Saturday, September 18, 2021

Park Here!

 When we got to the end of the long lane we walked to get to the library the other day, we took a left turn and then another a few steps later. We spotted the park.

The top of the sign (public park) indicates that it's a project of Údarás na Gaeltachta, which is a regional authority promoting social, economic, and cultural development of the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking areas). Note the wee walker at the bottom of the sign. We'd seen a trail behind some greenery and a fence when we were nearing the end of the lane, so now we knew what it was. On the way back, we veered off and strolled along the short looped trail. It was quite lovely, surrounded by green and with lots of benches. It would be a beautiful spot to sit with some tea and a book or some stitching. 

I always notice the lichens and mosses on the trees. Such beautiful abstract artwork my Mother Earth.
What a great find this wee park was for us--we'll enjoy meandering along the trail again.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Dew Hang Around

 Even though it was mid-afternoon when we walked to the library yesterday, there was still some dew (or maybe mizzle from the night before) on some of the plants. Gorgeous!



Thursday, September 16, 2021

Let's Go This Way

 Today we decided to take an alternate route to the library. It's about a kilometre longer than the way google maps recommends, which is the way we've gone before, but that's OK. We headed out and started down one lane, then took the second left onto the long lane that would take us there, coming at the library from the opposite side.
It was a lovely walk.






on our way home

It takes us longer to get to the library when we go this way, but that's OK. We can go the other way if we want to get there quicker (15-20 minutes each way). We can go this way if we want more of a stroll. Or we can go one way and come back the other--it'll just depend on what kind of mood we're in on a given day. It's all good and with the library as the destination, there's no way to go wrong! 😀



Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Wednesday Words of Wisdom: Climbing Out of the Pit of Despair

 Pema Chodron again, like last week. I so value her teaching. When I was at a very low point, living in Sucktown and seriously depressed, hoping every night that I would not wake up in the morning and being angry and upset when I did, it was her teaching that started to help me out of it. I was working at the local library at the time and I would check out audiobook CDs by her. As I lay in bed crying, I would listen and she provided me with things to think about without getting up and while still crying. Eventually, I stopped crying and I got up. I was healing. I climbed out of the pit of despair. I continue to be grateful for the access I have to her and other Buddhist teaching/psychology. I hope I never feel like that again. I find secular Buddhist thought/teaching to be very commonsensical. This quote makes perfect sense and as so often happens, I read it and think, 'Exactly!' Sometimes, though, I need a reminder.

'Let your curiosity be greater than your fear.'

And here's one from a different direction:
'When you feel in your gut what you are and then dynamically pursue it—don't back down and don't give up—then you're going to mystify a lot of folks.'

—Bob Dylan

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Solicitude

 A couple of weeks ago, we had to go to Dungloe for an appointment. We took the opportunity to do some grocery shopping and use a voucher we had from a local store. As a result, when we were on our way home, my large backpack was heavy. We walked from the grocery store to the bus stop--about 1/2 mile. The bus came and we got on. Our usual driver, John (not his real name) was back after an absence of a couple weeks. When we got home, John pulled up in front of our building and got up to open the door and go down the stairs. As he was going for the door, he grabbed my backpack and said, 'I'll take that for you.' and brought it down the steps. When we were all outside, he said, 'You know, I do a town run. I will be at SuperValu at about 1:40. I'll remind you next time.' He said this two or three times and I was surprised, but nodding and saying, 'OK, go raibh maith agat' (pronounced go-ruh-ma-huh-gut, or something similar depending on dialect--this means thank you).  As we were making our way inside and he was driving away, I was thinking about this. I remembered that he had driven up as we were heading to SuperValu, so had seen us there. It dawned on me that he might be concerned about the weight of my pack and me carrying it from the shops to the bus stop. 

Yesterday, we went back to Dungloe. As we were disembarking, he reminded me that he would be by at about 1:40 and added, 'There's no need for you to carry that heavy pack all this way.' Of course, after that, we would have felt like jerks if we didn't wait at the store, so we did even though we could have managed the load. He drove up, we settled in and stayed on the bus until we were dropped off right outside our door again.

We've been riding various buses here, in different areas (mostly rural), for over 7 years and I have been so impressed with how kind and considerate everyone is. There have been one or two grouchy drivers, but almost all of them have gone out of their way to be helpful. This is particularly true on these small rural routes. On this one, many people come from small villages further out than ours to go to Dungloe and get groceries. The shops here are pretty good, but they are more expensive than Aldi, Lidl, or SuperValu. Sometimes they aren't well stocked. And the shops in Dungloe have other things besides food. So older people will get on the bus with their 'granny trolleys' and go grocery shopping in Dungloe. Even before we moved here and started using this bus, I've seen them in Aldi and Lidl doing the town run. The drivers were in and out of the bus, taking bags from full trolleys (the grocery store carts/carriages) and loading them into the bus for the people riding. They get out and open the door when people get on and off. When someone gets on and wants to chat, they engage in conversation. One day during our move, Bill and I were the only two on the bus back home. I asked John a question about Irish and we had a mini Irish lesson. Then he told us some stories about the area and what it was like when he was growing up. It was great fun. 

The bus also serves as a social setting. Irish people get free travel passes when they turn 66 (Bill has one that allows both of us to ride free), so older people get on in groups or they sit by someone already on and the conversations and laughing begins. People talk about their own lives, what's going on in the community, people they know, world events, and more. Sometimes people  reminisce about the old days. I've learned a lot as I've ridden various buses! It's a wonderful part of living where and as we do!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Still a Bit Off, But Still Grateful

 Since we finished moving, I've been trying to settle in and get into a new routine. I have been unsuccessful. I'm still feeling a bit discombobulated for some reason. This may partly be due to the summer weather we had last week. This always throws me off kilter as I am uncomfortable and don't sleep well. I am so looking forward to autumnal weather--less sun, more mizzle and drizzle, wind with a bit of a sharp edge to it all make me extremely happy, comfortable, and I sleep well. I think I just need a week or two of restful sleep at my ideal time (2-3am to 9-10 am) and walks that do not involve feeling like I am being roasted alive.

I am also getting used to working in a kitchen without a freezer or an oven. I knew there was a chance of being freezer-less, but when we looked at the place, I didn't think to check. The fridge is an under counter one, but it's for under a tall counter--in this case, it's under the breakfast bar. It's a nice size that I'm happy with. And I won't miss defrosting a freezer, but I do miss having one. We've looked into it and we can get a mini/tabletop freezer, but we decided to see how we get on before buying one. We really do not want to own an appliance like that. If we do end up moving again, it'd just be one more thing to either haul or try to sell. When we were moving this time, the local charity shop couldn't accept anything with a plug, so donating it could be tricky if it came to that.

After we got the keys and were hanging out here for the first time, it took me an hour or so to realize that there is no oven here. I did not notice when looking at the photos in the listing or when we came to view. This I do not care about. I am happy enough to have the cupboard space instead of having it taken up with an oven I would try not to use. Every oven I've had since we came to Ireland has been crap--very inefficient. When I would turn them on, I could feel the air being blown out the door as the fan came on. The seals were probably shot. They were all old. It took forever to preheat and cook things. If I tried to use them without the fans, cooking time was even longer. I hated them. I'd never used ovens like that before--small with fans (but not convection ovens). In our first Irish apartment, I found the manual in a cupboard so used that as a guide to familiarize myself with the symbols and settings. When I read that it would take half an hour to cook a piece of salmon, I knew this was not gonna be a great appliance. And I've experienced worse ovens since. A few years ago, a then local grocery store had George Foreman indoor grills on sale and I happened to have a voucher. We bought one for 15 euro, figuring that it would pay for itself in electricity cost savings. It did and it didn't take long. Since then, I've kept my eyes open for other ways to avoid the oven, such as making things like stuffing and lasagna in my slow cooker instead of the oven. They come out much better and use a fraction of the energy. Still, there were some things for which neither the slow cooker nor the grill would work, so we looked into it and decided to get an air fryer to use as an oven. After reading some blogs and watching some videos, I understood that we needed to look for one that was wide instead of tall, with more surface area at the bottom of the basket. Lo and behold, on the day we got our security deposit back and handed over the keys to the apartment in Dungloe, we were in Lidl picking up some groceries and what did I see but exactly the kind of air fryer I was looking for. Yay! They had another smaller one that was half the price, but I could tell from the picture on the box that the round basket had a small bottom, so I passed on that one. The one we got has a 9 1/2 inch square basket. It seems like it will work just fine. I decided to keep it simple the first time I used it, so just made some fresh potato wedges. It took 15 minutes to do what has taken at least an hour in my previous ovens. So I'm happy. I will be learning the quirks and have been getting a few cookbooks from the library.

As a bonus, when we left Lidl, it was about 1:20. The bus we take between here and Dungloe also does local town runs, the last of which is at 1:30. So we waited right outside the door with our groceries and our large box. The bus pulled up, the driver got out, grabbed the box, placed it on a seat, and waited until we got on before closing the door and moving along. Then we did the rest of the town run, went back to the Main St. stop, picked up a couple more people, and came home. We get dropped off right outside our door, so we did not have to try to carry the box around town on either end, which would have been awkward. It still amazes me that we can live out here in this very rural place and we do not have to burden ourselves with car ownership. It's another thing that I am grateful for.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

 From my Tricycle Daily Dharma email this morning:

'It can be hard to tell what’s a failure and what’s just something that is shifting your life in a different direction. In other words, failure can be the portal to creativity, to learning something new, to having a fresh perspective.'

—Pema Chödrön, “How to Fail”