Tag Archives: memories

Because of the people…

Our trip to Ireland, bookended by England happened because of people.

There are many memorable things about our summer trip to England and Ireland, but spending time with people we knew was a big highlight!

We forged a plan to travel to Ireland for 2016 in 2014 while old friends visited from Germany. The four of us wanted to get together again and wanted it to be sooner than the nine years since our earlier visit. The question was, “how do we make this happen?”

We discussed the possibility of meeting up while traveling and moved onto places we wanted to visit, but had not. Tom immediately said, “Ireland.” This location was also on their list.

We agreed on Ireland and the summer of 2016, figuring we had lots of time to make our plans.

Christmas of 2015, family was home from England. They suggested we visit them as well. We planned to do so, but hadn’t figured out the details. Jonny was great in suggesting a route allowing us to begin and end our trip in England. Instead of traveling back and forth in one country and then heading to the other, we would travel in one direction, starting and stopping in London. This also simplified travel arrangements to and from the U.S. Once we had that information and a contact in Europe who could make recommendations to us, the planning became much easier.

We landed in London and took the bus south where we spent the first days of our trip in the Dorchester, Dorset area. Reconnecting with friends and family, enjoying such a relaxing atmosphere was the perfect way to start a long trip. Thank you Sony, Alastair, Jonny and Abby. We had a great time!

Then we were off to Ireland. After landing in Dublin and renting a car, Tom navigated the challenges of driving on the ‘other side’ of the road. The first week we spent alone in county Kerry, Tralee.

From there we drove to county Galway, Galway and connected with our friends from Germany. What a delightful adventure, the four of shared as we toured the surrounding area and explored the seashores. Thank you Gudrun and Caj! We also had the pleasure of meeting Larena and Chris, missionaries to the youth in Galway.

We spent a few days in county Wicklow – Bray exploring by ourselves. One day was a train ride to Dublin where we explored part of the city; one we went to Waterford to visit the crystal factory and a trip to a lighthouse that has been in operation over 800 years; one we explored local gardens and old city ruins.

Then a short flight from Dublin to London allowed us to explore parts of London and wind down with Tim and Marina. This provided an opportunity to slow down a little and reconnect with family before heading back to America and home. Thank you Tim and Marina for your hospitality!

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Interactions with people are what I tie my memories of places to. This trip was so rich with those experiences and opportunities. There are many we exchanged conversations with not mentioned here; they each added to my memories.

Thank you all for contributing to my memories. It was an amazing epic trip.

 

Irish Memories Linger…

We’ve been home a few weeks and thoughts of Ireland still resound in my mind.

Here are some photomontages of different aspects of Ireland that stand out for me.If one were to ask for a quick overview, I would respond by saying –

Green! It abounded. The first photo of the trees growing over the road, shaped by the bus traffic is a common sight.

 

Water and Beaches! They were everywhere. I loved the wind coming off the ocean; the ever-moving cloud scenes; the smell of the water and the freshness of the air. The beaches varied from being beautiful sand to rocky. It was very different seeing the Atlantic ocean looking in a westerly direction.

 

Sheep! They were everywhere. They appeared so different from the sheep I see in Colorado. They were shorter legged, more rounded in body and many were dyed to mark who they belonged to. They might be found in meadow fields, climbing rocky cliffs or close to the ocean. Except when we were in a city, we saw sheep everyday.

 

Tower Houses, Castles, Abbeys – old structures

From BeeHive house structures from 800AD, a lighthouse that’s been functioning for over 800 years, to medieval streets in the heart of cities — there were so many old structures. Some were still being used, some have been restored and some are in varying states of decay. It was difficult for me to comprehend just how old these structures are.

 

The Burren! This area was a surprise for me. From a distance it lacked the intense green so prevalent elsewhere. The surprise is how rich The Burren is with small plant growth; what a haven it is; and how rich it is in history.

 

Tralee

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…a town in juxtaposition of very old and very modern.

I awoke in the heart this town just starting to rouse its self from winter, in preparation for the seasonal tourists, which are sure to arrive. Narrow medieval streets lined with colorful tiny shops filled my morning walk. People bustling about on narrow sidewalks dodging in and out of cars, to get where they are going. Crosswalks exist, but are rarely used. Drivers seem to expect people will pop into the street and cross in front of them.

Yes, this is a village, a very old village. I’m snuggled in the middle of it for a week, and I it’s charming. I almost feel lost in another time and place.

Expanding the exploration outside the old core, are many modern buildings and amenities. In these neighborhoods, the houses are bigger and further apart. The homes have characteristics of the region, but they feel like neighborhoods I’ve been to in many places.

Yet it’s in the very old where I find myself more comfortable. I enjoy walking from place to place. The people feel more connected with each other. They smile as you pass or stop to greet you.

Oddly enough, most my photos are from out of town. Go figure…

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Good Friend, Good Wine, Great Memories

Relax with a good wine...
Relax with a good wine…

 

During one of our trips to the mid-west, we enjoyed the privilege of staying with good friends. We were each looking forward to spending time together. Mary wanted everything associated to our visit with them to be perfect. We shared many good memories with them, so being together again felt relaxing and comfortable. The four of us settled in the living room and planned to catch up on the news in each of our lives. The guys would share a white wine. Mary had a special red wine she wanted me to try. Everyone was comfortable, and we toasted one another. I took a sip of my wine and was pondering the flavor. She took one sip, stood up and said, “This wine is not what I wanted. It won’t do.” She took my glass, headed to the kitchen where she proceeded to the sink and dumped the two glasses of wine down the drain. Surprised and shocked, I didn’t know what to do. This was so out of character for her, and I thought the wine tasted superb.

She rinsed our glasses and opened another bottle of wine; then returned with a different red wine. Mary found this wine satisfying. I considered it enjoyable, but I liked the first better.

Because of the memories associated with that evening and our friendship, I try to keep at least one bottle of Wild Horse, Pinot Noir in my house. Whenever I open a bottle and enjoy a glass, I am transported to another place in time. I remember our evening, our friendship and the pleasure of our shared relationship.

Brown Sauce with Chicken

This will become a new favorite at our house!

We enjoyed a new great new sauce last night and a new way to fix chicken. (no photos – I had no idea how great it would be.) The chicken was a golden brown, and the sauce was flavorful with a touch of freshness.

Here’s the how to instructions. Please note, when cooking meat, I rarely measure ingredients, so feel free to play with the quantities.

Wash chicken cavity and sprinkle with salt and Herbes de Provence. Then stuff the bird to capacity with fresh rosemary and parsley.

Place the chicken in a roaster pan. (I use one of those old blue-flecked ones.)

Dot the chicken with a small amount of butter.

Mix together:

  • 1 Cup of brown stock
  • about 2 teaspoons butter
  • about ¼ Cup red wine

Spoon a small amount over the chicken now and again every 30 – 45 minutes until chicken is done..

Cover the roaster pan and bake in a 350° oven.

When the chicken is cooked to your satisfaction, remove from the pan and let sit for at least 10 minutes before carving.

Mix any left over liquid with the drippings in the pan along with the juice from 1 lemon. (You could thicken this for a more traditional style gravy.) We just heated it and served it over potatoes and the meat.

What yummy flavors!

An Interesting Dilemma to Ponder…

I recently read an article from the Washington Post about millennials who nix their parents’ treasures. I can see aspects of this story from both sides.

Several years ago, my husband and I performed a major downsizing effort to move west. It was an interesting experience. We have a large gaggle of adult children. Of things we wanted to find new homes for, some of the kids took a few things. We were surprised at several large family pieces we had no takers for. We sold those pieces of furniture, as they were not going to fit in our new life. It was a bittersweet revelation to us. Sad the heritage of the pieces won’t be maintained. Proud our kids could make those decisions and not take the pieces they didn’t want or couldn’t use just because they thought it would please us.

For us, or at least me, the downsizing project proved to be unbelievably liberating. We kept things with the most meaning to us, and things that would fit in our new home. It’s been good for me to travel lighter and have fewer things. Others who have gone through a similar process also talk about the freedom, which comes from shedding stuff. Perhaps the younger generation has it right. Hold onto things lightly and embrace life.

Yet I wonder if they may someday recognize the loss of some of the things they’ve passed on. We do genealogy research, so we have many photos, scrapbooks and family historical information. I have framed my great-grandfather’s original citizenship paperwork. There is only one original. I hope it will have value to someone in the family, as it is part of our roots as Americans. But I don’t know.

I’m sensory. I enjoy visual pleasures from art and photography; the fragrances of food cooking, flowers blooming or even autumn in the morning air stir me to life; the sounds of wind blowing through the tree leaves adds another dimension to the meaning of autumn for me; holding a book and actually turning the pages is part of the story coming to life; enjoying an old piece of furniture or dishes I remember seeing my grandmother use takes me back in time to her kitchen. Can one savor all those emotions without some of the things from those times?

For clarification – I do believe embracing life and all it has to offer is of far higher value than clamoring after ‘things’.

I look forward to some fun discussion. I don’t think there are any ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers, just different perspectives on this topic. Now for the questions:

1. As the parents, we aren’t ready to part with all those things yet, so how do we discern which things those kids might want later?

2. If you don’t want things, what method do you use to save memories for later enjoyment?

3. Are things of historical value important to you? Why? or why not?

4. How do you embrace life?

Have a great day — and enjoy life!

Think About It…

I won’t be here forever.

None of us will.

When you reflect on that fact, what do you think about?

I know I’ll be in a better place, so I’m not worried about me.

However, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about what that will mean for others. Probably since I was in my 40’s I’ve tried to make it my goal to ‘make memories’ with others. Besides ‘stuff’, which may or may not be of value to anyone else, I feel memories are the only thing I can leave behind which will make a potential difference in one’s life.

I think about those I’ve lost in my life. The ones I think fondly of were those with whom I shared good memories. Others, well, I was able to perform the necessary functions required at the time, but their loss was not much of a loss to me.

There will always be ‘givers’ and ‘takers’ in life, but the creation of memories only happens when each party is contributing, shares in the other’s joys and sometimes sorrows; each party wants happiness for the other. These memories may not always be about happy times. With one you truly love and are invested in, there may be times when one of you is struggling with something. In a deep relationship, even during those times you make memories with the other person by being loving, supportive and caring for them.

I want my life to be about making memories! Memories that will leave people thinking fondly of me, either when we part for a time or when eternity arrives for one of us.

I struggle with how to pass this understanding on to my children. I want my time spent, whether talking with or being together, to be about building understanding for each other and making memories. I enjoy thinking of the successes they have shared with me. I pray for the concerns they have. I love it when we are planning a future get-together or event and each of us is involved in the process.

Instead, I sometimes find conversations that feel like obligations, words with no real connection. It hurts and leaves me feeling empty. Are those the memories they will have of me? If so, I fear I have failed at what is most important to me.

We’ll Meet Again Up Yonder

Fran and Rick @ Ashcroft

This week one of my special friends went home to be with the Lord.

I met Fran Cohler about 10½ years ago at my future husband’s home. She came into the room with laughter and an open heart. A friendship was born that day which has brought me much joy and happiness over the years. She and her husband, Rick are some of our closest friends. They were people we could share good times with, create memories with, pray about family members and talk about the deeper matters of life, one’s spiritual life.

As a woman, Fran shared God’s love openly. Her fingers made beautiful music as her hands danced across the keys and she shared this love of music with many. She had a tender heart and brought encouragement, support and laughter where she went. She and my husband shared this zany Irish humor, which I enjoyed listening to and being part of.

She left her touch on my life, as I’m sure she has on many others throughout her life. She will be honored and missed by many; but her memory will linger in the hearts of those lives she touched.

 

Fran and Rick @ Pine Creek CookhouseFran and Rick in Green Bay

Motorcycles and Memories…

Recently we visited the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado. What an eclectic collection of old motorcycles we found. Many of them were old Harley’s. There were old photographs and articles of motorcycle events.

I don’t have many positive memories of my father, so I was surprised at all the memories of him, this place evoked within me. I had the last ride on his Harley before he sold it when I was 3 or 4. I had forgotten about all the motorcycle hill climb events he took me to as a child. I seem to recall those events were either early in the spring or late in the fall. I remember being chilled at most of these events, and wondering why anyone would want to ride in such mud. I was a girl after all. But I also remember how excited my dad was at these events. When I think about that now, I realize he was sharing one of his passions with me. It was nice to have a memory about him, which invoked smiles and happy emotions.