Happy Birthday Mom

I love you so much. I may not be a believer in anything in particular, but you are my guardian angel and you have saved me more times than I would care to mention.

Happy birthday

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101 in 1001: Visit the Cliffs of Moher

I’m not going to lie. Up until this week, I wasn’t quite sure where the Cliffs of Moher were. I knew of their existence more from vague memories of geography class and the smiling recollections of the Americans I was serving at the castle. But even without knowing their location, I knew I wanted to go at some point. I really like being a tourist.

The day started as many had. I kickboxed, showered and was settling down for a lazy Sunday of knitting and watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Did I want to go to Spanish Point? Mammy asked. Sure why not, I thought. Its not like Danny DeVito will me miss me watching his reruns.

The family (minus the Sis who was babysitting) loaded up the car (I brought nothing but my purse, a hairbrush and a copy of the latest Hot Press) and headed for Clare. We started in a cliffy area down past the Armada. I indulged in some graceful rock jumping and rock pool viewing while my Dad began playing his favourite self-invented sport: rock balancing. Yes, dear readers, it is the art of balancing rocks on other rocks. Why? (I asked too.) To screw with people and make them wonder how nature could cause one rock to precariously balance on another. The Olympics calls.

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After having a car picnic, we headed to the Rock Shop in Liscannor. Its very pretty. And very expensive. My dad bought me black coffee and a Buddha. I came away happy. Then I noticed a sign for the Cliffs of Moher saying it was only three miles down the road. CONVENIENT. Can we go, can we go, can we go?

We bitched about having to pay money to look at cliffs as we parked. It was quite the family bonding moment. But then we saw the visitors’ centre and realised why. Between the interactive displays and the virtual experience of wildlife on the cliffs (my mom, the hater of heights, greatly appreciated this), it was a lovely complement to a contender for a natural wonder of the world.

Mammy stayed behind as Dad, Little Sis and I climbed. One of the first things you see when you go towards the cliff is a big sign for the Samaritans. Dad showed me where people used to lean over the edge before the barriers were put up. It is a subduing experience to consider that so many choose to end their days amongst this beauty and array of life.

Then came the steps. There were many steps. We were like Rocky, but way slower. The sight was amazing and worth my tiring legs. A picture speaks a thousand more eloquent words than I could ever attempt.

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So one goal is ticked off the list. 100 more to go!

Day Trip!

The family and I are off to Dingle for the day. Oh Kerry, how I’ve missed you. And how I’ve missed the Sis who has being off ag caint as Gaeilge i gCeann Tra ar feadh deich laethanna.

Regular broadcasting will resume in due time 🙂

The Music Man

Sometimes I find it hard to tell people how I feel about them to their face. I think that’s why I’m so much more open on the Internet. I don’t tell my father often enough how much I appreciate him. I have a different relationship with him than with my mom; more subtle, more creative, less overtly revealing but in no way any less important or essential to how I am turning out as a person. I have written many of my eloquent thoughts about my father already here.

My dad is unconventional and opinionated – qualities I have too. He is creative, artistic and amazingly pitched – qualities I want to have. He is thoughtful, kind and wise – qualities I aspire to have.

Like many others, this song is about a boy. But unlike the others, this is one I love wholeheartedly.

Happy birthday, Daddy.

One Of Those Faces

My mother has always claimed to have one of those faces. Something about it, perhaps caring, understanding, sweet, but whatever it is, random people do love to appraoch her and tell her their life story. In supermarkets, in communities, at work, no one likes anything better than reeling off their problems and highlights to Annette Stewart. And she’s not the only one. My aunts and sister are plagued by the same problem, which although for the most part is an indifferent affair, can at times be altogether withering.

I, on the other hand, have never had to deal with this, per se. Admittedly, I never have too much trouble making friends because people tend to gravitate towards me rather than vice versa, but I suppose I do give off a rather cold exterior to people outside my circle. My relative shyness makes for little conversation with new people and the headphones permanently affixed to my ears during any journey means the only sound I have to listen to on the bus is Broadway showtunes.

So, today was a bit of a change. Too tired to go look for my iPod, I high tailed it to bus without it (and got only got charged for a child ticket. Bus driver just assumed. Come get me CIE.) Nothing unusual, sitting on my own as is the norm. Then around Tutorial (for those not familiar with Limerick, this is two stops from the terminal) an elderly lady moved seats and carefully settled herself next to me. Had I my iPod with me, I would have probably turned up the Wicked soundtrack a little louder.

Then, from random comments (from her) and awkward replies (from me) a conversation sprung. About Limerick and cycling and the priests in Pallaskenry. She told me stories of biking twelve miles to get to the Savoy, where she and her friends knew the waitress, who would give them a veritable feast before heading to the movies on the floor below. She reminded me of my Nana telling us stories of back in the day when my sister and I were only young uns.

So maybe I do have one of those faces.

Although considering last night, the ultimate of creepy drunk guys decided to hang out with us for a sold hour and a half before I had him kicked out for smoking inside, maybe having one of those faces isn’t always such a good thing. 🙂

Dad

I have lived a mere (almost) 19 years so far in my life. Those years have been ravaged with the ups and downs and inbetweens of being a kid, being a teenager and for the last few months, learning to be an adult. It should be said that my mother is absolutely amazing and shares many of the same attributes as my father, but sometimes it is all about being daddy’s little girl.

My dad is the person who let me sing into his microphone stand in the hall at two years of age, who played the guitar and taught me the words to “Don’t Look Back In Anger” and advised me to buy CDs over cassette tapes, seeing as I loved singing along with the leaflet words so much. These days, he is the one who lets me use all his hi-tech equipment without complaint, buys me business cards, and lets me sing my little heart out on stage without a second thought.

My dad is the person who shows us pictures from the 70s and 80s (courtesy of an old Dairy Milk Box,) introduced me to Duran Duran and Eurythmics by playing recorded radio shows in the car on the way to Spanish Point and Kilkee, regaled us with stories of interrailing and turnpike-jumping and recounted the wonders of the Acme Clothing Company.

My dad has only yelled at me like 4 times in my entire life (and in retrospect I totally deserved it.) He taught me the importanced of correctly folded towels and a well ironed shirt. I learned to respect a good work ethic and a broad (seemingly limitless) knowledge, and I strive to develop these things to even half the extent of him.

Because of him,  I have never felt bad about dressing differently, wanting a tattoo or staying home from Mass. Because of him, I felt no qualms about starting a blog. Whether it was seeing dressed like Freddie Mercury or his encouragement that I could sing “The Sun Has Got His Hat On” in a pub as a child, I have never felt fear or shame or embarrassment on stage.

When I was away, my Dad would bring himself and my mom the almost two hour trip down to my house when I called up in tears. He fully supported me the day he drove me home for good. Weeks later, when I just wanted to die, he hugged me and watched old movies about Jerome Kern until I felt ok.

My mom once told me that, when I was first born, my dad would just stare at me for hours, as if my existence were something completely amazing. But then, he’s that kind of person who makes you think that maybe existence can be amazing.

Happy VDay Kids

Every year leading up to 14th, off I would spout about corporate sellouts and deragotory use of loce to make money etc etc in the lonely girl spiel. And I still think that old Valentine’s Day is a company created excuse to fill the lull between Christmas and Easter. But deep down, like every other teenage girl, I wanted someone to go on a date with, to make a stupid card for, to give a festive hug to. And it was much easier to mask this behind a blanket of disdain than admit it.

This year is different. For the first time ever, I have absolutely no desire to be anything but single. I still adore romance, love being in love and think it is epicly sweet to see some couples (you know, the non-disgusting-PDA type) do as they do. But I also love my annual Anti-VDay Single Ladies dinner (boyfriendless chinese food since 2008.) I love my 4.75 mile run this morning, not having to worry about meeting up with anyone afterwards. And I love that there is a man who will always love me and make an awesome three course meal for his women (thanks Daddy!)

So happy VDay Kids. Make it a good ‘un.

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