Friday, December 26, 2008

Why Aren't You Watching the Road?! : Our First Impressions in Ireland

Ireland is wonderful, to sum things up simply and neatly. We were drawn to its lovely rolling hills and beautiful rocky coastline. People are genuinely friendly, and perhaps a cynic would insist that the friendliness is only because we were obviously tourists, but we never felt that way during our visit. Even Dublin, one of the larger cities in Ireland, has a very welcoming and comfortable feeling. You don’t feel like a stranger in Ireland- a visitor, yes, but never like an outsider. Perhaps our excellent experience can be highly attributed to our incomparable hosts, Erin and Terry.



Before I really get going, I have to say “thank you” so sincerely to them. They welcomed us to their home, put us on interesting paths to follow, and really made our vacation an incredible event. I hope we can return the favor one day.

To address the title of this post, I have to explain that one of the first things you are likely to do when you arrive in Ireland, is have to drive somewhere. Perhaps you will not be doing the driving (this is wise), but you will find yourself in some form of public transportation or a private car. Unless you are from Ireland, the UK, or Japan, you will probably feel nauseated for the duration of your time in this beautiful country. Of course, I’m referring to the driving- on the other side of the road. You might think it will not affect you, but I can only say that I, personally, was proven so wrong in this opinion. Because the Irish are used to driving on the wrong side of the road (har har har), they drive very fast and, in some cases, rather recklessly. You might consider saving your Dramamine for the ride upon landing, instead of wasting it on the plane ride. I am only looking out for your well-being.

Terry was kind enough to drive within a reasonable speed, and for that I thank him heartily. Still, every turn brought fear to my being- we were going the wrong way! It’s hard to teach your brain not to fear this reverse maneuvering. I gave up and just tried to watch the beautiful cities and country pass me by, instead of looking forward while in a moving vehicle.

Now I’ve gone and scared you off, eh? I can assure you that if you choose to visit any part of the Irish coast, your arrival at the sea will make the journey all worth while.



I love the ocean. Being able to stand next to the Atlantic and feel the salty breeze on my face was enough to make me want to pack up all of my belongings and leave my landlocked German home far behind.



Of course, we were able to recognize the very real aspects of daily life, which are not so different from life in the United States. Housing is similar, although decidedly more European in form. The country has several types of public transportation, and cars are smaller than in America but nearly as prevalent. Shopping may be done at small markets, in boutiques or department stores, or even in some large malls. English is spoken nearly always, but all signs include the Irish language. There is a blend of commerce similar to that seen in the United States, shoved together into a much smaller space. Google has a headquarters in Dublin, but you can buy hand-spun yarn from Irish sheep a few miles down the road at the Dun Laoghaire farmer’s market each Sunday. These aspects of life seem well-balanced and appealing.

In addition to the natural beauty of Ireland, there is an inherent charm and magic about the island. Somewhere within the fascinating history of Celtic culture and its modern counterparts, the lovely sound and look of the Gaelic language, the stoic stone architecture and the sincere inhabitants of the country, it is easy to become immersed in a permanent daydream. Tolkein wrote, “Not all who wander are lost.” I think those who wander in Ireland are happy to lose themselves, for a time.

*Happy Christmas*

We wish you a merry Christmas...




As to the happy new year, we've got BIG plans- and you know they must be big because I capitalized the word. I'm always trying to make things more clear for you, dear reader. It's the least I can do.

Anyway, enough nonsense. We have been keeping a mid-shift schedule, meaning that I'm up all night and I sleep during the morning. It is lousy and today was the first time in about 40 hours that I saw the sun. The point is, it was after midnight and we decided to extend the Christmas Eve happiness into present-giving. Yes, we cheated. Oh well. Christmas is not nearly as festive without your family, in my opinion; maybe I feel that way because of how much I enjoy gathering for holidays. Despite the relative calm of our celebration, we still had a very nice evening. On Christmas day, I cooked a roast for the first time in my life, and we had a small feast with some sweet wine. Afterward, Matt and Katie joined us for a round of Mario Party on the Wii. An evening well spent! Early this morning, we enjoyed Josh's favorite meal, Brinner. That's breakfast for dinner, for those of you who are confused. Again, I do what I can to help.

I hope that you all felt your holidays were well spent, full of love and warmth and family or friends. Full of the things that you enjoy this time of year. We wish you happy hearts and many blessings as 2008 draws to its close.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Fa La La La Blog

Kym, blogger for EarthDog (see posts below for praise of their products!) has tagged me in the seven random and weird things about me blog chain. As these bits always require extreme concentration from yours truly, please continue to read in appreciation of my effort!

1.I have a highly overactive imagination, to the point that ANY ominous music in ANY television show or movie fills me with dread and horrible images flood my brain. This is why I so vehemently refuse to watch so many films or shows; they always lead to nightmares.
2.I love ice skating, and when I was young I thought I could be a speed skater. I would dart around the rink (at least I felt like I was going fast), leaning in and imagining that I was in the Olympics.
3.I can isolate each toe and wiggle it separately.
4.My driver’s license says I am legally blind without corrective eyewear, and I do not dispute this claim.
5.I avoid country music, but maybe not for the reason you’d imagine- it almost always makes me cry.
6.I feel more at-home and relaxed when I’m in a city surrounded by thousands of people I don’t know, than I do in the small town in which I grew up.
7.I have an obsession with Urban Decay eye makeup. Maybe in a different life I’d be a makeup artist.
TAG! the following bloggers are it:

Mable N Elmer
Glorious Generalist
DaniLeigh Photography
Bellichka
L_Anana
Big Jules
Paisley Cat

here are the rules for my fellow bloggers:
* link your original tagger(s), and list these rules on your blog.
* share seven facts about yourself in the post - some random, some weird.
* tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
* let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs and/or twitter.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

And, Action!

video

END Scene! End scene!

...Trixie, stop chewing on the quilt.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Quickie

Guten Morgen! It's snowing like the dickens outside, and I'm getting ready for a day trip to Saarbrucken for Advent markets. Several friends are getting the Pfalz day passes for the train- this allows multiple adults to ride anywhere within our region for one day. I assume that, if we tire of Saarbrucken, we'll head somewhere else! Gotta love train travel.


I wanted to provide some snaps of our new pup! After one week, I can report that Trixie is less stress-inducing every day. She has destroyed a few power cords (mostly for Josh's video gaming systems, ugh), used the carpets as a bathroom, eaten an entire box of her heart worm medicine, and pulled disgusting trash from the can to decorate my living room floor. However, she has also become a great playmate for Maggie, been endlessly cute (when she's not demolishing things), and she is very loving and willing to cuddle. So, I think we'll keep her. *wink*




I've finished Christmas shopping for almost everyone, but my very favorite purchase this year is a gift for the dogs- or really, for me.

A dog-walking coupler!
Thank you, EarthDog! Their products are amazing. I've had a leash and harness from them for a long time, and the quality is great. Plus, everything is so well-made. I highly recommend for all of you dog-lovers!