Archive for June, 2008

Trav – the guest blogger

My dad Trav, who you might remember from previous posts – is in Ireland.  He is at the Corrymella Community Center as a week long volunteer.  He really likes to learn about the places he visits, and he and his best friend are working at the center for a week then they are biking around for a few days before coming home.  I am going to cut and paste some of his emails.  It is amazing how little I know about Ireland. 

June 23, 2008
just met a
visiting RTE television team which has arrived here to interview the Director
and film this place.  RTE is Ireland's equivalent to the BBC in
England.  Today
I am working as the front desk receptionist at the
Corrymeela Community Centre, handling the incoming phone calls and visitors, as
well as having access to the Centre's computer.  Miserable cold and gale-wind weather conditions yesterday gave way to a bright
and sunny day todayHopefully I
will get away from this desk later today – interesting work and people from all
over the world, but its still rather camp-like with Dick Gayle and me staying in
a hostel-type room sharing bathrooms down the hall with the 6 other women in our
team. It doesn't get dark here until around 11 pm.  

There are currently 3 groups staying here, 2 large
groups (one from Eastern Europe and one from Northern Ireland), as well as our
small volunteer group. 
In addition to Dick and me, our Global Volunteers group
consists of 2 unmarried ladies in their 70s from California, a retired
legal secretary from Chicago now living with her husband in upper Michigan near
Canada, a retired English professor from Geo. Washington U. in D.C., 
then there is a young girl 20 from Westport, NY who attends a small college in
upstate NY (from our Saratoga trips you may remember the little town of Westport
on the west bank of Lake Champlain where the ferry lands from Burlington
VT).  Finally, our team leader is a lady,  from Dublin who
has a great knowledge of the history and tragedy of the more than 30 years of
conflict that has torn Northern Ireland
I think I finally
have a grasp of the situation here, and realize that very few Americans truly
understand what has occured in Ireland.  Its far more complicated that just a simple difference
in ideas between Catholics and Protestants, but the religious differences
supported fierce conflict, killings and terrorism for more than 30 years until a
treaty for finalized in 2007.  

Here is a quick condensed
IRELAND – the large southern part of the island which
reached its independence from the British Crown around 1922 and is now known as
the Republic of Ireland.  Its about 85% Catholic, very opposed to control
from England, and was actually neutral in World War II like Switzerland. 
It has enjoyed an economic boom during the last 15 years and is now the home to
many former US firms due to its corporate-friendly tax structure. 
NORTHERN IRELAND – this small 6-county part of the
island is located at the northern end of the island known as the Ulster area,
and unlike Ireland, it is still under English control.  In the 60s this
area began a civil rights movement (similar to the black/white civil rights
movement we experienced in the US), but it wasn't racial.  The small
Protestant majority was English-protected and was always given favoritism with
jobs, housing, government representation, etc.  The large Catholic minority
was nearly 45% or more of the population, and was always discriminated
against.  Protestants had their own towns, schools and got the best jobs,
benefits, food and everything.  So this large minority of Catholics started
a paramilitary war-like offensive against the English government
control. The Protestants then set up their paramilitary groups and all
hell broke loose for more than 3 decades (the stories remind you of the KKK
after the Civil War).  Thereafter, there were bombings, murders,
sabotage of Protestant leaders and any English firms which supported the English
effort (like computer firms, aerospace firms, etc).  After the
Catholics did their damage the Protetants would retaliate, and things got really
bad – dangerous and deadly for many years with many deaths of innocent
people.  There are many names that I finally understand like
the IRA, the UDA, etc. 
I think there is something to be learned by anyone who
visits this place, and I wish I could make the Augusta government leaders adopt
some of the "peace and reconcilation" techniques which assisted in
finally bringing trust and forgiveness to the people
with differences in Northern Ireland.  I don't know when I will
have internet access again, but I w
ill try to keep feeding you
info.  Hope all is well and miss you both.  Take care of your Mother while I am
  I love you and look forward to
getting home
This place is certainly more significant than I
originally thought.  When it opened in the 60s it was visited by Prince
Charles, and since that time its visitors have included the Dali Lama, Sister
Teresa and many other peace-makers. 

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On Friday the air conditioner in my car stopped working.  So I took it to my friendly mechanics – hoping that they would tell me that I just needed some Freon or however you spell it.  Turns out my thermostat was broken, so my car didn't know it was overheating.  LUCKILY it didn't overheat for too long and nothing else was damaged. 

I spent the weekend studying for the South Carolina bar, which I'm taking in July.  My biggest concern, besides the obvious problem of having too much material and not enough time or attention to learn it all, is that I have to hand write the exam.  For six hours, two days in a row, I will have to be handwriting essays.  And as of right now I can only handwrite for about 15 minutes before my hand starts to cramp up.  So I'm going to have to write a lot in the next few weeks and teach my hand to write for long periods of time.  Wish me luck. 

Last night we had father's day.  My parents just bought a green egg, so I spent a few hours learning how to adjust the temperature through the opening and closing of the various vents.  I sort of burned the ribs, but I didn't ruin them.  I'll do better next time.  It was fun. 

This morning I got to work and turned my computer on.  And I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  And then I called IT.  No answer.  They called me back.  Can't fix it remotely, will put in a ticket for my computer.  Hours later someone comes up to look at it.  Can't fix it.  State computer, county IT guy.  Have to call the state IT and get someone over here to look at it.  But.  Probably broken. 

In the meantime of all this happening, I relocated to the senior judge's office.  He is only around when he has cases to try, so he isn't here this week.  He also never uses his computer anyway.  His office is also totally and completely FREEZING.  Finally I went and got my space heater from my office and plugged it in.  Things were going well.  For ten minutes. 

Then the fuse blew.  Great.  All I can say is that today was not the most productive day of my life. 

And my laptop is broken too.  I swear. 

In other news, did you see the US Open today?  Wow.  I was really hoping Rocco was going to pull it off.  But as Jennifer says – Tiger Woods – stealing the hope and crushing the dreams of other golfers since at least 1997. 

I think I'm going to go for a little run today.  It isn't near as hot, and I'm feeling pretty good. 

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I missed the cutoff to check my bag on my flight this morning by two minutes. Then I threw a fit at the ticket counter begging and crying to have them make an exception. They wouldn’t.
And the only real consequences are that it cost me an extra $50 and I will get into new york one hour later than expected. Which will make zero difference in my life or even my day.
Even so I fumed and stomped around and pouted. My mom, who dropped me off simply turned around and picked me up and we went to popeye’s and got a sausage biscuit and a coke then we drove through magnolia cemetary. Magnolia is the old augusta cemetary – mama’s grandparents and family are buried there. The magnolias are blooming right now. And the sweltering heat intensified the sweet magnolia infused breeze and the sunshiny shade of those ancient trees helped me get a grip on my frustration. June 5th is the day of Alice’s funeral – 28 years ago today – four months before I was born.
When I re-entered the airport I watched the families of fort gordon solider’s hug their sons/fathers/husbands goodbye at the security gate. Their departure from their loved ones made me even more ashamed by my childish behavior this morning.
A group of soliders are currently sitting behind me – and I am shocked, as always, by how young they look. I swear these boys can’t be 20 years old. But they appear to be in high spirits and I am impressed by their commitment and sacrifice.

Boarding soon – see you soon!

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Go Dawgs!

How do you feel about baseball? My favorite things about baseball involve memories of watching the braves on tbs with my grandmother – Mama Two saw EVERY game, sitting out behind my high school during a freak march snowstorm watching my brother play first base,drinking beer in law school at turner field with the skyline of the ATL in lights, and thirsty thursdays in augusta.

Beyond that – baseball has me a little lost. In all honesty I have a hard time following sports that I never played, and I find baseball quite boring at times.

But I have been captivated by this UGA/Ga Tech baseball game tonight. I mean. We look GOOD! It is always fun to watch your team stomp on a rival. I was planning on going to sleep hours ago. But with baseball – you just never know what can happen.

It makes me miss athens in the summertime something fierce. I lived a fourth of my life there. I am not over it yet.

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The other day I was sitting under the pergola with my parents in the Adirondack chairs.  My dad wanted to know why the bottom of my feet were so dirty.  My mom told him that the bottom of my feet were always dirty because I never wear shoes. 

My inclination towards barefootedness allows me an extra sensory receptor neglected by most people.  Namely, I know what the ground feels like. 

Briscoe likes me to come out into the backyard with her at night. Grayson will go out into the backyard by himself and take care of things, but Briscoe will sit at the back door until I walk out into the yard with her. In the winter when it is cold I wear my uggs to walk Briscoe, because they are easy to take on and off.  Or I walk out in my sock feet.  I also spend a lot of time in my barefoot dreams robe. 

The nights for uggs and socks are long past.  My robe is still useful, but the day will come soon when it will be too hot even in the morning and the late night for the robe.  The wooden planks on the deck, although too hot to stand still on in the middle of the day, cool quickly when the sun sets and are pleasant to walk across at night. 

The stepping stones through the grass and the concrete parking pad retain the sun's heat much better than the wood and radiate warmth late into the night.  I can tell the difference between a cloudy cooler day and a sunny hot day by the temperature of the concrete.  My feet have been telling me recently that it is getting hotter by the day. 

In other summer related news, I've been swimming a lot.  Since I have had my eyes lasered, swimming is so much more fun.  Briscoe likes to swim too.  She just got her hair cut and dries off quickly. 

Emily and Greg got married this weekend, and I was dog sitting for Kate and Trav, so I thought it was a good idea to invite everyone from the wedding over to their house for a pool after wedding party.  We had a big time and stayed up ENTIRELY too late.  When I went out to the backyard on Sunday morning I found a tie, a tshirt, a sock, the back of a cell phone, and some raybans.  Like I said, we had a big time. 

I am going to New York on Thursday!  Get excited!

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