31 August 2008

Saturday

What's this ? A weekend with no plans ? How the? What the?

Hooray !

We approached this weekend with plans of...doing nothing. Sleeping in, watching tv and maybe a walk about town were potential tasks...we accomplished these tasks and more !

We started off Saturday at around 10am-ish by heading into town on foot. We live in town so this wasn't too difficult. We stopped at Starbucks for some go-go juice first.

Starbuck's is right across the street from our building, as you can see in the background.

After the leisurely 7-10 minute walk to the top of Grafton Street we were greeted by the throngs of tourists and weekend people who apparently converged on Grafton Street at the same time.

Our destination was Temple Bar, at night a touristy bar/pub scene, but on Saturdays there is a book fair......
...and a Farmer's market.

This picture doesnt do the market justice at all. there are loads of cool vendors selling artisan breads, fresh veggies, baked goods, organic coffee and ready made treats.


After getting some olives, hummus, cucumber and fresh bread we headed back to the house via the dvd rental joint to finish up on watching season 3 of....


If you're not familiar with Prison Break, it ok. The first season is great but as the story develops it just frustrates you...but still decent enough to watch.

We returned the dvd's and picked up a couple of other movies and all the fixins for dinner..

BLT's....yummy...all in all, a very relaxing and peaceful Saturday.

29 August 2008

The Olympics

Well....I have to say, I was sort of annoyed by the Olympics...a little. The Olympics were everywhere and one of the main topics of conversation when I was in Beijing this summer. By the time they actually came around I was already for them to be over....until I was walking through the lobby at the hotel in Finland and I saw the opening ceremonies...they stopped me in my tracks. If you didn't see them, here's a little taste.

27 August 2008

So....Whats next ?

For the first time in a loooonnnnnggg time, I don't have any trips planned !


Kelly is off to the Poconos in October for the annual family reunion but I'll be too busy with work to go. :(


Thats it....no more scheduled trips...no tickets booked....nothing !

What the !

There are, of course, plans in the works for :

A work sales trip to continental Europe in October
The Tampa Jam trip in February
The NCAA Lacrosse Championships in Boston next May


I love traveling, but... home is nice.


25 August 2008

I like funny signs...

No driving off the pier please.
(Howth, Co. Dublin)


-k.

21 August 2008

Summer Lacrosse Re-Cap

Ok, so I'm pretty much always doing something lacrosse related...but this summer has been even more packed with lacrosse then usual. How thats possible, I don't know.

In May I made the annual pilgrimage to the NCAA Championships and met up with all my Tampa lacrosse boyz...and brought some Irish lacrosse guys with me. They all hit it off and we had a great time...big surprise.


I got back to Ireland just in time to pack my stuff and head to China to begin working for a lacrosse company. I spent 5 weeks in Beijing doing lacrosse stuff all day, and then when I wasn't working, I hung out with lacrosse guys and played lacrosse.

I was able to play on a tournament team called the LaxPats...a collection of lax guys from all over the place who were working in China. Some of the guys from my office as well as John Fay who knows Tony,Rob, Kirk etc from Tampa and even a guy I was in the Army with, Jeff...small world huh !


We not only played in the Beijing Tournament, but won the whole thing ! Hooray us !

I got back to Ireland just in time for 4 days of Team Ireland training camp, then off we went to Finland for two weeks to compete in the European Championships.

Team Irleand finished in 6th place out of 18 European teams... great job !

In other lacrosse news, Ireland lacrosse lost one of our core people when Joe Garvey moved back to the Long Island in the beginning of August. See ya around Joe.


Its hard to tell if Joe is happy in this picture because he is moving back near his girlfriend, or because he's like 3 feet taller then Matt Walsh....

20 August 2008

Helsinki


After bouncing around on trains from Lahti to Riihimaki to Tampere...Michael & I ended up with one day and night to kill in Helsinki before heading back to Ireland. We checked into our hostel then struck out for the Market Square and the Harbor. After a brief trip back to the hostel to get Michaels phone, we struck out again for the Market Square and the Harbor.

Downtown was nice, the weather was cool. We were looking for a place to eat and were told that there were vendors set up at the market...

When we got to the orange tents of the waterside market we were pleased to find Finnish delicasies we had talked about trying...yes, you guessed it people, Reindeer !


We got an assortment of Reindeer products including reindeer sausage, reindeer meatballs and some brown stuff called Reindeer hush...served with sides of hasbrowns, salad and lingonberry sauce. Washed down with a low-alcohol Finnish beer...yummy !

We ran into Canadian friends Sean and Ashley at the market....

Ashley did not have the reindeer...she opted for a buffalo sausage.


After lunch, we all had finnish pastries that tasted like jelly donuts.


Michael and I said goodbye to the Canucks and kept on exploring....hey whats that !

All in all a great day.

Travelers Tip

How to spot a tourist


Thanks to Sean Gibson for coming to Helsinki in his Canadian Tourist outfit

and to Michael for posing with this stuffed reindeer.

more pics and stories to come soon.

15 August 2008

Side Trip!

With two days off between the second round and the European Championship finals, Kelly and I had an opportunity to go somewhere else we have never been....Estonia !

We took the train from Lahti to Helsinki where we boarded a ferry with our travel partners, Michael & Patrice, bound for Estonia 2 hours across the Gulf of Finland.


Our destination was the capitol of Estonia, Tallinn


An absolutely beautiful and surprisingly charming city in the former Soviet republic.


A small city with lots to see and do. We had great weather and were happy just to walk around and explore.


We even stumbled across an archery place near the old city walls.


The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral....wow !


A nifty boot shaped gutter downspout...cool.

We had a wonderful dinner at a cafe' on the main square....look at all the delicious items on this menu.


We ordered from the english menu, but made sure to try authentic local dishes including caviar and of course.....vodka.

Na zdorovia !


Kelly and Patrice both had this yummy chicken dish above

I had the Filet Stroganoff below


Michael had some sort of meat stew that came in a pot with a loaf of bread on top.


Living the good life in Tallinn.


Na Zdorivia....again !

It was a bit cool in the evening, so they gave us blankies...very comfy

St Olaf's Church (below) was the tallest building on Earth when it's spire was built in 1549 ...it held the record until 1625 !


A really great trip, Tallinn really caught us all off guard with its charm.

We stayed overnight at a really cool courtyard hotel right in the middle of the old town for only 30 euros each !


We're very happy we made the effort to visit Tallinn, it was worth the trip.

11 August 2008

Go Team Ireland Go !

Sorry for the lack of activity, but Kelly & have been very, very busy...why you ask ?

We're in Lahti, Finland for the European Lacrosse Championships !

Day 7

In the men's division, there are 18 teams competing for the title, including Team Ireland...hey who is that coach ?

Team Ireland ended round one with a record of 4-1 with wins over Wales, Switzerland, Latvia & Spain and one loss to tournament favorites England.

We go into the second round tomorrow, we can't end up any lower than 6th place overall which is a big improvement over the 2004 Euros where Team Ireland finished 7th of 12 teams.

I've been super busy with Team stuff, but I will have some free time over the next few days to get some blogging done.

Stay tuned for more pics and stories from the European Championships and Kelly & Patrice's Scandinavian Adventure !


01 August 2008

You're innocent when you dream

Life is whittled
Life's a riddle
Man's a fiddle that life plays on
(Tom Waits, Starving in the Belly of a Whale)

This may not be a ticket...

But this sure as hell is.

Every one's favorite deranged troubadour came to town last week...lifetime highlight, my dear people, lifetime highlight.

Okay - I'll concede he may not be every one's favorite, Tom's probably better described as an acquired taste, but for those that have tasted and liked his flavor, this was an monumental event, not to be missed.

Ticket prices were exorbitant and my expectations were high, it would have been a pretty simple task for him to disappoint me, but I walked away from the show with a giant smile on my face, feeling lucky and exhilarated. Even a half hour in the pouring rain trying to flag a taxi in the middle of Phoenix park with 3,000 other suckers couldn't dampen my mood.

We arrived to find a giant blue and yellow circus tent, reminiscent of Cirque du Soleil's traveling shows. This started the cracked carnival vibe for me and it just kept going all night; Tom Waits is all showman. He displays shades of Charlie Chaplin, freak-show hawker, drunken blues-man, cabaret entertainer and beat poet but he is entirely his own man and his own musician. His sense of humor is as warped as his growling voice, his world view as twisted and genius as his lyrics. I loved every second of it.

I have never been so impressed with an artist's uniqueness as I was that night. Tom Waits is truly is an American poet, and truly one of a kind. His songs are populated with the drunk & disillusioned, the down-trodden & depressed, the heartbroken & the homeless but they manage to celebrate the odd, the ugly and out of place. You cry with his Minneapolis Hooker on Christmas Eve but you also laugh with his freaks and weirdos, with names like Knocky Parker and Bowlegged Sal. The legless and bodyless Table Top Joe dreams of playing at the Sands 'I had trouble with the pedals, But I had a strong left hand.' That's some funny shit people.

His talent floored me. I tell you, I'd meet this man at the bottom of a bottle of bargain scotch anytime.

During the show I was pleased to recognize more than half the songs he played, as I don't claim to own all the albums spanning his 35 year career. But even the songs I didn't know had the power to enthrall, owing just as much to his amazing song writing as to his spastic yet rhythmic performance style. I include a song list for those that remember these kinds of details (nicked from someone else's review.) I, for one, can only mention a highlight song or two (or four or five or nine) and tell you that the overall show was blow-me-down fabulous.

Dressed in a suit and bowler hat straight out off a depression era soup line, stomping up clouds on his dusty pedestal, standing with his guitar, sitting at his piano, warbling, rasping, talking, mumbling, singing, snarling, howling in a shower of glitter...every thing he did had all 3,000 of us captivated.

We all worshipped at the church of Tom and had a damn good time.

Set List (pinched from this guy's fantastic review):

Lucinda / Ain’t Goin’ Down to the Well
Raindogs
Falling Down
On the Other Side of the World
I’ll Shoot the Moon
Cemetery Polka
Get Behind the Mule
Cold Cold Ground
Singapore
Circus / Tabletop Joe
God’s Away on Business
Tom Traubert’s Blues
On the Nickel
Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minnneapolis
House Where Nobody Lives (false start)
Innocent When You Dream
Lie to Me
Hoist that Rag
Bottom of the World
Green Grass
Way Down in the Hole
Metropolitan Glide
Dirt in the Ground
Make it Rain
-
Jesus Gonna Be Here
Eyeball Kid
Time