Archive | October, 2012

Passing Ports

28 Oct

I had the opportunity last week to use my brand new Irish passport.  My job required me to go to Mexico and we managed to tack on a few extra legs to the trip to make the journey as productive as possible. 

But as much as I love traveling to different countries and experiencing different cultures, business trips are not nearly as fun as vacation trips.  Here’s what I saw on this trip:

Sunrise at Shannon Airport, Ireland

Steamy afternoon at the Mexico City airport

Crisp fall day at the Salt Lake City Airport

Manhattan Skyline from JFK Airport

Fog delays in London’s Heathrow Airport

I visited three other airports on the trip, but for one reason or another didn’t manage to get pictures of them.  So much for taking in all the sights!

But seriously, I did get out of the airports for a few minutes and I did have some wonderful times as well as getting business done and I’ll post more about that later, but when I got back it *felt* like all I did was bounce from airport to airport and I was very happy to hug my girls again.

Les-bunnies

9 Oct

Tara and Grace lobbied us so hard for pet rabbits that we finally gave in.  We decided that to keep the peace between the girls we would get two rabbits so there wouldn’t be fighting over the attentions of a single creature.  Our only condition was that the two rabbits would be of the same sex, so we could limit our commitment to just two pets.  Thus we became the proud owners of two female rabbits.

The only concern we had was that one of the rabbits kept jumping on the back of the other rabbit in a rather, shall we say, lusty manner.  We called the vets who assured us that the rabbits were both female and that they sometimes behaved in this way, so we figured we had lesbian rabbits which we found on on the interwebs is rather common…who knew?

Until they weren’t lesbians at all….

Mary thought a rat had crawled into the hutch because there was this squirmy wormy gross hairless thing in there with our lesbian rabbits.  Turns out one of them had babies.  Four of them.   They were hidden in a nest of hay so you couldn’t really see them (photo above) but when you looked closely they were the wierdest ugliest things you ever saw….and there were four of them.

We immediately had to purchase a new hutch and sequester the “dominent female” who was starting to look suspiciously like a male rabbit who had just fathered his first litter of bunnies.  The girls changed his name from Caramel to Snickers..Tara says “Caramel is still inside, but he’s got nuts now”.  Very funny, but how do kids even know this stuff?

After a week or so, the squirmy wormy rabbit babies grew fur and turned out to be super duper cute (one died though so we had to process that on the way).  

Anyone want to adopt a baby bunny?

Daddyyy….I want a ponyyy

6 Oct

There seem to be a lot of horse related events lately.  So at the risk of having it look like all we do is horse-y stuff I am going to tell you about the Show Jumping  Championships that were held in Ennis this year.  (we really do a lot of stuff that isn’t related to horses….really)

Anyway, I thought it was pretty cool that our little town hosted this event.  I’m not really familiar with the Show Jumping scene here in Ireland, but we saw a lot of this type of thing in the Olympics this year and with all the recent interest in Horse riding, it seemed like a no-brainer to head over to the Show Grounds and check out the jumping.

I never saw horses do jumps like this in Arizona when I was younger.  I guess it all has to do with how you treat your fences.  Out in the American West you ride alongside the fences looking for weak spots the cattle could get through, here you leap the fences chasing foxes.  It changes the way you ride I suppose.  Either way, the girls seemed to enjoy the event.

Strand Races

1 Oct

Going to the Kilkee Strand Races has got to be one of the coolest things we’ve done in Ireland.  Quick summary: sandy beach, low tide, fast horses.

It’s like a scene out of some movie – and probably was or will be, but they set up a full racetrack on the sandy beach in the West-Clare beach town of Kilkee and run a day of horse racing there.

Because it’s not an official track, the betting is totally old-school.  The bookies set up an umbrella on the grass above the beach and post their odds on signboards.  You make your bet directly with the bookie, no official track betting system or big national chain.  Mano a mano here – look ’em in the eye and decide if he’s good for the payout.

Of course, with the girls there and all we couldn’t compromise their morals with this kind of gambling….hahahaha.  But seriously, Grace and her animal-whispering skills drew us over to the paddock area where the trainers were getting the horses ready.  Grace had to try and pet as many as she could which is how she determined which one she thought was the winner.  She chose number 12.

With our horses picked, we went over and watched the races.  As if racing horses wasn’t hard enough on a regular track, in this setting, when they barrel up the far side of the course, they are splashing through the sea foam as the waves wash up on the sand.  It looked like Black Beauty or was it the Black Stallion…whatever movie it was where they run down the beach through the spray and all.

At the end of the course, they have a sort of hairpin turn into which the horses lean at improbable angles as they fly around the bend.  The conditions are tough for racing and more than one jockey lost his seat on the day.  Most walked away, but one did get carried off in the ambulance, so it wasn’t all fun and games.

Below are the horses running along the home stretch into the finish.  Notice the number on the lead horse….next time I take Grace to the track I’m bringing serious betting money with me!

After the races we headed back to base at Anne’s house overlooking the course and relaxed while the tide came in.

Tara and I went for a walk just before high-tide and got a great shot of the Kilkee strand looking back toward Anne’s place showing how the entire race-course had vanished under the clear blue water.

And so ended yet another lifetime highlight brought to us by Killkee and our wonderful friends there.

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