airports and laminal meetings

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The nice thing about being someone who goes to bed late is that you get a lot done in those dark hours of the night while everyone else is already in the world of dreams. It also meant that I had plenty of time this morning and was able to fully enjoy the airport experience.

Airports are funny places, people are either coming or going, tears and laughter meet on equal grounds, and everything is transient. They are places of the in-between, the neither here nor there, a portal to adventures, work, joy and sadness.

Big screens constantly remind everyone of their departing or arrivals, a mix of languages is scattered around like a bag of pile pieces ready to be sorted and placed. Everything is on the verge, on the brink, just about to happen – or just did.

So while I sat sipping my cappuccino and chatting to a stranger about Irish horse-racing (which I know nothing about and he, as an owner of a stud, everything) I could help but smile at the oddity of it all …

After all when would I ever meet a 60plus gentleman in tweeds on his way to sell horses to some oil millionaire in the Eremites, a suitcase filled with trophies by his feet and a sample of horse-feed in his pocket?

As I waved goodbye and left for my gate I let the joy of the laminal meeting wash over me. Airports just seem to be the perfect place for the fleeting, no less true, just short lived.

no milk today

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I’ve run out of milk! I am not a big milk drinker the white beverage often feels ignored in my fridge and turns little bit sour on me. Normally when that happens I just run out and get myself half a pint, some for my tea, some for my porridge. But today I am left with the conundrum: to buy or not to buy?

If I purchase some mike I’ll never use it all before I leave for Germany tomorrow- if I don’t I forgo the delights of a perfect cup of tea. Torn between want I’d like and what would be the sensible thing to do I can’t help but wonder if my question of milk is just part of  a bigger one.

After all we are often in the position of having to choose between what we’d like and what would be good, for us, our health, our purse, others, the world and so forth. So now while my lack of milk may only be a tiny issue, it does make me wonder about some other questions.

But since I can’t really find all the answers today, and some questions may need to stew a little longer, I think for now no milk today is all I can decide upon.

my empty milk bottles

my empty milk bottles

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rule of Thirds

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I love the idea behind the rule of thirds and thought I would post a few photos I took when I was in Rome .. all adhering to the rule of thirds (more or less).

So here are my “rule of thirds in Rome”:

lamp in a  third

lamp in a third

looking up into a third

looking up into a third

flowerpots hanging in a  third ... except one

flowerpots hanging in a third … except one

a third of water

a third of water

leafy third

leafy third

which third way

which third way

a third way down

a third way down

The basic rule of thirds is quite simple really, place the object of interest away from the center off to the side.This creates an

But the rule of thirds is more than that, there are three thirds both horizontally and vertically, dividing a photo into nine space, so if you place the object (or objects) on or near any of these intersecting space it creates a visually interesting image.

hot ears and lots to say

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Today I spend all afternoon on the phone  with a friend. Ever since I was a teenager I have loved chatting with that little plastic receiver pressed up against my ear. Whether for minutes or hours makes little difference, the time spent talking about all and nothing, sharing stories and secrets, always seems to be time well spent.

I do sometimes wonder if it is that magical element of a friend sounding so tantalizing near no matter how far away they really are that gives phone-calls that special element. Or maybe it is the fact that you can’t actually see the person you are talking to that makes it so easy to spill a few hidden tales that we otherwise like to keep hidden behind a veil of silence.

And while I do love the fact that facetime and skype allow me to see the people I care about, the old-fashioned phone still holds a certain charm and enchantment for me. However the way technology is going I think, like letters, cradling that close to your ear will soon be a thing of the past.

But for now I will enjoy those times I spend laughing and crying with friends over the land-line, hot ears a warm reminder of the minutes spend with lots to say.

my little red phone

my little red phone

getting ready to travel

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Next week I’ll be heading off to Germany again. It will be a week filled with lots to do and many people to meet. First I’ll be staying with my Godmother and then I will swap beds and move in with my brother and his family for a few days, to mind the kids and celebrate his birthday.

However the main reason for heading over to Hamburg is that my wonderful friend Dragana will be talking about her exhibition YU: The Lost Country in the famous Deichtorhallen in Hamburg and I am flying over to support her.

So while I am really looking forward to a little trip I am amazed at how much I still have left to do before catching that flight. One thing that has been piling up is the small tower of ‘gifts’ for everyone I’ll be seeing … after all I have been asked to bring lots and lots of tea!

So while I have been writing emails, correcting student assessments and generally trying to clear my desk (and yes it is currently very messy – tidy desk is on my to-do list) my thoughts have been circling my wardrobe trying to figure out what to take with me since half my suitcase will be filled with goodies for others.

I just hope it won’t be too cold … less clothes! But all in all I am looking forward to the coming week, never a bad thing when you can leave your daily trudge for a little while.

some of what needs to fit into my suitcase

some of what needs to fit into my suitcase

spring and books

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Today was truly a spring-filled day,  the yellow and purple crocuses (or croci) on my windowsill greeted me with happy nods, the Liffey sparkled in the sun, and there was just the perfect amount of chill to the breeze to make you snuggle up in your warm jacket.

Deciding to enjoy the sun a little longer I took a different route to my bus-stop and on my way I remembered a new book shop that just opened last week. It is called Books Upstairs and is on D’Olier Street right in Dublin city center. As an independent bookshop it has a different range of books, real book enthusiast who work there and, as an added bonus, it even has it’s very own coffee shop upstairs.

Not wanting to resist the urge to stop and browse (and buy a little something for my big sister) I entered into the world of literature and stayed to sip a cup of cappuccino in an alcove overlooking the street. Quite music playing, the hissing of the coffee maker, the low rumble of the bussed passing by all created a wonderfully relaxing and fragrant atmosphere and made me want to stay.

But even if I had to leave I will be back, if not lured by the books and coffee, then because of the promise of readings and other bookish events.

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The upsatirs window in which I sat, one I have always wondered about when passing by

The upstairs window in which I sat, one I have always wondered about when passing by

wasted time with UPC

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I have just spent more than an hour on the phone, and not because I was having a particularly long girly chat with a friend or was interviewing someone or was ordering lots of shoes, no I was on the phone trying to solve some long standing issues I am having with my internet provider.

As someone who sits many hours in front of her keyboard staring into the world wide web my internet connection is a big part of my every day life. Sadly that connection has not been going smoothly since Christmas and there have been many hangups, time-outs, up-load and streaming issues.

After several phone calls, emails and even a letter of complaint over the past six weeks the issue is still unresolved, even after an hour wasted chatting to FIVE different departments.

Maybe it wouldn’t annoy me so much if I had the feeling that they where trying to help me, but after two hang-ups (yes two people psychically hung up on me) and being asked by a customer-care person: “what do expect me to do?” , I can clearly state that UPC really doesn’t seem to be interested me and my problem.

As someone who has been a loyal customer for nearly 10 years I find that more than just a little insulting, especially since they are upping their price by €5 and are advertising with the fasted broadband speeds in Ireland.

Now I am left with a very unsatisfied feeling in the pit of my stomach, a slight sense of rage niggling the back of my mind and a big question-mark occupying my thoughts. After all even if I switch my provider I may be paying less but the service isn’t better either.

Strange how something that should be saving time and making life easier seems to have so many hidden traps and inbuilt time wasters.

There is no good way to waste your time. Wasting time is just wasting time.

Helen Mirren

Galentine’s, Valentine’s and feeling loved

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Yesterday was Galentine’s day, Valentine’s little sister, celebrating the love between friends. (It was invented by the creators of Parks and Recreations back in 2010 and celebrates friendly love on the13th of February) And as luck would have it, even though it was Friday the 13th, I spent some time with a very good friend.

She even surprised me with a Valentine’s day gift – a pink bag filled with a surprise and a card. I was stunned and touched, especially since I didn’t have anything for her, and felt very much loved.

And when I looked out of my window this morning, there standing proud amongst the crocuses and snowdrops was my very first daffodil, a loving gift from mother nature.

bag of surprises

bag of surprises

my first daffodil

my first daffodil of the year

outside disturbances – Irish Water

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the view when I open my door

the view when I open my door

When I arrived back from my lecture this afternoon a big (literally) surprise awaited me. Blocking my front door and digging a huge hole in the pavement was a digger, big metal teeth grinding down into concrete making a racket. The reason for this disturbance is the installation of water-meters on our road.

For a few years now there has been a big debate on how Ireland is handling water charges. Some international press has gotten it so wrong by claiming Irish people don’t pay for their water, but we do through taxes directly deducted from our salaries.

Last year the Irish Government decided it was now tome to privatise water and a money gobbling private company called Irish Water was formed. Since then this new private company has spent millions on private consultants, demanded private, secure data from citizens, going so far as to nearly blackmail people into submitting this data, unlawfully cut of water and damaged private property. And Irish Water will be charging the population for it’s use of water, but the tax will still stand – in effect making everyone pay twice.

The Irish population hasn’t been happy about this and for months demonstration have brought tens of  thousands to the streets nearly every week-end. The Government has been ignoring this, going about it’s business as if there where no issues. However last week it became public knowledge that the Irish taxpayers have already been paying twice for the ‘privilege’ of turning on the tap or flushing the toilet as two thirds of the money diverted to create and set up Irish water came from motor tax.

This means that in addition to the already double taxation people living in Ireland will now pay a third fee, this time directly to water Ireland. So it is no real wonder that a lot of people are really annoyed.

But for now my main concern is the outside disturbance created by Water Ireland on my doorstep, after all I will need to leave my home in a few minutes!

One of the many Articles written about Water Charges in Ireland

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