Monday, May 31, 2010

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." Saint Augustine

There is a children's book called Flat Stanley that was written by Jeff Brown in 1964. It is basically a story about a boy who has a bulletin board fall on him, and he mails himself around the world on many adventures. The Flat Stanley project was started in 1995 in Canada. The project encourages teachers to read the book in class, and mail their own Flat Stanley to friends so that he can have some adventures and report back to the student. The students write letters to the friends asking them to take Flat Stanley around. When the Flat Stanleys come back, the class discusses geography, letter writing, and has fun with all of the places Stanley has gone.

My friend Joanie's son, Will, sent us his Flat Stanley and we showed him around Dublin. In fact, he went to Munich with Tom on a business trip!

I have to say that Tom was a surprisingly good sport, and took most of the pictures! Thank you honey.

Here is Stanley in Dublin:

And in Munich:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."-Mark Twain

I don't know enough about Mark Twain to know if he ever spent a Summer in Ireland, but the quote above makes me think not. More than 5 people have recently told me that this is our summer. There has not been a day where I have not worn a jacket.

When we were here in June, I noticed that many people were in sleeveless shirts, shorts and sandals. I was wearing a trench coat. August had some warm days, but it just doesn't get very hot here. I am hoping that the next few weeks bring us just a little more warmth.

Thankfully when you look around, it certainly appears to be summer. All of the trees and flowers are in bloom and it just makes this beautiful place even prettier.

The lovely (yet rocky) beach

I was pushing it a little with the shorts and the sandals that day.

Our back garden, or as the boys call it, the back yarden

Flowers growing out of a stone wall (you see that a lot)

This is a tree that I pass everyday. I am not leaving this country without one of them, even if it's new home will be an apartment in NYC!

Yes, there are palm trees in Ireland

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"Good manners have much to do with the emotions. To make them ring true, one must feel them, not merely exhibit them." Amy Vanderbilt

Amy Vanderbilt Lucky Strike Cigarette Advertisment 1954 by jackie121467.

Growing up, my mother mentioned once or twice that we were related to Amy Vanderbilt. She didn't really know how we were related, but she knew it was on her mom's side. I had never heard of Amy Vanderbilt, but we did have a copy of one of her cookbooks in our house.

Recently, I made contact with a distant relative who had traced the connection.

Bridget Carlin- James McGinnis

Margaret McGinnis-Patrick Carolan Loretta McGinnis-William Brooks

Alice Carolan-Harold Hood Mary Brooks-Joseph M. Vanderbilt

Celeste Hood-Francis Jennings Amy Vanderbilt

Patricia Jennings- James Gallagher


As you can see from this wonderfully simplified genealogy chart, Amy Vanderbilt was my grandmother’s second cousin. Her Great-grandparents were my Great-Great-Great Grandparents. That makes her my second cousin, twice removed.

There you have it. But there will be more on Amy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"The childhood shows the man As morning shows the day." -John Milton

We have been (delightfully) busy lately getting together with friends for playdates, going to the parks with other families, even having them over for dinner or going to barbecues at their place. The kids seem very happy in their school. Their teacher is amazing and they are at an age where the whole class is their friend. It's easy for me now to organize playdates with mom's that I am friendly with. I know that will soon change. Next year, they will be in different classes, so they will each make new friends of their own. I still plan on keeping my friends, even though I will probably make new ones myself!

More fun at Jackie's

Jackie & Edel and our kids

Playing at my house

They are very nice with the little ones!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Don't dance on a volcano. (French Proverb)

While we were in London, we heard the news that the ash from the Icelandic Volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, was affecting flights again. We remained hopeful, but in the end, our flight back to Dublin was cancelled. Rather than taking our chances the next day, we booked the train from London to Holyhead, Wales, and then the ferry to Dublin Port. It was a 12 hour journey door to door, but it was kind of an adventure. We will take the ferry again, but next time we will have our car, and fewer bags/strollers to carry. Tom booked a "berth" for us so we had a place to throw our stuff and a private bathroom for our newly toilet-trained and bathroom curious children.

The best part of being somewhat stranded for a day is that while it was happening, I had 2 friends from Dublin texting me to see if we were stuck, and asking if they could do anything. It really felt so nice that they thought of us. And it made me feel more connected here.

I have to say that the train was a little crazy and crowded, but the kids really like it.

Tom, sitting in our luxurious "Berth"

First time on a really big boat

There was a pretty big game room. We don't even put coins in, they don't know the difference.

They had to look out the window to even understand that we were on a boat!

Friday, May 7, 2010

"Tis said, London and New York take the nonsense out of a man. " Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yeah! We went to London! More specifically, I went to London!

I went to a College where going abroad for a year or a semester wasn't something that a lot of people did. In fact, I can think of 3 people that went away for one semester Junior year and I thought that they were crazy. I only had eight semesters in College, I could not imagine giving one of them up!

Thankfully, twenty plus years later, my world is a little bigger. A few years ago I went on a Tudor, Middle Ages reading frenzy and I have been dying to see London ever since. Tom had to work there a couple of days, it was a bank holiday, it was time. And it was great. I loved it!

The Tower of London, the place I most wanted to see.

The Tower Bridge

The London Wall

The Rainforest Cafe - deplorable food, the boys loved it!

The phone booth shot. I had to.

10 Downing Street- may have a new occupant soon.

Westminster Abbey

Preparing to change the guard

This is where the Queen lives!

The Princess Diana Memorial Fountain

The Princess Diana Memorial Playground- really amazing

This is a Pirate ship on the South Bank. It was closed, but I was so glad to see the neighborhood that it's in- Southwark I think

London Aquarium

The three party leaders - Election Day was May 6th. It resulted in a hung Parliament. At the time of this writing the Prime Minister is undetermined. The boys loved the giant head balloons though!

I had no idea that there once was a Clink Prison!

We really covered a LOT of ground. OK, I would have gone into a lot of old churches if I did not have the buggy. That's OK because I know that I will be back!