Thankful and Grateful

Happy Thanksgiving! Gosh I am so grateful for so much. I’m always surrounded by an amazing amount of love and support from Felix, my family, my friends; and grateful for a happy and healthy life. I get to be here this year in the states to celebrate turkey day with my parents, uncles and aunt. And tomorrow is Dad’s 75th birthday, so pretty much a celebration lasting through the weekend. Happiness and drinks all around!

And I got to enjoy one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions – the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But darn it, I missed Gwen Stefani’s performance. Oh well, I got to see SpongeBob.

Enjoy that turkey or fish or cranberries or stuffing, whatever is your favorite. Don’t forget the extra gravy. Big hugs to you and yours this Thanksgiving. #sothankful

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Kiss My Grits, Cancer

Cancer can kiss my ass. Seriously. PUCKER UP! Pucker up big time.

An hour ago my mom was wheeled out of the OR from having a double mastectomy. My sweet, adorable, full of life, mama. I know she is hurting right now. She also had reconstruction with this surgery. I was trying to talk her into some double D’s, but no. She is gonna go for the nice perky ones. Right on, mama. You go.

She had a lumpectomy about ten years ago, then radiation, then special medication for five years. This time no radiation (thank goodness) but back on the meds for another five years. She is one helluva strong lady that I look up to and love very much. She is loved by her three grandsons, her two children, her husband, her brothers and sisters, friends, etc., etc. So, to put it plainly, she ROCKS.

Cancer is scary. Cancer creates fear and sadness. But you know what it can’t do? So much. I found this lovely poem online. Please read, feel inspired and tell cancer to suck it.

Cancer is so limited…
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit.

Author: Dr. Robert L. Lynn

DUBLIN

Hello fellow readers! I returned from visiting the green island of Ireland a few weeks ago. I hope to take you through every area we visited in my next few posts. So keep in touch.

First of all, the Irish people are THE NICEST people I have ever met. I have traveled a lot (not to brag, but I have done a decent share – but that said, so much more still to see) and I have never had such a pleasurable experience with the people of a country. Not a single rude person. Everyone was friendly, helpful and most of all, funny. It was such a fantastic trip.

Let me just preface that I was traveling with my parents, not that THAT is bad! I just wanted you to know who I was with on this adventure. I love my parents and we had a lot of fun. Since moving to Europe ten (!) years ago, I have traveled with my parents a lot on this side of the pond.

So, let’s get down to it. Flying from Mallorca to Bilbao to Dublin I landed around 5:00 pm at the Dublin airport. And my first experience with Aerlingus. Nice airline – they had leather seats throughout the entire aircraft! And of course, friendly. Then I had to pick up the rental car from Hertz. And this was my first experience of the steering wheel on the other side and driving on the other side of the road. My parents had landed earlier in the day so they were already at the hotel. It was me and the rental car driving on the wrong side of the road together. YAY! Already friends.

Finally arrived at Clontarf Castle and went up to the room. Dad was still sleeping and mom was getting ready for dinner. We unpacked, talked about the trip to Dublin and went down for dinner in the hotel restaurant. Good food, good service and guess what – friendly people everywhere!! What is in the water? And can I get some shipped to the island of Mallorca?

Dad and I started off with a Guinness. Because if you are in Ireland, you drink a Guinness!! And by the way, have you tried Guinness with black currants!? DO IT NOW. You can thank me later. The most deliciousness of Guinness you will ever have. Yo.

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We called it an early night because we had to begin the day around 8 a.m. (pretty much every morning for the rest of the week). I did like that we each had our own single bed. Usually when it is three people one person gets totally shafted and has to sleep in that crappy cot (extra) bed. You know what I am talking about, right? And it really sucks. And is really uncomfortable. And it is always ME that has to take this bed because I am obviously the youngest – but not that young!! But here at the Clontarf Castle we each had a lovely single bed. A good nights sleep if only my dad didn’t snore!

DAY TWO: Hop On – Off (HOHO) Bus in Dublin. Some people don’t like these buses but it is an easy way to see the city without paying too much money. Just as the name states, you can get on and off when and where you like and walk around for as long as you want and then get back on. Of course, keeping with the bus time schedule. I think they start around 9 a.m. and end around 8 p.m.

Clontarf Castle has a free shuttle early around 8 a.m. But we wanted breakfast and then took a taxi took the HOHO Bus. The first place we got off was Trinity College. It is one of the seven ancient universities of Britain and Ireland, as well as Ireland’s oldest university. It was originally established outside the city walls of Dublin in the buildings of the dissolved Augustinian Priory of All Hallows, Trinity College was set up in part to consolidate the rule of the Tudor monarchy in Ireland, and it was seen as the university of the Protestant Ascendancy for much of its history. Trinity College is now surrounded by Dublin and is located on College Green, opposite the former Irish Houses of Parliament. The college proper occupies 190,000 m2 (47 acres), with many of its buildings ranged around large squares and two playing fields.

The main reason we stopped at Trinity College was to see the Book of Kells. This book is believed to have been created ca. 800 AD. Amazing, right!? The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin. It contains the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables.  The manuscript today comprises 340 folios and, since 1953, has been bound in four volumes. The leaves are on high-quality calf vellum, and the unprecedentedly elaborate ornamentation that covers them includes ten full-page illustrations and text pages that are vibrant with decorated initials and interlinear miniatures and mark the furthest extension of the anti-classical and energetic qualities of Insular art.

While they had two books on display (under bullet-proof glass) it was difficult to see with the amount of people trying to crowd in and look …. for hours. But I did get a peek and it was beautiful. A picture from a page in the Book of Kells from educationscotland.gov.uk.

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.Connected to the area to see the Book of Kells is the Long Room. The 65-metre-long (213 ft) main chamber of the Old Library, the Long Room, was built between 1712 and 1732 and houses 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books. This was actually my favorite part of Trinity College. While the Book of Kells was so interesting and beautiful it also had so many people wanting to see it, read about it, learn every single thing possible. The long room was more calming and just so many books! My heart was happy.

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Back on the bus! We drove past tons of gorgeous places – St. Stephen’s Green, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Dublin Zoo in the huge Phoenix Park. But then our next stop was the Guinness Storehouse. Did I mention the Irish people were friendly and funny? While leaving our guide mentioned to all getting off that the last pick-up from Guinness was at 8 p.m. Hilarious. 🙂 I thought we would be able to just go straight to the Gravity Bar at the top but you must buy a ticket to go there. Adult tickets are 18 euros each and you get a ticket for a free pint of Guinness at the Gravity Bar. The self “tour” was fine, interesting if you want to know how they make Guinness. We went through it pretty quickly and headed to the top. Here you can receive your free (with your ticket) pint of Guinness and look out over all of Dublin. Great views!

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Our last stop was Temple Bar. Not really to see the area – because it is mostly bars and retro clothes shops. Which if that is your thing, this is your stop! But there was a big hurling game happening and we wanted to check it out. What is hurling, you may ask? What you DON’T know!? What planet are you living on!? Okay, kidding. We had no idea but there was a big game and our taxi driver told us all about it. Hurling is called the fastest game on grass.

The objective of the game is for players to use a wooden stick called a hurley to hit a small ball called a sliotar between the opponents’ goalposts either over the crossbar for one point, or under the crossbar into a net guarded by a goalkeeper for one goal, which is equivalent to three points. The sliotar can be caught in the hand and carried for not more than four steps, struck in the air, or struck on the ground with the hurley. It can be kicked or slapped with an open hand (the hand pass) for short-range passing. A player who wants to carry the ball for more than four steps has to bounce or balance the sliotar on the end of the stick and the ball can only be handled twice while in his possession. It was a lot of fun to watch and to try to understand what exactly was happening. The big game was between two rivals Kilkenney vs. Tipperary. And it ended in a tie, something that is very unusual I was told.

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.Flags flying for their/your favorite team. That concludes my first day of Dublin post. I hope you enjoyed it. Next up is Newgrange and surrounding area of Dublin. Please check it out. Good night!

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Life with a cat(s)

Actually it is – Life with a cat cats.

Maybe you know, maybe you don’t know. I have five cats. Yep, FIVE. I used to have seven! And spring is just around the corner which brings May flowers …. and kittens! So many wild cats around here you just never know when a new baby ends up wandering around. And seriously, how can you turn away sweet faces like these?

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.Or this?

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.Or these?

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.Which is why I can totally understand this:

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.Go get yourself a cat! They are adorable, hilarious and fulfill your life so much more than you can imagine. But actually I don’t really care if you are a dog person. Get yourself a dog! Or both! I would recommend to get one from the pound or like I did and have a wild mama leave you her babies. Either way, make sure you are ready for it. Please never ever get an animal and then realize you can’t care for it and then must give it away. That just breaks my heart.

An animal, is a friend for life. Treat it like one. Gracias.

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Happy Day Chuck!

Thanksgiving has passed and thankfully this year I was able to enjoy it with my family in the USA. I am here for my dad’s 70th birthday which sometimes falls on Turkey Day, but not this year. We enjoyed the norm – turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberrries, green bean casserole and several pies to choose from, pumpkin being my favorite.

The day has gone and today we get to enjoy the leftovers. Turkey and cranberry sandwich anyone? And tomorrow is dad’s birthday. I think his greatest present will be if Oklahoma State wins against OU in the Bedlam game tomorrow so let’s keep all things crossed for that. My dad’s name is Charles but usually goes by Chuck. In the spirit of still lingering with Thanksgiving and the birthday I am ending with one of my favorite childhood memories – Charlie Brown. Nothing is better than enjoying life with good friends and family. Hope all of you enjoyed the day like that as well.

Back In Black

Hey y’all! I have been out and about in the lovely areas of Arizona, Louisiana and New York. My bi/tri annual trek overseas. I have so much to share about my time in New Orleans, my FIRST time ever there – I can’t believe it took me so long. And my usual stomping grounds of New York City.

Arizona was fun but busy taking care of two youngins. My nephews, aged four and one point five were quite the handful! My mom and I were the basic caregivers while my brother was in school and his wife in South Korea for her brother’s wedding. Congrats to the newlyweds!

Let’s see, I tried to catch up on my new favorite TV show SMASH. I am pretty much addicted to anything that has singing and dancing in it. Therefore, Glee and Smash are what I watch. But I have been getting into Downton Abbey. Albeit the lack of singing and dancing. Amazing! Maybe because it is British?

I also watched a few movies: The Help, Hugo, Bridesmaids, Twilight the Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part I (could there BE a longer title?).  They were good but I wanted a bit more from all of them….  SORRY!

Alright, I just wanted to say a quick HOLA! I am back in Spain and so happy to be back. Sadly, one of my cats died while I was gone (don’t worry she wasn’t alone, my boyfriend was here taking care of them). But to end my post I would like to say, Rest In Peace Sweet LD (aka Fatty). I miss your shy ways and still see you lounging in your favorite black chair. Sending you love and light my sweet, fat, completely black cat. Miss you Fatty. oxox