long distance

1386 wicklow There's always something that triggers my erratic sleep schedule.  I struggle with maintaining normal sleep hours.  I tried to set time aside last week to "fix" what resulted from traveling every other week for two months.  I went to bed at reasonable hours at the beginning of the week, but then I just went back to sleeping during the day.  You see, there was a day that I stayed up all night editing and reading…. so late that I thought, "Oh… if I just stay up a couple more hours I can talk to Lance [who lives on the east coast] before he heads to work."   And that's when it all fell apart.  Pretty much since then I've stayed up until 5am working or reading or just being up to say good night/morning to him.  Then I proceeded to sleep until early afternoon.  Woops.  I suppose it's a small price to pay to talk to one's long-distance boyfriend.

Whenever anyone finds out that Lance lives in Virginia they ask how it is being in a long distance relationship.  Honestly it's hard at times, but I don't mind it much.  With all the traveling I do it feels like I'd be in a long distance relationship with anyone no matter where they lived.  And, thankfully, between our trips, I see more of Lance than some of my friends see their significant other.  (They see each other once every couple weeks because of their full time jobs, obligations and distances within the Bay Area.)  I think if anything our relationship is stronger due to the shear volume of how much we talk.  I get a lot of practice explaining my dry/deadpan humor and communicating my feelings (scary, I know).  All our emails and texts and phone calls and facetimes give us the opportunity to really get to know each other on a deep level.  So all things considered, I still feel pretty blessed to be in a relationship with this guy.

In fact just the other day he unclogged my shower drain from about 2500 miles away.  My shower was draining really slowly so I used Drano, which seemed to clog it further.  Then according to the directions on the back of the bottle, I poured more down the drain.  That, of course, made it completely clogged. It didn't drain at all.  When I called the Drano company (which has a satisfaction guarantee) they told me to call a plumber.  Great.  Instead, I called Lance, and with little thought he suggested I use a plunger.  Aha! Like that, the drain was completely unplugged.  Win.  He's across the country but still doing boyfriend-y things for me. Hurray!

Happy Monday! (I love Mondays.  Mondays are Saturdays.)

Ireland | Cliffs of Moher

1372 cliffs of moher01 1372 cliffs of moher02 1372 cliffs of moher03 Cliffs of Moher.  It was AMAZING. AMAZING.

While visiting Ireland, Karen and I took two day tours with Paddy Wagon Tours. For our first tour we visited a few scenic spots and the Cliffs of Moher.  Our bus driver kept commenting how we may be in luck with weather at the Cliffs of Moher, and I didn't understand that until we finally got there.  (My Irish friend's comment about weather in Ireland. "There's never a good time to visit Ireland [weather-wise].  It's either cloudy or rainy or both." I should have figured with the weather as such.)  It was very foggy when we first arrived.  So much so that when we hiked up to the vista point, we couldn't see the Cliffs of Moher at all, just a blanket of fog.  Karen and I hiked back down then hiked back up with not much success until the fog started to roll out.  When the sky finally cleared, the cliffs were a sight to see, indeed! Beautiful.

We walked along the cliffs while I told myself, "My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father. Prepare to die." Did you know the Cliffs of Moher are also the Cliffs of Insanity from Princess Bride?  You're welcome for the fun fact.

1372 cliffs of moher04 1372 cliffs of moher05 1372 cliffs of moher06 1372 cliffs of moher07 1372 cliffs of moher08 1372 cliffs of moher09 1372 cliffs of moher111372 cliffs of moher101372 cliffs of moher141372 cliffs of moher171372 cliffs of moher12 1372 cliffs of moher131372 cliffs of moher15 1372 cliffs of moher161372 cliffs of moher18

Ireland | the Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse My birthday is the day after St. Patrick's Day.  For as long as I can remember I loved St. Patrick's Day.  I loved it because I loved having a holiday close to my birthday.  I think shamrock shakes from McDonald's are awesome.  And one of my favorite things to eat is corned beef and cabbage.  (Oh and Karen and I learned that in London they call corned beef "salty beef".  You're welcomed for that fun fact.) So it comes as no surprise that I've wanted to spend my birthday in Ireland, and what better birthday to celebrate than my 30th!  Yay!

While I'm not a big celebrator of my birthday, I was very excited to go to the Guinness Storehouse and learn how to poor a proper Guinness (a dream come true).  Karen and I woke up extra early for the St. Patrick's Day parade which was basically a bunch of American marching bands and very weird European theatrical performers. The gaps in American and European culture were very wide in the parade.  But another post on that later.  Once we were done with the parade we went straight for a taxi and off to the Guinness Storehouse.  We arrived at a perfect time when it was relatively empty.  (Karen suspected everyone was probably still making their way from the parade.)

First thing we did was go through the tour of the "brewery" which, like the Jameson Distillery, was only a mock up.  Karen and I breezed through it and went straight for some yummy food.  We had several restaurants with different types of food to choose from, and we decided upon Gilroy's.  I ordered the "Rich Guinness and beef casserole with mashed potatoes" with a half pint of Guinness and a dessert of Guinness ice cream and fruit.  The casserole was absolutely delicious.  It melted in my mouth it was so good.

1366 guinness storehouse photography02 1366 guinness storehouse photography03 1366 guinness storehouse photography04 1366 guinness storehouse photography05 1366 guinness storehouse photography06 1366 guinness storehouse photography07

At first we thought, "Is this it?" as it seemed like the Storehouse wasn't as big a deal as we had heard.  We had already explored a couple of levels, when we realized we had totally missed a bunch of floors. Because it was St. Patrick's Day different parts of the Storehouse were buzzing with bands and performers.  And on each floor there was some kind of demonstration or exhibit to explore. The Guinness Storehouse was really great fun, and we spent a good portion of the day enjoying it all.

I went crazy when I discovered a pouring class was included in our entry ticket.  The little lady showed us the proper way to pour a Guinness, and I felt so giddy doing it myself.  Guinness in Ireland is so much better than in the States, and I wondered if it was because it's being poured incorrectly.  Needless to say, I love learning and taking classes, so of course I loved learning how to pour a proper pint. Yay! Hurray!

If you're ever in Ireland, a visit to the Guinness Storehouse is a fun touristy thing to do.  Make sure you buy your tickets online; you get a discount and don't have to wait in the long line to enter. 1366 guinness storehouse photography08 1366 guinness storehouse photography09 1366 guinness storehouse photography10 1366 guinness storehouse photography11 1366 guinness storehouse photography12 1366 guinness storehouse photography13All the images were taken using my Fuji x100s and iPhone 4s.

 

Ireland | around

1364 streets of ireland1 One of my favorite things to do while traveling is wandering. I'm a master of it, mostly because I often get lost. There's so much to see that's different from the states. I like to notice the subtle differences in new places.

Karen and I spent the rest of our second day (the first day was just traveling) on the hop-on-hop-off bus learning about the different sites in Dublin. We took the afternoon to visit the Jameson distillery.  While the distillery was fun, I thought it'd be more like brewery/wine tours I'm used to back home where you're touring the actual facilities where the drinks are made.  At the Jameson distillery we did learn a lot about the process of making Irish whiskey, but we only toured a mock up of what a real distillery was like.  At the end of our afternoon we headed to the Temple Bar area for some food and stumbled upon a very yummy restaurant.  I ate a meat pie that was sooooooooo delicious while we enjoyed some live music.

1364 streets of ireland2 1364 streets of ireland3 1364 streets of ireland4 1364 streets of ireland5 1364 streets of ireland6 1364 streets of ireland7

Ireland | Trinity College

Trinity College Trinity College Karen and I both took red-eyes and arrived bright and early in Ireland.  After getting settled in to our hotel, we headed for the city center.  After a bit of wandering and getting lost we picked up a "freedom" pass which included three days on a hop-on-hop-off bus and access to all the public transportation.  The pass was a really great way to see all the touristy spots of Ireland, learn a little bit of history and get around.  Win.

As Karen and I planned our trip, we ranked our top three things we wanted to do in Dublin.  For Karen Trinity College's library was at the top of her list.  Also loving libraries and all-things-books, I was excited to see this famous library.  It was beautiful. Beautiful.  I wanted to climb all the ladders and stairs and study each book spine.  (I couldn't of course.) But I was contented to just marvel at the architecture and collection of books.  Awesome.

And added bonus to visiting Trinity College and its library was seeing the Book of Kells which, I gather, was a very, very old translation of the four Gospels.  The college set up an exhibition where you could learn about its history and the processes entailed in such an ornate translation.  Then at the very end you got to actually see it in real life.  It's crazy that something like that has survived wars and all this time. (Kind of made me want to watch Monuments Men even more.)

After Trinity college Karen and I went out in search of food! We found a pub and ate a tasty breakfast sandwich.  And after a study of local patrons, agreed it was normal to have Guinness with breakfast.  So there I was in Ireland with my first Guinness (for breakfast).  To my surprise, Guinness in Ireland tastes a whole lot different from Guinness in the states.  It was much lighter and smooth without that chocolate/coffee taste I dislike in US pours. I liked Irish Guinness! yay!

Trinity College Trinity College Trinity College Trinity College Trinity College Trinity College Trinity College Trinity College Trinity College