Sunday, December 27, 2009

forgive me while I tout the loot

Now the Mom in this family has no more excuses. Time to get off the ol' cell phone, pick up the real thing and start shooting actual photos. This year for Christmas I got a book to help me understand my new digital SLR camera, which--I'll freely admit--I find quite intimidating, as I've never had a formal photography class or teacher. I am by no means a technophobe, however, photography terms alone have me squirming in my seat. Here's to hoping my passion for photography will carry me through the initial pain of climbing the steep learning curve incline.

The trouble with working with an SLR is that for an instant sharing whore like me, there is quite a process, and therefore delay, before being able to post pics online for others to respond to. But practicing patience is good exercise for me.

I have my camera and how-to book, among other wonderful gifts, Jonah has these (and more) new treasures to be excited about: legos, preschooler board games (which teach many valuable skills, but also provide him with an additional opportunity to boss the rest of the family around. Oy vey!), and--his favorite--roller skates and gear. I'm already imagining myself running around the neighborhood, panting like a maniac while holding Jonah's hand to help him balance. But maybe he'll surprise me and not need handholding for too long. But those falls, those falls... The worrywart mother that I am, I pray for soft, safe landings.

This year we're spending Christmas at Jonah's paternal grandparents in Montana where the sky is blue, the ground covered in snow, and the temperature down to 0°F at night. Though there's plenty of fun to be had on the slopes down the road and in Chico Hot Springs a couple of days from now, work for my teaching job is piled high and always nagging at me from every corner. Still, there is also plenty of time to relax and plenty of time to think about the New Year, approaching fast.

Over the last few months I have been experiencing a sort of a personal creative renaissance, feeling inspired and excited to not only take snapshots, but to also write. Writing has been a theme throughout my life, but I have often abandoned it, feeling constricted, even pained by the act of writing. Working with words easily overwhelms me, though I'm drawn to it like a fly to simple syrup.

With the new year coming, I have been charting out some resolutions for myself. Although I am generally not a fan of resolutions, it's good to spend some energy on crystallizing some goals for myself. This time, my goals involve a lot of creative activity as well as ways to stay inspired and connected to strong, positive, creative people. Needless to say, I'm feeling pretty good about 2010. Hope you are too.

(The black & white images are mine, taken with an iPhone camera)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

the budding caveboy artist

Jonah can now write his name. Notice how anatomically correct his caveman-style self-portrait is :)

And here is a portrait of me, Mom.

I must share that Jonah insists on his own terminology for female anatomy: "It's not a vagina, mom! It's puh-gina!" Because the sounds must match for males and females, i.e. alliteration. Ah, kids.... Never cease to amuse.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mommy's making a list

People have been nagging me about what's on my list for Santa. As the years go on, I find I'm less and less enthused about gift-centered holidays, especially Christmas. I like to blame my lack of excitement on the semi-Semite in me asserting herself more vigorously each year as I get older. But more likely it's my inner curmudgeon and my lazy self that have begun to take over this time of year. Now I do enough just to participate in the charade mostly for my son.

But let me not be a stink bug now. I'll try to muster up some cheer.

Here are a couple of items I've found so far for my list:

Now with this one, I could either scratch in the hard-to-reach places, 0R do the "smell the ol' graveyard?" trick the Czechs are known to pull when someone gets on their wrong side.

What is she talking about, you may be asking yourselves. Well, rather than punch someone outright, the Czechs like to give a wee last-minute test before all hell breaks loose: fist in the face of one's opponent and the question: "Smell the graveyard?" Things usually end on a good note then.

And here is the other item for my list. How about it?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Jonah & his Czech grandpa :


Yesterday we returned from a week-long vacation in Greece, my father's treat. How lucky we are! We spent our time swimming in the sea and the pool, eating tasty food, and taking in some sights.

Kerkyra, or Corfu, as it is known in English, is one of the greenest Greek islands, because it receives quite a bit of rainfall in the winter. The island has it all: bays and rugged beaches, valleys and mountains, tiny villages as well as resorts. Its main town, Kerkyra, has a beautiful center with Italian-style renaissance buildings with shutters and narrow, windy streets with laundry crisscrossing them up high like Tibetan prayer flags.

I took more than 700 photos! Here is a selection of the best pics.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Jonah's first year of pre-school has come to a close. His school held a little graduation ceremony and party for all the parents and kids. Jonah received a completion certificate. Look at this proud "graduate"! Here is the school's director and founder giving Jonah his certificate:

When we said goodbye, his teacher had tears in her eyes. She grew quite fond of our little boy and he of her. Too bad we can't take her with us to Portland.

I won!

In late June, my employer held an end-of-the-year party for all the instructors. The wine, beer, non-alcoholic beverages, and cold-cut buffet were free. A contest was announced and teachers encouraged to enter funny quotes by their English-learner students. I couldn't think of one, but finally jotted down the first that came to mind. And guess what! My quote won me a bottle of champaign! The quote was:

"I work for the lover department."

In reality, my student meant to say: "I work for the law department." But she mixed up the pronunciation of "lawyer," saying "lover" instead. When I explained what error she made, she turned beet-red. Poor woman! Little did she know that later I would be getting tipsy thanks to her "funny" English quote.

Monday, July 06, 2009

visitors galore

The last two weeks have been mostly about entertaining visitors from the US. Tim's cousin Nate stayed with us for several days on his way to study in Russia. We enjoyed getting to know him better now that he is no longer a little boy but an adult with his own interests and observations about life.

Nate got to see me sing with my choir and to meet my grandmother during that occasion. They both had a nice time talking. My grandmother was charmed -- and I know this because she told me so -- by Nate's intelligence, sensitivity and good looks. Jonah didn't give Nate a minute to rest, constantly showering him with questions and showing off his weapons and warrior/robot maneuvers.

After Nate left, our good friends Megan and Stefan with their four-year-old son came to stay with us. Jonah loves Finn so those two were inseparable for a week. We spent half their stay enjoying Prague and then for three days opted out to leave town and enjoy the summer in the Czech countryside. The place where we went by train was a small town where I used to spend my summers as a girl. It still is paradise: wild strawberries, blueberries and raspberries; edible mushrooms and woods, creek and a lake to swim in. A perfect place for kids and adults who love nature.

More photos here (scroll down the page).

mama sings

As a girl, I was part of one of Prague's children's choirs. Ours was called Mládí, meaning Youth.

Interestingly, this spring the conductor and women members from all eras past happened to get together to rehearse for the choir's 40th anniversary concert. I was invited to attend the weekly rehearsals.

On June 26th we had our concert at the National Museum, the famous building at the top of Wenceslas Square. About fifty of the past members sang under the leadership of our conductor, the founder of the choir. My whole family came to see the event, even Tim's cousin Nate who happened to be visiting. We sang Mozart, Dvořák, Smetana, some medieval and renaissance music as well as Czech folk songs arranged for the choir.

All went well until the last encore number when I accidentally shouted the final "hooray" a verse early. Oops. The conductor gave me a dirty look, the choir girls laughed, but, fortunately, the audience didn't notice. That's what everyone I asked said anyway. Phew. I pretended the accidental "yooo" sound, signifying "hooray" was my tribute to Michael Jackson who had died the night before.

P.S. I'm just next to the lamppost on the right hand side.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

the June quotes are here

I have just added Jonah's quotes from last month to the list of his quotes of the day.

The highlights include:

"My poison makes people hard like salami."

"Does America speak magic?"


"Mom, I put dad in jail. You'll stay with me. You're my friend. You're my police girl."

More quotes here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

cousin gets married

Yesteday we attended my oldest cousin's wedding. He's my dad's brother's oldest son. The wedding was outside and it rained only during the ten minutes of the ceremony. People whispered it was raining happiness on them. The setting was quite unique: the top of the Dancing House, from where the views of the city are really something.

Below you can see the bride and groom (with bride's father) in front of the Dancing House and one of the beautiful views from the top. More pictures here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Jonah writes!

Today, for the first time, Jonah sat down and began, with a noteworthy amount of attention span and intention, to learn and write down letters.

He had been drawing circles for a while now, but today he started writing x's and then I taught him A's and T's. Using chalk, he wrote them with a gusto and a surprising precision for a three-year-old. He tried writing J's too, but kept reversing them, which is natural for younger kids, I believe.

A few hours later Jonah actually remembered the letters he learned earlier, writing them down again on a fresh piece of paper with a pen. How exciting!

ol' college friends

It's amazing how much my friends from college resurface. One of them, a musician, musicologist and teacher, currently lives in a town three hours away from Prague, which I visited while my sister played there. Scott took me around, showing me some of the town's jewels, about which he knows so much more than I. Photos from that visit here.

(My friend Scott is the one on the left)

Another, a filmmaker, writer and sculptor, just came to visit Prague and we hung out for the first time in eight years. Fun times!

(My friend Oscar is on the left, his friend Charity on the right)

Jonah's aunt's visit

My sister was here on a concert tour for two weeks. She was very busy with work, but was able to sneak in a couple of visits with us. Like the good groupie that I am, I followed her for a couple of out-of-town concerts as well, one of those times with the whole family for maximum impact.

Jonah loved his time with his auntie, who, between shows, a live television interview and performance, a screening of a film she acted in, also managed to record her new album in the Czech Republic. The new album should be out in the fall. Yay!

Some photos (more here):

Monday, June 08, 2009

Mother's Day

Last month, Jonah's school held an event to celebrate Mother's Day. The kids did a demonstration of their morning yoga exercises and sang folk songs. Their Christmas performance was very similar, but at that time Jonah had only been in preschool a short time. He was still shy and didn't know much Czech, so it was hard to motivate him to participate in the group. This time, he not only participated, but actually enjoyed himself. At the end of the show, he brought me a flower and a card he made.

He's doing well in preschool. His teacher loves him and he loves her. She already told me she will miss him terribly when we move.

May quotes

I've been a little behind on my blogging here. Still, I have faithfully continued to write down interesting things Jonah says. Here are a few morsels from the month of May:

"I'm making metal armor, my wife."

"Mommy, don't worry. I'll always protect you."

"Smell me, 'cause I smell right, like the Boba Fetts that smell right."

More here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


What an incredible time we had on our trip to Athens this month! The first impression that greeted us (other than getting ripped off when buying our bus fair to town at the airport and the awfully crowded ride to town) was the smell of jasmine. It had rained in Athens and the air smelled like jasmine tea.

Our hotel was perfect. A two-bedroom apartment, complete with a kitchen and balcony overlooking a few busy streets, parks, and the Hill of the Wolves (Lykavittos Hill). Very central too.

We saw so much in the four days we were there: The Acropolis with its temples, green spaces, and ancient amphitheater; the Ancient Agora, the nerve center of commerce and culture in old Greece; Kerameikos, the most important ancient burial ground in Athens; the National Gardens, a lush jungle-like park in the heart of the Greek capitol; an old turkish-style bath house, beautifully restored; remnants of ancient Roman baths; the fabulous National Archeological Museum, which houses the famous Mask of Agamemnon and other awe-inspiring artifacts.

We also took a day trip 70 km down the coast to Cape Sounion where the Temple of Poseidon punctuates the landscape, the striking white columns contrasting with the vibrant blues of the sky and sea. There we got to swim in the cool, but welcoming Aegean Sea.

In Greece, I tasted the freshest and most marvelous orange juice and the sweetest and most fragrant strawberries I had ever eaten in my life. I got the latter from a fruit seller in Monastiraki Square, a place where the various histories of Athens meet.

The oranges and lemons on the fruit trees were ripe. The temperature was perfect. Between 24 and 28 °C (that's 75 and 82 °F). The sun was out. It sprinkled only for about an hour upon our arrival the first day.

Jonah did fine. Transitions can be a bit difficult with him. This fickleness manifests itself in him throwing tantrums. We managed dissipating those sucessfully most of the time. Considering that most of what we did was grown-up oriented (read sightseeing), he did great. We did give him opportunities to play as well.

The only drawback of traveling to Greece with a child (and no babysitter) is that one cannot enjoy Greek nightlife, for which the country is so famous or proper Greek food. The customary way to eat is late at night -- 10 pm at the earliest -- and most restaurants don't even open their kitchens till then, so I was glad we had our own kitchen at the hotel. With a child who goes to sleep by 8 pm that is a must in the Mediterranean. The tastiest food we had eaten was from a skewered meat seller at a flea market. Each skewer of tender and perfectly seasoned pork for only 1 Euro!

For nights I have had dreams about building ancient cities, which began while still in Greece. As I sit here now in the much-colder Prague, my mind is still half-way in Greece. As I've said to my friends, I left my heart in Athens. Jonah, fortunately, assures me that he still has his heart inside him.

For more pics, go here.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

the family protests

Today, our little family of three participated in a protest against neo-nazism in the Czech Republic. We went to express our solidarity with the Roma (Gypsy) community, who has been experiencing an increasing amount of tension, harassment, and violence at the hands of the white majority.

I wrote about our participation at the demonstration on another blog, Roma Rights.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

the grandparents are here!

Jonah's Montana grandparents arrived yesterday. It's their first time in Prague. Jonah, of course, is in seventh heaven, and we're excited to show them around.

Here is a sampling of some of the things we have planned: a walk around the Prague Castle and a tour of the Czech Senate; a day trip to the 660-year-old Karlštejn castle; and a day trip to the UNESCO town of Český Krumlov, founded in the 13th century. Of course, there will be time with the extended family: my dad & wife & my maternal grandmother. Tim's parents were also invited to see the Fiddler On The Roof at the theater which my father runs.

Today we walked through Prague's Old Town, weaving in and out of groups of tourists and soaking in the sights and spring sunshine.

More pics coming soon.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

will it happen again?

Today Jonah and I participated in a Yom HaShoah ceremony by reading some of the names of those who died in the Holocaust. Many of my relatives died in the Holocaust.

Every time I walk the streets of the oldest parts of Prague, I think about this:

At the outbreak of World War II, over 92,000 Jews lived in Prague, almost 20 percent of the city’s population. Prague was one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe. At least two-thirds of the Jewish population of Prague perished in the Holocaust (. . .) More than a quarter of a million Czechoslovak Jews were murdered in the Holocaust and more than 60 synagogues in the Czech lands were destroyed.

My father's parents, both Jewish, were concentration camp survivors. My mother's grandfather was also. He was a political prisoner. A communist. I think about how lucky I am to be alive and how lucky that my son is here.

Jonah was one of the only children at the commemoration in the big Square of Peace, or Náměstí Míru. Though I didn't plan to meet up with anyone there, after I read my page of names, my father walked up to me. He was there too, as was my maternal grandmother.

While I read the names of the victims into the microphone, I held Jonah, who surprised me by speaking softly and shyly into the microphone as I spoke. After each name, I said the year and camp of the person's death, followed by a word explaining the person's death - in most cases "zavražděna," or "murdered." I couldn't make out what Jonah was saying so quietly, but the word I heard him repeat over and over was "zavřena," which means closed.

I tried to explain to him the significance of this memorial, in a way that a three-year-old can grasp. He asked many questions like: "Why did they put them in prison?" and "Why didn't they like them?" and "Did I die in a war?" and "Did you die?"

Finally, after I satisfactorily explained the basic concept of what happened during the war, which he understood as he is already fascinated with weapons, fighting, and wrestling, he asked: "Will it happen again?"

I wish I could say that it won't and it isn't. I said that I will protect him and that I hope it will never happen again, knowing all too well that genocide, hatred and war are still rampant today.

I not only remembered the Jews who perished at the hand of the Nazis. There were also political prisoners, the Roma (Gypsies), gays and lesbians, and religious men and women.

Today, fascism still plagues the Czech Republic as well as many other parts of the world. Just last Sunday there was a neo-Nazi march in a city in the north of the Czech Republic, where I lived as a little girl. Around 300 fascists marched, flanked by 1250 police, most in riot gear.

Just two days ago, a molotov cocktail thrown through a window of a house in a small Czech town, severely burned a Roma family, including a two-year-old child. Such hate crimes are on the rise here and across Europe and the United States.

I want to do my part to curb hate and oppression. Somehow. I try, but I still feel compelled to try harder.

Monday, April 13, 2009

a weekend for kings

What a relaxing Easter weekend we had!

First, it was off to the 900-year-old castle Křivoklát, as I said in my last post.

The next day, we spent the afternoon with my grandmother. As usual, she treated us like kings, preparing a tasty meal for us and then accompanying us to one of the funnest playgrounds for kids. Jonah had a blast. The city is so much friendlier and cheerier filled with warmth and sunshine.

We finished off the holiday with some relaxation at my dad's in the countryside. We sat around and chatted while Jonah played with a neighbor kid, the same age as he: heaven for the parents who could actually carry on an uninterrupted adult conversation or just plain rest. Those who have only children will understand.

Czech Easter tradition dictates that girls and women get whipped with hand-braided whips made from willow switches. For that purpose, I brought a pillow to stuff into my pants to pad my behind: an Easter butt, as Jonah aptly dubbed it. My little gallant knight was ready to protect me. When I told him all about how the Czechs celebrate Easter, he decided -- instead of the predictable "oh great, time to whip the girls like there's no tomorrow" -- to be my protector and to use his weapons to ward off all the evil whipping maniacs. Fortunately I am so old that I only got whipped by my dad just so I don't think I've been forgotten: two light taps on my Easter tush. What a change from the time when I was younger when Easter was the most terrifyingly electrifying holiday. That and St. Nicholas Day when the devil comes to take bad children to hell. On his first Easter in the old country, Tim stayed out of this strange pagan ritual. No "when in Rome, do as the Romans do." Instead, he buried his nose in his New York Times bestseller.

After the whipping, we were served a great lunch by my step-mom, and then, along with another family, we accompanied my dad on his favorite activity: fishing. My dad picked a spot that had a huge, fat sign specifying that fishing is strictly forbidden in the lake. That fact obviously posed no obstacle. About a half hour into our fete, the actual owner of the lake showed up and set up shop across the water from us. He seemed not to care we were there at all. Perhaps he already knew my dad and had worked out some sort of a deal with him. No one knew for sure, but our fishing expedition continued unhindered.

The ladies just sat there, chiding the men who competed in how many carp each caught and released. The boys fished out slimy grass with sticks, calling the green stuff fish and taking turns frying it for each other. Fun times. Jonah got his first sunburn on his arms. Not to worry. It was very mild.

For more pics, go here and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Though we didn't in any way celebrate Passover since my dad is one of those ultra assimilated types, I did get a box of matzah to take home. Jonah thought the biggest cracker he has ever eaten was so cool. I am glad, because I was already thinking of reviewing the video I watched last year about all the many things one can do with matzah:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

castle time on Easter

Now that spring is here, the sun is shining, the birds chirping, and plants are coming to life again, my mood has lifted. The gray winter seemed so long, but now that it's warm enough just for a t-shirt and shorts outside, new possibilities lay ahead.

Today we ventured out to yet another castle; this one, one of the oldest, 900-years-old, to be exact. Křivoklát, like most others, hide among the hills until one approaches quite close. It's behind the last bend in the curvy road, just when you think you're lost, that a magnificent castle appears on the mountain ahead, close enough to be standing on the palm of your hand.

This weekend is the second most important holiday one after Christmas in the Czech calendar. Easter is about crafts and folk tradition, including some wacky pagan ones. We decided to visit Křivoklát, because they were hosting a traditional artisan market with musical and theatrical performances right in the courtyard.

A superb band named Krless, specializing in medieval vagrant music, played. They got the kids dancing right away. I was tempted too, but no other adults were even tapping their feet -- the typical Czechs they were --, so I decided to just stick to a few miniscule knee bends and claps here and there to punctuate the most exciting parts in the music. Jonah, on the other hand, pranced around the courtyard like he owned it, with his new sword and shield. Tim tied a handkerchief around Jonah's head to complete his pirate look. When I told Jonah that I really enjoyed his dancing, he that said he wasn't dancing, but driving a pirate truck. Right, I should have known.

The market was fun. Lots of neat pottery, glass, semi-precious stone, leather, iron, and woven products. The food carts were something: meat and more meat, of course, and a traditional, beautifully decorated smoked cheese. Pics here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

first joint poetry project

Here is the first poem Jonah and I have ever written together. This was on April 2.

Rhyme Time

There was once a duck,
rodie, pocky Mortimer Tuck.

Piddy goat, Five Dive Hive,
went along the road to a pond.

Donald Duck went to the water
and pooped in the water:

All his clothes were torn.
Then what did he do?
Make a whistle on the poo.

By pape poh pope,
he ate a rope.

Yuck, said the duck.
Yuck, said the mommy.
You growed a poppy.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

to protect and serve

Remember last fall I wrote about Jonah wanting to protect me by fighting the subway fair inspectors the day I forgot my pass? Today we were riding home from school when we saw the ticket checkers approaching. As I had predicted, they never checked me. I told Jonah that I thought they wouldn't because they never seem to check parents with kids. He asked why. I don't know, I said. I've just noticed that. To that he replied:

"Maybe they're scared of kids."

"Why?" I asked.

"Maybe they're scared of kids shooting."

Oh yes. That would be kids like him, protecting their mommies by shooting down the ticket inspectors. My little prince. Love him so.

Actually, even funnier than that, the other day I asked Tim to remind me of what the police motto was. He said: "To protect and serve," to which Jonah responded in the midst of playing policeman: "But I am not serve. I just protect." Too proud to serve, but never too proud to use his weapons!

Friday, April 03, 2009

my little pirate

Jonah's favorite make-belief characters of late have been:

garbage man

Thanks for the cross-Atlantic eye patch, Gma & Gpa!

Monday, March 30, 2009

to the castles we go

The winter here has felt so long! So much gray sky. We are ready for spring! The temperatures have finally climbed into the 50's and the birds have begun their sweet, sweet twittering. Just the other day I saw the first flower of the season blooming in the grass. This was a relief, since just a few days ago it was snowing here.

We have finally started to take more trips to see the sights around the country again. Recently we visited two castles, both from the 14th century: Karlštejn and Borotín, the second of which is a ruin, and a fascinating one to be sure. The ruin includes an underground section with vaulted Gothic ceilings.

Can't wait for more trips to come this season.

More pics here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

my ggma

My grandmother celebrated her 81st birthday this month. Yes, we were there: my little family, together with my US-based cousin, who is currently studying in Prague, and a good family friend.

Together, we treated my grandmother to a tasty multiple-course meal in an Italian restaurant where, as it turned out, many a famous person (such as Johnny Depp) has eaten.

My grandmother is pretty much the highlight of our stay in Prague. But that goes without saying. She is one fantastic lady!

Friday, March 06, 2009

veni, vidi....

Honestly, I'm glad February is behind us. As of last year, it is officially my least favorite month of the year. You can imagine why.

But, now on to bigger and better adventures. Yes. We just came back from a trip to London and Dublin. First time for all of us.

In London we met up with Tim's parents, who had just finished their dreamy, around-the-world trip. Oh the places they'd seen! Peru, Eastern Island, Australia, Papua New Guinea and more.... We got to hear the stories fresh and even meet some of their travel compatriots.

Our three days in London were a blast. Almost an arctic blast, that is, because I was freezing the whole time, whether outside or in our hotel room. But, that's beside the point.

We, of course, had the obligatory pub meal of fish and chips and a pint (all but Jonah and me who don't like the flavor of beer). We strolled around Hyde Park and Green Park and across the river Thames. We rode a London taxi, river boat, a double-decker and The Eye of London, all in the same day! We rode across the Tower Bridge, took pics with Big Ben, walked inside the Tower of London complex, watched the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace... So much to see, so little time...

The Eye of London was really something. Space age entertainment, I call it.

The highlight of our time in London was meeting up with my college friend Toufique, who lives in London. He took us, via the tube, to his favorite neighborhood: a crossroads between an artsy, alternative scene with artisan markets and bars, frequented by tattooed, punk and hipster crowds and a Bengali neighborhood full of restaurants, mosques, and other businesses catering (not only) to South Asian clientele. Thanks to Toufique, we got to dine in a little off-the-beaten-path Bengali restaurant. Now that was fun! We finished off our time together with a cup of hot alcoholic cider. Yum! I was sad to say goodbye.

Then on to Dublin. To my dismay, Dublin was even colder than London. Needless to say, I underdressed. Silly me.

In Dublin, we had the kindest hosts one could imagine. Stephen, a native Dubliner, cooked up a storm and shared lots of historical and political tidbits about Ireland. Ann, who was not only taking care of us but also of her one-year-old daughter was patient enough to not kick us to the curb once I started feeling lightheaded thanks to some bug I caught on our trip. In between the feasting and talking and walking around Dublin, I kept asking to be excused to lay down... Pretty soon I felt so out of it that I ceased to be fun around and forgot to even take pictures. Too bad... Jonah had fun with little baby Eilis though. She adored him and tried imitating everything he did.

The last evening another friend I'd met in Portland, Tara, and her husband came over for dinner. That was fun as well.

My favorite thing in Dublin was the National Museum, which houses artifacts from as long as the Stone Age. There we saw a replica of an ancient stone burial structure, dating from about 3700-2500 BC. We also perused the remnants of Iron Age "bog bodies," bodies, whose sacrifice was part of king inauguration rituals thousands of years ago, preserved in Irish bogs. Creepy and immensely fascinating.

I put pics of our trip here. Sorry, not many from Ireland.