Our first seven days in Ireland have had their fair share of ups and downs, but as I’ve learned from the Irish to say, “It’ll be grand” and “We’re not here for a long time so might as well make it a good time.” These also remind me of a family favorite saying, “If you’re not having fun it’s your own damn fault.”
Quotations aside, we’ve done a TON of learning and laughing along the way from Dublin to Killarney, the Ring of Kerry and more. We have just a few precious days left here and I know we’re both trying to soak up every second of it (even if it means the 6:45am alarm comes way too soon).
From remembering my Grammy’s passing to my eldest niece starting kindergarten on Monday and tomorrow’s 24th anniversary of my dad’s stroke, it’s been quite the emotional adventure as well. I couldn’t be more grateful, though, to spend the time with my mom in her parents’ homeland and with unforgettable memories in the making.
So, that’s about all I’m obsessed with this week. No breakdown of the four top things, because I could hardly choose from the live music to my bag being returned to the stories to my bag being returned… well, you get the idea.
It was recently brought to attention that all of the links I painstakingly include each week are not easily visible from mobile devices. While I’m working on a long-term solution to customize my mobile design, just know I often include links to articles and products I reference, particularly in the image credits. Phew!
- “The Glass Castle”: A good (bbhead!) friend of mine recommended this novel and let me borrow it a while back, but I’d done her a disservice and only just started it last Friday while myself and 90,000 other San Franciscans were without power. Even after power was restored, I couldn’t put this book down. It’s a heart-wrenching memoir of a woman’s rough childhood and upbringing, and certainly put things in perspective for me. Bonus: It’s been made into a movie, to be released this year.
- Crossword App from NYT: Monday would have been my maternal grandpa’s 87th birthday. Among other things, the New York Times crossword was always a favorite of his — and my mom’s. The crossword app is free, even for non-subscribers, and there are themed puzzle packs for purchase if you’re a super #wordnerd like me. I have a feeling Pop would have stuck to the ol’ ink and paper, but I love feeling connected to him all the same.
- José Eber Curling Wand: I never got into the Harry Potter life, so I didn’t believe in magic wands until I met this one. It transforms my unruly hair into glorious beach waves, in no time at all. I’m particularly clumsy, so I have burned myself a few times (yes, even while wearing the included glove). But pain is beauty, right? And, I’m 20 days accident-free… although I probably just jinxed that.
- “Sign of the Times” – Harry Styles: Before you get all Judgy McJudgerson on me, you must know I didn’t realize this was Harry Styles until I saw him on last week’s SNL. I’d heard it enough to fall for the addictive crescendo and soulful sound, but I hadn’t placed the voice. So, despite him being the reason 1D broke up and a million hearts broke with it, I can’t get enough of this one.
Tomorrow marks the fourth anniversary of my maternal grandmother’s death. I was in Ireland (her homeland) when the cancer won. I still struggle with the difficult decision I made to stay abroad and miss her memorial services.
It’s been more than a thousand days since, but it breaks my heart every time I think about that choice.
So, here’s a dedication to my mom’s mom: A woman so fiercely sharp and sassy, she put most to shame.
- A Margarita (on the rocks, no salt): Her signature drink; I’ll never indulge in a margarita without thinking of my Grammy. As any wondrous woman should, she ordered them exactly the same way for years. Cheers!
- Cruising: Married for more than 50 years, my grandparents sure knew how to vacation. Their travels took them many places, and we were blessed to come along at times. Our Bahamas trip the summer I graduated high school was far and away my favorite
- Girls’ Night: My mom and grandma spent a lot of quality time together, and I relished any chance to join them. From bingo nights to “AP conferences” (secret beach getaways), so much of my life is defined by those memories.
- White Elephant Gift Exchange: Our family tradition carries on every Christmas Eve, but it’s not quite the same. I won magnets, which I fastened into hair clips, two years in a row — and I’ve never treasured silly Dollar Store gifts more.
My grandpa used to sing her this. We love you, Peggy.