Monday, January 21, 2013

Late Bloomer

What has age got to do with anything?

Oh, I know I have slowed down a bit, but that's OK.  I do what I enjoy and the hell with the rest.  For a good part of my life I did what was expected with little or no regard to what was going to make  me happy and content.  What will people think or what will they say? Who are 'they' anyway?

Oh, the rebel in me reared its head every so often and I got that inner glow.

In the late 80's, I decided to return to college.  And three years later, I graduated with an Associate Degree in Electrical Engineering.

In the summer of 2005, I was heading towards my 4th anniversary of being a survivor of breast cancer.  One evening after dinner, I said, 'I think I'm going to get a tattoo when I hit 5 years'. And the person next to me said, 'Why wait, let's go now'.  A couple of hours later, I was sporting a pretty butterfly.  'They' couldn't believe I would do such a thing and didn't understand it was in celebration of a daily event (I'm surviving).  Maybe, I'll think about getting another soon to celebrate entering into another decade of my life.

Labor Day weekend of 2009, will be etched into my brain for ever.  I broke the neck of the Humerus bone in my left arm.  As a doctor later said - I nearly knocked the ice cream off of the cone. Six weeks of being tied up unable to do much of anything. Oh, I knew I would be able to cope, but would I ever shot again.  I had recently entered into the gun culture and was enjoying shooting as a sport and self defense and hoping to own in the near future.  I think the doctors and therapist were getting tired of me asking.  Within eight months I was back at the range, and talk about an inner glow.  I think I was smiling for a week after.  Two years to the date of the accident, I attended a two day shoot, brought my own gun and got to try a lot of others.  Later that year I attended classes for my CCW permit. I passed with a 100% on the shooting portion.  I now proudly carry my CCW card.

And again, 'They' asked why.  Because I can.

As, I wrote this I thought back through my life.  I did push the envelope a bit through the years.

  • 'Borrowing' my cousin's bb gun.  I was a girl and you don't play with guns.
  • New community college in town offering Law Enforcement classes  - first female to apply and they didn't know if I could take the classes.  I did. That was early 60's.
  • My mini skirt wedding dress, circa 1970's.
  • Learned to ride an ATV in my early 60's.  Heaven - the AZ desert and an ATV.
  • 1965 Chevy Impala Super Sport Convertible.  2003 Cougar.

So, I guess it is alright that my daughter called me a Badass.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Trip to the Coast, Part Three

8 August 2012

So off we took, at 6:15 in the evening, out of Waterford City for Tramore. I was enjoying the changing scenery and making lite conversation.  I really owed Anne for this side trip.  She told me several times we weren't staying long. I said we did need to eat something anyway and what a great place to get something.
A little about Tramore: The town has long been associated with Irish tourists and offered a traditional seaside experience of ice-cream, fairground and sand. The beach front features a long promenade and an amusement park, and has 5 km (3 mi) of beach and sand dunes looking out onto the Atlantic Ocean.  The Promenade was erected in 1914. Ireland's premier seaside resort.
The fates were with us as we found a parking spot right in front of the promenade facing the water. We got out and walked around a bit and I took pictures.  What a place to people watch.  I would love to go back some day and rent a place right on the water. The views are ever changing and beautiful looking out onto the ocean and I know there are many places if historical interest in the area.

As we were walking around, Anne asked if I'd like to play some slots. Is the Pope Catholic?  I said I don't see a casino as she walked me up to a large arcade.  Anne then said have at it for an hour as she ambled back to the car.  Well, there in the back area of this family arcade is a separate large area filled with slots. It would remind one of Las Vegas in the very early days.  OK, I have an hour let's see what I can lose.  When you win and cash out real coins clang down into the tray.  Forgot to get a cup - 28 euro in coins is a lot for a little purse. I moved to another machine, with a cup this time. In all the times I have gone to a casino, I've never had to have the attendent cash me out of a machine till now. 

I was back at the car in less than 45 minutes and 95 euros richer.  I told Anne let's have dinner and it's on me.  We made a beeline for the fish and chips shop. With our fish and chips, onion rings and drinks, we head back to the car to eat, watch humanity walk by and the changing ocean view.  Vegas was never this good.

We had had a great day.  We chatted like magpies on the way home and even missed the turn off on the motorway, but made it home safe and sound.


Monday, September 17, 2012

A Trip to the Coast, Part Two

August 8, 2012
The Mall or The Viking Triangle  contains two museums, Reginald's Tower, The House of Waterford Crystal, Christchurch Cathedral, the Bishop's Palace, the Theatre Royal, and various other historical landmarks.  I saw where a new museum was to open.  This is a Medieval museum built directly over ruins of that period.

My last stop on the Mall was Christchurch Cathedral. The first church on the site was built in the 11th century. This was replaced in 1210 by a Gothic Cathedral. In the 18th century, the city corporation recommended that the bishop erect a new building. The present building has been described as the finest 18th century ecclesiastical building in Ireland.  What beautiful interior.  I sat for awhile and enjoyed.

Rested - it was then time to head back to the designated spot. 
Oh why am I prompt, especially in Ireland?  I did see a coffee shop and could use a boost.  So off I took and got myself a iced coffee mocha. You can keep Starbucks I just found Costa. Back to the designated spot to wait and enjoy.  Not much longer the family arrived and we said our good byes to Thomas, Katie and baby, and headed back towards the car park.  Along the way we did some window shopping and stopped at Shaw's, Irish department store. All shops and most malls close at 6 o'clock in Ireland.  I guess that's why we were getting the hairy eyeball from the clerks - they wanted to go home.  As we were checking out, I happened to ask the clerk how far was Tramore from Waterford.  She politely said about 10 minutes. I said I had never been there before.
Anne: You want to go now?  Do you know what time it is?
Me:   With a sad face :(   Yes of course.
Anne:  Oh we can come back another time.
Me:   With another sad face:( and maybe a small deathstare.   Oh feck it, you know we won't because times short for me.
I just guilted Anne into going to Tramore.
See Part Three.

A Trip to the Coast, Part One


8 August 2012

Anne and I promised her son and daughter-in-law we would meet them for lunch.  They were in Waterford for a few days on holiday with their baby daughter. The day promised to be sunny and off we took.  It was a wonderful drive down and roads are great - that's thanks to the EU money.
Waterford City is the capital of the Sunny South East of Ireland and Ireland's oldest city. Wateford City was founded by Viking traders in 914.  Also the home of Waterford Crystal.
Just the day before I had seen a special of the city on TV. So, I was excited to see Waterford. When we arrived we found a car park on the river front. Only 5euro for all day parking. And it was off to find the family, have lunch, and explore.

So after a great lunch we were deciding what to do next.  I, of course, had my agenda planned before we left home.  I wanted to see Waterford Crystal and some historic sights around the town.  Anne is not interested in any of that.  She is happy wondering thru the shops.  I'm not a shopper.  So we decided we would go our separate ways and meet up at a designated spot at a designated time.  First I needed to get directions, a challenge in Ireland.  Finally, a very nice young lady, from Boots, gave me directions and a rough map. She was third we had asked.  So, I left Anne and away I went. The directions took me thru some of the older parts of the city - gave one a felling of being back in time. I found several small interesting shops.  One was a small design center where you could stand and watch them working with glass.  Finally, I found Waterford Crystal.  I wasn't interested in the tour, but just walking through the display room. It was a sheer delight. 

Some added history - Waterford City has been the home of Waterford Crystal since 1783. In January 2009 its Waterford base was closed down due to the bankruptcy of the Wedgwood Group. After several difficulties and takeovers, it re-emerged later that year. In June 2010, Waterford Crystal relocated almost back to its original roots, on The Mall in Waterford City. This new location is now home to a manufacturing facility that melts over 750 tonnes of crystal a year. This new facility offers visitors the opportunity to take guided tours of the factory and also offers a retail store, showcasing the world's largest collection of Waterford Crystal.


 After about an hour of looking, I decided I better start back as I had a few more places to see before meeting up with the family. So across the street to my next stop on the Viking Triangle. 

See Part Two.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lost my nerve!

Follow up - I never got behind the wheel for the entire time I was in Ireland.

No, no, no I won't do it.

I've been here a week and still can't stop saying my prayers every time I get in a car. Ann says she is still trying to get me put on her auto insurance. And I keep trying to reassure her that it's fine and don't bother.

In 1968, I lived here for about a year. Then in 1975 & 1994, I was here on vacation. Driving was not an issue - I managed standard shift and driving on the 'wrong side' of the road.

Good God, Ireland has exploded with large vehicles. There is great system of freeways with understandable signage. But what is the hurry? The speed limits are unbelievable.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Nature Walk

8/4 - Several of us were sitting around the table chatting about different places I should see. I brought up the subject of the new nature preserve, Killamuck Bog, here in the area. In the old days the bog provided peat for the locals. The peat was used for fuel to heat and cooking.
Luck was with me. A neighbor of my cousin is very interested in the bog and was thinking of going out to walk one of the trails. He asked if I'd like to go along. Of course I agreed as long as it was one of the shorter treks.
So late the next morn, Mark and I set out. What a knowledgable young man. I learned about the plant life, endangered species, and the animal life. I saw several species of dragon flies, frogs, tracks of different animals. We stopped many times mainly to observe and a few to dodge the rain showers.
When we came to end of the trek, two and half hours had passed in a flash. Since the Manor Hotel was there waiting for, we popped in for bit of liquid refreshment.

Afternoon out

8/2 - Ann had an appointment in Killkenny so off we took. We had tea and cakes at a hotel on the patio. Then after her appointment, into the center of town for shopping and dinner. I spent many a day in this place. It was great to see it again - changes and all.