Ramming around, gadding about

(as Grandma says)

Sorry for the absence… been on vacation for a few days with my mom and her friend who are visiting Ireland. Poor David stayed home with the pups but he’s probably happier there anyway. A couple teaser shots:


near the Black Fort, Inishmore, Aran Islands


Slea Head, Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry


Mom baby-talks the baby sheep

Thar she blows

Yet another perfect-weather day (never hot, never humid!), so I took Walter for a walk past Charles Fort about 9 p.m. while Casper napped at home. We saw some kind of navy cruiser in the harbor; I called David to tell him what he was missing (he watches all those boat and plane shows on the military channel), so he took a picture of it from our balcony. Cheater. My picture is closer to the action, anyway.

EDIT: We have been told this is an Irish navy ship named the Orla, a patrol vessel who does drug busts and customs stuff, I guess.

Also, you can vote on how it’s my fault that Arliss had a bad case of blueberry poopy butt at her blog.

Dublin, day 2

On our second day in Dublin, we paid for a hop-on hop-off tour and used it to get around a bit. First stop was Trinity College Dublin to see the Book of Kells, an illustrated gospel from around the year 800. No pictures were allowed inside, but you can see a couple and get more info at Wikipedia.

The anteroom to the book itself gives information about how it was made and what various symbols mean, plus sheds light on historical events connecting to the creation of such a book. By the time you get to the book itself, you’re expecting something larger, but it is beautiful and detailed. We were fortunate that the crowds weren’t excessive and we could spend a couple minutes looking at it. Upstairs, the old library is just as fascinating.

Next up: lunch!

After lunch we headed for Guinness Brewery, which lived up to its touristy presentation, but it would be rather silly to live in Ireland for a year and not go there.

The symbolic harp at Guinness looks very similar to one in the library at Trinity

David checks out the coopers’ tools

From the Gravity Bar on the top floor

I actually drank Coke. (I did taste some Guinness earlier in the tour but I still don’t like it!)

I think we had Thai food near our hotel that night and then camped out on our computers. This trip was rather slow-paced, largely because I can’t get David out of bed in the morning!

Does Egon drink Guinness?

Our second day in Dublin (last weekend) included a trip to the Guinness brewery. Here’s how a conversation went after seeing the old flower ad above: How do you define flourish? Then looked up fleur de lis. That’s the symbol of the Three Musketeers. They were in Slumdog Millionaire: what were their names? Athos, Porthos, and had to look up the other one. Aramis, but can only think of someone in Ghostbusters… Harold Ramis!

Ireland is a country in love with its courgettes and aubergines. Now, I thought I loved zucchini and eggplant, but darn it, I’m getting tired of them. At home every token veg dish is pasta and here it’s pasta with aubergines or some other variation of aubergines with courgettes tossed in for good measure. Hasn’t anyone heard of BEANS? I miss beans.

There are no screens in the windows. Cheerios taste like sugar cereal here and are marketed by Nestle, not General Mills.

The letter Z is pronounced zed here. We have a lot of abbreviations and acronyms at work, so I hear zed just about every day. And I always think of General Zod from Superman II.

I found this handy from Wiktionary: (Latin script letter names) letter; a, bee, cee, dee, e, ef, gee, aitch, i, jay, kay, el, em, en, o, pee, cue, ar, ess, tee, u, vee, double U, ex, wye, zee/zed. But I’d also like to note that H is not aitch here, but rather haitch, so it’s p-haitch at work and spelling my name includes haitch in the middle too.

I’m sure it’s not dominating the US TV and water coolers like it does here, but the World Cup is going on in South Africa right now. The Irish folks at work said they would be rooting for the US since they didn’t want to root for England. We get a lot of British TV so I’m seeing a lot of support for England as it is. David and I watched the England/USA match last night and I still think soccer is boring. Somehow the US is considered to have “won” even though it was a tie game. And there was this horrible buzzing noise from the crowds the whole time. Oh well, I’m going to have to live here longer to understand this one.

Some good news from the States:
California bans plastic bags
Pet-friendly license plate will be available next year in Indiana!

Albuquerque bans companion animal sales in pet shops: “Since the ban started, animal adoptions have increased 23 percent and euthanasia at city shelters has decreased by 35 percent.”

And yes, I get almost all my news from Facebook.

The Bad Santa of leprechauns

We are in Dublin for the weekend. Casper came home tired but well from the vet and we seem to have found a good petsitter, so we went ahead with our holiday weekend plans. We are being boring in the hotel room right now but overplanning makes us cranky, so down time is good. We tried to fight it out from laptops with online Battleship but couldn’t get an interface that worked, so now I’m blogging and he’s working on an invoice.

Pardon the repeat first picture there. I’m not smart enough to figure out the gallery feature on this site.

Gallery: First we have the dogs earlier this week, in a picture that should be captioned, “No, we didn’t poop up here!”
The rest are Dublin pictures: a creepy statue with really long legs and huge feet. David finds Starbucks and is ecstatic (despite the way he doesn’t look ecstatic). Then we have streets and shops of Dublin. Dinner: boxtys (boxties?) at Gallagher’s Boxty House, which was a little touristy but they had vegetarian boxtys (kind of a potato pancake thing from the northern counties) and I’m just not likely to find those in most pubs. The food was really good.

On to “Why go Bald,” another bunny ad, and finally David jaywalked without me while I was looking the other way and then there was too much traffic to join him. I took a picture of him way over there, abandoning me, but that crazy giant guy (we’re calling him German) decided to be a ham as well.

We got into town in late afternoon, so mostly just wandered at St. Stephen’s Green and into Temple Bar for dinner and drinks. Hopefully tomorrow will hold more specific tourist visits.

Doggy hospital again

Casper’s in the hospital again on IV, but doing reasonably well. She had the same symptoms that landed her in the emergency clinic in December. Still waiting on bloodwork, but hopefully she can come home Friday. Let’s hope her kidneys are hanging in there! She was very excited to get some turkey breast when I visited her today. She has a Spiderman blankie.

I’m really glad I established them at a vet the first week they arrived. Walter’s been pretty sad today without her!