Thursday, March 31, 2011

Isn't she pretty..

A Canon 100mm macro lens. Oh the pictures I could take with this! Bugs, and flowers and eyes! I've always wanted to take good pictures of eyes. And with the 100mm you won't block your own light! The possibilities are endless.

Now only if I had a DSLR...

A Hard Question

“I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion."
--Jack Kerouac 

What do you want to be when you grow up? Easy. When I was 8, I wanted to be a veterinarian. When I was 10, I was going to be the next Emril Lagasse. When I was 12, I wanted to be an archaeologist. When I was 13, I had a brief loss of consciousness and wanted to be a jockey. My Dad convinced me if I stopped growing (and learned to ride a horse) I'd be perfect. When I was 14, I wanted to be a historian. All through high school I was going to be a lawyer or maybe a politician.

What about now, at 21? I kind of just realized that my next "big" birthday is 25 and I graduate from college around this time next year! So umm, how about a real job?

I am currently an international relations major at Boston University. Super interesting stuff. But I get asked constantly, so what are you going to do with that? Great question! I suppose I could work for the government. I could go to law school. But that's another $60,000 a year, plus the fact that it might kill me. So, yup, that's all I've got.

I've been wondering over the past few years why didn't I go to college for something that will automatically make me something when I graduate. Like nursing or physical therapy! For example, my friend Bridget is going to graduate and be a nurse. When I graduate I am going to be a person with a degree. Woo hoo!

Cue my "quarter-life crisis."

My Dad also says I'm not allowed to move home once I graduate, but my Mom already told me not to worry and that I really can. Phew! (Hey Jill we get to be roommates again!) But I bet that once he remembers he enjoys eating dinners on a regular basis, he'll let me stay. For all of you that don't know we (as in my family) tend to be a bit "dinner challenged," during the summer especially, and we often eat ice cream sundaes for supper. Hey I'm not complaining, I LOVE ice cream and all other summer foods, but Colin usually is not the biggest fan.

Sorry that was completely off topic.

Back to the point: I have no clue what I am going to be doing in a year and a half from now. I know exactly how Jack Kerouac feels in the quote at the beginning. I feel like I have no real path to being something and I'm just running around getting nothing accomplished! On the bright side I've got a year to figure it out.

Anyway, in the mean time, here is what I would like to be

A seamstress

A baker

A ski bum

A writer

A princess

A magazine editor

A hair dresser

A photographer

A dog trainer
A golfer

An artist

So if anyone hears about one of these/a combination of these jobs needing an enthusiastic novice feel free to give them my name!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Short Poem

Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Incorrect grammar will never be cute.

Doolin, Aran Islands, and Galway City

A little over a month ago I decided that I really wanted to go see the Aran Islands for my birthday. They are located on the west coast of Ireland near Galway, and directly across from the Cliffs of Moher. They're kind of like our Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket but much, much smaller and more separated. For one they are a Gaeltacht, meaning their main language is Irish, not English. Number two, like the Vineyard, the only way to get there is by Ferry. Their ferry, however, is not as frequent as ours and it is also not nearly as large AND you cannot bring cars on the ferry. I have not been able to find out how they even get cars on the Aran Islands. I'm assuming the have a cargo ship come every so often. Also because you can't get a car across on the ferry, NO inspections of cars are required. I have never seen so many cars from the '90's and even the late '80's in one place!

The Aran Islands are actually three individual islands, Inisheer, Inishmaan, and the largest of which is Inishmor. The largest, Inishmor, is much smaller than the Vineyard. It measures 8 miles long and 2 miles wide. Because it is so petite you can ride bikes across the entire island! Which we did! The trek across is called the "Ring of Aran" and you see all of it's major sites. The first leg of the journey takes you to the highest point on the island. I'm not going to lie, I think I needed at least two breaks to make it up.

So to back-track a bit... There are two places to get the ferry that goes to the Aran Islands, Doolin, Co. Clare and Rossaveal, Co. Galway. The ferry from Galway runs more often because of it's convenient location for most tourists and also it is a deeper port so it is less dependent on a good, high tide. Sailing out of the town of Doolin, in Co. Clare is a different story. It's "port" is more of a tiny pier located way inside of an inlet so very dependent on having good weather and high tides. Doolin, however, is somewhere I have wanted to go for a long time! I've been there previously on two separate occasions but        I wanted to spend the night there because they are known for their fabulous traditional music and also their hospitality. So we decided it would be worth it to take the chance and sail out of Doolin. We also decided that it would be in our best interest to sail back into Galway on Sunday to facilitate travel back to Dublin. You see only one bus runs from Dublin to Doolin a day, and only Monday-Saturday. Getting a bus back to Dublin from Doolin on a Sunday would have been near impossible but there are several buses an hour that run from Galway to Dublin.

Anyway, we started our trip at 2 on Friday because that's when the one and only bus to Doolin leaves Dublin. Because it has quite a few stops on the way it took a total of 5 and a half hours to get to Doolin. On the bright side I have become very skilled at sleeping on a bus so that's what I did most of the time. Since so few people take the bus to Doolin the bus driver was nice enough to take requests on where we wanted to be dropped off! We were staying in a place called the "Doolin Activity Lodge." Sounds a little dodgy, right? WRONG! It was hands-down the nicest place I have stayed so far in all of Ireland and one of the least expensive. It looked brand new or at least very recently renovated, was so clean and had completely functioning plumbing (a big deal in Ireland). Also it included breakfast! And not just a continental breakfast but whatever you felt like ordering! If anyone is coming over this end of the world I would highly recommend staying there.

A horse and the Doolin Activity Lodge
 On our walk to the Pier
 "Town Center"

We were told we needed to eat at O'Connor's because they have great seafood (necessary because it was Friday) and great traditional entertainment. I have an awesome video of a man singing "She Moved Through the Fair" accompanied with music but I forgot my camera (I was kicking myself the whole time) so I used my cell phone but it is apparently too big a file to send in a message, anyone know how else to get a video from a phone to the computer? And the fish and chips was second best I've had so far, only to the fish at the Horse & Jockey, which is still excellent.

 The Queen of Aran, the ferry from Doolin
 The Cliffs of Moher!

 From the ferry window
 More Cliffs..

The ferry usually takes about an hour but since it was the only one running from Doolin that day it stopped at all three islands so it took a little longer. Once we arrived we promptly rented bikes from the one place on the island to do so and started our adventure. The man at the company gave us maps. The main route is called the Ring of Aran.

Like I mentioned earlier we had to ride our bikes UPHILL for so long. We biked until I was dying, and I had taken off my coat, and then my vest, and then my hair went back and then my sleeves had to be rolled up and THEN I needed a break because my knees were on fire. Once I recovered we went up to the lighthouse and watchtower on the island. Luckily enough the rest of the trip was down hill!

 Such cute billy goats!
 The "Hair Dryer Effect." Because there is no shelter and usually it is so windy a bunch of the trees in the west of Ireland, especially on Inishmor look like this! It wasn't windy at all that day, it is just how the trees grow!

Typical Irish roads, so crazy.
 I kept stopping for pictures so Evan had to do a lot of waiting!
 A beach!

Part of the "Ring of Aran" is a seal colony! I thought they were rocks at first but then they started flapping about and roaring and with a closer look it was obvious they were seals!

On the last leg of the bike ride we rode along the coast and it was so  beautiful! We saw marshes with so many different kinds of birds, various ocean inlets and all sorts of old houses and cemeteries.

 Evan waiting again way off in the distance!
 It must be calf season because there were a ton of them!
 This cow momma wasn't happy I was taking pictures!
 The harbor at sunset!
 For dinner we went a a pub called Ti Joe Watty's, there is a picture of it above. I had boiled bacon, mashed potatoes and cabbage. It was SO delicious. For desert we had apple pie that was really good too!
 The pier at sunrise.

 This weekend was daylight savings time in Ireland so the sun was just rising at 8:15 when we got the ferry back to Rossaveal, Co. Galway. It was a shorter ride, only about 45 minutes because it was direct from Inishmor. I slept on the ferry and when we got to Rossaveal we hopped on a bus to Galway city.

Since it was still pretty early we went to the bakery, Griffin's, that we discovered last time we were in Galway. It was just as delicious as I remembered it. Here is another Irish saying that means "A good start is half the work."
 This sculpture is in Eyre Square and is to commemorate the fact that Galway City was originally a fishing and boating community.

Overall the Aran Islands were so beautiful! I'm so glad that we got to go there and that we took the ferry from Doolin! Since the Islands are pretty out of the way and you really need to stay on island, not many people get to visit there. Oh and the Aran Islands are where the Aran (or Irish) Knit Sweaters Originated! The story goes that the women of the islands created a stitch unique to each family so if anyone was lost at sea they would be able to be recognized by their sweaters. Unfortunately by the time we finished touring the island, the main shop was closed but there are many shops around here that sell them, too!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dear Readers...

Dear Readers,

I want to take a minute to thank you all. You might be asking, "hmm what did I do?" Well, you're doing it right now. You are reading my blog! Without all of you who read, this would be a lonely little website. According to the "stats" section of Blogger this blog receives nearly 1,000 page views! Now, I fully recognize that a MASSIVE majority are probably from my relatives but I appreciate it (and you all) nonetheless!

So thanks a mill (the Irish say that a lot!) for continuing to read and I will continue to do my best to keep you all interested, entertained and informed!

Lots of love and appreciation,

Monday, March 28, 2011

Quote of the Day!

"The happiest of people are rarely the richest, or the most beautiful, or even the most talented. Happy people do not depend on excitement and ‘fun’ supplied by externals. They enjoy the fundamental, often very simple, things of life. They waste no time thinking other pastures are greener; they do not yearn for yesterday or tomorrow. They savor the moment, glad to be alive, enjoying their work, their families and the good things around them. They are adaptable; they can bend with the wind, adjust to the changes in their times, enjoy the contests of life, and feel themselves in harmony with the world. Their eyes are turned outward and upward; they are aware and compassionate. They have the capacity to love."
--Jane Canfield


21. No, I'm not talking about the movie, or the card game, or Roger Clemens. I'm talking about how old I am today! At 8:03 AM 21 years ago... well I think you know. I got some really, really lovely gifts already from my awesome family so thank you all again! And I even got one from my dog, Will!

 I think the post man had an idea what this was for..

Everyone should have some ice cream for me today!