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New blog site –

If you have enjoyed this site I have started another one called marglivinglife.wordpress.com

here is a link to the site  https://marglivinglife.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/april-2-2015-b-is-for-bridget-trainor/

I have been trying out continuing to write every day as I find when I don’t write I an not as happy as when I do.  Some days are pretty boring but I am telling stories now and that helps things I am sure.

so if you would like to join in the fun go to the new site.

thanks,

Margaret

Day 123 – I think this is the end

Well, as we drove home from DC today we said this is the end of our big trip and I was thinking that this is probably the end of this blog for now.  Of course if we get to return or go on some other fantastic trip that might be the re-upping of this one but for now I am going to stop writing this one and start working on the new one. marglivinglife.wordpress.com    is the new one. It will have a different focus since I cannot imagine that life day to day of a community volunteer would be that interesting to anyone. But some of the other things I am interested in I would like to write about. So we shall see how it goes.

Today was a tough day.  The kids were up early as usual but they knew we were leaving.  They were good and eventually I got up, my watch was stow so it was not 7:25 but 7:50 when I got up. so much for getting up at 7:30.  I got going and came down to eat etc and it was very quite where Little Bear was in the kitchen.  Turns out they had had yogurt with granola and maple syrup. LB was out pouring maple syrup into the empty bowls. She did a pretty good job of getting it into the bowls. Talented young thing that she is.  She is very coordinated for three and looks like she should become an athlete.  Anyway, I left feeling terrible. I could not even get a hug from LB or Sol.  So we left and headed for Binghamton. I think I slept part of the way since before I knew it we were up on 81 above Harrisburgh and it was my turn to drive.  It was about 2:00 when we arrived in Binghamton and it was good to see Bill and Gail.  They both looked really good and happy after their Christmas time with their little kids. Gail made me feel better when she told me her grandkids are the same – Grandpa gets all the attention and she is just along for the ride.  Guess it must be the age or something. Sometimes I get attention but this time it was all about Grandpa.

When we arrived home we found the last of the packages mailed home has arrived.  I think there is one envelope with handouts from various museums and tours in it that is coming but that would be about the end of items from Ireland.  So, I guess it is really over.  Now to get pictures, a scrapbook to organize everything into and the time to put it all together.

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So hope you have enjoyed reading about our adventures and the adventure will continue.

cheers, marg

Day 105 – Can it be true????? Singing sensation in Galway

Adventures never stop.  Got up this morning early and got Sarah over to Jury’s to meet John for her tour of  the Cliffs of Moher. He gets there – and tells us the Cliffs of Moher are closed but he will give her a wonderful tour around Clare and she will see lots of interesting things.  So, oh well, give it another shot.  So I left her with him to go off on her tour.

I get back to the Granary Suites and the key will not work in the door. Appears we are locked out. I went up to ask Kathleen are Arabica what time Gerald usually shows up.  She suggested I go and try the door again and if it is still locked to come back and they will call Gerald.  I went back to a locked door so then walked back up, ordered a coffee and figured I would have to wait a bit.  One of the woman from the Spanish Language Institute was in the shop also locked out but she knew what the problem was. There is a little button on the lock and you can only open it from the inside if someone hits that button. So, that was the problem.  So the nice woman got someone inside the building to come and open the door.  That was good for all of us I guess. Then I got thinking about what if someone hit that button when they came in at 9 pm and we showed up at 9:30pm and had no way to get in. What a pain that would be.

Once in the building I decided it was time to go to work on cleaning for a change.  So did a laundry and then washed the floor and the cabinets and swept the wood floor.  Such an exciting day I was having. It is very gray and eventually the rain returned and it is not a great day outside although, yes, I did venture out. In fact, I did quite well for myself. I headed out when it was not raining – went to the Bank of Ireland for some cash – always like having some cash in my pocket. Then I went to the Ulster Bank to exchange the pounds I have for euros.. Went okay but they don’t take change, have to do that at the airport.  So, I guess I will go that as we are leaving.

Then I went to the post office and mailed two more packages home.  One with brochures from some places we visited and then  one with more presents….  So, I have been checking my baggage and I think I will be okay with what I have to pack. the books will be heavy but I will put them in my carry on and the other brochures and last minute gifts will have to fit into the suitcase with the bodhran.   So then I left the post office and went for groceries and got myself some goodies. We just can’t function if we run out of Keogh’s potato chips.  Love them to pieces… all of us, everyone who has visited and had some. They are the best ever!!!!! So I am set for two evenings.  Then I was walking by this book store and saw a book I hope I have not already purchased for Asta a.k.a. LIttle Bear.  Yes, a book about LIttle Bear. So cute a story and I hope she will like it. Since I got her something I figured I had to get Sol something as well. So I found something she could play with and share with her sister.  We shall see.

The rain really had started coming down then so I got home quite wet.. I was glad I had on my rain jacket and not just my brand new NUIG sweatshirt hoodie.  That would have been very wet if I had been wearing it.  So now I guess I will stop this until later since we have our lessons this evening and Sarah to get back home and then we are going to the Spanish Arch for music and maybe playing and singing. Never know what might happen over there.

Went to our lesson which went quite well. Some of the folks won’t be there next week so we took a picture of the group for me and then some of the folks came with us over to the Spanish Arch.  I had the Bodhran but did not play it over there. They play way too fast a reel for me to keep up. Maybe in a years time I will be able to do it.  Sarah had quite the day on her tour. Luckily a couple of New Foundland were there as well. The tour driver bought her lunch etc.. Guess he took a shine to her. Melanie, watch out, someone has taken your place. It was the same fellow that we went on the tour before.

The music was great and it was fun getting to know more about the folks in our class. Love hearing about Michela’s time in Australia and to learn that Marielle is her mom, not her buddy. That was a start.. They both look young to me.   Sarah got to sing two songs with the guys which was fun.  I think they were impressed… It was a fun time. Denis went home before we did and we stayed and talked to Barbara and then her husband when he got there to pick her up. Loved hearing about how they lived and worked in one of the Indian Residential School in BC back in the 80s.   It was

a grand time. Check out facebook to see videos of Sarah singing. She was great  DSCN3983 DSCN3989

Day 96 – wow, I love Paris in the winter when is chilly – yup

Well, nothing like waking up and finding out you are in Paris! What a lovely thing.  Denis went out for his run along the Seine and I slept in, of course… what the heck the woman loves to sleep..  I was up before he got back and I was bathed and dressing as he returned.  Not bad for me. We have little to no food in the apt so once we were all ready to go, aside from my anxiety which I attributed to not feeling in control of my day yet which made the dear boy laugh at me. He reminded me I am never in control so basically get over it.

We started walking towards the subway station we wanted to catch a train and stopped at a restaurant for breakfast. I had a petite dejeune which was so good.. Just enough to make me happy. also stopped at a fruit market and picked up a couple of bananas to keep me happy as well.  After eating and having some coffee we found the subway stop and the train we needed to catch.  We found our way quite nicely and then went to the office where you buy the Paris tickets for four day which includes one day of the hop on hop; off “Big Bus”.  So we set off for the Big Bus office and got our voucher for our two passes for the day.

We caught the “Big Bus” and took the full two plus hour tour which was wonderful as we got our bearings on where things are etc  ONce we got back we stayed on until we got to the stop for the Museum D’Orsey.  I thought I had died and went to heaven there.  We decided not to stay together but to meet at 5:30 at the information booth  I did the second floor with the Rodin sculptures and Seurats, Van Gogh, Gaugans etc. Then to the 5th floor for the Impressionists and more sculptures. I got to see Whistlers Mother’s picture and the water lilies and Degas dancers and Van Gogh’s self portrait. All those pictures I studied in school so many were there. And it wasn’t even the Louvre.

From there at 5:30 we walked over one of the bridges and stolled up through the Christmas Market to the Arc D’Triomphe. There was so much to see and loved every minute of it.   There was a military ceremony going on at the Arc so we had to wait before we could actually walk under it etc. Looked like some WWII fellows and a band and a lot of young fellows in full dress and some folks with a lot of medals on them.  Once they were done we walked around the Arc for a bit and then back to wait for the bus to bring us to the Trocadero. It finally came before we froze to death.. it was darn cold out there. Then we walked to the Tour Eiffel and towards the apt and found a grocery store and got some things we can eat for dinner tonight – cheese and bread and ham and potato chips. I know that ruins the image but tough. we both enjoy a good bad of “chrisps”.. so there…

We got back and since it is Asta’ birthday if the kids want to skype they can call us and let us know. She was sick yesterday so hope she was better by today.  My feet don’t hurt anymore and I am sure I will have a good nights sleep tonight. We agreed to lower the shades part way because I think the lights off the city did keep me waking up during the night even though I was bushed last night as well.

Now, what about Paris.. It is beautiful, is not as dirty as it was in the 60’s. People have come up and offered to help us figure out where we want to go when we look lost.  We have found the people in shops and restaurants not greatly helpful especially if they do not speak much english. I try with the french that I have which is very old of course but I try anyway. Many of the people in restaurants etc are not french and don’t even speak french very well.  One very nice woman in the museum told me she is from Morocco and speaks very little french and a little spanish and next to no english..

The food is good. The transportation system appears to be very efficient. The place is crawling with people from all over the world.  We did see beggars who were sitting there with three puppies with them asking for money. What is the guy doing with dogs if he cannot afford to feed himself.  That annoyed me.  I would have taken one from him if I could have. That would have surprised him I am sure. And what would I have done with a puppy???? nothing I am sure.

Anyway. so far so good. Paris gets an A so far and I think if things keep going the way they are it will get an A+ from me. I love it and I love making memories for Denis and I here. He has never been here before and I like that I am making memories of Paris with him..

Here are a bunch of pictures I took more than 100 today but I will put up some of the view from our window, and the bus tour and the Tour Eiffel at night. And Maureen, yes I will go up as far as my fears will let me. IF I get to the top you will be the first to hear about it.

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Day 95 – Very long and unproductive day really

We were up and out by 6:30 and walked over to the new bus station to catch the City Link Bus to the Airport.  I think I fell asleep right after we left as I don’t remember much until about 9:15am.  We went to Dublin City first and then to the airport.  Getting through security went fine although as usual Denis was not happy with it. I find it easier here than in the states for some reason and little wait.

We got some coffee and each of us had a muffin.  And then they announced our flight gate so we walked over there and waited until they boarded.  All went smoothly there as well and the flight was early. Then the problem began.  We came out of arrivals and there was no one waiting for us from the Paris Shuttle place. We were early so we waited and waited and waited.  I checked with tourist info and they told me that since we were early to give it a little more time.  They were going to pick us up between 3:30 and 3:45.. At 4:10 we gave it up and requested another shuttle from the tourist folks. We paid them and headed over to where they said to wait. Within 10 minutes this lovely fellow arrived and off we went.  Neither of our phones would work so we could not call the woman we are renting the apt from to tell her we were late. I tried texting her and she got those. So once we were there we let her know and her friend came who spoke no french, no english and no regular spanish, he is from Chile and did not understand my limited spanish.  So we worked our way through it as best we could and figured out what is in the apt and what we need to get. And things like how to get in and out etc. I paid him and he left. Denis could not figure out the wifi so I texted again and we figured that one out as well.

By then I think we were both starving since we really had had no breakfast or lunch. We walked up towards the Eiffel Tower and found a couple of restaurants and went in and had ourselves a pizza which we shared, and some creme Brulee for dessert – it probably was not as good as Garry Allins but still was yummy.  Then we walked over to the Eiffel Tower to check it out. Denis wants to go to the top. I am not sure I can do that but we shall see. I sure am not walking up there.

Tomorrow we start with Denis going running and then we shall see. We have to go and pick up our passes we purchased to everything Paris..  Once we have that we can travel on all the subway, tours, and go to all the museums with our cards. We also want to take a nice cruise on the Seine. Appears they leave from across the road from where we are staying.

So, aside from the various frustrations of today, what have we accomplished, 1. we started a new adventure. 2 we got to Paris eventually 3 we finally ate and 4 we saw the Eiffel Tower at night and it was fabulous. And the view from this apartment across the Seine is wonderful.  We can hear trains going by, police sirens, and lots of cars. Real City life.. Not been in a big city in a very long time. I have grown use to the small life and now will get a taste of life in the “big” city. Sound be interesting.

Sweet Dreams everyone

Day 93 – What fog???

I opened up the weather channel ap on my ipad and it told me there were severe fog warnings.  I looked outside and it was lovely out. Not the blue skies of yesterday but nice none the less.

Today we started at the farmers market. Now I know this is terrible but we had – a donut, and bought one bagel and two spelt muffins and a loaf of spelt Carrot cake.  Not sure that counts as a healthy bunch of purchases but since we are going away Monday morning not point in buying a bunch of lovely fresh veggies now is there.

Got some money and went back to the apt. I finished packing up two more large envelopes of goodies to send home and then headed for the post office.  I had to open one package and take something out to bring the weight to under 2k so it would not cost a fortune.  So I fought with the tape and got it opened and took out a scarf and the nice lady retaped it while I wrote what I thought was in each package and since I was not sure i made it all general and probably put them on the wrong package anyway.  who is going to want to untape all that and put it back together again anyway.

I walked around the Christmas Market just to do it and then went to the Treasure Chest to get a gift for France and to another store so I would be all set for the trip.  Then I walked back and up Mill St to a little local fundraising craft fair.  I bought a couple of little ornaments for the two little girls.  They were made by teens here in Galway. I can put their names on them and for this year anyway they won’t be made by grandma but will have to do.

At about 3:30 I petered out and decided to curl up and read and snooze. Then made dinner, pasta, chicken and cheese. Using up open packages in the cupboard.  AFter a bit we went out for a walk. The town is full of people. We walked the Christmas Market – Irene tells me the locals call it the German Market since so many of the  things for sale and the food is german.  – then we went and got a gelato. Have not had any in quite a while.  WAlked around the long way and stopped and got two bottles of wine.  Not sure why but at least it will be here if we want a little drink this evening.

NO pictures today.  Charging up all the batteries to get ready for Paris. Phone, camera, computer – all almost set  – and did two loads of laundry. So tomorrow is final packing, the Santa Run – will have pictures and we will play the Bohran in public for the first time. wow….

Day 92 – To Do or Not to Do or the Anticipation Blues

This title mean nothing…. but it could if you consider the two people living in this apartment are both suffering from anticipation blues.  I think for Denis the end of teaching his class hit him with the reality this is almost over and for me it has been just awareness of the days going by.  After all, this is day 92 which says a lot. It was very hard to get moving this morning but once I did I actually had a full day.

Packed up an huge envelope full of things and walked up to the post office and mailed it off to myself at home. Hopefully it will arrive in good condition ready for Christmas wrapping or not depending on how tired we are when we get home. Denis went to the Meteor store to be sure his phone would work in France. It appears it will just fine so we are good to go there and I got the rest of the cash to pay our host in France for the Apartment.

We also managed to do a bit more shopping, we still have so many things we want to get for home.  But we went back to the apartment and Denis worked on correcting papers and I did some research for Paris.  Think we will get two day hop on hop off tickets for tuesday and weds. or weds and thursday. That will give us two days just to do our own thing and the two days in the middle we will be able to pick two or three things we really want to see as well.  Denis has never been to Paris and I want to have some memories of Paris with him.  I loved it the first time I was there and together I know we will have a fabulous time.

So then I decided that at 2 pm I was going walking and Denis came along too. We walked out the Promenade, I have not been there since we had so much company. I missed my walks out there.  We went all the way out the causeway to Muffin Island and back. Felt good to do some speedy walking. CLeared my head and I will bet I will sleep better tonight. ON the way back we went up shop street and got Denis new shoe laces so another thing taken care of.

When we got back aside from cooking dinner I did a test – see if my clothes and the Bohran would all fit in my suitcase. They did which was very good news.  So now to figure out where to put the gifts as well.  We have three boxes that are pretty big, not heavy but take up space. but Denis has a carry on suitcase this time so we might be okay. I will mail one more package home to see if I can lighten the load even more.  Have quite a few books and because they are heavier they will cost more to mail so will concentrate on size not weight.

It was a lovey day, sunshine, light breeze in the 50’s today. I could do this all year round let me tell you.  What a wonderful day.  We are heading out soon so I will finish this later. Just thought I would start it now.

After our good dinner of chicken, rice and broccoli we cleaned up and went to Tis Coili for some music, we were hoping to see Michael the Bohran maker there but he was not. We did meet a couple who are in Galway for the weekend just a get away who were just having a grand time and knew why we like it so much.  Then we walked up to the Christmas Market to see what it was like on a Friday evening in NOvember. Was pretty busy and we met four of the students who were there.  They really thought the barbecue hamburgers were the best ever.  We looked at them as we walked by and they are huge cooking over a fire on a round saucer type thing.  If I could eat one I would.   It was nice just walking around on a pleasant evening.

We walked back through Shop Street and here we are.  Was a good day in all considering how I did not want to get up this morning.  Tomorrow is start packing for Paris, get money, go to Farmers Market etc.  So we shall see what adventure awaits us tomorrow. I might go for a bike ride if today is as nice as today.

PIctures include, a swan, a Galway Hooker, the famous row of houses on postcards of Galway, County Clare across the water, selfie at the causeway, low tide, a sea bird breaking a shell on the causeway, four swans, coaster with Jameson and Ginger recipe on it, and pictures of the Christmas Fair and one of Shop Street. And finally a lovely picture of denis and I in Ireland by Solveig… a happy looking picture I must say.

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Day 91 – Thanksgiving I guess

It is very strange when you know it is a holiday at home and there is no holiday here.  I woke up in a funk today for the first time since arriving.  Just no get up and go. Of course it does not help that I have been staying up reading quite late lately. Like 1 am.. Not sure why I don’t just go to sleep instead of reading. Need to change this behavior because I want to sleep too much during the daytime.

I packed up Asta’s birthday presents and went to the postoffice to send them off to her.   I wandered through some stores looking for something special but have not found it yet.  I love Christmas shopping and here it is so convenient.. Also think when Sarah arrives I will take her with me and see if I can buy one of these little dresses I love looking at. Not sure how they would look on me but I really like the way they look on the hangers.  I walked home the long way and saw some swans in the canal which was a treat.  The river is just so fast now they cannot swim in there

Back at the apartment I skyped with Ian, Maya and the girls for a little bit. Solveig is not happy with me because we have not been to visit for a long time.  She wants us home.  I told her we are very close to coming home and if she would like we will come for Christmas and her daddy’s birthday as well.  She seemed to like that idea.   They were off to meet their new cousin in Virginia so at 10 pm here we will skype with them again so they can say hi to Grandpa Denis.

I did rest this afternoon and then we ate a little bit and went to drum lessons. It was fun. The group gets laughing and sometimes quite out of control. Great fun really.   We learned some new jig combinations this evening so tomorrow will have to practice. We are playing in public on sunday evening at the Cottage Bar.  Should be a fun time.

After our lesson we went to the Spanish ARch to listen to some music for an hour and then came back as we wanted to skype with NOrah and Dan.  They were getting ready to sit down to dinner so we chatted a bit and then here we are. Nice to see them and some of the Plue family who are there for dinner..  At least they had power unlike some of my friends on facebook who cannot cook dinner due to no power.  Got a nice picture of our house in the snow from Lon and Heather. I might add it to this just for fun. The contrast of Galway vs Niskayuna.

Going to get something else to eat, then skype then to bed.  Have to get packed for next week and figure out what I need to take to Paris. NO plans to dress up while there that is for sure.

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