Monday, March 18, 2013

Are You Still Reading Here?

Hi friends. I noticed a few people followed this blog on Bloglovin', so I just wanted to remind you that I mostly blog on my new-ish blog The Desert Dandelion.

But you can follow here if you want, for nostalgia's sake. I'll probably never delete it.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Fresh Start with a New Blog

Note: I meant for this post to go out tomorrow but it went out, a few people saw it, and then I reverted it to draft which kind of ruined the whole element of surprise thing.  So here it is! Also, sorry for cluttering up your feed with 3 posts in one day...I know that's kind of annoying.

I've been trying out the new blog for the last few days and I've decided officially to switch to it.

I'm going to keep To Make Love Stay up because the idea of deleting it makes me super sad, but I will be writing primarily on the new blog.

So if you have any interest in following our shenanigans, please update your readers to reflect the following new blog address because I'd love to see you all there:


Please be patient with me as I get it to a decent place design-wise.

Thanks guys! 

We Ate Lunch in a Ruin

Our last hike in Ireland was definitely my favorite, for reasons other than the fact that it was the one time we didn't get rained on.

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Rob and I drove about two hours to a town outside of Dingle called Feohanagh (don't ask me how to pronounce it, I just know the 'gh' is pronounced in a sort of guttural way) to hike along the cliffs there and up to a tower ruin.  It was hard to find because we were told about it by our B&B host and a book on local hikes he had; plus we weren't totally sure it was actually a sanctioned hike because one of the instructions was "cross the wire fence," as in  "climb over the fence because it's someone's property and there's no gate. Also, dead sheep."

The views were spectacular and I think I ended up taking around 200 photos that were mostly duplicates of one another.  I didn't even have to edit them all that much in Photoshop because the colors were that brilliant.  Sadly Photobucket is annoying and I can't seem to upload all the photos I'd like, so I'll share some more when we get home.

We made it to the ruin and had a quick lunch because the wind was pretty bananas.  Luckily we made it down despite almost twisting my ankle a million times and stepping on far too much sheep poop (or "shoop").

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Today we're mellowing out and checking out the town a bit more so we're well-rested for our long-ass trip tomorrow.  We even found a bridge built in the 11th century that's still standing, isn't that crazy? It's called "The Cromwell Bridge," so-named from the Irish word for "mustache," not named for Oliver Cromwell like you might think. I think "mustache" is appropriate, personally.

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Anyway we are sad to leave, but all vacations must end I suppose.  And we are so, so excited to see our goofy little beastie again because we miss the hell out of her. I hope you guys have enjoyed these Ireland posts almost as much as we enjoyed the actual trip.

OMG LINKS SRSLY

How wine corks are made. (via Liz)

Liberal bullying: Privilege-checking and semantics-scolding as Internet sport.  Very interesting viewpoint.

I absolutely loved Sarah's post on participating.

Maine's Marriage Hero. I've known Katie and Harlan--who we all call Gramp--for my entire life, so I was pretty proud to see his efforts toward marriage equality recognized (especially because the writer had to travel all the way from New York into the middle of nowhere).

16 Ways I Blew My Marriage. I don't really agree with all of these but the writer made some very good points. (via Justine)

Missouri pastor's fiery speech against equal rights for homosexuals has stunning twist ending. LOVE this. Make sure to watch until the end.

A Dutch historian used 300 WWII negatives at a flea market to create these gorgeous double-exposures with modern-day photographs of the same locations.  Beautiful and moving. (via my gross brother-in-law on the Facebooks)

60 Tiny Love Stories. (via Suzy)

20 People Who Got Owned on Facebook. (via Suzy)

Love this collection of British and American terms.  Suzy and I discussed this at length during our Skype conversation a few weeks ago.  Also, we've heard many of them here in Ireland.  Isn't it interesting how one language can have so many differences among countries/regions?

Carved Book Landscapes.

And now in the I WANT TO GO TO THERE SERIES: 10 Baths with a View.

How to dress as some of 2012's popular memes this Halloween.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Castles, Hiking, Shopping and Fog

First off, thank you everyone for your thoughts and perspectives on my last post, you're all amazing.

I figured I'd share with you what we've been up to the last few days.  So if you're bored with my trip diary summaries, you should go ahead and skip this because MORE IRELAND.

The day after our Frodo-hike we decided to take a mellow day to chill out.  We drove to Killarney (in Irish "Cill Airne," neat eh?) to check out Ross Castle, because you can't come to this part of the world without seeing some fucking castles.  It was pretty neat but we didn't tour the inside because it cost money (like 4 or 5 euro bro!) and also you couldn't take photos inside.

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As a side note, did you know that the spiral staircases in castle turrets were designed specifically to give advantage to right-handed sword-wielders in the event that a swordfight happened to be take place down the stairs?  I didn't even know that kind of elegant fighting down the stairs was a thing.

After that we walked around the town and did a little bit of our Christmas shopping.  Killarney is a good-sized town with lots of neato stores and things, so we had a good time exploring. I tried to find an Irish wool sweater but they all made me look boxy and weird. Sad times. We ate lunch back here (Irish lamb stew again, what what?) and had a late dinner at a lovely bar where we thought we'd find live music but didn't. Instead we found hot chocolate with Bailey's, which totally made up for the disappointment.  Then, like most nights on vacation or otherwise, we watched 30 Rock on Netflix and fell quickly asleep. Well, I stayed up and worked on my new blog to see how I like it before publicizing it, but then fell asleep.

On Friday we did our longest hike yet up a mountain whose name in Irish Gaelic (Mangerton) means "The Deceiver," which was appropriate because every time we thought we'd reached the summit there was yet ANOTHER summit to climb.  It was exhausting.  It was also a little sad because when we got to the summit, the view looked like this:

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FOG. FOG FOG FOGGY FOG. In Ireland's defense, it wasn't rain (that came later), but it was so thick that we could not see any of the (surely gorgeous) scenery below.  I know hiking isn't all about the end result, but still, it was a bummer.  I was pretty excited, therefore, when the fog started to lift on our way down and we saw some pretty Ireland scenery.  We also got some pretty fabulous photos of us and we're pretty cute.

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We're gearing up for our last few days in Ireland and as of now we don't really have anything planned until we drive to Dublin on Monday. Though I love Ireland and could easily see moving here (for realsies guys) I'm ready to be home with our beast in our own bed with our own brands of jelly and juice and bread.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Didn't Get to Meet Frodo.

So titled because I'm pretty sure we hiked in the Shire the other day.

We woke up the other morning knowing two three things: (1) Irish food can really wreak havoc on your stomach (I'm guessing because of all the meat and carbs?) (2) We wanted to go hiking and (3) We should leave early in the day so we could avoid the inevitable afternoon rain.

One of the B&B's caretakers, Brendan, told us to check out a hike that is incidentally located on a working farm.  The hike, about two hours or so in length, actually takes you above a waterfall and makes for some gorgeous scenery-viewing.  We noticed the rain moving in but figured since it was morning and the rain has generally stuck to the afternoon we'd be fine.

We made the drive to the park, which was as crazy as any drive in Ireland we've gone through so far (seriously, people drive so fast on these tiny-ass roads).  The hike was indeed located on a working farm, which was evidenced by the fact that there were sheep everywhere.  Like, hundreds of sheep.  Maybe a thousand, I don't know.

Quick aside: the sheep all appeared to have spraypaint on their neck area.  Does anyone know why a farmer would possibly wish to color his sheep with spraypaint?

Anyway luckily we were smart enough to dress in head-to-toe rain gear because it literally rained the entire time.  I managed to find a few dry spells for photos, but generally just solid fucking rain.  For some reason I, queen of whining while hiking, didn't really find cause to engage in my usual whining.  I mean if I'm hiking in Ireland it stands to reason I'm probably going to get rained on, and I knew that I had a hot shower and a nap in a warm bed waiting for me afterward. BEST FEELING EVER.

I guess I'll let the photos speak for themselves; it really was a gorgeous hike and we kept making comments about how closely it resembled the scenery from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, including the little white sheep-dots we saw from above (and up close, jeez!)

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IRELAND, am I right?

Also, and this is a random thing to tack onto a blog post: I'm thinking of quitting my blog (not deleting it though!) and starting fresh on a new blog.  I feel sort of stagnant here and I think I'd like a new beginning.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic, if you don't mind.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Irish Adventure Continues (Green and Photo Heavy)

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Well friends, I know really you just want to see photos of Ireland, but bear with me for a bit while I tell you what our last few days have been filled with.  If you'd like to, you're welcome to skip past the wall of text and just admire the green insanity that is the land of Eire.  I promise I won't judge you or write blog posts about how sad I feel.

On Sunday morning we ate breakfast and drove to Southern Ireland.  The drive was lovely, albeit a bit foggy which I guess is sort of par for the course here.  We arrived in the town we're staying in for the next week and knew already that our trip was only going to get better; the town has a small population of 1700 (much more our scene, as previously indicated) and a lovely downtown that is reminiscent of New England in all the best ways (or I guess New England is reminiscent of Ireland, really, since it was first).

We checked into our B&B, which is run by a really sweet couple and an adorable little beastie named Kim.  We really love it and they've been so incredibly helpful already. After relaxing for a bit, we headed downtown to grab some dinner.  Rob really tapped into his Irish roots and ordered a Guinness (duh) and shepard's pie, while I had a screwdriver with some traditional Irish lamb stew.

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As an aside, I'm pretty sure that my ancestors were rolling in their graves because of the screwdriver I drank, but in my defense it's the celiac disease that they passed on to me that prohibits me from drinking more Irishy drinks like whiskey or beer.

The next day we had breakfast at the B&B which I guess makes sense. The caretaker made Rob a traditional Irish breakfast (eggs, sausage, bacon, black and white puddings, and tomato) and made me a mini version of that thing because I guess the puddings contain along with dried blood cereal or some other gluten product.  It was amazing, truly, but intensely filling and we were feeling it all goddamn day.  We spent all day walking around town, taking photos and of course lots of naps, and watching Netflix because we are on vacation and lounging around is awesome. We also had blue skies and sun that day which apparently makes us very lucky indeed.

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We also saw an old abandoned abbey and cemetery near our B&B, and if you know me at all you know I love morbid shit like that so of course we had to stop for photos. Erin, my dear, this particular spot reminded me of you and your abandoned house explorations.

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That night we ate more yummy food and had some drinks while listening to some Irish traditional music. And taking goofy photos.

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Also on Tuesday we saw "the Druid's Circle," which is a 3000-year-old rock circle presumably created by the Druids or some other collection of pagans.  The signage wasn't completely clear on why the pagans moved these rocks from like, 50 miles away to set them in a circle, but most of it seems to point it being a place to keep track of time/seasons by the sun and moon, or maybe a ceremonial site. Essentially it's just a circle of heavy rocks with a bigger, flatter rock in the middle, but it was still a pretty spiritual site when you think about how those rocks got there and the potential purposes they held (Rob's educated guess was sacrifice).  In the US we don't have much that is 3000 years old and still standing, at least to my knowledge, so this was a pretty cool sight for us. Also, SO MUCH GREEN.

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Oh god, guys, I really didn't mean for this post to be this long. I seriously culled them down to just the basics for this post--I have approximately 8000 other pictures of the same shit. If you're thinking "Jesus, Caitlin, split it into a few posts next time," then you have something in common with the voice in my head and maybe I'll listen better for the next post.

Anyway I hope you are enjoying the green hallucination that is Ireland through my eyes.  We're having so much more fun here than we had in Dublin--with every trip we take we become more and more convinced that city living (or apparently even city visiting) just isn't for us.  Give us small-town living any day of the week.

I commented back to all of you I think, but I just wanted to thank you for the sweet words on my last post. I love having friends that live in the computer.