Backsides in Ireland


I didn’t intend to snap so many rear shots, but when you loiter with a camera, it’s bound to happen.

Here are a few photos from the day:


Soaking up the view & braving the wind–



Dog walking done–




Rush hour in Connemara–


More Irish updates amárach…

That’s “tomorrow.”

We’ve Run Away



Maryland has had terrible weather in recent days: record-breaking cold and unexpected snow. It’s been a total drag.

Least that’s what I’ve heard.

I wouldn’t know firsthand since I’m in Ireland… pulling off a repeat performance of last year’s trip.

I didn’t plan my Irish return so soon. The plane ticket was an impulse buy, in the midst of mid-winter malaise. I was bummed out and blue for a few days.

Some people seek prescription treatment for depression. Others self-medicate with booze. There are those who find solace in shopping — watching the QVC network, or bidding on eBay items.

Me? I troll airline websites.

Still, looking at flights is one thing and buying is another. But one dreary day I was feeling exceedingly gloomy — trapped in that endless winter cycle of farm care, kid care, horse care — forever housebound. I needed to get out.

I tried rousting a few friends to grab lunch. But when no one responded, I cracked open my laptop and clicked on the Aer Lingus website. Then I barreled into Martin’s office.

“Can I go to Ireland?”

“Yes,” he answered.

“Are you sure? I mean, are you really sure? You’d have to take care of everything — kids, horses, farm… I’d don’t have to go but I was thinking maybe a week–”

“Yes, please, go.”

“Are you positive?”

“Yes, go! Farm, kids? I can handle it. Go. I want you to go.”

Translation: “You’ve been a moody cow lately. If Ireland’s the cure, I’m all in.” 

So that’s how this trip happened.

One “buy now” click later and I was booked for Ireland — departing the same day that I traveled last year. Afterward, Mom took care of Brynn’s plane ticket, and my friend, Sarah, decided to tag along, too. The three of us flashed our passports in Shannon before sunrise on Thursday morning.



Castletownshend, Co. Cork


So far we are four days into this trip, and I’m feeling pretty happy. No longer blue.

Also I can report: there’s no buyer’s remorse, either.





Ski Report Finale


If you missed the first ski installment, check out part one.

Otherwise, let’s wrap up this chapter.

The highlights — or low-lights of the trip? They can be summed up in photos.

Here’s day one, on the Deer Valley slopes:




Here’s Martin, approximately 30 minutes later:



This, my friends, is not a broken collarbone.

It’s a separated shoulder.

I know this because the Park City Clinic provided the diagnosis.

And I farmed out the radiograph to virtually every veterinarian in my personal network.

Horse vets are like regular MDs — they just have furrier patients.

My friend Sarah has a son who is a real doctor — he actually treats people — and he summed up the diagnosis succinctly:

“It’s not a broken bone; it’s torn ligaments. The gap you see is between the acromion and the clavicle, which are two different bones. Recovery varies; when you’re no longer in pain, you can take off the sling.”

He was right.

In Sundance Film Festival fashion, I’m giving out awards.

Martin earns the “down but not out” award.

Despite his separated shoulder, four days later, he was back on skis.

Behold, evidence of his recovery:



Understandably, Martin was a wee-bit tentative.

I tried to bolster his confidence by leading him through “the enchanted forest” — a narrow, mogul-ridden trail squeezed between a narrow stand of trees.

What can I say?

It is a path preferred by little kids, parked on short, stout skis.

My cousin and I navigated the challenges and emerged. We awaited Martin.

Eventually, he appeared.

That was NOT F-ing Enchanting!” he shouted, skis tossed over his good shoulder, as he trudged down a nearby logging road.

Martin: I offer you both the “down but not out” award and the “good sport” award.


Brynn receives the “most improved” award. Zilla set out as a newbie, edging along the bunny slope bottom, at a glacial pace. But she wrapped the week rocketing down the green runs, from the top of the mountain.

Her story isn’t remarkable. Often children adapt to skiing, thanks to fearlessness and close proximity to the ground.

Still, it’s a marvel to watch.


Zilla and her miscreant crew…