Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We had a late night the last few nights going to friends houses for end of year parties. Feeling kind of rough this morning and we have another late night coming later this evening as we ring out the old year. We're going to a couple parties early at some friends houses and then we're heading off to a place that Gareth rented for the evening. It has a hot tub on an enclosed balcony that overlooks the city of Dublin. I plan on being in that hot tub naked at midnight with a glass of champagne in one hand and my man in the other. lol Of course that's my plan. Will it work out, who knows. We'll probably be so tired that when we get to this place and its all quiet and just the two of us, we'll fall asleep watching the new year come in on the telly. Of course that will be ok too as long as we're together.

I just got back from grabbing a Cappuccino with my friend Padraic. I haven't had one of these in few months. It was very good. Wishing everyone a safe and Happy New Year. Let me know what your New Year plans are for tonight, I'd love to hear. I'll sign on later, going to make some breakfast and be a couch potato for awhile.

No Means No!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Prayers For Bobby

Looks like a powerful movie. I'm thankful my parents had open minds and open hearts.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Visions Of Sugar Plums Dance In His Head...

Earlier today Gareth and I went to the docks to my ship and I wrapped up a co-workers desk, phone, computer, chair, and his pens, pencils, tape, etc in Christmas wrapping paper. lol When he goes back to the ship on Friday to his office he will be in for a big surprise.

We also packed some sandwiches, cookies, and a jug of egg nogg and found my homeless friends who were still hanging out and gave them the food we brought along. I had found a bargain on some blankets when I was shopping. They had these nice wool blankets marked down cheap and I bought a couple and we gave them both a nice new blanket that will hopefully keep them a littler warmer tonight. At first they didn't really know what to say or how to act. They kept insisting they had to give us something in return and started rummaging through their bags looking for something to give us. When they finally understood we wanted nothing in return, the one guy reached out and shook my hand and had a few tears in his eyes. He replied again that he wished he had something he could give us. As I looked at him standing there with that new blanket wrapped around his shoulders and a smile on his face I told him he had already given us the best gift we could have received.

Then we spent the early evening at a friends house celebrating the Christmas Eve with some friends. The day has been long and we grew tired and my couch started calling our names. So we headed home where we're watching some "Will and Grace" Christmas episodes, drinking some egg nogg and munching some cookies and shrimp with some friends who are coming and going throughout the night. Hamish and my old flat mate and his girlfriend are coming over and we're going to midnight mass in an hour. I can't wait to come home after mass and have it be just Gareth and I. Put some Christmas music on the stereo, my cats who are now and probably will still be sleeping near the gifts under the tree. With just the light of the Christmas tree to light the room, I'm going to kiss Gareth under the mistletoe he hung and enjoy our first real Christmas together. Merry Christmas to all and to all, a good night.

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Strictly Come Dancing Winner

Tom Chambers, the handsome hunk from Holby City and the newest winner of Strictly Come Dancing. For those who don't know what this is, its a show where they take one celebrity (singer, actor, athlete) that has never danced professionally before and pair them with a professional dancer. They have to learn a new dance each week and compete against other dancers and the public votes one couple out each week.


Christmas Day, 1914
My dear sister Janet,
It is 2:00 in the morning and most of our men are asleep in their dugouts—yet I could not sleep myself before writing to you of the wonderful events of Christmas Eve. In truth, what happened seems almost like a fairy tale, and if I hadn’t been through it myself, I would scarce believe it. Just imagine: While you and the family sang carols before the fire there in London, I did the same with enemy soldiers here on the battlefields of France!
As I wrote before, there has been little serious fighting of late. The first battles of the war left so many dead that both sides have held back until replacements could come from home. So we have mostly stayed in our trenches and waited.
But what a terrible waiting it has been! Knowing that any moment an artillery shell might land and explode beside us in the trench, killing or maiming several men. And in daylight not daring to lift our heads above ground, for fear of a sniper’s bullet.
And the rain—it has fallen almost daily. Of course, it collects right in our trenches, where we must bail it out with pots and pans. And with the rain has come mud—a good foot or more deep. It splatters and cakes everything, and constantly sucks at our boots. One new recruit got his feet stuck in it, and then his hands too when he tried to get out—just like in that American story of the tar baby!
Through all this, we couldn’t help feeling curious about the German soldiers across the way. After all, they faced the same dangers we did, and slogged about in the same muck. What’s more, their first trench was only 50 yards from ours. Between us lay No Man’s Land, bordered on both sides by barbed wire—yet they were close enough we sometimes heard their voices.
Of course, we hated them when they killed our friends. But other times, we joked about them and almost felt we had something in common. And now it seems they felt the same.
Just yesterday morning—Christmas Eve Day—we had our first good freeze. Cold as we were, we welcomed it, because at least the mud froze solid. Everything was tinged white with frost, while a bright sun shone over all. Perfect Christmas weather.
During the day, there was little shelling or rifle fire from either side. And as darkness fell on our Christmas Eve, the shooting stopped entirely. Our first complete silence in months! We hoped it might promise a peaceful holiday, but we didn’t count on it. We’d been told the Germans might attack and try to catch us off guard.
I went to the dugout to rest, and lying on my cot, I must have drifted asleep. All at once my friend John was shaking me awake, saying, “Come and see! See what the Germans are doing!” I grabbed my rifle, stumbled out into the trench, and stuck my head cautiously above the sandbags.
I never hope to see a stranger and more lovely sight. Clusters of tiny lights were shining all along the German line, left and right as far as the eye could see.
“What is it?” I asked in bewilderment, and John answered, “Christmas trees!”
And so it was. The Germans had placed Christmas trees in front of their trenches, lit by candle or lantern like beacons of good will.
And then we heard their voices raised in song.
Stille nacht, heilige nacht . . . .
This carol may not yet be familiar to us in Britain, but John knew it and translated: “Silent night, holy night.” I’ve never heard one lovelier—or more meaningful, in that quiet, clear night, its dark softened by a first-quarter moon.
When the song finished, the men in our trenches applauded. Yes, British soldiers applauding Germans! Then one of our own men started singing, and we all joined in.
The first Nowell, the angel did say . . . .
In truth, we sounded not nearly as good as the Germans, with their fine harmonies. But they responded with enthusiastic applause of their own and then began another.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum . . . .
Then we replied.
O come all ye faithful . . . .
But this time they joined in, singing the same words in Latin.
Adeste fideles . . . .
British and German harmonizing across No Man’s Land! I would have thought nothing could be more amazing—but what came next was more so.
“English, come over!” we heard one of them shout. “You no shoot, we no shoot.”
There in the trenches, we looked at each other in bewilderment. Then one of us shouted jokingly, “You come over here.”
To our astonishment, we saw two figures rise from the trench, climb over their barbed wire, and advance unprotected across No Man’s Land. One of them called, “Send officer to talk.”
I saw one of our men lift his rifle to the ready, and no doubt others did the same—but our captain called out, “Hold your fire.” Then he climbed out and went to meet the Germans halfway. We heard them talking, and a few minutes later, the captain came back with a German cigar in his mouth!
“We’ve agreed there will be no shooting before midnight tomorrow,” he announced. “But sentries are to remain on duty, and the rest of you, stay alert.”
Across the way, we could make out groups of two or three men starting out of trenches and coming toward us. Then some of us were climbing out too, and in minutes more, there we were in No Man’s Land, over a hundred soldiers and officers of each side, shaking hands with men we’d been trying to kill just hours earlier!
Before long a bonfire was built, and around it we mingled—British khaki and German grey. I must say, the Germans were the better dressed, with fresh uniforms for the holiday.
Only a couple of our men knew German, but more of the Germans knew English. I asked one of them why that was.
“Because many have worked in England!” he said. “Before all this, I was a waiter at the Hotel Cecil. Perhaps I waited on your table!”
“Perhaps you did!” I said, laughing.
He told me he had a girlfriend in London and that the war had interrupted their plans for marriage. I told him, “Don’t worry. We’ll have you beat by Easter, then you can come back and marry the girl.”
He laughed at that. Then he asked if I’d send her a postcard he’d give me later, and I promised I would.
Another German had been a porter at Victoria Station. He showed me a picture of his family back in Munich. His eldest sister was so lovely, I said I should like to meet her someday. He beamed and said he would like that very much and gave me his family’s address.
Even those who could not converse could still exchange gifts—our cigarettes for their cigars, our tea for their coffee, our corned beef for their sausage. Badges and buttons from uniforms changed owners, and one of our lads walked off with the infamous spiked helmet! I myself traded a jackknife for a leather equipment belt—a fine souvenir to show when I get home.
Newspapers too changed hands, and the Germans howled with laughter at ours. They assured us that France was finished and Russia nearly beaten too. We told them that was nonsense, and one of them said, “Well, you believe your newspapers and we’ll believe ours.”
Clearly they are lied to—yet after meeting these men, I wonder how truthful our own newspapers have been. These are not the “savage barbarians” we’ve read so much about. They are men with homes and families, hopes and fears, principles and, yes, love of country. In other words, men like ourselves. Why are we led to believe otherwise?
As it grew late, a few more songs were traded around the fire, and then all joined in for—I am not lying to you—“Auld Lang Syne.” Then we parted with promises to meet again tomorrow, and even some talk of a football match.
I was just starting back to the trenches when an older German clutched my arm. “My God,” he said, “why cannot we have peace and all go home?”
I told him gently, “That you must ask your emperor.”
He looked at me then, searchingly. “Perhaps, my friend. But also we must ask our hearts.”
And so, dear sister, tell me, has there ever been such a Christmas Eve in all history? And what does it all mean, this impossible befriending of enemies?
For the fighting here, of course, it means regrettably little. Decent fellows those soldiers may be, but they follow orders and we do the same. Besides, we are here to stop their army and send it home, and never could we shirk that duty.
Still, one cannot help imagine what would happen if the spirit shown here were caught by the nations of the world. Of course, disputes must always arise. But what if our leaders were to offer well wishes in place of warnings? Songs in place of slurs? Presents in place of reprisals? Would not all war end at once?
All nations say they want peace. Yet on this Christmas morning, I wonder if we want it quite enough.

Your loving brother, Tom

Christmas Bells Of Dublin

Ireland Coca-Cola Christmas

Irish Castle

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 21, 2008


An Irish Sunset

Holiday Lights

Nothing More I Need

We may not have had a marriage ceremony, but living together has sure made us start acting like a married couple. Last night, my first night actually moved in, we went to bed at 9:00 pm. We we're both knackered as Gareth says and fell right asleep the minute we hit the bed. We had spent all day yesterday bringing my stuff over and unpacking. Of course this had led us to try and incorporate my stuff with his stuff. This is not as easy as one might think. The bedroom, clothing part is done. That was the easy part. But the other rooms are now a complete mess.
We're redoing the kitchen and dining area. Gareth has spent the last two days painting while I've taken everything out of the kitchen and started organizing the cupboards and washing every utensil, glass, cooking pan, and dish. Now that we're living together, we plan on eating more meals at home together. So we decided to make this our first project since we'll be spending a lot of time here in the next year.
I had plans to make cookies today, have a nice meal tonight and then spend a romantic evening loving on my man. Instead, he paints and I clean and organize. Here it is almost 2 am and I just finished unpacking the last of my stuff. Its scattered all over the living room. My back and knee hurts and I'm about to fall asleep at this keyboard. I'm sitting against the wall in the living room, my laptop on my thighs next to the ice pack on my knee. The only light in the room is that soft glow of the Christmas tree lights. Gareth is wrapping up painting and is complaining of a stiff back and neck. It's looking like his back is the only stiff think going to be happening in this house tonight.
Gareth just turned the light out in the kitchen and stepped into the living room. He took his shirt off and and is wiping himself off with a wet cloth. He looks so hot and sexy right now! I love just looking at him. Which is a good thing because I'm too tired to do much more. Mmm, he just grabbed a pillow and a blanket and laid down beside me. He has his arm draped around my legs and when I told him I would be just a minute more online , he told me not to rush then he whispered I love you. While I was going to stay and post a couple more things I think I'll sign off and lay down next to him and steal some of that blanket. He may be sweaty, dirty, and smell like paint and there won't be hot passionate sex tonight, but this is my man! He works hard to make a living and is working hard to give us a nice place to live and he loves me and my cats. There is nothing more I need, except maybe part of that pillow and some of that blanket.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shopping In Dublin

I have most of my Christmas shopping completed. I just have a few odds and ends to pick up to complete my gift giving list. This weekend we'll be making cookies and wrapping presents and I'll actually be all ready for Christmas Day well ahead of schedule. I've never been this organized for this holiday. Makes me think I'm forgetting something! I love shopping in Dublin. They play Christmas music out in the street and when you combine that with the cold weather and festive lights it makes running around trying to find the perfect gifts much more enjoyable.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008