Archive | November, 2012

If you are just popping into my blog, welcome! I am currently in the midst of trying to recap Irish history from, oh, about the 1600s until modern day. It is making my head spin (seriously. I feel like the kid from The Exorcist, but with worse hair). I understand if you’d like to come back next week, when I talk Milwaukee beers and the Green Bay Packers. If you are inclined to stay (thanks, by the way) I suggest you read my posts about Irish history and how the country came to be and how the Troubles first began.

Political murals in Belfast.

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Can I tell you something about myself? I need to admit it, because I think it’s significant, especially as it pertains to the topic of Irish history.

When I was a teenager, in the mid to late 90s, I was petrified of the IRA.

Looking back, this fear seems kind of irrational. After all – Ireland was a long way off from Seattle. (Incidentally, I also had a huge fear of cholera. Just in general.)

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Stained glass window at Stormont.

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After my tome about Irish history, I’ve managed to avoid serious discussion or mention of Irish politics for two whole weeks (I consider this an achievement of sorts. Instead, I talked about Halloween costumes and candy). But the hour has arrived. It is time to talk about the Troubles.

Please note that all caveats expressed last time hold true for this post. Parts of it will be biased, and parts of it will be inaccurate. I am not a historian. I didn’t even do that well in history class in school. I’m struggling to understand most of this myself.

And with that disclaimer, here we go, once again …

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It is nearly midnight, the day after the U.S. elections.

The results were not, in my opinion at least, very shocking. Nate Silver correctly predicted how each state would vote – even the swing states. The rest went as they always did: much of the middle and the south were red; the entire left coast went blue, as did the Northeast.

Sometimes, life in this big, industrious land-of-opportunity can be quite predictable. It leaves you few suprises. And you find yourself feeling just a little bit like a caricature.

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From our eventful and nail-biting last road trip, in Ireland.

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Rand and I are currently in Boston; in a few days, we’ll be driving up to New Hampshire for a conference; a few of his colleagues will be making journey with us.

That’s right: we’re going on a road trip. WITH PEOPLE WE LIKE AND CONSIDER FRIENDS.

Oh, dear.

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It seems somewhat politically insensitive (or perhaps merely uninformed) to lump all my photos from our Ireland trip together, especially in light of last Monday’s post. I wondered if I should split them up into two posts - 10 photos from our trip to Northern Ireland, and 10 photos from our trip to the Republic.

But there is no border between the two places; we drove seamlessly from Northern Ireland to the Republic, and back again. The countryside remained lovely, the people continued to be friendly, and glasses of Guinness flowed freely on either side.

And so, because our similiarities in this world should always triumph over our differences, I’ve mashed all my photos together in one post. (Also, I was feeling kind of lazy.)

  1. Most covered lattice, Castle Leslie Estate, Republic of Ireland.

    You lichen? GET IT? LICHEN? HA.

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  2. Caution: Horses sign, Castle Leslie Estate.

    I wanted to add little fangs to the silhouette and change it to say “Caution: VAMPIRE HORSES” but Rand mentioned some nonsense about defacing property or something, so I didn’t.

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It’s November. Or Movember for those of you out there growing mustaches in order to raise awareness about men’s health issues.

My husband has decided to participate; he won’t be growing a mustache (as that could have serious negative ramifications on our marriage) and instead will simply be regrowing the beard  he shaved off for Halloween.

In the meantime, there is a very handsome stranger in my bed. I’m going to go make out with him now. You enjoy these links.

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Perhaps the best film synopsis, ever. (At first, I thought they were talking about The Hunger Games.)

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Back in journalism school, one of my professors (a man by the name of Don Pember –  he told delightful anecdotes and had a sense of humor drier than the Sahara) taught me that emotional stories tell themselves. You don’t need to add flowery language or use a heavy hand – you simply need to lay out the facts. This story, about a Holocaust survivor who has tailored suits for several presidents, does just that. (more…)

It’s November 1st, and like any forward-thinking lunatic, I’m contemplating next year’s Halloween costumes. I only have 364 days to go.

We take Halloween rather seriously in our house. My mother is to blame. I don’t quite know when she learned about the tradition of dressing up for the holiday (I seriously doubt it had been exported to Europe back in the late 70s, when my brother was wee, so it must have been after she moved to the states and I was born), but I can imagine her hearing the word “costume” and getting that charmingly crazy look on her face that I know too well.

And so, on one October that I was too small to remember, a brilliant madness began, and continued throughout my childhood. My mother would make elaborate costumes, and do my hair, and wonderful things like this would happen:

My brother and I, circa 1984.

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