Feeling Life and Living Love

It’s time for my yearly fundraising campaign!! Although, I wish I felt the enthusiasm of the exclamation points right now.

I didn’t have one until two years ago, when I made a commitment to being more involved with the charity I support the most

To Write Love on Her Arms

The first year was very successful for me. I felt led to share part of my story in Facebook Live updates and it was so well received. I still remember every conversation that was brought to me via that vulnerability.

Last year didn’t see as much money raised and that bummed me out in a major way but I stuck with it and am so grateful for the people who donated.

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When this year’s campaign was launched, I set up a donation page on team Heart Camp without even hesitating. Then, a heaviness beyond words fell over me and I have been sitting on an empty donation page for almost two weeks… shared only once, the day I made it.

I have had to check in with my heart multiple times since committing to fund raise and will fully admit that I asked it questions that I was surprised by.

It’s SO easy to pride myself in being a LOVER, too easy. I genuinely think about the people I care about ALL the time and let I Care and I Love You flow very freely from my lips. But what about the people I don’t know yet? Do I REALLY care? Can I say “I love you” even though I don’t “know” them? Do I really feel like they make today better? DO I make today better?

Heavy, right!? I don’t even know what will flow out of my fingers as I type the rest of this but here goes…

 

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The sidelines are an easy place to be. From there you can witness the action without being a part of it and you can get up and leave if you don’t like what you are seeing. The sidelines are THE easy place to be.

Statistics are designed to provide valuable information to the masses and, hopefully, inspire change (if needed). What happens when the masses become desensitized or just plain overwhelmed by the numbers? Nothing happens…nothing…

I could put the World’s suicide statistics here, in black and white, but they are already on the donation page that I will share at the end of this post, so, here, I am going to get a bit personal…

Suicide. We all know what it means by now but have we all felt the weight of the word? I have seen it used, abused, shamed and offered as an option so many times, it physically makes me ill.

I have sat in a room full of, mostly, smiling faces and heard the quivering but BRAVE voices of people who couldn’t see themselves facing the next day. I’ve never been more sobered in my life. You want to turn around, hug them and beg them to STAY (and maybe you do) but you don’t even know the half of what they are going through. What happens when you aren’t in the same room anymore? What happens when they go home? What happens when you go home?

This is WHY I support TWLOHA and why, as small and insignificant as I can feel sometimes, I WANT THEM TO STAY…I WANT YOU TO STAY…I WANT TO STAY…

I want to offer HOPE and to know that people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts have access to the CARE that they need, to the community they need and to the LIFE that needs them. These resources need funding so that the message can grow.

 

World Suicide Prevention Month is here. The word World can be pretty intimidating and I have been intimidated more than once BUT I have also seen (and met) lives saved by the messages that TWLOHA brands by and by the resources it points to.

Each one of us can make a difference, we just have to get off the sidelines first. It’s uncomfortable and messy sometimes BUT in the action we are feeling this life while we are living it…and isn’t that the point?

 

You Make Today Better

I Make Today Better

We Make Today Better

 

…and I can’t wait until tomorrow 🙂

 

 

https://give.twloha.com/fundraiser/2230068

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bring Me to Life

I was at a semi-local convention recently and was going to sing the above mentioned song…but I didn’t have to because someone else did…ok, I was singing too, from the crowd.

I had to sing to ease the urge to cry…not tears of a negative emotion mind you, tears of being completely seen and loved, exactly as I am.

 

Now, you may be thinking to yourselves, “doesn’t that happen all the time in life?” but I challenge you to really think about the people in your life that do see you and love you for exactly who you are…If that is everyone around you then I rejoice with you…but for me, that’s come on a little more the long way around, and if I am honest, completely honest, it still isn’t there in all areas…and maybe I’m just paranoid but it doesn’t “feel” like it anyways…

 

BUT

 

This is a post about a group of people I KNOW, without a doubt, see me, love me and inspire me, exactly as I am.

 

Four years ago, my friend Giovanna and I, fresh off a year and some change of starting a geek related blog, set our sites on something a little closer to home and attended our first ConCarolinas

We met SO many people that year that I will never forget it! In addition to Gio, I have people continuously in my life because of that event.

 

 

It wasn’t even something I noticed at first. Sure, you have the new Facebook friendships and occasional meet ups (I say occasional because I can be absolute shit at showing up sometimes)…but, a little over a month ago, it came in like the biggest, most beautiful Care Bear stare imaginable.

Contrary to every other year I’ve attended ConCarolinas, this year, I attended as a fan only…in truth, I didn’t even know if I was going to show up, much less as press and/or a guest. I didn’t even know that I knew what imposter syndrome was until I realized that my entire creative life was riddled with it. I was spent, creatively…an absolute disaster…but then I thought of all the people I would miss seeing if I didn’t go. So I went.

 

I don’t know if you know what it feels like to feel “home” at a place that isn’t where you lay your head at night but that’s what this convention has become to me.  I don’t wander around, aimlessly looking for the place I fit…I float toward every single person that lights me up…and thankfully, it’s a good many people now…starting with Gio…

 

WeGeekGirls has been the single best thing for this side of my life in a decade. The friendship that started it has been founded, grown, stretched and strengthened through years of continuing to try and create an authentic and supportive life for ourselves. That has not been easy BUT has born MUCH fruit.

 

I didn’t have a goal at ConCarolinas this year…I just knew I wanted to see the people who have become like home to me…and that may seem like a small thing but let me tell you that it isn’t. Within this group of people are the ones who see in me what I can’t (or just won’t) see in myself, the people who push me because they KNOW there is greatness in there somewhere and people who don’t except my wallflower behavior because they know that I am more.

For the past 4 years, even in this group, I considered myself an outsider, praying for the day that the door opened for me and I sat at the table with the cool kids…this past weekend, at a entirely different convention, I found out loud and clear that there has always been a seat for me there, I just needed to sit in it.

 

Con Fam, you have NO idea how much you all mean to me and how much it means to be a part of your (our) family…to know that no matter how I show up, the place is already set and I am welcome.

It SETS ME FREE and I love you for it.

This isn’t everyone but this is what I have from ConCarolinas 2019

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To: Gio, A.W, Jessica, Joey, Matt, Wanda, Gail, Larry, Theresa, Darin, John Hartness, the Boris sisters, Traci, Nicole, Ben, Nicole, Jim, Nancy, Sherman, Darryl, Matthew, Jim, Erin, Carol, Tiffany, Jason, Melissa, Drija, Levon, Misty, Todd, Patrick, Carrie, Christine, Bill, John Hairston Jr., Herc, Bernie, Marshall…to anyone I may have missed, I believe you already know who you are ❤

Thank YOU for seeing me, accepting me, loving me, inspiring me and reminding me who I am when I forget. I value each and every one of you and know that whatever success my creative endeavors have, you are a part of it.

I love you all!

 

The Wonderful Thing about Lizzie

If you follow me on Instagram (@onwanderwoodlane) you will already know the subject of the post because I @ her A LOT!!!

 

We became friends YEARS ago via our various, mutual fandoms and haven’t looked back since! I admire so much about her and her story that I had to pop on here and introduce her. She’s my fellow 80’s lover, part of my Girl Power Gang, the one tied with me for Chris Evan’s affection, and the Jerrica to my Kimber…SHE’S LIZZIE

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@thewonderfulthingaboutlizzie photo by me

 

Several months ago Lizzie left the grind of the 9-5 work day and went back to one of her first loves, fashion…only this time she took everything she learned about it, got real about it, turned it on it’s side and started her own, pretty spectacular, web based store

The Thrifty Duckling

 

You can read all about Lizzie’s passion for fashion by checking out the website and/or following it @thethriftyduckling

 

I just received my 4 (or was it 5th) purchase from the shop and honestly adore supplying my closet this way!

For years I have had kind of a mundane wardrobe…not to say I didn’t like my clothing, it just wasn’t anything that truly gave me joy. Shopping has always been a bit of a chore for me. Knowing that I wouldn’t ever be head over heels for something made spending a lot of money on it a source of anxiety for me.

Lizzie (and a few other friends like her) helped me start to look at shopping differently and earlier this year, I began to look into thrift and second hand shops more than larger stores. I can now tell you that 75% of my wardrobe is second hand and most of what I wear daily is also.

Anxiety is a strange thing and I never knew brand new clothes gave it to me until I started shopping off of a different kind of rack. I began to find gently worn, really nice clothing that spoke to me, that helped me breathe again and I liked it!

The Thrifty Duckling has only added to my joy as Lizzie is someone I trust. From the moment the first purchase arrived, I knew that I was in good hands with her at the helm. Not only does she find unique fandom pieces, she finds various shapes and sizes and has a great sense of how something will fit! I have been able to wear everything I have ordered and she lives hundreds of miles away from me. It gives me such a sense of relief to order from her that I generally do it every time I get a shipment.

Here’s a look at my haul so far…

 

 

 

Thanks to another lesson learned while on this thrifting adventure, I make myself set aside a donation item every time I bring something home. What I am finding is that there can be joy in the giving and in the receiving.

For so long it felt a little weird to think about someone owning something before me but looking around my predominately secondhand hobbit hole (which brings me nothing but joy), I have realized, the things that bring us joy are the only things we should have around us, and thankfully that now includes most of my wardrobe!

SO, thanks for making me a #thriftyduckling Lizzie! Browsing your shop is one of the joys of my life!

 

 

And three cheers for my latest shipment…the rescue that prompted this post!!!

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Add some joy to your life and wardrobe…Shop Thrift!!!

All That I Want

I had about 350 words written and then decided to chuck them…

There is something I wanted to say but when I read it back to myself, it felt best left for a journal entry…so here’s this instead.

 

A few weeks ago, I talked about crushes. They have held the largest place in my romantic life because I’ve been historically bad (for lack of a better word) at it. In truth there are a few reasons why I’ve, more years than not, chosen singlehood.

The years of therapy I have been through are not a secret and with them came a lot of healing…healing that needed to happen to make me the kind of whole that can care and be cared for. It hasn’t been easy but has been necessary.

 

Dreaming is something I have done all my life. Through therapy I have learned that my dreams are representations of things that I am continuing to heal from and let go of.

Last night I dreamt of an old flame, one who returns to me often, and in that dream I was uneasy because NEW was on the horizon and I didn’t want to mess it up. When I woke up, I realized I didn’t need to dream about the old flame anymore and somewhere deep down, I knew I wouldn’t.

One of my goals for this year was to simply feel worthy enough to say “yes” to a date and I have done that, which I am SO proud of…even in the silence and uncertainty that sometimes follows.

 

We’ve been conditioned to believe that when something doesn’t go the way we thought we wanted (especially in love), it is failure…but what if it’s so much more!?

For the past 5 years, I have been fighting really hard for myself, though all too often TOO hard on myself…There are SO many areas where I am bold/confident and unshakable…but not in love…

However, ALSO, in past 5 years, I have become increasingly fascinated by uniqueness, mine in particular. It’s something I have, almost, come to see as a badge of honor.

Imagine my surprise to just discover, recently, that, that uniqueness will without a doubt translate into dating. Why I thought every area in my life had it’s own drum beat but love, seriously, blows my mind…I am audibly laughing right now…the guilt I have put myself through for feeling like I need “idiot’s guide to dating” could form a mountain.

Saying “yes” to a date started a GIANT mental/emotional domino affect that is just now making sense but was ABSOLUTELY necessary AND I am oh SO grateful for it.

I am not “bad” at dating, I am just “ME” at dating…and it’s looked like a desert waste land for so long, because, friends, I was on journey…a journey I required…and now a journey that’s ready for an oasis or two 😉

And guess what, it can look as unique as it wants to because I wasn’t meant for a societal love story…and as of right now, I no longer expect it 🙂

 

 

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A Cup of Cheer

As amazing as my post yesterday made me feel about my writing frequency, I kept the blog tab open and was hit with a little guilt that there isn’t enough balance flowing through this space.

40846561193_b14c1510ce_kI remember feeling so cleaver when I came up with the title of the tab that would house my tea drinking obsession and I set out on a rather ambitious goal of regularly posting about the tea I drink.

Nowhere in my mind did I think that would be a problem because I really do drink it all the time…and I did…

 

Last year, at the end of the summer, I visited some friends in Chicago and they introduced me to David’s Tea. I was instantly hooked and have been very blessed that those same friends have kept me well supplied in the months that followed.

In fact, it’s about the only tea I drank for the months of December-Feb and I kept track of all of it…I saved tea bags, tried my best to give honest feedback…it was great, until it wasn’t.

My goal is to drink and enjoy tea, not critique it. So, when I sat down to start planning blog posts about it, nothing interested me about posting my reviews…and ultimately, not only did I stop taking notes about my experiences, the drinking of it slowed also…

And then May happened…

Drinking a good cup of tea is part of who I am, part of my self care and I gradually forgot that along the way.

Maybe it was the pressure to track every sip that crossed my lips or maybe guilt that I spent so much time with one brand but whatever the reason, I shut the door on this room and I am here to bring it back to life.

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The above photo was taken at a dear friends house. It’s an herbal blend from, you guessed it, David’s Tea. In my search for the literal dozens of tea sachet wrappers to share, I found this and thought to myself, this is what I want to share instead.

A cup of tea is comforting and soothing to me…like a friend or a good hug. Sharing tea with people amplifies that experience for me and I think, ultimately, that’s what I wanted to do here…share a cup a tea, with a friend…

So, welcome again to this corner of Wanderwood Lane.

That being said, as much as I enjoy big brands like David’s Tea, Tiesta, Yogi, etc., I’d like to focus on smaller brands, perhaps home blenders, that would potentially benefit from the exposure. If you have a small tea company in mind you think that I should try, please leave a comment!

 

 

***For those curious, David’s Tea remains one of my favorite brands of tea. I think I tried over 25 blends since discovering them and there isn’t a single one that I couldn’t finish. By all means, Check them out!!!***

 

 

I’ve got a crush on you

Almost 2 months away seems really bizarre…

The truth is I have been writing. I’ve written letters to pen pals, two poems, a chapter in my book and LOTS of letters that I’ll never send. The lesson I learn time and time again is that I process exactly how I need to, in my own time and in my own way…and I am kinda diggin’ that right about now!

 

I am excited about today’s post because I have promised to be apart of this for months and haven’t followed through, yet. My friend Ashton has a great website called Eight Hundred Words and I found their writing prompt today the perfect opportunity to participate.

 

The Prompt: Tell the story of a crush you never actually spoke to (or did and it ruined the crush).

Now, my romantic life may only be a comedy to me but this is a chance that I can’t pass up…so, here goes.

It was evident from the beginning that I would be unable to pinpoint just one encounter because, well, I kinda do the same thing, EVERY, SINGLE, TIME.

For a decade I’ve been telling myself “I want to be a writer”, while the millions of sheets of paper left in my wake scream “what, exactly, would you call this?”.

As silly as it might sound, more than half of those sheets of paper have served to witness me, pouring my heart and soul out. Writing with pen on paper, even though my handwriting is plain awful most of the time, helps me process and I hand write often, to this day.

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I’ll start with a story over a decade ago.

I was helping a friend work her handmade candle booth at a craft fair one fall when I noticed a guy helping his grandmother in the booth 2 down from ours. We made eye contact often but my feet wouldn’t make the trek over to say hello. SO, I wrote a short note of hello and my number on a piece of paper and made my booth partner take it over. The first thing he did after he received it is call me out for not bringing it over myself. Crush, Crushed…

YEARS later…

Befriending people comes really easy to me, guys especially. I like to think it’s because I grew up with two brothers and can relate a little better because of it. Probably also why I all too often put myself in the proverbial “friend zone”.

In my late 20’s/early 30’s I happened to have several great guy friends. We had dinner together, played video games (especially Rock Band and/or Guitar Hero), had long phone conversations and hung out weekly. It was amazing to be forming such incredible friendships but unfortunately my hopelessly romantic heart wouldn’t let me leave it there.

To the one…I went over to his house the day before he was about to be out of the country for a month to tell him (vocally) how I felt and a new roommate was moving in, so I lost my nerve and ended up writing an email a book long. His response was “he never saw me that way”.

To the other…I played the true friend for years, watching the ending, beginning, ending of his relationships until he hit a seemingly solo run. We chatted and had dinner often and I just knew we were working up to something. Losing my nerve became my middle name around this time and as lame as I feel, I ended up telling him how I felt in a very vague text that was never addressed.

It took a while but eventually, both of those crushes were crushed too.

 

Within the past 6 years…

 

  • I had a MAJOR crush on an up and coming musician that I got to meet one time. I had a lengthy letter, telling him how wonderful I thought he was, in my pocket but didn’t have the nerve (shocker) to give it to him. So, I mailed it to him, weeks later, with hope.
  • I started attending a writing group and met a guy that I was quite taken by, had the chance to smooch, chickened out and never got another chance. I typed him out the equivalent of a parody song and then put it in the computer’s recycle bin. That one at least made me laugh.
  • A guy I am a pretty big fan of wrote a book that only made me like him more. I wrote to him on almost every page of the book, hoping, somehow, he’d know it. Years later I met him in person and we are friends 🙂
  • When I get the nerve to verbally say something to a crush, I literally say something about how cute they are (like a school girl), turn and all but run away (like a school girl) and then end up writing (another letter I’ll never send), saying all the things I meant to say to them in person.

 

 

The reason this prompt was so perfect is because the one of the things I want to do the most in the world (convey thoughts and feeling via written word) isn’t really hard for me…at all…I do it all the time without even realizing it…I guess it just takes the right prompts to remind myself I do!

 

Maybe I’ll get better at the crush game, maybe I won’t but at least I know I’ll always have something to write about!

 

Thanks Eight Hundred Words! This was fun!

 

 

 

A May Day

It’s just before 8am on a Sunday morning and I’ve been tossing and turning for the better part of an hour, so I though I’d put the coffee and on and sit down to write for a bit.

My mind has been busy as of late and thus my anxiety through the roof.

A dear (and true) friend reminded me that writing was one of my tools and this morning I had to remind myself that I had this corner of the world to put some of it in.

My thoughts started in a really good place this morning, so I wasn’t upset to be awake sooner than usual on a day off, but weight quickly crept in and so I know it’s going to take more than coffee to get me going.

I had originally planned to apologize and speak to why posting has been so sporadic these past few months but then realized I am here to live a real life, with authenticity and transparency…so I won’t be doing either of those things…

 

What’s on my mind this morning is, in many ways, no different than most other days, the overcast sky and still of the morning are just amplifying it…the Heavy and the Light…

A lot has happened in my mothership market of Charlotte (and it’s surrounding areas) this week, even just this morning…the kind of things that make me want to gather the ones I love and hold them close…the kind of things that make me want to be held.

So much has been shared in our Heart Camp group this week and while we are there for whatever each of us may need, a lot of virtual hugs, love, light and peace for the hurting has been sent this week.

One of my best friends told me last night that she might be moving soon and even my wide eyed wanderer was saddened by that news…

But good things woke me this morning…something that was new a few weeks ago is hitting a comfort level that makes me smile, it’s my Grandmother’s 80th Birthday and she shares it with some pretty amazing people and as I type, the sun is coming out and lighting up my office.

 

It’s SO easy, almost too easy to let the Heavy things in life be our constant companions… This morning I am grateful for the trenches in which those that love us get in with us until we both find our way to something more hopeful.

We have to hold on to the Light, even if it’s a minute by minute refocusing…we have to fight for those moments that remind us that in all that, frankly, sucks in the world, we are the ones with the power to love, support and lift eachother out of the darkness.

Still do the things that bring you joy, even and perhaps especially in a Heavy season because we MUST continue to offset the balance…we have to.

 

Writing is one of the things that brings me joy and I am so glad I leaned into it this morning.

 

“Love is still the most powerful force on the planet” and I am sending it to you all today.

 

Happy Birthday Momaw Martha!

My Dream Trip ~ Ireland

For as long as I can remember, the emerald Isle of Ireland has called to me. From the rolling green hills, to the lively reels, the folk lore and magic to the welcome of the people, I have called Eire, my homeland.

It seemed only fitting that my first post in the Tookish Travels room of Wanderwood Lane, include THE trip of my dreams.

It was the Fall of 2013 and my two best gal pals and I were getting itchy to travel. At this point, between the 3 of us, we had probably taken a dozen weekend getaway trips together and we were looking for something a bit bigger.

I threw out my dream of Ireland, a dream my gals were very familiar with, and being that they both wanted to be with me when I finally saw my “homeland”, the decision was easy. We gave ourselves about 6 months to prepare and it was on!!!

At this point in time, I had only been on a plane a few times but handled the long flight very well!

We flew overnight, so when we landed in Dublin, we got our rental car and away we went (oh yeah, my friend Ashley drove) 😉

 

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There’s a longer story here but we made it all the way around the island with this Captain Ash

Our first few hours in Ireland were spent watching the scenery go by from the window of our Jetta BUT I wouldn’t have had it any other way. A few miles outside of the city and the country opens up beautifully…and I didn’t have to keep my eyes on the road, so they were plastered to the scenery!

 

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Northern Ireland

We pulled over for this view and it was the second, of many, times I was overcome with emotion. I was in the place I had loved from afar for so long and this view was one of the reasons why.

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Carrick A Rede rope bridge

Back then I wasn’t a big a fan of long walks as I am now, but the first thing we did when we were out of the car for longer than a minute was walk the mile and half down to cross this famous rope bridge…Now, at the time, my undiagnosed anxiety threw a million curves at me on any given day and I remember wanting this trip to catch some of them.

This was a test, for sure!

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The small island on the other side of the bridge! We made it!

Fun Fact: You can see a bit of Scotland from this side of the island! Pretty cool!

Once back across the bridge, we stopped in our first café and had what would become our late lunch of choice…the soup of the day, half a sandwich and a cup of tea.

From Carrick A Rede we drove on to one of the WONDERs of Ireland, Giant’s Causeway.

 

Awe had absolutely struck me at this point. Pulling up to this site is something you don’t even know you are doing. There is so much wide open, beautiful, countryside to see along the way, that sights like this become the icing on the cake!

 

We arrived in Portrush well after dinner time but found our B&B for the night without much trouble, had our first, SUPER tasty Guinness and fish/chips!! No photos, sadly, because it was so dark BUT we sat by the water and enjoyed gushing about our first day.

Our first B&B was Beluah Guest House and dinner was at 55 North

***thank goodness I still have my journal!!

The Irish breakfasts were easily a TOP favorite thing about the trip! My first morning meal was fresh fruit/juice/cheese followed by eggs/link sausage/bacon and coffee. It was delicious and filling (which would serve us very well budget wise, as we would find out).

 

 

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On the road again

 

One of the cool things about this trip was how loose our itinerary was. We planned first/last nights accommodations and a few major “must sees” and let the maps and books take us from there!

Day 2 we followed the signs, way off the path, but found a castle (this happens a lot in Ireland).

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Glenveagh Castle nestled in 10,000 acres of Glenveagh National Park

Before we took this detour, we were headed to Galway but honestly, I am so glad we got sidetracked. Touring a castle and it’s grounds with nothing but countryside around it is really something to behold.

Now, while our second night’s accomodations were a little difficult to come by, they were my favorite (and every single one of our hosts were fantastic).

Ross House, ran back then by Nicholas and Oriel was a lovely covnerted farmhouse in the town of Ross in Sligo. We were greeted warmly by Oriel who, even at 9pm, led us into the living room where Nicholas was sitting. She offered us the traditional tea and biscuits but also noted we hadn’t eaten supper so she made us a frozen pizza while Nicholas (in is tweed pants and wool sweater) told us stories. Minus the frozen pizza, this was the Ireland I was waiting for ❤

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Ross House Guest House

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I really hated to leave Nicholas and Oriel, so was very pleased when they invited us to attend church with them that morning. It’s the most memorable Easter Sunday I have had in a very long time. I, sadly, don’t have any photos of the old stone church but it was lovely!

 

As we did with Belfast, we popped in and out of Galway city. Ashley had heard about The Quays Bar, so we found it, had lunch and drove right back out! I’ll say this, once you get use to wide open, the cities can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t have much time there!

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On the way to Doolin, our stop for the night, we passed THE castle I had purchased a photo of from a friend years earlier…so we had to stop and capture it too!

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It’s not a good a photo as Heather’s but it’s the same vantage point 🙂

Doolin was probably my favorite B&B location of the trip. The Ashford Lodge was set slightly uphill and facing Galway Bay. The view from our guestroom was spectacular!

We drove just down the hill to Fitzgerald’s Pub and had another incredible meal of she crab claws, seafood pie (like shephard’s pie only seafood) and boxty!!! Delish!!

Day 4, after another amazing breakfast, we took an early morning ferry to one of the Aran Islands. Inis Orr, which included a look at the cliff face of the Cliffs of Moher.

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All the houses are near the port
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Each house get a plot of land elsewhere on the island to farm
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We opted for a carriage ride to get around a bit faster
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This stone had to be busted up to create the walls for the plots of land
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Cliffs of Moher

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Cheese!!!

From Doolin, we drove onto a ferry and over to Tralee, where we got to Maureen’s B&B in plenty of time to be warmly greeted by John and Maureen, freshen up and get directions to a place to have dinner.

 

At this point in the journey we get even sadder to leave so quickly because we realized that Irish hospitality really shines after you’ve finished breakfast and the host(s) come in a visit with you for a while. We just start getting to know then when we have to leave 😦

From Tralee we head and explore the Dingle Peninsula.

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Dingle is lovely! After walking a few blocks, getting some locally famous ice cream and shopping a bit, we drove around the rest of the area, which being seaside, is a beautiful as you can imagine.

I think I should tell you here that we were told all week that Ireland was having an unseasonably rainless week that week. This was one of the only days it was even overcast and that didn’t last long! We were blessed!

 

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We pulled in to Wayside the earliest we had made it anywhere, yet, at about 5:30 and were excited to get a lay of the land, freshen up and head to dinner.

Theresa was a wonderful hostess and came out the patio with tea, local maps and a few recommendations for a meal!

Wayside is situated just before the Gap of Dunloe and at it’s entry is a little square that had both a pub and a café. We got dressed up and enjoyed an evening with a slower pace and some live music!

The next morning, after a huge breakfast, we hiked one of the trails in the Gap, where it rained on us for the first time, and then followed the hike up with a BLT/soup and cup of tea at The Coffee Pot.

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Gap of Dunloe
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Worth the climb and the rain
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The Coffee Pot

We finished the day off with a drive around the Ring of Kerry, which sadly, we didn’t have time to get out and explore much of BUT it was another beautiful drive and this time we could see the surf and a few golf courses along the way!

 

Day 6 ended at Mount View B&B in Cobh, where we, again, pulled in early enough to freshen up and take a lovely walk to dinner, along the port.

I think this is the only dinner where we opted for a Malbec instead of more stout! As with ALL the rest of the cuisine, it was delicious.

 

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It’s Day 7 and after another, truly lovely, chat with our hostess Noureen, we headed for a morning of shopping in the city of Cork.

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Cork is a shoppers paradise. There are streets and alleys full of unique shops and stores.

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My first tattoo experience EVER

And by mid-day (and mid-trip), I had talked about getting a tattoo so much that my friends challenged me to go into the next parlor we passed or stop talking about it!!!

You see which one I chose and I do not regret it because I would have never done it otherwise and I now have 4, very special, tattoos!!

*****

Sadly, the rest of the trip is a bit of a whirlwind! I think it took us about 5 hours to get to our last accommodation, in Swordes, just above Dublin, and we got there just as our host family was pulling out for dinner. Luckily, we were still early enough to wander down the street and find one last pub to eat at. We sat along the wall and enjoyed one last pint and fish/chips before we fell into bed…

We had to be up earlier than they served breakfast the next morning but thankfully and kindly, Sharon had made us up a basket of goodies for the road!!

 

There is SO much I left out but the important stuff is all here and in my heart. So many times in my journal, I remark on the gratitude of finally getting to make it to Ireland and for being able to share it with my friends.

And I’ll tell you one more thing…not only are we still friends, great friends…we’ve been on many more adventures together! Stay tuned!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February’s Tangled Web

As I mentioned in the last post of Turn the Page, reading really hit a lull for a few weeks.

I am a true believer in everything that happens is trying to teach me something. February not only came/went too quickly, it had more than it’s fair share of challenges (lessons).

My take away was (as obvious as this may be to most) that no matter how enthusiastic the goal, I have to WANT to read what I am attempting to read.

Choosing an Austen after a memoir probably wasn’t the best choice. Don’t get me wrong, I adore her, but let’s face it, my head & heart have to be in the same place to fully enjoy it.

So, instead of throwing in the towel, I spent two weeks trying to get myself into it…

…it turned out like the photo below…less than stellar…

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Needing to save February from a big old goose egg, I turned to one author I knew would get me back in the swing of things…Gail Z. Martin

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Gail is one of my favorite authors and with countless (ok, I could count if I wanted to but I don’t 😉 ) books in a half dozen worlds, there is always something from her I can add to my TBR pile!

To save my February reads, I chose…

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Cassidy Kincaide runs Trifles & Folly in modern-day Charleston, an antiques and curios shop with a dangerous secret. Cassidy can read the history of objects by touching them and along with her business partners Teag, who has Weaver magic and Sorren, a 600-year-old vampire, they get rid of cursed objects and keep Charleston and the world safe from supernatural threats.

When zombies rise in Charleston cemeteries, dead men fall from the sky, and the whole city succumbs to the “grouch flu,” Cassidy, Teag, and Sorren suspect a vengeful dark witch who is gunning for Teag and planning to unleash an ancient horror. Cassidy, Teag, and Sorren—and all their supernatural allies—will need magic, cunning, and the help of a Viking demi-goddess to survive the battle with a malicious Weaver-witch and an ancient Norse warlock to keep Charleston—and the whole East Coast—from becoming the prey of the Master of the Hunt.

Tangled Web is the third book in the Deadly Curiosities series and though I can’t pick a favorite just yet, this one is very close to the top. Teag is a character I have grown very fond of. The idea of weaver magic intrigues me and I have been anxious for more of it in a story…Boy did I get it.

The familiarity of setting with this series helps me to really immerse myself in the story and Tangled Web is no different. As the cover suggests, the team has to deal with horses, both living and undead, and the case briefly takes them to Aiken, SC. This was a welcome and pleasant surprise as I have a cousin that lives in Aiken and I have seen how big the area is on all things horses!

One of the things I appreciate most about Gail is her attention to detail when it comes to coming up with both friend and foe in this series. It would take me a while to name every ally/villain but suffice it to say that I have wanted to learn more about the ‘old ways’ of multiple people groups because of her work in Deadly Curiosities. 

Tangled Web was indeed the perfect choice to spur me into my March reads and I am so happy I chose it!

 

About the Author

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Gail Z. Martin is the author of Scourge: A Darkhurst Novel, from Solaris Books. Gail is also the author of Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel and Trifles and Folly 1: A Deadly Curiosities Collection, the latest in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC; Shadow and Flame is the fourth book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga; The Shadowed Path (The first Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures collection), as well as Iron and Blood a Steampunk series, and Spells, Salt, & Steel, both co-authored with Larry N. Martin.

She is also author of Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen); The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities and Tangled Web. Gail writes three ebook series: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures and The Blaine McFadden Adventures. The Storm and Fury Adventures, steampunk stories set in the Iron & Blood world, are co-authored with Larry N. Martin.

Gail’s work has appeared in over 35 US/UK anthologies. Newest anthologies include: The Big Bad 2, Athena’s Daughters, Heroes, Space, Contact Light, With Great Power, The Weird Wild West, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, Alien Artifacts, Cinched: Imagination Unbound, Realms of Imagination, Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens, Gaslight and Grimm, Baker Street Irregulars, Journeys, Hath no Fury and A Haven Harbor Halloween.

You can also find Gail on: Twitter @GailZMartin, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin

January Friends

Yes, January was two months ago, I know, but I have to complete postings…even if they are past due 😉

When I started the month I was SO excited to meet my reading goal. If you will remember I set myself up for 4 reads…

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After The Time of My Life I decided to go with the classic Sense and Sensibility because I thought I would make short work of the two short books while I was in Orlando for Heart Camp, come back, and round out the month with the last one…WRONG

The first few pages were a breeze and I enjoyed the banter between the characters but then I began to lose steam. I could blame it on always reading from my bed and getting sleepy but the truth is I was use to the story and at that moment in time, I took for granted knowing it and hit a snail’s pace making my way through it.

I didn’t read at all in Orlando as it turns out…BUT, I did listen to an audiobook that saved me from only completing one book in January.

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Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy was a delightful listen that kept me great company on my 16hr (round trip) drive to Orlando.

Tourists enter the hilltop tavern, alone and in pairs, for a casual lunch. But a sudden tragedy in the harbor below causes these perfect strangers to become unlikely friends as their lives begin to entwine…

Fiona left her nursing career in Ireland to be with the man everyone thinks is wrong for her. Elsa fled Germany and her high-powered television job once she learned what the man she loved was hiding from her. Thomas mourns his failed marriage and misses his young son in California, while David yearns to reconcile with his family in England without having to go into the family business. Chance has brought them together, and together they will find new ways of looking at the lives they left behind.

The narration of this story was brilliant. I don’t think I have every wanted to go to Greece, England, Ireland and Germany simultaneously before..but I do now!

I haven’t had the courage to travel solo yet but stories like this, fiction though it may be, give me hope that I will someday and that hopefully I will find good people, like the ones in this story, from all over the world, and become friends with them.

Nights of Rain and Stars is filled with charm, wit, great imagery, emotion and a little intrigue. It was a good introduction to MB and a good choice for a solo road trip.

Though possibly not and audiobook, I will be reading more from Binchy in the future!

 

Now, on to February! Happy page turning!