About Me

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My passion is helping others defend themselves and their families. I am an NRA Certified pistol instructor, a NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - North Cincinnati, and the state leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - Ohio. I also have a heart for the Lakota people and lead mission teams to the Pine Ridge Reservation each year, am founder and director of Backpacks For Pine Ridge,, and do various volunteer work in my own community. My greatest joy is being a grandma and hanging out with my husband of 30+ years.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Ireland - Day 3: Derry

Driving to Derry was our first experience driving on Ireland's roads. After a rough start it wasn't really so bad. The rough start occured when Brian accidentily drove into the airport security section, realized he had made a wrong turn and then asked the man at the booth where we had gone wrong. We quickly learned that the Irish do not necessarily go by maps. The Irish man gave us directions saying, "Go out to the round-about, get on the M50 and follow the signs to Derry". Brian handed the map to him and explained that we were wanting to go to Derry and could he please show us on the map how to get there. Frustrated with the stupid American in front of him, the man again said, "If you get on the M50 it will take you 'all da way to Nordern Rland'." Brian was confused because the M50 goes around Dublin - not to Northern Ireland. He again asked the man where the N12 was. The man sighed and said, "I don't know about your map - just follow the signs, I already told you how to get there." It was halarious to watch this exchange because neither of them were communicating well and both were equally frustrated. In actuality, they were both right - the M5- DOES go around Dublin rather than to Northern Ireland but the M50 does have signs that will in fact take you 'all da way to Nordern Rland".

We finally got on the road ....

This is the car we are driving. It is brand new! The man at the car hire place told us it was new and in perfect condition and "if at all possible, return it in the same condition".

Road signs

We stopped at Slane Castle ...

but it was closed

Getting close to Derry, or Londonderry, it was obvious that the tension and resentment is still very much alive. You may be able to tell that on the sign someone has tried to paint out the"London" part of the name.

In Derry at the Bloody Sunday Memorial and the many murels that line the streets when 13 unarmed people were fired upon and killed by British troops during a Civil Rights march.

The resentment is still alive as can be seen in some of the graffatii

The names of those who died. Many of them were very young.

The original "You are now entering Free Derry" sign that was painted on the side of a house.

We also walked the city walls - a interesting and beautiful experience. We felt very safe and yet we were reminded of the trouble there by the huge police presence.

One interesting bit of info was that John Newton spent time in Derry

Chillin to some music while walking the walls
Yes, I got a hat!
Looking over the city of Derry from the walls

A memorial to peace - they are reaching but never quite connecting ...

Dinner at a Derry pub.
We are basically eating fish & chips in every city.

Still In Ireland

Just checking in to let everyone know we are fine. Better than fine actually. We had a wonderful day in Derry, Northern Ireland where the Bloddy Sunday massacre occured. We also walked the city walls and had a great time. I have not blogged because it cost $THIRTY A DAY TO LOG ON

Now I have messed this upp... we are in a castle which is very, very nice but I am having trouble typing on this keyboard. I have lots to share but that will have to wait a bit.

Have heard some bad news from home. You are in our prayers.

Love yo u all

Friday, March 28, 2008

Windy Rain and Rainy Wind - Day 2: Dublin

Today I've had to work a bit harder to keep in good humor. It has been COLD and WINDY today. In Ireland they say you either have windy rain or rainy wind. Today we had both.

And there was some personal disappointment in not being able to go to Bono's house. I didn't expect to see the man himself but had hoped to see the gates to his house which I've been told are worth a trip to see. We even booked a tour that advertised photo stops at Bono's house but when we blew through the town where he lives without a mention of the local rock star, I knew we were going to be disappointed. Oh well, I can always look at pics on the Internet right? Still it would have been cool to see the gates in person.

We also saw several of the famous Georgian houses in Dublin. They are basically brown brick buildings with doors of various colors from red, to blue and yellow. The reason for the colored doors - when Queen Victoria died the Irish were ordered to paint their doors black to mourn her passing. Since they had little reason to mourn her death they instead painted their doors every color but black. Gotta love the Irish sense of humor.

We then drove to the Wicklow Mountains and saw Glendalough, where a there is a monastic sight that dates back to 6th century B.C. I have no idea the significance of that because I was being talked to death by a very verbose Irishman who was our tour director. He just gave us too much information to be able to take any of it in. Funny guy and very good natured but I have no idea what we saw.

We did go past a very famous scene that I know I've seen in paintings before. It was in the area where Braveheart was filmed. I believe it is supposed to be one of the most beautiful places in Ireland.

We stopped for lunch at a local pub in the Glendalough area where we warmed ourselves by a fire and ate a large bowl of Guinness stew (Irish beef stew).

The Pine Ridge people who think I'm bad about getting people moving along - you should ride with our tour director today. He makes it very clear that he doesn't wait for anyone and doesn't go looking for those who get lost. He dropped us off at a forest/mountain area, gave us a list of directions that seemed anything but clear and told us to meet him at another location. Once we got back on the bus we were missing two people and I really thought we were going to leave them there. Luckily they showed up. We've been told in all seriousness that they lose 1-5 people every day.

Getting back to Dublin this evening we all looked like drowned rats. My hair has gone from being worn down to being pulled up into a pony tail and now after today's wind and rain, I have on my agenda to buy a hat and pray I don't meet any member of U2. Tonight we stopped at another pub in Dublin to eat fish & chips. Then we hurried back to the hotel to a warm bath and coffee to get dry and warm.

Ireland is beautiful. Wet and cold, but very beautiful.

Tomorrow we drive to Derry.

This is probably the tour we should have taken. Its also the last time you'll see my hair look anything near normal.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It Was A Beautiful Day - Day One: Dublin

Flying into Ireland was beautiful. After an all night flight we met Ireland by flying over the famous Ring of Kerry. M y first impressions of Ireland were that it was all that I had imaged it to be and I told Brian I was ready to move. A short time later we arrived in Dublin at 7:30 this morning and were met by a beautiful, sunny day. Upon arriving we rented a car and took on the Irish roads. OK, to be honest, we drove 1 block to the hotel but that was quite enough driving for the day. We managed to get lost twice in that one block range.

We quickly got a bus and decided to walk around Dublin rather than attempt driving in a city that is every bit as busy as New York City.

Having the day to ourselves with no real plans, other than to see Dublin, we decided to make it a U2 day and set out to see some of the U2 related sites around Dublin. I'm not sure how many miles we waked today but it was a lot and I was grateful for good shoes and perfect weather.

We walked along the River Liffey (shown in the pics) to the current recording studios of U2.

We never actually found them but we assume they keep them well hidden away.

Not finding the current studios, we walked back along the river to their former studios on Windmill Lane.

Now where the old studios actually were, I have no idea. It was not obvious at all. We had been told to look for the graffiti and we found a lot of it on Windmill Lane but none of it was U2 related?? OH well, it was still interesting. Yes, that's me in the black coat.

Not finding either of the recording studios we spent the rest of the day walking through Dublin, seeing the Temple Bar area and Dublin Castle. Then we stopped to make a purchase of U2 memorabilia at a records store in Dublin that specializes in U2 stuff. We also ate dinner at Bono's brother's restaurant Nude. A great place to eat if you're ever in Dublin.
Since this Internet connection is SLOW and I'm EXHAUSTED, I'm just going to throw the rest of the pics up here.

Will blog more tomorrow...

The hearing aid store where Bono got his nickname

The Temple Bar area of Dublin with cobblestone streets

Rhythm Records in Temple Bar area

Sitting by the River Liffey

Dublin Castle

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

We're Off... Really Off

In about an hour we leave for Ireland. It still doesn't seem real to me. I'm not sure it will until we land in Dublin tomorrow morning.

Hopefully this will not be a typical "Buriff" vacation. We have a way of rushing through vacations or either having something happen that makes the experience utterly miserable. In fact, we've adopted a motto of "that was a blur" for most of our times away. That came from the vacation when we took the boys on a train around the US to see everything we could possibly see from Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon. I remember rushing through Yellowstone and thinking "I think that was a bear back there but I'm not sure because we were going too fast to tell". At the Grand Canyon we drove up, parked, looked at it for about 5 min. and then were back in the car. I also remember Brian being really sick when we were somewhere in the middle of Idaho ...it was the middle of the night and we were supposed to catch the train. He was sick and laying on the bench in the deserted train station begging me and the boys to get on the train and leave him there. I had the luggage and between clenched teeth demanded, "You WILL get on this train. You will get on this train if it kills you. You will get on this train if it kills me. Now GET ON THIS TRAIN". He did. The next year I planned the vacation and we went to Cape Cod and stuck our feet in the sand and didn't do a thing. Here are a few pics from past vacations as I'm sitting here waiting for my dream vacation.

Off to see Micky at Disney World - Logan was not impressed

Cody feeding Prairie Dogs in South Dakota

Logan made peace with the Disney characters a few years later

Snorkeling at Grand Cayman (Brian's parents lived there and flew us down for Christmas one year)

At Cape Cod

Brian in Alaska