Thursday, July 29, 2010

The "Jewelry Unmaker" Made A Necklace!

Thanks Tim and Barbie for the trinkets!

...and of course Mod Podge, for always being there!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lookie What I Made This Week!

You know how everyone has to be in the kitchen even though you have other perfectly good places to sit and still sort of be there? Well this is for one of those people to perch.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Totally Pausing Is Not Exactly Stopping

If you Totally Pause at this stop sign, it will cost you $280.60.
Now when I stop at this one I say, "United States of America" before moving on, per my granddaughter's suggestion.
I wonder what they are going to do with the sixty cents???

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Part II In Which We Wander About The Emerald Isle

My sister and I had just enjoyed a week of luxury with the girlfriends. Now the girls are going home and we are going to wait for the husbands to arrive. There will be no more looking for fairies in holes in rocks, nor will we play “Guess the name of the movie this song is from.” We shall switch from champagne to beer, from gourmet delights to pub food, and from cruising the lovely waters of the Shannon River to back roads and city streets. We are ready.

They arrived early Sunday morning, bringing with them a little box with a very calm lady living inside. She was going to tell us where to turn and when to go straight. She had no idea what she was in for.

The first thing we did was head for The Egan Guesthouse in Dublin. We chose this because Egan is a family ancestral name. The guesthouse was delightful and we shared the first of many “Family Rooms,” meaning the four of us slept in one big room. We like to hear each other snore and what not. John rewarded us right away. While he was taking a little nap he said, “Barb! Get the ladder! Never mind I’m dreaming.”

The next day we hopped on the “Hop-on-Hop-off” double-decker tour bus and went all over Dublin. Our tour guide/driver was a comedian.

He introduced himself as, “Charlie, Live and Unleashed!” He called the local rail transport, “The snail on the rail.” He referred to a tall, pointy, silver structure as “The stiletto in the ghetto,” and a couple of other rhyming monikers that are unfit for publication.

As we lumbered by a church with a cemetery, He said, “The guy who invented crossword puzzles is buried in there. If you want to see his grave, it’s four across and three down.”

He pointed out a statue of one of the founding fathers, Daniel O’Conner and admired his white hair, courtesy of the pigeons. As we passed by the stately parliament building, he called it, “Disneyland in Dublin,”

When we had had enough of Dublin, we picked up our little red car, sat the calm lady on the dash, and took off for the back roads.

Our goal was to meet the people, visit pubs, (especially the Egan pubs,) stay in small bed and breakfast establishments, kiss the Blarney Stone, tour the Guinness brewery, find the Egan family castle (Redwood), see the cliffs of Moher, and find and photograph the convent that our third great grandmother escaped from in eighteen something when she ran away to America. We accomplished all these goals, and then some.

We drove all the way around the craggy western coast. (Dingle, Bray Head, Ballybunnion) If you look at this area on the map it looks quite windblown. That’s because it is. It was like driving on the edge of the world.

We drove the calm lady crazy. I’ll bet she said, “Recalculating” over one hundred and fifty times. Sometimes, she actually sounded exasperated. The only way to see a country is to get out there and get lost in it.

At one point the calm lady took us right down to the water’s edge. She said, “ Drive onto the ferry.” We looked up and there WAS a ferry! We cautiously drove aboard and it took off. The fee collector came by and we asked where the ferry was taking us. He said without pause or emotion, “France.” We began to make the noises you might expect, and he smiled and said, “OK, Cobh.” I swear. Everyone in Ireland is a comedian.

The roads? Here is how I see the Irish considering their roads.

1. Measure the width of a small car and double it.
2. Add two centimeters.
3. Dump tar in a strip, EXACTLY that wide, disregarding all walls, trees and hedges.
4. Drive on the strip on the wrong side of the road.
5. If another car appears, coming from the opposite direction, make an instant calculation concerning who is closest to a ditch or a driveway and that person will pull over and fold their side mirrors in and wait, without breathing as the other car scrapes the opposite wall while getting by your car.

If you are planning a trip to Ireland, perhaps you should take a copy of this handy information along with you. The calm lady obviously knows nothing of this inconvenience and will be of no help.

Here is some more helpful information. If you want to purchase adult beverages, go to the “Off License” store. If you want to buy cheese and crackers or a hat go to Dunne’s, which is Ireland’s Wal-Mart.

In Cork, we saw a sign advertising an oldies radio station that said, “Music for people who remember when George Michael was straight.”
And another for the same station, "Music for people who held down 'record' and 'play.'"

Comedians, I tell you!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Just One Little Difference

In Ireland they have signs that show sweet little children going to school.

In the USA we depict our school children as hydrocephalic, adult-looking, dunderheads.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Where's It At, Bitch?

On Saturday I shall be officially OLD.
A card-carrying codger.
Of course, I knew it was coming, but...
And I mean that sincerely.

I got this card from my daughter.It's kind of an inside joke.
What it is like living with an English teacher.

Monday, July 12, 2010

How To Get Rid of Annoying Neighbors Using Voodoo

This is Marie Laveau, the lovely New Orleans voodoo mistress.

One of the guys who was cruising down the Shannon River with us is a landscape artist. He has dug up several odd items during his work, including a few upside-down statues of Saint Joseph. This is a practice that is supposed to help you sell your house.
Along the way he also learned how to rid yourself of unruly or noisy or just plain crazy neighbors.

I know of several people who could have used this information.

Here is what you do.
Write the names and birth dates of obnoxious neighbors on a piece of paper. (If you can't discover their birth dates you can still do the hex.)

Tear the paper into two pieces and place each piece on opposite sides of the yard.
Place a rock on top of each piece of paper.

Now run a salt line all around the border of the offensive persons property.

Now place two coconuts on their front porch.

That's it! Now wait for them to move out.

I could have used this knowledge when the people behind us ran a swimming school in their back yard! All day long it was, "Idonwannadoit! Idonwannad blub glug blub glug glug choke gaf hack buuuurp!" This was often followed by prodigious vomiting.

Now if YOU suddenly discover two coconuts on your front porch...well...just sayin'

Saturday, July 10, 2010

How Are They Going To Keep Me Down On The Farm Now?

We flew from Sacramento to Chicago with a bunch of rowdy vice presidents from Jelly Belly, who maybe had eaten too much of their product.

In Chicago, we got a pizza from the Pizza Nazi, then got on a plane with a shamrock on the wing. I think they put the shamrock on the wing to make sure we got on the correct flight. The only thing we might have woried about was that bratty volcano in Iceland. But I put a hex on it and that was the last we heard from Eyjafjallajokull.

As we drove up to the Hotel Fitzwilliam in Dublin, my sister noticed that there was a TGIFridays next door. “We are NOT eating there!” She avowed.
We checked in, slept for awhile, then went out to explore. We met our friends, who had been there for the past week, and had driven all around Northern Ireland. We followed them to have TGIFridays. Oh, well, sometimes you just have to give in to the crowd.

The “crowd” consisted of three girls I taught school with. One of them brought her sister, and another one brought her daughter. Also in the group were John and Joseph, two delightful LA guys. It was the perfect group to spend the coming week on the Shannon River.

“Cead Mile Falite!” Which means a thousand welcomes! (And apparently also, “Here, have some champagne!”)

The boat was lovely and comfortable. It was crewed by the owners, Ruairi, his wife and spectacular gorumet cook, Olivia, and their precocious ten year old son, Ross. Olivia's food was a work of art and I took more pictures of it than I took of the castles and such. Two girls rounded out the crew, Flavia and Hannah, who waited on us hand and foot and treated us like rock stars.

We started out in Killaloe, the town that was once the home of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland. High King? Was there a low king too? Or was Brian a drug user? Nobody seemed to be able to answer my profound questions.

We had a delicious dinner and sat around the table telling funny teacher stories. Oh, yes we did. If you were a brat in school, there is at least one teacher somewhere talking about you at dinner.

That night I dreamed that I was putting on a play with my students and one of them kept making up plot changes in the middle of the play. The others didn't know what to do and the audience was confused. I woke up exhausted.

We begin our cruising and visiting ancient ruins of castles and abbeys. There were also re-creations of Celtic life during the ice age, restored, (sort of) castles, peat bogs, and pub lunches to enjoy. (Although peat bogs didn't really do it for me, my sister liked the way they smelled.)

My favorite field trips were to the lavish kitchen gardens inside the walls of Portumna Castle, and the trip to Tipperary to visit Leap Castle. This castle was owned by, and LIVED in by, one Sean Ryan. The collector (hoarder?), Mister Ryan told us some far fetched stories (“Half-eye Ty” for example,) and played the penny whistle quite well. His daughter played the harp like an angel. They performed a lovely piece for us and then his daughter danced a genuine Irish dance. She just happened to be home between touring around the world with a troup called the Ragus Dance Troupe. She was fantastic, and unlike the “Riverdance” people, she really tapped.

(I was front-row-center at a Riverdance show a few years ago. Imagine my dismay to discover that the dancers had on little ballet slippers, and the tapping was on the soundtrack.)

Our cruise took us through a couple of locks and a gigantic swing-draw bridge. While we were waiting in the bow of the boat, for our turn to go through the bridge, our captain drove the boat into the trees and reeds on the side of the river. We sent someone up to see if he'd had a heart attack, but he was just messing with us.

There were many beautiful homes along the river. I took pictures of them. Graceful swans were everywhere, swimming about with their Ugly Ducklings. The villages we moored in were voted “Tidy Towns” and they were just that. Everything was perfect; Except when we moored in Galway, where I lost a five million dollar bet with my sister when we were discussing the location of a certain store. I hate when that happens.

The whole cruise left us awash in luxury, so my sister, Barbie taught the group to say something our daddy always said when we were engaging in something lovely. He always said it in his best French accent.

“Je me demand ce que font, les pauvre gens”

It means, “I wonder what the poor people are doing.”

Now we await the husbands. The luxury is over.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Empty Bowls

The very first crafty thing I ever made was a bowl. I can't seem to stop making them. I have donated them to fund raiser boutiques, but I miss them when I do. I have given them to special friends and that's OK. Here is my latest one. I think it is finished, but I never know. It was an great big ugly plastic chartreuse bowl that I bought for a dollar. I used brown grocery bags, napkins, trim, gauze, and Mod Podge. (It's all about the Mod Podge.) And now it's this.
It's going on a shelf. To collect dust. Somebody stop me!