Monday, September 27, 2010

Out and about with my Trusty Camera

This weekend, I was down on the Cape visiting my aunt and was able to add not one, not two, but FOUR lighthouses to my New England Lighthouses photo collection. The first is Nauset Light in Eastham, and the three others are collectively known as the "Three Sisters". (They used to be the lights at Nauset Light Beach before they were replaced with the current lighthouse, which came up from Chatham in the 1920s.) So now I have grand total of seven lighthouses (counting the three as one because that really should only count as one) New England lighthouses photographed; there's something like 40 left for me still to do!

Nauset Beach Light Nauset Light
Nauset Beach Light Three Sisters Lighthouses
Three Sisters Lighthouses Nauset Beach Light Three Sisters Lighthouses

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Gluklich zu sehen, Je suis enchante, Happy to see you. Bleibe, Reste, Stay."*

Last night, a bunch of friends (JR & Sauce included) went to go see Cabaret at the A.R.T., starring Boston musician Amanda Palmer. It is difficult for me to think of that show without thinking of actor Alan Cumming, who played the role of the Emcee in the 1998 London/Broadway revival of the show. I never actually saw him in the part, but I have the soundtrack from that production and that is how I got to know the music from the show.

Alan Cumming came up in conversation between Sister K and I when we were in Ireland because the first time I ever saw him was in the film Circle of Friends, where he played the wonderfully slimy Sean Walsh. He was just the most wonderful guy you loved to HATE, and you couldn't wait for Minnie Driver to expose him for the "double entry system" lout we all knew him to be! For me, he was the most memorable actor in the film. (It wasn't until MUCH later that I realized Colin Firth was even in it!)

Of course, now he is the perfect charming and wonderful host of Masterpiece Mystery on PBS. (He always looks like he is trying not to smirk at the audience because he has a dirty little secret.) But it is worth it to check out his performance in Cabaret in this You Tube clip. It really is an amazing performance, and a LONG WAY from the slimy Sean Walsh.

* lyric from "Wilkommen" from Kander and Ebb's Cabaret

Trying to "Get Over" My Vacation

It is kind of weird going to Ireland after living in Boston. There is a very strong Irish ethnic identity here, and I have been exposed to Irish breakfasts fry-ups, music sessions, set-dancing (at The Burren), and, of course, lots of Irish "beverages" over the years. (Mmm, "beverages".) Many of the cultural experiences that I had on the trip were as familiar as they were foreign.

On our first weekend in Dublin, Sister K and I went out to a pub down the block from our hotel where many other people in our group also happened to be eating. We were later joined by our tour guide, who was a young man in his early 20s from the Aran Islands. At one point during our conversation, he stopped, looked at me, and asked, "Have you lived in the UK or something?" Now the better answer would have been to have enigmatically replied, "Or something", but instead I honestly explained that living in Boston had exposed me to a lot of things Irish. (I didn't own up that five trips to Europe in the last ten years didn't hurt either.)

Although some people will argue that it isn't a "genuine" travel abroad experience if you go to a place where you have some familiarity, there are definitely good things about not having major culture shock when traveling abroad. I did end up having to do some "translating" for Sister K, who had a couple of moments where she couldn't understand our guide. She also unintentionally kept calling Euros "pounds". (I think that her subconscious was telling her that she really wanted to go back to England!!) We had a really great time, saw some beautiful things, and got to know some really lovely people. We've been back a week now, and it really still feels like just yesterday that we were there. (Still not quite in American mode again: miss elevensies and going out for pints every night.)

This was definitely the kind of trip that happens once in your lifetime. I know I wouldn't have visited Ireland like this if I'd had to drive (or be the passenger) in a car and being on the local roads gave us an opportunity to see so much of the beautiful countryside. I am really glad that Sister K invited me to go with her on this adventure vacation!

The last of the photo posts:

Kinsale Cobh, County Cork
Inch Beach, Dingle Peninsula Dingle Peninsula
Dingle The Cliffs of Moher
Galway Bay Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Co. Galway

Saturday, September 18, 2010

On the Road

So one of the big things about going on a long trip (12 days) with Sister K is that we haven't really lived together in 15 years, and this was going to be a lot more "togetherness" than we have probably ever had (even when we shared a room as little kids). So in an attempt to maintain our collective sanity, we opted to each get a single rather than share a room. It was more money, but it was worth it. I didn't have to share a bathroom, and Sister K couldn't complain about me keeping her awake with my snoring.

Yes, gentle reader, I snore. (I have a deviated septum and developed bad allergies and chronic sinus infections in my 20s. At one point, I had to go to Brigham and Women's Hospital by myself three days before Christmas to get a CAT scan, which was scary, and then, when I came home to an empty apartment, because JeGlide and MMH had already gone home for Christmas, a mouse came running at me down our hallway, and I screamed and locked myself in the bathroom. I don't know which was more traumatic: the CAT scan or the mouse.) ANYHOW, I usually snore when I am first falling asleep; once I am in a deep sleep, it stops. Unfortunately, I am so self-conscious about it around others that I have a harder time falling asleep and end up staying in that lighter sleep longer than normal. And no one gets a good night's sleep. SO separate rooms led to better nights' sleeps for both me and Sister K. Yay! Which was good since we had to be on the bus most days at 9am!!

Some of our day trips took us to interesting and beautiful places (click the photo for an explanation of each):

Knowth Glendalough, Co. Wicklow
St. Kevin's "Kitchen" church and the Round Tower, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow Cows on the River Boyne
Rock of Cashel Rock of Cashel
The Cathedral and the Round Tower, Rock of Cashel, Tipperary Rock of Cashel

Friday, September 17, 2010

"In Dublin's fair city, where the girls are so pretty, I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone"*

If you haven't been following my Twitter feed or been checking out my Flickr page, then you will be surprised to hear that I spent the majority of the last two weeks in Ireland!! Sister K and I went on a bus tour around Ireland with a group from her church. Despite the fact that we were pretty much the youngest people on the tour (something that initially had me concerned), we had a great time and made a lot of new friends (many of whom were more up for late night fun and excitement than I was!)

This was my first time on a tour, and I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. (A lot of early mornings and changing hotels, it turns out, which made me a little crabby. Fortunately, a timely email from JeGlide reminded me that I wasn't on vacation, but on an adventure.)

We started our adventure in Dublin:

General Post Office, Dublin Georgian doors, Dublin
Temple Bar, Dublin Molly Malone, Grafton Street, Dublin
Four Courts, Dublin Guinness storehouse
St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin

* First line from the traditional Irish song "Molly Malone"

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"I am proud of what I am." "And what is that?" "I... am a librarian. "*

I love to read books. I honestly can't imagine one day where I would make the switch over to a Kindle, Nook, iPad, or other electronic reading implement. Now I know I said that at one point about the iPod, and now I have four of them, but that is besides the point. Books are not only for reading; (ideally) they have soft leather covers and aging paper pages just made for touching and smelling and writing yourself little notes in the margins. There is something wonderful about owning a first edition of a book you love or buying a book in a used bookstore that is over a hundred years old and thinking about the person who owned it before you.

That being said, I have a confession to make. I am afraid of libraries. I love the concept of the library, and, truth be told, I did like to go to the library in my hometown. Things changed once I got to college. I did spend *some* time in my college library (don't start laughing, college friends, I DID!), doing my reading for history in a comfy chair in a nook under the stairs. But I found the stacks intimidating. I got a little lost down there once and was reluctant to spend any more time in them than necessary. Skip to the Boston Public Library, which is just HUGE. I went there for a reading once, and I got a library card that day, but have I been back to use it? NOPE. (Read that last word with the "P" popped loudly.)

This is bad on me, especially since I have friends who are librarians or studying to be librarians. My aunt on the Cape was once a librarian. Rachel Weisz played an action librarian in The Mummy. Librarians are lovely people; they also love books. One of my goals this year is to go to the BPL downtown and go past the front room into the stacks. I just need someone to go with me the first time.

Here is a really funny PSA supporting libraries on YouTube, starring the Old Spice Guy.

*From The Mummy
Evelyn: Look, I... I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O'Connell, but I am proud of what I am.
Rick: And what is that?
Evelyn: I... am a librarian.


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