Yeah, you. My reader. It’s been more than 7 years, 2 domains and a divorce since DelSo was born. Over the years I’ve shared a lot of my life and self here, in print. You, as a reader, have come to know me on some level from my words. What makes you return here (assuming you’re not new around these parts) and read what I write? Let me remind you of some of what I’ve related to you in the hope that you might feel inclined to share with me – who you are, reader? Why are you here?
There have been so many miles – more plane rides than I could have ever imagined, along with runs and races and road trips. I’ve explored cities with my boys and my girlfriends and solo. My feet have run in a half dozen different countries and probably about the same number of states.
My home has evolved from a house with two full-time parents to one of three part-time children. There have been physical improvements, rooms repurposed and painted, new rugs and furniture rearranged. It feels different. After a refinance or two, I know it’s mine.
I’ve written about books I’ve read and movies and concerts I’ve seen. Increasingly, politics and my dismay with our current leadership have been topics I’ve felt compelled to write about.
My children and the challenges of being a parent frequently provide fodder for posts. While the joys outweigh the frustrations, parenthood remains a roller coaster ride that keeps me on the edge of my seat with a scream threatening to escape. It’s a heart racing ride.
Sometimes I cook or bake and post recipes and photos of the fruits of my labors. Food and wine are a big part of my life and I’ve happily shared my experiences with you. Oh – and there’s that wine bar that I own.
There have been times when I wrote with sadness or anger, but I think I mostly write from a place of understanding and acceptance. Balance and moderation are woven throughout much of what I write.
Health and wellness have been covered and the miracle of menopause has been mentioned. The heartbreak of addiction and the threat of cancer have been present. I’ve learned to ski and have found bliss in pigeon pose in a room heated to 100+ degrees.
It’s all here – my life. Not perfect, not necessarily what I ever imagined it to be, but a life that I feel grateful for in a city that I have come to love.
Will you tell me why you visit my life?
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About a million years ago, I entered a beauty pageant known as The Rose of Tralee. Yes, really. There were two reasons I was prompted to enter the particular pageant I did – one being that my teenaged friend/nemesis V had won the contest the previous year, and the second that it was a contest geared to Irish-American princess wannabees and that had my name all over it. Sign me up. I knew I was sunk when my current events topic during the contest involved Northern Ireland and Ireland and I made parallels to the Middle East and other historical religious wars. Nope, not quite what they were looking for.
Speaking of looking…here are some of the flowers I encountered during my visit to Ireland. Hope you enjoy them more than I enjoyed that damn pageant.
Click on photo for slideshow
Or maybe I should just say “I’m back” seeing as how many meanings that word home can have.
It’s an odd thing sometimes being first generation American, especially with a mother who wants nothing to do with her family and a father you never met. I met my first relative when I was 22, an age when I was living alone in a city I had chosen to reside in, not merely a place I had landed in haphazardly. I had purposefully chosen an apartment, my nicest one ever, and was making a place for myself away from anyone I knew and finally going to college. I was home.
The sense of being wanted by, and belonging, to a family was new to me and very much welcomed. I’d never before heard stories of my father, of his childhood and his many brothers and sisters, and I cherished each word. These kind and thoughtful Uncles and Aunts invited me into their homes and gave me the sense of being a part of something I had never known before. I was home.
I made contact and visited with my Mother’s family in Germany. I first met them when I was nearly the same age my mother had been when she last saw them. I was taken to her childhood home, where my Opa still lived, and embraced by her brothers and sisters. My joy in meeting them was reflected back to me in the warmth and interest I saw in their eyes. I was home.
For only the second time in my life, I’ve had the chance to see both sides of my family in the same year and it has been a powerful experience. We’ve shared meals and stories and memories. During my time in the countries where my parents were born, I’ve felt a connection – to my relatives, of course, but also to the air, the sky and the earth. It was almost organic. I was home.
What does home really mean? For me, it means being in a place where I want to be and knowing that I am loved and wanted. Home is everywhere.
Vacations can be weird. We spend months planning and saving for them only to find them over in what can feel like the blink of an eye. Poof – done. We get home with a suitcase full of dirty laundry, a bunch of photos to upload and a yen for our own pillow.
That being said, there have been some long days on this trip. Arrival day is always a challenge as a body tries to shake off the assault of 12+ hours of travel and a five-hour time difference. Factor in a bit of dehydration, a cranky 14-year-old and a sleeping pill hangover (mine, not the teen’s) and you’ve got yourself a bonafide rough day.
We haven’t been especially up and at ’em in the mornings because it turns out Griffin isn’t really a morning person. That’s okay, though, because the evenings in Ireland, particularly in the summer months, go on forever with the skies only truly darkening on the far side of 10 pm. Are you familiar with Yeats’ He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven? In it he talks of “…night and light and the half light.” Visit Ireland and you’ll know exactly what he meant.
I wish I had longer to stay with my family. There are only two remaining siblings of my Father’s, from the original family of 14 children, and each time I leave Ireland I go knowing that I may not meet them again. My time here feels far too short, but I do miss my guys at home and the life we are creating there together. Whether long or short, these days won’t come again. All we can do is live them fully.
I’m not here to talk to you about the likelihood of spotting a leprechaun or the intense greenness of the countryside. No, I’m here to tell you about some things you may not know. For instance, are you familiar with the phrase “going out for a bit of craic?” True confession: the first time I was in Ireland and my cousin suggested we partake in some craic, I was worried. Come to find out that “craic” is a term for fun. This craic isn’t whack – promise.
Another thing that I found confusing are the road signs, particularly one that says “Ramps.” This word refers to neither the entrance or exit to a motorway or those spring onions for which everyone goes crazy. Instead “Ramps” essentially mean speed bumps in the road. You’re welcome.
Most Americans have figured out that chips are fries and crisps are chips, but how about aubergines? Familiar? Well, aubergines are eggplants and they seem to be pretty popular, especially in Asian cuisine and vegetarian dishes. It is a much more elegant word for those purple orbs, don’t you think?
Speaking of colors, it is possible to get a lovely tan in Ireland if you happen to visit during the best summer in years. As a matter of fact, if you neglect to put sunscreen on your feet you just might end up with sunburn on your feet. At least that’s what a leprechaun once told me.
Can I start by saying that pill I took for flying was a BIG mistake? I swear I’ve tolerated sleeping pills, and by “pills” I mean “pill,” but somehow this one knocked me on my arse. I vomited before I even got on the plane, which completely defeated the purpose of the pill which is to sleep instead of getting motion sickness. Thank you for letting me share that with you.
Today was a beach day of sorts. Yes, a beach day in Ireland, I said. We bought an all day family ticket (15 euro) for the DART and hit two beaches south of Dublin and one north. We went to Greystones first, hoping to spot Bono, but the morning fog was pretty soupy and we didn’t have much of a view of anything. We hopped back on the train for one stop and were able to catch a random sunbeam and a delicious gelato in Bray.
While the weather improved as we headed back north, the um, scenery, shall we say, did not. Bray was decidedly seedy, Griffin likened it to Venice Beach, which is a pretty cool comparison to be able to make when you’re 14 friggin years old. Perhaps it was the carnival that was in town? Whatever the reason, we decided to jump back on the DART to try the north side of Dublin for some quality beach time – destination: Howth!
The sun broke firmly through the clouds somewhere along the ride and we exited the train to blazing sunshine and the need for lunch. Howth has a wicked cute pier with numerous food options, all fish related, naturally. We went with the food truck since we are traveling on a budget. My fish and chips was delicious – a thin fillet, crisply fried with a dusting of finely chopped green herbs. Griffin went with the fried calamari and it was perfectly prepared with the thinnest coating of batter and a nice mixture of tentacles and rings. Bellies full, we decided a walk on the beach was in order.
I have to say that the beach area closest to the pier was pretty gross. Lots of random trash and seaweed hugged the shoreline and we had zero interest in dipping our feet in. As we progressed, things began to look more appealing and we braved taking our shoes off only to be shocked by the temperature of the water – brrrrrr! We continued walking and discovered some lovely warm spots where the sand was soft and the water warm enough for us to almost imagine immersing ourselves in the gentle waves. While Greystones was too grey and Bray was too colorful, Howth was just right.