Sunday, November 12, 2017

November? Already?

In one way I'm thrilled this year has gone so quickly. It's been a helluva year.

In another way, I'm stunned at what I didn't get done this year. More importantly I have lost myself somewhere along the way.

A friend had a birthday party last night and I felt myself not wanting to go. I wanted to help him celebrate his BIG birthday and then the other side of my was so exhausted that I didn't want to leave the house.

This not wanting to leave the house has been around all year, if not slightly more. I am 100% positive it has to be with being burned out.

Thankfully a decision was made on Thursday that will help with this issue. They won't be promoting me to a manager at work and are not sure what direction that group will be moving into. There may be an option down the road, but for now, it's not going to happen.

Oddly that decision made me feel ok. I at least have an answer and now I can move forward.

Part of that moving forward will be to slowly remove any "management" type tasks off my plate. I've started by making a list and will discuss with the boss. I'm tired of doing the work for something that isn't going to promote me. I was ok putting in the hours to "prove myself". Now? Not so interested. I cannot continue to let them take advantage of me and my lack of being able to set any boundaries.

It won't happen overnight that's for sure. I'm planning to have sloughed off the extra management work by Jan 1st.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

And On and On and On...

Titling posts is hard for me. Especially when it's a post about nothing in particular.

Yesterday was another weigh in at JC. I'm down 5.5 lbs. Last week was not my best week. I learned a lot about why you need to stay on plan. Why you need to eat everything listed for the day. Turns out it helps your metabolism. Which I knew, logically, but apparently forgot.

My JC consultant is quite the woman. She's been what I call a JC survivor for 12 years and she's kept all the weight off. I feel like I've become her little project. She was the same consultant I saw 3 years ago and 2  years beyond that. She knows me.

Yesterday she said something to me while I was lamenting about some of the food that I don't like. She said, "Eat to live." She went on to say that I'm so used to eating for the joy and that's why I'm in the position I'm in. If, however, I consider eating to live and being OK if it's something you may not like that much, is it worth it? Will it be worth it?


I hadn't thought of it that way. It's a very interesting concept and one I'm going to need to think about.

She was also impressed that I'm journaling this adventure.  I have found it I write down my thoughts throughout the week, I can remember to think about them. I'm going to be digging deep to get some of this mental crap out of me. I know I eat and rationalize food because of how I was trained growing up and how I've trained myself. That's years worth of habit and non thoughtful eating.

In other news, I went wine tasting yesterday. Wine is not on JC, but I gave myself yesterday to have some treats. Wine is a treat. The Yank and PhotoGirl and I hit a couple of wineries then stopped for a bit. It was, as always, a blast hanging out with them. They have such knowledge of wine that I just listen to them and try to remember what they've said.

Week three is in front of me. I've got my plan. I've got my groceries. I'm ready to go. I think I can make it to the gym 5 times this week. I'm gonna try anyhow.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Week One is in the bag

Week one of my new journey is in the bag. And I feel great. I'm very aware that the first weeks comes with a motivation that can be challenging to carry with you.  My consultant told me I had an EXCEPTIONAL week and she was right.

I am down 4.8 lbs for the week. But beyond the lbs lost is how good I felt last week.

It was Tuesday when I realized as I was closing my eyes that I felt good. Inside. I felt like my brain was more clear and that I just felt better.

It was Thursday when I realized I hadn't had a tums all week. There must be something to this eating healthy thing. :-)

By Friday I realized two things:
1. I was going to be bored of fruit pretty quickly and needed something else to do about he 5 servings of fruit a day.
2. I had done the whole week! And without very much effort.

As is the case for me, and I know this from years of experience, that planning is the key for me. So planning I will do.

My goal for this next week is to stay the course. I'm less concerned by the # of lbs lost and more interested in how good I felt. My brain was functioning again.

What also made me smile this last week was the amount of support I am getting from all directions. Friends and family have watched me flounder, be successful, flounder some more. And through it all they had my back. I am loved.

My other big thing I did last week is I set a boundary at work. Setting boundaries is easy for me. Simple really. Keeping them is the hard part. I had been clocking over 55 hours of work a week for weeks, months really. I'm done with that. Part of "fixing" the burnt out-ness is setting boundaries. So last week my boundary was the computer is shut at 7pm. It worked well because that's when I scheduled to go to the gym. But by and large, that was all I was going to give.  IF I wasn't in meetings all day I could think about leaving my computer AT work. But since I am in meetings all day and still have to service my clients, there is a need to work in the evenings.

I also started giving due dates to my clients farther out than I normally do. Instead of, "Sure I can have that to you by tomorrow". It's been, "Sure I can do that. I'll have it to you in 5 days." Most people didn't complain at all. And it set me up to not be so frantic every night. Win!

This next week, I'm sure, will have some issue crop up that will try to sideline me. And if it does, I'll find a way to deal with it. But, with the plan I may not need to "deal" with anything.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Off I go...

If you're reading this, then you've likely been reading my blog for some time and/or you know me pretty well and therefore you know my struggle with weight. A lot has happened over the last several years that just made me not care anymore. Turns out … I have all the symptoms of someone who’s burned out. One of the symptoms is no real care for one’s self. And I am testament for that one symptom.

Recently a friend shared with me an article about being burned out. I read it with a half eye thinking, "I'm not burned out. Surely I would know..." Yah,'s great. 

Emotional exhaustion is one of the symptoms and it's friends fatigue, insomnia, forgetfulness, impaired concentration and attention ride along as shot gun.  This entire gang has been hanging with me and I didn't even notice. 

Fatigue explains my lack of energy to do anything. Being physically and emotionally exhausted, drained and depleted are all cousins to this. And all things I've been feeling. 

Insomnia hasn't been huge, but I do have trouble staying asleep several times a week. 

Forgetfulness / impaired concentration and attention. Hi! The story of my life. I've been joking with people at work about my memory and never considered that it was from being burned out. 

The other items on the list that I have felt and "enjoyed" over the last year. Loss of enjoyment, pessimism, isolation and detachment.

Huh. Check. Check. Check and Check. 

Loss of enjoyment is a big one for me, along with isolation. Things I used to love doing, I no longer wanted to do. And I would prefer to spend time by myself because I'm so tired of people and thinking. Consequently, I've managed to push people out. And people who know me are probably thinking this didn't sound like me. What they didn't know is even though I was going out with them, the entire time all I wanted to do was be at home...alone.

Now that I know what's going on with me...I've made some decisions to fix myself. It’s taken me since Ireland to really wrap my head around what I want to do with myself. And fully understanding what I NEED to do with myself.

Today I took that step. It likely isn’t the step any of you would take, but it’s one that has worked for me in the past and one that I need to do to get a kick start in eating healthy.

My goal…to not be the weakest link/slowest person in Scotland. I want to not miss anything. I want to take that extra walk around the block to see another cathedral.

What that means to me in # of lbs lost, I have no idea. I’m not interested in putting in a number…yet. I’m interested in health. But, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I am planning on 20 -30 lbs by December. Most likely closer to 20, but why not stretch myself? I’d like to be 40 down by Scotland. 1-2 lbs a week is 32 by Dec 31st.

I’m tell you all because you are the ones who know me the best and who are my most vocal cheerleaders. So here we go. 36 weeks to Scotland…

Sunday, September 17, 2017

2017 Seattle 3Day...sorta

For almost 10 years we've been participating in the 3Day in some way. From 2007 when BigBro walked it solo, to 2008 when Blueberry and I laced up our shoes to walk. To all the years after that I spent a small fortune on decorations for the car. It's been fun. And each year we plan and look forward to this event.

Last year, because of crazy medical things, our team ended up not walking. Blueberry and I stalked the Seattle walkers. I determined it was just not the same when a family member wasn't walking. There's something about searching our YOUR walker that made it fun.

This year non of the Wraspir's were walking Seattle. Ugh.

That coupled with the fact that the 3Day, on a whole, has gone down hill. It's become a business instead of the "family" feeling it was when we started. The leadership of the 3Day hasn't done it any favors either. They've "tried" so many things to get walkers out there, but none seem to be working. In 2008 there was over 3700 walkers. There were 450 this weekend.

Still, I went out yesterday and spent the morning with our favorite stalkers, the Lil' Smokies.

I brought out the flamingo costume this year. It was just cool enough

The Princesses and one Pilot joined us.

Seattle Police were out on the route again this year.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

What a Weekend

Snap! The weekend is over just like that. Yesterday I spent the majority of the day working. I got caught up ... mostly. There are still a few things I need to take care of and am spending the morning today doing that.

Later in the evening, we all met at the Keg for Janet's birthday dinner. We've been doing this birthday thing at the keg for YEARS. The birthday person gets a free dinner, and the rest of us get to spend the evening chatting.

Tonight is Sunday dinner. I'm doing a Low Country Boil. I saw this on The Kitchen several weeks ago and thought it'd be a blast. Tonight I have 15 people coming to dinner. FIFTEEN! I love these big dinners. It reminds me of family times growing up. There was never a quite weekend evening at our house. We were either hosting a dinner or going to someone's for dinner.

I've still been doing these Lists for 30 days. I'm a day or two behind, but here's the most recent ones.

Sept 3 - Favorite Treats to Have on Hand
1. Popcorn
2. Reese's Pieces
3. Chips. Love my chips
4. Coffee, ice tea
5. A Good Book
Funny how there's nothing healthy on that list...

Sept 4 - I Feel My Best When...
1. I'm around family
2. I'm scrapbooking / being creative
3. I'm cooking
4. I'm alone with my thoughts

Sept 5 - My Excuses for Being Late...
1. I'm never late...

Sept 6 - Please Don't Ask Me To...
1. Eat Bell Peppers
2. Clean up vomit
3. Stay put when a bee's around

Sept 7 - My Go To Outfits...
1. I don't have any

Sept 8 - Books To Read Over and Over Again...
1. Don Quixote
2. GlobeTrotter
3. Wuthering Heights

Sept 9 - Newest Additions to my Home...
1. Mom and Dad's Camel Stool
2. Mom and Dad's Iranian rugs

Sept 10 - Ways to Disconnect...
1. this is a list that is foreign to me...

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Day 1 and Day 2 of Lists

This list thing is a bit different than I originally though. I was excited to see the list of lists I'm going to make this month, but didn't realize the ladies in this group were going to take it to the whole next level and SCRAP each list each day. They make their lists all fancy and what not.

I did not for my first list. I literally just wrote it down in my Bullet Journal. The Bullet Journal I started this year with making it so pretty. Drawing things. Making lists to check things off over the year (like the books I was going to read, or the new things I was going to try). Then Mom happened and I lost all desire to do anything creative.

For a long time....

Suddenly in June, around her 6 month mark, I was ready to start being more crafty than ever. A switch was flipped in me. I missed being crafty and I was sure that by not doing it I was making myself not happy. So I started scrapping again.

I have this crazy goal to use up my entire scrapbook stash. If you've ever seen my room, then you know that's the funniest thing you've ever heard.

In August, I made a goal to do one scrappy thing every day in my room.  It could be as simple as rearranging my Thickers. Or it could be scrapping an entire page. I didn't get to it every day, but I'm proud to say I got the majority.

Now back to the list thing. I doubt I'll get as creative as these ladies, but I like the idea of making a list.

Day 1 Theme: But First...
1. Kitty snuggles
2. Coffee
3. Get to work
4. Emails, meetings and such
5. Lather - Rinse - Repeat

When I first jotted down this list I put coffee first, then realized that no kitty snuggles always come first. Firs thing in the morning, they aren't really awake yet, so I can grab them and snuggle them. To say they hate that is putting it mildly. EVERY MORNING, I grab one. Hug it close to my chest and say, "I'm going to love and squeeze you and call you George". It's a line from a Bugs Bunny cartoon that I'm sure I have all wrong.

Day 2 Theme:  I'm Excited For...
1. Scrapping all day with Janet
2. Morning coffee with a good book
3. Fall's coming
4. Change that's coming
5. The Carnitas in the crock pot

This one I decorated slightly...but still not at all like the rest of the group is doing. Except this one lady...she is quite literally putting her list on sticky notes every day. And I love the simplicity of that.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Lists Lists and More Lists

There are a couple of things most people who know me well know about me.

1. I have a very strange need to collect pens.
2. I have that same very strange need to collect journaling notebooks. (They're so many pretty ones).
3. I am the queen of lists.

The two of those strange needs together go well. Like peanut butter and jelly. Or Abbot and Costello. Or Rif and Raf. you get the picture. So it should be of no surprise that I'm stepping into the ring of a new challenge for September.

The 30 Days of Lists challenge.
Now, it's not exactly what you think it is. Its not actually making a list every day for 30 days. Instead its a list of topics to write about for 30 days.

I like lists.

I like to write.

It seems like a good fit. So, starting Sept 1st I'm going to "try" to keep with it for 30 days. Should be interesting.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Happy Friday...

I'm taking today off to go see the Terracotta Warriors with the Braspir's. Seattle SIL, Janet, asked me months ago and I poo poo'd it and said something along the lines of, "Blech. Boring." Then as I witnessed some amazing photos and read the history on them I was bummed I passed it over.

Fast forward a month or two when Mrs. Braspir asked if I wanted to go...needless to say I jumped at the chance. I'm looking forward to some down time with people I love.

This has been an extraordinarily hard week for me. I wish I could explain how and why Mom has been on the top of my mind and making me very sad. Didn't seem like anything that should have triggered the grief, but then we all know that anything can trigger it.

Then Wednesday happened. I got a raise. Yay. Except it was WAY smaller than I was 1) expecting and 2) think I deserve. It disappointed me and, frankly, broke my heart a little and made me feel like the value I have with the company is less than I thought, or they said. Now, I am VERY thankful for the raise. Don't get me wrong, but it didn't even equal my previous raise (2 years ago) when I was doing half as much as I am now.

And all I wanted to do is call Mom. She'd listen. She'd complain with me. She'd be as upset as I was.

But I couldn't. And I had a heck of a time keeping the tears from coming...

A friend posted this and it hit home ...with a vengeance

"Alright, here goes. I'm old. What that means is that I've survived (so far) and a lot of people I've known and loved did not. I've lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can't imagine the pain it must be to lose a chiled. But here's my two cents. 

I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to ‘not matter.’ I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it.

Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.

As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph.

Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.

In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out.

But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.

Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O’Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself.

And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.

Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.”

So yah...that pretty much says it all.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Total Eclipse of the Heart

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has this song stuck in their noggin with the solar eclipse in just a couple of days.

This is a total solar eclipse and they say most people may only see one in their lifetime. I'm 100% convinced this will be my second.

I have a vague memory of creating a box to view the eclipse in elementary school - I think 4th grade.  Folks have been posting the DIY for these boxes and it tossed me back to this memory. I had to ask some elementary friends because I can't determine if it is a memory or do I think it's a memory. This happens a lot.

Work update. Still busy. Still overworked. Still love my job. We're trying, desperately, to find PMs to replace the one's that have moved on.

The world is in another state of crazy. There was a white supremeist broohaha in Charlottesville that turned violent and resulted in some deaths. Then that sparked a whole new broohaha around the nation. The hatred out there is getting depressing.

I did read on FB recently a post about if the average American talked to their neighbor they'd realize the crazy in the world isn't nearly as much as you hear on the news. I suppose that's true. Maybe I'll talk to my neighbors.

Mom's been on my mind a lot lately. She's always "on my mind", but recently she's been in the forefront. I miss her so much that sometimes I can barely breathe. She was such an integral part of my life and to have that removed there are days I just don't know what to do. I don't cry, or sob, or wail, too often. Sometimes just a single tear will fall, but most of the time I just force myself to not cry. Which I'm sure will come back to haunt me some day.

The Seahawks started playing last night and I could almost hear her screaming from heaven. I wanted, so badly, to call her and talk to her about the crazy stuff in the game - truthfully I wanted to call and talk to her about Bennett sitting during the National Anthem. She used to get so irritated when that happened.

So to sum is about the same as always.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

July went by in like 5 minutes

Hard to believe July 4th was the last time I wrote. When I say time is flying, I really mean time is warp-speeding by. We're in  August people!

Let's see what has happened since July 4th.

I worked.

I worked some more...

Oh and I worked...

Its gotten crazy again. I lost two PMs at a time we are slammed. Q3 and Q4 are our busies times and it's proving to be the same this year. Thank God I still love my job.

I'm learning to have tough conversations though. I've had some conflicts on the team I've had to resolve and it's no fun. It's gotten easier though. I learned to just talk about facts and not emotions.

The next problem I have to face is getting management to listen to me. Baby steps.

Since I last wrote, I bought a new Mustang. Meet Wroamin'.

I love this car. I went in to test drive and was looking for a new Mustang with some of the new navigation features. What I ended up with is this beast of a 310 HP car.  It's FAST...and smooth all built in one.

I'm naming it Wroamin' cuz mom used to call us the Wroamin' Wraspirs. So this is my nod to her. She would LOVE this car...I could almost hear her saying "Hot damn."

Today, Blueberry and I took Wroamin' on the first official Wroad trip (see what  I did there?) We headed up north to have lunch with a friend and his wife. We stopped at this fantastic little Mexican hole in the wall called Mariposa Taqueria in Edison, Wa. Oh was so damn good. So authentic. I'd drive all that way for a taco any day. After we followed friend P and his wife S through some of the back roads of that area. He sure knew the back roads and it was beautiful!

And this car...loves the wroad. I can't wait to go out again...

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy 4th Of July Everyone

Hard to believe it's the 4th of July. Yet here we are ... sitting and waiting for the fireworks display at O'dark 30 tonight. That's what I love about Seattle, and what I hate...fireworks start so late.

It's been a couple of weeks now since vacation and I'm still wishing I had more time off. I really don't feel like I got much of a relaxing vacation, but then again, I guess I knew that going in. Jet lag hit me hard on the way back. Harder than it has before. I survived. And SIL and I are discussing our next great adventure. May be more people involved this time, so it might me even LESS relaxing...bring it on.

I did learn one very important thing about myself this trip and that is I MUST get back to the gym. I was sad at how quickly I tired out. And, truthfully, a bit embarrassed at myself. I hate being tired and not being able to see what I want to see, or worry that I've missed something because I'm too tired to walk two more blocks.

So what am I doing about it? Getting to the gym for starters. Taking the lead from The Niece who's gone to the gym for like 30 days in a row and who's got her health on track. If a young'in can do it, I surely can. I HAVE to make my health a priority. It'll take a little to get into that habit, but baby steps are still steps.

Missed mom this week, a lot. I unpacked a box that had some of her journals. I made the BIG mistake of reading her journal for the year after dad passed. She was so sad and alone. I knew she was, but didn't really fully understand her sadness until I read her words. Broke my heart a little. I knew there was nothing I could do for her to make it feel better, but it's still hard to read the pain from someone you love. Of course the year following BigBro passed and that really set her down a depressed path.

I also found her report cards. Can I just say? My mother was not the straight A student she said she was. I did find it amusing she got just "satisfactory" scores in penmanship. She had the best handwriting to me.  She got C's in I know where I get that from.

Finally finished all my Ireland photos and am going to post them ALL on Flickr. Over 1200 photos that I "fixed" this year. Took over 3000 and dumped over half.

Oh, and I bought a new camera. While on vacation one of the camera people on the trip had a smallish camera that he shared photos with me from. The screen was so clear and the photos so fantastic that I wrote down the model.

When I got home I did more research on it. I read review after review after review. Amazon had the review that tilted me to hit the purchase button. A guy who had the same Canon DSLR I have bought this little camera because he was tired of carrying the big camera (sound familiar?). He then posted photos of the same photos taken with the Canon and the Lumix. The Lumix in some cases were almost better.

Meet my Lumix DMZ ZS100.  It's not a cheap camera. It has leica glass which makes a HUGE difference in cameras. It's high end and worth the extra $$. The camera is "heavy" but not HEAVY like the DSLR. And so far it's taken some fantastic photos of the demons.

SOOTC (Straight out of the camera)

These were taken immediately after I charged the battery and hadn't read any of the manual yet. The camera is easy to use and allows for adjusting exposure. It has several scenes on it that are easy to access. Overall, with the very little I've played with it, I love it. Next Saturday Megaroonie and I are going to go on a little photo stroll to take some shots with it.

Sunday, June 25, 2017 was hard

Ireland was truly a blast. It was a whirlwind, too many things to remember, food eating, beer drinking, kind of vacation. Trying to remember everything we did is futile. Thank god I blog.

I've spent the week getting back into the swing of things at work. I got the best compliment from leadership last week. One of the directors said to me that I should feel proud of my team. It's a good leadership quality to have a team that works so efficiently WITHOUT the leader.

I can say, it is the first vacation I've gone on in a couple of years where I didn't feel guilty and I knew my team would have everything under control.

The week went by quickly and I think I'm finally got my act together at work.

Then on Friday I found out TWO of my PMs are moving on. One, internally, to another PM role in another line of business. And I'm so thrilled for him. He'll do a great job for that group.

The second announcement was a bit more shocking. One of my relatively new PMs has taken a role at another company. She wasn't looking and was head-hunted by a former boss.

So my work life balance is going to go back into crazy town. Oh goody.

The Demons were thrilled for me to be home. For at least 4 days they didn't leave my side. The two of them did everything they could to be on my lap or on me somehow. I think I was missed. I'm not sure why since they were being cared for by someone who spoils them more than me. Still I missed the little beasties too.

I've spent the week trying to get my photos organized, processed and posted. I took over 2700 photos. Once I went through all of them I kept about 1200...and of those, I'll probably only post about 300 give or take.

I did do pretty goo with my scavenger hunt too. I'll be posting those sometime this week.

So we're back to reality, whatever that reality is. Now I need to save $$ and vacation for our next big adventure...

Sunday, June 18, 2017

To Ireland and Back Again

Well, that's a wrap. We did Ireland and can check that off our list. Lots of talk yesterday on our way home about our next trip.

The trip home was LONG. Not only was our flight out of Shannon 2 hours delayed (which we discovered when we got to the airport), but on the flight from JFK we sat on the plane for 1 and a half hours. They said there was "traffic" ... we were number 27 in line for take off. Ugh.

The plus side of the plane ride home from JFK was that the Sounder players were on our plane. A bunch of them...My favorite goalie Stefan sat one row in front of me.

As I was sitting in my chair on the plane yesterday I was thinking about how incredible this trip was. It was a whirlwind, no doubt, and I'm sure I can't remember 90% of what we saw, but man Ireland is beautiful...inside and out.

The people of Ireland were so friendly, welcoming and a joy to speak with. There's a long standing relationship between Ireland and America. So many people immigrated during the great famine that Ireland has some strong bonds with the US. The land of opportunity.  We heard so many stories about the immigration, the hardship of it and the glory of it. Families split apart by an ocean, but still keeping in touch as much as they could. Young people sent away from their homeland on "coffin ships" so that they could possibly have a better life. Imagine how hard that  must have been for the family left behind?

The Irish love their food and their culture. We ate so many potatoes on this last trip. It became kinda a joke with us. "Yes, I'll have potatoes, with a side of potatoes." Lots of mashed potatoes.  I had a Beef and Guinness stew over mashed potatoes. The stew had potatoes in it too. I loved it.

Their beef...oh my word was their beef good. Very beefy tasting. They love their livestock. The hills were scattered with sheep and cows. Our tour guide gave us all the names of the cows as we passed them and I only remember a few.

The Kerry cattle were everywhere. All black cows. Along side of them were the Friesian cattle...basically what we call Holsteins. And then my favorite,...the Belted Galloway. They look like Oreo cookies.

Sheep Sheep everywhere. That was what I thought throughout the trip. And somehow I wanted to photograph them constantly. It's like I've never seen a sheep before. These were my favorite types of sheep though...the Highway Is Bumpy Sheep.

What we didn't see were goats. For some reason I thought we'd see goats. We saw one goat along side of the road where a traveler was selling his items and had a goat as a pet.

Cats were another thing we didn't see too many of. Dogs everywhere, but no cats. Janet saw one and I saw one from a distance. We asked our tour guide and she said people have them, but they generally keep them in doors. So that explains it. I guess.

Horses were all over the place too. We saw so many out in the fields, but they were often farther from the highway and we were unable to photograph them.

So somehow this blog turned out to be about their animals when I started talking about the Irish people. Weird how my jet lagged brain works.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Galway - That's a Wrap!

That's a wrap. Today our adventure in Ireland ended in Galway.

We woke, way too early, to get a head start on seeing the last few things in Galway. Started by visiting a church - shocking I know - that was finished in 1965. They consider it a "new" church having been completed in this century. All the other churches we've seen have been finished in the 17th and 18th centuries.

After checking out the church, we took a trip out to Connemara Marble company. Their marble is beautiful and green. Its only found in this part of the word and people often confuse it with jade. The rich colors were so fantastic. I wanted to take a slab home.

We finished our day with a walk about Galway, another medieval town. After our tour we stopped and had our final beer and lunch in Ireland.  We stopped at The King's Head and had a brisket meal that was outstanding. Both Janet and I are about done with fish...for now.

So that's a wrap. Tomorrow we head to Shannon to take the plane back home. It's been a whirlwind vacation and my brain is officially full of Irish facts and history. None of which I can remember, but I know it's in there. I'll likely spend the next week or two or four putting my brain back together after this trip.

So fare thee well Ireland. You've been a fantastic host.