Designing Woman

My mother had two hobbies: reading and rearranging furniture. I shared her love of reading, but never understood her passion for decorating. Once I get my furnishings placed appropriately they might remain in the same place for years. The only times I've moved furniture around are when we've been transferred to a new location. I wouldn't do it even then, but I can't afford new stuff every time we change houses, and no one ever seems to want our old stuff.

Mom never had a budget for decorating, so our furniture was about as basic as it could be. We had a sofa, a love seat, and two chairs in varying shades of brown, tan, and black, but by simply rearranging the pieces from time to time and adding a new throw pillow or a crocheted afghan she'd create a completely different look.

Not long after I left home Mom bought a floral sofa. It kind of pissed me off. For all those years I thought furniture had to be a solid color and at the tender age of 18 I discovered florals exist! Had I not been worthy of a floral sofa? Was she making an exchange? Me for a sofa of flowers and leaves?

Studly Doright and I inherited my parents ugly black sofa when we married, but when I had the opportunity to buy a new one, it had flowers everywhere. It was ugly as sin, but at least it wasn't a solid. That'd show 'em.

Honestly, I have no skills in decorating. I never thought of it as something I'd enjoy doing for fun, but recently I was looking for an online game to keep me from overthinking everything in my life, and I found Design Home. Now I'm obsessed.

Here's how it works. Every few hours a design challenge is posted, usually with some criteria attached, i.e. two metal items, three rustic pieces, etc. Players select pieces either from their own inventory, from the inventories of friends, or from the shop, and then try to create a pleasing room. Players also get to vote on other designs. I get a kick out of seeing how others interpreted the challenge.

Here's one of my designs:

Isn't it pretty? My mom would have loved this game. Would she have chosen a floral sofa? I'll never know.

Peace, people. Go hug your mom.

Irish Beer Retrospective 

If you're new to my blog you might've missed some of my greatest moments in Ireland. Studly Doright and I embarked on an eight day trip to the Emerald Isle with a group of golfing friends, and I became enamored of the beer. Yes, while Studly was sinking putts, I was downing pints.

I kicked off the beer tour quite by accident. We'd landed in Shannon around 8 a.m. their time. After going through customs and collecting our luggage we met up with members of our group and met our driver, Paul. We had a bit of a drive to our hotel in Killarney, but still arrived before our hotel had rooms ready. 

As Paul drove us through his home town of Killarney he pointed out several pubs where we might wile away the hours before checking into the hotel. One pub was very near the Malton Hotel, so several of us left our luggage with the concierge and walked a couple of blocks in search of a pint. 

Of course I had to have a Guinness and when the barkeep offered to take my picture I proudly held up my glass for posterity's sake. Some women are born to greatness, others have greatness thrust upon them, and then there's me.

On day two of our trip I asked about local brews, and as it happened the pub we stopped at after touring Muckross House had a local pilsner from Killarney Brewing Company. One of the ladies I was with suggested that we take a photo of me and this lovely beer, and someone (maybe me) suggested I go for a different beer a day. I eagerly accepted the challenge.

My day three beer was a Murphy's, and I have developed a genuine affection for this beer. It's got a sweetness to it that Guinness doesn't have, and while it isn't carried in any of my local grocery stores like Guinness is, I have found it at World Market in Tallahassee. I cheered when I came across it, startling a rather conservative looking gentleman in the world beers section!

Day four's featured beer was a Smithwick's (pronounced "Smittick's," which confused me for a minute or two). Smithwick's is another thoroughly enjoyable ale. I believe it's a match for Guinness, with Murphy's being my favorite of the dark beers. I have yet to locate Smithwick's in the states. Perhaps another trip to Ireland is in order?

On our last day in Killarney, Studly Doright and I had dinner at the pub in our hotel, and I sampled a Crean's lager, brewed in Dingle. I enjoyed my Crean's. It had a clean, crisp taste and paired well with my order of fish and chips.  


A Black and Tan combo was in order for my sixth day. That's a half Guinness and half Smithwick's for all you novices (that was me ten minutes before I ordered one). The Black and Tan combo is in my Guinness glass, while a Smithwick's drinker let me borrow his glass for demonstration purposes. Superb mixing of flavors in this drink, but unless I can get my hands on Smithwick's I will have to wait to enjoy it again. 


On the seventh day I did not rest. Nope, instead I had a White Gypsy beer, brewed in Tipperary. It was pleasant. I liked it even more when I learned that the company uses only malt and hops grown near Tipperary, and their logo might be my favorite. I felt as dainty as a 5'8" tall, 164 lb., pint swilling woman could possibly feel.


Day eight brought the only beer I wasn't crazy about, or maybe I was just tired of beer. Naw, that can't be it. This Hop House 13 Lager just missed the mark. It wasn't awful, just left me wishing I'd had a Murphy's!


Finally, I made it to the last day of our trip, finishing with an O'Hara's IPA. We'd stopped for lunch near the Burren's, that wild, forlorn area dotted with limestone outcroppings and ancient relics. It seemed fitting to hoist a pint in tribute to our adventure. And because I wanted one.


So what's next? I need to find another niche to explore. Scotch in Scotland? Wine in France? Rum in Barbados? Tequila in… nope. Someone else has to taste test tequila. Of course until I replenish the funds in my bank account I'll most likely be reduced to sampling the burgers in Tallahassee.

Peace, and drink responsibly, people!

Fungie, the Dolphin of Dingle 

“The Dingle Dolphin — or Fungie, the name given to him by the fishermen — is a fully grown, possibly middle aged, male bottlenose, Tursiops Truncatus. He weighs in at around one-quarter ton (500 lbs.) and measures in the region of four metres (13 feet).”

We didn’t see Fungie, but we posed for pictures on a statue of the dolphin whilst visiting the town of Dingle, County Kerry. That surely counts for something!

Visit https://www.dingle-peninsula.ie/home/fungie-the-dingle-dolphin.html for additional information on Fungie. Better yet, visit the Dingle Peninsula!

A Moment in Time

I believe I’m happiest in that brief moment when I’m removing my makeup at day’s end. My face glows and I wear a triumphant smile. 

“Here I am, world! I survived yet another day!”

It’s too bad that some famous photographer isn’t around to capture me in that ephemeral moment between being made up and being bare faced. Truly, I’m a thing of beauty.

I’m experimenting with this new thing called self acceptance. Be kind.

An Uncommon Memorial

When we toured the Ring of Kerry in County Kerry, Ireland, our bus driver pointed out a lovely church and told us it was the only Catholic Church in all of Ireland to bear the name of a person who was neither Saint, nor deity. 


This church in Cahersiveen, was named with special papal permission, after the statesman Daniel O’Connell, a lay person, who worked for Catholic emancipation in Ireland in the 17th and 18th century.


According to Wikipedia, “Daniel O’Connell (Irish: Dónall Ó Conaill; 6 August 1775 – 15 May 1847), often referred to as The Liberator[1] or The Emancipator,[2] was an Irish political leader in the first half of the 19th century. He campaigned for Catholic emancipation—including the right for Catholics to sit in the Westminster Parliament, denied for over 100 years—and repeal of the Act of Union which combined Great Britain and Ireland.”

Unfortunately, we only were able to drive by the church without going inside. More and more I’m realizing how much I need to return to Ireland. It’s almost as if I only purchased postcards without savoring the experience. 

Peace, people. 

Leaving

Leaving
by Leslie Noyes

She liked to think she could leave if the need arose, if the weighted words and angry posturing turned into closed fists,

But the time never seemed right; he always apologized for the stinging insults and delusional declarations.

In the end, she finally left. The ambulance arrived and carted her away, bloodied and bruised. Still, he said he was sorry.