Archive for July, 2010

Lost – On A Plane

July 20, 2010

The planets that control the smooth and on time transportation of a passenger (me) from Tangier to Casablanca to New York to Atlanta were not aligned yesterday. In fact it was the biggest misaligned mess I’ve every experienced. Through a series of screaming babies, delays due to weather and a return to the gate because of a medical emergency, what should have been a 12 hour trip home, became a 32 hour trip. 32 hours of misery and a roller coaster of fatigue, anger, frustration, borderline tears and eventual surrender. Surrender to the fact that I may never get home. That this here, me in seat 40F with 200 or so other passengers, was now my new life. A life not that dissimilar from the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 on the TV show Lost, only this time we all get to live on the actual plane and are minus the leadership and sexy muscles of Jack and Swayer . Not to mention that we only have a limited supply of peanuts, Bloody Mary’s and oh yeah, oxygen for which to live off.

Anyway, 3 am was the eventual time I arrived home, a broken, wild eyed, sleep deprived mess. The only thing that helped me forget the whole soddy mess was the sheer excitement and joy displayed by this guy……………

……and this guy when I walked through the door.

And waking up this morning to a carriage house that now has some windows & doors and some funky kind of wrapping paper.

Moroccan Style

July 18, 2010

As a women, visiting a predominately Muslim country can be slightly intimidating. Your very careful about where you go and you tend to second guess your clothing choices. However, upon my arrival in Morocco I was proudly assured by the driver who picked me up from the airport that “Yes, yes, its ok, woman are people. Its no problem”. Hmmm, I know this was suppose to ease my concerns but to be honest, it just made me more nervous. “Woman are people”, well what a relief, cos I would hate to think of the possible alternatives to us being anything other than people. And even though the verbal message was one of freedom and liberty for all, the visual message was still a culture of women walking around with just their faces and hands exposed. As a result, us athletes, known for wearing nothing more than itsy bitsy shorts and tanks, especially in plus 30 C (90 F) of heat, tend to limit our movements to the confines of the hotel and track. Things just feel safer that way.

Yesterday however we took a trip to the stadium to loosen up and check things out in preparation for todays meet and I of course brought along my camera so I could give you a little taste of Morocco. The photos are restricted to what I saw around the stadium and just outside our hotel, my confidence level was not high enough to take on a solo excursion. But as you can see, Morocco looks nothing like Ireland.

This is the entrance to the stadium.

The track and some of the athletes getting loosened up.

My arabic is a little rusty, but something tells me that the sign on the right says “Stop”

A little glimpse of the locals.

Right across the street from our hotel was a beach. Children played on the sand and in the water in bathing suits, but even here the local women remained covered.

Over the past few days I’ve been strolling around my town like a proverbial tourist. I’m not gonna lie, it felt very awkward. I tried my best to fly below the radar on the whole project, but my big ass camera had me sticking out like a sore thumb and unfortunately I did not go unnoticed. “Is that young Karen back from America? Well, it definitely looks like her. But why is she takin a picture of the church? Yi’d swear she’d never seen it before in her life. Give her a wave there see if she waves back.” And with a big red faced I did of course wave back, “Hi Mary, how are ya?”

Anyway, my project is now complete and thank you to my friend Angela for all her suggestions on what I should include. P.S . Ang, is it just me or does our old school look more like a mental institution now?

Self explanatory.

One thing you can say about our town, its not short on churches. This is the church Husband and I were married in almost 5 years ago.

Another one of our churches, commonly known as Newbridge College. It also doubles as a boarding school.

The river that flows through the town is called The Liffey and it has a big swan population.

There’s also a big tradition of horse racing associated with our town and if you don’t believe me, here’s the statue to prove it.

Oops, how did that slip in there??


Chunky Little Monkey

July 14, 2010

One thing I tend to do a lot of when I’m home in Ireland is eat.  Seriously. I eat like its going out of style. I eat like we’re on the  verge of another famine. I eat to get my fill of Irish foods, Irish baked goods and Irish chocolate. My mother stocks the cubbards full of my favorite nibbles. Even the stuff I haven’t touched since I was 10 years old. She remembers what I liked then, but she forgets 20 years on, my taste buds have kinda evolved, ever so slightly.  But I eat it anyway, and then some.

Then there’s the catching up with friends, always done over food and desserts and washed down with 3,000 cups of tea and half a ton of chocolate. Which is what happened last night when I met my friend Derval (aka Scratcher) for a bestfriend catch up session. As a result of our pig-fest my current condition is one of chunky little monkey. Seriously, my ass has supersized literally overnight. And the sad thing is, I’m suppose to beat said ass into an itsy bitsy pair of booty shorts for a pace making gig I have in Morocco this Sunday. Hmmmm, wish me luck with that. May have to consider drastic hunger strike action in huge effort to rectify the whole sloppy situation. After a night at the pub that is.

And as requested by my thirsty friend Rupa, here is a photo of one of my favorite pubs to visit when I’m home. I’m actually on my way there now for a few scoops (drinks), so hunger strike will be in full effect tomorrow, promise.

Sheep

July 13, 2010

Every time I come to Ireland I want to blog some photos, but I always struggle to think of things that people would find interesting. Being as I grew up here, everything around me is normal, familiar and just part of everyday life, so this makes it very hard for me to view things from the perspective of someone who has never visited. I take a photo of a road, think about blogging it, but then I bail “Seriously? A road? Come on, nobody really cares about Irish roads. Silly girl”. However, this time I’m determine to share some photos. They may be interesting, they may not, but either way they are going to be focused mostly around the town I grew up in, where my parents still live and where I am right now. The town of Newbridge, Co. Kildare. So don’t go asking me to post photos of the Blarney Stone, or the Cliffs of Moher, they are on the West of the country and I am on the East, not close.

But for today, the focus is going to be on something that for some reason I’ve noticed, really sparks the excitement and curiosity of some of my foreign friends and family who have come to visit, and that something is sheep. My parents home sits on the edge of what’s called the Curragh Plains, which is basically 4,870 acres of unenclosed grassland and rolling hills. And its on the Curragh that you’ll find hundreds, maybe thousands of sheep just minding their own business, grazing away. They’re not fenced in and they all belong to different farmers and the only way to tell which sheep belong to which farmer, is by the paint markings painted on their wooly coats. And yesterday as I went for a run on a Curragh, I brought along my camera to snap some photos of these wee creatures.

This little guy has been recently sheared and his wooly coat bound for a woolen mill somewhere in either Dublin or Galway.

Grazing.

On the move for some better grazing.

More grazing.

A collage of sheep grazing activitiy.