Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year Wishes!

I hope that each and every one of you has a 2011 that is super fantastic!  That you finish all the projects you want to finish, read all the books, see all the movies, take all the trips, etc, etc, but most of all that you and yours will be happy and healthy!  May only good things find you this new year!

December finishes!

After several months without a finish I have two for December!  Above is the doll quilt I made for Nora.  I sent the basket you can see with a cloth doll as well as other things.  My machine quilting is improving as is my binding.
This is Brayden with his "travel memories" quilt.  He loves mine so much and asked for one for himself.  His is bigger than mine!  He has three patches already;  one from DC that Mommy and Daddy brought him, one I brought him from Ireland and one that his Grandad bought in Germany as a teenager.  He has a lot of space to fill!  I'm working on one for Kolby as well, should only take another couple of days but it won't be finished in December!

I have been posting finishes, etc as part of my participation in the OPAM challenge for the past two years.  This year I didn't do so well!  My focus for the next year will take me away from this type of thing, although I will continue to create and to work on projects already in progress, I'm not going to participate again this year.  If and when I finish something I think is important I'll still put it on the blog!

Christmas Update!

 Brayden wearing his "headlight," each of the boys received one to wear in their boys only "cave" under Brayden's bed.
 Kolby is crazy for silly bands, I think he put on most of an entire package!

 Kolby opening a new "bass Pro"  truck and trailer.  I could not believe how many ways that thing was attached to the box!
Brayden with his Dragon Castle.  It was a pretty cool toy on Christmas!
Brayden opening his V-tech "reader" Kind of like a Kindle for kids.  Alas, he did not receive the I-pod he asked me for.  The boys, made out like little bandits!  It took Kolby until 7:30 Christmas night to finish opening his gifts, mostly because he wanted to play with everything and would not open another gift until he had!  (Do you know how hard it can be to get a toy out of the package?  Especially when a nearly two year old is helping?)

I am lucky to have children who spoil me!  I only have to mention that I am thinking of buying something and it appears under the tree!  This year that included a food saver and bags (no more freezer burn), an indoor grill/griddle, and a lovely jewelry case.  On Christmas we had our traditional blueberry coffeecake for brunch, then snack foods through the afternoon followed by chili for dinner.  It was a very leisurely day!  The day after Christmas, Scott and Bri joined us (more presents) and we had our big dinner of Steak and Shrimp.   Then in the evening we were able to Skype with Steve, Candice and Nora.  I think all had a great time, we did all agree that the boys had too many gifts!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas!

It's Christmas Eve.  I have a bit of baking to do, purposely saved until today.  Some preparation for tomorrow and Sunday's events but it will be a relaxed day, I'm thinking.  Plus, IT'S SNOWING!!! and I'm giddy with it!  I know I will worry that Beth and her family are traveling to St Joesph today and I want them safe, always, but I can't help myself!  There's a huge grin on my face and my heart is happy!  It's snowing and tomorrow is Christmas!  So put on the Christmas music and celebrate with me! 

I wish all of you a joyful and giddy Christmas holiday and only wonderful things in 2011!  Happy Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Getting Close!

Another week bites the dust!  I've been busy baking, went back to mostly cookies this year instead of so much candy.  I think it's more traditional for me and also easier to store!  I still have a few things to make in the kitchen in order for it to "BE" Christmas. I nearly have my Christmas cards ready for the mail, should finish that and the letter then into the USPS tomorrow.  I have only two gifts yet to arrive from my best shopping friend and then a few to wrap.  All the prep is winding down, will clean house etc and work on Travel memory quilts each day plus the little extras.   The weather, while gray and gloomy, has turned much warmer.  Kelsey and I appreciate being able to walk in the park these days-without my wearing 6 layers of clothes that is!  I heard it might snow on Christmas Eve but any forecast for then is definitely going to change, beyond 48 hours it's really hopeless for accuracy.

If you noticed the tabs at the top of the page I'm trying to move the posts related to my trips to these pages.  Haven't quite got that figured out so be patient.  It's a wonder I figured out how to add the pages!

Really nothing exciting going on around here.  That's why no posts, I've nothing to say.  How odd.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Winter Saturday

Just brought Kelsey back in, there is snow on the ground!  I doubt that it is "measurable" but It can be seen and it's blowing hither and yon.  The temperature started the day quite nice, Tanya started the car without a coat, but it has steadily dropped throughout the day.  Tonight it will drop to single digits.  The wind is blowing fiercely and sometimes the sound it makes in the trees reminds me of a jet engine up high.  People used to say it sounded like a train but I'm not of the train era really so jets mean more.  I know it makes me grateful to have a sturdy home and no outside work to do.  Kelsey will get cranky if we don't get a walk in after a few days but it will have to wait for next weeks warm up!

I didn't really get much done this past week, went shopping some-bought little.  Went on-line shopping, bought more!  Getting the box ready to send to Steve, Candice and Nora, think it will go out on Monday.  Had a couple of days where I just sat and stared into space, odd for me but I just didn't want to do anything.

The boys spent the night last night so I made homemade pizza and root beer floats for dinner, then french toast for breakfast.  They played pretty well together and separately but Kolby was being "I'm cute but a  troublemaker!" Uncle Rob rescued me for a while, taking them downstairs and putting on a movie-settles them right down.  After returning them to their parents I took a nap (they wore me out!) then I began sewing strips together for a Travel memories quilt for Brayden.  It's going together really well, all the strips are sewn together, tomorrow I'll press and cut so the rows can go together.  I'll have to make a Joann's run for the rest of the flannel for Kolby's quilt and the fleece for the backing plus a few other things (of course.)

Tonight, I'll wrap packages while watching TV and perhaps do some cross-stitch before I crash early!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Well, Christmas EXPLODED at my house last week!  All NINE boxes of decorations came down from the attic and parked in the living room, what a mess!  I am happy to report that with the exception of the living room tree and tree boxes everything is up and the boxes returned to the attic!  I love when everything is finished but boy is it work.  This year I added to the mess by looking and looking for a new tree for the living room, I wanted a 7' skinny tree but I didn't want to spend hundreds of dollars on one.  I found a couple I liked but they were out of them, of course.  Finally Lowe's came through again, my new tree is up and we are going to decorate it this afternoon.  The tree in my bedroom is new as well, taller but not much wider (slender spaces call for slender trees) I like looking at it when I'm all tucked into bed with the lights out!  The little tree is up in the extra room decorated with the little Boyds bear ornaments.  I use timers on everything so they come on about 4 and go off about 11.  It looks magical and for me that's Christmas-magic.

I've been doing some sewing as well, can't show anything as they are gifts and I don't want to give away the secrets, shhhhhhh.  This week is for shopping and finishing (on in some cases beginning and finishing) handmade things.  I swear I'm starting next's years gift the 26th!  (I think I say this every year, sigh.)

Finished reading the new J.D. Robb books, they are always so entertaining and I love seeing Eve change and find new friends! 

Had an appointment with my G.P. just for a check up, plus we're trying some new meds for all the aches and pains I'm having.  Too soon to tell for sure if it's working.  He gave me the okay to join a gym-especially wants me to try water aerobics and maybe an eliptical-need to get the weight off these unhappy joints!

I'm off the cut blocks fro some of those secrets and to work at hemming the miles and miles of bedskirt!  (I tried the machine but truthfully it was as much work as doing it by hand!)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday evening

Well, I've been a slacker where the blogging comes in!  I'll try to get better again.  I've been recovering from Thanksgiving and haven't done much of anything since but tomorrow I have to get started accomplishing things again. 

We had a lovely Thnaksgiving,  I delegated some this year and surprised everyone I think. It's a big meal and I cooked Wednesday and Thursday (although by Thursday there really isn't much to do)  finished the deep cleaning of the house following the bath re-do and watched the grandboys.  And I wonder why I was so tired!  Rob and Scott set up the tables and then set the tables with gold chargers and my Mother's white and platinum bone china and sterling silver.  I had bought new goblets large enough to be water glasses and used my oil lamps as a center piece so the table looked really mag.  Bri made the rolls, from my Mother (and grandmother's) recipe, they were delish.  Beth made a fruit salad, also yummy.  Eleven of us sat down to dinner at 6,  there was much talk and laughter after we took the edge off the hunger thing!  I think Thanksgiving is about traditions and family more than it is about the food-although that is a tradition.  I once tried to have ham instead of turkey for Thanksgiving and my then 3 year old son, Steven, was incensed!  I never tried that one again.  Anyway, clean up was achieved by assembly line and while things are not back to normal in the kitchen just yet it's as done as it gets until I find a place for things.  Too much stuff, too little space.

Today when I took Kelsey for a walk to the park the wind was blowing leaves across the ice skim on the creek and they looked like skaters and one big leaf like a wind surfer!  I'm easily amused, what can I say.
Most of the trees have lost all their leaves, the oaks are the last hold outs,  and you can see the squirrel nests quite plainly.  I used to have a nest in every tree but since the tree trimmers thinned my oaks I'm down to one.  Can't say I'll miss those little buggers.  I've finished with leaves for the fall, not that there aren't leaves out there I'm just not going to deal with them any more.  They still be here in the spring.  I'll have to finish dealing with acorns then as well,  I picked up a great many but I have as many as the entire inventory of a marble factory in my back yard!  It was quite dangerous to walk in places,  I will have to get them picked up early in the spring or I'll be digging a forest of oak trees again!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!  My day will be full of cooking, talking and laughing as my family gathers together.  We'll be noticing the hole left by the absence of Steve, Candice and Nora but it will still be a great and happy day (and we'll Skype with them later.)  I wish the same for all of you, a day to take stock of your blessings and enjoy those you love.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Getting ready for Turkey day!

Wow, the time has just flown this past week!  I've been cleaning like a crazy person getting the house in order from the construction-there was just dust and dirt everywhere!  Plus the tiny tornados, Brayden and Kolby have been here in the morning all week.  On Tuesday they have their annual photo shoot and they asked me to come along and take the boys while they choose and had printed their photos.  That worked out really well, about the time the boys were getting "antsy" I just took them home to play.  Their daycare has an epidemic of the stomach flu going around so Beth wanted to keep them out (the last time Kolby brought home the stomach flu he passed it around to the entire family--and I do mean the ENTIRE family--that event is still quite well remembered and NO one wants a repeat!  She is working from home but in order for her to have peace to work I've had the boys each morning-until lunch and nap time.  When she called daycare they said 5 children out in Brayden's class alone, so far neither boy has come down with it and I think we're going to do the same thing Monday and Tuesday. They were coming on Wednesday anyway as daycare is closed.  One day we raked leaves and played in them, one day we went to the park and one day we went shopping.  I'd repeat any part of that EXCEPT the shopping!  The house is mostly clean and what didn't get done isn't critical or it will be done by Thursday, I have the bird in the frig downstairs and most of the rest of the goodies in house.  I still need to make a trip to Costco and a little run to the grocery store for last minute stuff. I plan to mow leaves, pick up the china etc from my Dad's and wash some windows tomorrow as it is to be in the 60's.   Then I'll be pretty much set except for the actual cooking which I'll start on Wednesday--guess I'll see how much help the boys can be!

I have actually been doing some sewing this week.  I covered a double thickness of 1 inch rigid insulation with quilt batting and fabric to make a "plug" for the fireplace in the basement.  We have never had a fire in it as it doesn't have either glass doors or the heat vents out the front so all the hot air goes up the chimney as does the heat from the house.  I didn't feel any air seeping in around the edges, here's hoping the basement is just a bit warmer!  I've sewn all the panels together for my dust ruffle,  seems to be miles of the stuff!  Have to get the iron out and press before going any further.  My sewing room is a disaster though so major cleanup has to be done before I have space to do much.  I think I dumped everything in there that I had no idea what to do with, sigh.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

An almost finished bathroom

For the last ten days, my hall bathroom has been under construction.  Well, first destruction then re-construction. A very 60's room with ceramic tile halfway up all the walls in beige, a flecked formica counter top on plain pine cabinets, it seriously needed an upgrade.  So my brother, Bobby, did some work.  Took out the old cabinet, toilet, and all the tile along with the dry wall behind it, then put in new dry wall,  new cabinets, a new toilet, new trim, a new exhaust fan and a light over the tub.  I put in new floor tile, new subway style ceramic tile and painted (not quite finished there.) Bobby finished up today with the new faucets and a curved shower rod.  I still have to hang a towel bar and accessorize the room but I really like it.  I especially like that it's done!  The three of us no longer have to share my little tiny bath.  Now, I have to really bust the cleaning bunnies to get everything in order before Thanksgiving!

I also marked another little thing off the list:  Made and hung little white linen curtains on the glass doors of the tv cabinet in my room.  They hide a multitude of things having nothing to do with the TV, like extra linens and wine glasses.  Had to adjust the shelf brackets a bit but that only took a few minutes.  It was such and easy project I don't know why it wasn't done long ago.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Catch up with the doings here.

For those of you that don't know I was actually on the Ireland trip from October 1 to 17th.  The laptop I have is Larry's old one and has a ten-key pad on the side making it too long for my backpack (and it's so heavy), because of that and knowing I would have to lug it everywhere for two weeks I decided to leave it at home.  Hearing several moans and groans due to that decision I came up with the following plan:  I would take a journal and write the blog every day, then when I got home I would send out one blog a day on the trip.  It was a rough draft only and I didn't get the last four days written but it was a good guide when I began the blog entries. 

Back at home I spent most of the first week getting my body back in the correct time zone!  That 6 hour time difference just killed me on both ends.

The next week I had four trees taken out and four trees trimmed, meaning I listened to the sound of chain saws for two days, unable to go anywhere due to the 4,000 pound weight attached to my truck, the travel trailer. I had set this up in July and had to wait for them to get to me as they are quite busy. The yard looks great, much more open and spacious.  I'm glad it's done, one of the maples had borers in the stump and it would have taken out the power lines had it fallen.  I'll miss the woodpeckers though.

The day after the tree people finished my brother began a remodel of my hall bath, a project long on the "To do" list.  I'll try it post a photo but it's such a small room that it's difficult. Every room in the house has either the stuff out of the bathroom or the new stuff stored in it making any other work impossible and useless, so when it's finished I have to deep clean everything to be ready for Thanksgiving.

I nearly have the yard, house and truck ready for cold weather.  I should finish that today as well as painting the bath.  I have a little painting to finish outside which I should get to tomorrow as it's to be fairly warm.  Then I will only need tube sand in the truck bed.  I like to get everything ready early for a couple of reasons:  Missouri weather is highly unpredictable (to say the least) and the stores often sell out of things if we have a big storm, ice melt in particular.

No sewing to report, I've been kind of lazy, I've had the time just haven't gotten the desire.  Coming back off vacation I find it hard to get back in the grove!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ireland Wrap up

Okay it's been two days, I was busy.

I had a terrific time in Ireland, I got tired and homesick for my kids and there were places I would have stayed longer (Galway and Donegal), things that weren't really my bag but I learned from anyway but overall the experience was amazing.  Road Scholar puts on a great tour in Ireland and I got to do things outside the norm and things I would never have known to do on my own.

I will never see another rainbow without thinking of Ireland.  I saw so many, so perfectly clear (one even followed alongside our bus for miles) that it brings tears to my eyes just thinking of it. 

I will miss the Irish people.  So open, so friendly, so interested.  Everywhere we went we met with wonderful people, willing at a moments notice to open a conversation with the Yanks.  Children in Dublin waved to the old people from their bus or as they walked by us on the street with huge smiles on their faces.  Strangers on the street would offer to take our photo.  I can not imagine a warmer, more welcoming people and I will miss them.  One more thing, Mark's family has extended an open invitation to all 24 of us, if we ever return to Ireland we can stay with them or on their boat, how cool is that?

Things I learned about traveling:
1.  Always make my own travel arrangements!  Go a couple of days before the tour begins to let my body begin to acclimate to the time change-it's a real beast.  Try to book a 767 aircraft.
2.  Pay the up-charge to have my own room, then if I can't sleep I won't disturb anyone else.
3.  Never travel without my laptop or a netbook,  and possibly an internet card,  Internet was available everywhere I went but there was not always a computer available.
4.  Never travel without an international phone plan!  That way I can talk to the kids when I need to, and they can talk to me.
5.  Pack less.  I wore nearly everything I took and did laundry once, but the suitcase was almost to heavy to begin with. But take spare tips for the Trekking pole!
6.  Learn a bit more about the places I'm going and what I'm going to see before I go.

My goodies!
First, a  lovey wool and alpaca scarf.  So very warm and soft, I'm sure to enjoy it this winter and for many winters to come.
 Next, patches for my memory quilt and a couple for the boys quilts.  A lovely and very delicate tree ornament, snowflake like in design.  I doesn't show very well in this photo, sorry, but I don't want to take it out of the box yet.
 This is my lace and linen tablecloth, it is already on my bedside table although it will eventually have a colored cloth under it and glass on the top.
 I looked and looked at sweaters, Ireland is famous for Aran knit sweaters and I really wanted one.  It wasn't until I saw this cardigan with it's collar that I found one I liked, it has the added benefit of having arms that are not too long!  I'm short, the Irish are short, yippee!  Made of 100% wool (very hard to find in the States) it is wonderfully warm.

Last, but maybe my favorite is this knit wrap also made of wool.  I found it in the same shop as the sweater and for about 2 minutes I tried to decide between them then I thought "Well, just buy them both!"  so I did.  I keep it on the back of the rocking chair in my bedroom and can slip it on when I get chilly.  It also looks great when I wear it out.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ireland Trip Days 15 and 16-Home

Awoke at 6:15am Dublin time (that's 12:15am Independence time) in order to dress, finish packing in time for the bell hops and have breakfast.  Part of our group left really early, like when I got up, but most of us took the bus together for one last time to the airport.  At the airport we collected our luggage and said goodbye to our driver, Darius, who had been with us since we left Galway.  Then the lines began.  First came check-in, here to discover my bag was too heavy and I had to take out all my newly purchased goodies (luckily I had packed the shopping bag the shop packed it in.)  Next came goodbyes to Mark our cute little "make sure they are all here and where they need to be at the proper time fella."  Then it was SECURITY which wasn't too bad as they didn't make us take our shoes off!  They did open all the umbrellas though, I'd never seen that.  Once inside our terminal I had to hit the House of Ireland to leave the paper work for my value-added tax refund, done.  I had some Euros left and having fallen in love with Jameson's and gingerale I stopped at the duty free shop for a bottle of Jameson's, managed to fit that in my backpack but was instructed to put it in my checked luggage in New York.  Then it was get organized again, get the passport out and fill out the paperwork for customs before getting in that line.  Once through there it was wait in line for US customs officers.  There was a sign out front saying how they would be courteous etc as the first face of America - hogwash.  No hello, welcome home, nothing, granted I didn't have everything as she wanted it but really I'd never done it before!  Finally, making it through there I bought a drink(non-alcoholic darn it) and found a seat at the gate for my flight home.  The flight left Dublin right on time, a 767 this time and much more comfortable (note to self:  book this next time.)  Arrived at JFK one hour early.  Earlier in the week I had asked  a lot of questions and  had discovered that my "very tight" layover of 55 minutes was not going to let me clear customs etc.  Road Scholar's travel service had booked it to Chicago and I had booked my flight home from  Chicago based on that, they booked me on a later flight to Chicago which meant that I'd miss my flight to KC.  Once I had gathered up my luggage and cleared customs,  a snap, I headed for a Delta ticket person to try and change back to the original flight since we'd arrived early (or to any flight that would get me home on time.)  She insisted that I would make the connection in Chicago-I was skeptical-and while I could make the earlier flight my luggage didn't have the required 1 hour to make the flight and US federal regs now require your luggage to be on the flight with you, urgh.  (Flying used to be so much easier.)  Basically, I had no choice but check my luggage and hope for the best (oh yeah, I put the Jameson's in the suitcase.)  Left the terminal I was in, finally found the right terminal and had to clear SECURITY again, sigh.  This time they did make me take my shoes off.  There were three other ladies heading to Chicago so we took a deep breath, I got a cafe mocca, and tried to figure out where our gate was.  We had a long walk to the gate where we waited.  Boarding went okay, and the flight wasn't full but we sat and sat and sat at the gate.  Turns out we were waiting for the luggage guys to load our stuff (which they only got partly right as two of the ladies got there without their luggage!  So much for Federal Regs!) After the door was closed, we sat some more and with every minute my chances of making that flight were lessening.  Finally, we took off and two hours or so later we landed in Chicago at 10:00 Chicago time (4:00am the next day in Dublin.)  I had to find the charging station to call Expedia to get another flight as my phone was dead, of course.  Once I had a little charge I started walking towards baggage claim, remember it's a long walk from the gate at O'Hare.  Got there to find my luggage in security and had to dig out the actual claim check (how often does that happen?)  All while listening to the Expedia guy find me another flight--tomorrow.  I had to buy a new ticket, but I had travel insurance so I should recover some of the extra.  Having finished all that I pulled my suitcase over to the Hilton and got a room.  A room I would have to leave at 4:00am Chicago time the next morning to catch a flight that boarded at 5:30am.  Called Rob with the new flight info only to find them almost to KCI, darn it.  I fell into bed having been up and traveling about 22 hours!  I was so tired I could hardly see.

My 3:30am wake up call came and I packed up and headed back to O'Hare,  at least it was only walking.  The ticket people finally opened and I checked in, only to find my luggage over weight, again (that bottle of Jameson's) when it was finally light enough it was on to clear SECURITY, which I did with no problem.  Once I found my gate I then found a Starbucks, coffee was required!  Flight loaded and landed no problem. I was finally home.  I was so glad to see KCI I seriously considered kissing the ground.  No Joke.

Tomorrow, will be a wrap up entry and photos of my goodies.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ireland trip Day 14 Dublin

Having the whole day free after breakfast I was off to Glasnevins Cemetery.  Scott and Bri having told me all about it after their trip last year I had been looking forward to visiting there.  This was a true adventure as my map did not go as far north as Glasnevins!  Mark had looked up the bus I would need to take (the 13A) as it was too far to walk.  First, I had to find a news agent to buy a day pass for the bus.  The one the hotel directed me to no longer sold them, hum what to do?  After consulting the map I decided to walk to O'Connell Street which wasn't all that far, just over the River Liffey!  I found a news agent selling passes before I got there, then found the proper sign to wait by for the 13A.  It seems that all the buses come to O'Connell street, there a lot of possible signs to look at.  When the 13A arrived I sat down next to a young lady and asked for her help for where I was to get off,  had no idea about that.  She was unsure but helpful.  Riding north for a while on the left side of the road (after two weeks I'm still not used to that!) she thought we had gone past it, maybe.  I thought we had as well as I saw a sign for the Botanical Gardens and I knew the two were fairly close together.  Across the aisle another lady (who was about my age) was helping another gentleman so I asked her how to get there.  "Well," she said, "you've gone past.  So what you'll have to do is get off this bus, cross over the street and catch the 13 back towards the city.  The 13 mind you, not the 13A. Ask the driver where to get off."  After thanking her, feeling about 10 years old after the Mind you thing, I did as she said.  The driver put me off about two blocks away so I got to walk by this sign and the tower it speaks off.

The Cemetery was founded by Daniel O'Connell (remember him from the Ring of Kerry?) and it is neither a Catholic nor a Protestant cemetery.  The Glasnevins Trust is attempting to conserve the thousands of headstones by pulling them up out of the ground (without footings they sink at least several feet and some completely), repairing as necessary and re-paving 9 miles of footpaths.  It is a long and expensive proposition.
This is the inside of the tower which is over the O'Connell family vault, the tower walls are 8 feet thick and there was once a stairway inside but someone set a bomb off in there and destroyed them, didn't hurt the tower itself though.  I'm told the view from the top is fabulous!  There are many famous and infamous folks buried there; Michael Collins (whose grave is never without fresh flowers left by the people-not the cemetery), and Eamon de Valera whose grave is the most often vandalized.  He was arrested by the Brits with a number of others but not executed with them due to the fact that he held an U.S. passport!  He went on to be President of the Republic of Ireland-but not a very popular one!  This cemetery also allows the burial of infants who have not been baptized,  Irish Catholic cemeteries will not allow these infants to be buried on hallowed ground.  I think they said there are over 9,000 babies buried there.  The trust is also re-habbing one of the gate-keepers houses to be used as a school for graveyard conservation,  a much needed skill throughout the world.

After an interesting tour through the cemetery and the museum associated with it I caught the bus back to O'Connell street without all the excitement of the ride out.  Once there I caught the bus for the Guiness Storehouse.  It's hard to tell when to get off the bus, sigh.  This time I got off too soon and walked a lot farther than I needed to, ah well.

I took the tour of the museum which is several stories high.  It tells the story of how the ale is made from the choice of ingredients on.  You can taste roasted hops, even, tasted like burnt nuts.  There are exhibits of all kinds- history, advertising etc.  One which took my interest was around this sign
I actually took this photo in Sneem, remember the tidy village on the Ring of Kerry?  At some point in time this was their slogan and people actually believed it.  I don't know why I find that surprising-Americans believed the advertising around soap. OOPS off subject!  Anyway, the storehouse was interesting but had a clear glass escalator between each floor out in open space (kind of don't look down space) and I have vertigo.  I took it for about 7 escalators then I'd had enough!  Found an elevator and got out of there.  Went back to the city center on the bus again with much less excitement and went shopping again.  I looked at  lots of stuff but nothing reached up and said "Buy Me" so I left empty handed.

For our last night in Ireland we had a farewell dinner at the Brazen Head pub.
The food was good, the conversation better.  Back at the hotel we gathered one last time for a group photo, that some crazy Irishmen crashed--too funny!

Then it was off to pack for home.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ireland Trip Day 13, Dublin

Our second day in Dublin Mark took us on a couple of walks.  The first was through Trinity College on our way elsewhere,  Mark is a recent grad of Trinity College so he told us a few interesting stories about the school.  One was that and early Dean said that the only way women would enter Trinity was over his dead body.  He died in 1904, women entered Trinity in 1905, they reburied the dean under the floor behind the main entrance to the college so the women where actually passing over his dead body.  I don't know if that's true but it sure makes a great story!  After passing through the college we walked to No.29 Lower Fitzwilliam St, a Georgian row house that has been restored as a museum.  I think there were 4 flights of stairs in that house!  The servants truly got a work out!  Life for them, the servants, was incredibly difficult.  I was intrigued by the small things, glove stretchers, boxes to store peat logs by the fireplaces, a piece of furniture designed to hold dirty plates, etc.  Also by the doll houses.  They had a visiting exhibit of bonnets made by women and girls who had migrated to Australia, some by choice, some by force.

After that it was on to the National Museum of Ireland for a look at the Bronze Age gold work and a look at the "Bog people."  The gold was interesting, the earliest was very thing and frail looking and it got heavier over time.

Then we had free time.  I first visited the Hugenot Cemetery as it was close by.

While my Hugenot ancestors did not come through Ireland it was interesting to see that some had gone there as I had not read that.

After that I headed back to Trinity College and The Book of Kells.  I purchased an audio tape of the exhibit and enjoyed it very much, illustrated manuscripts are amazing!  At the end of the Book of Kells exhibit you enter the long hall which is filled with early printed books and manuscripts from floor to ceiling on both sides of a center isle.  The shelves are open for two floors.  They had books and manuscripts important to Ireland's history on display there.  The University library is like our Library of Congress in that it holds copies of all books published in Ireland.

After that, I went shopping!  I had a mental list of things I would like to buy while there when I left home-I didn't get them all :(  I did buy a small linen and lace tablecloth in the west of Ireland but had not found any of the other things.  So I went to the House of Ireland store and finally found some woolen things I liked:  an Aran knit cardigan sweater, a shawl and a scarf (everyone wears scarves there.)   I didn't get any more crystal as Waterford is in receivership and so has become a collector's item (the price has gone UP) I just couldn't justify spending a couple of hundred dollars on a bowl I would never use!  There was other crystal but nothing I liked.  I was happy with what I bought so I hauled by loot back to the hotel!

It was only about 4pm so I thought I'd take a walk to the River Liffy and look at the bridges.  Dublin has some amazing bridges and I'd only seen them as we passed the day we came to Dublin.  I was walking down Moss St, next to the hotel (and the garda headquarters!) when I saw an amazing thing.  There was quite a lot of traffic and it was stopped at a light, I wasn't really paying any attention to the cars but a man came round in front of a panel truck (think mid-size U-Haul) lifted a blue and yellow bat and banged it against the drivers window!  Just shattered the glass.  He shouted something at the driver then walked back to his little red car threw the bat in, closed the hatch and got in.  The truck started to push into the car, trying to get him to pull over, then the light changed and they roared off down the street that way!  It happened so fast I was still picking my jaw up off the ground and it was over, otherwise I might have taken photos!  Of course, there wasn't a cop around.  After that I just went back to the hotel!

Ireland Trip Day 12, Dublin

So first thing after breakfast we met in the lobby of the hotel and started out on a walking tour of sites associated with the book Ulysses by James Joyce.  Our guide was a professor who had obviously spent a great deal of time studying the man and his works.  He was fairly interesting but I came away thinking as another tour member said-"If I have to study it that hard, keep a map of early 1900's Dublin to understand what he's talking about I'm not reading him."  I had been reading another of his books Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, it wasn't too bad but I don't think Joyce wrote for history if he intended for all his readers to work as hard to get his meaning.  Maybe it's the same feeling I have about poetry:  Why can't the author just mean what he said?  English teachers seem to want to tear everything into little bits and take all the enjoyment out of it, I don't know maybe that is their enjoyment.  (They'd probably wonder the same about me and my interest in early KC.  To each his own.  I like poetry, I just don't want to pick it apart. I think liking Joyce may be beyond me now.)  Anyway, we ended up at Bewley's Cafe on Grafton Street for lunch (a terrible mushroom soup) and a short theatrical work about life changes and the confusion they create which I liked very much.  Mark had given us maps of Dublin and we had free time after that so I started off walking to the Medieval part of Dublin.  I got a little turned around so I walked farther than necessary but I ended up at the fabulous Christ Church.
After walking all around it, I crossed the street and went to the Viking museum.  Dublin was a Viking city, set up at first as a place to tie up their boats it was eventually a permanent town with walls and a castle.  The Northmen became part of the Irish people by intermarrying over time.  It was called Dvblinia.  I enjoyed the museum very much, at the end you walk over the street and into Christ Church, very unique.  Then I walked over to Dublin Castle, just a short ways off.

The tower looked older than the rest of the building.  The part in front is the Chapel Royal and it was gorgeous inside (but they didn't allow photos!) It seemed like there where a lot of offices in all the buildings of the chapel.  It was pretty late in the afternoon so I didn't take a long tour.  I did buy a patch for the memories quilt and a dainty Christmas ornament there.  Then I hiked back to the hotel, a lot shorter than the way I came!

I'm getting tired and I miss talking to my children, closing in on time to go home and I think I'll be ready.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ireland Trip Day 11, Enniskillen, Ulster Northern Ireland and Dublin

We left the lovely Killibegs bright and early for Dublin.  We just crossed a bit of Northern Ireland on the way, no check points or passport viewings as you'd expect when you travel into another country.  Before this we had been in the Republic of Ireland but Northern Ireland is still part of the United Kingdom.  Most of the fighting/bombing there now is between those who want to stay in the UK and those who want to join the Republic,  maybe still along religious lines or maybe because they are used to fighting each other.  Our first stop was in Enniskillen at the Integrated Primary School.  In the late 1980's there was a bomb blast in the fighting in Enniskillen that killed several.  A group of parents decided to start an integrated school,  they raised all the funds at first and only three years ago the state built them a new building.  They turn away students every year.  It is integrated from the Board of Govenors to the 4yr old like this: 40% Catholic, 40% Protestant, 20% Other.  The children begin the year they turn 5 and most are only 4, so my grandson , Brayden, would be in school there.  They attend here until they are 11 then they move to the next level.  There are 31or 32 students in each classroom with one teacher and one aide who teach everything, including PE, Art, Music and Spanish!  Even recesss has directed play.  It was an amazing place where 7 year olds do computer graphics.  Our visit there just wasn't long enough.

Next stop was the Ulster American Folk Park.  This was a nice outdoor museum depicting the mass migrations from Ulster to the States (mostly) including Irish cottages, etc of the period, a full ship display and then full sized displays of the States,  It was pretty neat the was they did the ship--you walked on the wharf in Ireland, got onto the ship and the walked off the ship onto the wharf in the States, very clever.  I was particularly taken by the birthplace of Robert Campbell (the very Robert Campbell of my research on the Town of Kansas) as well as some museum displays involving he and his brother Hugh.

The birthplace of Robert Campbell, Mountain Man, Millionaire and one of the owners of the Town of Kansas.
 This panel is inside the museum, they got it right as far as they went.  Always a problem for museums, not enough space to really cover anything.
 I think this was the Pennsylvania homestead.  The way it's situated looks  like it might be in Pennsylvania, or Missouri.
This is the Irish cottage, the thatch on this and the other buildings must be a foot thick!

Here at the park they also have a building dedicated to the study of those who left.  They are building a database of names so I went over to check on our William Hickham who left Belfast, Ulster, Ireland.  He wasn't on their database as it doesn't have much before 1800, I believe he left in the 1770's.  I did learn that there where a lot of  Ulster Scots-Irish that left Ireland for the States then so that fits.  They were kind enough to give me some internet sites to visit.

After our visit we got back on the bus and headed to Dublin, arriving late, tired and hungry.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ireland Trip Day 10, Killibegs and Glencolmcille, Co Donigal

Beautiful sunny morning, not a cloud in the sky!  First clear morning we've had the whole trip.  Killibegs is a town of 1200 people, home to the best natural harbor north of Dingle in the west of Ireland.  Most of what is left of the fishing fleet is out to sea but it is a lovely place.  I went out early to hunt down a laundry, I really need clean clothes! 

These were both taken yesterday but I thought you's enjoy seeing how lovely it is.  I always wonder if the people who live in those lovely homes appreciate the view every day?

Our morning began with a talk about Ireland's fishing industry given by Tony O'Callaghan, a local journalist.  Here's a bit of what I learned:  the Atlantic just off the west coast of Ireland is one of the best fishing areas in the world and many countries have been fishing there for centuries.  Spain, England and Germany to name three.  When Ireland joined the European Union they submitted to a quota system on the amount of fish they could take based on historical takes.  So Spain has a quota and Great Britain has one, Ireland has one too but because of the English occupation their historical take wasn't as large so their quota wasn't as large.  For a while each year Irish fishermen would take more than their quota and the Irish government would pay the fine imposed by the EU, then someone decided to begin charging individual fishermen (or boat owners) for taking excess fish so now the government can't pay the fine and the fishermen can't fish as much.  None of those charged have as yet been brought to trial but the fishing fleet is quite small compared to a few years ago.
Life is complex no matter where you live.  After his talk he took us on a bit of a walk, I dumped the laundry off and it will be washed and returned to my hotel tonight-cool.  After the walk we had a very nice lunch at Number 22 (a local restaurant) then we loaded up the bus for Glencolmcille. 

Another Photo stop!  I love the way the fences seem to go right into the Atlantic!  Notice these are fences not walls.

 This photo on the right is of the Peat bogs.  You can see the darker strips which are where recent cuttings of peat have been made.

These are photos taken of Glencolmcille one of the base of St Columba (one of Ireland's three patron saints.)  I think this may be my favorite part of Ireland.  It is fairly remote and very quiet-I think it might be a 2 pub town.   The obelisk seen on the hill is part of Columba's Turas, a pilgrimage site. From here we go a short distance to walk in a farmers fiield to view Megolithic tombs.

The capstones of all these tombs have fallen off but they are massive.  Can you imagine the work involved to first set the side stones upright and then put the capstone on?  All done by prehistoric man, without the aid of bulldozers!  Our guide tells us that this valley is full of these tombs.
On our way back to town we notice a sad sign of the times, a little housing division of new homes all standing empty save one.
This has been a busy day and it's not over yet!  After dinner in the hotel bar (a light dinner as I've been eating far too much on this trip!) and hard cider, a new taste for me. We got to watch two young ladies dance.  They both have made it to nationals in their age group and travel all over to dance.  We got to see them do both the heavy dance and traditional soft shoe dancing, it was quite amazing.  Neither had taken ballet but there were ballet moves in there.  They were cute and interested in us as well.  After that we had a lesson on the Tin Whistle.  I'm not very good, although it is quite similar to the recorder.  Mind you I gave my recorder away because it hurt my ears!  In the end we played a whole song accompanied by our teacher on the concertina and Mark on the Irish flute-it was only half bad!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ireland Trip Day 9, Killybegs, Co. Donigal, Ireland

Leaving Galway for Killybegs today.  I would have liked another day here.  The countryside reminds me of the gently rolling plains of home, despite the stone walls enclosing small plots.  As we travel north there are not as many stone walls, more fences.  Our first stop today was Sligo, for lunch and a walk about town, it's Sunday so most things are closed but Ruth and I took a walk along the river and saw these lovely swans.  Also a local man noticed our cameras and asked if we would like our photo with Yeats, so here we are.
Then it was on to St. Columba's church site at Drumcliffe where W.B.Yeats is buried.  Ben Bulben looking spectacular behind the church where Yeats' grandfather once served as minister.  There are two graveyards-a Catholic and a Protestant and I found "Regan's" in both (sure to be kin but too late for near kin) and one mentioned inside the church as serving in World War I.  In the Catholic side there is a tall cross with Bible stories carved on it.  This was used to tell the stories of the Bible to the people.
After rambling thru the church and stones we began the final leg into Killybegs.  We arrive about 3:30 and I took a walk around, it's a small village, once home to the largest fishing fleet in Ireland.  It is more industrial than the other places.  More on that tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ireland trip Day 8, Inis Mohr, Islands of Aran

Off early on a cloudy and gray day, no rain but no sun either, bummer.  Heading to the island of Inis Mohr, population 900.  Because it's an island we had to take the ferry and it was a fairly rough ride over, this following a rough bus ride-had to haul out the sea bands and my I-pod or it would have been ugly.  We walked up the hill from the ferry to a pub for a talk by Maureen O'Flannery (I know the Maureen is right but Mark kept talking about her Irish name and her English name and I got confused, nothing new there!) a local woman who its a retired archeologist, she spoke about the history, archeology and life of the island and it's people.  Very interesting.  Afterwards, we took a van ride to the end of the island to Dun Aonghasa, (sounds like dun angus.) a ring fort part of which dates to the bronze age.  Much of the island looks like the burren as it was a part of the burren in pre-history, here cattle still roam over it. 

 The long way up Dun Aonghasa! What a walk,  the view is spectacular.  The ever present stone walls seem higher here. 
 This is the view from about half way up.
 The stone walls of the outer fort.

 The walls of the fort from inside the first ring

 The Long way down from the top, sure am glad I bought and used a Trekking pole.
More stone walls and a house inside. There are many more ruins here on the island, the locals are reluctant to destroy the homes of their ancestors.  Everything made of stone and standing roofless, all wood gone in fact.  Our guide said the houses must be painted every 5 years, even using the best latex paint.  On our way back to the ferry he took us by the seven churches site with it's ancient cemetery.  The cemetery while holding ancient graves is still in use and where our guide "will land one day" as many of his family are buried there.  Then we saw the lighthouse, from afar. Just made Mark's 4:40 deadline!  Another very rough crossing on the ferry and bus ride back to Galway.  I am so tired I cannot eat and so am off to sleep quite early.