Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gimme Snow.

Friends, I love weather. I especially love weather that changes frequently. It must be due to some of my attention deficit. Growing up I enjoyed the ever-changing Hawaiian weather. Blue skies would change into dark clouds of rain lasting 5 minutes, which gave me just enough time as a kid to run outside and cool off in it. I've observed changeable weather in many beautiful places. I am an appreciator of it. Today in my current locale of UT, I am enjoying the beautiful snow falling outside of my window. I know many that absolutely loathe this weather (some of them being members of my own family). I suppose I look at it as an excuse to be indoors to cuddle up with a good book, movie, hot chocolate, or a significant other. There are good times to be had, friends. Indeed there are.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

15 days of Christmas Songs #15

I came across this song the other day on youtube, and had forgotten how much I love it. I think these words sum up so much of what I feel for this time of year. It's all about my family, and most importantly about Jesus. Like the last line says, "My precious Jesus is more than an heirloom to me". I am thankful for the life and birth of my Savior. Lo amo con todo mi corazon.

To anyone reading my humble blog, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

Up in the attic
Down on my knees
Lifetimes of boxes
Timeless to me
Letters and photographs
Yellowed with years
Some bringing laughter
Some bringing tears

Time never changes
The memories, the faces Of loved ones, who bring to me
All that I come from
And all that I live for
And all that I'm going to be
My precious family
Is more than an heirloom to me

Wiseman and shepherds
Down on their knees
Bringing their treasures
To lay at his feet
Who was this wonder baby yet king
Living and dying
He gave life to me

Time never changes
The memory, the moment His love first pierced through me
Telling all that I come from
And all that I live for
And all that I'm going to be
My precious savior
Is more than an heirloom to me

My precious Jesus Is more than an heirloom to me

15 days of Christmas Songs #14

My brother Shane reminded me this morning that the songs from "Scrooge" are pretty great. Of course I knew this, but when it comes down to it, there are so many great songs that it's hard to choose! For day 14 I have added a few songs from the movie. In our Hawaii days, I was actually in this play as a 9 year old. I played an Urchin. It's true.
I love the story of Ebenezer Scrooge by Charles Dickens. Scrooge is a tight-fisted, greedy man who hates Christmas and anything that engenders happiness. Through the course of one night (x-mas eve), he is visited by three ghosts that change his life forever. He repents of his ways and becomes a model of generosity and kindness. "Many laughed to see this alteration in him, but he let them laugh and little heeded them. His own heart laughed and that was quite enough for him. And it was always said of him that he knew how to keep Christmas well if any man alive possessed the knowledge."

Take note of Tiny Tim's song (#2). I could cry, really.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday thoughts

Two songs coming tomorrow...

Friends, I'm feeling a little emotional today. Good emotional. Thankful emotional. Christmas emotional.
This week I was able to be a part of a Sub 4 Santa, and it was a great experience. It caused me to reflect on Christmas as a little girl, and receiving from good people that wanted to help our financially needy family. I was asked to write up a little something to tell about the family, etc. Here is what I came up with:

The Guzman Family:
On Monday morning, a co-worker and I piled many boxes of gifts into my car and headed for the Guzman home in Orem to spread a little Christmas cheer. From what we knew, this family had come upon hard times not long ago when Sandra and Alexis’ Guzman’s mother died. They have since been living with their grandmother, Alba, who was disabled. Upon arrival at the humble home, Alba met us and welcomed us inside. She handed me a card, then began telling the story of their hardships. Her daughter, the mother of Sandra and Alexis, had been killed while visiting her home of El Salvador. As her mother put it, she was killed for $125. Alba began to cry and told us it had been very hard for her and for the children since her daughter’s death. She told us of her gratitude for the gifts we were providing and hugged us both.
Before we left, I looked around and noticed that there was no tree in sight, then asked if they had one. The reply was no. The wheels started rolling in my head, and I recalled a x-mas tree I bought at an after holiday sale last year for $5 and was currently sitting in storage. I assured her she’d have one. A tree, along with lights and ornaments were provided that very evening.
What a wonderful experience for us to be a part of! I was grateful to have brought a little hope and cheer to a family who had obviously been struggling financially and emotionally.
As a young girl, my family had many years of financial hardship. I recall the same kind of help each year at Christmas time from various donors. I am just grateful that I could give back in a small way for all of the years that I received.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

15 days of Christmas Songs #13

Caroling, caroling... this is a family tradition. Every Christmas eve we take to the streets and knock on unsuspecting neighbors doors and sing our little hearts out. Good times are had by all!

Monday, December 21, 2009

15 days of Christmas Songs - #12

Seriously, this is my favorite song to sing in church during the holiday season. This version is a bit different, but the words are the same and just as lovely.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

15 days of Christmas Songs - #11

I always love this one too. Friends, I love this season - period!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

15 days of Christmas Songs - #10

We've been listening to the following group, The Singers Unlimited, for as long as I can remember. My parents taught us to love the tight harmonies. Hope you enjoy it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

15 days of Christmas Songs #9

This song has much more meaning being far away from home at Christmas time. I remember hearing it while I was in China many years ago. I could hardly wait to get home to my family before Christmas! My sister Shannon and I listened to this song frequently and felt the anticipation of singing x-mas songs by the fire, devouring mom's special x-mas eve soups, and just being with those we loved. I'm sure this song resonates with those who are especially far away from family at this time of year. Some won't be able to be with their loved ones, but like the song says "I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams..." Sometimes the memories of Christmases past suffices. Make it a good one, folks!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

15 days of Christmas songs - #7

Who doesn't love a Charlie Brown Christmas?! This song brings back memories of watching my favorite x-mas movies on t.v. as a kid. Charlie Brown was one of them. Love it so much.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

15 days of Christmas Songs - #6

If you have ever been to the my family's home for Christmas, you know that there is one song that is always requested above all others. Heck, it doesn't even have to be Christmas. We've been known to sing it in mid-July! This song is so dear and so sentimental that my mom has requested it for her funeral one day. Ah, bless her - it's going to be a long time! My sisters and I have been singing this song in 3 part harmony since I was about 12. Here is Amy Grant's rendition.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

15 days of Christmas Songs - #4

I adore this song. I hope you'll hear and feel the warmth this song brings to the Christmas season for me. Each time I hear it, I feel like an observer watching a beautiful Christmas scene unfolding before me - filled with the most tender parts of the season. For me, it is my family. What would this season be without them to share it with?
If you haven't heard of First Call before, I take pleasure in introducing you...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

15 days of Christmas Songs - #3

Thanks to Franz Schubert for this magnificent song. While 'Ave Maria' is widely considered a church song, it is actually a secular art song. It is tells the story about a young maiden who implores Mary to give her comfort in her time of distress. I always hear this piece around Christmas time and think it is absolutely beautiful - whether hearing a man or woman sing it. I was pleased to find that Andrea Bocelli sings it so amazingly. Enjoy.

Friday, December 11, 2009

15 Days of Christmas Songs - #2

Ah, Harry. I suppose he is one of the "newer" Christmas favorites - even though his x-mas album came out in 1993. I always love hearing this song at this time of year. The nostalgia of it is great. I was 17, and I have such memories of good friends back in high school, of being in heavy like with someone, and of fun times working at Chick-fil-A. Those were the days, eh? Do enjoy one of my favorite vocalists, Mr. Harry Connick Jr.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

15 days of Christmas carols - #1

Who doesn't love a good Christmas song, eh? Here we start with song #1 for 15 days of fave Christmas songs. You may find some of them cheesy; some are, yes. You will most certainly find them sentimental. If you know me, you know that music and memories are synonymous. They truly go together - especially at Christmas time. Each Christmas is filled with old songs and new. Truth be told, I prefer the old. The sounds of songs I've known since I was a little girl fill me with such joy for the season and for life. I am a sentimental girl.

And here we go, folks.

Ah, this one could very well make me cry. Then again, I'm pretty sure all of them will.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thanksgiving in Charlotte

My ideal vacation... to simply do nothing, and to be with people I love. Yep, that was my recent trip to Charlotte, NC. Time spent at my baby sister's home is simply that - a true vacation. We don't have to go sight-seeing, and we don't have an agenda of any kind. My time is simply spent in her beautiful yellow house playing, or just sitting with my nephews Gavin and Ryan, my brother-in-law Kurt, and my little sister Caiti. Sometimes it is a surreal experience realizing once again (after ten years) that my sister (4 years younger) has a family. Folks, lemme just say that my little sister is great at her current occupation of mother and wife. She's so smart and could do big things with her life, but her greatest joy is being a mom to G & R. She puts her family before anything else. What I love about Caiti is she has such a calmness about her. Even growing up, it seems like she was always the calm one. I hardly remember her raising her voice. I love that about her parenting style, too. She gets on her sons' level amid chaos and encourages peace. There are some people that were simply meant to be mothers, and she is definitely one of them. Also, she's gorgeous. Seriously. Kurt is a lucky husband! Needless to say, I love 'er.

I wasn't the only visitor over the course of the week of Thanksgiving. My brother Shane and awesome sis-in-law Sharon and their boys came to visit as well. That makes THREE Curran siblings. But hold on, big brother Quinn also made it in town with g-friend Darlene. It was a Curran party with half of us siblings at Caiti's house. Fun times were had by all. Good times in Charlotte! Thanks for everything, Caiti. Love you!

Beauty of a little sis 'n me.

Awes sis-in-law Sharon and her silly Aidan.

Sharon and Shane's cute Owen 'n me.

Crazy faces of Ryan, Gavin and Auntie.

Ryan and I enjoying our delicious t-give dinner. Seriously, seriously yummy!

Auntie & Gavin.

The Summerhays family.

Sisters and sis-in-law (pretty much my sister) on a little outing together. Fun, fun.

Curran siblings representing in Charlotte.

Displaying the sibling line-up: Quinn - 1, Caiti - 6, Me - 4, Shane - 3.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Yep, me too.

This is a thankful time of year, and I feel inclined to add my own thoughts.

I'm thankful for...

  • Mom & Dad for letting me bunk with them for a few months whilst I figure out where I want to be and what I want to do with my life.
  • My co-workers - especially the ones motivating me to get my booty in gear and do P90X!
  • My friends from the ward - especially Katy for motivating me to do the triathlon and to keep reaching for things I never thought I'd do physically (Santa Run comin' up!)
  • My nephews for thinking I'm cool and fun, even when I don't feel it.
  • The Bombay House. If you've been there, you know what I'm talkin' 'bout.
  • My brother Conn for making me feel oh-so youthful by still calling me Erbear.
  • My Slanket.
  • Melanee, for being one of the top roommates/landlords E-VAH! I thank you for the talks, the laughs, and the understanding. I miss you already.
  • Single life.
  • The hope of non-single life.
  • The hope of family life.
  • Five On The Fly.
  • The friends who come to shady sports bars and endure the drunks and hoochie dancers to support Five On The Fly. I thank you all, a lot.
  • My Bombay friends. You know who you are.
  • The discovery/introduction of new music that still moves and creates new memories for me.
  • Falling for someone and getting my heart broken, but thankful to know that I can fall in the first place - difficult as it may be for it to end.
  • The hope that I won't get my heart broken, but that I may actually fall in love and be loved in return.
  • Christmas lights.
  • Cheesy Christmas music - except for 'Christmas Shoes'. I really can't stand that song.
  • Having brothers and sisters to just hang with.
  • H.F. - especially H.F.

The list shall go on another time. I'm thankful for all of you that even take a peek at my wee blog.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Have any of you tried this program? Holy moly, it's brutal. But, I LOVE IT!! Every morning at 6:30 I meet up with a group of friends from work to do this mother of all work-outs. For one thing, I am not a morning person by any means, so this is the first hurdle. I actually have to get up at 5:45 to get there on time. Oh, and did I mention it's a little on the chilly side in the morning? Yep. Then, of course, the program is tough. Very tough. However, I'm doing it.
People, I.AM.DOING.IT!!
It has been a long time since I've been dedicated to doing something physically like this (with the exception of the Tri). Every day I find the motivation to get myself out of bed and get myself there. Each morning when the alarm clock goes off, I really just want to throw it across the room and sleep forever, but I don't. I am grateful for the motivation - wherever it is coming from. I don't have any great goal. Like the traithlon, I just want to finish. I want to know that I did it. Losing weight would be a plus, but it's not absolutely necessary. I want to know that I'm helping my body be a little healthier than it was before. Plus, I have to tell you, I just feel good. It's nice to tell people that I've been up since the crack of dawn doing some serious exercising. I think they might even respect me.

There's a kind of glow in my face, and a spring in my step.

Is it love?

It's P90X, baby!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I cry.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Single and Tri-ing!

The amazing Divas!

Drew's Divas!
Victoria Jane and me getting ready for the tri!
Riding in on my flat tire.
The famous Drew and me.
Finishing the race.
One of my best friends from high school days was doing the tri too!
All of the 33 year old Divas displaying their digits.
119, yo.

So much to say… well, I FINISHED! Yes, I, Erincita finished my very first triathlon! All I can say is, I’m gonna do it again! You know, agreeing to do the triathlon in the first place made me nervous, to say the least. However, knowing that I was doing it with 9 other girls gave me great motivation. Not only that, but doing it for a cause (Drew) was a big deal for me. I am still having a hard time believing that I really did it. It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure, but I now know what I’m made of and will do it again.
Next time I’ll definitely have a road bike instead of a mtn. bike. Oh, and I’ll bring back-up just in case I get a flat like I did on Saturday . Such a bummer, for real!
Friends, I am proud. You will definitely see more entries in the future of the coming triathlons. I hear it’s an addiction, and I think I’m hooked!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Friends... I solicit your help.

Dear Friends,

I know a guy. His name starts with a Dr and ends with an ew. He is amazing, talented, kind, funny and so many other things. This friend of mine has cancer and needs help paying for his incredibly costly meds. Check out his blog and get to know him @ - chances are, you'll love him too.

This weekend a few of Drew's biggest fans and I are doing a triathlon to help raise money for his cause. If you are able to donate any amount of $$, please either let me know or go to and make a contribution under

I thank you for any help you can give. He's definitely worth it, folks.

Many thanks!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Still here...

and still finding purpose in every day of my life. Just been so darn busy!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Purpose #7

To be humbled by my own frustrating imperfections... daily.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Purpose #6

To learn from children. I had my first international experience while teaching English in China to young kids when I was 20 years old. I don't think anything could have prepared me for the experience I was about to have. Those kids (even being 10-13 year olds) loved me. It was one of those defining moments in my life where I really felt I learned to love. I never knew how much children could touch my life. Never. I love the children in my life. My nephews, who are so dear and so important me teach me everyday. They love their Auntie Erin, and don't care how imperfect I am. It's a trait I hope to learn.
After China, I was able to teach English in Russia as well and open my heart to yet another group of children across the world. How blessed I was, and blessed I continue to be!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Purpose #4 & 5

To be amazed, cry, and rejoice at the vocal talent of Brian Stokes Mitchell - especially evident in the song below.
To be moved by the words of this song, and to understand my own important and glorious quest in this life.

This could quite possibly be one of my favorite songs.

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

Friday, October 2, 2009

Purpose #3

To show kindness to those around me, and to be the recipient of others' kindness.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Purpose #2

Walking, running, dancing, kissing, and singing in the rain.

Today the rain is falling. I adore it.

I hear leaves drinking rain;
I hear rich leaves on top
Giving the poor beneath
Drop after drop;
'Tis a sweet noise to hear
These green leaves drinking near.

And when the Sun comes out,
After this Rain shall stop,
A wondrous Light will fill
Each dark, round drop;
I hope the Sun shines bright;
'Twill be a lovely sight.

- William Henry Davies

Monday, September 28, 2009

Purpose #1

To enjoy the wonders and beauty of this good earth. Fall being one of my fave wonders. Ahh, so incredible!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Hmm... what is mine?

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Oh District of Columbia, I like thee - a lot. I was born just outside of DC, and my dear dad grew up just beyond its borders. There's a lot of history in our family back east, and need I say of our country? Such a great place. I traveled there for work yet again. This work trip was relatively short, but I of course managed to extend the trip to include NYC - since it was Labor Day weekend and all.
We stayed at the Ritz Carlton, where the XanGo event was being held. My job during this event included singing the national anthem, which I'm no stranger to at XanGo. I think I'm the official back-up. This was my 3rd time singing it for a major company event.
When we weren't at the hotel enjoying our Bulgari lotions and soaps, or cookies in the lobby, or working, we were out showing our love for the city. One of my favorites was eating at a Moroccan restaurant called Marrakesh. Oh friends... seven courses of delectable food eaten with our hands. It was a culinary delight! Lamb, pastry dishes with chicken, egg, and powdered sugar. So tasty!
Sunday I took a bus (a very nice bus, btw) and headed to my old haunt of NYC. I served my mission there (Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island) and always enjoy going back. These days I know a lot of people that have made NYC their home. Some of my closest friends are Heather & Matt Herrick. I've known them what seems like forever - at 12 or 13 years old. We were all friends in high school, then they got married years after they both served missions. Who knew?! They now have three beautiful children and live in the big city. In the 4 + years they've lived there, I have only visited one other time, which was for 24 hours. So pathetic. It was so nice to spend some quality time with all of them over labor day. We visited a new park made from a portion of an old elevated train track, which was very cool. We sampled the sweet delights of NYC: black and white cookies, brownies from Fat Witch, drinkable yogurt, cream puffs, and vegan chocolate chip cookies. All very delicious. We also took a jaunt into China town to try out the Herrick's favorite noodle shop. The pan fried noodles were so yummy! All in all, a very nice trip around the city. I was amazed that their children were still happy walking after so many hours. I loved that Margaret held my hand and told me about anything that was on her mind as we walked. Oh the 6 year old! So cute.
I love New York City, and I think I always thought I'd go back to the city to live. However, every time I go back, I'm reminded that I wouldn't have a car (my freedom), I'm reminded of icky humidity, and of the general inconvenience of getting place to place. I love it, but I think I like my car for a while.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Band

Here is the link to the cover band I sing for. We recently took some new pics - hooray! I got tired of looking like I played the guitar in the original. So, check it out. Oh, and I've added some of our pics that didn't make the cover shot.
Oh, and my sister Shannon took the pics. She's great. Check out her photography link here.

Go here for the band.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Holy moly, it's my 200th blog post!

Here is a video highlight to commemorate the occasion. Do enjoy!

Me and big bro. Quinn rollin', rollin', rollin' down the river.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Ireland & Me

Lovely Carol (left) and Claire. Here we are bonding at Johnny Rockets in Dublin. They are fabulous!
Your basic Irish breakfast. Sooo delish!
Me 'n Betsy on our way to walk the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge.
Giants Causeway. Amazing!
Probably the first hour of our 11 mile hike. I was still pretty happy then.

I made the first trek to my own 'holy land' in 2000. Ireland, the land of my ancestors. A most extraordinary place not only to my eyes, but to my heart. The lush green land, the rising hills zig-zagged with ancient rock walls, the plunging cliffs that surround it, the chocolate (for heaven's sake!), the moody weather (that I love so well), and of course, the people. This recent trip was my fourth in 9 years. Yes, Ireland captured me upon first meet. My Fitzsimmons cousins were living in Cork at the time and introduced me to a most spectacular country. In the 3 separate times I visited, I was so enchanted by it that I had to bring different people each time I went. Jenny Beth, Stacy, Justin, Scott and Brianne. Of course they all fell in love with it too.
For almost 6 years I have been away from my beloved Ireland (which oddly enough, means Erin in the Irish). I was all too ecstatic for yet another home-coming, and this time with Lorie, Betsy and Vicki.
And here is how it went:

Wednesday: Arrived in Dublin via Ryan Air, stayed with Claire White (thank you!), then went to sleep (it was quite late). Oh, and I was driving on the beloved left side of the street. Eeks!

Thursday: Ventured out and away to Northern Ireland. Our destination: Giant's Causeway Hotel. We arrived at our hotel around 2 or 3, then after a little rest, we decided to head over to the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge via bus. It was only a few miles away. This bridge is a rope suspension bridge in Country Antrim. It links the mainland to the teeny Carrick Island. A place where salmon fishermen frequently fished. The views are stunning.
After we finished capturing the beauty with our eyes and our lenses, we headed back to the visitors center and tea house. I then was told by Lorie (who had researched the area, the attractions, hikes, etc.) that we were going to take a 16km hike back to the hotel. Apparently it goes right along the ridge of the beautiful cliffs in the area, and is supposed to be a great little walk. Well, right up front I'll tell you that I'm not a big hiker. I enjoy a leisurely hike once in a while, but an 11 mile hike isn't a normal thing for me to do. Well, they all decided to go, and I tried deciding if I really wanted to spend 3 hours + on a long walk. I figured, why not?! So, we headed out. It was raining only slightly, but it was lovely. As you all know, I love me some good rain. We kept on and saw some amazing scenery. After every ridge we crossed, I kept thinking that we'd see our goal at some point. We seemed to be saying "I think it's after this ridge" quite frequently. But after every ridge, no hotel. After 3 hours into it, I got restless. I started booking it, and by booking, I mean I was running up every hill I came to. I wouldn't rest (even though I was exhausted from little sleep the nights before, and from this up and down hill hike). I couldn't talk to anyone, because I was in a serious zone. I HAD to find my goal! Where was it?! One sheep pasture after another, one set of boarded steps after another and there was still no end in sight. Four hours passed, and then five. At this point, I was probably talking to myself to make myself keep going. You see, there was no bus that could come and get us, and there were certainly no roads anywhere near. We were off the beaten path, for real! Well, it was 10pm, and the sun had set, though still shined a bit of light for us weary hikers. Every now and then from my weariness would come exhilaration at the sight of what was in front of me or behind me. The views were absolutely stunning! How could I not be swept away by it? I usually gave thanks to my maker at these moments, and also asked for endurance to keep going - though my goal was nowhere in sight. I probably muttered a '3 hour hike? yeah right!' a few times. When I finally saw my goal, I think I could've cried. I walked just as quickly to reach it - even though my companions were a half mile behind me.
When I finally got to my room, I took off my shoes (noticed the lovely swelling in my cankles), and said a prayer. I was thankful to have finished. I was thankful for the much needed energy given to me at my weakest moments, and I was thankful that I would never have to do it again if I didn't want to! There were a lot of personal lessons I learned; things I learned about myself and how I handle trials and how I endure them. Interesting, isn't it?
Well anyway, Vicki had a million cuts on her feet from her shoes (sad), but she also made it.

Friday: Saw Giants Causeway. Wow and wow! Take a look. We then packed up our things (before eating a delicious Irish breakfast), and headed on our way toward Galway. On our way, we passed Yeats country. The place where poet W.B. Yeats grew up. We visited the church he frequented, and paid a visit to his grave stone. In my English Literature days at school, I read much of his works, and was happy to see where so much of his inspiration came from.
We drove through the many beautiful counties of N. Ireland, then finally got to Galway.
Checked into our hotel, then went to see the new Harry Potter movie at the Omniplex. Fun!

Saturday: Well, by this point I was running out of money, and I was still dead from the hike two days before. So, the girls left early and went to see one of the Aran Islands. I, on the other hand, ventured around Galway. It's such a great little town, and it's bigger than most too. If I were to live in Ireland, I think I'd definitely consider the lovely city.
Once the girls got back, we headed to the city center to find some pub grub, and find it we did. I had a plate of Shepherd's pie. Delish! It was while we were out to dinner that I found out I'd have to cut my trip short in Ireland. It's true. Flights were looking bad at best, and my only chance for getting out of Dublin would be Monday morning.

Sunday: Attended the itty bitty branch in Galway and loved it. Had some lunch, then I parted from the amigas and took an almost 4 hour bus ride to Dublin. I was very sad to leave them, because they were on their way to see some of my favorite parts of Ireland. The Cliffs of Moher, and the Ring of Kerry. Ah well, it just means I'll have to get back there sooner than later.
I rang Claire and asked if I could stay with her one more night, which of course she was willing (bless her). Then, she and daughter Carol took me to Johnny Rockets for some good ol' American food and great conversation. I munched on onion rings and an oreo shake. Yum!

Monday: Departed from my favorite country and got Business First back to Newark! Woohoo!
The rest was an ordeal, truly. Monday & Tuesday looked like this: Newark to DC to Houston to Phoenix to Denver to SLC. Boy, am I glad to be home!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Scotland: oot 'n aboot...

The Jacobite steam train on the Glen Finnan Viaduct.
Me 'n the ladies (Betsy, Vicki, me and Lorie) at the Falls.
Our fave treat. 'HobNobs: One nibble and you're nobbled!' Ain't that the truth!
Hoping Nessie will magically pop up somewhere behind us while we pose.
Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness behind me.
Kil-something castle. Oh, I'll remember late.

Oh Friends, what a great trip this has been so far! I have been to Scotland twice before, but this has been my first time to venture further than Edinburgh and Glasgow. Oh my, the Highlands are absolutely spectacular! I canna hardly believe it. I didn'a know how fantastic it was! Here is what we've been up to so far (me, Victoria Jane, Betsy Lou, and Lorie Ann).

Friday: I arrived to Edinburgh (got first class - woohoo!), met up with the ladies in Glasgow and we were on our way in our rental car. Drove to a small town called Luss. Quaint and adorable. Walked passed a small church where a wedding was going on, experienced quite a downpour of rain (the first moment I realized I should've brought a coat), heard some bag-piping, then left. On the way to see a plethora of castles, I fell asleep in the car a bit, then woke for Loch Awe and a pretty old castle (I'll get the name later), drove many more hours through amazing country side, then stopped at Eilean Donan Castle. Drove a few more hours to reach the Isle of Skye, and our destination of Portree. We arrived after 10:30, and it was still light! So lovely. We found our hotel and fell right asleep. Ok, we didn't. The drunk folks in the square outside our window were awfully loud.

Saturday: The girls left for kayaking, whilst I, not realizing how terrible the exchange rate is, decided to save some money and hang out in Portree. Had a marvelous time on my own. Then, the rain poured... a lot. It was today I realized I really, really needed to buy a coat. Of course, I didn'a want to spend 50 bucks on a coat, but I HAD to. It was freezing every day, and I was shivvering like I hadn't shivvered in years! I'm not kidding, either. I've been much happier ever since. Though, I'm still cold. Weird. We did some additional driving around the Isle of Skye and enjoyed more amazing country side, and a castle or two. There are many!

Sunday: Left the Isle of Skye and headed for Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle. The Macdonalds were conquerors of this castle. Actually, they pretty much ran the country. You see, Miss Victoria Jane is a Macdonald, and very proud of her heritage is she. However, we are finding out that they were a wee bit selfish. They stormed pretty much every castle and made it their own. Quite funny, really. Anyways, after the freezing rain and freezing wind of Urquhart, we headed to Inverness for church. Extra blessings on our heads for changing in the car. That was awkward. Church was great, the ward was teeny, the building quite small, but the same spirit every where you go in the world. Such a comfort.
After we left church, we had a picnic on Loch Ness and enjoyed a few patches of sunlight here and there. We soon left on our way to Fort William to find our accommodations for the next 3 nights at Birch Brae. Basically, it is a small little group of cabin-like houses that are self-catering. Free internet, even! It has been lovely. So, we watched a movie on our surround sound DVD system that came with the place, and then headed off to bed.

Monday: Boarded The Jacobite Steam Train to Mallaig. This was a beautiful journey through much more country side. We also crossed the Glen Finnan viaduct (made famous by Harry Potter). It was a really enjoyable chug-chug kind of train that took us to the small sea-side town of Mallaig. We found the West Highland Hotel for lunch where we lunched on the ever-popular fish 'n chips and just enjoyed watching the wind whipping outside while we sat cozy inside. Truly, it was absolutely freezing!!! I don't know how people do it. It felt colder to me than a snow storm. Maybe just because I don't expect this cold in July. Yeah, could be it. Soon the steam train beckoned us with its high-pitched whistle, and we were off! And now, I sit in this 'cabin' warm, tummy full of good food, and ready for yet another day in Scotland.

Two more days, then we head to the land of my heritage... Erin Go Bragh!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mom & Dad's 40th Anniversary

Incredible. That's all I can say. We siblings put on a great party, and a great show! Here are a few pics. I'll post video when I can.

The happy couple.
My mom's sisters Kathleen and Eileen surprised her. She hadn't seen Kathleen in 15 years!
Dear, crazy brothers!
The sisters.
My dear friend Scott was visiting UT and was able to come.
We're cheering for our brothers on stage.
Minutes after my mom was surprised by her sisters. She cried for 10 minutes straight! Not even kidding!

Success!! Love you Mom and Dad!