Monthly Archives: December 2014

Merry Christmas

Christmas Truce

100 years ago tomorrow WWI was barely under way in 1914 in the trenches which were wet and cold. Two groups of men were dug in and facing each other.

In 1993 [75th anniversary of the end of WWI] I knew 3 veterans from ‘the great war’ aka the war to end all war. Back in that day we did not know enough to number the wars. Anyway, one of them had been there.

Have your speakers turned to good level.

World War One Christmas Truce Song – Belleau Wood

The Christmas Truce is a good documentation.

May all of you have a Merry Christmas and a happier New Year.


Lighting is a very good thing to have anytime and especially during an emergency situation. check out
There are other low power lights that can be of use too. I have some LED Christmas lights that run off of 2 double A batteries. With rechargeable batteries they will run for 60 plus hours.

Ireland 6

6 ******************
Minus 80 days and counting

The Republic of Ireland and North Ireland have a very long and interesting history. Florence and I were writing to each other during most of the time referred to as “the Trouble”. She would send me newspaper clippings so I got to see some of it “almost” first hand. There was also a very long drought during that time and many farmers lost their crops and animals. Now I am reading about it in the “history” of Ireland. It does give a person perspective, though. Ireland is a country that has struggled through wars, droughts, famines and political unrest, and yet they are among the friendliest people in the world. When we think of US history, we are looking at a couple hundred years (if you don’t look at Columbus and the Native American Indians). Ireland’s history is a few thousand years. A house in our area that is was built a hundred years ago is considered old. There are castles in Ireland (and Scotland, England, Germany, etc.) that have stood for several hundred years. We sometimes forget that WE are the rookies in the history game. I’m just glad I studied American History in school and not Irish History. I’d still be there and we’d only be up to the Industrial Revolution!

Here is an interesting thought: Remember the movie “Around the World in 80 Days”? I have the same number of days to get ready for a one week trip and I’m panicked that I won’t be ready in time or forget something. [following ‘project management’ guidelines helps a lot with planning trips ect…-R]

Although, I have to say, my kids are being very helpful in making this trip happen. Dan will take me to the bus that takes me to the airport and then pick me when I return. He is also keeping my dog, Indiana Jones, while I am gone. I could put Indiana in a kennel, but he was a rescue from a puppy mill and spent the first six months of his life in a crate, so I think he done his time in Hell.

Rally points

Rally points
Where ever you stay for any length of time you should set up ‘rally points’ in case you get separated, if something like a fire happens in your lodging or other emergency.

Do this the same as you have set up at home for emergency evacuations. For example if we have a fire here at home we will sound the alarm, if possible use the fire extinguishers and if we leave our first rally point is the front yard near our vehicle, AND then call the fire department. Our secondary rally point is in sight of the first one and is across the street at Mr Jones’ house and have him call the authorities.

If something happens during the day our family knows to rendezvous at home unless the involved area is near home. If that is the case we all meet at our office. The next rally point is at church. After that if we have to leave the town our next rally point would be in the town about 50 miles from our town.

An example of the rally point plan while traveling follows.

Current lodging location ________
Which is where we will meet if we get separated while out.

If something happens while we are at the lodging we will meet at the front desk OR outside at our vehicle. If the area is too dangerous near the lodging we will meet at _____________________
[example – McDonald’s across the street. ]

If we are separated from our group we will call our normal ‘out of area’ contact person as we would if there were a disaster at home.

You do have an emergency plan for home, don’t you?

Ireland 5

5 ***********
Clothes, toiletries, a camera and a few zip lock bags, and I should be ready. I like taking the small kitchen size zip bags to keep small stuff from getting lost and a couple of the big garment ones for dirty clothes and whatever else (like dirty or wet shoes) that might need to be kept apart from the rest.
So, with 82 days until I leave, what am I working on now? I’m reading more travel blogs and books and learning more about the history and culture of the country. I have also spent a lot of time on Google Earth. It’s pretty cool to zoom in on a town and then “drive” down the streets. I’m also working on setting up the trip to Scotland for Cory and me.

There are a great number of YouTube videos and other information on Scotland and the castles they have. Ireland is not so well covered. I found some with great pictures, but they are more of a slide show with music than a video so there is no information on what you are looking at or any background on it. In their defense, they are beautiful pictures. I am hoping to be able to post some videos that will help people decide what they want to see if they get to visit Ireland.
I feel very fortunate that not only do I get to meet my pen pal after nearly half a century, but I am going to have a local tour guide to show me places that the tourists see plus the places they don’t. When my husband, Tom, was alive we went on fly-in fishing trips in Canada in the summer and always spent a week in Mexico in the winter to “warm up”. Even though we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of those trips, I consider this one the trip of a lifetime. I have dreamed of this since I was 14 years old! Florence is such a warm and wonderful person and for her to open her home to me and show me her world, is just so awesome. Of course I am hoping to talk her into coming to the US and letting me show her around. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Florence lives in County Fermanagh in North Ireland. For Christmas this year she sent me a calendar that has pictures of the attractions in just her county alone which is only 715 square miles and is surrounded on three sides by the Republic of Ireland. I couldn’t believe how much there is to see so close to her. Her note said she wanted to give me a glimpse of what I was going to see when I came over to visit. Her kids are even excited about my visit and my kids want me to talk her into coming here so they can meet her.

Here is a map from Wikipedia to review. The Red is County Fermanagh, the pink is North Ireland and the green is the Republic of Ireland. The largest town is County Fermanagh is Enniskillen.
Maps – One other thing I purchased was a “Streetwise” laminated folding map of Ireland from Amazon. I thought it would small enough to carry with me and I could check out where we were going. I Also bought one for the trip to Scotland. Streetwise makes hundreds of maps of different areas. I have other maps from them for the states I regularly travel in. They fold up small, are easy to read and don’t rip. Just a hint – if you are planning on writing on your map, you will need a magic marker. A regular pen won’t write on them.

As I was watching the YouTube videos, I made a very funny discovery. For 48 years I have been pronouncing “Fermanagh” incorrectly. I’m just glad I figured it out before I embarrassed myself in front of Florence and her family!