lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

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…)

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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…)

 

The Dirty Schavarny January 26, 2017

So, I had to take a plane ride by myself last week. No husband to keep me company and watch my bag while I used the airport bathroom. For those of you who know how terribly co-dependent I am, you know this was a trying endeavor.

But don’t worry, the universe provided me with entertainment. The problem is that the entertainment had to do with some rather sexual things. So when I say schavarny, what I really mean is a c-word that could be a type of chicken. Get it? Okay, moving on.

I’m settling into my seat on my super early morning flight. Already have my eye mask on, am snuggled in next to the window ready to try and sleep the next few hours into non-existence, when I hear a male voice behind me.

“His schavarny grew in her hand? I thought you didn’t read that stuff.”

…Okay.

The woman he’s with instantly gets defensive. (more…)

 

Another One off the List August 31, 2016

I’ve knocked something off my ever-filling bucket list!

The husband and I summited Cadillac Mountain to watch the sunrise!

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We woke up at 1:30. Yes, the one with the a.m . after it. It was early, but honestly to me it was like Christmas morning! The alarm went off, and I wanted to climb!

And the climb was magnificent. We were alone on the trail with only the Milky Way for company. It was breathtaking. Hiking under the stars is like adventuring under a nice, familiar blanket.

And we made it to the summit well before dawn.

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Then the sky turned just a tiny bit pink in the east, and the stars started to blink away one by one.

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Cadillac Mountain is the first place in the contiguous U.S. to see the sunrise. And we were there, sitting on a cliff, watching the sun paint the sky.

And I know this I going to sound cheesy as hell, but the hike had a super important meaning for me. Not just because the last time I was in Acadia I could barely walk, but also because sunrise on Cadillac Mountain has a very important place in The Tethering Series.

In The Siren’s Realm, Jacob and Emilia venture up Cadillac Mountain for sunrise, and we followed their path, though our journey did end a little differently. It was one of those climbs that reminds you that magic is real in our world. If only you look deep enough to find it.

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