Wednesday, August 31, 2011

royal typewriter

Thursday, August 25, 2011

song of the day: "bella"

In the pretty skirt with the
Golden smile that made you feel new
Like when the marching band strolls the street 
You know another years come too soon
So you took her hand and she gave a look that sent you to the moon
And there you spoke the words of a gentleman
Can I have this dance with you
Can I share this dance with you
Won't you come on home 
I built us a flying machine
And we'll go where you want
and we'll sail the seven seas
I hope all is well in Daisy's dreams

There goes the girl
Yeah the pretty bird on the golden mile that made you feel real
She took withon to the stars
She don't make no big deal
There she sits with them big old fields of daisies and rusted mills
And when the sun it shines on her hair of gold
She's beautiful
She's beautiful
Won't you come on home 
I built us a flying machine
And well go where you want well sail the seven seas
I hope all is well in daisys dreams
in Daisy's dreams

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

{backpacking 3}: the cliffs of INSANITY!!!

monday june 13, 2011

ahh, dreamy no?


okay i'm putting more because i can't resist those eyes like the sea after a storm.

moving along, day three was the bus tour to the cliffs of moher, more commonly known as the cliffs of insanity! from princess bride.  we went with a group called barrett tours because the more popular paddywagon tours don't run on mondays (add that one to the list of things that went wrong in limerick).  barrett tours = a guy and his wife (last name: barrett...who'da guessed) decide they've had enough living in england.  so they move to ireland and buy a bus and start a tour company.  i hope i marry someone who would at least occasionally entertain ideas of doing things like that.  because what with my longing for an ice cream truck, i mean....

on account of the tour was lots of seeing beautiful sights and very few deep thoughts by carolyn, i think the most true-to-the-tour post would be to just let the pictures tell the story.

BUT FIRST.  to get the full effect of the day on the cliffs, you must be listening to this song of the day.  i sang/whistled/hummed/head-sang it allllll the live long lovely day.
(if her voice doesn't melt your heart, you have a rock heart.)

1.  leamenagh castle  (or the signs by the castle, which were cooler than the castle, promise.)

2.  caherconnell stone fort (again, awesome view)

3.  poulnabrone tomb...a burial site from 3800 b.c.  (if this makes you think of lord of the rings, you get a free ice cream when i get my ice cream truck)

4.  gus o'connors pub in doolin

5.  the cliffs of moher

a sound of music moment on the cliffs ("...cuckoo! cuckoo!")

wait wait wait, what was that face, diana?  

(and to think.  it had only been three days at this point and already she was ready to shove me off a cliff.)

6.  waiting for our bus to dublin...pretty diana.  

we met a really cool guy (first real person met) at the bus station who lived in dublin and worked reviewing music for a newspaper.  ginger hair and tan cords.  a plaid shirt and quite the brogue.  we talked music--told him about my love for mumford&sons, to which he rolled his eyes and said he's had about enough of them.  the shock on my face elicited the following: "well, it's like beyonce.  i mean, you guys hear her all the time, so her music isn't that different to you.  that's how mumford & sons is for us."  good point, ginger man.  although i do love me some good beyonce every now and then.

boarded the bus, turned on my eva cassidy, and this is what is got...

and this is why eva cassidy is so important: because she's kind of buried way down deep inside, so when i hear her music, a flood of memories and feelings come back to me.  warm feelings.  feelings i'd imagined up as being tied to vistas similarly imagined.  what "fields of gold" feels like.  not just what it looks like, but what that must feel to be there.  and something in there about a tender-hearted boy and golden summer evenings and falling in love that years and years ago i imagined.  and here i was, riding through evening sun across these fields, remembering those dreams.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

{backpacking 2}: a limerick for limerick

june 12, 2011: limerick, ireland

dear man at the travelodge desk,
your hotel is not the best.
in fact it's the worst, 
we feel very curst,
as all of our plans are now messed

ahhh limerick.  what a joke.

so we take the bus to limerick.  and then we have to get a taxi because the hotel we reserved which said they were within walking distance of the bus station is NOT within walking distance of the bus station.  and it's pooooouring rain.  (and none of us have umbrellas.  that goes without saying, as who in their right mind would bring one backpacking?  okay plenty of people do, but we aren't those plenty.)  we look for lunch because we've had none.  everywhere's closed because it's sunday and because it's ireland (really there were a shocking amount of closed stores in ireland everyday).

so instead of eating we taxi to the travelodge...
which is a hotel...
which means internet and phones and food...

we check in....

CAROLYN: so we need to make a reservation for a bus tour to the coast tomorrow...the information pamphlet said you could do that for us?
MAN AT THE TRAVELODGE DESK: unfortunately i cannot, but you can use our internet or call them yourself.
CAROLYN: okay, how do i use the internet?
TRAVELODGE MAN: you open your laptop's wireless and it should come up.
CAROLYN:: i don't have a laptop.  is there a computer room here?
TRAVELODGE MAN: unfortunately there is not, but we have that [archaic] computer [with only a trackpad and no chair] in our lobby that you can use.
CAROLYN: great, thanks.
TRAVELODGE MAN: oh!  excuse me, unfortunately you have to pay.
CAROLYN:: how much?
TRAVELODGE MAN: a euro for 5 minutes
CAROLYN: [a stare that says "are you KIDDING me."]
TRAVELODGE MAN: [aggravating smile]
CAROLYN: well maybe i'll just call on the phone in the room.  do you have the number?
TRAVELODGE MAN: unfortunately no.  you can get it off the bus tour's website though.  oh and unfortunately you have to pay to use the phone in your room.

of course, this entire conversation is going on over the two computers at the concierge desk, neither of which are occupied.  (roll my eyes at man whilst we take the elevator up to our room.)

and it's pouring rain.  which is kind of the worst part of all because it's only our second day traveling and we're all gungho to ... you know ... see sights and meet people and be in IRELAND!  but there is nary a person out in the rain, and any sight we want to go see will require another taxi ride, which i'm guessing the concierge man A) cannot call for us and B) doesn't have the phone number for.

so instead we spent the sunday doing what we probably should have been doing in the first place: reading and writing in our journals and having discussions about happiness and where it comes from and what we can change in our lives to have the kind of happiness we chase.

oh and we played cards.  (cards is one of the few things i'm incredibly competitive about.  i mean, i guess i'm kind of competitive about some things, but not incredibly.  cards, it's incredibly.)

and also i've got my blue suede shoes (literally, my tennies for the trip are blue and suede), and somehow that makes everything better, knowing i'm walking around ireland like this:

but WITH blue suede shoes.  lovely.  i mean, there really are no other words for it.

(sorry people of ireland.)

(ireland was the coldest of all the places we went...this is a sweater that someone left at our flat in london after moving out, so i knew i'd be okay throwing it away after ireland...backpacking is all about minimizing load and getting rid of stuff as you go.  this one i ended up leaving in paris the first time through.  at the hipotel.  which they later thanked me for with bedbugs and disease-showers.  but more on that later.  i will say this about the sweater: maybe it's a ferocious color of blue, but wow was it fleecy and warm.  i never wanted to take it off.  plus i mean, it just got along so well with my yellow pants.)

dinner that night we walked to a pizza place (i know, kinda lame to be in ireland and not eating at pubs, but the travelodge was unfortunately in the middle of nowhere, and the pizza place was all we could get to sans taxi.  the pizza was good, and we met some 17 year old boys who thought we were 40 so i mean, what more could you ask for out of dinner?)

the lesson learned today:  guaranteed you will have some travel (and life) days that just flat out don't work the way you'd planned.  you can't get the info you need or the reservations you need or the transportation you need.  learn to cut your losses and just enjoy wherever you are!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

bowl of oranges

field notes from the day:
  • finished "the help" today.  a full report coming tomorrow, once i see the movie.  go get yourself a copy, though, because it is #1 on the new york times bestseller list for a reason.
  • went to a bright eyes concert tonight.  it was pretty good but not that good.
  • i've taken to sleeping in my bathrobe.  it's white and clean and made outta that ultra soft fuzzy stuff that makes you feel...well there really are no words adequate.  warm and safe and perfectly happy to be exactly where you are.  which, of course, is in that lovely bathrobe.  it has thus far failed as a bathrobe because of said ultra soft fuzziness though: rather than soaking up water, it kinda just sticks.  but oh man, as peejays?!  it is deeeeelightful.  (and yes, i have been looking for an excuse for the last two days to spell out the word peejays.)
  • was reminded by greatest cousin des about a song that bjork and thom yorke did called "i've seen it all."  all the long drive home i wanted to listen to it.  listened instead to "stanley climball," lifehouse's second album.  an adequate stand-in.
  • pulled up to a house with the lights still on at midnight and a room full of sisters & mom.  the moon's full or nearly so.  oh had i a big field with a few tall trees to cast shadows in the full moon-light every night!  that is one of my favorite places--big fields on full moons.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

this is my childhood, and i am throwing it away.

last night i found three old boxes tucked away in the recesses of our garage labeled "carolyn keepsake."  let me explain the keepsake phenomenon in my house.  we are all hopelessly sentimental.  i still have my baby blanket for instance.  and all my corsages from high school dances (what the?  threw those out last night.  well, all except one.  the sentimental won out on that one).  and i still have the first thing i ever crocheted.  i think it was supposed to be a scarf.  it's more like two feet of skeewompus rows of bright green yarn.  and yes, the scarf ended up skinnier than it started out.  you get the picture.  it all amounts to finding some real treasures and some real horrors every once and a while when i come across hidden "keepsake" boxes.

the boxes i found last night were from kindergarten through 6th grade, and mostly it was a bunch of school projects that for some reason were "just too special" for me to throw away at the time.  you know, pilgrims with accordion-folded arms and legs,

santas with cottonball beards,

and the groundhog taped to a stick that i used as a puppet on groundhog day in first grade.  that type of thing.  don't worry.  i threw most of it away.  but so much of what i threw away was just too good to not take a picture of.  and thus i present: a walk through carolyn's childhood.

going through seven years of your life like that, as manifest in school projects, you start to notice interesting patterns.

in kindergarten i was all about rainbows.  proof: rainbow leprechaun, silver glitter and all:

i found a way to incorporate rainbows into every project i did.
i guess when you're looking at the world through rainbow-colored glasses, you can't help it.

yeeeeah.  you better believe that is me.  and yes those are rainbow rims on my glasses.

also in the kindergarten box there were a shocking amount of cards and notes from a boy named ben.  ???  they all said the same thing:  to: carolyn, from: ben.  (that was the extent of our kindergartenly card-making ability, apparently.)

first grade i found a lot of things made out of hearts.  maybe my teacher was obsessed, i don't remember.  but i am pretty sure i've had nightmares about this little guy.

i mean...what is it?

it was apparently also in 1st grade when i first tried my hand at great art.  matisse, you've got nothing on me.


and a goya-inspired mask perhaps?

(a note on this--in the sixthgrade box, i found a sculpture project we did, in which i have notes about michelangelo's pieta.  to think that i got to see it just a few weeks ago!)

looks like the brightred fingernails also started around then.

and mr. popper's penguin!  this is the best little treasure of all i found.  in first grade we read "mr. popper's penguins" and "little penguin's tale", both of which are exceptional stories.  especially if you're into penguins.  i mean.  what more could a six year old ask for than to make penguins out of an empty milk gallon, papier-mache and those rolly-beady eyes?  nothing!  the answer is nothing.

finally, the upper elementary years...paw prints and watermelons on everything.  so, so glad i grew out of that phase.

so there you have it.  my childhood.  what a lovely one it was.

(if any of you would like me to host penguin making parties at your next get-together, i would be happy to oblige.  i charge two Book-It stickers per event.)

Monday, August 8, 2011

summer days are gone too soon...

rope swings...

the lake...



splash parks...


and sunglasses:

(props to lil sister grace for taking this that i can see her reflection in the shades)

and while we're on words that start with S, i have been listening to "shenandoah" by tyler james nonstop.  well well worth the 99 cents on itunes...just sayin.  it'll add a little meaning to your music.

{backpacking 1}: just a bunch of blarney

prologue:  because i did not take this lovely little macbook with me whilst backpacking and i was not about to waste precious europe time uploading & editing pictures, i was unable to blog for those beautiful six weeks.  however.  i am BACK.  and that means catch-up (or ketchup, if you're into heinz), loads of pictures, and enough reminiscing to keep me happy till the next time i find myself eating a crepe in front of notre dame or listening to opera on the spanish steps.  enjoi!

(and a tip for travelers: TAKE THE LAPTOP.  or at least an ipod touch.  free wifi is available everywhere, and boy would i have preferred typing my thoughts each night to the slow slow process of handwriting them.  we didn't have a single problem with pickpockets, and having a laptop wouldn't have added too much to the backpack load.  i'd have ditched two of my four skirts and two of my five shirts to have a fast way to keep notes.  just something to consider.)

(and in the off chance that jordan crook ever reads this blog, i say again: my macbook will take down your pc any and every day.)

june 11, 2011: Cork, Ireland

after spending a somewhat harried and rainy day in London, Diana, Holly and I boarded that RyanAir flight to the lovely island of Ireland.  ryanair, what a NIGHTMARE.  their prices are unbeatable, which probably explains why so many people fly with them, but you can only take a very very very small carryon.  so imagine us, with our backpacking packs, trying to board the plane without the attendants seeing our backpacks.  it involved rather extensive contorsions, bodyblocks, and teamwork to keep our fronts facing the attendants while we handed them our boarding passes and graciously thanked them (turning around, of course, to keep them from seeing the size of our packs as we passed by them to get on the plane).  phew!  thought we weren't going to make it.  (saying goodbye to london that day was hard...i rode with amber to the airport to pick up diana, and about cried the whole way.  such a special place now to me.  and such special friendships.)

we get into cork, and a lovely taxi cab driver takes us to our hostel (sheila's hostel--one of the best we stayed at!).  he gave us all kinds of warnings about "do NOT go down to that side of the river.  it's dangerous at night, and there is no reason for you girls to go down there."  later we decided that must be where all the restaurants are that stay open after 9pm...because come night, we could not find a single place to eat!

good thing we grabbed lunch at the market first...a little honey lime chinese food tastes so good when all you've had all day is cadbury chocolate and airplane peanuts.

well first things first: get ourselves to blarney castle.  blarney was a favorite.  definitely the highlight of ireland.  it is magical.  (and yes, magical is to be said whimsically and kinda breathy.  because i'm telling you, the place will enchant the living daylights out of you.  but i'm getting ahead of myself.)

ahem.  in case you don't know what blarney is, a definition, provided by monsignor fulton sheen:

"baloney is flattery laid on with a trowel.  blarney is flattery laid on with the lips; that is why you have to kiss the stone to get it."

so the legend goes something like this:  Cormac MacCarthy (not to be confused with this literary genius of the same name) built Blarney Castle 600 years ago.  to help him get out of some hairy lawsuit in which he was involved, the goddess Cliodhna told him to kiss the first stone he saw the next morning.  wouldn't you know, it was the blarney stone.  he pled his case with eloquence and won (yes i stole that sentence from wikipedia), and then he took the stone and built it into his castle.  so the blarney--the "legendary stone of eloquence"-- gives you the gift of gab...the gift to operate in that very fine area between flattery and lies.  the gift to bend and wind and weave words without breaking truths.  the gift to never be short of conversation.  (and if any of you have ever been on a blind, first, or last date with me, you know this is def something i need.)

but before you get to kiss the stone, you must first climb the castle!

a little word from the bard donal na tuile (1696) on the joys of the castle:

"they were a people accustomed to bestow wines, and tender beef and holiday dresses!  they were graceful and beneficent; their strongholds were filled with beautiful women, and quick-slaying cavalry viewing them; mirth, playing on harps, poems and songs were at their feasts; their women were prolific, and accomplished; silken, chaste, white were their slender bodies, and sedate the eyes of their maidens!  hilarity was at their festivals!  loud sounded the song of the bards."

the view of ireland from the top of the castle:

kissing the blarney--there was the delightful man perched atop the castle, whistling to himself some old irish tune, lowering people over the edge of the castle to kiss the blarney stone...which is a good four feet down the wall, so you have to lower yourself very carefully or else CERTAIN DEATH:

the view of us from the top after kissing the blarney stone.  you are looking at three recently gab-endowed ladies:

so you get done with the castle and, lo!, they have a poison garden!  

the best was the cannabis which came with the following apology stapled to the signpost: 
"we apologize for the absence of the plant in this cage.  it has been seized by the irish police.  we hope to plant a replacement in spring 2011 once the licensing issue has been resolved."  

and then "the rock close", the grounds around the castle: 

oh sweet rock close, an area of fairy enchantment and ancient druid mystery!  this was probably the most magical place visited this summer.  the landscape is "so exquisitely beautiful that no just idea of its influence over the feelings can be conveyed by the tameness of prosaic description."  (that's from a plaque in the forest.  a plaque!  if that kind of beauty appears on a plaque then you can only imagine what the actual land is like.) 

a little taste:

it's no wonder old willy shakespeare's midsummer night's dream is so magical--two hours in a forest like this and you can't help but imagine fairies and enchantments in every shimmer of light.

the forest was 

twisty trees
with all of life's secrets in their branches

grown old with climbing.


foxglove for good measure,

and a tire swing to really seal the magic of the evening.

looking back at these pictures now it's so funny to me how we had no idea the adventures awaiting the two of us.  the people we would meet, the wonders we would see, the things we'd learn about ourselves...

and who's to say that maybe the adventures were exactly because we started them all at the rock close, making wishes on the wishing steps and protecting ourselves in the druid circles and otherwise entirely bathing ourselves through to the bone in the long light that turned everything golden and hopeful,
 like eva cassidy's "fields of gold."  
this is the river that leads to the castle, and beyond, fields and fields turned golden green with the evening.  the picture can't capture the feeling.  it was out of a dream.  it was eva's sweet sweet voice embodied.

the evening at blarney was perfect.  we sat in the park and enjoyed the greenness of ireland, the quaintness of the village, and one of those moments of perfect calm when you couldn't be more content than you are at that moment,

then back on the bus to lovely old cork, where the sun didn't set till 10 pm...

which may have contributed to our confusion as to why all the restaurants were closed when it was still light outside.

but have no fear, i found me and my sore throat some hot chocolate that saved the day.  imagine that.  heroic hot chocolate.

slept like a baby, happy happy happy.