.

I ordered a Caprese Melt (Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella, on pesto/french bread) and it was quite delicious. And if I had been hungry for dessert (which I wasn't) I probably would have ordered the Tirimisu Crepe. Next time. I'll have to go back just to get that. Although, with all the other items on the menu, and the bakery in the back, I'm sure I could come up with all kinds of reasons to go back.

Here's a link for the Cafe.

Another random restaurant on my list dates back to this summer when we were in Detroit. I don't remember how we ended up where we did, but went to this little place called Mezza - Mediterranean Grill (on Orchard Lake Road). It was fantastic. Really good. I can't even remember exactly what kind of cuisine it was, but we had way too much food and couldn't keep the leftovers because we were flying out in the morning.

Ok. Here's the link. If you're ever in Detroit, it is definitely worth your time. A little blurb I stole from the website sort of describes it,
At our restaurant, you have the opportunity to enjoy the diverse delicacies of Greece, Turkey, Italy, Spain and the Middle East. Whether you are sharing our world's famous hummus, our nature's freshest fruits in our Elixirs, or enjoying our succulent marinated lamb chops, our friendly staff is here to serve you.
Yum.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Travel: More than I expected

So, I was really planning on settling down for the summer and getting a job. Which I didn't do. I made progress in other ways, but I didn't settle down, and I didn't really get a job (I sort of got a job...but not really.). Instead, I traveled all over the United States and a little abroad.

Let's see if I can get it all out here.

I started by driving from Utah to Indiana (Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana).

And then....all over the midwest for awhile...(Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania).

California at one point.

Utah at one point.

Indiana again.

And then from there, I drove to Virgina (Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia).

And then flew from Virginia to...Detroit (Michigan)...and then on to...Washington (Seattle and then over the mountains to the Methow Valley).

Then back to Detroit, drove around Detroit, flew to New York, flew to the Bahamas.

From there to Atlanta, Georgia, to Louisville, Kentucky, and back to Indiana.

Then back to JFK in New York, on to Ireland, back to JFK, back to Cincinnati.

And then, I drove down to Alabama (Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama), took a quick trip back up to Tennessee.

And then I drove to Utah (Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Utah), and then on to Washington (Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Washington).

I don't think I'm forgetting anything.

Whew! Not bad for a summer, eh?

Unless I'm adding them up wrong, I think I visited 25 states this summer! And three countries...

What's more exciting than that, is that I got my 50th state this summer. Out of all of those states, Oklahoma was the most exciting for me in that way. I had visited 48 states before I was nine years old, and it took me almost 12 more years to get those last two. But I've finally done it! :)

I really was expecting a pretty sedate summer. Oh well.

I'm not complaining.

So much! So little time! Well...not really.

I've been behind in my blogging lately. Things have just been so crazy busy this last month that I haven't had time to think! Or at least to write.

What's new:

-a car, used, but new to me.
-a location, newish.
-a drivers license, Washingtonian, baby!

What will hopefully be new soon:

-a job. Yeah.
-car plates.
-GRE study book.

So, yeah, things are busy. And wonderful. And life is just, kinda great.

On an entirely different note, I made a new friend yesterday. I was taking a shower in my new(ish) bathroom and before I turned on the water I noticed a little spider in the bathtub (we'll call her Charlotte). A little nervously, I turned on the water, hoping she would climb out. But she didn't seem to be going anywhere so I got a kleenex and tried to convince her to get onto it. Which she finally did. I lifted the kleenex out and then quickly dropped it as she climbed up to where my hand was connected to the kleenex. Leaving the kleenex on the floor I hopped into the shower. When I got out I couldn't see her by the kleenex anymore but found her fairly quickly huddling underneath a bathmat nearby. Later in the evening as I was cleaning my face in the bathroom, she was still there, so I chucked the kleenex and wished her goodnight.

However, this morning, she seems to have disappeared. I looked around carefully for a little bit, but I don't know where Charlotte went. I'm not too worried. I'm sure she'll be fine. I just don't want to accidentally squish her. I probably should have caught her when I had the opportunity, so I wouldn't have to worry about squishing her, but oh well. And that, is Charlotte.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Grammar Snob? Well, sort of....but not really.

I read blogs for a long time before I decided to start one.

Now, you should know, that while I'm far from perfect at either grammar or spelling (I tend to abuse my use of commas), I'm a little bit of a grammar snob. I won't tell you when you do/say something wrong (unless I think it is funny and I think you'll find it funny too), but I'll notice. Almost every time, I'll notice.

I even tend to text and message in full and complete sentences. With capitalization and periods. So, yeah....now you know. I won't think less of you for your lack of grammar/full word usage in those contexts, but I'll still try not to do it myself.

So, (back to blogs) when reading all these blogs I always wanted to know how all these errors slipped through. It didn't seem like it would really be that difficult to get it right.

That's what I thought before.

Not so much anymore. Why? Because I find myself doing the exact same things. I'll miss a letter on the end of a word. I'll accidentally use the wrong "there" (sin above all sins). And I don't even realize most of these errors until I glance back through my posts a few days later. Or I don't notice them at all. It is slightly mind boggling.

Why does this happen? I think it happens most often because we are writing, editing, adding bits, writing some more, adding a few more bits, and at the end, maybe roughly proofreading it (maybe) before publishing it. Of course, I suppose it might depend on how much you blog. If you write a lot, you probably don't spend as much time proofreading. If you only write occasionally, you might catch more of those errors. Or not.

Whatever the case, writing a blog has at least helped me to soften my opinion towards those people who make mistakes in their blog writing.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ireland: Day three +

We explored Ballyseede Castle in the morning, looking around on the different floors and in the different side rooms. Pretty cool.

We didn't stick around too long though because we knew we still wanted to go to Dingle and drive all the way back to Dublin in a day. After refueling we hit the road and after we were on a good solid road, I turned the radio on (when we listened to the radio we listened to an Irish Gaelic station which occasionally played some traditional music but usually had some sort of conversation in Gaelic.) and was instantly confused by what I was hearing. On the one hand, the tune sounded a lot like "I've got a feeling," by Black Eyed Peas, but....that definitely wasn't Black Eyed Peas singing, because Black Eyed Peas sound good, and they don't sing in Irish! It was partly hilarious and partly...just awful. We listened to the remainder of the song that played, but I'm glad we didn't hear it from the beginning. It really was terrible.

I decided as we drove that I want a house with a thatch roof, or if I ever have a house that needs the roof replaced, I want thatch. I haven't researched thatch at all, but it just looks awesome.

We finally arrived in Dingle and drove through the town and a little farther. We met up with some cows and had a friendly chat with them.

And then back to Dingle where we had the most fantastic ice cream out there. Especially the mint. Really, it tasted like mint leaves! Absolutely fabulous ice cream. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone heading in that direction, though I think they have a few other locations.

We did a bit of shopping there and then took off for Dublin! We passed back through Tralee, through Abbeyfeale, through Adare (all three of which would be wonderful places to visit), back through Limerick and on until we reached Dublin late in the evening. I'm sure Dublin is a wonderful city, and I'd really like to spend more time there, but I don't have any desire to drive there ever again. I don't think any of the roads are straight. We made it to our B&B alright (a lovely place right on the bay, Annagh House) but were very relieved to be there.

The next morning we had a lovely breakfast and headed for the airport. No trouble returning the car or getting to the airport. However, when we got there and checked in, the agent told us that we could get through (somewhere) at 9:15 but that we could probably go straight there since there would be two hundred or so people in front of us. We didn't understand exactly what he meant then, because when we went through security, there weren't that many people in front of us. I fact, the Dublin airport felt more like a huge mall than anything else. We wandered around a bit but then I headed for where our gate was supposed to be, only to find another check point leading down some stairs to another area. Understanding that we would be going through customs in Dublin, I ran back to fetch my Mom and we headed down (at this point, approximately 50 minutes before out flight). At the check point the agent told us that our flight had started boarding half an hour earlier so we might need to listen for them calling us. We still didn't really understand any of that until we got down the stairs to where a much longer line was waiting to go through customs. Finally all the pieces had come together. We nervously waited in line, our flight time creeping closer, but made it through just fine and were able to get on our flight right away. Slightly more stressful than necessary (especially since it was all so unknown), but just fine in the end.

Our flight to JFK was painless, but arrival in JFK significantly less so. We arrived earlier than planned, sat on the tarmac waiting for our gate to be open, finally pulled into our gate only to discover that there was something wrong with the jetway, which seemed to be stuck half way between the front door and the door just behind business class. They finally sorted that out and let us off where we mixed with a flight just arriving from Narita, all of us heading towards customs. A lady working at the airport separated us into two sections and let those from Narita go on ahead. It wouldn't have been a problem if she had told us why, but she didn't. So, a number of passengers from the Dublin flight began to get very angry at being held back. And they started to yell at her and she yelled back. It was all pretty ridiculous while also being pretty amusing. It was fairly clear to me that the most likely reason for us having to wait was because we didn't need to go through customs again, having just done that in Dublin. The Narita flight likely hadn't gone through customs so the airport staff were just trying to separate us so that the Narita passengers would go through customs, but we wouldn't have to. If that silly lady had just told the angry passengers that, the whole fiasco would have been less heated.

We did finally make it through and onto another flight home, but I think I safely say that of all the airports I have ever been to, JFK is easily the worst.

All of that aside, Ireland was wonderful! The people couldn't have been friendlier (except for that 23+ rule) or more welcoming. I'd recommend it to anyone with the remotest interest in going, and I'll be going back as soon as the opportunity presents itself!

























































































































































































































































































































































Ireland: Day Two

To begin with, the owner of that first bed and breakfast was fantastically nice. We stayed at a place called the Glen and Eagle in Limerick.

Driving towards Dingle, we drove by a ruined abbey and decided to turn around and take a look at it. Once there we wandered around the grounds and the abbey itself for a bit, taking pictures, and then finally wandered out where two older gentleman were standing next to their car. One of them offered us a brochure and, if we wanted, an impromptu tour of the place, which we accepted. He introduced himself as Anthony Sheehy from Askeaton (where we were) and gave us a most informed personal tour of the Franciscan Friary/Abbey, all dates and details included. It was really amazing how much we had missed just wandering around by ourselves.

When we finally left we continued on to Tralee where we just planned on having lunch at a little place called Chopin's Cafe. However, looking at some of our maps we realized there was a hotel close by that really was in a castle. So, after an hour or two of shopping and poking our heads around the town, we decided to drop by Ballyseede Castle to see if they had any open rooms. Which they did. So we stayed.

We cleaned up and headed back into town for dinner, planning to stop at a local pub afterward where they were supposed to be playing traditional music that night. However, when we got to the pub we walked in, looked around a bit, and continued right on through to another door on the other side. Why? Because a.) there wasn't any music playing (we thought it started at 9:00 but it started at 9:30) and b.) there were only men in the place. There's nothing quite as uncomfortable as walking into a bar (by yourself or with a one or two other women) and being grossly outnumbered by men.

Anyway, we came back by after dinner and there was a sign on the door that said you had to be 23 or older to come there. So we decided to nix the idea and head back to our castle. I spent some time looking up that particular rule, and I don't really understand it. The legal drinking age is 18 in Ireland (correct me if I'm wrong) but there are still some places that set the age limit at 21 or 23. Why? If you know, enlighten me. I think it would have been just fine if we had decided to stay for the music, but there were enough pros to leaving that it wasn't a difficult decision to make.

We also met Arthur and Einstein at the castle that night. Arthur is an Irish wolfhound and Einstein...well, Einstein is special. I've never had a dog before, but Einstein was very sweet. He played the game featured in the two clips below. Basically, he brought a little pile of rocks at dropped them at my feet and I tossed them around and he either caught them or collected and held them in his mouth until he had them all and then repeated the process.

So, day two, awesome.