lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Importance of Coordinates July 20, 2017

I spent three summers living in Alaska. I love the quirks of that beautiful place, and you sort of get that feeling that it’s preparing you for other adventures in life. Like how you start to feel super cocky about living in a place where an address is really just whatever mile marker you live closest to, and a prayer that your mail actually gets to you. And then we went to Ireland.

The first two days were fine. We were staying in a city. We’d bought the update so our Garmin worked in Ireland, which sort of felt like cheating, but whatever. But then Killarney happened.

Killarney is amazingly beautiful. We got there before dark and wanted to poke around the outside of the national park to see what sorts of things we wanted to do the next day. We found the park, found a way in, found a ruin.

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It was simply breathtaking.

I had naively been expecting Killarney National Park to be like an American national park—all rough trails and long forgotten woods. But it was more like an estate placed in national trust. Beautiful lawns, ruins, paddle boat rentals, a castle but we’ll get to that later.

We figured out what we wanted to do on our big park day and decided to head back to the hotel. Put the hotel in the Garmin…nothing. (more…)

 

The Ferns of Blarney July 13, 2017

Most of you have probably heard of the Blarney Stone. If you haven’t, here’s the short of it. There’s a stone in Blarney Castle, and if you kiss it, which is way harder than it sounds, btw, you’ll be blessed with the gift of eloquence.

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Naturally, when planning our Ireland expedition, we decided we had to swing by Blarney Castle. Yes, I have heard all the awful stories of locals doing terrible things to the stone at night. But if I’m going to start the zombie apocalypse, I’d just assume get the monster germs that end the world doing something memorable.

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We had planned to be at Blarney Castle for like an hour. Get in, kiss the stone, and leave. Honestly when we saw the price of admission to the castle grounds I rolled my eyes a bit. It was quite a bit of money to kiss a stone. But then they gave us a map of the Blarney Castle Grounds, and it all made sense. (more…)

 

Vanquishing the Judgment Monster July 10, 2017

I would like to take a break from our regularly scheduled tales of wonderment in Ireland to tell you how damned proud of myself I am. No I didn’t land a huge role; no I’m not on the NYT bestseller list; but I did just brush aside unnecessary judgment like it was nothing, and that is a landmark decision.

It wasn’t criticism of anything important even. It was that terrible Mean Girls’ judgment that haunted us all through our teen years. I was just talking about something I liked and was really excited about and JM (judgment monster) decided to make horrible tishing noises like I had just declared eating puppies and throwing babies off buildings were my favorite pastimes. I tried to turn the conversation, which really didn’t involve JM, to another thing I was excited about. Once again, nasty noises like I was a serial killer.

Then I got this horrible twist in my gut. (more…)

 

The Travelers in the Tower July 3, 2017

Filed under: Tales of Travel — meganorussell @ 8:00 pm
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I grew up in Upstate New York in a two hundred-year-old house. I’m pretty used to old buildings… by American standards. But you go over to Ireland, and there’s just a four hundred-year-old church chilling out on a street corner like it’s nothing. Or stone walls that are a few hundred years old separating farms.

The level of casual history is just crazy!

We found (in our handy, dandy guide book) a church in Cork that was crazy old, still in operation, and next to a butter museum. And the biggest draw: you get to ring the church bells!

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I got to live my Quasimodo dreams minus the hunch back and crushed feet! (more…)

 

An Outing for Olives June 30, 2017

Filed under: Tales of Travel — meganorussell @ 7:30 pm
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A couple of months ago (I honestly can’t believe it’s been months, but whatever) the husband and I went to Ireland. Now that life has slowed down to a non-deadly pace, it’s time to share my adventures.

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Profiling the Viewer June 12, 2017

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 8:30 pm
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I think I may be watching too much Criminal Minds.

For those who aren’t familiar with Criminal Minds, it’s about a group of FBI agents who hunt serial killers. So each episode is about the worst of the worst humanity can provide.

Why am I binge watching a show where you know people are going to die and not from zombies or beheadings? The husband and I have been doing a ton of unpacking and cleaning, and it’s a great show to have on in the background. Honestly, whoever makes their sound track is a genius. The music always tells you when it’s really important that you look at the screen. The music swells…and then there’s a severed head. Super easy to just sort-of pay attention to. And I love watching crime shows because no matter how stressed and downtrodden I feel, I am still way better off than that girl on the slab who had all her blood removed.

But here’s where I think I’ve been watching too much and think I might need to switch to Care Bears. (more…)

 

A Rave Review June 9, 2017

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it on here before, but I wrote the lyrics for a musical! The show is called Second Chances: The Thrift Shop Musical, and it’s currently playing at a really great professional theatre. My husband wrote the music for the show, one of our mentors created the concept and wrote the script, so the whole thing has been an amazing experience. It’s been about two years with the project now, and the coolest thing happened! We got an amazing Broadway World review!

The goal is to shop the show out to other theatres, and that awesome review is a huge stepping stone!

(Pardon me whilst I give the show folk a big ole’ pat on the back.)

The husband and I never really set out to write the music for a show. (more…)