Falconry at Adare Manor Castle Hotel in Ireland

IMG_2060I’ve always been fascinated by eagles, falcons, and owls. They are powerful and mysterious. So, I was excited when my ex/husband suggested that after our daughter’s graduation (University of Limerick) that we head over to Adare Manor Castle Hotel (Adare, Ireland) for some Falconry and Archery.

Right now, they are doing a lot of refurbishing at Adare Manor, so, I was unable to take a picture to share with you.

Our Falconry Instructor was a nice fellow. He had a variety of birds for us to look at. First, he would tell us about the bird. Then with heavy glove on he assisted us to hold the birds, being very careful of their feet/talons. With the falcons, we could FEEL the strength in their feet through the glove. When they go for their prey, watch out!

Sometimes in photography, we get a FUNNY shot. For example, if you look at this owl, at first glance the owl appears to have headphones on, BUT then if you zoom in, you’ll see that when I took the photo, the eagle was directly behind the owl. Very amusing!

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Here are a few more photos I thought you might enjoy. Owls have amazing eyes! I have never seen one up close, have you?

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Next, a falconry show must have a falcon, right. Here you go…

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Now, this owl had enormous FEET.

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Finally, the Eagle…

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And for the grand finale… drum roll please… I bet you were wondering how I did in Archery. Well, I got a bulls eye, right in the middle of the apple – 3 times too! I have two brothers, so you KNOW I’ve been bragging about my Archery skills! A friendly bit of competition is good.

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Ireland is beautiful and a lot of fun. Similar to Seattle with the weather and they really enjoy their outdoor sports, I like that.

The Falconry fellow said Adare Manor should be open to the public November 2017. THEN we can go back for Trap Shooting! I smiled and thought, “Good marketing! I’m on board for that!”

Are there any sharks? Boating in Wilmington, NC.

IMG_1546I grew up swimming in Lake Michigan. Swimming in a Lake is carefree. You might run into some minnows, or step on a big brick – YES, there are bricks at the bottom of the Lake, but you would never run into a shark.

So, when I get to an ocean, my first instinct is to dive right in UNTIL a warning sound goes off in my brain that says, “WAIT, are there any sharks?”  That’s what happened on my trip to Wilmington, North Carlolina. I soon overcame any fears as my friend jumped in without hesitation and started bobbing up and down in the waves looking like a fish. I followed.

As I was diving into the water, I was reminded of a time I was diving into the Lake with my brother. We had found a red brick at the bottom of the Lake in the sand bar area. My brother had picked it up and brought it to the service, PROUD of what he had found. We decided to play a game. We would throw the brick in the water and BOTH of us would dive in the water after the brick. Whoever got to the brick FIRST would be the one to throw it in again.

Well, this game was working out well until my brother, being extremely fast, dove in just in time for the brick to come crashing on his head. Luckily, this was not a bolder, but still, he came up out of the water with blood on his forehead. We immediately went out of the water. My mother was horrified and off to the emergency room we went for him to get stitches. So ended our fun brick game.

IMG_4493We also did a lot of boating on Lake Michigan, but I was not prepared for the boating they do in Wilmington. Wow – we went out on Saturday and there were boats everywhere. It’s “the” thing to do on the weekend. I felt like we were on a busy water freeway. The boats were very orderly, just like on a normal road, staying in their lane. Of course, there are always the “hot rods” even on the water.

IMG_4495There were the party looking boats with a lot of young people. They were doing water skiing and water tubing. There was a little island with a palm tree. As the day went on and the water started rising it covered the little island. We drove by a red Tow Boat, and later in the day hurried to dock the boat as we could see a storm coming in.

IMG_1547There have been a lot of thunder storms this summer. That day we could see the dark clouds coming in over the Atlantic Ocean. The lightning looked like fireworks in the sky, similar to this photo. Every few minutes behind the clouds we would see a flash of pink and silver. The thunder was incredible, so loud too. When I lived in California we had rain storms, but no thunder or lightening.

If you haven’t been boating or swimming in a while, it’s great fun, GO DO IT!  Be careful of those BIG waves though, they can knock you out… seriously, they can.

 

When a thunder storm comes…

IMG_1518IMG_1531When I was a child growing up, we lived for the beach. We especially enjoyed thunder storms, which came without much warning. Suddenly the sky would become dark, the thunder, lightening and wind would start howling. We were on read alert for tornadoes.

As you can see in the first photo, the storm was coming in strong the other day. After watching the movie, “The Wizard of Oz,” I think we all kept looking for that tornado that might come over Lake Michigan, but we never saw one. However, we did stay glued to the window watching and listening to the thunder/lightening. When we were children, my Italian mother would say that Zeus was upset at mortals and was throwing lightening bolts from heaven. She loved Greek Mythology.

I thought it was amazing that the Lake could look so different after ONLY two hours. When the storm passed, the Lake became this beautiful blue color with the fantastic sunset.

And FINALLY, a little hazy, the view of the Chicago skyline.

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If you have an interesting storm photo, would love to see it!

 

Do you believe in LUCK?

FullSizeRenderToday I was taking a walk and something shiny caught my attention in the grass. I looked down and THERE I saw a LUCKY PENNY!  It’s ALWAYS a good day when we find a Lucky Penny!

I smiled super big. This was such an odd place to find a penny next to the sidewalk in the grass. For those of you who might not know, in America if you find a penny and usually it should be “heads up” it means “Good Luck!”  Also, as you see on the penny it says, “In God We Trust.” So, if you have been going through challenges in life, it is a reminder to Trust in God, he is watching over you. Or I’d like to think my Guardian Angel wanted me to know he/she is working hard on making dreams/wishes come true, have FAITH and do “my share” to make things HAPPEN!

I do feel that LUCK is when OPPORTUNITY meets PREPARATION! We help create our own luck along with the Universe sending us a few miracles/surprises along the way.

Not far from the penny this FUNNY BUNNY appeared. How is that for a rhyme and he didn’t dash off, he just stood there.

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Years ago, I read a very interesting book called, “There Are No Accidents: Synchronicity and the Stories of Our Lives,” by Robert H. Hopcke. I was reminded of that book today. If you have a chance try and read it. Hopcke interviewed different people who had curious events happen in there lives certainly synchronicity was at play.

LUCK seems to be on my mind lately. Recently, while in Ireland, I came across this Fairy Dust in the Tourist Shop. After I shook the jar, made a few wishes… WELL, I had to buy it. It just seemed like FUN!

So, I am sharing my WISHING JAR with YOU!

Make a WISH and SHAKE THE JAR in your mind. Let’s give the Leprechauns and Fairies something to do.

GOOD LUCK with your wishes!

 

 

Live Art – What is wrong with second photo?

IMG_4270Not long ago I went to an art show. It was one of those shows where you walk around town stopping at different shops to see art galleries, clothing, antiques, furniture, etc.

When I got to a shop for picture framing, I was looking in the window and was suddenly startled when I realized there was LIVE ART going on. I was staring into the faces of these young artists who were standing as mannequins as if in a picture.  Really nice.

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NOW, here is a second photo. I’m curious to see who can tell me what is wrong with this LIVE ART?  If I could play the Jeapordy game show music for you right now, I would.

I’m waiting…

Need some LADYBUGS, buy Geraniums.

IMG_3514I enjoy gardening. When Spring comes I have favorite flowers. I love impatiens and geraniums. Imaptiens remind me of Carmel, CA, beautiful bedding plant, but they do need watering every day. Geraniums though, they are a hardy flower that bloom constantly with little care.

IMG_3510Recently, I went to the gardening store and was looking for geraniums in this pinkish/redish color. I looked down and this particular geranium was FULL of ladybugs. Of course, I smiled and was transported to my childhood when the “first” ladybug I ever saw had landed on my arm. This little bug was so pretty, sweet and dainty and when it walked up my arm it felt like a little tickle when it moved. My second thought was, “WOW – I must be in for some REALLY GOOD LUCK, there are a lot of ladybugs here!” My third and final thought was, how are there so many ladybugs on “THIS” particular geranium?

So, I read the little instruction sticker and it said that this particular geranium attracts ladybugs to it, which is good for your garden, because ladybugs eat different insects. DID YOU KNOW THAT? I didn’t.

When I got home I Googled “ladybugs” and found that in Europe ladybugs are called “ladybirds.” Not sure that I can see how a ladybug resembles a bird except for the wings it has. At the same time, it made me think that this sweet beautiful little creature does not look like a “bug” either. My research found that ladybugs “are known” for bringing “good luck!”

So, with this post, I share my ladybugs with you.

Let’s see what luck comes our way!

 

 

Miracles… Lost items that are found.

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Scarf when lost.

Guest Blogger:

Francesca Meffert / Ireland

Tuesday

My heels clicked against the pavement as I crossed the street already ¾ of my way home from campus when the first stab of panic hit, “Why don’t I feel my scarf around my neck?”

The wind howled, mocking my inattention.

Touching my neck, bare flesh greeted me and my stomach flopped as I realized the wind had surely snatched it in my scurry home.

I asked myself, “Do you want to go back for it?” “No, it wasn’t my favorite scarf and I rarely wore it anyways. Besides, if the wind took it who knows where it might be.”

I resumed my walk home, my feet scuffling a tad heavier.

Wednesday – Saturday

Cycling into campus I took the route I came the previous day and alas there was no scarf to be found.

The next day was the same….

And the next…..

and the next.

Sunday

I gazed out the window as the bus prattled its way closer to campus. That morning I had cycled into college; a fact I was struggling with at this moment when deciding whether to get off on campus to collect my bike or head home. Sighing, I did also want to stop by Church at some stage to light a candle, which, if I went for that option would entail having to walk back into campus for my bike. As the scenery passed by with increasing alacrity I found myself facing a decision among 3 options:

Option 1: stop at college, get bike, go home.

Option 2: stop off a bit later, go to Church, get bike, go home.

Option 3: go home.

(It is worth noting that the route via Option 1 or 3 would take me different paths to/from college and my house).

Going with Option 2

I pressed the button and got off the bus and began my walk to Church. This is a route I had taken the last four days. As I was about to cross the street, I looked down and saw a heap of wet, dirty, grimy cloth that had clearly been exposed to the elements for a good while. My heart felt a moment of sadness for the poor thing and all of a sudden I felt myself doing a double-take, wait a second, that’s MY scarf!!

I crouched down and delicately plucked the grimy scarf from the ground and placed it in my bag, arousing stares of intrigue and distain from drivers and passerby’s alike. Standing up, I was grinning from ear to ear like a fool. It wasn’t even the fact that I had my scarf back, it hadn’t been super important to me, it was “what finding it represented,” and I couldn’t help but think:

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                                            Scarf when found.

What was once lost can always be found.

Perhaps that could be true of objects, but I felt this was a gift from the universe more symbolic in nature.

Often times, we find ourselves in predicaments or situations that are stressful, hard, or challenging in some manner or another – be it in our work, relationships, life decisions or more. It is in those moments that we must ignite the best in ourselves – be it motivation, love, passion, determination, patience, hope or whatever is required to see us through it. We all have the capacity to ignite these elements within ourselves, but it’s up to us to trigger them. Finding the scarf reminded me, that although it can be difficult to imagine, “what was once lost can always be found” and we can find it in ourselves to recall our best traits to see us through.

Had I chosen Option 1 or 3, I would surely not have found my scarf or remembered this important life lesson. As my friend reminded me, everything happens for a reason.

I hope that this scarf can serve as a lesson, that you too, can find whatever it is in your heart that you are searching for, it just takes faith!