From Cantankerous Behavior to Laughter

SAM_2647Friday finally arrived after another busy week at work and I felt that wonderful euphoric relief.  The mood in the office always relaxed, jovial as we all look forward to the weekend break.

However, somewhere in the day, my mood took a dive, perhaps due to fatigue.  Tunnel vision descended, a lighthearted mood spiraled to cantankerous behavior that took comments, and emails out of context, the wrong way, or personal.

The result, at the end of the day I apologized for a mean-spirited email I sent to a boss, and to another coworker for an unnecessary comment specially designed to make him feel bad.   They both graciously accepted as we all realized we have our less than stellar moments.  I berated myself a bit for the level of meanness that I am capable of, and then felt a surge gratitude that I work with good people with large hearts, always willing to talk out issues and find solutions.

Still,  I wanted to immediately leave work and take a reality dive complete with massive amounts of chocolate and blanket over my head.  My escape plan was suddenly interrupted by the loud  buzz of my phone that signaled an incoming text message.  It was an invitation to go to a movie with my dear friend Sharon.

My inside voice immediately responded, “Oh no, I am tired, feeling low and need to go home to engage in a massive self-pity reality dive.”

However, I paused, and instead simply responded, “Yes, thank you.”

From that point, we hashed out the evening plans via text.  First on the agenda was a stop at the famous Whole Foods Market to partake of their diverse food menu and eat on the patio.  Next stop was the Flicks movie theater for see Austenland, a movie I essentially knew nothing about other than it is a romantic comedy centered on  a young woman’s obsession with Jane Austin and Mr. Darcy.

Still feeling a bit surly, edgy, and discontent, I nonetheless enjoyed chatting with Sharon as we watched the theater fill up primarily with women. Chick Flick night!  What a great evening, not only with Sharon but also with a theater full of women (and three guys) that I did not know.  A charming, entertaining, witty movie that we all easily laughed,  chortled, clapped, and completely gave ourselves too for our own gala evening.

At the end a woman behind me cheerfully remarked, “This really is one of the best shared audience movie experiences I have attended in a while.”

We all left the theater smiling.   I felt terrific and slept incredibly well, a tangible testament to the power of laughter, friendship, and sharing a movie night with live people.SAM_2648


Oh Ireland! Clonakilty, Skibberean, Baltimore, Sherkin Island and Traditional Irish Music!

Tuesday, July 2 to Baltimore and ferry ride to Sherkin  Island


Walking Sherkin Island

Maeve just told me to take an early evening nap.  She wanted me refreshed to attend a traditional music session at the O’Donovan pub tonight and they always start late, at 9:30pm.

I decided to solo travel during my second week in Ireland and travel by bus to various villages I arrived in charming Clonakilty late Monday afternoon, and after several phone calls to Maeve’s Bed and Breakfast business, finally pointed myself in the right direction to reach my destination.

For Tuesday, my plan, and Maeve’s, was for her to drop me off at a famous Clonakilty sandy beach where I intended to stay most of the day lounging, hiking, and reading.  When done, I planned to walk the 2 ½ mile trail back to

Tuesday, I woke to cloudy skies that signaled the beginning of  a perfect day for me.  However, Maeve, at breakfast informed, “Well Susan, our plans are changed, no beach day.”

One of the reason I picked the place is the Travel Advisor review logged excellent comments regarding Maeve’s hospitality and celebrated skill at planning enjoyable adventures for her guests.  In spite of that my inside voice still fired up,  “Our plans?  My friends are burning up in Boise in 100 plus degree heat, and I well be joining them soon enough.  I don’t mind a drizzle on the beach. I need to soak up this moisture.  I am going to the beach!”   Instead,  I smiled politely,  turned my care over to Maeve’s expert experience, and sat down to a delicious Irish breakfast.

Maeve returned with a coffee refill, a map and had plotted out my day for me.  A trip to Baltimore via the bus routes.   An exciting, agreeable journey and I had toyed with going there anyway.   I contemplated that I would pack my backpack and find a place to stay in Baltimore, as it is a coastal town and during the week easy to get a room.  However, as Maeve is talking, I can tell she has planned for me to go out for the day and return to her place for another night. And in all fairness, I had indicated I would stay two nights in Clonakilty and true to her reputation, Maeve has prepared for my stay.

photo(12)Inside voice fires up again,  “It is my journey, I am an adult, and I simply need to inform Maeve where I intend to stay.”  However, she was enchantingly firm in her plans for me, and further informed me that only on Tuesday evenings in Clonakilty a great traditional Irish set at O’Donovan’s gathers.   A pub she said is comfortable, safe, and roomy and I will hear some great music.

I loitered too long at breakfast and Maeve urged in her lyrical, soft Irish tone, “I think you should get on downtown, get yourself situated so you know where you are and can catch the bus on time.  Oh, sorry, don’t mean to be bossy but I think you will have a great time.”

She knows that I am a bit remorseful that I dallied so long getting out of Cork on Monday.  If I had gotten myself on the bus earlier, I would have arrived to a gorgeous sunny day that was perfect for a walk on the beach.  But that was Monday and no more looking in the rear view mirror. “What will be will be.”  It is Tuesday and I am to get

Off I went, and caught the first bus early to Skibberean where I transferred to the small village of Baltimore.  From there I caught a Ferry to Sherkin Island for a lovely trek to a beautiful beach.  In addition a bonus of foggy mist, and an Irish soft rain graced the walking path.

However, the rain faucet cranked up to a drenching flow as I got on the ferry and returned to Baltimore.  Soaking wet, I entered a pretty cafe on the harbor and ordered seafood chowder.  A delectable choice served with two pieces of tasty  brown Irish soda bread and butter.  The timing was perfect, I was able to check out a few craft shops and then catch the bus to begin the trek back to Maeve’s

The bus ride both going to and coming from Baltimore is a narrow winding road and only a few men who had spent the rainy day in various pubs were riding that day.  The bus fragrant with whiskey and the banter between the men was damn funny.  One gentleman said he was going to divorce his wife so he could fish all the time if he wanted. Another informed me that many Irish men were marrying Russian women.  Doing the mail order bride deal.  “Wow ,”was really all I could manage to respond on that topic.

On the back to town the bus encountered a little car zooming dangerously  fast on the narrow road. The bus driver stopped and honked his horn at the “Fecking ijit.”

The other guy on the bus, “Well looks like that bloke got his rear-view mirror sheared off.”  (the car had to swerve into  hedges to avoid scraping against the bus)

Bus Driver – “Well serves the ijit right.”

Other guy – “Madness, I say, pure madness.

I arrived both elated and relaxed back to Maeve’s place, took her wise nap recommendation, and prepared to hear an evening of fantastic Irish music.

Ireland never fails to provide fantastic, soulful, humorous, and sparkly experiences.  The music was an incredible, authentic Irish set with about 15 musicians.  In addition, the woman leading the group educated the pub about the music and traditions of Ireland.  Gathering, playing instruments together, singing and telling stories.  In fact she shushed the pub up when someone was taking a turn at a song.  A cherished Irish moment occurred when the entire pub joined in singing a sweet song.  The unity of gentle voices embraced the crowd, time temporarily suspended and Ireland drew me lovingly into her lush green land.

Oh Ireland and American Pie!

Dingle Harbor

Dingle Harbor

Miss Molly had a swollen face after a long overdue visit to the dentist to fill three cavities.  She asked me to stop and bring her a smoothie after I got off of work.  I went to the nearest smoothie-making place for a protein enriched berry mix delight to drop off at her apartment.   While waiting in line, a familiar and beloved song began to play on the store radio. 

American Pie by Don McLean filled up the cafe.  Always happy to hear the tune as it is a favorite for myself and many folks.   Furthermore, the song now instantly sparks a cherished memory from my recent trip to Ireland; a lovely and uniquely humorous Irish moment.

One of the weekend trips involved a trip to Dingle for a stay in the Dingle Harbour Lodge.   Dingle came highly recommended for its incredible coastline, beaches, and authentic Irish music. SAM_2413 A visit to a local music shop provided an itinerary that kept us busy attending several authentic Irish music concerts and recommendations to pubs to hear incredible musicians.

Ireland never fails to deliver ones deepest desire and hope.   Dingle staged a folk concert in St. James, an old church with outstanding musicians.  The guitar player was brilliant and came out singing, She Moves Through the Fair.  A haunting song performed in a clear voice after he told us how he had spent a great deal of time working with the song to get it to unfold and deliver according to his musical vision.   I struggle to find words how exquisite a moment that was.  The rest of the music group joined in after that tune and included a brilliant Uilleann pipe musician.SAM_2371

One evening I discovered that the music did not necessarily stay confined to the pubs or concert venues.   Saturday night, or rather early Sunday morning, a flurry of laughing and loud voices treated all the hotel guests  to a lovely crack of dawn concert provided by a group of Irish lads fresh from a bachelor party.Among their numerous, amazing repertoire of songs performed under our windows, they delivered an excellent, lively, sparkly rendition of America Pie.

Groggy with sleep and admittedly at first feeling a hint of crankiness, I quickly experienced a lightening of heart and spirit.   Even now the memory brings a smile to my face and in hindsight, I wish I had stuck my head out the window and requested them to sing Danny Boy for me!


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