Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013

Its a little after 5pm New Years Eve, the last day of 2012.  Most people take this time to reflect on the past year and while I did do a bit of that, I am focusing on the upcoming year.  I have many things planned for the new year and have much to look forward too. 

The weather has been great today and many people in Dublin are out and about getting ready to celebrate the New Year by going out to dinner with friends and family before heading out to one of the many parties or galas in private homes, pubs or hotels.  

At the stroke of midnight, there will be fireworks if the weather holds and lots of hooting and hollering and kissing.  I'll let the hooting and hollering to others as I plan on doing alot of kissing with my man Gareth. 

Earlier today I finished cleaning the house, changing the sheets on the bed, cleaned up the cats litter boxes, washed the dishes, and finished the laundry.  According to old Irish tradition, which my family followed growing up in America, you want to make sure all these things are done before the end of the year to give you a fresh start to the New Year.  Anything not done, such as laundry, would become a nuisance to you in the New Year.  The last thing I want to do is piss off a New Years fairy and have him triple the amount of laundry or cleaning for me in 2013. 

When Gareth gets home from work, which should be any moment now, we'll get our showers, shave, put on cologne and nice clothes and head out for some dinner with friends.  Then we're going to come home, pop some champagne and celebrate the New Years at home with our four little kids and lots of kissing. 



Polar Bear Plunge

No matter where you live in the world, one thing you can be sure of is that you'll be able to find crazy white people jumping into freezing water at this time of year.  Dubliners like to head out to Sandy Cove and take a plunge at the Forty Foot.


How Cute

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Just got back from doing some Christmas shopping in Dublin.  Lots of people out and about tonight.  I am exhausted and its cold out there.  I'm going to wrap some gifts and drink some hot chocolate.  Gareth is drinking some whiskey to warm his bones, but if I want to get anything done the rest of the night I'll need to be a wuss and stick to the hot chocolate. 

The kittens are all over the bags we brought home, snooping in each one like little children looking for a sneak at their presents.  Oh yeah, forgot we made chocolate chip cookies yesterday.  Gareth just brought us a plate full.  MMM cookies.  

We exchanged gifts with some friends earlier in the week.  One of the gifts Gareth got a pair of red boxer shorts with Rudolph on them and I got a blue pair with holiday lights on them.  We stripped off our clothes down to our boxers and a t-shirt when we got home and I have to say we look really festive with our holiday boxers.  

Well, better get to wrapping those present.  Here is wishing all my friends a happy Saturday and may you have your shopping done and get to sit back and enjoy some cookies and hot chocolate yourselves.  Enjoy the season.

Dublin Christmas Tree 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Moment To Remember

From Remembrance Day last weekend for the great war to this weekends Remembrance Day activities at Gettysburg and on to the remembrance day for Pearl Harbor on December 7th, this holiday time of year is a time to remember those who served to keep us free.  Please take a moment to thank a veteran for their service and then take another moment to remember those who are no longer with us, but will never be forgotten. 

Winter At Sea

Watching The Fog In The Fog

We run into fog a lot when out on the water, but things became really weird around Halloween when we the ship was enclosed by fog and someone decided to put the movie "The Fog" from the 80's on the DVD.  Talk about eerie. lol

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Beauty Of Scotland

Happy Hour In The Highlands

A Time Remembered

Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland, named after Irish Saint, Bishop Donan, is recognised as one of the most famous castles around the world and is one of the most visited castles in the Scottish Highlands.

Strategically located on an island at the point where three great sea lochs meet it was first inhabited around the 6th century by the Picts.  Since then, at least four different versions of the castle have been built and re-built as the feudal history of Scotland unfolded through the centuries. 

The first fortified castle was built in the mid 13th century and stood guard over the lands of Kintail.  At this time, the area was at the boundary of the Norse-Celtic Lordship of the Isles and the Earldom of Ross.  

In 1539 Iain Dubh Matheson, chief of the Clan Matheson, died whilst defending the castle against the Clan Macdonald of Sleat on behalf of Clan Macrae and Clan Mackenzie.

Supporters of the exiled James Stewart, the "Old Pretender", sought new support from Spain and led to the Jacobite uprising of 1715. An advance party of 300 Spanish soldiers arrived in Loch Duich in April 1719, and occupied Eilean Donan Castle. The expected uprising of Highlanders did not occur, and the main Spanish invasion force never arrived.

At the beginning of May, the Royal Navy sent ships to the area. Early in the morning on Sunday 10 May, HMS Worcester, HMS Flamborough, and HMS Enterprise anchored off Eilean Donan and sent a boat ashore under a flag of truce to negotiate. When the Spanish soldiers in the castle fired at the boat, it was recalled and all three ships opened fire on the castle for an hour or more. The next day the bombardment continued while a landing party was prepared.

In the evening under the cover of an intense cannonade, the ships' boats went ashore and captured the castle against little resistance. According to Worcester's log, in the castle they found "an Irishman, a captain, a Spanish lieutenant, a sergeant, one Scots rebel and 39 Spanish soldiers, 343 barrels of powder and 52 barrels of musquet shot".

The naval force spent the next two days demolishing the castle, which took 27 barrels of gunpowder. The Spanish prisoners were put on board Flamborough and taken to Edinburgh.  The remaining Spanish troops were defeated on 10 June at the Battle of Glen Shiel. 

Eilean Donan lay in ruins for the best part of 200 years until Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap bought the island in 1911 and proceeded to restore the castle to its former glory. After 20 years of toil and labour the castle was re-opened in 1932.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Path To Scottish Independence

The debate on Scottish independence will begin this week as Holyrood and Westminster prepare to sign an agreement on the holding of a 2014 referendum.  The Prime Minister is expected to sign a deal with Scotland's First Minister tomorrow granting the Scottish Parliament the power to stage the historic vote.

David Cameron will meet Alex Salmond in Edinburgh following months of negotiations about the ballot, expected to be held in autumn 2014.  Salmond's deputy Nicola Sturgeon said the agreement would allow opposing campaigners to focus on the issues at the heart of the debate.

Sturgeon told Sky News: "The good thing about getting the process issues out of the way, which we'll do tomorrow, is that we can get on to that substantive debate about why Scotland would be better as an independent country."

The ballot is likely to be limited to a single Yes-No option.  Suggestions of a second question on further devolution, short of independence, were firmly opposed by the UK Government.

The referendum is expected to be open to 16 and 17-year-olds as supported by the Nationalists.
"If you consider issues over the timing, the question, the franchise, all issues which at the start of the year David Cameron was making noises about...all of these things will now be determined by the Scottish Parliament. I think that is a very good outcome," Sturgeon told the Murnaghan show.  "Over the next couple of years we will set out all of the answers to the questions people rightly are asking about independence.  We will make it abundantly clear what people will be voting for if they vote 'yes'.  But of course the responsibility also lies with those advocating a 'no' vote to say what voting no would mean.  As far as I can see it would mean the continued dismantling of our welfare state and the continued squandering of Scotland's resources."
Moore said the agreement would produce a referendum that would be "legal, fair and decisive".

The Liberal Democrat told BBC One's Sunday Politics show: "I think it's a good agreement. I believe it will now allow us to put up in lights the big issues about the big debate...on what is best for Scotland.
"I believe that when we look at the economy, at defence, at our place in the world, on all these big issues people across Scotland will continue to support Scotland being in the United Kingdom.  Independence is about Scotland leaving the UK, becoming a separate state, taking on all the burdens and risks that go with that and losing the benefits and opportunities that we have as part of the UK.  Any detail about who is voting and who isn't has to be in the referendum bill that the Scottish Government will put to the parliament in due course.  As a Liberal Democrat I don't have a problem with 16 and 17-year-olds being involved in elections or referenda.  I accept that at a Westminster level there's no consensus and you'd need that to be able to move on."

Scotland Rugby Shirtless

Do You Have The Balls

Sean Maher Shirtless

Out and Proud Gay Actor Sean Maher

Kilt Up

Calm Before The Storm