Monday, April 30, 2018


It was Italy all over again! You can read about that here--about mid way down about the train-- to refresh your memory.

Stephanie and I were to take a vintage tea tour. Since we didn't know exactly where we were going, we left very early. To make a long story short, we arrived at 12:45 for a 1:30 tour---or so we thought. We were on the river, so we sat at a bench facing the river about 15-20 feet from the exact pick-up spot. About 1:18, we moved over to the exact spot. We waited, and waited and waited. At 1:45, I emailed Mary (my travel agent friend---I wouldn't want her job for anything!). We waited until 2 p.m. and decided that perhaps we were in the wrong spot even though this was supposed to be it.

We weren't sure if this was the north dock. Turns out, I should have noticed that the pick up was 1:15. We were so busy talking that we never even knew that the tea trolly pulled up behind us! Sheesh! Mary is trying to get our money back. I love that she works on our behalf!! We'll see what happens. It was totally our fault!

On the other hand, looking on the bright side, we went down a block to see if we were possibly in the wrong place---dock-wise. We came across these sculptures/statues---don't know what to call them. They are dedicated to the Irish who died during the potato famine. Thousands of people walked along the river. A German couple stopped me to ask what it was about. They had never heard of the famine. I proudly relayed what I had already learned on our tour---during the years of the famine---1845-1852, millions of people died or emigrated. The population has never recovered---although it's getting there now.
This was really cool. Had we been on our tour, we would have missed it!
And we might have missed this. We shared a brisket sandwich with mac and cheese in the oldest pub I think we'd been in. While we were here, Butch and Nicky were across town actually in the oldest pub in Dublin!
It looks like people were buried in this pub!
Nor would we have had time to stop by this ancient library. Doesn't everyone stop in a library while on vacation?
 We just stepped in the front door and snapped a couple of pictures. It was beautiful!

We met Butch and Nicky at the museum to see the "bog" people. We would never have known about this if I hadn't seen a sign about them at this "cheesy" bog village we visited on one of our bus tours.

About bus tours---we are DONE with them! It's going to be private tours from now on. We all agreed we'd rather do that and get all the personal attention, not to mention the extra fun sights. When you are on the big bus tours, you waste a lot of time. There's always one couple that doesn't want to follow the rules and make everyone late! We figured we spent 7 hours one day for about 2.5 hours of actual touring something. No more! Believe me, it's worth the extra money!

Our trip was fabulous! We ended with our final dinner at the Hairy Lemon for one last:
bread and butter pudding. Simply the best thing I had in Ireland!! The homemade from scratch hot chocolate with Baileys was a close second!

Another thing we're done with: American Airlines. We hate them! One problem after another and not a single employee cares! It wasn't a fun way to end our trip. Without going it to all the details, the last thing that happened was the loss of Butch's suitcase. AA ended up leaving it on our front porch at 5:14 this morning! Thanks to our new "Ring" monitoring service, we know exactly what is happening and when!

Back to the real life! Now I need to spend this week getting ready for my beach trip with friends on Friday! Retired life is tough!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Ireland Part 2

The week is passing rapidly. Still no time to blog. More photos.
 We love smaller, boutique hotels. Randles Hotel in Killarney.
Beautiful view from our room. We were a 5 minute walk from town.
 Horse and carriage ride---thatched house.
 This is what happens when you drink too much Guiness!
 The mussels have been delicious. We haven't encountered cockles yet.
 The mosaic floors---everywhere---this one is from an ancient church.
 This is the entrance to Ryan's Pub.
 Incredible Catholic churches.
 We even had a leprechaun for a bus driver!
Blowing the crystal at Waterford.
Beautiful table setting at Waterford.
 Lots of this happening! Not me. Not a beer lover. However, I've had hot chocolate with Baileys just about everywhere. It's not on the menu, but they are more than willing to make it for me! REAL! Not powdered.
 Another gorgeous church.
We love private guides and drivers. It's the only way to go. In fact, after this trip, we've decided, we're done with bus tours. Private drivers take you to little known, out-of-the way spots. This is a shrine to St. Bridget. People have been visiting here for years and drop off prayers and other items for the well being of loved ones.
 Our driver Brendan, made Stephanie and Nicky a cross made out of bull rushes. He had them dip it in to the blessed water of the shrine to protect them and their home. I guess Butch and I will just have to wing it. He didn't really offer to make us one!
 It's been cold. And when I say cold, I mean COLD!! And windy. Each day, it's only 51, but with the wind, it's really COLD. Still, we're very lucky to have had mostly sunshine.
 Cliffs of Moher. Beautiful.
 Another view. This is the Ireland I expected---green grass to the sea!
 Medieval castle in the background. I can't remember the name.
 Sorry for this sloppy picture. I had to snap it---the BEST bread (and butter) pudding EVER!!! The raisins are just sprinkled on top, so they were easy to remove. I was mad as to how fast everyone scarfed this down that we had to order another! Bread and butter pudding is on just about every menu, but this one was by far the best. Butch has promised to take me back on Saturday night before we leave on Sunday!!
 Typical Irish weather---sun on one side with a dark rain cloud on the other!
This was probably my most favorite thing. I had no idea how sheep are herded by the dogs. Two border collies here---they can handle 300 sheep!! The shepherd doesn't have to leave his back yard. He sends the dogs all the way up the mountain to get the sheep. They did it twice while we watched---they manage to get them pretty fast.
Another beautiful floor.

We were supposed to have another bus tour today, but we decided not to do it---even though we'd already paid. No more bus tours!! We had a delightful day browsing around Galway. I had a "pink" gin and tonic! Strawberry flavored---so good!

Tomorrow we head back to Dublin. Stephanie and I have a "tea tour" while the guys do the Jameson distillery tour.

It's almost over.....too fast!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


Too much to say and no time to write it! Pictures instead.
 Beautiful mosaics---EVERYWHERE! I'm doing something like this in my entry.
 Mass at St. Theresa our first night! I love old, beautiful churches. And we're talking centuries!
 Incredible Gaol and stories to go with it!
 Pour Academy---Guiness. Butch passed the test and has the certificate to prove it!
NCAA Championship Waterford crystal football. They actually let people hold this stuff! Fabulous tour.
 Steph and Nicky---I already don't remember where this is.
 Carriage ride in Kilarney---first thatched cottage.
 This is what happens when you put Stephanie in charge of jotting down points of interest. 5 of these 8 are pubs.
Reuniting with Nuala and her family---Ulster Project 1992.
When your kids stop by for happy hour when you are out-of-town!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Tuesday Thoughts about....

...changing hotels!

I'm about ready to say a word that I absolutely HATE and NEVER use on a regular basis. But it just so happens that it's really the best word to describe how I feel about changing hotels while traveling. I get that it's necessary in order to make the most of our trip. But it still SUCKS!!!!

I don't say that lightly! Packing up, lugging our suitcases on the train---ugh! Not looking forward to it and we have to do it 4 times this trip!!! 3 days in Dublin, 3 days in Killarney, 1 day in Galway and back to Dublin for another night!!

As you can tell, I have not been able to blog. We have our schedule jam packed with no time to spare. We didn't get home until 11 p.m last night and up at 5:30 today! Butch tells me we'll have some down time tomorrow afternoon. We'll see.....

Friday, April 20, 2018

Story, Horse?

That's short for "What's the story, Horse?" It's the Irish form of "wassup?'' Since we're off to Ireland today, I thought is was fitting.

We've been looking forward to this trip with Stephanie and Nicky. This past week, I started thinking about the food. The only Irish food I know is corned beef and cabbage (which I love) and Irish soda bread--which I heard of, but didn't't really know anything about. Then, there's green beer and Guiness, but I don't drink beer, so that's out.

I was telling Butch about the Irish soda bread, so he printed a description for me. It sounds pretty good, so I'm looking forward to trying that.

Then I thought of cockles and mussels---because, well, they are mentioned in the song (cockles and mussels alive alive oh). We like mussels, but I always say, you have to just eat them without looking at them. I could totally do the food eating challenge on Survivor if they had mussels. But cockles? That's  another matter entirely. I just don't think I can do it.
They just look nasty---and rubbery. Maybe that's Irish soda bread on the side. No, I can't do it.
On second thought, mussels are pretty nasty looking too. They are definitely hard to look at! That's why you can't.

In order to find out more about the food in Ireland, I did an internet search. Turns out, corned beef and cabbage didn't even make the list. They have bacon and cabbage. The cockles and mussels were on the list along with langoustines---which I'll definitely have. They are just little lobsters. I used to get them at Red Lobster.

Irish stew was listed. I'd forgotten about that, but I've never had it. It contains either lamb, mutton or goat! Eeeew, I just don't know.

There were other things mentioned that I've never heard of.

Colcannon and champ, boxty, coddle, black and white pudding (similar to haggis in Scotland. I definitely won't be eating it---there's blood in the black pudding which makes it black. It contains pork meat, fat and blood mixed with barley, suet and oatmeal in an intensely flavoured sausage. Barmbrack is served with afternoon tea. That sounds like fruitcake. I'll try it, but fruitcake is not my thing.

I can be a pretty adventuresome eater, so I'll likely try many new things. But Stephanie is the most adventurous eater of all! When she was little---say 10 or so, we took the girls on a Disney cruise. Since all the food is included, she decided that she was going to try something she never heard of every night. And she did! That was a great place to do it since you are not paying for a potential mistake (well, you know what I mean).

Really, there are few things I won't eat---liver and snails. It makes me sick to even think about! 

You can pretty much bet that I'll be taking plenty of food photos to share with you! 

So that's the story, horse!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

What I Buy Wednesday

You're not going to believe it, but I didn't buy anything this week! Oh wait, my Stitch Fix box came in, so there's that.

My stylist sent me a really cute pair of kelly green flats. I'm going to wait until I get back from Ireland to show those since I plan to get some sort of green scarf or accessories while there. What better place to buy "green" stuff!

We leave Friday!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tuesday Thoughts about...


When I was a kid, the only tennis shoes you could buy were Keds. At least that's how I remember it. Believe me, if there was something cheaper (and Keds weren't expensive) we would have had them. With 7 keds, (see what I did there?) we would definitely have had something cheaper. There were Converse, but those were for the boys.

Anyway, our Keds were everything to us---casual wear shoes, softball shoes, volleyball shoes and play shoes. White was the only available color---or technically, lack there of.
Here I am in my softball shoes! In fact, you didn't want to have brand spankin' new white ones. When you got them, you had to dirty them up right away. Later, we'd polish them with white shoe polish if they got too grubby looking. Then, the shoe polish would rub off on your ankles and you'd look ridiculous! Maybe that's the real reason I wore those socks! One time I polished mine while I was wearing them. Of course, the polish seeped through and made my feet white! My brothers and sisters always accused me of being lazy!

Well, I mentioned awhile back about getting new Keds.
I haven't been able to wear them because I don't want to get them dirty. I really want to wear them, but the weather or my destination hasn't been just right! I'm not sure when everything will align.

However, I have worn my awesome Kate Spade pair:
 I thought I looked pretty spiffy with my white, wrinkled linen jacket. No socks this time.
They have the tiny brass spade on the back above the Keds tag. Welllll.....there's more....
 ...apparently, Kate Spade's partnership with Keds has extended to bride's shoes. What a good idea! I'll bet they won't be white after an evening of dancing and everyone stepping on the feet of the bride!
They have other really cute Kate Spade exclusives. Unfortunately, I won't be buying them.

How many pairs of Keds do I need? I don't do many sports these days, so I'll just stick with play shoes! And maybe I'll take those white ones out for a spin soon!

Monday, April 16, 2018

A Few Things

Our driveway looks like a parking lot most of the time. 5 cars and one boat! Luckily it's a big driveway!
I've liked all of my cars, but I do believe this one is my favorite! It belongs to Jordan now---2005. It has 160,000 miles, but still looks almost like new!
Bombay Sapphire is my favorite for gin and tonics. Nicky gave us this Uncle Val's. I didn't know anything about it, but as soon as I took one sip, I told Butch, "this tastes like roses!" That was before I knew it was a "botanical" gin. This girl knows her flowers! Not that I've eaten them. I guess it comes more from my teas---many of them have a botanical blend. Actually, I think I still prefer the sapphire. I'll stick to botanicals for my tea.
This little girl ran in to make her bed when I stopped by to visit. I guess she wanted everything to look just so before she showed off her room! Evie cracked me up with all of those stuffed animals. Even when I make my bed, I don't put all the decorative pillows on it.
This had to take time! Or maybe she sleeps on the lower half. If that's the case, she takes after her aunt! When I was growing up, I used to sleep in my bed piled high with clothes! I'd just crawl in under.
Not at all happy with how the face on this snowman is turning out. Now begins the arduous task of tearing it all out! I should never have followed that shading. It just looks goofy! Tear it out I will. Ugh! Tearing out takes longer than putting it in!
When it comes to trip planning, Butch is the master. He spends hours and hours researching everything! We leave for Ireland on Saturday with Stephanie and Nicky. Can you see all of those tabs? There are sections for everything!
It is quite detailed! Today (Sunday) he has made various reservations. Thank goodness he did the research. One of the most popular sights in Dublin requires tickets in advance. There were only two  time slots left! Had we waited, until arriving, we would never have been able to see the "gaol."

I love it when we're traveling together as he takes the lead in planning. If it's me with the girls or friends, I'm the one doing the hours and hours. That's why I know what goes in to it and appreciate what he does!

That's it for my "few things" post today!