Sunday, April 30, 2006

yesterday, i dropped my violin off for an "oil change" and spent the rest of the day teaching, making up for the lessons i missed due to the stomach flu on wed & thurs. my students' recital is coming up in two weeks, and i have to miss a couple lessons this week due to an orchestra tour, so i HAD to see them. j & i spent my last free sat night going out to dinner at a cheap italian joint in the neighborhood. not the best food, but really really good for not having to make it ourselves. tonight we're going over to a friend's house for his "famous" chili. not sure if my little tummy is up for that yet... anyway, it's a beautiful day out again. we made waffles this morning & ate outside, chatting with the neighbor kitties that came by to visit. i'm gonna steal j away from his on-call work to go for a run (more like an agitated stroll in my case) with me.

the night before we left was census night in ireland. everybody - visitors & all - had to fill out a census form. some of the questions were difficult for me to answer. for example - "what time do you generally leave for work?" um... often having to go to the hall twice a day, how do i answer that?

buskers outside of the wonderful brown thomas department store. the violinist actually sounded great. too bad it was all fluffy stuff like blue danube waltz. brown thomas is a store that carries super designer stuff like prada, balenciaga, etc. all really really expensive. $500 jeans. stuff i'd feel awkward even trying on.

pretty tulips in the park! too bad they won't be in season for our wedding.

sunday afternoon we spent in the st stephens green park, right across from our hotel, writing postcards. we took this ourselves!

j & i at the porterhouse.

saturday night, after the guinness & jameson's in the morning, and a big long nap in the afternoon, we met friends at the porterhouse in the temple bar area. these are our friends.
and me.

bobby yang... this one is for you!!! (check out his website at
bob's at daytime...
and bob's at nighttime...

at the beginning of a tour of the jameson distillery, the guide asks for four volunteer tasters. at the end of the tour, they sit up front and taste different whiskeys & whiskys (the one with the e is irish, the one without, scotch & american). all except one preferred the jameson. j & i agreed we prefer scotch. we didn't get to try the four, but just one sample of the basic jameson. the main difference between irish whiskey and other whisky is that it is distilled 3 times, instead of american whisky, which is distilled once, or scotch, which is distilled twice.

this is the view to be had from the gravity bar. this includes the chimney tower, which one can ascend for a 360 degree view of the city. it was built by mr. jameson, the one of jameson distillery, which is where we went next. we didn't bother with the chimney, though. i was too tired from all the booze so early in the morning. we stopped at a below-par italian restaurant on our way back to the hotel.

oops- forgot this one. it's earlier in the tour. a little mini-tasting room... & j happy to taste!

a pic of me on our way up to the gravity bar - the final stop in the tour where you get your free pint of guinness, along with a great view of the city. orange... i love orange...

yo, brother-in-law-to-be: this one's for you!
these crabs were all over floor 4 (or was it 5?) , a floor dedicated to the history of guinness advertising. don't remember which year the crab was from...

this part of the exhibit was dedicated to the craft of the cooper, the ones who made the beer barrels. it was an esteemed craft back in the day, and not an easy one.

j is happily standing for me in front of a waterfall in the tour. guinness uses not water from the liffey river, which flows right through town, but from the springs of the wicklow "mountains" in their beer. hmm. wicklow "hills" is more like it.

this part of the exhibit shows the all important hops.

stairs to heaven?
haha. these are the stairs, or is the escalator, up to the guinness factory tour.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

so let me recap... i spent a couple days visiting some museums - one of art, one filled with dead stuffed animals of all types (including fish & insects), and one of natural history with lots of artifacts. i had a difficult time adjusting to the time change, so i took lots of naps & took my time wandering around. on friday, c picked me up near the ha'penny bridge, and drove me out to malahide, of course with the cute c in tow. we spent the afternoon playing in the sand, watching other kids play in the sand, and then tackled the traffic & headed back to her place. we met the boys at a nearby bar to help them decompress, before heading back to their house where they cooked us a marvelous dinner of duck & lamb. c is such an amazing cook. especially considering the fact that she has a young one to look after - don't know how she does it. the following day, we hit the guinness factory at 10:15 am & then went to the jameson distillery.

fun with bubbles...

the whole cute family!!!

who's watching this kid???

fun with lisa's sunglasses...

c & c at beach at malahide, a coastal town outside of dublin.

courtyard at trinity college, which houses the famous book of kells.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

we arrived safely back from the trip to ireland late mon night, around 11:30pm. i have more pictures to post, but haven't had time yet. had teaching yesterday, and i happened to come down with the nastiest stomach flu late last night. still waiting for my tummy to settle before taking tylenol for the temp. i feel like i got run over by a bus. :(

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

c & i! what a cutie he is!!!

c & her son in st stephens green gardens

a picture of the park in st stephens green. lots of seagulls & ducks!
fusiller's arch - on the northwestern corner of st stephens green. modeled on the arch of titus in rome, it commemorates the 212 soldiers who died in the boer war (1899-1902). names are inscribed on the inside of the arch. this is the main entrance to the gardens.

the picture of one entrance to st stevens green gardens.
after merrion square, i went to the national gallery. lots of jack yeats & other irish artists, a big show about prints, and a collection on the top floor of other artists from europe (vermeer, goya, picasso, etc.)

i met c, a friend who used to live in the states, whose husband worked with j, for lunch, with her adorable son. afterwards we went for a stroll in st stephens green garden.

oscar wilde's house on the edge of merrion square garden, now overtaken by the american university of dublin.
pretty picture in merrion square garden.
statue of michael collins, who was key in masterminding the campaign of violence against the british in the anglo-irish war. as you can see, he didn't last long after the anglo-irish treaty of 1921.
another pretty picture from merrion square garden.

a cute & colorful childrens playground in merrion square garden.
these are some busts in the merrion square garden right opposite the statue of oscar wilde.
statue of oscar wilde in the merrion square garden. another view of the statue of oscar wilde.

so i spent this morning doing a lot of walking and walking and walking. i started off in the merrion square garden, which contains many statues of famous irish people and different types of gas lamplights from the 19th century.

j& i at o'neal's pub in dublin. with our food, and guinness, of course.

this is j's lamb irish stew.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

this is my fish & chips from last night that we had in a pub. the fresh irish guinness was great, but the ketchup tasted weird, like a ketchup mayo or something. i never figured out what the green stuff was. tasted sort of like peas.
ahhh... rainy green ireland. flew through chicago to dublin. all went well, especially considering had we left one day sooner, we would've been the flight that was diverted up to a remote air force base in canada, due to someone smelling burning plastic. had that been me, i would've been completely freaking out & losing it. so, all is well. the hotel is fine, although it's not as nice a room as the last time j was here. we had a bit of trouble with the luggage - my checked bag didn't arrive, but j's did. so we stood in line forever waiting to give them information, while i was thinking i'd have to kiss goodbye all the clothes i worked so hard to find (I HATE SHOPPING, and i have semi-expensive taste). we headed off to hertz, which was another long line of waiting, until we finally got the honda civic reserved for us. cars here are weird, steering wheel on the right & all. can't get used to it. glad i don't have to drive at all while here. we took a nap after some quick errand running, wishing we could sleep forever but knowing it's a death sentence for jet lag. took dinner at a noodle joint, & had an interesting dessert of unfamiliar fruits & ice cream. this morning, j headed off to work at 6:30 to leave himself plenty of time to find his way. he slept well. i, very typical of me, was awake from 4am until he woke up. i went to breakfast in the hotel (19 euros for buffet; didn't know this before going; won't go again; know where the grocery store is - much better value), and then took a long nap before leaving the hotel room to explore. we're right near grafton st, which is a huge shopping area. saw either really cheap clothes stores, or super expensive nice designer stores. nothing in between. before i left, i checked on the baggage and found it had been located & would be arriving later, so i didn't really have a reason to purchase anything. i did buy a current lonely planet guide to ireland & picked up brochures at the tourist center on bus tours before heading back to the hotel room. j just got home, and soon we'll head to dinner. i'm probably going to hang out with a friend tomorrow, someone who lived in the states & actually had a son there, as her husband worked where j does. they'll be back next year permanently. well... gotta get ready for dinner. i plan to have my first (perhaps last - i'm not a big fan of it in the states) pint of genuine dublin guinness. they say it tastes different here. stay tuned for more dublin reports, hopefully with pictures.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

somehow, we were wrong. we actually leave today, sunday. lucky we noticed that! i'll take lots of pictures & try posting them here. in the airport now, waiting for the flight. thanks for the free hotel room, intel!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

arrrggghhh!!!! i finally decided to get up for awhile, as i've been awake since 4-ish. haven't been able to sleep the past few nights with wedding stuff going through my head, and now something completely different to keep me up. j found out yesterday he has to go to ireland on monday, and as i'm off from work until may, i'm going with him! it's exciting, but i usually plan months in advance for trips like this, figuring out what to see & where to eat. weird. we fly on mon & return the following mon. at least the hotel & flight are out of my control...

Monday, April 10, 2006

so, the big announcement today at work was that our president is leaving. interesting...

Sunday, April 09, 2006

it's been awhile since i've posted because i've been getting absolutely slammed at work. can't take it anymore. every little thing - traffic, wrong tone of voice from someone, sets me off immediately. a person can only take so much, letting things roll off one's back, before she reaches her limit, an' everything just blends together into one big awful mess. just 2 more months.