Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2019

Archive for the tag “Vacation”

Looking Out Of The Window Until Spring

WHY DO I FEEL THAT THERE IS A GAP, AN EMPTY SPACE, IN THE WORLD? Oh, yeah, I know why – I’m in Ireland and the World Series is over. I didn’t watch any of it live on TV. It didn’t start until a little after 1 AM and I do need my beauty sleep.

This is the first time in my memory that I have not watched the World Series on TV. Regardless of the teams involved I have always made it “Must see TV” every September/October…and in a few cases dribbling over into November.

This year the two teams battling for the big ugly rings and big trophy were from Washington D.C. and Houston. I didn’t really care all that much who would emerge victorious, but I leaned ever so slightly in favor of Houston. Why? Because I had a couple of Houston players on my Fantasy Baseball team. That was the sum of my “fandom” this year.

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Farkle!

GAMES – THEY CAN GET BLOODTHIRSTY AND GO ON FOR DAYS. Like those poker games that show up in the movies every so often.

Poker, Blackjack, Farkle, they’re all the same.

We are here on the Northwestern coast of Ireland along the “Wild Atlantic Way.” So what are we doing?

We are playing Farkle. And we are doing it until we are seeing spots in our eyes and losing the ability to do Third Grade Math.

For those of you unfamiliar with the noble game of Farkle – let me give you a thumbnail sketch so you can fully appreciate it, or understand what you’ve gotten yourself into.

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WELL, AREN’T YOU A SIGHT TO SEE?

 

 

WE ARE NOW IN OUR FOURTH HOUSE AND OUR FOURTH AND FIFTH WEEKS IN IRELAND. After this week we will begin the process of closing the book on Ireland and begin to get our thoughts on heading home.

For the first three weeks we were tourists and tour guides. We were blessed to have our “Alaskan Cousins” with us. They had never been here before and we wanted them to see the parts of this island that has brought us back time and time again. We may have run them a bit ragged, but with us they saw more than those tourists who saw the country from inside a rolling tour bus.

Before we left Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Guinness does go well with chocolate.”) our itinerary would have had us on the go about 36 hours a day. We’ve done it before and we thought we could do it again. Reality threw a pie in our faces on that idea. The first time I came here I was 60 years old and Dawn was…a mere yute. This trip has defied my experiments with time travel and tore too many pages off our Calendar. When we all landed in Dublin the age range of our group went from 73 years down to 62. We were not being mistaken for Hostelling Students on Holiday.

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It Was Not A Close Shave

 

SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO DO THINGS STRICTLY BECAUSE THEY NEED DOING. Things that are not fun. Things that are more of a bother or inconvenience than anything difficult.

Like shaving.

I have had a beard for most of my adult life. I grew it the first time while I was still in college. We’re talking the late 1960s here. I grew it for a play I was in. I forget which one. All that’s important is that I was brilliant and the beard was scruffy looking.

Over the years, decades now, the beard has come and gone with fashion, day job rules and what show was being cast. Now that I’m pretty much a retired geezer the beard is there out of habit and as a way to cut down on the need to shave. If I didn’t have a beard I would have to shave at least twice a week. Otherwise I’d look like Yasser Arafat the late Palestinian terrorist leader. Not a good look for me. It wasn’t for him either, but he always looked like it was Day #3 on his face. I don’t know how he did it. But he’s dead. Moving on.

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I Am A Creature And I Want My Comforts

SOMETIMES HAVING THINGS DIFFERENT IS GOOD…SOMETIMES NOT SO GOOD.

I’m a person who likes his creature comforts. I like being warm when it’s cold outside. I like to take a shower with hot water. I want to have the toilet flush when I push the handle. Am I asking too much?

I am in much of Ireland it seems.

It looks like there are different standards of expected comfort. In every place we have stayed in Ireland, not just on this trip, but over the last 13 years of my personal experience.

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What? That Makes No Sense.

IF THERE IS ONE THING I CAN SAY ABOUT IRELAND IT IS: “WHAT? THAT MAKES NO SENSE.”

I don’t mean that as any kind of insult or disrespect. I would never do that because I am a quarter Irish myself and if I did say something insulting I know too many Irish folks who would bury me in the peat bog.

No; when I say, “What? That makes no sense,” I am reacting to something looks out of place. Incongruity is something I find very entertaining. It is the bedrock of Comedy in my not so humble opinion.

The “What? That makes no sense,” in this particular Irish case is strictly horticultural.

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Our American Cousins…Kinda, Sort Of

THEY WERE HERE A MINUTE AGO…BUT NOW THEY’RE GONE. For the last three weeks we were a quartet, but now we are duet. Our Cousins from Alaska have left for home. They have abandoned Mountshannon, Ireland for the balmy weather of Anchorage, Alaska.

They were only going to be with us here for three weeks anyway, but it seemed to fly by. I’ve had weekends that lasted longer than their time with us. Dawn and I will spend these last two weeks in this house before we too pack up our bags and fly home.

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How To Spot A Pregnant Sheep

SHEEP! THERE ARE SHEEP EVERYWHERE. There are more sheep than people on this island.

And the sheep know it.

As we drive along the Irish country roads we have to be alert because around any curve of the road we might be met by a sheep, ten Sheep, or fifty Sheep. They might be crossing the road or, more likely, walking down the road stopping to graze on roadside grasses. As they are doing this they will take an occasional in our direction – not with any animosity, but to send us a message.

“We were here first, so chill.”

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“Let Me Get You A Wee Map”

IF THERE’S ONE THING I CAN SAY ABOUT THE IRISH PEOPLE it’s that they are friendly and very helpful. They all seem to be working as unofficial Ambassadors of Goodwill for their country. If they spot us as being from overseas (The U.S.) they will do two things.

First they will tell you that they have been to “The States” and where. Almost always they have been to New York City, Las Vegas, and Florida. Florida can be translated as Disney World.

Secondly, they will ask if they can help you in any way. And they mean it.

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Connecting All The Way To Disconnect

OH, SWEET JESUS, I DON’T KNOW HOW THEY DID IT. 

Our traveling companions arrived more or less on schedule, but it was a schedule that appears to have been designed by the travel agency of the Marquis de Sade…on a bad day…when his feet hurt.

The “Cousins from Alaska” were coming to Ireland for the first time trusting us and our judgment as to the best way to get from Anchorage, Alaska to Dublin, Ireland without going mad.

No matter how you slice it if you live in Alaska going anywhere takes some serious planning.

For them to get to Dublin their itinerary read something like this: Fly from Anchorage to Seattle. Just about all flights from Anchorage go through Seattle. A layover in Seattle of several hours. Then fly from Seattle to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Several hour layover in Minneapolis. The next leg was the biggie. They then boarded an Aer Lingus plane for the trip nonstop to Dublin overnight. They landed in Dublin at 8:45 AM local time. This made for an amassed time change of NINE HOURS. Their internal alarm clocks must have been screaming by this time.

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A Decision Has Been Made

I THINK I SHOULD START SHOPPING. We are going back to Ireland this Fall and I don’t have a thing to wear. I don’t want to arrive in Dublin looking like the poor American relative who is showing up hoping for a handout.

We are planning on being in Ireland for about a month. If you are going to go that far you might as well stay awhile. This is not just a weekend jaunt to pick strawberries – this is an ocean-crossing, ancient ruin exploring, pub crawling, trip to the Old Country. Pack an extra pair of socks.

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Pack Your Bags

 

MY WIFE THINKS BIG. Big Ideas. Big Hubby (I’m working on that.). Big Vacations. She is now in the thick of planning a real, long overdue vacation for us. She is planning for something bigger than a weekend in the Walmart parking lot.

A few weeks ago she floated the idea of going to either Albuquerque/Santa Fe – or – New Orleans. She asked me which of those I would prefer.

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We Need The Real Thing

IN AN ACT OF SELF-PRESERVATION I have decided to start thinking about where, when, and how Dawn and I might squeeze out some vacation time this Summer.

It has been a while since our last true vacation. Our last vacation was a real doozy to be sure – seven weeks in Ireland, but that was then and this is now.

I know – it seems like we have been going to and from Texas every other day, but those trips don’t qualify as vacations. Those are family visits. I’m not complaining. They are all wonderful people, but visiting with Family is no vacation. We need the real thing.

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Throwback Thursday from 2016 – “Flying To Texas Can Be Fun”

 

Throwback Thursday from 2016 – “Flying To Texas Can Be Fun”

monorail catA LONG TIME AGO in a galaxy far, far away I grew up in Western Pennsylvania on the edges of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Most people refer to them as the Amish. That is an oversimplification of course. There are a large variety of “Amish” communities and sects – each with their own set of rules.

The date of the community’s founding determines some of the rules. Many will not use a technology that came about after the founding date. That is why some groups will not use motorized vehicles while other will. Some will use telephones, others will not.

Last week while we flew to Texas I saw something new. Passing through the Indianapolis airport I saw an Amish family heading toward baggage claim. This was the first time I had heard of Amish flying. “Must be a new community.”

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Yearning To Return

LAST YEAR WAS A TIME OF TRAVEL FOR US. Our seven weeks in Ireland was followed by about 10 days in Detroit, then a week in Texas. That was all squeezed into the period from early April to early July.

This year promises to be more sedate, but hardly comatose. We’ve already done one trip to Texas with another booked for Mid-July. In between there will be another 10 day sojourn, this time to Georgia near Atlanta. After that the calendar looks empty as far as travel is concerned – until the Holidays late in the year.

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Throwback Thursday from October 2015

Throwback Thursday 1From October 2015

Start Planning Your Vacation Now!

Casey windchimeIT IS PART OF HUMAN NATURE to want to excel, to be the best, at whatever one attempts. That is why we keep records of achievement. Sports keep records of just about every facet of a game, important or not. This mania for record keeping is why there is such a thing as the Guinness Book of World Records.

Starting in 1955, the Guinness Book of World Records now keeps track of more than 6,000 records with 50,000 attempts annually to break into The Book.

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I’m Packing It In

suitcaseWHEN I ASKED MY WIFE, the lovely and ever my Muse, Dawn, what I should write about for today, she said, “Write about how I am a Wizard at packing our suitcases for our Ireland trip.”

That is an abbreviated version of her reply. Her actual answer would have taken most of my 500 – 700 word self-imposed size limit for this blog.

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It’s In English, But It’s All Irish To Me

irelandWE ARE THICK INTO THE PLANNING for our visit to Ireland in the spring of 2016. My wife, the lovely and Research Gifted, Dawn, and I are getting bleary eyed looking at websites featuring houses for rent, Historic Sites, and car rentals. It can be a daunting task.

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A Trip To Baseball Heaven

Baseball HeavenABOUT ONCE A YEAR my wife, the lovely and totally major league, Dawn, and I take a trip to go see the beloved SF Giants play a few games.

This year we are in St. Louis to catch a three game series with the Cardinals. Last year we were in Cincinnati, which was very nice, but it is hard to beat St. Louis when it comes to putting on a baseball game.

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A Day Filled With Sunshine

summertimeHERE WE ARE MOVING INTO MID AUGUST and we are having a very “Late September Day.” The sky is a blue canopy and the sun is shining.

When I got up this morning the temperature was in the mid 50s. I actually wore a light hoodie when I went for coffee at the Chapel of St. Arbucks. There were school busses driving around, getting ready for the resumption of classes next Monday. Yes, it was all very Autumnal.

But…but… I’m not ready for summer to be over.

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