Ireland – Arrive on NUI Campus

After a 90 minutes bus ride (most of which I slept through) and a 10 minute taxi ride, I arrived on Campus. Let me just say, NUI at Galway is incredibly beautiful, but very large and spread out. I figure by the end of the 4 weeks I’ll either be in really good shape from all the walking or dead. The room wasn’t quite ready, so they kept my large suitcase for me at the reception office. They would have kept my backpack with my 20 pounds or so of electronics, but I anxious about them, so I elected to keep it with me. BIG. MIS. TAKE!! Right now, by back is freaking on fire! Lesson learned. From now on I had planned on leaving my laptop in the room, anyway, so the pack won’t be nearly as heavy. I’m also pretty old school, so I’ll be taking notes on paper primarily.

At registration, we were 20180618_195035presented with a lovely NUI tote bag(Read next year’s homework bag), a notebook, pen, and other lovelies. Toured the campus in the rain (with the 20 pound pack on my back), still don’t know where anything is, and then the room was ready. It’s a small room, but that’s fine. I don’t really need much room. It’s also a private, lockable room. One must have a key card to enter the building, the suite (which I share with 4 others), and the individual bedroom. For a small room, there’s a surprising amount of storage! One thing missing – hangers. I’ll work on that tomorrow – or not. I’m also a bit concerned about 5 women, one bathroom with a shower/tub, and one half bath. We’ll see how it goes. Luckily, all of my roommates seem to be very kind, sharing, YOUNG, considerate women.

I was finally able to and wash my sweater – the one that still smelled of old tires, gasoline, and horse urine. Now, I’ll probably have to wait about a week for it to dry.

Tomorrow – Welcome address, first meeting of classes, and a reception at 5:00. I’m hoping they have snacks. Like whiskey.

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Ireland – Day 2

A second day in Limerick proved as beautiful and exhausting as the first. It began with the full Irish Breakfast – including black and white sausage. I couldn’t finish it all, but it kept me going until my evening meal of fish, chips, and a minted pea puree.

First stop was the Frank McCourt Museum. The museum was not in his boyhood home, but rather in his boyhood school. A section was recreated to show what his home – the “main” room and his parents’ bedroom – would have looked like and the feast of the pigs head was layed out on the table. Naturally, I found the school room quite interesting. Imagine – 60 kids to a claFrank McCourt museumssroom. Of course, discipline was strict at best and brutal at worst. Rumor has it that not only could the students be hit with the cane in the classroom, sometimes they could even be taken to the basement and whipped. The desks were probably not original, but donated by Frank’s childhood friend, Billy Campbell. All in all, it was a suprisingly fascinating museum with a charming guide telling stories. My personal favorite quote from Angela’s ashes:

“I don’t know what it means and I don’t care because it’s Shakespeare and it’s like having jewels in my mouth when I say the words.”FM desk

 

Next stop- King John’s Castle, a Castle built in the 12th Century, laid seige to in the 17th Century, and still standing today. So, I may have made a tacticle error by thinking that my sprained ankle was healed enough not to have to wear the uncomfortable brace. Now, hours after the adventure, it’s still swollen and tender, but a little Aleve will take care of that. Luckily, I didn’t twist it more on the incredibly steep, curved staircase going up to the battlement of the castle. Just touching the stones that had been in place since the 12th Century was incredible. I could place my hand on the stone wall, close my eyes, and almost hear the sounds of the work and people and animals from so very long ago. Luckily, I couldn’t smell any of them.

 

After all of that, it was off to dinner.  Tomorrow starts a whole new adventure – getting a bus from Limerick to Galway, probably taking a taxi  to the University, obtaining a student (WOW, does that sound weird!!) ID, and for the first time in my life, moving into a dorm.

Ireland: The Arrival

It actually began the night before the first of three flights when Scott discovered that I had idiotically misplaced my “good” passport. I THOUGHT my passport was fine, but I had actually packed my expired one. Panic immediately sets in. So after searching the house, a friend helping to search the house (Lords, but I have a lot of shit that needs to be thrown away!!), driving into work to search there, panicing, calling a very close friend to come help me look because I’m crying too much to see (who came immediately WITH her very calm and logical husband, calling in a assistant principal to open up the office – just in case (the last place I KNEW I had the good passport was at work in March when I took a picture of it for UMSL requirements), driving back home, searching until about 10:30 p.m., Scott looking up what to do for a plan B which was soon becoming plan A, crying some more, uncontrollably shaking (shock??), throwing up once, the airline moving my flight, calling the airline, moving my flight AGAIN, getting less than 1 hour of sleep, getting up at 3:00 a.m., going to the airport, boarding a flight to DC at 6:03, getting on flight number 20180616_0643182 at 10:00 a.m. in DC, arriving in Boston at 12:00, going to the Federal Building in Boston, dropping my sweater into a puddle on the street so that now my pretty sweater is dirt smeared and smells like old tires, oil, and horse urine, waiting in 4 lines (even with ALL of the paperwork and documentation in hand), crying in front of government officials, starting to shake again, actually getting a replacement passport by 3:45, finding a taxi to go back to the airport, finding the Aer Lingus counter, getting checked in, and finding the gate, I actually made my 7:20 a.m. flight and arrived in Shannon early at 5:45 their time (they are 6 hours ahead of St. Louis). Easily found the ticket kiosk to get a buss ticket to Limerick. Luck decided that I’d had enough bad, and the bus stop in Limerick was TWO BLOCKS FROM MY HOTEL.!!!! It’s now about20180616_074545 8:00 a.m. and I have eaten roughly 1 cookie on the first flight, a handful of almonds, a bagel with cream cheese, and (bless them) in surprisingly tasty tiny little serving of beef stew and elfin salad on the Aer Lingus trip. I’m starving. There’s no way a room would be open at this early hour, so I go get breakfast – a mini full Irish – and ATE EVERY BIT OF IT and drained the pot of tea.

The very kind receptionist remembered that I had book only a single (which is a tiny but effecient room with a twin bed) and said they had one open!! I got a shower, and a 3 hour nap!!!

I would never have gotten here, though, without people – ESPECIALLY MY HUSBAND!!! – helping me, giving me advice, and calming me down.

Now, a little more rested, a lot less smelly and travel weary, with a belly full of good food and hot tea, I’m ready to explore Limerick!

Night before

It’s the night before the big trip to Ireland and I am, as most people who know me would expect, terrified. I keep thinking I’ve not packed something, freaking out, rooting through my bags, then finding what I thought was missing. An hour later, I think of something else – repeat. Which reminds me – do I have ear buds? Yes, I do. Where are they? Crap. Now I have to search through the house to find those!!!

I’m also going to Ireland injured. At my son’s wedding (which turned out beautiful much to my suprise – see note below for explaination), I rolled my ankle. We all figured it was just a sprain and would heal in a week or two. Six weeks later I finally go to the doctor and yes, it’s a sprain, but a “high” sprain above the ankle and still isn’t healed. Now I’m wearing a hideously uncomfortable brace for at least another week or so.

We get up at around 4:30 a.m. tomorrow moring, head to the airport to get there by 5:30, flight out at 7:30, layover in Chicago, flight at 10:00 to Boston, another layover AND airline change, then on to Shannon where I should arrive about 6:30 a.m. their time (1:30 a.m. our time), find a bus or other transport to Limerick, find hotel, beg for the room to be cleaned and ready, and then, hopefully, nap a bit. Here’s the BIG question which I have had conflicting answers for:  Will American Airlines switch my checked luggage to Aer Lingus in Boston?? Most answer yes, some answer No. I’ll find out tomorrow when I check in, I guess.

All kinds of scenerios run through my head.  Will I get robbed, despite precautions? Will I miss a flight? What if my luggage gets shipped somewhere else? (I have packed 2 changes of clothing and all of my meds in my carry-on.) Crying, screaming kinds in the plan? Smelly persosn next to me? Bird flies into the plane and it goes down in the North Atlantic. O.M.G. SO MUCH COULD GO WRONG!!!

Tonight – I plan on taking a xanax or drinking about 3 shots of whiskey around 7:30 so I can try to sleep just a bit. – Wish me luck.

 

(Note:  Why I was surprised my son’s wedding went so well:  It was in April and outside – Risky stuff that!! However, Mother Nature cooperated and while it was cool and breezy, the day quickly became sunny and lovely.

Why I shouldn’t have been concerned at all:  The happy couple was just that – happy. Very. If the couple is THAT happy, no amount of bad weather could possibly have spoiled the day for them!

Still, I was relieved that the weather mirrored their smiles and joy.)

32 years and I’ve learned a bit

I just finished up 32 years in the teaching profession. No, I’m not retiring yet. I only have 23 years or so in TRS (Illinois teacher retirement system) and you need A LOT more than that for full retirement. Anywho, retirement isn’t really what I wanted to write about.

I’ve learned a lot about kids over the last 32 years. Today, I hear so many people now complaining about the way kids are raised or how the schools are failing. Texting and social media are ruining this generation. They have no respect. They feel entitled. They are too easily offended. They are snowflakes. While a bit of this has some truth, I’m going to respectfully disagree.

A very long time ago when I was in high school, I distinctly remember one of my favorite teachers, Mrs. Gibson, saying that this generation (us) was the “Me generation”. All we cared about was me, me, me. We didn’t care about the world general, that we were selfish, that all we cared about was money. We were rude. We felt entitled. We weren’t satisfied with simplicity. We wanted others to do our work for us.

She was right. She was also wrong.

Here’s my argument. It isn’t the generation that lacks the morals of previous generations, it’s simply the nature of teenagers to be selfish. AND THEY CAN BE!! This is how they learn. According to the stages of psychological development adolescence is a time of “storm and stress” where the teen learns how to deal with all kinds of stress factors. Some of those internal stresses can include puberty, sexuality, gender identiy, self discovery, decision making, boyfriend/girlfriend, religious beliefs and more. External stressers can include homework, understanding parents, friends, divorced parents, high stakes testing, choosing a college, sex, meeting challenges set by parents and teachers, jobs, homework, and so much more. Personally, I’m thankful NOT to be teenager!!

I just looked it up – the average age for a person to lose his/her virginity is 16.9.  Holy Cow!! That’s the average!! Back in the 1980s it was closer to 18 years old.  While one year may not seem like that big of a difference, it really is when we’re talking about maturity levels.

Expectations for teens have also changed over the years. Back in the 1980s, kids were expected to have good grades, decent ACT score (average was 18), maybe have a part time (15-20 hour a week) job, and be active in church or school events. We started looking at colleges when we were seniors. Some of us would need loans, which might take up to 10 years to pay back in order to afford college. We were also, generally, expected to be home for dinner most days. Now, kids are expected to have good grades, get an excellent grade on the ACT (average is now 21) or SAT, decide on a college or career by the beginning of senior year, navigate the turbulent waters of financial aid, know that if they take out a loan, it might take 20-30 years to pay it off, have a job, have a car, have a computer, navigate social media, fend for themselves for dinner, handle money and credit or debit cars, and so much more.

So, are kids today worse than they were 35 years ago? I really don’t think so. I think the real difference in all of this is social media and too much protection from natural consequences. I’m not saying this is bad, but it is tricky. Kids, by nature, are impulsive. They say and do things today that they regret tomorrow. When we did that, we could apologize and move on. Now, kids say and do things on SM and it’s THERE for the world to see. Kids today, just like us back in the day, don’t really understand consequences and we (teachers, parents, society) want to protect them from consequences. However, too much protection can insulate them from growing up. A major difference, though, is that our mistakes could be erased as time went on. Their mistakes are often put out there for the world to see.

Think for a minute about the body. If you want your body to become stronger, you exercise. This puts natural stress on the muscles which causes growth. Take that same scenario and apply it to the mind and maturity levels. Yes, kids today have  lot of stress, but if they are never allowed to feel that stress, deal with it (and with adult guidance at times), and grow from it, how will they ever gain maturity?

I know I’ve rambled, and I apologize. Bottom line. Kids today and not all that different from us. Each generation is convinced that the next generation is the worst ever. They aren’t. They just need guidance to help them learn how to cope with natural consequences, be allowed to screw up and learn from those screw ups, and to see just how far the influence of social media can go which is something they truly don’t understand.

Yes, I have concerns for teens of today, but I certainly do not think that they are the worst generation ever. What they are, are kids who need guidance and support, not quick fixes or cover ups, in order to become active, mature adults.

 

Irish Studies – Preparing

Almost all of my family and friends know that I was accepted into the UMSL Irish Studies program. I’ll be spending 5 weeks in Ireland taking classes at NUI in Galway. This, naturally, comes with challenges. The first was realizing I’d be the oldest – by far!!! – student enrolled. Next came the panic of knowing this was REALLY happening and of all the things that could go wrong here at home in those five weeks. Then came trying to book a flight there and back – no easy feat!! In fact, I became so distraught I damn near had a panic attack, so Scott took over and finally, after about 4 hours, we figured it out. Nick, I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to see you on your birthday this year. I’ll raise of glass of Guiness to you, though, and thank all the gods that be for giving you to me 25 years before. Now, all I have to do is find lodging for 2 nights before classes start (shouldn’t be that hard) and find lodging for the week after classes end when Scott will be able to join me. This will be the first time I’m traveling so far alone and, I’m not going to hide this, I’m a bit terrified. I’m trying not to panic again, but now I’m thinking about all the packing and things I might need. Medication. Clothes. Shoes. Shampoo and conditioner. Razors. chapstick. bonine. notebooks. pens. computer. outlet converter. Euros. contact the back and credit card company. SO. FREAKING. MUCH!!! Then, a sudden thought occured to me. Ireland is a very, very civilized country. They have STORES there!!! As long as I have my medication, identification, passport, and credit cards sorted out, if I forget something, I can just buy it there. Whew!!! Only 3 months to go!pexels-photo-415977.jpeg

Why I hate Valetine’s Day

First, it’s a Hallmark Holiday even though it’s history predates that of the honorable Hallmark company.  It actually, as many holidays do, began with the Romans. Read here 

for more details. Basically, Lupercalia involved “fun” activities like sacrificing goats, men hitting women with the sacrificed goat skin or intestines to promote fertility, drunkedness, and lewd behavior – some of which I heartily approve of. Then came St. Valentinious, noteable for his beheading possibly on February 14 (hence the red color!). Then, the Jonny come lately of pretty paper hearts and tiny little candies with insipid sayings on them. Now, before any reader starts thinking I’m just being bitter because I don’t have a sweetheart, let those who know me remember that not only DO I have a sweetheart, I have Image result for lupercaliaa wonderful sweetheart whom I’ve been married to for over 30 years and dated for 6 years previous to our nuptials. I did not give him my heart – I rather need that to beat for myself. I did, however, share my love, my very limited wealth, my unlimited sense of humor, my desires, my sons, my fears, my heartbreak, my joys, and every other part of my with him. In return, he did not give me break your teeth hard candies with insipid sayings printed on them. He gave me his opinion, his protection, his love, his sons, his wicked and often inappropriate sense of humor, his friendship, and his respect. So much better than cavities.

In the interest of total honesty, though, my brother’s ill fated marriage began on Feburary 14 and we did, with untold sadness lay my grandmother to rest on Feburary 14 (different years!), so I have very personal reasons to dislike the day. These tragedies aside, I’m still not a huge fan.

Maybe I’m just sympathetic towards those who no longer have someone who loves them unconditionally. Maybe I’m offended (that is SUCH a Millenial word!!) by the amount of money spent on hiked up prices of cards, candies, flowers, jewelery, etc. Maybe I’m bothered by the idea that you can shower gifts on your loved one once a year and you’re good to go when really you should shower your loved one with – well – love – all year long. Maybe it’s just the winter blues. Maybe I’m still not over that time in the 7th grade when I really liked a boy and he gave a beautiful Valentine to the girl who sat next me. Maybe I dislike that we as a society have sanitized a truly interesting if bizarre holiday.

Here’s an idea – rather than spending an bucket full of money on gifts for your beloved that he or she will thank you for and, if you’re lucky, give you sex in return for, buy some books. Buy some self help books and drop them off at a local gym. Buy some children’s books and donate them to an after school facility.  Buy some crossword puzzle books and give them to a nursing home. Do what those disgusting candies say – be kind, love, hug. Do some good instead of trying to buy love.

Reindeer

Reindeer

My oldest son, Michael, was a surprising child from the moment he was born. First, the good doctor assured me that the baby would be a girl and a small one at that. Nope. My baby boy was over 9 pounds. Second, many people told me that first children are often fussy. Nope. He slept through the night at about 7 weeks and fussed only when he was hungry (can’t blame him there!). He also woke up happy. Seriously. He was happy. I couldn’t quite understand this since I always woke up seriously pissed off and confused. Not Michael. He would be sitting up in his crib, playing and smiling. When he got a little older, he’d climb out of his bed and come running into our room giggling and wanting nothing more than to be cuddled. I have to admit, that did make me less pissed off when I woke up. I mean who can be pissy when you have a bundle of boy who smells of sleep and sweetness cuddled up next to you?

Anywho, Michael was just over 3 years old and it was December. For the record, I think 3 year olds are the absolute perfect age to fully enjoy Christmas! Everything is new and exciting and beautiful to them. They find magic in everything from a snowflake to a candle flame. Every night he wanted his father to read him “A Visit from St. Nicholas” before he went to sleep. To be perfectly honest, I was a bit jealous. I wanted to read it to him, but Michael had decided that bedtime was “Daddy read to me” time. It really was rather sweet to listen to my husband’s baritone voice mixed with my son’s little boy soprano questions. One moring I was almost ready to leave for work when Scott pulled back the curtain from the window in the front room. He said, “You want the umbrella? It looks like rain, dear.”

“Reindeer? Reindeer!!!! Reindeer!!! Reindeer!!!,” Michael shouted, jumping up and down in his warm, footy pajamas. “Where’s the Reindeer?? Where’s Santa??”

He was heartbroken when we finally calmed him down and explained there were no reindeer in the yard. For a moment, he thought we had played an awful trick on him. Then, typical of his nature, he brightened up and said, “That’s okay. It was just a practice for when Christmas really comes.” He was all smiles and sunshine again.

What a happier world it would be if we could all turn our disappointments into advantages.low_01249838

Thanksgiving 2017

A very long time ago in a place not too far away, I remember celebrating Thanksgiving. It usually began with Terry, my brother, and me getting up later than our usual 7:00 a.m., arguing over which cereal to have for breakfast, then watching early morning cartoons. My mother wasn’t home, she was next door at my grandparents’ house, already starting on preparations for the feast. We lived in a duplex with my grandpa, MeeMaw, and Aunt Rose (Grandpa’s sister) on one side and my parents, Terry, Aunt Blanche (MeeMaw’s sister) on ours, so she wasn’t far away. We, Terry and I, had full run of both sides. Eventually, we’d get ourselves dressed and wander next door to get in the way and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Aunt Rose always had a present for us and it was always the same thing. Something I looked forward to every year. A Christmas coloring book and a new box of crayons. (To be perfectly honest, I STILL love the smell of crayons!) Terry and I lay on the floor, watched the parade, and “died” of hunger smelling MeeMaw’s fresh rolls, turkey, and assorted other delights as they baked. One year, somewhere between 1972 and 1975, we had a massive crowd. My aunt, uncle, three cousins, and Grandma Doyle all came over along with my neighbors, Mrs. McDaniel and her three children, all older than Terry and me but not by much. The noise was phenomenal. I loved every moment of it. Family, friends, food, coloring, joking, catching a football outside (okay, so I didn’t really “catch” it, but I tried!!), even doing the dishes was fun because there were so many people. I was actually a fairly shy child, but I absolutely LOVED that Thanksgiving with so many people around.

Fast Forward to 1986.  This was the year I married Scott. We married on November 29, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The mean wasn’t nearly as chaotic as that one in the ’70s, but it was still pretty damned good. Both of my grandmothers were there )grandpa, Rose, and Blanched had passed away) along with Terry, his fiancee, Scott, and both of my parents. We laughed, learned about how Grandpa once brought home a live turkey on the bus after getting drunk as a skunk on homemade wine, ate our weight in turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and everything else. Not as many people there, but I still felt cocooned with family, warmth, and love.

1994.  My house. I now had babies – 2 perfect boys. I wasn’t about to drag them out to everyone else’s house, so I hosted Thanksgiving. My mom held the baby, Nick, and Michael watched the parade with his grandpa and dad while MeeMaw and I cooked. It was great. While we ate, I looked around. The dishes, my great-grandmother’s sparkled. Michael gnawed on a turkey leg that was as big as his head and Nick discovered the pure joy of a corn casserole and MeeMaw’s rolls. I couldn’t help but notice, though, the empty seats that should have been filled with my grandfather, Rose, Blanche, and most of all, Terry. Still, I felt them there and loved them all.

2017.  Time, it seems, moves faster as I get older. This year so many more will be missing. I will not even be hosting the dinner. Michael and his wife will be. Michael married a woman who is lovely in every possible way and I am so very, very happy to claim her as my daughter in law.  At his table we, Scott and I, will sit beside her father and grandmother and enjoy a dinner my son and I will prepare. He’s doing most of the work, in all truth, which makes me so incredibly proud I can’t hardly contain myself. I’m bringing desserts which MeeMaw taught me to make. My baby, Nick, now lives 4 hours away and can’t come home again for the holidays. My father will enjoy his feast with his son, mother, sister, Rose, Blanch, mother-in-law, and father-in-law. My mother won’t even know it is Thanksgiving and will eat at the Nursing Home because she can no longer leave the facility. Even if I did bring her, she wouldn’t know where she was or whom she was with. I will feel the loss of each and every one of them.

My family has changed drastically over the years. I never would have thought, back in 1973, that I would be the mother of 2 men.  That I would have to celebrate so many holdiays without both of my sons with me. That my only brother would have been killed at the age of 27. That my mother would lose her memory. That I would, by default, become the matriach of the family. But some things I hoped for, and they have happened. I HAVE 2 sons who are strong, compassionate, kind, and wise. I have a husband who has stood by me through all the grief and loss. I have a daughter-in-law who is the only person who loves my son as much as I do. I have a mother and father-in-law whom I respect, admire, and love.

I have lived a blessed life, and I am thankful.20170630_121419-1

Irish Fest

Okay, so today was not awesome. First, background. Scott has a cold so he’s not in best form. We went to the Irish Fest in Milwaukee about 7 or so years ago. LOVED IT. We wanted to go again, but just couldn’t work it out. This year, we decided to go. It’s about a 5 hour drive, so we could leave after I got off work and make it to Milwaukee by about 9-10 and have all day Saturday at the festival. Then I remembered I needed a blood test, so I scheduled the appointment with labcorp for that day (the earliest I could get was at 9:30), took a day off work since I figured if they were running late I might not get back in until 10 and I wasn’t sure I could get to work by 11 (half a day). GREAT CALL. I got in roughly on time, they sucked the 3 vials of blood they needed, and I got back to drive home feeling a bit shakey, but nothing too bad. Then I got a call from labcorp. My insurance, it seems, had changed labs and would only pay for the testing if I went to Quest. I turned around, waited for about 10 minutes, got the blood they’d just drawn and all my paperwork and went to Quest to drop it off, had to sign the register, wait another 20 minutes until they called me in, hand over my blood, wait for the woman to print out the paperwork which was an ordeal since the printer was out of paper, sign the paperwork and leave, only to get a call when I’m almost home from Quest telling me that they simply cannot process blood which has been drawn at a different lab and I was welcome to come back, wait again, and have blood drawn a second time. By now I’m serious shaking, my arm from the first draw is bruising and hurts, so I got a little brusk with the person on the phone and asked why they didn’t tell me that when I was there. No answer, just an excuse. I said No. I hadn’t eating since 4:30 the day before (it was now around 10:45) and I was shaking badly. I went home, fixed myself a bacon/tomato sandwich, ate half, went to the computer, pulled up the reservations for  our trip from Booking.com (DO NOT USE THIS SITE) and, when reaching for a piece of paper (for some reason the printer wasn’t working) grabbed a used tissue filled with dried snot and blood. Scott has been fighting a cold for over a week. If you know me, you know I don’t deal with blood well. The bacon/tomato sandwich turned into a hard ball in my stomach, which rebelled, and I rushed to the bathroom in time to vomit it out. Scott got home, we left, drove to Milwaukee, found the hotel, and discovered that Booking.com had not, in fact, made the reservation. At this point I was ready to screm. Luckily, Ken, the front desk guy, was not only friendly, but sympathic, intelligent, and efficient. He called booking.com, cancelled the reservation so we wouldn’t be charged, and made us a new reservation, gave us 2 complimentary drink tickets, provided me with the toothbrush I had forgotten to back, and was generally the knight in shining armour come to save the day. Her at the Hilton Garden Inn the room is lovely, the restaurant delightful ( I HIGHLY recommend the clam chowder) and the drinks hearty. Now, I’m sipping tea – which Ken also was able to find for me – and Scott is on the bed snoring a bit, exhausted from his equally awful day.

 

Tomorrow has GOT to be better!