Ireland, My First Impressions

I love to travel! I’ve had several countries on my bucket list and I’ve been able to visit some, but not all! I wish I could say Ireland was on my bucket list but it wasn’t! So when our daughter, Christy, and her husband, Sean, and their two younger children, Mason and Maddie, moved to Ireland for Sean’s job, I quickly added Ireland to my list!  Our daughter, Pamela, and son-in-law, Gene, decided to go and invited us to go with them. They didn’t have to ask me twice! We flew by Aer Lingus. It’s a very modern airline and I loved it! They served us a very delicious dinner and of course, beverages and snacks. Our flight was long, about eight hours, but very smooth!Ireland Air Line (2) Traffic is, of course, very different. Driving on the opposite side is the norm. The traffic moves smoothly with few stop signs or lights because they have roundabouts! There are some traffic lights, of course. In the city of Dublin, there are more traffic lights, but not as many as we have in the US. There are few stop signs! It’s no problem! Roundabouts take care of the traffic! We have one roundabout here in my town and no one likes it! Folks get confused with it and complain about it all the time! But the many roundabouts in Ireland were very fascinating to me!

Ireland Parking Notice the parked cars are facing each other! That’s perfectly fine!

Signs were another very fascinating subject to me! Folks respected and obeyed the warning signs! Ireland warning sign (2) The end of this street ended in the Irish Sea! This sign warned drivers not to go any closer and they didn’t! Ireland sign (2) This man made right into the cement sidewalk showed which way to walk! It’s so simple! Ireland Pam and guard rail (2) Pam is standing beside the guard rail at this harbor! No one was falling in! This was warning enough! Ireland sign bends  I smiled at this sign. We would have written Dangerous Curves Ahead! But this works! DANGEROUS BENDS AHEAD.

We took the train to Dublin to do some sightseeing. I love riding the train, but oh my…I’ve never been on such a modern train before!   It was wonderful! It ran so smoothly and so quietly, it was incredible! 

Ireland Modern train (2) Ireland train                We sat and visited like we were in our living room! That’s how quiet the train was! We visited without raising our voices the least bit and we could hear just fine!

We took a tourist bus on a sightseeing tour of the city. This isn’t the actual bus we rode on but I wasn’t quick enough to get a good picture of our bus! So this one will do! We went all over the city! The driver explained everything to us! We had a woman driver and when we were in an area of not too much for her to explain about, she sang Irish songs for us over the speaker! She had a real Irish brogue!         Ireland tour bus (2) Ireland open air bus (2)              We sat upstairs on the bus, right in the front seats where we could see well! Pam, Christy, and Gene sat back where there was no roof over them! You can see them in the picture here. They could probably see even better but we wanted the protection from the sun or rain or wind or whatever! It was a ride worth taking.

Ireland is a country that cherishes and protects its history. I love it! Notice the building here behind the tree! It’s been there for hundreds of years! It’s only what’s left of the building but its hundreds of years old! Ireland Old Building (2) Ireland preserves its history! I love it! Another interesting feature here is the wall around the property. Everyone has a wall around their property! This one, above, is of bushes and vines and is hundreds of years old! Ireland Pam & Jerry by wall (2) Jerry and Pam are beside a wall covered with stucco.

Ireland stone wall (2) Jerry is standing beside a stone wall. This next one is an ancient stone wall with vines overgrowing! It’s hundreds of years old!Ireland, very old wall (2)

Most walls are stone, some are cement! The height varies from a few feet high to several feet high. Some are hundreds of years old and some are new. It was very interesting to me! In Canada, almost everyone has a fence. In the USA some folks have a fence and some don’t. In Ireland, everyone has a surrounding wall!

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This is Christy’s house with a brick wall across the front and a high wall covered with stucco along the side yard! The house is very nice and fairly new. Downstairs it has a living room, completely separate from the rest of the rooms! There is a family room, office, laundry room, kitchen, dining/sun room, and a half bathroom. Upstairs there are four bedrooms and three bathrooms!                                             Then there is the third floor! It’s all open but with the spiral stairway going up in the middle so it’s like there are two rooms. There are two skylights, one in each room.

Ireland spiral stair (2)

Mason

 We visited places that go clear back to the 11th century! Unbelievable! I’ll show a few examples here.  Trim Castle! The building of this castle was begun in the 1100’s! It was added on to in the 15th century and again in the 17th century! The folks standing here aren’t quite that old, but getting close! It’s Jerry and me, in case you don’t recognize us! Castle with Jerry and Anita Ireland Cemetary Dublin 3 (2)

Cemeteries are so old and some date back to the 1300’s or older! This picture is of one in Dublin. It’s unreal! I have more cemetery pictures I’ll show in a later post.

It was chilly that day but you can see the sky was blue with white clouds! We had beautiful weather the whole time we were there! It rained one day! We were so thankful because it was quite unusual! I’m going to stop now and write more another day! It’s actually taken me several days to write this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ring…Ring…Hello?

Telephone. A luxury I’ve had for most of my life. Telephones have come a long way! Let me begin by retelling my dad’s exciting telephone experience.

Dad was born in 1909. His family had their first telephone. They were on a party line, of course. The number of rings had to be counted to know when an incoming call was for them! I don’t know how many rings meant a call for them.

Eight long rings meant important news was being broadcast across the party line!               In 1918 good news came across the wires telling families World War I had ended!

July 5, 1919, there came eight lon-n-ng rings again! This time to tell everyone to look in the sky, south. There my dad and others in the family had their first sighting of an airplane, just a tiny speck, moving steadily along!

Dad’s sister, Bessie, was seventeen years older than Dad! She went to school through eighth grade, then she got a job as a telephone operator until her marriage to her young boyfriend, Earnie!  619px-texasrichardson_telephoneexchangeoperator-2 This isn’t a picture of Aunt Bessie but I imagine she looked something like this on the job!

An early telephone.antique-telephone-1-2

The first telephone below was in the farmhouse where my mother grew up in northern Iowa! It is now in my brother’s kitchen. The board on the box at the bottom has been replaced, as you can see. But my mother remembered the phone well from when she was just a girl. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   momonoldtelephone3-16-08   This is Mother, in her old age, pretending like she listening to someone on the phone of her youth!antique-telephone-in-georgia-2  This phone is in the history building in Winder, Georgia! I was given permission to post it here.

When I was a little girl, we had a phone most of the time. When Dad was a pastor, he needed a phone. Many emergency calls came to him. Black phone (2)  Some years he traveled and my parents couldn’t afford a telephone!

Jerry and I were married in 1959. We had a phone like the one in this latest picture. It started out being a party line with eight people on our line. It was very soon cut down to four people…then later, two people. We were very conservative. Long distance calls were made very seldom. Of course, when we had a new baby, calls were made to spread the news!  I’ll never forget the day Jerry told me, in the early 70’s, that I should start calling my parents once a month and have a nice visit with them! So I did! Black phone (2)  In the eighties, we finally got a private line! It was wonderful! Calling became normal and usual. With five children, how could it not!

I was hired by the school system to call the substitute teachers for the secondary schools in our city. A new private phone was installed in my kitchen! Blue telephone  It was very similar to this one! Yes, I picked out a blue one to go with my kitchen! The big difference of this picture is that my new school phone had push button numbers instead of a dial! I loved it. But, it was for school calls and paid for by the school system so our family still used the old black phone, most of the time. There were exceptions!

When we built our new log home twenty years ago in 1997 we bought a new phone with an answering machine! Oh yes! I wish I had a picture of it! We didn’t have to miss any messages! We also bought an old looking phone and hung on the wall in the kitchen. It worked but, of course, not anymore. new-old-phone-2  Now it just looks old-fashioned!

All this to bring us to today! Of course, businesses still have telephones and a few people still have a land line with a phone connected.

We don’t. We have our cell phones. But even so we’re not up-to-date! Jerry still has his flip-phone! jerry-on-phone-2 He says it works fine. I have my iphone. img_0052-4  What a difference in telephones today! I have instant access with anyone anywhere! I can text or message or talk at any hour of the day or night. My daughter, in Ireland, and I message or talk to each other whenever we want to! It sounds like she’s next door! I have friends all over the world and it’s wonderful to be in contact with them! My phone gives me the weather anywhere in the world, instantly! International and national news comes over my iphone! Pictures? My phone has a camera and I can even edit my pictures before I post them! I carry my phone with me all the time. I charge it at night while I’m sleeping.

This morning one of my sons called so we facetimed! That means we are both on a camera so we could see each other as we talked! Wonderful!

But back in about the seventies, a prediction was made that in the future we’d be able to talk on our phones–live! Oh, no, I thought! What if my house was messy! What if I looked bad, like I wasn’t dressed up! My hair might be a mess! I thought it was a bad idea! But the prediction came true and I love it! I love facetiming with my grandchildren and my children and even friends!

Yes, the telephone has come a long way from when it was first invented! But we still answer with “Hello?”

 

 

 

 

Jerry and His Toys

Jerry, like all men, has had his toys! I’ll start here in the very early 50’s! He was a teenager and didn’t like mowing the grass any better than the other boys. So he got to work and made himself a riding lawn mower! No one had riding mowers back then! jerry-mowing-lawn-rider-late-40s-2When we were young, if you wanted something, you either made it or you saved your money and bought it with cash!                                                                                                                  A few years later, at the lake, he saw folks waterskiing! He could do that…he knew he could, if he just had a boat! So…he worked and saved his money

jerry-boat-1955-2 Here is Jerry with his boat he saved for! He became a very good skier and had a great time with his friends! Years later, he taught all five of our children and even some of their friends to waterski!boat-jerry-1980-2 This is at Wixom Lake, north of Midland.  In about the middle 70’s he bought this nice boat so our children could learn to waterski. Jerry is standing in the boat, Tim is sitting, and Robby is in the water, wanting to climb into the boat! I can’t, for the life of me, think who the girl is! We spent many fun hours at Wixom Lake, Higgons Lake, Lake Margarite, and a few others! All five of our children became very good water skiers!    Just…not me!

One day, in the early 2000’s, our son, Ted, called Jerry on the phone. He had the chance to buy a ’69 MG B, but with his young family, he just couldn’t buy it! The price was right! Would Dad like to buy it? It’s the first and only time Jerry ever bought anything without looking it over and driving it, first! Yes, he bought the MG sight unseen! IMG_2008_07_04_9533 - ASF

He loved his little MG! He still has it but he doesn’t drive it anymore.

Jerry bought this Wheel Horse tractor about 35 years ago! He still uses it today but only for plowing, mainly snow or sometimes dirt. He used to mow our grass with it but now it’s too much work to take the plow off and put the mower on, then later, take the mower off and put the plow back on. It’s a big job.  I bought a trailer for the Wheel Horse one year and gave it to Jerry for Christmas. I hid it in the neighbor’s garage and Jerry had to find it! He still has the trailer, too. This is what he plows the snow with in winter. Although now, our good neighbor plows our snow with his truck and all he wants for pay, is a pie from me!

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So he bought his new John Deere for mowing!

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Jerry on his new John Deere

Jerry loves his John Deere tractor!

Life keeps moving on! The years have taken their toll! He can’t play or work like he used to! But mowing with his John Deere is something he can do and he does.

Life has been good! Jerry has accomplished a lot in his lifetime. He loves God first, then me, and then our five children.

 

 

 

New, Old Flower Bed

I love flowers. But, living in the woods isn’t a good place for growing flowers. I’ve tried and tried and have had only a little success.

I also love antiques. We have lots. The ones that mean the most are ones that have been in my family from years and years ago.

One of our antiques is an old double bed frame. It’s been in the family for years and years! In fact, Jerry slept in it in his growing up years.Now, what does a person do with an old iron bed frame? It’s been hanging in our pole barn for years.

Somewhere, in our travels, we saw a ‘flower bed’ or ‘bed of flowers’ in a yard! It was an old iron bed frame with flowers blooming inside!

So that’s where the idea came to us. Last fall Jerry and I worked hard making a flower bed inside the frame of our old iron bed frame! IMG_1495  It used to be black, we painted it brown.

It’s still not what I want it to be yet, but we have had flowers blooming in it this summer! Flowerbed 2 (2)  Flowerbed 1 (3) In the right-hand corner, I have a lonely, little, red Petunia.  Actually, I planted Petunias all along there but most of them didn’t make it.  IMG_2208 (2)  This is a close-up of an Oriental Lily.

I’ll have Dahlia’s blooming early this fall. So there you have it!

 

A Worthwhile Project

A fact, hard for me to admit, is that we’re aging. Jerry is 80! I’m 77! Us, 2015 This is the latest picture of us taken, as you can see, at Christmas time, 2015. We’ll celebrate 57 years of marriage next month! Jerry has always been a very hard worker, but those days are pretty much gone now. These days we are enjoying life in our log home. Our wonderful children come to visit and tackle jobs that they see need to be done. We also hire men to do work now and then.

Spring has arrived, birds are returning. We have bird feeders in our back yard that we watch when we’re sitting in our sun-room. But we’re in our living room a lot of the time and wish for birds to watch there.

So Jerry  got an idea. Project Jerry 1 It was a lot of work. Project Jerry 2  It’s beginning to take shape! IMG_1879  He filled the old cream can with pieces of cement and dirt. Project Jerry 6  Then he put this heart shaped hanger in the center of the can and hung a bird seed bell! Now we can sit in our living room or on our front porch and watch the birds come and eat the seeds. These were all things we already had so we only had to buy the bell bird seeds.

So come on, birds! We’re ready!

Let’s Go For A Ride

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“Let’s go for a ride.” is all Jerry has to say. I drop anything and everything and say, “Okay, let’s go!”

We actually stopped going for rides for a few years because the price of gas was so high. But now with gas under two dollars, we’re going for rides again. It’s one of our favorite pastimes! It’s actually the times when we have communicated the best with each other! No interruptions! Now, of course, we have our cell phones, but we can select our incoming calls! Or just turn them off! We enjoy being together with just scenery and each other!

I remember one ride Jerry and I took to a small lake near Spring Arbor, Michigan. To get to the lake we had to drive down a steep hill. When we wanted to leave, the car had a malfunction of some kind and wouldn’t go up the hill! Oh, what were we going to do? Then Jerry discovered it would go in reverse, so we backed up the hill and out on the main road, where he put the car in ‘drive’ and off we went!

We have some rides that are even kind of monumental! One I’ll never forget was when our children were young and we had some news we wanted and needed to share with them. Jerry and I decided to go for a ride and while we had their full attention, told them we were going to have another baby born into our family! They were very excited! Their ages were about thirteen, eleven, seven, and four.

Lots of times our rides included a stop at an ice cream shop for ice cream cones! When we rode up to Wixom Lake, to ride and ski with our boat, we always stopped for ice cream cones on the way home. It was almost required!Scan_20160323 (2)

In 1990   I went for a drive all by myself to Minneapolis, Minnesota! My mother had flown there from Washington state to visit her brother, my uncle Richard. He was in the Veterans Hospital for cancer surgery. He was my uncle who had been in WWII and lost both of his legs. I always loved him but hadn’t seen him since I was about 13!

Jerry and I discussed the possibility of me driving by myself and studied road maps. We decided I could drive north to the upper peninsula and drive on US 2 across the UP until I came to Norway and US 8. I could remember Norway! I’m half Norwegian! I’ll skip the rest of the trip except to say I had no problems! When I arrived in Minneapolis, I just followed the signs and ended at the Veterans Hospital! Those were the days before internet and cell phones! It was an unbelievable ride for me all by myself! Scan_20160323 (4)Aunt Ruth, myself, and Uncle Richard.

A few years ago, Jerry bought a MG! We called it our ‘ice cream cone car’!  We only went for rides in it and often stopped for an ice cream cone!IMG_2008_07_04_9533 - ASF  He loved to take our grandkids for rides in it and they loved it too!Sydney 032 Jessica, one of our daughters-in-law, took this picture of us driving ahead of her! We didn’t even know she was following us! Archers MG goodbye Just yesterday we went for a ride and saw some Sandhill Cranes! Jerry stopped and I took a picture of them. Sandhill Cranes    Another favorite ride of mine is to horse ride! I don’t get to often but I love it. This is Sandy and me up in Saskatchewan, Canada!Scan_Pic0238 I’ve gone for rides in airplanes, cruise ships, buses, trains, boats, bicycles, dog sled, and more! I even rode a camel up Mt Sinai, Egypt! There is nothing more relaxing, for me, than going for a ride!

Bucket List 2016

  1.  Enjoy time with each of our five children. It’s only the middle of January and I’ve already accomplished this! Rob's family  Our youngest son, Rob, with his family, was here for the week between Christmas and New Year, 2015. They left January 2, 2016! All Here  Our other four children, January 9, 2016, celebrating and surprising Jerry, for his 80th birthday, which is the next day! Pam and Ted on either side of the window. Christy and Tim on either side of Jerry.
  2. Travel to Iowa with granddaughter’s, Sydney and Bella, to visit LeRoy and Carolyn and their horses!
  3. Travel to Ireland.
  4. Travel to Norway.
  5. Downsize.
  6. Sort books, keeping only precious books!
  7. Clean out and throw away non-essential ‘things’.
  8. Remodel downstairs bathroom and reading room, making it one larger bathroom.
  9. Go to E. Michigan Conference as a delegate.
  10. Go to E. Michigan family camp.
  11. Plant flowers in Flower Bed.
  12. Yard Sale.
  13. Finish my writing on My Big Brother and send it to him!  Accomplished in March! 
  14. More later…!