Day 120 – A new adventure everyday and inspiration

Everyone was up very early and for some part of the night as well.  Seems Sol had a dream that her sister threw up in the bed and Sol woke up and ran to get help.. Only problem was it was a dream but by then most of us were at some stage of being awake.  Once they all settled down again things were okay until about 6 am.  Have to admit I could use a good nights sleep at this point.

So up we got most of us by about 8. Kids were not interested in taking the Metro to the Zoo or to Union Station or for going out for a walk initially.  Finally “little bear” decided it would be fun to go for a walk with Grandpa.  Sol did not want to go anywhere. After having a bit of a snack and helping Ian do some cleaning up for their open house tomorrow I went out on my own for a walk up to the Health Food Coop.  Had a lovely walk through the town and saw a lot.  I find that having a camera with me at all times makes me more observant of things. I have to say that is one thing I have learned from the Galway experience.  Sort of like stopping to smell the roses. Taking time to look around and actually see what there is to see opens up a lot of the world that most people just pass by.

Up the road there are the most interesting statues in a couple of front yards.  I was so surprised when I saw them that I stopped and then another lady stopped and we admired the work.  And I noticed the enhancement on the sidewalk. I don’t think it is stone, actually almost looks rubbery but that is okay, it is colorful and fun to see. The colors changed as I walked along.

I shopped, at the check out told the woman there that they really need more gluten or wheat free foods.  I could not find a decent bread in the entire store. I hate the frozen rice breads, they have no flavor and they did not have the kinds of breads that they have in Albany or Galway.   On the way back sitting in the window of the Bistro were Maya, her mom and Sol out for some lunch.  They had finished decorating all the cookies and thought the deserved a reward for their good work. They looked so cute out there together.

Ian, Denis and LIttle Bear had gone out to the doctors to have LB’s glued together rather than stitched hand looked at and re-bandaged. Seems the glue they stuck her together with was not staying the way it should. Then they went to the market for food for tomorrow.  So I was home first and it was so lovely and warm out I sat outside knitting for a while and when Sol got back she and I sat out there doing a puzzle and chatting. She was in a silly mood so it was a fun time.

Later in the afternoon Maya’s sister and family arrived to pick up Mor-Mor to take to their home in Virginia over night before returning her to Baltimore.  I don’t think they plan to come to the open house tomorrow. The new baby was cute, just about three weeks old so very tiny.  The other two kids were cute and seemed excited to see their cousins and get presents.

As soon as the family left we told Ian and Maya to pack up and go out for the evening as they had wanted to for his birthday so off they went and we got a pizza for the girls and ate very late for them.  I gave them some ice cream bites for dessert and then we did a quick kid clean up and had videos and stories and then bedtime.  I read two  Fancy Nancy books. They are really fun to read and I love the use of “big” words in them.  And including names of famous artists and their work. Very nice way to slip in educational material when kids least expect it – or maybe parents and grandparents don’t expect it.

Soon it will be time for sleep. Don’t know how late the kids will be out. Hard to believe Ian is turning 40. I sure remember 40 years ago. What a traumatic couple of weeks those were! But I won’t go into that now.

Here are some pictures from today..

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Day 119 – Butterfly kisses, Roller skating and hitting the wall.

Merry Christmas or as they say in Ireland “Happy Christmas”.  Up at 6:30.but I think for Asta it was more about getting something to eat but for Sol it was about wanting to get her stockings down from the door where they were hung.  She was gung ho to get going with presents.  Grandpa and Daddy slowed her down a bit with a plate of Christmas cookies.  I mean who wouldn’t eat cookies at 7 am in the morning on Christmas.

Once they got into the swing of things it turned out to be Asta who was the present opener champion, at least for awhile.  Once she  came upon her butterfly wings it was all over. We had two butterflies running from one end of the house to the other and it was wonderful and funny.  By about 10:30 they had finally opened or at least skimmed over their presents and had had a little real food in their tummies.

We all got dressed and then went for a walk around Tacoma Park MD to see the stores and various sites as Sol tried to roller skate and fly at the same time.  Hard to do really but it was an adventure for all.  What a beautiful day with family and such fun to share a Christmas morning with little kids. Been a long time since we had little kids and a Christmas tree and this kind of a day.  Quite fun. We also skyped with Norah so she could see the girls open their presents from Norah and Andrew which were a collection of wonderful books and then Dan so he could watch them open his gift which Grandpa had to supervise their play with later since it was mouldable sand.

At noonish we had “brunch” of pancakes, waffles, sausages and the last of the maple bacon we had been snacking on all morning. It was all very good.

Asta and I took a couple of hours nap. First we read the book I brought the girls about Paris and showed her the places we had visited and then a book of her choice. Then we both conked out until 3:20  when her dad came up and said if I was going to church I better get up.

I took Mor-Mor over to the place she is going to be living in which is about 10 minutes from the kids house.  A lovely facility which will make it easier for visiting her and having her over for sunday dinner etc.  There were only about 12 people at the Mass so it was very nice.  The Priest was a Benedictine Monk who comes there to help out.  We also made it back without getting lost.

Christmas dinner was wonderful. Salmon, Pork, veggies and mashed. Then more play.  Asta was playing teacher and was taking the roll.  She was very firm about people speaking up and telling her they were present. It was cute to watch and to answer properly.

There are tons of presents under the tree. So I think everyone had a good day.  I was glad to get to Mass as this Christmas has not been feeling alot like Christmas since we were not with our home community and the house was not decorated and it was like watching other people celebrate the holiday and just being on the fringe of it.

I also realized today that I do have some jet lag.  Life has been so busy since we got off the plane that even with good nights sleeps I am beat. I hope by the 28th. I will be in better shape.  Just tired of being tired.

A few pictures from Christmas festivities.

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Day 118 – rain, rain, rain and smiles and hugs & Nollaig Shona Duit’

Well, today started out very interesting.   I woke up first at 4:30. wow it was early.  Was not feeling great but tried to sleep again and we both were up by 7 and getting ready to leave.  So we were very pleased that we got going before 9 am. Went to the bank, and Stewarts for coffee then as we drove down Rt. 7 my check engine light came on.  So we turned around and went back to the house and changed cars.  Just another adventure in life.

It rained most of the day  and there was some pretty dense fog from time to time. But the treat was that the traffic was not as bad as we expected and we got to Washington DC in 7 hours. That was fabulous.   Big hugs were waiting for us when we arrrived. Nothing like it.  I got a tour of the house from Sol and got to see their little attic play area which is not tall enough for a five year old to stand up in. Definitely kids stuff.

Had a good dinner = norwegian first recipt with almonds, onions, lemon, asparagus, and cole slaw.  INteresting combination and quite good.  Maya is busy wrapping, her mom was wrapping some things as well. Ian just grabbed stockings and went in the wrapping room and closed the door so I guess some Santa magic is happening.

The girls were thrilled to have grandpa here to jump all over and dance and sing songs with.  They are pretty cute little things. I think they are going to try and sleep in the big bed with us which will be interesting… who will get thrown out first. Grandpa or Grandma…. They tend to roll around a lot.  Little Bear got a cut on her hand today and at the hospital they glued her hand rather than stitching it.

Have some pictures to add of the cuteness.  I think a good nights sleep is called for as tomorrow should be a wild day between Santa, family gifts and just general chaos.  Some time we might take a walk around Tacoma Park to see what it is like there.  NIce they are in a walkable town…

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Day 117 – Funny and Fun times

Getting back into this culture and just plain living is so interesting.  Last night in the middle of the night at some time both Denis and I woke up and got up to go to the bathroom with one problem.  Where is the door and which way to I go? It was the strangest feeling in the pitch dark not being sure where I was.  Over breakfast we discovered we both had the same experience. It was good for a laugh.

I went off the the pharmacy to get scripts refilled and to drive the car at least once before we head out tomorrow for DC.  Strange feeling driving after four months.  It was not a problem but initially was concerned that I might be.

Stopped at the homes of our neighbors who watched the house and picked up our mail for us while we were gone. Had  brought them back a little thank you gift. It was good to see them all again.  We are so lucky to have the neighbors we have.  Tonight we are going to Tim and Dianes for dinner and will be joined by Norah and Dan.  Andrew has to stay home and babysit for the puppies.  OH well, having two little ones is a handful.

Could not believe I was there packing a suitcase again today. Thought I was done with that for a while.  But it will be exciting to go and see the little girls tomorrow. Hard to believe it is Christmas eve already.  It is as if we missed the entire Christmas season this year.  Galway was well decorated but our apt wasn’t and the house isn’t.  I promise next year I will go all out and go back to having a party which gets me in the mood for this season.

We heard from Maya that the girls were practicing kissing Grandpa today.  Sol wrapped a fuzzy scarve around her head to simulate the big bearded one.  It must have been a hoot.  Cannot wait to see them.

Will finish this after the party tonight.

Had a great time this evening with the Brennan’s.  Great meal, conversation and gift exchange.  The fun gift was a case of Keogh’s potato chips from Ireland compliments of the lovely Norah.  She gave them to Denis but knew I was very happy to have them in the house. Yummy, best crisps ever!!!!  Tim and Diane gave us a new mailbox…. If we are lucky the town plows will leave a decent looking mail box alone. They have destroyed the ones we had.  Have some pictures of the beautiful Christmas tree and the beautiful people we spent the evening with… So now the holiday has truly begun.

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Day 101 – Last Day in Paris and Farewell to the Kevin Kaisers

Got up and Kevin cooked a lovely breakfast for all.  We had a grand discussion while he cooked. Then we took some pictures of Kevin putting the star on their Christmas tree. Really fun to see how much Kevin enjoyed Christmas and decorating etc. Lovely really and we talked over the weekend about having Christmas in Canada one of these years.  it would be fun being down at the lake and up at the school house with Christmas trees and decorations making it all a very festive time and being with the extended family.

We then all got in the car and headed for Paris.  The Kaisers were going to see Hunger Games and then meeting up with Ian and Margie who had arrived in Paris in the morning.  We got on the bus to Charles De Gaulle airport.  We had time to get a cup of coffee and a sweet and then we headed onto the plane. It was a good flight and the plus ride back was pleasant. We both read.

It was raining when we arrived back in Galway but we walked back anyway. Right, It rains in Galway so why change our behavior. It was nice being back.  We had sandwiches in the apt for dinner and a couple of glasses of wine while watching Inspector Lewis.

Thoughts about Paris, There seems to be at strong negative attitude towards english speakers. Also driving out to the airport I saw so much garbage thrown around the roadways. it was shocking. It appears a lack of pride in their environment. Was wondering if the junk which was so much came from the Roma’s.  Yet in the downtown area it was lovely and welcoming.  I loved the architecture.  The food was good, the bread of course was yummy although I found I could not eat too much without upsetting my stomach. I want to come back and go to more of the museums. The apt we rented had great views, was inexpensive and near to subways and of course the Tour Eiffel.  Basically a great city to visit with so much to see.

PIctures of our last day in Paris and views from the bus as we went to the airport.

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Day 83 – The peaceful canal and the roaring river

Got up early this morning to walk Hamish and Mary over to the Jury’s Hotel to wait for the Tour Driver from the Wild Atlantic Way Tours.  The driver had called the hotel to say he would be delayed so we hung out and he showed up about 9:45. Turns out the other folks had been scared off by the rain so Hamish and Mary got a lovely individualized tour of Connamara which upon arriving back home at 5ish reported it was a great day.  They loved it. The fellow did the interior part first and then the coast line on the way back after it cleared so they had a fabulous day.

Me, well, I did laundry and cleaned up emails, And Denis called and invited me to lunch. Since I had time I ran up to the grocery store and broke my record for shopping, getting home, putting them away etc. 45 minutes from start to finish. Good way to save money folks, just rush in take a little basket and when it gets too heavy go and check out.  Probably did not need those other things on the list anyway.  So I threw the list away without checking it.

Had a nice lunch with Santa,  Actually this year he has stayed trimmed up so does not quite look as much like the big guy as in the past 20 or so years.  He is registered for the Santa run on sunday the 31st o that should be grand fun. Every9one wears a Santa suit if they want to get a medal when they cross the finish line. Can’t wait.

After lunch I went to thepost office and sent Asta and Solveig post cards. The Grandparents have fallen behind in sending them cards so I quite sent ones of donkeys and Connamara ponies.  Also sent in my insurance claim for my doctors visit over here. Hopefully CDPHP will cover it since after all I was sick.   Took the opportunity in this gorgeous sunny day and walked around a bit and took the longer way back.  I finally got the pictures of the river and the canal showing the calm canal and the fiercely moving river.  The contrast struck me every day for the last few weeks so I videoed it and put that on facebook and took still for here.  Also walked up around Eyre Square to see the setting up of the Christmas Fair.  Picked the hores on the carosell I want to ride on.  I cannot wait to see what is going to happen there.

Cooked everyone dinner and then they went out to see the decorations and listen to trad music and I went off to my last writing class.  Really sad to have it over. I have learned so much and although I still question whether I have the ability I will plough on with the writing because I enjoy it and it is waking up something in side of me that wants to get out.  We wrote tonight and I decided to write about the day the letter arrived from Charles and Grandfather put it in the casket with Pat to be buried with her. It was interesting to write it looking back at the whole story which of course I have not finished writing yet. Might just do that in the end – start with that and then tell the story from the beginning month by month.  Anyway, aside from learning about writing I met some wonderful people who live in and around Galway and I am glad for that.  Very nice folks who shared great work and themselves.  It was one of the best part of my stay here.

Now we are sitting here with Hamish and Mary chatting about the day and about the Scottish vote and other history things.  Well actually Denis just announced that he was heading to bed so everyone left me here. OH too bad, moments by myself…

Each day now I think about how the time is flying by and what am I going to do about all the feelings I have about this coming to an end.  I might just have to spend one evening just writing about that if I ever have a calm day.  Lots of emotions flying around inside of me.  Joy over being here, sadness over having to leave, grief over lost opportunities, inner peace at knowing this has been such an incredible experience.

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