lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

Decorated Detroit December 4, 2017

Filed under: Hi-Ho the Glamorous Life — meganorussell @ 1:30 pm
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In traveling for the Wizard of Oz tour, we get to go to some really great places and some places that…aren’t on the radar for must-visit destinations.

Recently, we visited Detroit. The only things I knew about Detroit were that cars got made there and that the economic slumps hit it very hard. While both those things are true, nobody ever mentioned how awesome Detroit is!

The husband and I wandered out of our hotel, just looking to stretch our legs, and we found a huge amount of outdoor art that led us to a Christmas wonderland!

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They had blow-up igloos with table tennis and hot chocolate, a tent decked out to be a ski lodge, and an ice skating under a giant Christmas tree!

So what did these wise actors do on their precious day off? We went ice skating! (more…)

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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…)

 

The Raven August 2, 2017

Filed under: Tales of Travel — meganorussell @ 6:32 pm
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So I had a deep and meaningful experience with a yogurt-eating raven.

thumbnail_IMG_1006When Chris and I were in Ireland, we spent an amazing day in Killarney National Park. Toward the end of the day, the husband left me in this tiny brick courtyard for a few minutes. It was really quite lovely. I had a nice bench in the shade to sit on. Ivy climbed the sides of brick walls. Other than a smattering of tourist trash, the scene was idyllic.

A then this raven swooped down and landed on a bench about five feet from mine where someone had left their yogurt trash. It was one of the kinds where there’s like a pocket of fruit and then a pocket of yogurt. Whoever had left it had shoved their spoon and napkin inside before half-heartedly flipping the foil top back over. (Take a moment, digest that people are so awful as to leave that sitting out, and we’ll move on with my awesome story.)

The raven hopped toward the yogurt container and pulled back the thin foil lid. The foil flipped back on the raven’s head. The raven moved it again. It flipped back. Finally, he got the lid pulled back enough it would stay open. Then he picked up the spoon, tossed it on the ground. Picked up the napkin, tossed it on the ground. He leaned down to eat the yogurt remains, and his creepy raven senses told him I was staring. He looked up at me, then twisted the yogurt cup so he could eat with his butt toward me.

I watched the raven’s butt for a bit until he was done with the yogurt. He hopped down from the bench onto the bricked ground and looked at me all smug… with white yogurt covering his beak. (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…)

 

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…)

 

Month of Madness May 22, 2017

Filed under: Hi-Ho the Glamorous Life,What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 5:30 pm
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Well… I’m back!

It’s been a hell of a… month? More than that?

Let’s do a recap.

Closed a show in Florida and flew out to Ireland.

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Had an amazing two weeks exploring the country. Saw some beautiful places, met some awesome people, cracked my husband’s phone screen. All in all a great trip! (Don’t worry, there are plenty of Emerald Isle stories I’ll be sharing!)

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Got back to the U.S. just in time to run to my mom’s old house to help with some repairs and sorting to prep for sale! We tried to replace a faucet and ended up replacing a counter, we built a railing, and we watched the angry old-men packers box all sorts of things they weren’t supposed to touch.

 

 

2A50CA89-3326-48F8-AB57-3EFB46839883.JPGThen we got keys to the new house! Bought some plants, had the stuff moved in, and jumped into rehearsals for a show the husband and I wrote the music and lyrics for and are in!

Day off meant a break to clear out our storage unit, which is really hard when you bought the fancy non-break-in-able lock but don’t have your key. It all worked out in the end, and all of our stuff is finally under one roof. We’ve even started framing and hanging almost ten years of collected art!

There was a bit of editing and signing of a book contract thrown into that mix as well. But mostly it was just a month of madness. But now I’m having my first proper day off, sitting on my couch, typing a blog, and having coffee from my coffee maker.

It was a rough and wonderful road, and I am so glad to be back with you all! I can’t wait to tell you about my run in with a raven in Killarney!

 

The Snorkeling Sickness March 11, 2017

My husband and I aren’t usually seasick people. We’ve ridden on boats from canoes to cruise ships and neither of us has ever gotten ill. Until we went snorkeling a few weeks ago.

It was our first double day off since September, so we treated ourselves to a little trip to Key West. We rode the catamaran down. That was great! I read the whole way, my husband played his video game. We spent the evening exploring and woke up the next morning ready for a snorkeling adventure!

That’s where the problems began. We left to hotel too early for their breakfast and had to find food on the docks. My husband, feeling adventurous, chose a Cuban breakfast sandwich with pulled pork and chorizo. Then we got on the boat. Everything was still fine, but since it was a little choppy, they decided to take us to the soft coral instead of the actual barrier reef. Still super cool. I’d never snorkeled with soft coral before.

Then we got into the water, and I learned something very important: soft coral doesn’t hold down sand. It was like trying to swim through a sand storm. (more…)