Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ireland Trip, day 3: Cork

* Yes, I know that my comments aren't working. I've dug around my profile and can't figure out why. Grr. Sorry. I wish I could hear from you!!!!!

Last night we slept 13 hours, and I had the worst case of sea legs alll day today, so I'm lucky not to have fallen down a flight of stairs, but otherwise everything was fantastic today. This morning we had a nice breakfast at the hotel, and took off walking toward any spire or dome we could see from the top of our hill. We also went to the market downtown, where I had some righteous shepherd's pie, and some belgian chocolates for dessert, and then I got lost in a wool shop, and came out with nine skeins of gorgeous lambswool, alpaca, kid, mohair and angora yarns. Droooool. They'll make some nice hats, as hats are the only thing I can crochet well. Anyone live in a cold enough climate to wear a wool hat? I can bring you one!

After lunch, I took nap duty with e-baby while Tuti and Granny visited more old churches. We went to evening mass at St Patrick's, which was a great excuse to see the inside of the church, and had fish & chips for dinner afterwards. We all had a chuckle when my mom asked whether the fish was fried. After that, the waitress was careful to describe everything (tea has hot water in it, beef stroganoff is like a stew but creamier, chips are made of fried potatoes). Because you just never know what kinds of things these Americans eat.

Tomorrow we head to Blarney castle and then on to Galway. I'll be sad to leave Cork. The people who run this B&B are so nice, and I'd love to come back here someday.

Ireland trip, day 1: traveling and arriving

Thursday morning, ee-baby, Granny and I left RDU and flew to Chicago for a 7-hour layover. The flight was easy, and to kill while waiting for my mom (Tuti) to arrive, time we took a train to downtown. That was a good idea, since we had some o=good exercise and saw fun things, both good for keeping a 3-year old happy. We visited Millennium park where we admired our reflections in The Bean, and e-baby slip-slid on the piles of snow around the edges. After that, we visited the Art Institute and what luck! the entire month of February is FREE ADMISSION! We went to the family gallery and the Touch Galleries (where you can touch everything!) and finally wandered the Thorne Miniature gallery which was amazing. Google it, and if you're ever in Chicago, go see it. It was great, especially for e-baby who is a doll house enthusiast. To call these foll houses, though, is to belittle the artfulness and architectural beauty of them. It was getting to be time to get back to O'Hare, so off to the train station.

It's around this time that e-baby had her first fatigue meltdown, so I'll just say we got back to O'Hare with all our belongings and no injuries. That's all I'll say about that.

We still had 2 hours to make our flight, so the L-I-N-E at O'Hare security didn't worry us, and maybe it was good travel karma, but we were put into the shorter Priority line so by the time we got into the terminal, it was still nice and early. Tuti was waiting for us, we got onto our plane and were headed for Irekand!!

Nine hour flight (a delay and some headwind worked against us), slept about 2 hours of it, crocheted my brains out, landed in Dubin, immigration a blur, waited for a bus to Cork, and then, a five.hour.bus.ride. The driver was trying to kill us. He was slow, and he was cautious, but he BRAKED! accelerated BRAKED accelerated BRAKED accelerated up to every traffic circle and I was about to throw up the whole way. We met a really sweet man on the bus with a one-year old girl named Clara who really did look exactly like a cherub. He was taking her home to her mother and picking up his other daughter from her mother (a different woman) and just kissed and kissed lara the entire way. You've never seen a dad more smitten with his child, and it was kind of heartbreaking when he sid that when he could get a job, he planned to buy a car so he could drive and see them more frequently without taking long bus rides each way. He wasn't looking for pity, but he was tragic.

When we arrivied in Cork, we found our B&B and to see us, you'd think we'd never had indoor accomodations. Look! Beds! Look! Clean bathroom! Look! chairs and a table! Our B&B is called Gabriel House. It is situated atop a Long and Steep hill overlooking the city center. There's a simple garden and a chicken coop with 20 hens (e-baby's favorite part of Cork). Liam, one of the owners, showed her around when we arrived. People here are comfortble including children in conversations and activities, even though Ireland does not look like a kid-oriented place. It is beautiful here. Our nauseating bus ride through the southern-central countryside was all picturesque farms with distant mountains. I can't wait to see more.

And on that note, I'd better go get e-baby back from the chicken coops so we can start day 2!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Two Crochety Ladies

I haven't blogged in an elephant's age because every time I think of blogging, I'm either in the middle of work, in the middle of driving a car, or in the middle of 50 pounds of suggly children. None are activities I can pause for a quick trip to the old blogspot.

Last week was a week of crochet madness. You never know when these obsessions will strike, but on Monday I was at the craft store and found skeins of yarn in the dollar bin, and the next thing I knew, I'd make 3 hats and a scarf. Only one of the hats is nice enough to brag about, and even then, it's not at all the hat it was supposed to become. But hey, no one has to know that e-baby's white beret is actually a stocking cap in its Platonic ideal.

Speaking of e-baby, she wanted to crochet too, so I taught her to do a chain stich and she's made some doll scarves/bracelets. She and I made up a little song that helps her remember how to chain stich with her hands (I think the hook will have to come later). Before I forget it, I'd better put it on paper:
Put your pinchers through,
Other hand has a job to do,
Grab the string and pull it through,
Make the loop small.

It's a nothing little song, but it worked well to help her remembering what to do next.

I bought 3 more skeins of yarn to take to Ireland and a shiny new shiny (no really, it is shiny! It has LED lights inside!) crochet hook that I can use to wile away the many hours of insomnia and boring airplane travel without internet access. Instead of lugging tons of yarn all over Ireland, I figure I will release hats and scarves into the wild as we go, like a leprechaun dropping little gold coins in the socks of good innkeepers and children. By the way, we leave on THURSDAY!!! I can't wait! It's a ladies-only trip: my mom, SNG's mom, e-baby and me. SNG and Jambuca will bond in manly style eating a lot of burritos and watching a lot of ESPN while we kiss the Blarney stone and get the gift of gab (heh- don't say it, I know).

Updates on our chillies:
e-baby is, well, e-baby. I don't even know how to update about her anymore, since she's really just a normal preschooler who likes to play with her dollhouses, strings, trucks, stuffed animals...

Jambuca has several signs now: water, milk, more, all-done, and dog. He can stand alone, cruise with one hand held gently, climb to the top of all our furniture and go up and down a flight of stairs safely, but he's still too cautious to walk independently. I suppose he'll realize he can do it as soon as he moves into the 1-year-old class. There's a backlog of kids moving up so it'll still be a few weeks before he goes. Fine with me-- we're all crazy about his infant teachers.

OK, so it'll probably be awhile before I write more, but I should be able to blog from Ireland. Wish us a bon voyage!