Thursday, May 27, 2010

Still Here!

Just a very quick note, to let all my blogger friends know.....I have not fallen off the edge of planet.  My excuses for being absent and so remiss.  Let's see!  Well I won't bore you with the full litany.   I will just go with the two most obvious.  Jet lag is still dogging me and I will not have my broadband until June 1.  But I am in the process of catching up on all your wonderful blog posts, with my IPod and little notebook with the too small keyboard for my big clumpy fingers.  OK!  I know I promised not to bore you with my litany.  But I just can't help myself.

I am savouring my first day sitting in my sunny Irish kitchen, sipping Barry's tea and eating McCambridge brown soda bread slathered with Dairygold and Little Chip fine cut marmalade.  Joy! Ecstasy! 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bright, Bright Sun Shiny Day

The first two weeks in May felt more like March, with snow flurries making an unwelcome appearance. But on Friday morning the sun was shining in our world and in more ways than one. On Friday my beautiful girl, Ciolagh Ann graduated with her doctorate in Pharmacy.

The plan was to meet Ciolagh and Kevin at the Marriott in Madison at 11AM for lunch before the ceremony. So at 7:30AM we packed Louie into the car. No! Louie did not come with us. He went to emBark, doggie day care. On Friday evening the lovely Katie and future daughter-in-law would collect him. Louie arrangements got very involved.  I won’t go into all that now. Suffice to say, with Louie sorted, we left for Madison. The drive was very pleasant. The sun was shining and it was warm, so windows could be opened. Road works are not in full swing yet, so there were few traffic delays.

Twenty minutes outside Madison, I was jolted from my teary remembrances by my ringing mobile. Yes, the happy proud tears and quivering lips had started. It was oldest child, Rian. “Where are you,” he asked? “Just outside Madison.” “What time does the graduation start?” "It starts at 1:30." Rian glumly informed me he had gotten his days mixed up and thought tomorrow was Graduation day. Though I felt his pain through the mobile radio waves, I felt slightly better about my periodic memory lapses. If he got the days mixed up after a stressful week, maybe I’m not as bad as I thought. But I digress! When our conversation ended, I wasn’t sure what his plan was. My mobile rang again. I was shocked, the second time in as many minutes. This for a mobile though regularly charged rarely rings. As a result I keep forgetting my ring tone! It was Ciolagh this time and I confirmed we were only minutes away.

On arrival we checked into the hotel and after the hugs and kisses of greeting, Ciolagh told me she had spoken to Rian. They decided between them driving the five hours to Madison was crazy. He would join us for the planned bar-b-q in La Crosse on Saturday. I was very relieved to hear this news. I had visions of Rian speeding towards Madison, in a mad rush trying to make it to the ceremony on time. It was not a pretty vision! It involved police sirens!

As we parked the car, Ciolagh’s mobile rang. It was Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center. Over the course of the next few minutes, arrangements were made for an interview and pre-interview dinner. This day was getting more memorable for her by the minute.

We had just placed our lunch orders when Dilin sauntered into the restaurant from his statewide dart competition in Wisconsin Dells. I wished he had shaved and wore a shirt and tie, but then that’s Dilin! I made no comment, but at one stage he looked at me with that infectious grin of his and said,” I didn’t know this was a dressy up kinda thing.” “You’re just fine Dilin.” I said grinning back at him. His father on the other hand, immune to the grin had a comment or two, but they fell on deaf ears.

Once lunch was over, it was decided we only needed two cars. Sally and Bob, (Ciolagh's in-laws) would take their car. Dilin, Liam and I would travel with Ciolagh and Kevin. On arriving at the hall we were lucky enough to get seats in the first row of the balcony section. The ceremony took two hours. I spent those two hours crying, more of those happy proud mother tears.

Memories of my girl’s bright cheery enthusiasm flooded my mind’s eye as I watched her cross the stage. The way she skipped in the door of our house in Ring after school, breathless and relate all the day’s doings. Even now as I type tears are welling in my eyes and that ugly mouth contortion thing is going on in an effort to suppress the flood of emotion from spilling over.

My girl has successfully jumped all the hoops and hurdles. Her childhood and student days a memory now. The time has come for her to enjoy the fruits of all the effort and hard work. Fruits she so richly deserves.  But for this teary eyed mother, the time has passed too quickly....much too quickly!
Love you Princess!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Black Paw Louie

Louie half an hour after an expensive grooming session! 

This reminding me of long ago days when dirt used to say, "Hey there's Dilin, and he's clean. Something’s wrong here." With that, dirt would jump up and attach itself to my beautiful harem sacrum boy with the crooked grin. It took monumental effort on my part, to get Dilin from the bathroom where he had been scrubbed and polished to the car without a stain of some sort. 

Oh, those wonderful days! 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Poor Louie

The plan from the day Louie became a member of our family was to bring him with me to Ireland. Telling him stories of  sitting in the conservatory, me sipping tea and Louie lopping up his water. The wonderful walled in back garden he would have the run of. A utility room for his kennel, and walks on the beach everyday. We were both so very excited. Then the bubble burst!

All the Irish Department of Agriculture requirements were met. Or so I thought. Implanted microchip, check. Rabies vaccination, check. Tick and tapeworm treatment, check. Veterinary Certificate, check. Be accompanied by the owner, check. Qualifying third country, check. Approved airline, check. All was in place.

While I wasn't paying attention, AerLingus(the only approved airline from the US) stopped their direct flights from Chicago to Shannon. When I did my investigation this route was available, animals could be brought into Shannon, their records checked and the animal examined by the Shannon Department of Agriculture people. Louie and I would then be able to continue our journey. Now with this route discontinued, we fly into Dublin and wait three hours for a connecting flight to Shannon. But Louie must be processed in Dublin. Not at the airport, but in the city. Bags, baggage, Louie, cranky husband, tired son and I would have to trek into the city and wait. When I enquired as to the time frame of this check I was told up to 72 hours with all boarding costs at my expense. Fair enough, I thought, but if everything was in order, how long would it take? The reply, did you guess?  Up to 72 hours. Next question, so what are the boarding costs? Answer, that depends. Depends on what? No answer to that question! So do we just sit and wait and wonder how long this will take and how much money it will evolve? I could hear the shrug.

On further investigation, I heard horror stories of the whole procedure costing anywhere from 1000 to 5000 euro. This on top of airline fees, which also could not be disclosed until we reached the departure gate. I kid you not!!! So that as they say was the final nail in the coffin.

I haven't broken the news to Louie yet. Will he be disappointed? Maybe not, because Louie is going to visit Ella for his holidays. Louie loves chewing on Puggle ears!


Bringing pets to Ireland ... it is not impossible, but you and your pet will have to jump through quite a few hoops ...So you want to take your pet or companion animal to Ireland? Don’t - that is my short advice.”
Bring Pets to Ireland
By Bernd Biege

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Whats In Your Bag!

I am in a terrible dilemma. Bag packing time is drawing nearer for my summer exodus. My problem, the transatlantic baggage allowance! The airlines in their infinite wisdom have reduced the transatlantic allowances to one 50lb bag. So I decided to do a practice packing. During this exercise I discovered my empty bag weighed 17lbs. Leaving me with a measly 33lbs for books, clothes, shoes, toiletries and make-up.

Before the tightening of security, I used to carry-on my makeup and some toiletries. I mean a bottle of shampoo takes a fair wack out of the baggage poundage. Now these items must go in the checked baggage. This has reduced my clothes, shoes and handbag choices to practically nil. And don't even talk to me about books. I have had to give up the books altogether, only bringing one for reading during the journey. Thankfully we have a good library which I will be haunting regularly. My other book option, Amazon UK here I come!

I sat on the bedroom floor staring into my half empty bag deliberating on what else I could leave behind. Frustrated I came to the point where I was unwilling to make any further cuts to my wardrobe. I finally acknowledged the fact I must bring bag number two and pay the $50 dollar fee each way. Why, well because of my shoes. I have weddings and christenings to attend in a town where style is a way of life. There is no library type place for shoes. I need those shoes! They are the pinnacle of my outfits. An outfit is not complete without the shoes and bag carefully chosen to enhance it. Shoes are the fashion accessory I get creative with. The fashion accessory I will never be too old for. I would be a sorry sight in a mini mini skirt, belly shirt or torn jeans. The fashionesta in me is appeased by my shoes. Can you blame me? Look at them! Aren’t they just beautiful?