Sunday, November 26, 2006

Ireland Highlights- better late than never

-Jill and I had a fantastic time!!!
-Mastering the art of driving on the left side of the road
-Becoming a certified Whiskey Tasting expert after touring Jameson Distillery
-Exploring the streets of Dublin
-Being hit on by 3 guys at Fitzgerald's and meeting Brendan whilst waiting for the DART- Irish men appreciated our hotness!
-The food! I loved the full Irish breakfast, drinking tea every morning, fish and chips, fillet of beef, the list goes on and on.
-Blarney Castle- but I did not kiss the Blarney Stone! Too many germs, plus the locals like to pee on it. No thank you! The castle was awesome though and the grounds were amazingly beautiful.
-Our favorite bed and breakfast: Tailors Lodge in Castleisland. Breda, the owner, was so friendly and accomodating, the house was beautiful, there was a separate guest lounge with sattelite tv, need I say more? Next time I go to Ireland I will definitely stay with Breda again- it's a good spot for exploring Kerry and doing a lot of day trips.

-Overall just feeling loved by God. This was such a dream come true! Lots of spiritual insights throughout my time there, just feeling more encouraged about His plan for my life, etc. Part of driving meant encountering many roundabouts. A roundabout is a complex and ridiculous Irish intersection that leaves one confused and driving in circles until one selects the correct exit. It reminded me of trying to figure out God's plan. If you pay attention to the sign, you'll have no trouble. Just like when I focus on His word and what He has done for me already, it is much easier to be content and patient.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Teresa's Birthday

When I stopped by my grandparent's house a week and a half ago, it seemed it would be the last time I would see Aunt Teresa. She was very lethargic, difficult to wake up, now completely bedbound. She was barely eating or drinking. She woke up long enough for me to show her a picture of Dani in her wedding dress (Teresa has always loved, loved, loved bridal magazines and anything wedding related). She smiled and held my hand. As we were sitting together she looked at me and said, "I like you." Teresa has never been sentimental or seemed to understand the power of her words before this. My heart just melted and I had to blink away tears. I left the house ready to leave for Ireland but certain I would be getting a message stating Teresa had died once I returned. I never got that message. Instead, Teresa has done something typical of many hospice patients before their deaths: she has rallied. She is still not eating much but she is staying awake more and is somewhat more interactive with guests. I stopped by yesterday afternoon to check in on my grandparents. Teresa's birthday was Saturday and her room was filled with balloons, flowers, and cards. She was like a queen with her constituents filing through her bedroom. I was the fifth visitor that afternoon but, as I like to remind her, I am her favorite great-niece. Never mind that there are only 2 other contenders for that title and they have lived out of state and rarely visit. Teresa lives and breathes for her birthday every year. She lights up with all the attention. She is the subject for many pictures (she has a collection of at least 50 photo albums from across the years). She eats her favorite cake. And best of all, the presents! She is now 79 but a 79 year old with child like enthusiasm. Her body has aged but her mind has stayed the same. My grandpa says that Teresa has lived a life without sin because of her mental limitations but I know that isn't true. There are times she has scowled for being told no or resented not being able to participate in something. Maybe her sins are less external than ours but she is still human. I would rather think that she is able to see the best in people, she comes before them with an open and vulnerable heart even though she has been hurt in the past. I have seen the hurt on her face when someone has called her retarded, or even just said that something is retarded. I have also seen her move past the hurt. She's not able to hold onto bitterness the way that I can. I can learn a lot from Aunt Teresa, even now. She is unaware of her condition, probably not thrilled to be stuck in bed but she has accepted it. She enjoys whoever comes to visit and still takes pride in her appearance, choosing different sparkly hair bows and lacy nightgowns. She is limited but she is still making the most of her life. I am blessed to know her. I can't imagine life without Teresa. My grandparents took her and my great-grandma into their home the year I was born. She has been a fixture in my life. I will miss her. I am glad she was able to enjoy another birthday. I don't think she will be with us much longer but she will never be forgotten.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Ready or not, here I come!

Jill and I leave for Ireland tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Goodbye Mr. Eko

Lost was so good last night! If you don't already watch this show, you need to start. Now. It will change your life! If you haven't watched last night's episode yet, stop reading now (although the title of this entry gives you a hint too.) There's so much to say but I really just want to share my new theory. If you are an actor on Lost and you commit some sort of crime while in Hawaii, they will kill your character off. Case in point: Michelle Rodriguez (the annoying Ana Lucia) and Cynthia Watros (Hurley's intriguing love interest with a past, Libby) were probably just out blowing off some steam after a hard day's work. Sadly they were arrested for drunk driving on December 1. We all know what happened next. Michael took a deal with the devil and shot Ana Lucia and Libby. Now we'll never know why Libby was at the same treatment center as Hurley! Flash forward to the present. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje who plays the former drug smuggler turned priest Mr. Eko was arrested in early September for disobeying a police officer and driving without a license. The charges were later dropped once he produced his license. Unfortunately the creative team was not similarly lenient with our favorite stick wielding plane crash survivor- the crazy black smoke killed him in the end. Let that be a lesson to the other Lost actors- don't mess with Hawaii unless you're looking for a way out of your contract. I swear, they better not even think about killing off Sawyer during the Fall Season Finale on November 8. How on earth will we wait until February 7 to see what happens next?

For the true fan, a funny treat (video)