Repost: I Nearly Forgot!

I took my nieces to a party with me recently.  It was one of those parties where everyone is supposed to bring some food and then all the men bring bags of chips but no dip and all the women bring cake and sausage balls and some crock pot stuff that has been simmering all day.  When I picked the girls up, I asked them what we should contribute and Pooh said, “Chips and dip.”

“No, that is boy food.  Pick something else.”  She’s not yet a teenager so she hasn’t attended enough parties to learn the rules.

“Cream cheese and olive on crackers?” she suggested.  I nodded, both at her embracing of the stereotype and at her delicious selection.

“Okay, Tigger, what else should we get?” I asked.

She thought about it long and hard and then came up with her best, most sophisticated snack.  “Pudding cups!”

So we had cream cheese and olive and pudding cups at our very grown up party.   It was fantastic.

I’d have written a much better post for you today but I’ve spent some time this week barfing.  Accompanying the barfing were the hot flashes that turned me the color of glue and also made me sweat in very fast and unpleasant ways.  Just yesterday, when it came on like gangbusters, I had to strip down to my matching undercrackers and lay my skin on the cool tile in the bathroom at work so as not to pass out.  I do not want to hear about the germs I picked up down there, nor do I want to hear all the ways that is unsanitary.  I was not in my right mind, y’all, and I will be forgiven for it.  Plus I was nearly nakey at work which is humiliation enough.

Instead of a new post, though, I’ll give you an old one.  Reposting from December 2012

I Nearly Forgot!

Way back in April when I found myself in a state of unemployment, I began the laborious process of cleaning out my office space.  I am a firm believer in moving right into a work environment and what I don’t store at work, I like to schlep back and forth on my person or in my car.  I have, at minimum, a purse, a lunch bag, a computer bag and a makeup bag with me every day.  You never know when you might need any of those things.  And in my car I have a bag of clean Ziploc food containers, a Bible, a book, a sweatshirt, an umbrella and some tote bags.  Those are my everyday items.

Currently my non-everyday car items include: a wooden canvas frame, a stereo which is the last remaining gift my ex-husband gave me (we divorced in 2004), school books from when I volunteered at the Adult Literacy Council (have not done that in two years), a bag of towels, a ceramic sheep, shoe cleaner, Tigger’s car seat and some twine.  (I don’t know either.) (I don’t have the toilet handle in my car anymore because we used that.  And my potty still works!)

Also, and this is where this gets important, my car still contains every item I had stored at my last job.  The day that I was delivered the news that they could not keep me (and their loss, btw) was the day I started packing.  What a process that was.  If my car items are any indication, you can only imagine what I stored in my office.  Unfortunately, there was much crying and wailing with cloudy tear-filled eyes as I packed my car so most of that stuff was unceremoniously flung into the trunk with a few curse words but no planning.  I haven’t given it much thought since then, mostly because I don’t want to.  I don’t like reliving that. 

Every now and again I’ll have a vague notion of something I am missing.  I’ll remember having a really nice tape measure or the cutest picture of Pooh, and then I’ll remember that I had it at my former office which will cause me to lose any interest in finding it because I will remember what my trunk looks like. 

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However, Christmas.  It rolled around like it seems to do every year.  I am decidedly not in the Christmas spirit this year.  I do not have a tree decorated.  I do not have snowflakes hung.  I do not have my Christmas baking items out.  I do have some snowmen salt and pepper shakers on the table, though, because they were in a closet and I ran across them one day.  Until Sunday, I had baked no cookies or treats and I only did it on Sunday because I had to for a party.  I am a Grinch.

Two weeks ago I thought I would bite the bullet and dig in the trunk of my car for something.  I have no idea what because as I was digging for it I caught a glimpse of pink glitter. 

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Oh!  Oh I was so excited!  Glitzen!  I dug him out and he is now standing proudly at my desk, bringing Christmas cheer. 

Like last year, my new co-workers are appalled.  My new boss, who needs a name, was discussing Very Important Work Items with me and as we were conversing she kept flicking her eyes from me to my reindeer.  It don’t know how she didn’t give herself vertigo, it was so fast and furious.  Finally she whispered, “What is it?”

I tied a jaunty bow around his neck this year.  His horns are a little worse for wear, being smushed under all that stuff I threw into my trunk in my hissy fit rage.  But he is here, warming hearts and bringing some much needed color.  If I am going to be a Grinch, I will at least do it in style.

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 Merry Christmas, y’all! 

December 2014 – Glitzen is in my new office now.  Here’s his spot . . .

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The Old-Fashioned Way

You know how I tell you all the time that all my siblings and parents and family got all the talent and I got nothing? Read this. Look at her handwriting, even! I’m a leftie and I count myself lucky that you can read what I write. No flowing penmanship for me. Blocky letters only for the purpose of legibility. Also, if I don’t write with a super fine point pen, I smear ink all over my hand and the page as I drag my hand through the words.  It’s ridiculous.

Also, I’d like to point out that while I love everything about this post, I also like deodorant. When was that invented exactly?

Emily Jane – Emily’s Halo for Hearts

I want to tell you a story about a little girl, and even though I never met her, she’s pretty important to me. Her name is Emily and she was the daughter of my friend Vonnie, whom you know here as Woney. Vonnie had three children, two girls and one boy. Rachel is the oldest, Sam is the middle, and Emily was her youngest.

Easter 1997

Before Emily was born she was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and Coarctation of the Aorta. When she was eight years old her heart began to fail, landing her on the heart transplant list, and then she contracted protein-losing enteropathy. All of those big words simply mean that Emily had a bum heart, a bum heart simply means that Emily did not live until her ninth birthday.

July 2001

It’s never that simple, though, is it? Human life can never be reduced to simple words. Vonnie and I talk a lot about Emily. Sometimes those conversations are sad. She tells of how she and her husband moved from Hawaii to San Diego in order to get the best medical care for her daughters – Rachel was also born with a bum heart. She tells me of the steps they took to get Emily on the heart transplant list. She talks about how they waited for so long but a heart never came, and she tells me of the decision they made to turn off Emily’s life support. I cry with her as she tells me about the process of waiting for Emily to go, one mother, one father, one sister, one brother, all saying good-bye to the littlest one with the most broken heart.

In other conversations, we talk about the happy memories. Emily was a precocious child, older than her years. It was so easy to think of her as an adult – her medical condition carried a gravity that only adults should know, if anyone should at all. Yet Emily would scamper all over the baseball field like the child she was, making friends with children and adults alike. “You want to go the snack bar? We can get candy, my mom has a tab,” she’d say to anyone she found interesting. Later you’d find her eating a hot dog in a woman’s lap, a total stranger, but Emily liked her and wanted to be held. Vonnie paid many an exorbitant fee in ball field snacks, all in the name of Emily’s new friends, and friends they were. Everyone loved her. It was easy to – look at the exuberant smile, those eyes as blue as an ocean. Emily was just like her big sister and big brother – special and lovable and beautiful.

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You never get over the grief of losing a child, no matter how many good memories you have or how often you talk about it. It never goes away. But what you can do with some of that emotion is turn it around into something beneficial for someone else. The hard truth is that children are born every day with heart problems. Every day they are put on a waiting list to live. Vonnie, with her infinite love for her lost daughter, has started a foundation called Emily’s Halo for Hearts, and with it, she will provide financial assistance for the families of those heart-patient children. If they are lucky, their insurance will cover those medical costs, but the other associated costs of having a sick child – money for fuel to and from the hospital, mortgage payments because work is the last thing on your mind, groceries for the other babies in the house – mount swiftly and relentlessly.

This post was not written to make you cry, although the truth is I did when I wrote it. This post was written to give hope, to Vonnie in the name of Emily and to the families who are in the midst of their own medical crisis. It was written with hope to ask for your help if you feel so inclined.

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First, please check out the Foundation page. If you search hard enough, you’ll find me there along with the rest of My Girls. The more you look at it, the more recognition we can get. Also, find us on Facebook and like us there. Again, we will be able to do more the more recognition we get.

Emily’s Halo for Hearts

Emily’s Halo for Hearts/Facebook

Secondly, check out the ways you can donate. It’s not just giving your money for a foundation (although that would be lovely) – you can get some pretty cool loot, too. That hoodie was created with me in mind, I’m sure, and the next time you see me, I’ll be wearing it.

Emily’s Halo for Hearts – Shirts

Emily’s Halo for Hearts – Jewelry

Thirdly, please share this with your friends. Share it with anyone you think might help. Most importantly, and I hope none of you are in this situation, share it with someone who needs this type of assistance. This foundation is here for that family, that child, and it would be an honor to help them.

Emily’s Halo for Hearts – Application

Thank you to anyone who feels moved, either to donate, to like or to support us in any way. Thank you so much.

Love,
Jimmie

School 1997

Oh, Right. I Was Supposed To Have Winners.

I realized about halfway through my game show posts that I was no longer giving you the correct answers to my quizzes. Whoops. Madre won it all anyway as she got the most correct, and I’m telling you, she is a virtual fount of miscellaneous, useless information. Bootsie and E won round three. I already have lunch planned with Bootsie for Thursday, so E, let’s do lunch! (Any excuse really.) Martie won round five and for that she gets a date night soon.

For those of you who quit paying attention but really wanted to know the answers, please see below.

Lobcock – a dull or boring person
Tittup – the prancing of a horse
Furfur – dandruff
Crapulence – a sickness resulting from too much food or drink
Pissonia – a small bush found in Australia, although I’ll award bonus points to BMB for his definition: Pissonia is a small island in the south pacific, full of really angry people. Cruise ships never go there for that very reason.

Your mission is use each of these words at least once in daily conversation. Let me know how that works out for you.

I had another thought about what we could do on this here blog. I’d like to do a Throwback Thursday edition and ask all of you to send me pictures of yourself from back in the day. I’d love to see some big ol’ 80’s hair or some goth eyeliner, both on boys and girls. You know, send me the pictures you’ll be mortified to show or even the ones where you were adorable. I’m going to dig up some of mine and in a couple of weeks am going to share them here. Won’t you join me? Send your pictures to extraordinaryordinarygirl@gmail.com or my personal email if you know me personally in the next week and a half, and I’ll do one big post will all our submissions.

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I’ll type at you again tomorrow. I had an Event yesterday and you must know about it.

Later!

Drama: Daisy’s Car – A Guest Post Of Sorts

The day I took my vehicle in to the shop to begin its lengthy and expensive repair process, Daisy sent me this email about her own car experience she had that very morning.

Daisy:  My brakes are making a bad grinding noise in either the front driver or passenger side.  Sounds like metal to metal grinding in the front.

Mechanic:  We checked your brakes and they look good.

Daisy:  What?  How is that possible?  I know the sound of metal grinding on metal.

Mechanic:  Miss Daisy, your brakes are still good.

Daisy:  Put new brakes on my car.

4 hours later

Mechanic:  Miss Daisy, we put new back brakes on your car and your car is ready.

Daisy:  Back brakes?  What about front brakes?  Do you remember me telling you this morning my front brakes were grinding?

Mechanic:  Well, I was wondering about that.  I took it for a test drive and when I pulled up there was a horrible grinding noise in the front brakes.  We inspected them and there was no brake pad left, just metal rubbing metal. 

Daisy:  Uh huh, right.  We discussed that this morning.  Why did you tell me my brakes were fine and then put new back brakes on?

Mechanic:  I can’t believe I made a mistake like this.   Did you know your front brakes were bad?

Daisy:  Hello, do you suffer from Alzheimer’s?   We talked about my front brakes this morning. 

Mechanic:  Do you want me to put new brakes on the front?  It’s metal to metal.   I will find every coupon I can and give you as many discounts that I’m allowed to give.

God bless America.  Jimmie, if you had a TV you might see me on the news this evening.  Did I have dollar bills shooting out of my butt when I dropped my car off?  WTH is wrong with these people? 

Hahahahahaaaaa, I love her.

Welcome To The Masses, Jimmie – Part Deux

So want to guess what I’ve been doing the last month?  I mean, aside from Christmas shopping and eating cookies, of course. Here, I’ll give you some choices:

  1. Modeling underwear for Vicky’s Secret
  2. Reading romance novels which feature on the cover men with long flowing locks and pecs like ropes of steel
  3. Making out with Dwayne Johnson
  4. Looking for a job

If you were a lucky recipient of my Christmas letter, you already know the answer to this.  Ding, ding, ding, the answer is D!

My brand new shiny employment that I worked so hard to get last year is coming to an end.  I’m not happy about it because the people I’ve met at my current job have quite literally changed my life and also, I finally got to sit in an office with a closing door and not a cube farm with no door and barely a wall.   This loss was no fault of my own – our company was purchased by another company and that company already has a corporate department and so all of us corporate people will be without jobs soon.  It sucks.

However.  I have already secured other new shiny employment.  There will be no crying, no long, dramatic posts about how I’m mad and how my glitter eyeliner was ruined and how Boss left me behind.  I had one interview for which I slicked down my hair into a straight, boring, non-sexy bob and wore pearls and caked on acceptable makeup.  I repeated that process for a second interview and that fabulous company realized my fabulousness and offered me a position right away.  Evidently it was meant to be.

Now I want you to remember, it wasn’t that long ago that I was promoted to a recruiting position with my current company.  Recruiting, I learned, consists of a lot of phone calls and internet searching and background screenings so it would be safe to assume that I am familiar with the entire prescreen process.  And it wasn’t that long ago that I decided baking cookies on a Tuesday night was a great idea.  Baking cookies on a Tuesday night, I learned, can often result in a devastating paper cut from the non-stick aluminum foil, so bad that it requires some super glue to close the skin so that I don’t bleed to death in my kitchen.  These lessons are important.  Bear with me.

Before I can begin my shiny new job, I had to pass a criminal background screen and get fingerprinted.  I turned in all of my pertinent information to the appropriate parties and scheduled my appointment to get my fingerprints done, something that I regularly ask my potential candidates to do.  Having never had it done personally, however,  I was completely surprised to find that it is all done digitally now.  Technologically advanced is what I am.  Anyway, I showed up for my appointment with clean, super-glued hands and turned my fingertips over to the clerk.  She printed my whole left hand and my whole right hand and then every finger individually on both hands.  When she reached my paper cut finger, she seemed puzzled and kept smashing my finger over and over onto the scanner, which, you know, didn’t feel great.

Finally in exasperation she said, “Why does this look all white?!  Why is my scanner not working?!”

I looked at her screen and with a sudden and sheepish awakening said, “Oh.”

She whipped around to glare at me and said, “What?” in a rather aggressive manner.

“Heh,” I wheezed.  “Heh.  See, I got a paper cut last night and so that I wouldn’t bleed to death in my kitchen, I had to super glue my skin together.  Look, you can tell, right here.”   And I showed her my massive, massive cut that was all covered in a gob of glue.  She was void of a personality and was not amused.

Once the gob of glue was revealed, we both then made a concerted effort to really smash the very guts out of my finger onto that scanner in order to get a clear print and after some time and some pain, we did.  And I passed.  And I now have a new job which I will begin right after the first of the year.

Clearly the lesson we learned here has nothing to do with sexy vs. non-sexy hair nor does it have anything to do with pearls.  The true lesson is that you never bake cookies on a Tuesday night before a fingerprinting session.  Y’all remember that when you do any job searching.  No cookies.

P.S.  I will be taking a week off in between jobs to visit with some family and some friends.  I’m going to Woney’s house, and again, if you were a lucky recipient of my Christmas letter, you would know that I got cheated out of a recent visit to her so I have to make up for lost time.  I know I’ve been absent for a month so I wanted to update you all as to why.  If any of you need to have lunch with me in that week, though, to catch up, give me a holler.  I’m down for some lunch.

Want

Unsuspecting me.  How silly I was. Driving innocently to work, listening to the radio, not at all aware that a bomb was coming.  I was singing at the top of my lungs, surely butchering Fall Out Boy’s latest hit when the radio made the swift transition from top forty hit to classic love song, arguably the best song ever written.

For a brief moment I was filled with happiness.  I loved the top forty song.  I loved the classic love song.  And then in a space just as brief, I was thrown into the grips of something deep and excruciatingly lonely.  My breathing became labored as tears began to flow, flooding my eyes so that I could barely see.  I dashed at the tears, trying desperately to stay on the road, to make it to work where the business at hand would remove any trace of the emotion I could not control.

Recently my sister cut my hair.  It was a dramatic change and when I went to work that next Monday, everyone was complimentary.  One man walked up behind me and as he complimented the cut, he touched the curls at the back of my head.  As his hands fluffed a lock or two, my eyes closed and my body stilled.  I didn’t know how much I missed that touch until I had it again.  When his hand dropped, I was left with a longing I could not explain or understand, not for the man but for the hand.  He remained completely unaware of how I was affected. I wish I had.

For three years I’ve lived the life of a single woman.  It’s the longest I’ve lived this way since I started dating at age sixteen.  Mostly I’m not lonely.  I’m really not.  Mostly I am happy.   I have a lovely life.  I’m very blessed.  But . . . .

I wonder – is this it?  Is this what it will be until the end?  God, is this Your plan?  I’m okay with that, truly, but I’d like to know definitively, just so I can stop nurturing hope.  I’d like to stop looking, wondering, “Are you him?  Are you the one?  Have I been waiting for you?”

It is impossible to make no comparisons between myself and everyone who has what I think I want.  I’d be lying if I said otherwise.  It is impossible to make no comparisons between my life now and my life when I had what I thought I wanted.  For a brief time, I did have almost exactly that, and when it ended it was the greatest personal sadness I ever carried alone.  My heart is now healed and while there is a scar or two, it isn’t for the man but for the feeling.  I miss the feeling.  I miss the hands in my hair and the happiness of a love song, even if it only lasts three minutes.

Well-meaning people will give me advice after this.  “Live your life now! Do things you love!  Go out, go be Jimmie, do what makes you happy!”  I love you, but I don’t need your advice.  I do those things.  I have a very full life.  Come spend a week with me.  See for yourself.  There is no pity, no injured martyr complex, no falseness in it.  I live. I love.  I do these things for me alone.  I am happy.

Well-meaning people will give me their opinion after this.  “It isn’t always easy, you know.  It’s work.  More work than anything I’ve ever done.  Be thankful you are where you are.”  I love you, too, but your life is not my life.  I know the work.  I’ve done my damnedest to do that work.  No one could fault my work, and even though I know it was work, I want the chance to work it again.  I want a fair shot at the work this time.  Fair play was not my lot the first go round, but I’d like for it to be my lot in the next one.  Maybe I’d just like a next one.

I’d like something to call my own.  I’d like someone to have my back and let me have theirs.  And while I’m asking, I’d like for it to be permanent.  But if that is not in the cards for me, if there is to be an end of hope, how do I let it go?  Do I wait for it to wither and die, curled like a dried leaf and crunched into a thousand dusty pieces when someone finally steps on it?  Or will it just gently fade away into oblivion?  And when?  When will it go away completely, because the lingering strands of it by turns buoys me and destroys me and I’m not sure how much longer I can take it.  God, what is Your answer for me? Please, just tell me.  I can take it, because at least then I will know.

Peter Gabriel, I raise a toast to you.  Whatever you wanted to accomplish with your song, it worked in me.  Well played, man. Well done.

Breaking News! (And Other Assorted Stories)

“How do you stand it?” asked Slim. “It’s so quiet in here!”

I get that a lot when someone new comes to my house. Remember I don’t have a television and you should also know that I don’t have internet either.

You know what else I get, though? People, who upon arriving at my house say that they would die without the noise, falling asleep on my sofa because they are just so relaxed in my marshmallow house. Slim is one of the many whom I’ve found laid out under the fan, hand resting on a sleeping Murphy’s head, snoozing. It only takes about ten minutes for that to happen and then suddenly, everyone is converted to my way of living.

Well, not everyone. Luke is not converted. Luke actually has a giant man-television in his bonus room on which he watches football and other assorted man-TV. Sometimes when I drive by his house and see the glow of the television, I get sort of . . . . jealous. I miss the mindlessness of television on occasion. I miss the laziness of it after a long day, when holding up a book with two whole hands is just too much work. I texted Luke about it one night.

“Hey, can I come watch tv with you sometime? I promise not to talk during any football games and I can bring food.”

Turns out those were the magic words. “Come any time,” he said, “and I like chili.”

One Sunday evening soon after that I ran into him in his yard. “Tonight is the season finale of True Blood,” he said. “You should come watch it.”

“What’s True Blood?” I asked.

“I’ll explain later,” he says. “What are you cooking?”

That evening I put on decent pajamas, ones that cover my whole body, and a hoodie and traipsed over to Luke’s house. I first made my nosy inspection of all his rooms, his washer and dryer and his closets, having never been through his entire house. Then I perched on his futon sofa, highly anticipating a fantastic, lazy, mindless television experience.

That is not at all what I got. Firstly, I learned that True Blood is a vampire show and secondly, I learned that there is all kinda nudity and sex in it. Luke sort of knew that but after about two full-on nudie, really uncomfortable, not-much-left-to-the-imagination-sex scenes, he tentatively said, “Erm, I didn’t realize there would be so much of . . . . that . . . .” as he waved his hand in the general direction of the television. I could barely look at him and we both did that nervous giggle – a very tepid and strangled heh. Heh, heh, gurgle, heh. It only got worse when we saw some full frontal male nether parts. We both sat there, crimson and quiet.

So that lasted for an hour. He flipped around the channels after True Blood and then I got to experience Duck Dynasty and that was eye-opening. Also, cleaner. I enjoyed it very much. We ate M&Ms and watched television and for one half hour, all was marvelous, mindless and lazy. I am a Duck Dynasty convert.

I have other news to share with you. I have no nifty segue, though, so I’ll risk the jarring leap and just jump right in.

You remember my sister, Martie, right? The one who is practically my twin? I mean, look at us. Could we be more alike?

Martie’s musical talent:

La, la, la!
La, la, la!

Jimmie’s musical talent:

Decidedly not la, la, la

Decidedly not la, la, la

Martie’s children:

Pooh

Pooh

Tigger

Tigger

Jimmie’s children:

*crickets*

*crickets*

Martie’s pets:

Rock

Rock, weighing in at roughly 71 pounds

Roll

Roll, weighing in at 72 pounds or so

Jimmie’s pets:

Murphy, weighing in at 9 pounds

Murphy, weighing in at 9 pounds

Seamus, weighing in at 14 pounds, give or take a bag of treats or two

Seamus, weighing in at 14 pounds, give or take a bag of treats or two

Martie’s husband:

Coach

Coach

Jimmie’s husband:

*crickets*

*crickets*

 

Martie’s hair:

Glorious, Full, Thick Mane of Horse Hair

Glorious, Full, Thick Mane of Horse Hair

Jimmie’s hair:

Dandelion Fluff

Dandelion Fluff

Erm . . . huh. How bout this one?

Jimmie’s blog:

Jimmies World

Martie’s blog:

Is That A Hair In My Biscuit?

That’s right, folks! Martie has a blog and you should totally read it! Especially this one, as it’s my favorite.  Plus, she has a contest going and you could potentially win cool stuff.   We will link to each other often, so get ready. You now have two of us! Heh. Heh, heh, gurgle, heh.

Kilkenny

. . . . . but after being awake for 40 hours, sweating like pigs right through our clothes, and walking a total of about 8 miles in one day, we were dunzos. Slept like babies.

We left Dublin the next morning after our first experience with the traditional Irish breakfast. My gosh, they offer you a lot of food in that breakfast: assorted fruit juices, coffee, tea, yogurt, a variety of cereals, fried eggs, sausage, bacon, blood sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, fruit and toast. Toast! Man, I forgot how much I like toast. The last time I bought bread was 2008, I think, so I was particularly enamored of the toast.

We packed up our tiny little car and hit the road.

Let’s talk about the road and our car for a minute. We knew when renting our vehicle that we would get something tiny and something without an automatic transmission. Woney and I both were alright with that. We also knew that we had to maneuver the car on the opposite side of the road from the opposite side of the car. Woney and I both were alright with that as well (although in all fairness, I was doubly alright with that as she did all the driving and I only had to use the imaginary brake on the passenger side). What we did not realize was that while our car was roughly four feet wide, our lane on the road was only roughly four feet one inch wide. Those were the main roads. On the back roads, of which we took many, the road was merely six feet wide. We were ecstatic about that until we realized that the six-foot-wide road was intended to hold two lanes, for two cars. Also, Ireland doesn’t believe in shoulders per se, but more in giant walled structures and vicious shrubbery literally right next to the yellow line. Really, let’s just say there was no yellow line. It was four feet one inch of road per car and then wall. Or, you know, a 400 foot drop off into an abyss. Before the trip was done, I was intimately familiar will all the roadside shrubbery in Ireland.

So Woney and I took off for Kilkenny on those narrow roads. During that drive, I realized just how big America is. I can see it on paper, of course, but everything here is just enormous compared to so many other places in the world. Driving it really drove it home for me. (That was a terrible pun and completely unintentional.) Anyway, in short order we arrived in Kilkenny and found our Bed and Breakfast. Let me put in a kudos here for Mena House. It was utterly charming and the proprietor, Katherine, was the absolute most helpful person I have met to date. Without Katherine, we would have missed so many truly wonderful things on our trip. Highly Recommend Mena House.

Kilkenny 9

Katherine instructed us to walk into town, have a drink at the café on the river, visit the castle, and then make our way to two pubs. We did just that. The drink by the river was glorious. Woney and I took probably 40 pictures of the scenery around us. We could see the Kilkenny castle in the distance and I was pretty stoked about it. A castle! We have nothing that old in America. America was just getting started around the time those castles were getting broken in. We are babies over here. Anyway, we wandered through the little city and into the castle to discover that it was . . . neat. I guess that’s really all I can say about it other than to say it was little boring. They have renovated it only as far back as the Victorian era when a family lived in it so while parts of it felt really authentic, it was only authentic back to the 1800s. Still, it was a nice visit.

Kilkeny 25

The true heart of Kilkenny is in the people, though. That was the best part of this city. Based on Katherine’s suggestion, after the castle we walked straight to Kytelers for a tasty beverage. I already knew that Guinness was not for me so as we plopped down on the barstool, I said to Martin, our bartender, “I’ll have whatever cider you have”. And just like that I got a new tasty beverage. Yerm.

Kilkenny 38

Let’s talk about Martin for a moment. He was the exact sort of bartender for which we were looking, in the exact sort of pub for which we were looking. He was absolutely perfect. We spent the better part of the afternoon hanging out with him and Adam, who is only 19 and is going to school to learn how to create video games and who has promised to develop a character with giant hair and giant hoots and a tiny waist named Jimmie. I love Adam.

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Martin entertained us for hours. I’m not sorry to say that I was rather inebriated but even if I hadn’t been, I would have loved Martin. He filled all the water glasses with a hose and made fun of Irish country music. “No one ever writes a song about the bumper potato crop,” he said. I miss Martin. Highly Recommend Kytelers and Martin.

Martin

Martin

Eventually we wandered off to the next pub, promising a drink to Martin if he found us. Matt the Millers was the next stop and I enjoyed that pub just as much as Kytelers. “I’ll have a Bulmers,” I said expertly to Shane as I plopped on the barstool. Let’s talk about Shane. What a hottie he was! I took pictures of him cleaning stuff all night and promised him that if he came to America all my friends would find him highly attractive with that dish towel in his hand. Something about a man who cleans . . . . Highly Recommend Matt the Millers and Shane.

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Shane

Shane

By this point, Woney and I had had a lot to drink. A lot. I was feeling particularly fond of everyone in the entire city but after some time, it seemed that two men in particular were quite fond of us. This is Paul.

Woney and Paul

Woney and Paul

Isn’t he lovely? He and Woney spent hours chatting on the barstools and when we finally wandered off to find food, Paul escorted us safely. He took turns holding our hands, mostly because I kept stopping to talk to everyone. I loved those people just so much. I loved Paul. Paul loved Woney. I loved Woney. I loved Shane. I loved Martin. And Albert loved me.

Jimmie and Albert

Jimmie and Albert

Sigh. When Albert told me that I had a nice body and he would love to escort me home, Woney disengaged us from everyone and we meandered to Mena House.

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Kilkenny was exactly the Ireland we wanted. That was what we went to do and see. It was absolutely perfect and I will go back. I will also find Martin and Shane and treat them to a tasty beverage of their own. See you soon, boys!

Next stop: Blarney!

New York City

The Big Apple. I’d been there before, once when I was 12 and again when I was 16. It’s been a minute. Woney had never been so when we began planning this trip, it only made sense to visit there first.

Before I ever get to the New York stories, I must tell you that I began packing for this trip long about two months ago. I made Martie come up for the weekend specifically so that we could go through every single item of clothing in my closet to ensure that I picked items that a) were comfortable and b) gave me a butt. Irish lasses have booties is my understanding and I wanted to fit in. Anyway, Martie and I picked out all my clothes and then I packed my giant suitcase. Woney doesn’t have a Martie so she called me often to discuss wardrobe choices. So often, in fact, that we decided she should just bring the entire contents of her closet for us to go through at my house. Which we did. Once we were done, it looked as if her closet puked in my living room, delighting Murphy to no end.

Back when I was married, my father gave me a body pillow one year for Christmas. I’m not sure why. It looked nice on the bed, though, so I kept it and as time passed, I became exceptionally fond of that pillow. I am now so fond of it that I have a body pillow in every house where I regularly spend the night. When I don’t have one, I don’t sleep well. So in our planning and packing, I confessed to Woney that I needed my pillow for this trip. She agreed.

On Wednesday morning we awoke, bright eyed and excited. Rather, we awoke and made it to the plane on time. Who flies at the horrific hour of 6:45 a.m.? Ridiculous. Anyway, we lugged our giant suitcases full of our wardrobes and my giant pillow to the airport and headed off. All the way through security, all the way through the plane, all the way through customs, all the way through New York, all the way through Ireland, and at every location on the flight back home, people commented on my pillow. “Can I borrow it?” asked the pilots. “You ought to sleep well,” commented the Irishmen. “Good Lord, I see why you brought this,” commented Woney when she borrowed it once. I am a smart traveler.

Once we arrived in New York and deposited our luggage and my pillow, Woney and I took off. We had stuff to see. We had pretzels to buy. We had a very fancy schmancy dinner to attend. We rode the ferris wheel at Toys R Us. We found a wall with handprints of famous people. Below is me, holding hands with Clint Eastwood. I did that for Poppa. He would have liked that. Woney held hands with Jason Statham and she is a lucky, lucky girl as Jason Statham is hot.

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NYC 5

We rode the subway. We shopped on Canal Street. We fended off the sly Asian women who insisted that they had the best Coach purses in New York, would we please walk with them down this alley. We went to a bar, and yes, I kissed a boy and I liked it. (This is what happens when I drink in a bar.) We went to MoMA. We went to Central Park. We ate at Beauty and Essex, and I’m here to tell you, go there. Go as soon as possible. Get the grilled cheese dumplings, one order for each person. You will think that a single order will be enough for the table but once you taste one, you will realize the error of your ways. My gosh, I don’t think I ever tasted anything so good in all my life.

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Before we left on this trip, I worried a little that once I was given free reign with my diet, I’d go off the rails like nobody’s business. But after two and a half days in NYC, I realized that I could eat the entire contents of a pizza shop and be fine. We walked about a hundred miles there. I still have cankles from all the walking. It is a busy place, full of every kind of person you ever dreamed possible. It goes and goes and goes, and never shuts down. It’s glorious and I would HATE to live there.

For our last day in the city, Woney and I planned to go to Ground Zero. We had met up with friends a couple of times during our stay and enjoyed their company but this was something we wanted to do alone. I knew that it would be no party, and I didn’t want to have to fake my charm when my heart was hurting.

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NYC 30 (4)

We took the subway downtown and walked to the site. Standing in line brought ready tears to my eyes. There were some markers and signs there, explaining how the park was set up, and explaining the Flag of Honor. That fire house above lost every single responder they had on 9/11, by the way. I took a few pictures but more than anything, I just wept. We queued for a while and the closer we got the quieter things were. Entering the park was a somber experience. It’s rather plain, filled with ivy and trees and the two monument pools for all the lives lost. It’s beautiful, though, and absolutely perfect. Please go if you ever get the chance.

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After some time, Woney and I wandered off. We made our contributions and left little pieces of our hearts there to mingle with the other left-behind hearts.

We made it back to our hotel, collected our baggage and my pillow and hit the road for the airport.

Next stop: Dublin!

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