"There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere . . . "
- Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
One long Memorial Day weekend in Ireland = 833 photos. I promise not to bore you with the entirety of them...just a few. All of those were taken in four days, really, not counting the horrible, annoying travel time bookending the trip.
Sorry, I'm a little venomous right now about the whole travel thing. See, we flew home yesterday. And it rained yesterday. All over the world, apparently. We were delayed getting out of Dublin...due to rain. Which isn't actually surprising ~ it is Ireland and Ireland=rain.
So we missed our US Air connection in Frankfurt, Germany. Where it was also raining.
Neither US Air nor the absolutely incompetent not-my-problem workers at Air Lingus bothered to lend much of a hand finding us a way back to the US, so it took promises, nasty threats and a very sweaty jog across a stupendously big airport (so sweaty, in fact, that I changed out of my swampy clothes in the airplane bathroom once we took off) to get us finally on a plane to Philly - where it was raining. So we waited on standby to New York (where it was also...raining). Standby on a delayed flight.
The bad news:
1) I missed my class and the professor might just kick me out because we had an assignment due (ridiculous for the day after a holiday, if you ask me) and I certainly didn't manage to turn it in.
2) I am exhausted with a capital ZZzzzz.
3) My jacket reeks of cat pee, which has nothing to due with our trip to Ireland, but it still bugs me. I had it cleaned after That Cat decided to pee on it and I guess the cleaning didn't take. Of course, I didn't sniff test it before packing it up for our trip. Well, now it's kind of a mix of cat pee and the Chloe perfume I sprayed all over it to overwhelm the pee scent when we wandered through duty-free. In case you were curious, the two fragrances aren't really a good mix.
The good news:
1) I am home (rather, I am working, but close enough...which isn't to say I wouldn't rather be back in Dublin swigging pints, but when I look at the practicality of things, home - or work - is good).
2) Actually, the standby delayed flight from Philly we took landed before the original flight we were supposed to take did, due to even more delays. Ha!
3) Dublin was awesome.
So tonight I'm going to scramble some homework (yesterday's assignment and tomorrow's assignment!), slip out to dinner for a prep session for next year's Spring Break Trek (did I mention I'm one of the two people running the shindig now? It's the same trip set up that took us to South Africa last year and Turkey the year before. Who knows where we go next year!) and then try to find five minutes to catch up on sleep. And maybe pet the damn cat. She missed us. Hope she didn't pee on anything else.
In the meantime, here is a pictorial summary of some of our afternoon of Day One, Dublin:
Friday, May 22. Which is also Ben's birthday!!
After taking an easy bus ride from the airport and dropping our bags off at O'Neill's Pub and Townhouses ~ our B&B just above Trinity College which we LOVED and cannot recommend enough (however, we managed a couple of wrong turns getting there - did you know there are five O'Neill's in Dublin?) ~ we strolled over to the best fish & chips joint ever.
We bought Leo Burdock's halibut and chips, all doused up with salt and vinegar and properly wrapped in newspaper.
(later we tried the cod as well; we ultimately preferred the halibut). This was easily the best meal we had the entire trip. I am a sucker for fish and chips and there just isn't any*quite* as good to be found in NY. It must be something about the Liffy River water (that's what they say about the Guinness, anyway).
We hauled ourselves across the street and scarfed our food on the lawn of Christ Church Cathedral.
It rained a little, but the sun was out. We didn't find a rainbow. We did find a frizz head.
(There I am, wearing the Cat Pee and Chloe jacket in the rain. Holding fish. How fragrant.)
After eating all we could, we ducked into a nearby pub, Legends...
...for our first round of Dublin Guinness.
Oh, so creamy and good! The stuff over there is far better than what we poor Americans suffer through in the name of Guinness over here, even at the best of Irish pubs. I think that the Legends' pint was actually the best we had the entire trip.
I was happy and a little bit drunk and thus inspired to take wacky photos that made my face look even loooonger than usual.
We wandered back to our hotel under overcast skies...
I'm not coherent enough to craft a real entry, so it's Random List Day!
*I started a new class, Entrepreneurship. It has deliverables twice a week.
*I ate too many mussels on Tuesday and too many crawfish last night.
*Bottles of wine keep following me around the city, trying to get me all drunk.
*I've arrived to work by 6:30am every day this week. I hate 6:30am.
*I've not had more than four hours of sleep any night this week.
*I haven't been able to update my I-Pod songlist for well over a year. I never thought I'd get sick of listening to James Blunt, but guess what: I have.
*I leave for Ireland in mere hours!
*I'm not taking knitting. At all.
* Why? 1- I've heard that the Dublin airport is nasty about needles. 2 - I find that I carry knitting all over the word without actually doing much knitting, and/or I come home with sunscreen-stained baby blankets...
*Also, I'm looking forward to a nice long sleep on the flight over.
*I am taking homework. I have a a case study, a paper and a slide presentation due Tuesday, 1.5 hours after our flight lands. We find out tonight what the paper and slide are supposed to be about. I won't actually be in class tonight, so...?
*I have 8 hours of work to do in the 2.5 hours I'll be here at work. And I can't do any of it because no one is in the office yet! So why am I here?
*I'm taking my computer, but don't bet on me blogging while I'm there.
*I'm bringing 3 touring books and 3 reading books. And still I'm scared that I'll run out.
*Tomorrow is Ben's birthday!
*His present is 24 hours in which I do not whine and moan when he farts.
I'm all worked up and in a stew. But a big chunk of it is work stuff and we don't talk about that here, now do we? As for the personal stuff, well it's mother stuff; if she doesn't resolve herself soon, we'll talk it out, but until then we'll just smile and chat about the weather. So I'm going to breathe deeply (inhale...one...two...three. Exhale...one...two...three) and try to pretend that she doesn't cry every time she calls - which is about four times a day - and we'll focus on all the good things.
First of all, I turned out an "A" in That Class That Was Supposed to be Fun But Wasn't. No arguments from me, although I'm not sure what random formula the wacky professor devised to produce that grade. I sure didn't try very hard (the class was supposed to be fun, after all, and wasn't), so maybe I just have a natural knack for financial analysis and forecasting strategy (harrumph). I feel guilty now for the crappy review I gave him, but, wait! we're sticking to the happy right now.
Okay, so I painted my toes blue.
There you go, a giant picture of my (clean) (fat) foot on the internet. I'm sure that's just what you all wanted to see on this Monday morning afternoon (where does the time go?). I thought I would share my minute rebellion with someone, though. Besides me, Ben is the only one who can appreciate the blue! and, well, he doesn't much appreciate how good blue nail polish can make a girl feel. The weather turned chilly again, so I'm back to closed toe shoes and anyway, these aren't particularly office appropriate, so it's our little secret.
I went a bit more traditional with my fingers, slipping into a nice spring-ish pink.
It was another garter-only weekend and I plowed through two stripes on the blanket. Everything else knitting-related remains untouched; I just don't have it in me right now to think.
We saw Angels and Demons on Friday. Ben really loved it. I...liked it a lot. What can I say - Star Trek spoiled me. The adventure scenes were great. I thought the exposition was rather lengthy and complicated (I know, it must be there, but it felt weighed down). The acting was fabulous. Good...but not Star Trek.
We graced a few graduation parties for my classmates, walked the 9th Avenue Food Festival and got caught in the warm spring rain. I'm still marinating my fingers in hand sanitizer - have your heard that 11 12 New York City schools have been closed down this week for swineswine swine flu? I'm getting a fever just thinking about it!
In all, it doesn't sound bad, though, right? So why does it feel like there is a hole in the pit of my stomach? (Could be that turkey burger I scarfed down for lunch...)
Oh, dear. I've now made it into this google search. We'll have some interesting visitors around here now...
(Actually...well, wait until people discover that the penguin in the video posted below poops at one point - then we'll really have a time of it over here...except Ben claims the penguin is peeing. What do you think? Go ahead, see if you can spot the pooping penguin!)
Okay, everyone, it's time to laugh. Ben finally made something funny.
Turn UP the volume on your computer (you must have sound with this one), sit back and pull up some popcorn to watch Ben's latest satire, a spoof of everyone's favorite penguin movie, and a love story - sort of - based off of footage Ben shot of African Penguins outside of Capetown. It's a little shaky, but it was our second trip with a video camera, what do you expect?
Watch, right here on your computer screen, the tale about the long walk of a lonely penguin.
The movie is kid-friendly. It's work friendly, too - that is, if your boss doesn't mind you wasting time watching lonely penguins tromp around Africa.
Sangria and oysters. Riesling and lobster and mussels.
It was a good dinner - a gluttonous dinner, but not a great dinner. The lobster was huge but the tail meat was slightly overdone (yet still delish), a typical fault I find when lobster-noshing. But I lapped up every buttery bite and I even wore my bib like a good girl.
The Play: Accent on Youth
I found the first act quite disappointing, although Ben did not. It seemed to me that David Hyde Pierce was "acting" too old for himself. Of course, the catch of the play is that his character is old and, Ben pointed out, Pierce is old(ish) now, too. But he doesn't seem old, not to me, not as decrepit as his character is supposed to be, and watching him act old didn't work for me there at the first.
Luckily, the first act was really just a dollop of exposition and character set-up. All of the fun happens in the following acts! Everything post-intermission found Pierce dead-on in his range, caught up in a sweet yet cynical comedy of manners.
I'm very glad I saw it and would recommend the show for a light night out (and it's only about two hours long). But it didn't change my world.
Over all, I loved playing hooky from my paper. But I drank too much wine and sangria and now I'm writing about Implementing Strategy with a guilt hangover, feeling all cloudy with a chance of showers.
I was still sore last night all up and down my right side. I cooked up some left-handed gumbo (the veggie chopping was somewhat tricky, but I took pity on me bought pre-peeled shrimp and saved myself that battle). Ben rubbed my twinging neck, which helped significantly, but all I could manage (yet again) was languid garter stitch.
Unfortunately, after the major stash re-org, my second skein of navy blue Mission Falls 1824 Cotton disappeared. Maybe it got scared and ran away. Maybe the cat ate it, I don't know. I decided I don't care.
I improvised. Blue is blue.
Yum, mis-matched stripeyness.
Oh, and LOBSTER day is coming early for me ~ I'm going for another dose tonight at City Lobster, rather than tomorrow - the sheer buttery deliciousness should certainly help these aches and pains (unless I keep doing my "lobster dance" - in which case I might break a knee or something. *lobster dance!*) I'm calling it Lobster Therapy and I think it should be covered by health insurance.
Post-LOBSTER, Ben and I are going to see David Hyde Pierce in Accent on Youth on Broadway. He's one of my favorite comic actors, so I'll let you know how it goes.
The warped and knotted muscles encasing the right side of my neck; the dent carved into the third finger on my right hand; the constricting pain creeping down my shoulder bone and nestling in those muscles alongside my spine - these aches bear testament to my unrelenting focus on and devotion to that &^$*@!) exam last night. I am so not used to writing by hand any more. I'm not talking stress pain - this is actual, physical hardship from three full hours of trying to craft legible text that has practically shut down 50% of my body. We had essay questions, people! Handwritten essays. Could someone please tell these professors about this newfangled computer thing before my hand seizes up for good?
I can barely read my handwriting myself, so I gently swiveled every "e" and tried to make my "r"s consistent. The fingers on my right hand won't really bend today, so I'm typing kind of left-side lop-sided. With each page I labored over last night, those scratchy letters dissolved a little bit closer to scribble. Do you have ANY idea how happy I am to be back behind a keyboard (even with gnarled fingers)? When was the last time you hand-wrote at length? Does it twist and tangle you now as it does me? I can't turn my head to the right without whimpering!
But. It's done. That Class That Was Supposed to be Fun But Wasn't is now over and all that's left is to pan it in my end-of-semester evaluation. I have one more exam this week, a take-home number that, according to my less-procrastinating classmates, boils down to a four page paper. Typed.
Four pages? I can type that out while I sleep! With just my left hand. While stirring pasta with the other, recovering hand! Four pages - I laugh at you. Now I just have to get around to doing you.
My dinner date last night was fabulous (LOBSTER ROLL! ~ have I told you all that I consider LOBSTER to be the best food ever? And the lobster roll tastes like summer on a bun. Buttered. With a side of onion rings. I went on a streak last July and had lobster rolls four times in one week. Last night was my first lobster roll of the spring and I just can't wait to get my paws on another one...which I plan to do on Thursday!)
Um, anyway, yes, all is well again in the pit of my stomach. The post-exam part of the evening was a celebration of things and general good-will. (I didn't know the extent of my exam injuries at the time; I might not have celebrated quite so much with all of that right-handed strenuous beer mug-lifting and toasting, oye...) I think that exam flutters got all kinds of stuff riled up and set about confusing me to no end and making trouble, while certain other people person were not as sensitive to my stress as they he could have been.
After sharing a pitcher of celebratory ale, plus a few handfuls of McSorleys', there was nary at knit stitch in sight at OSOH. I sprawled on the sofa with the cat and watched some CNN while Ben worked on his new Film Project (just wait until you see it! Coming here soon!)
No photos in this post. My camera finger is all knotted up. Maybe after I track down some of those muscle relaxers...