Saturday, December 29, 2012

Non-Profit Love

... Or How I Become a Envelope Sealing Expert

Thursday I went back to Habitat after the break for the holidays. Therefore I'm finishing/posting an old post about my dear non-profit-job. The grown-up-ish of my current two jobs is working part-time at Habitat for Humanity MoCo as the person who organizes all the Faith Team Builds and whatnot. It's fun.  Plus I get to sit at a desk = both fun-ish and grown-up. 

In addition to sending out copious amounts of emails, I also man a table at volunteer fairs and help at events. I've wrapped presents at a Barnes and Noble, bar-tended at the 30 anniversary event, attended college volunteer fairs, and gone to a children's mitzvah fair. A few weeks back I spent a couple of days working on a mailing with my boss and volunteers from Riderwood. [Riderwood is a retiree's utopia: huge campus of building with every level of assisted living, any club you could imagine, groups out the wazoo, shuttles to stores, and pretty much anything cool you could think up.]

Friday, December 28, 2012

War And Peace Marathon

Back in November I spent a day watching a marathon screening of War and Peace at the Russian Embassy. I spent the whole entire day because this was a screening of a four-part eight-hour Russian version. As a reward for sitting through all the way till the end we each received a pin, I've never been so proud.
Yes, I may have been more excited to get this button than my college degree, it was hard earned.  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hens and Thoughts for Christmas

"On the third night of Christmas my true love gave to me
                                     Three french hens!  Two turtle doves! 
And a partridge in a pear tree!"
Mu-ha-ha fear my awesome google-images + paint abilities!
I give you ... three french hens!
I've got Christmas-related-thoughts, so I'm going with the whole today-is-only-the-3rd-of-12-days-of-Christmas giving me until Epiphany in January. On that note, let me wish you a merry day-three-of-x-mas! Enjoy the French chickens! And here are my mildly-ramble-ly-thoughts:

Friday, December 21, 2012

End of the World

...And I Feel Fine

I love the internet, and the internet loves the ancient-Mayan dates-for-the-end-o'-the-world. Since today is December 21st, I think we should have a good soundtrack for the apocalypse this one is funny, and of course this one is perfect, but this one is one of my favorites:
"I'm waking up at the start of the end of the world
But it's feeling just like every other morning before..."

Got any other good ones for today?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Annie, Bernadette, and Bilbo

I went to see The Hobbit with my childhood neighbors and awesomesauce friends Annie and Bernedette last weekend. Super duper exciting. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Posting a Post

It's been forever (or honestly just too long for me to be pleased) since I actually finished and posted a blog post.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Yesterday was the election -- ballots were cast, results were announced, and there was much rejoicing and/or weeping and gnashing of teeth. I have a lot of thoughts about the race, the president, and our ballot questions like 5 and 6 and 7, but I think those deserve a more thoughtful post and honestly I am mildly hesitant of topics that are such holy hand grenades so today I am just having E.B. White do all the work for me. I heard this earlier today and really liked it, Charlotte and Wilbur's creator originally wrote it during World War Two.

E.B.White's meaning of democracy:
    "We received a letter from the Writers' War Board the other day asking for a statement on "The Meaning of Democracy." It is presumably our duty to comply with such a request, and it is certainly our pleasure.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

'56 Hungarian Revolution

... the flag with a hole in it
October 23rd is the anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian revolution, so today I'm going to indulge my history-major-side. Junior year I did an Oral History project interviewing a man who fought in the 1956 uprising as a 15 years old. Part of why I find the Hungarian revolution so fascinating is I spent a summer with brilliant Hungarians, I adore Budapest, and my grandma's side of the family is Hungarian. But it's also fascinating because they were my age and even younger, because those two and a half weeks were epic, and because it's the type of story you hope will end well --even when you know the ending.
I hope it's more like a story and less like a term-paper,
because these people were amazing

In October 1956 Polish workers went on strike, an incredibly risky thing to do under a strict communist government. This inspired students at the Technological University of Budapest, they organized a simple protest walking along the Danube down to a statue of Bam - a Polish native and Hungarian hero who had fought in the 1848 revolution. The students created a list of 16 demands and as their protest grew and attracted more and more students and then workers and people from all over the city they went to the radio station to broadcast them.

Their demands were first off the removal of all Soviet troops from Hungary. Soviet forces had liberated Budapest and Hungary from Nazi forces at the end of World War Two. While it is a huge relief when someone gets rid of Nazis, it becomes worrisome when they immediately set up their own secret police in the same office building and people continue to disappear to the dungeons and death, with no sign that the troops have any plans on leaving it is not as acceptable.

The student's 16 demands listed free and legitimate elections open to all parties.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

For the Love of Funny Alphabets

 This fall I'm taking Russian 101. Just for fun because I enjoy studying languages and have a slight obsession with funny alphabets. To be honest this is probably due to the fact that my real desire when-I-grow-up is to be Mara and overthrow evil-ancient-egyptian-pharaohesses by acting as a-double-spy-translator-bad-ass-chick-who-runs-around-bare-foot. Since these dreams of being an blue-eyed-ancient-egpytian-bi-lingual-secret-rebel will most likely never be a reality, I have to settle for attempting to be bi-lingual . . . or more actually jump at any chance to study a language that has a funny alphabet. Although I am miles away from fluent in anything but English, I very much enjoy my kindergarten-level-of-skill at sounding-letters-out-painfully-slow-to-attempt-to-read-words, because the fact that those foreign squiggles mean anything intelligible to me makes me happy.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Day of the Brave

The United Nations made October 11th international Day of the Girl, which is particularly fitting as the recent attacks on Malala has brought a more attention to the issues she has been writing about and fighting for since she was eleven. Because this girl so-freaking-amazing-awesome that she has been standing up to the taliban since she was barely double-digits-old. I pray and hope she and her classmate fully recover. It is impressive to see how powerful the ideas of this young lady are, that they're seen as a threat to the taliban. Malala is an epic example of what a dis-proportional-positive-effect educating girls provides for their community.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

the play is just a can of soup

... the audience is really the art

Last weekend we went to a see The Government Inspector at the Shakespeare Theatre Company (Not Shakespeare but really good anyway). This play-going all began when I needed to see a couple different productions for THET 101 at HCC. At one point in that theater class my professor mentioned that I should check out Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe when I was looking for a  monologue. I Googled it and loved the part of the play I found. Although I intend to, I've never actually read/ seen the whole play, but the portion I came across that someone posted is pretty great. Since it pops into my head at plays I looked it up again and decided to share it here too. [Googled it again actually and despite what Blogger might try to tell me that is in fact a word]

Andy Warhol. Campbell's Soup Cans. 1962
Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans

The Government Inspector

My brothers, sis-in-law, and I went to see The Shakespeare Theatre Company's Government Inspector last weekend and it was quite fun. The lovely STC has much-less-costly-to-get-to-see-lots-of-awesome-plays-season-subscriptions-for-students/under-35ers because it makes them so happy to see non-retired-white-hair-audience-members. We tend to pair of theater-going with yummy food beforehand and I'm extremely proud to say that we have almost completely out-grown of our traditional jog-from-place-with-yummy-food-to-theater-to-rush-to-seats-before-curtain-is-raised, not that it wasn't an exhilarating way to start a play.
The Government Inspector
Gogol's The Government Inspector is a satire about a town and its mayor who mistake a gambles-too-much-lady's-man-lowly-and-currently-broke-government-clerk with a fear-and-bribe-inducing-Government-Inspector -- hilarity ensues. You know it's a comedy because of all the doors and bright colors on stage. And there was all the laughter too.
I loved lines like: "When I see the stupid faceless masses I just want to scream 'Where are your faces?! Are you stupid?!'" The characters all had a nearly a Scarlet Pimpernel level of ridiculousness which continued nonetheless to be charming and entertaining.
The costumes were no-bones-about-it comic. To the point that the interchangeable-and-often-mixed-up middle class Pyotr Ivanovich Bobosky and Pyotr Ivanovich Dodosky were all but dressed like umpa-lumpas. Seeing a Russian play was also fun to complement the Russian I've been attempting to learn (but more on that later).

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Out of Gas

A few weeks ago my best-ever-big-bro ran out of gas and I came to his rescue then made a bit of fun of him. As is my right as a lil-sister. However, it appears the gas-tank-karma-gods thought it would be funny to use this as a learning opportunity.

Friday, September 28, 2012

French the Llama

* Point of reference John Green has a YouTube
 channel with his brother Hank: Vlogbrothers
 lots of fans: Nerdfighters, and books: 
Looking for
Alaska, Papertowns, Will Garyson, Abundance
of Katherines, and The Fault in Our Stars
 = All very much awesome.
John Green was at the National Book Festival in DC last weekend. There were dozens of other authors, plenty of books and a couple of my oldest-dearest-friends there was well. But let's be honest, I switched work-shifts, changed plans with my brothers, and may have even sat-in-the-heat-for-nearly-three-hours, because John Green was there. As a nerdy-great-author-youtuber-fan-girl it was completly worth it.

John Green read the author's note and first few pages of Fault in Our Stars then spoke and took questions. Brilliant and fascinating as always. Here are some bits and pieces that I can remeber/ attempt to explain. He said it better than I do, so pretend that this is all coming from a professional-good-with-words-guy:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Missing Gorse

... and other symptoms of Ireland-sickness

After camp we say you get "camp-sick", just as you might have been home-sick when you arrived. There are moments when I find myself a little bit emerald-island-sick. I am grateful as all get out to be home and surrounded by friends and family with a car and jobs and swing dancing and so many people I love within easy access, but I love Ireland as well.

It's been rainy here at home and nothing screams Ireland like rainy days. The rain reminds me of Ireland, it was chilly-near-consent-type of rain and our dear little (un-heated) house on St Brendan's Ave was quite cold, but I remember much more the overwhelming warmth of walking into a pub at night or the cozy comfort of sipping tea wrapped in a blanket on our couch watching the Love Machine or something equally as ridiculous.
Gorse growing on Crogh Patrick (and photographed in the rain)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Flags, hats badges, and notes left
at the Flight 93 temporary memorial  
 Since the anniversary of 9-11 has been set aside as a National Day of Service our Habitat for Humanity office spent today on a team-build working at one of the houses. Service seems to me like a fitting way to recognize the day. Like nearly everyone else I have my vivid memories of the morning itself: the cloudless blues sky, being a just-turned-12-year-old-in-brand-new-school-clothes, finding out over aol instant message to turn on the news, seeing the second tower hit on live TV, and sitting in my friends' backyard that afternoon watching for the occasional military plane in that clear blue sky.
The crash site of United Flight 93 in Shanksville Pennsylvania became a National Park just 6 weeks after Sept 11. A sort of spontaneous memorial began as well as people began to leave candles, notes, and flowers - much like they did in New York. But since the site is in the middle of a field instead of a city, the temporary memorial in PA continued to grow for the past decade. The park opened the official memorial last year and it's peaceful, beautiful, and well done. And the archive of items brought in to be protected from the rain continues to grow. One of my history classes went up to see the temporary memorial and the amount of things left by visitors was captivating.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

All's Well that Ends Well

The Shakespeare Theatre Company in DC has an annual Free for All event -- a play from the previous season for free for a couple of weekends. This summer they put on All's Well that Ends Well. I love Shakespeare unabashedly, so a free play by the bard is a great way to spend a night. It's enough fun to balance out hours of waiting in humidity to pick up tickets. The Shakespeare Theatre puts on incredible shows, so the acting, sets, costumes, and all were impressive.
All's Well that Ends Well is just a really weird play.  The end is not quite the resolution you'd hope for/expect. Maybe a large dose of irony would explain it best. Or perhaps the point is that it's a backwards play. All's Well flips all the conventions: comedies end with weddings, but the wedding is in act one instead, the love-lorn woman pursuses the man who must be wooed, then no one appears to be in love at the end. Which is odd, well done oddness, but oddness all the same. To its credit it brings up fascinating questions about gender roles, marriage, and fate vs self direction that are still interesting a few hundred years later. Plus it has some good quotes like:
 “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Catch 23

Twenty-three years old somehow sounds way older than twenty-two for me. This mental category of 23 being grown-up and 22 being not-quite-really-grown-up led to a mostly-minor-mini-freak-out a couple of weeks ago. Lucky for me I have wonderful people who listen to me and point out that really what I need is a depth breath, a good night's sleep, and/or a cup of tea. Because then world will look better and if it doesn't then at least you are well-rested and sipping hot tea. There was also a wonderful waitress with her words of encouragement being "Aww cheer up girly it's never that bad, you can smile."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lessons from Wildflowers

The field at camp = guns, bows and arrows, slingshots, tomahawks, campfire, flag, and games.
This field at night = tons and tons of stars, shooting stars, and the milky way.                                                         Photo Credit: L.A.Birdie
Being on staff at camp you learn a lot. Ten years of staff teaches you a whole-lotta-stuff. I can organize super-exciting games, or wash a few dozen dishes before the soundtrack to Prince of Egypt finishes, and I'm decent with a range of random weapons (though I still suck at tomahawk). With only a few prompts I could sing roughly 2gillion-hours of silly songs for campfires or van rides (to say nothing of the hymns). I've also got a good repertoire of skits involving good morals and/or dog pee. This summer's DaddyAndDaughter camp taught true fatherly love is expressed when wearing a lopsidedly-bedazzled-cowboy-hat. And every summer Mss. Posie/Cheif instills some of her wisdom and staff-isms in us, concepts like: "Hard fun" and "The night is a whole 'nother day" and "John-boy --What a man!"

Here (in no particular order) are some lessons of a summer-camp-staff-girl:

Showers are not entirely necessary. At a certain point you are coated in enough sweat, soot, sap, and dirt that being one with the earth simply ceases to phase you. Around that point you may be serenaded with "Little black things" more often, but right up until you really really smell bad (or rather smell worse than everyone else) showering is not entirely needed. Especially since jumping in a salty/chemically Pool/Ool is a nearly equivalent to bathing, right?  It rinses off poison ivy and leaves you less dirty, that counts for something.

To follow that up though, showering is a wonderful, blessed, exciting, rewarding thing to do every now and then. You never take a hot shower for granted at camp and any shower over 3 minutes is particularly gratitude-worthy. (As is an extra 7 minutes of sleep). Showers are few and far between, and the chance to shave your legs even more so, but that makes it one of the most amazing feelings when you can finally have smooth-non-tarzan-legs for a few days. Everything is more exciting at camp, even the everyday: hot showers, cold drinks, sleep, food, clean clothes, all those rare wonders we happy-dance for at camp. Real life could use a little more of that gratitude and excitement.

Camp is for the campers is practically a motto of staff. We hear and say it all the time as a reminder. It's simple, it's obvious, but it's also important. I've been a part of other ministries where this guiding principle seems to have been forgotten, where those they are suppose to serve were not the top priority, instead of being there for those they were aiming to serve the organization itself took center stage, or the staff, or a concept like "God's will". (And while I fully support God's will being central, you are not running a ministry for it, you are ministering to those who need your ministry.  If you forget that camp is for the camper, or your group is for the students, or your organization for those in need, it never turns out as well as it could.

"God Does Things" is painted above the door in the dinning hall at camp, three words to sum up why the staff subject ourselves to blood-sucking-bugs, nearly no sleep, very few showers, and endless piggy-back-rides when our backs and bodies would honestly just prefer a nap. Because at camp it is so much easier to see God do things. I've seen him do things the rest of the year too, but everything is more intense in the wilderness. Everything gets louder and you have more time to marvel at all that God does. The same God who lead the Israelites on dry land across the Red Sea and keeps campers safe playing in the creek, He provides comfort, healing, strength and courage, sends rain and rainbows. He does things.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Gopher Guts

 I got home from camp a week ago, so I've enjoyed a whole seven days of air-conditioning, internet, car, cell phone signal, regular showers, and not-waking-up-before-6:30am. Being home is quite snazzy, but there is a ton to miss about the land of mountains, creeks, french-braids, giggles fits, campfires, and campers
Every week of camp has tons of memorable, precious, exclamation-point-worthy-moments. Here are a few of the highlights from this summer. Ask me for more and I'll talk your ear off.

Adventure Course has pretty much always been my favorite rotations and now I'm one of the over-eighteens so I'm certified for the zip-Line. While I was in the crow's nest, one camper in particular was frightened to tears being so high. Talking her over the edge was incredible. Lots of deep breaths and each small step taken one at a time. Despite her nerves she held on to the tether tight and rode the zip-line. You could see her smile the whole way down. When I saw her afterwards she ran over and gave me a huge hug, she was beaming with excitement and pride. She was gushing, "Even my mom didn't think I would do that, cause I'm scared of heights! But I did it! I was so frightened but I did it anyways!" I love that camp is full of those moments when you learn you can do the impossible and that makes you mighty.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Joys of Moving in July

There are a few things that I would generally advise against and strongly encourage you to avoid.
Such as: stepping on an upside-down pin cushion, eating a twizzler dipped in nacho cheese, moving in July.
Particularly moving in July in Maryland.
During a record breaking heatwave.
When the house has no power.

Not that moving in July during a record-setting-heat-wave when the house was air-conditioning-less wasn't a brilliant way to spend a week, I just feel the need to keep all that fun for myself and spare you.
Chinese take-out eaten picnic-style on the floor
because you've already moved the table and chairs
might be the best perk of moving

In addition to the joy of having the unique sensation where you're carrying boxes of books upstairs and everything including one's knees, eyelids, and ears sweating, moving in July did have its moments.
The highlights or moving included the opportunity to defy the laws of physics that theoretically govern our planet, by having the amount of stuff (stuff = books) that fit quite fine in a technically two-bedroom-apartment somehow cover every surface in a practically four-story-house. It was honestly impressive to see. Apparently when you box things up they start taking on characteristics of tribbles and you are quickly overrun (although with less cute squeaks and fuzziness).
So much stuff.
Every (much-bigger-than-the-apartment) room in the house looked like this.
So much stuff.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Internship at Manna, Inc.

I'm sitting at my grown-up desk in a grown-up office at my internship, which is an unpaid-only-half-grown-up-job, but I'm very much enjoying it so far. Part of me still feels like a little kid playing dress-up-and-pretend-office-work. This is due to at least two things: as a child I did indeed play office and you would be impressed by the amount of paperwork my orphanage and/or school of dolls generated -- office supplies were exciting props to play with and they have lost almost none of their exciting sheen in my eyes. And my reflection in the mirror in even very casual business attire doesn't look the lest bit familiar. My other current jobs involve wearing either khaki, black, and green aprons or staff-shirts, long shorts, closed-toed-shoes, and french braids. I may look the part of the summer intern, but I feel like a kid with the coolest pretend job ever. And to top it all off I get to take the train into the city. I love trains. Taking the train in the morning is like a little taste of the epic adventures I've had with trains all over Europe; and it's always good to start off the workday with a tiny taste of adventure.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Moving On by Light Give Heat

Light Gives Heat is a very snazzy organization that decreases world-suck and increases awesome by providing steady employment for women in Uganda and spreading their stories and beautiful products to the rest of the world. Most of my bracelets/ necklaces and purses are from Light Gives Heat and I love them all.  The products are beautiful, the stories are full of hope, and it all equals out to lots and lots of awesome.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Blogging from my phone

Jamie and me in Philly - photo credit to my mom
I'm currently in the car on 95 heading back home from Philly, my mom's driving so don't worry this blogging is not currently endangering my life.  Although I suppose I am slacking off from my navigating duties. She'll manage though. A mini-road-trip was in order since I've been away and after all that travel, I wanted more travel when I got home. Plus Jamie's bright green bag needed to complete the one last leg of its adventure from home to Germany to Galway to Dublin with Jamie, then to Cork with random-ditzy-Irish-strangers, then back to Galway and home with me, and finally many moons later back to Jamie in Philly.  It was a beautiful day for a drive and we got delicious dinner in an old-bank-turned-church-turned-restaurant. Philly is a great city with all its liberty and freedom and I like Delaware's "It's good to be first" and it's nice to be back in Maryland cause it's home even if I miss Galway a bit.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Not Really the Merchant of Venice

Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice could very much hold its own in a fight to be my favorite play, although it would be up against the likes of Henry V, Hamlet, Much Ado, and Pericles so it'd be a great fight. This love for Merchant is due in large part to the first time I saw it performed, because I was lucky enough to have the chance to see it at the Globe Theatre in London. Nothing beats standing right up against the stage as a groundling while Jessica, Portia, Nerissa, the-guy-with-an-Italian-name-I-can-never-remeber-cause-he-was-played-by-an-actor-that-looked-just-like-Wash, and Bassanio all fall in love, exchange posie rings, put on disguises, and use their wits to save the day. Walking back along the Thames to our hotel I was nearly running from giddiness and very much in love.
Source: via Megan on Pinterest
Globe Theatre with its floor of heaven thick inlaid with patens of bright gold

So I love the Merchant of Venice. A lot. And I realize that there most likely won't be another production

Monday, April 30, 2012

Tea and Parsnip Cake

In honor of my roomie Andi's last night here in Galway she had a little tea party with a bunch of the study -broad girls. Since my housemates have been whipping up some amazing meals recently I figured it was my turn to try my hand in the kitchen. I made Parsnip Cake, it turned out pretty amazing so I was quite excited. Tea and biscuits plus parsnip cake and some great girls (with a little Jenna Marble and youtube lessons on Grinding for entertainment) made for a grand night.

I've tried a few of the other recipes posted on the Sorted youtube channel and they've all been amazing.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday Market

Before leaving home for Ireland I was told to try the fresh doughnuts from Saturday Market in Galway. It was truly wonderful advice. Dan-the-doughnut-man makes the doughnuts right there in front of you when you order them. One is only 70cents, but honestly who has the self control to buy only one single doughnut when you can buy 6 for 3.50?

Thursday, April 26, 2012


I love the internet. It allows me to chat face-to-face with friends in different time-zones, countries, and on the other side of a significantly sized ocean. Plus wonderful Youtubers to watch and Facebook to keep me updated on friends' big milestones and little first-world-problems. Though there are exceptions: StumbledUpon = never gotten into it, Tumbler = baffles me, and Twitter = only seems logical with a smartphone.  To be fair though I'd most likely get hooked if I spent a bit of time on them. I didn't understand Pinterest before either, it wasn't that I disliked it or anything. I just sincerely did not grasp what it did.  To solve my befuddlement I spent an afternoon poking around on Pinterest. Although I'm still not positive exactly what purpose it serves, and I'm not fully addicted yet, I was indeed won over by this little bit of brilliance that I came upon:
Source: via Megan on Pinterest

My bedroom, bathroom, couch, and anyone-who-lives-with-me-and-is-to-any-degree-opposed-to-bobby-pins-everywhere would very much benefit from this clever idea.

And I suppose the crafty/home improvement ideas and inspiration side of Pinterest is what makes the most sense to me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cabin in the Woods

'We should split up'  'Yeah'  'Yeah'  'Really?!?'
It was amazing. Full stop.
As the Irish would say, or It was amazing. Period. as the yanks would say. Either way I loved The Cabin in the Woods. And that's saying something because I can count on one hand all of the horror films I've ever watched, much less enjoyed. When the trailer came out I was torn, because I equal parts hate horror films and love Joss Whedon. (Whatever Netflix says, Buffy is not horror. So even if I've given 7 seasons of Buffy and 5 seasons of Angel five stars, I do not need all the horror films suggestions you silly silly site.)  But the 4 euro deal on Tuesdays sold me and I decided to go see it. And yes Cabin in the Woods was a horror films with scenes that made me jump and even got a few surprised squeals out of us, but it was a very knows-that-it's-a-horror-movie-style-Joss-film. I loved the scenes in the hunger-games'-game-master-style-office with the Harbinger of Death on speaker phone. Plus the actors who play Fred and Andrew and Topher popping up made my day. The ending was perfect. And I'm pretty stoked to re-watch it to catch more of his insights about stories. The moral of this story was either keep your shirt on, or it was smoke a lot of weed. Important life lessons all around. My favorite quote was either the last few lines of the film or the Firefly reference of "They may be zombified pain-worshipping backwoods morons" "But they're our zombified pain-worshipping backwoods morons." Did I mention I love Joss Whedon? Cause Joss Whedon is amazing. Full stop.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cliffs with the Consumption Ward

Thursday we took a tour to the Cliff of Moher and the Burren area, despite all my visitors' terrible coughs which sounded like the consumption-ward-choir. We took the same company: Lally Tour (and still got the same driver Martin that we've now had five times on tours of two different regions-- I'm beginning to think their guides are an army of clones) Instead of stopping at the Allwee Caves first like we did when I went with Emily and Katie last month, we stopped at a farm; I think because we had a group on the tour from Dublin for a day-trip to the west coast of Ireland, it was pretty exciting. At the family-farm-turned-family-farm-with-tours-and-fresh-pie-to-boot.  We got a nice little tour of the farm, and a fun walk up the hill behind the farm-house so we could see more of the burren landscape. Burren comes from the Irish for "rocky-place" which is a ten-points-for-captain-obvious sort of name. Yet, despite how rocky it is the limestone covering the area holds in heat and water allowing a huge range of plants to thrive. Everything from Alpine-wild-flowers-like-blue-genetry to palm-trees can grow in the Burren since it nearly never frosts. Our guide explained the fairy-tree where you tie something to a branch and leave your problem behind, and ruins of seven churches and the famine walls-- stone walls you can see crossing over all the mountains dividing nothing from nothing and keeping nothing out of anything, they were built for woolly-brained-land-lords in exchange for soup during the Great Famine.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Oysters of awesomeness

At the Museum Cafe with cake and salad, a well balanced meal.  
We started out the day by getting breakfast at Griffins Cafe and it was delicious. This was a theme for the day, food which was delicious. Sadly the hard-core-Ireland-cough-germs started to get the best of my lil-bro and my dad so they headed back to the hotel to rest up, while my big-bro and sis-in-law and I headed back to the Galway Museum since it was not Monday and therefore it was open. We checked out the exhibits and then got super-duper-delicious snacks from the Kitchen Cafe downstairs of the museum.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Good Day, Bad Weather

After the Aran Islands with Jamie and Jessie, it seems like a fun trip to go on with my family guests as well. The forecast for the entire week was heavy storms, but we decided to chance it. The weather got the best of us in that wager. It started out with extremely choppy water all the way over. On the ferry to Inis Mor we confirmed that McCormack-genes do not come with sailor-stomachs standard issued.  Having already taken my turn with puking on the ship, I braced myself by the railing with the sea spray while everyone else fought or gave into the puking. At least the little boy sitting behind us enjoyed the ups-and-downs-and-side-to-sides with glee-full-giggles and happy little squeals.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Shop Street and a Bloody Window

We deciphered most of the Bible
stories in the stain-glass-windows. 
AJ found a book written by
his alter-ego WJ McCormack
 We spent the day in Galway with breakfast at Revive Cafe, then Shop Street for T. Dillon's: the official-and-original-makers-of-the-Claddagh-Ring, Charlie Bryne: the best book store ever, St. Nick's: the really old church, and the Cathedral: the really big church, and the Spanish Arch and other sights around Galway. The cathedral has a stain-glass-window with the world's bloodiest ever scene of Cain and Able, it was quite intense-- so much red!!! Turns out the little Galway Museum is closed on Mondays, but everything else was open until 6 or 7 when everything here starts closing. (A little early in my huble opintion) We got dinner at the King's Head -- a pub in the old stone house built by the executioner of King Charles II. And the crazy impressive sheets of rain didn't start until we were safely back inside for the night, wonderful timing on the part of the clouds.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Blogging from a bus

Both GoBus and CityLink have direct Galway to Dublin routes, complete with not only bathrooms, but also free wifi, what more could a traveler need?
So although today is not done yet, I'm going to post, cause I find it pretty cool that I can connect to the inter-webs while rolling down the road at some-amount-of-kilometers-an-hour. And it's the 15th so I've officially Blogged-Half-The-Month-of-April! Yay for BEDA milestones.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

Last time I visited Dublin with Jamie and Jessie it went Therefore I returned to Dublin visit with my brothers and sis-in-law and all on Friday the 13th, a day known for it's luck-y-ness right? No? oh... dear me.

Regardless, after my day of rest on I got up early on Friday and took the GoBus back to Dublin were I met up with everyone at the hotel. We got some fish and chips for lunch and headed to Trinity College to see the space-alien-sphere and the Book of Kells. We stopped along the way at the General Post Office where the 1916 Easter uprising started.

The Book of Kells s quite impressive and it makes me wish I had handwriting that nice.  I've decided that if I could just move in a back corner of Old Library to live, I would be quite content for the rest of my life. So many rows of gorgeous books! And beautiful  arched ceilings! And slidy-beauty-and-the-beast-library-ladders! And spiral staircases!!!  On top of all that amazingness there was even a book on display from the 1600s with a picture of a Viceroy Tulip that pretty much made my day. (Yay for Fault in Our Stars!)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles

Star's face is cause she is in the middle of
Looking for Alaska, Monique's is cause
 we've been traveling a lot. a lot a lot. 

The five of us spent one last night in in mega-bed. Then we had a wonderful breakfast with our splendid hosts Wednesday morning. It was quite sad to leave them (and Italy as a whole as well.) We packed up all our stuff (plus a handful of new scarves) and hit the road around 12:20. We walked briskly, but not full-on-panicked-ly to the metro and then took that to the Turino train station, Porto Nouvo. Having mastered the ticket machine in Rome we quickly purchased our ticket and were able to board at the very closest platform (karma was trying to make up for Rome).

On our first train from Turin to Milan, the Italian girl across the aisle from us was being bugged by two gypsies and it turns out they stole her wallet and all out of her purse which really sucked. But I have to say that the half a dozen guys who jumped up to defend her pretty much made my day, the guys also helped her out when she realized she was robbed. It was really nice to see them help her out. I had a slight run-in with a meany-pants-train-ticket-guy who charged me for having my feet on the seat across from me, just because he could (sticky out tongue face)

Monday, April 9, 2012


We left Florence around midnight on Saturday. After a long night of traveling, with 3 trains, a little too much time in Pisa's station, a pickpocket-attempt involving dirty socks, a couple of movies on my laptop, not much sleep, and a lot of giggles we arrived in Turin. The Grove City girls here have an adorably Italian apartment with 100 year old wardrobes, chandlers, very tall ceilings, and tiger-print-blankets to boot. It is quite exciting to visit them. Last night we went out to Superga -- a beautiful hilltop with an amazing view of the city. We took the last bus of the night up the windy-road; but walking back down was completely worth it since we arrived right at sunset and enjoyed our Easter-dinner-picnic while watching the sun settle behind the mountains.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Thoughts About the Ear Story

Happy Easter ! I'm going to get a little theological -- or something like that. This is a mixture of a little bit of my thoughts and a large dose of the campfire talk given by my wonderful Assistant Program Director at camp last summer. (So not my ideas originally and not told as well as by Jabo, but here's my thoughts).
File:Caravaggio - The Incredulity of Saint Thomas.jpg
Not only risen, but also genuinely open to poking as well as doubting.
Caravaggio's painting of St. Thomas -- I've got a serious crush on Caravaggio as well, I love his paintings in Rome.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Firenze Day Two

*side note* A few of my friends and a handful of the You Tubers I love do BEDA (= Blog Every Day in April). This year I’m traveling and then will have visitors for the majority of April. Kind of a good reason to skip BEDA, but on the other hand it’s also the type of month I’ll want a record of, so I’m blogging everyday-ish in April. The internet is not always available, but I’ll post all the days eventually. For example, this post I typed up on the train north from Florence late Saturday night.
Best ever place to read, and Song of Myself makes me want to re-read Papertowns 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Rome -> Florence

We started Thursday with a delicious Italian breakfast of cappuccino and fresh pastries (significantly different from a full Irish Breakfast), then the three of us stopped by a few last sights in Rome. Such as the Pantheon, Trevi fountain, Piazza Novena, and the Spanish Steps—with daylight, and then we tried to see the bone church with the capuchin crypt, but when we found it the 11:30-3:00 lunch hour foiled those plans. But hey, you have to leave something to see next time right?

After finding a store for lunch and snack foods, we took the metro to Termini to catch our train to Florence. The board listed platforms for all the other trains departed; all except our train, of course. That’s where the adventure comes in! Our train to Florence departed from not one, two, three, four, or thirteen, but from “ES2”. I asked the nice Tren-Italia-man what that meant and he said that ES1 and ES2 are the platforms all the way down past all the other platforms, and then to the right, and all the way down past trains at the very end. We had time to calmly stamp our ticket and board the train, if our train departed from a normal platform. Instead we got to briskly-but-not-quite-full-panic-ly walk from one corner of Termini to the farthest possible point of Termini, completely with a short more-like-panic-full-run at the end which got us boarding the train at exactly 3:13 for our departure of 3:14. It’s not nearly as romantic as all those movies make it seem to hop onboard right as the train pulls away, but that could just be because there was no rain, dramatic music, or beautiful boy waving goodbye to us as we left him behind.

We very much enjoyed resting on the train and then we arrived in Florence around 7pm. Star’s friend from Grove City met us at the station to show us back to their flat, which is up so many steps it makes one appreciate the “Mt Everest of stairs” up to Star and Monique’s room in Galway. We enjoyed the sunset from the roof with a sea of red terracotta roofs all around us, quite a wonderful spot to sit. For dinner we got heaping servings of amazing Italian anti-pastas and pastas galore. It was family-style loads of food for 15 euros, including really nice house wine too, so it was very much worth it. Plus there was a quick stop for gelato on the way home, of course. Although it is always sad to leave the Eternal City, Florence is great as well. 
One last Old Bridge Gelato before we left town