lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Case of the Missing Innkeeper November 22, 2017

Filed under: Tales of Travel — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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Once upon a time in Northern Ireland, my husband and I had a very long day.

We took a wonderful drive around the horn.

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Got trapped on a “two-lane” road that wasn’t large enough for a single car.

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And finally made it to our Bed and Breakfast in Derry.

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We found a parking space, walked right up to the door to ring the bell…and nothing. So we knocked. Nothing.

We asked around on the street to see if the neighbors knew when the innkeeper would be back. Nothing. It was one of the two moments on the trip when I really wished my cell phone worked.

With no pay phones in sight, we headed into town.

We had decided to visit Derry because it’s actually an intact, walled city.

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What we hadn’t realized is that “The Troubles” are still very fresh in Derry. It’s not that we ever felt unsafe or anything like that. But there are freshly painted murals of children hiding from violence. Signs begging for people to be let out of prison. The violent part of The Troubles might be behind them, but the actuality of peace and agreement within government are still fresh.

The husband and I wandered around a bit, looking at the history, really needing a bathroom. Until finally we did the best thing two actors in a foreign country can do: we walked into the theatre and asked for help. (more…)

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The Sneaky Sheep October 7, 2017

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Our road trip through the Irish countryside is definitely one of the most beautiful I have ever taken. The wide valleys, the rocky mountains… the sheep.

Most of the sheep are in giant pastures with color-coded butt swatches. And the butt rainbow makes sense. Granted, I am not a sheep expert, but it seems to me that it would get really hard to tell one fluffy sheep from another. So farmers tag their sheep with their gang colors.

Well, one farmer with pink-butt sheep was having a very bad day. (more…)

 

Stones in the Mud August 5, 2017

Filed under: Tales of Travel — meganorussell @ 3:30 pm
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I love hiking. I adore climbing around in the mountains; it’s one of my favorite things. There’s something about the effort required to get to the top that feels tremendous and utterly worth it. When we went to Ireland I knew I wanted to hike…something.

We hadn’t really planned what, exactly, we were going to hike. We just sort of figured we’d find something, and boy did we!

Driving around the Ring of Kerry, the views are absolutely breathtaking. Rocks and sea all tumbled together. Sweet little towns with pubs lined up to give you an amazing lunch.

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There is a huge Ring of Kerry hike that you can do. The husband and I had heard of it, but it just couldn’t happen within our timeframe. But Ireland is really great about signs—not so much addresses, but very much with the signs. Signs for historic sites, signs for epic views, even signs for hiking trails. We were driving the Ring and found a sign for part of the Kerry Way, one of the “longest signposted walking trails in Ireland.” (more…)

 

The Terror of Traffic March 3, 2016

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 7:30 pm
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I can’t drive. I mean, I have a license. I am legally able to drive. On a nice country road or empty highway, I can drive for hours.

But traffic.

Oh, traffic, thine nemesis of my soul. The thing that gives me stress hives and makes me cry. That evil being that makes me want a kitten as a stress pet.

Thou art evil.

From the man who tries to run his bike into my car to the stop light that doesn’t allow half the line of waiting cars to pass. I hate you.

Fighting my way across Southwest Florida is my personal version of hell. Never knowing where in that hell I am. Never knowing if the person in front of my bumper is trying to merge or has died of old age while behind the wheel. It’s making me a nervous wreck.

And the Garmin doesn’t help. It’s telling me to go down a road I don’t know in an overly cheerful voice. And then she (the vile and misleading siren that is Garmin) wants you to merge, but there’s no way in hell the people around you are going to consider letting you get over. So you miss the turn and she gives you the ding of shame.

And the clock. (more…)

 

The Time I Got Road Rage February 20, 2016

I don’t drive very often. It’s not that I can’t drive. I can. I have a license and everything. But my husband really loves to drive, and traffic makes me angry. So I usually avoid it.

Well, today is my nephew’s birthday! He’s adorable, and I love him. So to avoid being the worst aunt ever, I decided to venture to the post office to priority mail his present to him so it would be there in time for his birthday. Normally, this wouldn’t be a huge deal, but I had to go between shows, during peak season, on a freakin’ island. And a beautiful island at that. With lots or tourist and not too many roads.

I managed to make it to the post office, only needing to call my husband once for directions. But then…. But then. On the way back, traffic got worse. So much worse. I had to phone my mother so she could listen to me rail at the traffic around me. I spent twelve minutes, TWELVE MINUTES, thirty feet from the turn off I needed! And no one would move! We sat there! I could have walked back to the theatre faster, but I think there’s a law against abandoning a vehicle in the road, and I was in company car anyway! Gah! (more…)

 

Mayhem in the Milk Aisle June 13, 2015

Filed under: Tales of Humanity's Imperfections — meganorussell @ 4:58 pm
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I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 23. Laugh if you want, but between crazy schedules, family tempers, and going to college out of state, it just never happened.

I like to think of it as delaying the size of my carbon footprint. I could never go anywhere by myself, so no pollution for me!

But then the day came when I was twenty-three. A newly married woman with a driver’s license to call my own, and I ran out of milk. I had been to the nearby store before. It was close by. I knew how to get  there. So, I took the keys and went. After a tiny bit of trouble parking, I triumphantly walked to the milk section. But there were hundreds of different kinds of milk!

Okay, maybe not hundreds, but there were an unnecessary number of choices! I had never been to the store alone, so I had never really looked at the milk. I had always just bought what my roommate or husband wanted. But there I was, alone in front of the cooler, left for the first time to make my own decision. (more…)

 

Gerty the Dead Prostitute Raccoon February 25, 2015

Filed under: Animal Antics — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
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Once upon a time I worked for a theatre and lived in cast housing two-and-a-half miles away. Two-and-a-half miles may not seem that far to commute to work to you, but when you live in a place with no public transportation, and half the people you live with don’t have cars, getting to work suddenly becomes a big thing.

We had a friend who would ride with the husband and me to work almost every day. We’ll call him M. I love M. He has the sort of sarcasm, wit, and nerve that are hard to resist.

During the heat of July, we drove past a dead raccoon on the side of the road. Naturally, M instantly said, “Oh poor Gerty. Such a terrible death after a hard life.”

We all laughed and assumed that Gerty would be gone by the time we headed home at the end of the day. But Gerty was still there.

M added to her tale. (more…)