Posted by: Janet | October 19, 2009

Repeat notice

Anything I have to say is now being said over on    otherwise known as Janet’s thread. 

 BHS 50th reunion group sing   This is a group sing at our 50th reunion from Belmont High School, Class of 1954.  I’m in the back row, on the left, holding a glass of red wine


55th_BHS-5404  55th reunion of the Belmont High School Class of 1954.  I’m in the 3rd row, wearing a green floral dress, slightly right of center.  October 2, 2009

Posted by: Janet | September 7, 2009

Publishing Plans

Just a note to say I do not plan to make any more entries on this blog.  I might shift some of the previously published entries over to my other blog Janet’s Thread.   Janet’s Thread started out as being primarily a knitting blog but over time I have made other entries as well, unrelated to knitting.  I plan to continue this and make all entries, knitting or otherwise, on that blog

Posted by: Janet | July 23, 2009

Obsessive Gardening

I have been getting great enjoyment this summer working in our garden.  One of my projects has been to remove a very large pampas grass plant which has grown and grown and grown over the past few years.


miscellaneous Ian 233  An example of a pampas grass plant in a neighbour’s garden

miscellaneous Ian 166   All that’s left of the our once gigantic pampas grass


With all my work clipping the pampas grass, I have also been going around clipping lots of other plants and generally trying to make the garden look tidier.  I find it very satisfying – and it’s a nice excuse to be out of doors in good weather.

For other images of pampas grass check out the following website.

Posted by: Janet | July 23, 2009

Litter Patrol

A while ago on my other blog, Janet’s thread, I wrote an entry called Self Appointed Litter Warden.  Yesterday I walked along that route and it was almost as bad as ever – today it was almost litter free.  What a transition.  I don’t know whether it was another concerned walker or if it was the Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council. 



Shopping trolley in the stream  Shopping trolley in the stream – photo  taken 1 1/2 years ago – the shopping trolley is no longer there


Litter along the Wyckham Way  Litter along the Wyckham Way





Minimal litter  Minimal litter

At the end of the path by the stream I found a sign explaining the importance of nature reserves. 

miscellaneous Ian 231  Sign explaining the importance of nature reserves.  Hmm, the print was very small – almost too small to read.

Posted by: Janet | July 23, 2009

Farewell to Ireland

We are coming up to the last Sunday in July.  Traditionally this is the Sunday for climbing Ireland’s sacred mountain, Croagh Patrick, in County Mayo.  I would love to do this as a symbolic farewell before we move to Seattle.  There was an article in the Irish Times this morning advising climbers not to climb barefoot or in sandals, flip flops, Wellingtons, stilettos  or other inappropriate footwear.  The mind boggles.  Approximately 20,000 people are expected to climb the mountain for the national pilgrimage on Sunday and there will be a celebratory Mass at 10:30 a.m. in the mountaintop oratory. 


I have a lawn bowling match next Monday afternoon – if I were to climb Croagh Patrick the day before, in high heels or any other footwear, I don’t think I would be in any fit state to bowl the next day.  So alas, I will have to give it a miss for another year.  Maybe I should aim to return to visit Ireland on that particular weekend and make the climb then.  Eek, I’ll be even older then and the climb will not be getting any easier!

Posted by: Janet | July 14, 2009

Coming to Ireland

     I have been asked to write my impressions about coming to live in Ireland.  Over 40 years ago, in the summer of 1968, I found out I was coming to Ireland.  In the summer of 1966 I left the sunny state of California to go to Nairobi Kenya.  I arrived in August – about 10 days earlier another single person arrived in Nairobi from Belfast Northern Ireland.  We were each taking up new jobs, staying at the same guest facility, the United Kenya Club, which catered for newly arrived or transient ex-pats.  I guess we were destined to meet.  A year and a half later, in February 1968, we were married in St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, a stone’s throw away from the United Kenya Club where we had stayed as newcomers to the country.

      As August 1968 approached we were each coming to the end of our contracts.  New husband Ian started applying for jobs back in the Northern Hemisphere.  On the condition that he was to take the job if it were offered, he was called to interview for a research post at An Foras Forbartha  in Dublin.  This sounded good to us so he accepted the call and flew north.  A few days later, following his interview, he phoned me in Nairobi to tell me he had had orange juice for breakfast.  That was most exciting news!  No, finally he got to the point and told me he had been offered the job and had agreed to start early in October.  My fate was sealed.

     In anticipation of our home-to-be I found what books I could in Nairobi.  One was a book by Mary Bromage about Eamonn De Valera.   This book was first published in 1956 and the edition I had was 1967.


De Valera by Mary Bromage    1967 edition – this book is often seen at Book Fairs, in fact I have a copy (not the one I bought in 1968) for sale among the 300+ books I have been offering for sale at the recent Dublin City Book Fairs.

       Another book which I bought in inticipation of our move was by Maurice O’Sullivan, Twenty Years A Growing, about leaving the Blasket Islands.  My edition was a small size and the print was correspondingly small.  It is a classic.   I found it rather slow going but I feel I should now read it again.  It was originally published in Irish in 1933.  There have been many editions over the years.


Twenty Years A Growing  Twenty Years a Growing, not the small edition I had

     The third book I found about Ireland was a book published by Four Square or the New English Library, 2 popular paperback publishers in the 1960’s.  The book could have been about Brendan Behan, I’m not quite sure.  I duly tried to prepare myself for what lay ahead.  These books didn’t really have much meaning for me at that time – but they were well worth returning to in later years.  They were hardly preparation for the various small differences in my daily life between what I could assume as normal in the U.S. and what was decidedly not so acceptable in Ireland, and vice versa.

     When my mother came to visit us in our apartment in Dublin, her impression was that Dublin was similar to how the U.S. had been 30 years previously.  I wonder if this observation was engendered when she looked down from our 2nd floor kitchen window and saw a horse drawn milk delivery wagon.

     I was pretty busy in my own little world.  We were fairly newly married, expecting our first child, and I was working on completing my PhD thesis.  I used to work in the morning, drive into town in time to meet Ian for lunch, usually at the much loved Country Shop, and then return to Rathgar to do the shopping and have a little rest.  Food shopping was not to be done in supermarkets – there weren’t any.  Instead, I did the rounds of the butcher and the newly opened Gourmet Shop (it’s still there) in Rathgar.  Our social life was quite limited but we did not feel the lack of it.  Our impression was that most Irish people were involved with family activities and they didn’t build a social network with newcomers.  So far as I knew there were no adult or evening courses where I would meet other people.  I think men sometimes met in pubs after work for a pint or two – Ian rarely did that if at all although sometimes he would go to the pub after an evening lecture.  Eventuallyour social life developed in a curious way which I will relate another time.

     The hardest thing to get used to here in Dublin, and also in the house where Ian grew up in Belfast, was the lack of central heating.  It was mighty cold that first winter here.  In our apartment in Rathgar we had storage heaters and a fireplace.  For me these just weren’t adequate.  I found I just had to keep moving in order to keep warm.  And when I tried to write and work on my thesis I wore 3 sweaters.  Brr.  Spring and the arrival of Baby James could hardly come quickly enough.

Posted by: Janet | July 3, 2009

Summer Sings Its Own Song

Summer sings its own song – how true that was today – a beautiful day in Dublin Ireland – July 3, 2009

Move to Seattle 2 242 Diving at the 40 foot in Sandycove


Move to Seattle 2 250  Swimming at the 40 foot


Move to Seattle 2 240  It’s freezing!!


Move to Seattle 2 251  A diver hits the water


Move to Seattle 2 235  This sign speaks for itself – the 40 foot isn’t what it used to be!


Move to Seattle 2 263  Now for the reward

Posted by: Janet | June 30, 2009

Thoughts About These Recessionary Times

Yesterday I wrote in my other blog  about economy measures of years ago, particularly with regard to knitting.  The entry is titled Thrifty Knitting.  In today’s Irish Times there is an article by Kate Holmquist, one of my favourite journalists.   Her article is titled The Great Property Famine and it compares the time of the famine in Ireland with the recession now when the property bubble has burst.  At the time of the famine the population was dependent on only one crop – the potato,  and when that crop failed in successive years, catastropic famine resulted.  Many people were forced to emigrate, many people starved to death.  In the 21st century the collective wisdom was to invest in property – this was the Celtic Tiger – our current version of the reliance upon one crop.  Of course there is no comparison between the Great Famine of the 1840’s and the Great Property Famine of the year 2009.  In the Great Famine, a million people starved to death and another million emigrated.  But Kate Holmquist says spare a thought for those in 2009 who have lost their pensions and whose children and grandchildren are emigrating.  When will the Irish people learn – what is the next potato crop?, she asks.

Posted by: Janet | June 27, 2009


Here’s a link to a fun animal puzzle – if you are in the mood for doing a 48 piece puzzle.  It took me over 7 minutes.  Average time is about 4 minutes.  7 minutes seems to be about my average when it’s a 4 minute puzzle.  You can either view these puzzles as mental warm-ups or time wasters.  Is that like the half empty/half full glass syndrome?

Now that we are so busy packing and getting ready to move to Seattle, we also are trying to keep our house tidy for the many viewers passing through our door – I could wish!  Well, it is true that we are trying to be tidy and that means not having a 1000 piece jigsaw in progress in the middle of our living room.  So I am getting my jigsaw puzzle fix by doing these daily puzzles on the computer.

Posted by: Janet | June 26, 2009

CHICAGO BY Alaa Al Aswany

Chicago by Alaa Al Aswany – a book to widen your horizons

 I bought this book in Dublin but took it with me on my recent trip to Seattle and read it while I was there.  The title and cover attracted me.  I lived in Evanston, just north of Chicago, for a year, 1958 to 1959.  I was attending Northwestern and earned my Master’s Degree in Geography.  I had some feeling for Chicago but hardly had time to really explore and enjoy the city.  Since that time I have touched down in O’Hare many times but still haven’t spent time seeing the many sights that Chicago has to offer.  I always seem to be travelling on to somewhere else.

This book offered a picture of a Chicago I never knew.  It is Chicago as seen from the experiences of a number of recent immigrants from Egypt.  It is actually more about Egypt and Egyptians and the immigrant experience rather than the city of Chicago.  A fascinating topic and a very interesting read.

For a New York Times review of this book, follow this link.  

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