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


“Funny Farm” has been on hiatus while several cast members were partaking in a Utah ski vacation, along with my cousins, Marianne and Mike.

In 2013 we shared a similar ski trip to Park City. This year we were bumped to nearby Deer Valley, since our holiday plans coincided with Sundance Film Festival, which is firmly rooted in downtown PC. The upside of this event conflict? The ski slopes were empty (Deer Valley, conveniently quiet… the Park City Resort, eerily abandoned). Sundance prep and the actual event meant no lift lines and a mountain full of open runs, sparsely dotted with a thin smattering of skiers. 


The mobs at Park City Resort


While the ski resort was a ghost down, downtown Park City was quite the opposite: practically impenetrable thanks to traffic and parking congestion.


We ventured into town a few times for cocktails or food, but the main street was clogged with vendor kiosks, cordoned-off media enclosures, and enormous, glowing sponsorship tents which sprouted in every available square and courtyard. The slopes proved far more alluring than Park City’s trumped-up crowd of glam Hollywood stars and wannabes.

Not to say that, deep down, I’m not a “wannabe.”

After swishing down the ski runs near the swanky St. Regis of Deer Valley, we scheduled an afternoon break on the patio. The hotel boasts an impressive entrance: guests glide up the mountain aboard a glitzy funicular, which deposits patrons in a top notch, wine bottle-clad bar and restaurant.

The ski-in entrance is equally bewitching, marked with a handcrafted ice castle:



The room rate at this hotel was more impressive than the lobby: in the high season (ie, now) a base room, with a queen-sized bed and mountain view — will set you back $2,500 a night.

Twenty-five hundred. A night.

Ouch! (The funicular rides are free. Hey, thanks.)

So we snubbed Sundance, but I gawked at the glam hotel crowd, while sipping an over-priced drink.

However, that accounted for just an hour of vacation. More than anything else, we skied.  A lot.

But not without drama.

Details, in the next Funny Farm post.