Monthly Archives: June 2006

IS JON STEWART A DANGER? [MSNBC]

So I’m getting my fix of the daily show (I’ve had a really crappy morning — my car has a coolant leak, so I had to call AAA to tow it to the dealer to be fixed $$$, and then we have this bully cat — we call her Growly — in our neighborhood. Tillie always has through the window fights with her on the porch. She’s a fierce defender of her territory. So I heard the window fight and went out to chase Growly away, and Tillie attached my leg, breaking skin in about 15-20 places. Dark blood began running down my leg, and it still hurts — poor Heidi — so I needed my Daily Show fix), and I see Jon Stewart shows a clip from MSNBC with the headline “IS JON STEWART A DANGER?” Only, Jon Stewart doesn’t play what they’re saying on the clip, so I did a little search to find it on Alternet. I can see he didn’t play the sound, because it was pretty silly, but you should watch the video. It keeps showing these pictures of Stewart over and over — and I think they’re trying to make him look ominous, but it’s pretty silly. Anyway, clearly he’s striking a nerve. And it is laughable to me that the host is flabbergasted that 18-34 yr olds feel they can’t trust the media. I call that an education.

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Updated Travel Posts

I updated the Ireland posts below. There are now photos and links. Enjoy!

Double Feature

As I mention below, Sujal and I went to see a double feature today — sort of our own lefty double feature: An Inconvenient Truth and A Prairie Home Companion. PHC was decent, though I was a bit baffled about why they tried to even provide the plot they did. we chuckled a lot during the film, just as we do when we listen to the show. Again, it was decent, but I think life will go on if you do not see it.

Meryl Streep is great as is Lily Tomlin (and even Lindsay Lohan). Streep and Tomlin nail the Minnesotan zeitgeist.

An Inconvenient Truth

Holy crap! Go see this flic. Sujal and I went to see a double feature today — more on that in the above post. The first flic we saw was An Inconvenient Truth. It was a very good documentary, and it made us sad that a). Gore will not be running again b). Bush stole the election.

In the documentary, Al Gore clearly explains global warming. I never really knew the specifics behind it nor the full impact, so it really helped me to understand more fully. At the end, I leaned over and asked Sujal what he thought about both of us selling our cars and buying one super fuel efficient vehicle. I knew he wouldn’t bee super warm to the idea, and he wasn’t. But truly, I do not need a car. I’ve been thinking about the Yaris, which gets 34/40 miles per gallon. I thought it was a it better, but I guess it could be better still. The Prius seems like a good option. Frankly, It’s only a few thousand more than my Jetta, and the tax incentive completely offsets that difference. Anyway, the the flic is good. Go see it.

My only complaint might be that it shows glaciers years ago vs. now and how they’ve shrunk, but it does not say the time of year. If it showed a picture of Glacier National Park in 1960 in the winter and then in 2005 in the winter, it would pack that much more of a punch than the unlabeled pictures. But frankly, they are pretty powerful nonetheless. We all can and should make a difference. See the flic website for tips on how to emit less greenhouse gas.

I almost forgot — there was a lovely moment of irony before the flic began when the theater ran a Mazda car ad. What the hell are they thinking?

Jiggity-Jig (days 12 and 13)

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig.

In our final hours in Ireland, the end of day 12, we all went out to the Indian restaurant. I don’t recall the name, but it was near the Town Hall Theatre, and it’s a damn good Indian restaurant, unlike the one in Dublin. We were the loud, obnoxious group of 15 Americans. It was a lovely birthday dinner. Actually, I had a pretty good birthday — had two rounds of singing, and the kids all chipped in and got me an Aran sweater. I knew I was getting it, because they asked me to pick it out, so of course it was in the most excellent taste. Jeff got a surprise. The kids had consulted me on the beautiful walking stick and Irish cap they gave him, and he was thrilled. It was a lovely moment of gratitude. Which brings me to comment on what wonderful kids we had on the trip. I joked to the Ard Einne innkeeper that they were MY thirteen children. The kids later commented that 1980 and 1981 were BIG years for me. These kids are smart, polite, talented, adorable, grateful, and most of all, fun!

We woke early the next day, had our last crappy breakfast, and got ready to go. When we met up at the breakfast place with suitcases in tow, we saw a lovely luxury bus waiting to take us to the Shannon airport. Alas, that bus was broken, and we had to instead pile into the 18 seater Corrib Village shuttle van. As the driver loaded the luggage into a precarious pile, my worry hormones kicked in. But we made it to Shannon okay.

What can I say? We had lunch, got on the airplane, and had a fairly uneventful flight. Most of us got to sit together, which was a big plus. Once we got to JFK, we sat on the runway for about 1.5 hours, tedious, yes. Finally we disembarked, went through customs, and found the K-O vans. We came home to happy parents and a sweet fiance who brought me flowers and birthday mini-cakes.

While we had some issues from time to time, the overall trip was great. I am so glad I went, because it was an affirming experience and a much needed break from wedding planning. I missed Sujal boatloads, so we have been spending lots of time together. Please see the above post.

Days 9, 10, 11, and part of 12

Hoo-boy — been a bit since I’ve written.  We had no access on Inis Mor (pronounced Inish Moor) — part of the Aran Islands, so I couldn’t do updates.

The finish to day 9 included a dinner at Cactus Jack’s or some goofy name like that.  May I recommend to my readers, when in Ireland, DO NOT go out for Mexican food.  Alas, it was raining and it was the only place we could find that would take 15.  The company was lovely at the least.

Day 10 we woke early to catch the shuttle to the ferry.  Of course there was no shuttle waiting for us.  As the group amassed by the breakfast cafe (which have I mentioned is terrible?), we got a bit dismayed by how late the shuttle was.  Finally the uber-cruiser pulled up — this silver-bullet looking behemoth — luxury liner of busses.  we were all very impressed with it, so the kids began to pile in while Jeff asked the driver if we were going to get to the ferry on time.  The driver replied, “Ferry?  I’m not going to the ferry.”

“Kids!  Wrong bus,” we yelled.  Several minutes later, a much sadder looking bus arrived with the world’s oldest man at the wheel.  We took off to the ferry, transferred to a different bus, and had a lovely ride along the coast.  We claimed our seats on the ferry, and as we got going, I went outside onto the back deck.  The salty spray of the seas coated my glasses and face.  I enjoyed the waves and the spray.  A man began chatting with me immediately as I approached the railing.  He was a former teacher (about my age) from Brookline — though he is originally from Ireland.  Then his fiance came over to us and we talked all about wedding plans.  It was nice to have some adult chat time as I chatted with them for the whole ride.

Things got a bit chaotic as we disembarked on Inis Mor..  Where were we going?  How were we getting there — lots of ideas, no hard decisions.  The night before we decided on a 22k hike.  The innkeepers that we called suggested bikes instead.  It was a supremely beautiful day — sunny and clear, breezy.  We ended up renting bikes, and the innkeeper took our bags to the inn.  After getting the “rules,” helmuts, and bikes, we were off.  We rode on the left side, of course, single file as this little caravan.  Before long, there were mechanical issues with bikes.  Hannah’s gears weren’t shifting, Collin’s chain fell off, etc.  We fixed those glitches, and we rode on to the ruins of a little abbey.  At this point, while I am about as athletic as they make them, I was exhausted from not just the pedaling uphill but also the additional weight I was carrying.  Brendan and Alex helped me by taking portions of the weight.  We explored the ruins and climbed up a hill where the view was exquisite.  This ride was along the coast, so the view consisted of the abbey ruins, grasses, stone walls, and then waves and waves and waves.  It is really an amazing island.

picture on Inis Mor

 Then we continued on, stopping for ponies and traps that went by.  Again, we experienced a few mechanical failures, and finally with a sandy beach up just ahead, Zach’s bike broke beyond repair — the whatchamacallit broke.  Zach was our bike fix-it guy, but even this was beyond his expertise.  So we walked the bike to the beach, where Jeff and I tried using our cell phones to contact the bike shop or the inn, but sadly we had no reception.  The kids were enjoying the beach with its sinking qualities — you know how when you go to the beach and you step on the wet sand, it’s like walking on thin ice that breaks — it can hold some weight but then sinks down about 2 inches — sand like that.

Finally Alex suggested that we just ride back to the bike shop to get them to bring a new bike, and Alex and I were off.  I figured I’d “take one for the team” by letting Jeff continue on as I did the extra riding.  Jeff took a large group to Dun Aengus while Collin, Laura, Max, and Brendan waited with Zach and his broken bike.  I was feeling heroic, riding back the “quick” road — the downhill road.  Well it was downhill, except for the giant incline we first had to climb.  So off like speeding bullets we went…for about 10 feet.  I needed to stop several times going up the hill to try to catch my breath.  Alex was kindly patient with me, though he had little choice.  We passed more ruins of abbeys, a statue of Christ, many little houses, stone walls, cows, sheep, roosters, and more stone walls.  The road was high up on the isalnd (it was quite a climb), so it had amazing views all around.  When I asked Alex at the bike shop if he enjoyed the views, he said he didn’t look around, he instead was focused on following me, on getting to the bike shop.  Lovely lad, implying that all I care about are views and not poor bikeless Zach.  Hmpf!  I can multi-task.  At the top of the island, the cows mooed and a rooster cock-a-doodle-do’d.  I responded with my own cock-a-doodle-do, and all hell broke loose among the cows.  They began making stange sounds that grew louder.  It was humorous for us.  At one point on the climb, as the cows were mooing, Alex said, “Hoj, they’re cheering you on!”

picture of Inis Mor cows

The bike shop drove us back with our bikes plus the new one for Zach.  When we got there, the kids wanted to join the others at Dun Aengus, so we set off.  But I was exhausted.  I needed to rest.  I told the kids that they could go, and that I would wait for them.  But then Collin had left his camera at the beach, so we went back for that.  We decided to just head for the inn.  We rode into town (Kilronan) and sat in an outdoor cafe with sodas to rest a bit, playing a little game where we cast the people in our lives with movie actors. Thus we set out to cast the entire cast of our trip.  About an hour or so later, Jeff arrived with the others, all saying how amazing it was.  They said it was infinitely more impressive than the already very impressive Cliffs of Moher.  Then we were all sad, but figured we could go the next AM.  We began our ride to the inn, and since we were all a bit clueless, we went down wrong roads, or should I more correctly say we went UP wrong roads.  We finally found it and climbed the hill to Ard Einne, our guesthouse. 

picture of my room at Ar Einne

Ard Einne was a great place.  It had the whole victorian quaint thing going on, but what was especially wonderful about it was the amazing views it gave us.  Also, the hospitality was great.  We had dinner with them, a four course meeal — the soup was very good.  (The chef was offended that not all of the kids ate everything on their plates.)  I called Sujal from my room, my room with two big picture windows, both showing sea, stone walls, green upon green, cows — and Irish wonderland. 

After dinner, the kids wanted a writing session, so we did some postcard poetry.  I went to bed early, but sadly I had a restless night.  As the evening came to a close, grey clouds were rolling in.  In the morning, it was raining.  We couldn’t go to Dun Aengus, and furthermore, most of us had pretty sore butts from riding so much the previous day.  I was physically exhausted.  Even my lungs ached.  We had breakfast at the inn, and then we got shuttles to Kilronan.  We all gave the Aran Sweater Shop lots of our money, and then we boarded the ferry.

It was an uneventful ride back, and when we returned to Galway, Jeff and I had lunch at the King’s Head Pub where we had yummy chodwer. We returned to campus after getting tea, and I took a long, hot shower, which felt so good!  In the evening, we split up for dinner, and I went with Heather, Hannah, Laura, Molly, Caroline, and Alex to the Druid Lane restaurant.  It was a lovely dinner.  I had salmon and risotto and then bread pudding (finally!) for dessert.  Hannah wasn’t feeling so hot, so we went straight home.  Most of us were pretty logey from the dramamine we took for the choppy ferry ride home.

This morning (my birthday!), I was going to rent a car to take some kids up to the Connemarra, but the weather was looking inhospitable, and I was extremely tired.  I spread the word, had breakfast, and went to sleep.  We were meeting at 10:30 to have a writing session, but I slept until 11:30, which was much needed and glorious.  As I strolled into the writing session, the kids belted out a harmonizing rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Then we came into town for lunch.  Today is a day of souvenir shopping. Tonight is the big last dinner blowout!  More later.

We interrupt for this important wedding message

For those of you coming to the wedding, we have found some inexpensive rooms. The Best Western has rooms still for just around $120 which, based on the location, is a nice price. A number of our guests are already staying there. You can find the online reservation page on the Best Western site. It’s a little bit outside of Bar Harbor (10 minutes) but the price is worth it if you have a car.

We also have two rooms held at the Acadia Inn. It’s much closer, but also about $70 more per night (around $170-190, depending on how many people are in the room). It’s owned by the same people that run the Bar Harbor Inn (the location of our wedding and reception), and they’re good people.

If you have any other questions or need anything else, give us a call. You should have our number on the invitations.

Day 8 (and part of 9)

Yesterday we took a bus tour to the Cliffs of Moher.  I have to take this moment to rant a bit.  I’m really not a fan of bus tours in general, and while the bus was not full of blue hairs (which I realize I will one day be — and maybe then I’ll enjoy bus tours), it was full of bad jokes, quick stops, and superficial sightseeing.  I like to explore at my leisure, even if we have a time schedule.  Also, when I explore, I read up on what I’m seeing.  And while a guide explains things, I can’t see the map, and I don’t know how to spell the names, etc.  It didn’t stop me from reading up on it this AM, but I like to go with guide book in hand and steer the exploration, or at least have a say in it.

picture of the Burren

So, we first went to the Burren, a section of Ireland in County Clare that is full of blocks of dolomite.  It is wonderfully rocky, but between the crags grow tufts of grass and wildflowers.  Farmers work the region, mainly by having their sure-footed cows graze on the lowlands in the summer and the hilltops in the winters.  John, a young man whose family owns a 1,000 acre farm (yes, like the novel), gave us a tour of his land.  We hiked up one of the dolomite-ridden hills, enjoyed luscious views of green countryside dappled with brown and lines of stone fencing (which the British hired the Irish to build during the great famine so as to keep people employed without actually building and economic infrastructure, thus keeping Ireland under its colonizing thumb).  It makes me want to build a stone fence, and actually, we have some missing fence.  Perhaps that will be my post-wedding project.

Which, come to think of it, while I have missed Sujal terribly (I woke with such a sadness and longing for him this morning), I haven’t thought a hell of a lot about wedding planning, which frankly has been nice. 

Nonetheless, John, our walking guide, was handsome and all the kids commented on his handsomeness, though I believed the word they used was “hot.”  Even past visitors remarked about his attractiveness on a graffiti wall.  When Alex said he wasn’t sure how Sujal compared, I assured him that while John was handsome, Sujal is irresistible.  On our walk, we lay down at one point to “feel what it is like to be a cow.”  It was a marvelous walk.

Then we hopped back on the bus for a very quick stop at some ancient burial site.  And I frankly have little to know idea what it was.  We had next to no time to read any placards, so I saw some burial site, and I have photos of it….  Woo-hoo.  I also photographed sheep.

picture of a dolman

picture of sheep

Okay, so I found out it was the Poulnabrone Dolman. Dolmans are ancient burial sites located all around western Europe.

picture of Cliffs of Moher

Then we went to the Cliffs of Moher, which were quite beautiful.  It was also tourist-infested, but cool.  It wasn’t until we were on our way back that we stopped at lower cliffs (cliffs nonetheless) that I was really wowed.  Here I could feel a much closer relationship to the rock and water.  Also, there were nowheres near as many people, so I could really focus on the sound of the wind and water.

picture of lower cliffs

Then we stopped at a castle — don’t recall the name, but I have it marked in the guidebook.  It’s now a banquet hall.  What was great were all of those little towns, farmers’ markets, coastlines, etc that we sadly drove right on by.  It made me want to rent a car to go exploring, so I may do that and take some kids on a little adventure.

We came back to the rooms to find we were locked out.  Our card keys stopped working.  Sigh, another glitch, but we just got new card keys.  Jeff has locked himself out now many times.  Several of the kids have as well.  The card keys are a pain in the arse!  Then we raced into town for dinner.  I took 10 kids to an Indian restaurant, which was much better this time.  It was a lot of fun.  I helped kids to navigate the menu, and we had a good time.  Then we went to see this play, “How the West was Won” by Peadar de Burca.  It was at the Town Hall Theatre.  This was a VERY different play from the one we saw the other night, farcical, more Beckettian.  It was about poor (semi-homeless??)  people from Galway at a time when Reagan came to Galway (1984) to get an honorary degree from University College of Galway.  It was odd, hard to follow at times, and funny.  It liked it better than “A Month in the Country”, but it did go on a bit too long.  I was curious to know what the kids were thinking during the first act, because it was such a non-linear, non-traditional play, and mainly they seemed to like it.  Then we strolled home just in time before they closed the gate on us.

This AM we did some writing and a longer workshop session.  It was good to hear the variety of pieces, just about everyone’s.  Then we went into town, and I had lunch with the girls at Busker Brown’s.  We had paninis, which were good.  The girls ate there the other day, too.  While Caroline and I were in the toilet (the word used here), there was a little girl who got locked into a stall.  When we came in, her older sister was trying to help here out.  The older sister was maybe 6, but could not fit underneath the stall door.  She went and got her mother.  When the mother came in,she was instructing the little girl how to get out, and the girl would say she was at the door trying to move the latch but could not.  Then Caroline got in the stall next door, climbed onto the toilet and peered over at the little girl who was NOT at the door trying to unlock it.  Instead she was on the toilet seat, sitting there saying, I can’t get out.  Caroline finally instructed her that she first needed to get off of the toilet, then go to the door, grab the circle, and pull it toward the wall.  Caroline will be a very good mother some day.

And then I came to this very expensive internet cafe, and here I am.  Tomorrow we leave for the Aran Islands — specifically Inis Mor. 

Days 6 and 7

We moved on day 6 — the 15th, which also happened to be Heather’s 17th birthday. I can’t say that’s the best time to have a birthday — the day one is taking a train across a country. After we were all packed, the day started ever so slightly painfully in that the 3 cabs we had arranged for did not show up. Once they finally did, about 40 mins late, we raced over to Hueston station with little time to spare to get our train tickets. When we got to the station, it was easy enough to see that our train was leaving from Track 4, easy enough to see right in front of us. I just found out that Jeff got in line to get our tickets — in the line for the men’s’ room! Alas, we got our tickets just in time, and all was fine. Then we ran to the train, had issues with getting all the luggage on, and finally sat together, for the most part. A few kids needed sit with other riders. I sat with an elderly man, and in regular Heidi form, I began to chat him up. Before long, I knew I was now not going to get any reading done on this little train trip. Soon Graham came and sat with us, because I think he was intrigued by the old fellow. As we watched the green countryside go by, seeing lots of cows, horses, sheep, rustic stone walls, and other things Irish, the Irish gentleman spun yarns for us. He told us about his wife, Greta, now dead, whom he call “pal.” He showed us pictures of her, and then pictures of his model trains. He showed us pictures of himself from his boyhood. He made all sorts of wise cracks, and he was not only congenial, but really funny! Then he went to the snack car and got us tea and cakes. He was really quite an incredible man. I know Graham enjoyed his company as much as I did if not more.

picture of Graham and old man

As I mentioned, this was a day of travels, that had not gotten off to the best start. There were many instances of crabbiness (on the parts of many of us). It took us awhile, but we finally got transportation to Corrib Village, which is university housing for University College, Galway. Galway itself is a cute town, and the brightly colored houses made us think of Bray, though it is certainly bigger than Bray. The streets are windy here as well, so I am bound to get lost.

Once we got to Corrib Village and got into our rooms, we were delighted to find that the accommodations were MUCH nicer here than in Dublin. The only problem was that there were many Jimmies in our apt’s. Kids were in apt’s in pairs, which meant the two remaining rooms in each apt. were occupied by Jimmies.

So we had to all leave our rooms and get Corrib Village to rearrange our assignments, and we finally ended up in the same building. After we settled in, we went out for a group dinner in Galway to celebrate Heather’s birthday. it ended up being quite a nice evening. We scouted out places for shopping and relaxing the next day, which brings me to day 7…

We woke early and I took four kids on a walk along the river. It was a drizzly Irish morn. Then we had breakfast here, which was a less than appealing breakfast, but it was fine. After some longer writing exercises in honor of Blooms day – I read my favorite passage from Ulysses, we all split up to explore Galway. I shopped a bit, had lunch, made some accommodation arrangements, and watched a bit of a football match in a pub. Making the arrangements was a bit of a cultural adventure, as was ordering a black and tan in a pub – not something the Irish drink. I thought they did. Silly me.

When I was making he accommodations, I was trying to get room on the Aran Island of Inismor. I told the woman at the tourist center that we could also use cots, if the place had them. She said, “The youngest in your group is 15, right?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“Cots are for babies.” Apparently, in Ireland, a cot is a crib. Silly me.

Then this evening Molly and Hannah made a multi-course gourmet dinner. It was lovely. Tomorrow we go sightseeing on a tour bus. More to come.

Days 3, 4, and 5

Has it been this long already? Hoo-boy. We’ve been very busy, as one can imagine. As I mentioned in my last post Jeff and Alex ran, and I mean ran, to catch the bus. On day 3, Alex explained that indeed they were not running to catch the bus but because Alex began taunting Jeff, so Jeff took off to prove he could out run Alex. And again, I was VERY impressed by just how fast Jeff ran! We all were. But here’s the funny thing — as I was walking to get to this internet cafe, lost as all hell in Dublin — I do not know why, but I just do not get the geography of this city. I’m generally pretty good with navigating, but all the twisties and turnies — I’m just really lost in this city — Nonetheless, on my way here, I saw some more damn fast running. This kid came running down the street in my direction. He was carrying a 6 pack of something. He was running at a pretty good pace — teenager, perhaps in his early 20’s. But leaving a trail of smoke in his wake came a thin man running out of the Centra (a convenience store), not only at top speed, but with this amazing determination in his face. This was not just about the stolen 6 pack of whatever, but about the “principal.” I wondered if he was a storeowner or merely an employee. Either way, to chase like such madness after a stolen 6 pack, it seemed extreme. A semi-circle of a crowd looked as the kid rounded the corner and the pursuer began to slow. I peered into the store, because I was now passing, and I saw no other employees. Frankly, that moment would have been the best time to lift whatever anyone wanted.

Jeff and I were just talking about the alpha-male quality that happens, and a student was mentioning alpha-females earlier. It’s funny how this exists. As we were riding up O’Connell this morning on the #10, I was looking at the smattering of people walking down the street. Humans have all these clothes, distinguishing apparatus, bits that make us “human” — but we are animals, and we behave as such. It’s funny to think if we took away the clothes — the distinguishing clothes — how much less “human” we might actually be. Or is this just psycho-drivel after a long day?

Along our hike

Each day, we begin with various writing exercises, and then we go off on our “touring.” So on Monday (day 3), Jeff needed to go to the airport to go meet Heather. I took all 12 kids on a hike between Bray and Greystone — the Bray Head trail. It was such a wonderful hike. Bray is an adorable town, brightly colored row houses, sea coast, narrow streets. It felt like Ireland. The kids seemed to really enjoy the hike. Some of them wanted to climb up alternate trails, but being the nervous Nellie that I am, we stuck to the trail. One student, Zach, has a very good eye for photography. It was fun to watch him shoot pictures. Graham loved the sea, the green, the nature. I was thrilled to see real Irish sheep. (You should have heard their accents.) (Speaking of accents, I’ve heard it parodied so much — especially my old roommate Jonathan. He would always do his wannabe irish accent — that when I hear irish people speaking, I sometimes think it’s one of the parodies.) Views were amazing. I had us sit and write for awhile, which was a great opportunity to take the moment down.

Along our hike

The hike was 9k, and we came into the town of Greystone. It was equally wonderful as Bray. We split up for lunch, though most of us sat in the same restaurant. Finally we caught the bus back to UCD. Some kids went out in the evening. Jeff and I went to an Indian restaurant for dinner. Note to self: don’t order Indian food in Ireland.

Day 4 was museum-laden. In the morning we went to Trinity to go to see the library exhibit of the Book of Kells. It was a very cool exhibit, and I found myself most drawn to the colors in the decoration of the book. It was cool to read about the pigments. One of the book, though I don’t think it was the book of Kells, had this gold pigment that was truly gold (in tone). Amazing. But honestly, my favorite part of that exhibit was that they had a Beckett exhibit as well. There were all of these letters he wrote, texts, manuscripts, notebooks, etc. There was one photo that I loved. It was of a play rehearsal. In the background, two actors were slightly blurred, and silhouetted in the foreground was a sharp image of Beckett (from behind). It was a very cool shot.

After lunch, crepes — yum, we went to either the history museum or the national gallery. I opted to go with Graham, Sam, and Zach to the history museum, a grand museum. It was pretty cool. The others who went to the National Gallery liked that museum, too, though Jeff was heart broken that the Caravaggio that he’d been hoping to see was on loan elsewhere.

That afternoon, I went for tea with all of the girls, which was so much fun. We went to this cute place, The Queen of Tarts, and had very yummy desserts. Finally, I went to a pub for about an hour and just sat and wrote. it was so fun to sit and listen to all of the different accents, languages, and havering. Oh wait — that’s Scotland!

Finally, in the evening, we went to see “A Month in the Country,” a play adapted by Brian Friel from the Turgenev short story. Frankly, I didn’t really like it. Most of the kids really enjoyed it, and I thought parts were really funny, but it did not pull off serious well. It was melodramatic and flat. Though, my dislike of the play led to a great bus ride home discussion with Max, which leads me to the fact that we have really great kids here with us! We really do.

Day 5: Today, I led the writing exercises this morning. We then took off for the James Joyce Center. We had to go in two groups, and by the time Jeff and his group got there, we were ready to skidaddle, because the exhibits were not quite open yet. ‘Twas very sad.

The we split up for the afternoon. I spent another day with the girls and Alex. We had lunch at the Badass Cafe (Caroline suggested it…), and then we went out to Kilmainham. Molly, Alex, Laura, and I went to the Kilmainham Gaol (Jail) and Hannah, Caroline, and Heather went to the modern art gallery. We all had fun at our respective places. The jail was really interesting, but the best part came after as we were leaving. I asked this older Irish man if he would take out picture. As Alex was trying to show him how to use the camera, he held the lens up to his eye, ready to take the picture. Alex tried to help him by setting the camera right. After several more turns of the camera, and finally the man once again putting the lens up to his eye, we figured that he HAD to be pulling our leg. But after a long time, we had a successful shot of us taken. He was very funny. He told us he was taking the picture “the irish way.”

We met back at the spire, and we all went out to dinner at Cafe Una, a very nice Irish cafe. We had a nice, slow dinner, though kids began trickling out after a short time. Finally, Jeff and I were left to relax and chat. I left and came here. So here I am. And there you are. Hi.

Okay, bye. More adventures to follow.

Jimmy update: on day 3, Jimmy left the apt. We all miss him and anything that goes wrong — we blame on him. It’s very convenient.