Monday, December 31, 2012

Cliff Diving Into 2013

Time to close the book on 2012 and to open a new one for 2013. (Some might call it "Cliff Diving into 2013"). Are you ready?

Well ... I for one ... am ready.

I looked at a number of sites for personal development and resolutions that will make me a better person. Here are the top five ....

1.Take a Trip Somewhere You Have Never Dreamed of Going. 

It's the year to surprise yourself and your family and plan a trip to a destination that you have never dreamed of before. Pull out a world globe and spin it  ... or put on a blindfold and point at a map. I already know where I'm going. I looked up the worst destinations ... I found a doozy.


The Mutter Museum of Medical History in Philadelphia. (listed as the top worst place in America to visit) 

Here's what I read:  Mutter Museum of Medical History is a museum of pathologies, ancient medical equipments and biological exhibits, situated in the oldest physicians popular training complex in North America. Most of all this museum is famous for its enormous collection of human skulls, collected here, and various unique exhibits, for example the corpse of a woman who turned into soap in the ground where she was buried. Here you can find Siamese twins with the combined liver, the skeleton-headed child and other gruesome exhibits with a freaky appearance. 

I guess that after a trip like that ... the rest of your travels will be so much better in 2013.

2. Make a phone call to someone different each week that you never talk to. 

You gotta be kidding me. I'm not sure what kind of conversation you're supposed to have but I think it's worth a shot. Start with people you can't stand. Disguise your voice and then tell them stuff like ... "Your parents should have tried birth control" ... One site I read advised folks to plan a day and time each week to call and talk. That must be to drive annoying people out of their minds.

Oh ... wait a minute ... this is supposed to be good conversation. Hah ... sure ... you mean people really still use phones to talk on?

3. Go to a concert you would have never gone to before.

Oh .... I gotta check if Barry Manilow is coming to town or Kevin Federline has released his second album ... maybe Don Johnson is making a comeback!

4. Learning to count to 5.

Did anyone other than my wife notice that these were my "top five"?

Make your list tonight! Have a HAPPY!



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Pickle ... It's a Tradition

Christmas morning and all is right in the world. Presents under the tree, coffee brewing, kids are asleep, a pickle ornament hanging on one of the branches ...

Wait a minute ... a pickle ornament?

Yes ... you heard it right. A pickle ornament. I admit I had no idea that there was a tradition of pickle ornaments but Debbie straightened me out. Even though she was unsure of why the heck you put a pickle on a tree.

After looking it up ... I found out that everyone else was confused too.

Theory 1. One theory was that it came from Germany and was referred to as Weihnachtsgurke. Translation: Put your pickle on the tree for good luck. (Yeah? Put YOUR pickle up there and see what kind of luck you have). I don't think that one is correct since nobody ever heard of that in Germany.

Theory 2. It may have started at Woolworths in the 1890s to coincide with the importation of glass ornaments from Germany. Naaahhhh ... How can that be if Germany never heard of it?

Theory 3. During the Civil War a Bavarian born private named John Lower had enlisted in the Pennsylvania infantry. He was captured in 1864 and taken to a prison camp. On Christmas Eve he begged a guard for some food because he was starving. The guard gave him .... yes ... a pickle ... saving his life and when he got home, he began a tradition of hiding a pickle on the Christmas tree every year. Not making this up folks.

Theory 4. Two Spanish children were trapped by an innkeeper in a pickle barrel in Berrien Springs (wherever that is) and St. Nicholas saved them.

Whichever you believe, we have the pickle on our tree to prove it must be real. We also have ...

...  an entire mini Mexican village living on our bookshelf.

... a fish about to devour the baby Jesus.

... a few of the rejected cast members of Sister Act (my gift to Debbie).











... and my favorite Santa gorilla from Christmas past.











I hope we get to keep these decorations up for another month ... or two ... or who knows ... maybe all year round.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Do You Have This In Taupe?

Retail shopping is a genetic defect.

This is a disorder that primarily strikes women ... but also strikes men from time to time. You can tell the affected men by their understanding of the female conversation:

Guy (with retail shopping disorder): "Excuse me, is your purse a Louis?"

Girl: "Why yes ... it is."

Guy: "I love the style of that bag. Where did you get it?"

Well ... you get the picture. It goes downhill from here. I would give you more details if I could ... but I really don't know the language that well. I really should have Debbie fill in the rest.

Speaking of Debbie, we did a little shopping in Hyde Park yesterday. Hyde Park in South Tampa is an interesting place. A requirement to live or shop there is owning a Louis Vuitton bag. Not only did all the women have them ... they were all the same style.  Apparently, you also had to have blonde hair and 2.5 children.

When Debbie shops, it's a total out of body experience. When I shop, it's a total out of my mind experience. She loves it and I hate it. That's a strong word ... I really dislike it (a lot). On this particular day, we were only looking for only one gift. What I have come to realize is that whether you are shopping for one gift or one hundred gifts, there is a minimum time requirement.

Silly me ... if I know what I want, I just go in and pick it out and leave.

That apparently negates the shopping "experience". That experience includes:

1. Sweeping the store. Not the broom kind ... the reconnoissance kind.

2. Inspecting the merchandise. This would be looking carefully at the targeted item for purchase once you find exactly what you want.

3. Continued shopping. NEVER pick the first thing you find even though it's what you want. There might be something else that is better.

4, Ask the salesperson for alternatives in the stockroom.

5. Once the other five items are brought to you from the stockroom … Inspect them carefully and compare it to your first choice.

6. Decide on the first thing you saw.

7. Check your watch to assure that there has been at least 2 hours spent on this purchase before they ring you up.  

8. Pick up your husband who has been wandering aimlessly outside of the store.





Merry Christmas, shoppers.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I Love Christmas

I have really been into Christmas this year.

I find myself listening to Christmas songs on the radio, Sirius, iTunes ... everywhere ... day and night. And Christmas movies. I can't get enough of them. I average one or two a night when I get home from work.

I've studied Christmas movies and they seem to fall into a few categories:



1. There are the Scrooge meets Groundhog Day films. You know the story ... the main character (usually a real jerk) is visited by angels who take him back and forth through his pitiful life until he changes OR he wakes up every morning before Christmas to relive a pathetic day that either hurt his family (always a brother who has unconditional love and is shunned) and his employees (who work Christmas day). In either scenario ... he wakes up on Christmas and is so happy to be alive and buys everybody a turkey.

2. The Christmas "Disaster" films.  Everything goes wrong ... the extended family invades the house and totally disrupts Christmas ... or ... the neighbors invade the family and totally disrupt Christmas ... or ... the child is left behind and becomes the sole savior of the house against burglars who totally disrupt Christmas.

There's also the Bad Santa who totally disrupts Christmas for just about everybody. And there's a film of a fight between a mailman and the ex governor of California for a ... doll.

And of course ... the film that is full of hilarious disasters including a kid who gets his tongue stuck on a frozen pole, a dad who gets a lamp fashioned out of a woman's leg and a BB gun to "shoot your eye out."
3. How about "Do you believe in Santa" films? Can't get enough of these ... Miracles ... Elf ... Santa Clause ... all have the same theme. If you believe, you'll get presents. If you don't , Christmas is ruined for the entire world.

Yes Virginia ... there better be a Santa Claus.


Children everywhere cry themselves to sleep every night after they watch these classics.


I did.

Okay ... time for the Jews. You may have seen this video from Saturday Night Live ... if not ... here it is. Classic sketches including .... Christmas time for the Jews! :

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/christmas-for-the-jews-song/1177606/



Happy holidays!
    

Sunday, December 9, 2012

And the EMMY goes to ...

Got a text Saturday night December 1st ... from my buddy and fellow song writer Mike: "We just won da EMMY!"

We did? We really did? I couldn't believe it .... so I looked it up. Sure enough under category 14: Children/Youth, we tied with Floxy and Julio Episode 1 from Puerto Rico (an obvious winner in San Juan, I imagine).

Okay, it was the Suncoast Emmys, the regional show, not the national show (although I had my Sally Field speech ready to go ... wait ... that was the Oscars ... oh well I wasn't there anyway.)


Our nomination was "Chicken Named Mac" with Michael Sexton, me and Kevin Riley. Mike really wrote this song. It is such a great tune and is filled with super lyrics. It's all about nutrition and stars a fat chicken who "eats all the garbage that they throw at him" until he learns to "exercise and eats right ... SWEET".

Kevin is the animator (and one of the most talented guys you ever want to meet).  Oh ... I can't forget the AMAZING engineer: our friend George Harris (Because he wont let me forget. He saw his name was missing). The four of us produced three of these interstitials ... you can find the other two at www.bodytoonups.com or just click below:





"Chicken Named Mac" was shown on the 2012 Children's Miracle Network Telethon for All Children's Hospital and was nominated this summer. All have a messages for kids and are a little reminiscent of School House Rock (okay ... we stole their schtick).

Take a listen. Pretend you are about 6 and they sound even better! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Let Us Give Thanks

Sammy was downstairs at Menorah Manor waiting for me to pick him up just like we discussed ... he was only three hours too early.

"Dad ... I've been trying to call you. The nurses told me that you have been sitting in the lobby since 2 o'clock. Where's your phone?"

He pulled it out of his pocket. "Here. I never got a call."

"It says that you have four missed calls."

"Is that what that means? See ... I told you it was broken."

"Okay Dad ... let's get going."

After a few tries, Sammy sat in the front seat of my car and settled in. He had important questions on the way over like ... "Do you ever dream, Joel?" and  "Did you put all this stuff in the car (the dashboard) or did it come with that?"

Debbie met us at the door. "Sammy ... I hope you're hungry. We've got some great food for you."

"I'm not particular. I'll eat whatever you have."

 "Well ... we've got lots of turkey."

"Any fried chicken?"

"No ... um ... how about sweet potato casserole and stuffing and green beans ..."

"I don't like any of that ... lettuce and tomato and thousand Island dressing would be fine ... and what kind of bread do you have?"

Sammy stretched out in the easy chair and after a few bites of mashed potato and bread snored peacefully looking like the mask from Scream.

He was ready to hit the road at about 8:30.  So ... I got him to his feet and held his walker while he took a step.

Unfortunately ... His pants didn't take the step with him.

"Whoops Joel. Grab my pants would you?"

Aaaah ... Let us all give thanks (that he DID remember his underwear).


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey? Stuffing? Waffle?

Sammy decided he would join the family today for Thanksgiving dinner.

He wasn't so sure the other day when I called him. Then again, he wasn't sure who was talking to him on the phone. He called me.

"Who's this?" He said.

"It's Joel ... your son."

"Oh. Hello Joel. What can I do for you."

"Well, you called me ... but while I have you on the phone ... do you want to come over for Thanksgiving on Thursday."

"No. But I would like a waffle."

Translation: 'I don't want to deal with 25 members of the family but I'd like you to take me to breakfast on Thursday morning instead.'

So, this morning, I took Sammy to IHOP to get a waffle. As soon as he got served I knew what he was going to say:

"It's not hot enough."

"Don't you think you should taste it first before you say that."

"It's never hot enough."

He waves the waitress down and asks her to heat up the waffle and get him some hot syrup as well. She brings it back smoking on the plate and a large styrofoam container filled with syrup. He dumps the entire content on his waffle and literally drinks both.

No teeth of course.

"How is it?" I asked.

"I'm a little disappointed with the syrup."

"Looks like it didn't stop you from finishing the whole thing."

"Say ... Joel ... I decided to stay with you today."

Panic set in! "We aren't going to eat dinner until about 4. You want to just hang out at the house until then."

"Sure. I'd like to see the O'Malleys."

"You mean Debbie's parents? The Gallaghers?"

"Yeah. Gallaghers ... O'Malleys .... same thing."

I'll let you know how this one turns out. God give me thanks ... or strength ... whatever (same thing).

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Only 120 hours Until Turkey Day

We're doing Thanksgiving at our house this year.

At breakfast, Debbie talked about 'the plan'. "Okay, Joel, I need your help today. I am setting up the table, so you need to get the leaves locked in for me."

"We are setting up the table today? Thanksgiving is 5 days away."

"Yes ... I know ... and we are already a week too late."

"A week too late? If I were doing it, we'd set up the table the day before and put the turkey in the oven and bingo ..."

"Yeah. bingo, we'd wind up at Shoney's eating turkey sandwiches."

"C'mon. I bet the average set up time that families take for Thanksgiving is about three days ... tops."

"Oh yeah? Well let's just look it up."

"Okay." Google brought up tons of Thanksgiving sites and of course ... I was wrong. One site suggested three weeks. I am not making this up ...

Three weeks out:

- Invite your guests 

Oh yeah ... our family doesn't need an invitation. Put out free food and booze and they're there three hours early and leave the next day when the wine runs out.

- Order your organic turkey

What? What the hell is an organic turkey? One that's really healthy before it's slaughtered? I could care less what the turkey eats and how healthy it is before it's plucked and slaughtered as long as it's delicious.

- Set Your Budget  

I guess this should have come up before the organic turkey appeared. Those suckers cost as much as the whole dinner.

- Start checking your grocery store ads and pull out your old decorations

Look for deals like (this was in the list) old Halloween decorations that could be used for Thanksgiving. Personally, I'd like a few Zombies at the table.

Two weeks out:

- Check your linens

In case you spilled crap all over them last year and then just folded them up and put them away? Even I wouldn't do that. Well ... maybe I would have.

- Plan Your Centerpiece and Table Decor

The Zombies are looking better and better.

- Buy a Frozen Turkey

I'm not sure what happened to the organic turkey from the week before. I guess you want to give your guests a choice. "Would you like a healthy turkey ... or would you prefer this frozen, unhealthy, uncooked thing?"

- Check your kitchen supplies and tools

For our family, that means have an adequate supply of plastic forks and paper plates. I won't mention anyone by name ... there is no need to embarrass Dennie with the paper plate stories.

Oh shoot.

- Finalize what dishes your guests will bring

We don't need this step. Our family brings the same stuff every year. The sisters bring about 23 different desserts and Debbie's dad brings a pile of pickled eggs and sloppy joes. Nobody eats the eggs except for Larry which is just fine with him.




By one week out:

- Order flowers

In case anyone actually eats Larry's pickled eggs.

- Polish silver

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha !!!! Oh wait is that POLISH silverware? Like what is Polish silverware? Plastic forks and knives.

-Buy wine

For our group, you don't want to buy it too early. We always check the expiration date on the container.

-Plan activities for the children

All the kids have their own plans this year (smart group). When they do come the plan is: Run through the house for an hour when you arrive, bang on the piano keys until a few of the hammers fall off, whine about having nothing there that they like and fall asleep in the turkey (ooops ... sorry ... that's me).

OKAY  full disclosure: Debbie does not use anything that is paper or plastic. The table is decorated beautifully with crystal and china and the house is immaculate. (as if you didn't know)

Whew ... Debbie's right. I haven't even gotten to shopping, cooking, making lists (Debbie's part time job), and cleaning the house. This preparation stuff wears me out.

I gotta lay down.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Crescent City

Ahhhhh ... Home again.

What a great time we had in New Orleans this weekend. We did some of the tourist stuff of course: Strolling down Royal, munching on po-boys at ACME, sucking down cafe au lait and beignets (although we did that at Morning Call in Metairie), gambling at Harrah's (and at Treasure Chest at the Lake) ...

The highlight of the weekend was a trip to Frenchmen Street Friday night. I could not believe how much that's changed ... It's where the locals live and party. It's what the Quarter USED to be like ... located just outside of the Quarter in the 7th Ward on the other side of Esplanade, Frenchmen Street has it all.

Snug Harbor is still there and rocking the night away with GREAT jazz acts. Any night you might see Charmaine Neville or Ellis Marsailis or Maria Muldaur. We saw Wess Anderson on sax and his son Wess Jr on trombone. They just killed it.

We went with our friends, the Longs who happened to notice me leaning over the balcony with my face in my hands as I watched the piano player beat on the keys. They also noticed I took a little nap at the same time ... dangerously close to falling into the piano.

Trust me ... it wasn't the music that put me to sleep .. it was the food, the drinks and the late night gambling (according to Debbie).

Outside there were street vendors bathed in a sea of lights and selling everything BUT mardi gras beads and hurricanes WHAT A RELIEF. It's only about three blocks or so ... but it is something that you wouldn't want to miss. John Long was so excited he did his happy dance (don't ask ... it's something you WANT to miss).

Here are some other highlights:

Drinks were the order of the day and night and morning and afternoon ... well any time.

Had to take this picture of Carol taking a picture of the drinks. Apparently, she wanted to document everything in case she couldn't remember later. That's a problem in New Orleans ... they are called blackouts.

Street bands were everywhere.

This group played outside of Cafe du Monde. Not sure about the name of the group but they were pretty good. Big surprise huh? That's like saying I ate some a great restaurant in New Orleans.

It's all good.

There was a Saints game ... a big one. Saints vs Falcons. Saints won.

This was either an inflated Saints player at the entrance of a Bourbon Street bar ... or just a guy who lost all his money at the tables, gave a pole dancer his car keys and found out the next morning that he got stuck on a telephone pole.

I love this place.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Pants are Ringing

"I've been calling you." Sammy said ... before I even said hello. The phone display said 'Menorah Manor' which told me that he was calling from the nursing station.

"I didn't get any messages. You okay?"

"Listen ... I dropped my phone a couple of times and now I get a white screen and can't call anybody. What do you think is wrong with it?"

"Well, off hand I'd say you broke it."

"I think I need a new battery."

"It's a brand new phone. I just got it for you two weeks ago. It's a Jitterbug ... they are supposed to be impossible to break."

"I know ... I think I need a battery."

"I think you need another phone."

"Can you fix it for me?"

"I'm not a phone repairman."

"The maintenance guy is getting me a new battery."

"Does he know it's a new phone?"

"Let me talk to Debbie."

"About the phone?"

"About my pants."

"What's wrong with your pants?"

"I had only one pair and it disappeared a few weeks ago."

"So what have you been wearing? No ... don't answer that."

"Will you call Jitterbug?'

"Wait ... what?" My head was spinning. Pants ... phone ...

"Call Jitterbug. They'll replace my phone. They have been so generous."

"Dad ... we write the check and they give us a phone."

"I know."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

What Baby?

Sammy got his Save-the-date card for Nikki's wedding. My first born is getting married on February 2nd.

"Joel ... I got a postcard about Nikki's wedding."

"Great Dad. I knew it was coming ... it's pretty cool, huh?"

"Did you get one?"

"Um .... yes I did."

"Good ... that's good." he paused for a minute then continued. "You know ... I've been thinking about the baby."

"The what?"

"The baby. I know what Nikki should name the baby."

"Dad ... she's getting married ... not having a baby."

"Yeah. Well the baby should be named Lil-e."

"Lilly?"

"No ... Lil - E."

"LILLY"

"LIL - dash - E"

"I don't get it. What kind of name ... what am I SAYING? She's not having a BABY."

"I used to call your mother 'E' remember? Esther ... 'E'."

"I remember."

"Actually it was Little E ... LIL-E. Tell Nikki .... she's got to name the baby Lil-E. Okay?"

"Okay Dad ... I'll tell her." I smiled. "Nice name."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sammy on Saturday

"How's that girl doing at the university?"

"Dad ... are you talking about the President?"

"Yes ... her."

"She is doing fine."

"I hope she does something about education."

"Well, I think she does something about education every day."

"I mean something about how expensive it is. I read that we are spending a ridiculous amount of money. Maybe we should try to find other things to keep kids off the street."

"What?"

"Yeah that's right ... we spend too much money on education and health care and ... entertainment."

"Entertainment?"

"You didn't know that?"

"Dad ... the government doesn't ..."

"And ... I think we should probably get rid of football."

"At USF?"

"Everywhere."

"What? College football is your life. You watch every game played on TV."

"I could do without it ... it's ruining the country."

"LSU included."

"No ... that's different Joel. You know that."

I looked at Sammy and just shook my head. Last week ... the doctor said that he was on his last legs. His heart was failing, he wasn't eating and he was quarantined from the rest of the residents with a bad eye infection. He looked like he was about ten years younger.

"Dad ... your eye looks better."

"I know ... no more mensa (translation: mersa)."

"You're getting out more?"

"First time in weeks I went to Red Lobster."

"Good."

"You know what I decided? I want to eat a shrimp."

"That's a switch."

"I always was taught I'd go to hell if I ate that stuff. Anything that wasn't kosher"

"You used to eat bacon every morning."

"That was different."

Ahhhh ... what a surprise.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Irish Adventures Part 4


One thing that you notice immediately when you arrive in Galway is that you are VERY OLD if you are over 30. There are two major universities in town and apparently, anyone our age (over ... um ... 40) doesn't come near the place.

Our hotel was located right on Eyre Square, filled with great little shops and quite a few pubs. Get this ... across the street was a TX Maxx (no relation to TJ Maxx) and a Penney's (no relation to JC Penneys ... or JCP).

What we also found out ... later that evening ... was that there was a nightclub behind the hotel that played loud music until 2AM and the walls in our rooms vibrated with every bass note. To get to the lobby, we had to crawl over drunken bodies and rivers of ... well, you don't want to know.

Undaunted, we decided to venture to the streets and found the greatest little restaurant/pub that featured Irish dancing and music.

The guitar player sang traditional ballads like Rose of Tralee, Danny Boy ... and Ring of Fire by Johnny O'Cash.

The bar even had two Irishmen who sat in their usual chairs and talked politics and traded barbs about each other's wives ... and then played who could drink the most Guinness before passing out in the black pudding.








We headed back to our Disco/Hotel for the night and got about 10 minutes of sleep before venturing out on our next adventure ... The Kylemore Abbey in Connemara.

The Abbey in inhabited by Benedictine Nuns but was built by a wealthy doctor from London for his wife. It has 33 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a Gothic cathedral and a family mausoleum. The wife must have been high maintenance ... either that or they had a lot of guests spend the night who didn't have alot of bathroom needs. Anyway, as the story goes, he sold it to a Duke who had a gambling problem (really) and went bankrupt.

It costs about $50 now to tour the abbey (some tour ... you can only see 5 rooms and a few statues).

The nuns bought it in 1920 and turned it into a boarding school for kids who liked to hide behind bear cut-outs.

They closed the school a few years ago (bears must have gone out of style) but continue to reside there.




After this tour ... we headed to the Ashford Castle to take ANOTHER tour. Fortunately ... it was closed.



Monday, October 8, 2012

Irish Adventures Part 3

We got an early start from Killarney in the morning.

Dennie was our resident tour guide and read about every historic and non historic fact that Steve Rick or Rick Steves (whoever he is) wrote about as we drove.

We headed to the Dingle Peninsula.

Ed note: Had to laugh at the name. In New Orleans ... Mr. Bingle is Santa's helper at Maison Blanche during Christmas time (he's a snowman with the ice cream cone hat) As a kid we used to sing the song: "Jingle jangle jingle ... here comes Mr. Bingle"


The town of Dingle was right out of a movie.

Fish and chips were the order of the day ... Guinness of course was served ... shopping ... sightseeing ...

The coastline truly is one of the most incredible places I have ever seen in my life...


Incredible views ...


... in every direction ...



... literally ...



There is even a full size statue of Jesus sitting in the mountain. If you look very closely ... you can see that there is a candle sitting at the foot of the statue. I held Debbie's feet as she placed it in the mountain. (Just kidding ... actually she WANTED to get a closer look but I took the picture instead).

Then back to the car where Dennie read to us about ... our next stop for the night ... Galway.

Irish Adventures Part 2

Landed in Dublin on Tuesday morning and began what was to become the longest day of my life. (and a lot of fun)

We rented a car at the airport.

Enterprise was in a little room removed from the rest of civilization ... they must have ticked off someone at the airport. Tom agreed to drive (an act of unselfishness that I am sure he has regretted ever since).

After agreeing to the insurance clause by depositing our first born children, we were off.

Those of you unfamiliar with the Irish countryside, the roads were apparently constructed by sheepherders who had just finished off a few hundred gallons of Guinness. First of all ... the steering wheels of their cars are on the right. Secondly, they drive on the left hand side of the road. Third ... and most importantly ... the roads are about 12 inches wide and sheep have the right of way.

No one returns rental cars with rear view mirrors still attached. They are ripped off by the foliage along the sides of the roads.

I rolled down the window to get a picture of a sheep and my arm was almost severed from my body.


It was a pretty cool picture though.

Poor Tom had to have driven about a thousand miles that day.

We drove from Dublin to Kinsale .... the food capital of Ireland ... and had lunch at the Blue Haven Cafe.

Great cafe with lots of atmosphere. The Irish are not known for tasty food but I discovered that the food DID have a taste.

All the food pretty much tasted the same.



Except for the gas stations ...

The gas stations were the best. Not only did they serve good food but they had hair salons, spas, pharmacies, dry cleaners, everything.





AND ... they had 3000 forms of Cadbury chocolates. 

We then drove down to County Cork and Baltimore ... to a great Pub and had our first Guinness. (See top picture

We FINALLY wound up in Kilarney where we spent the night at the Riverside Hotel.

Here is the view from our room.

Despite rain showers every few hours that last about five minutes ... Ireland is truly one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

Part 3 to come ...