Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday:
"Books and movies are like apples and oranges."

"Books and movies are like apples and oranges. 
They both are fruit, but taste completely different."
Stephen King

This week for my Top Ten Tuesday, I am going to focus on ten movies that are coming out in the nearish future that were based on books that I either want to read or have already read.  

Typically, I generally prefer the book to the movie, and there are some movies that I have had a really hard time reconciling the choices the movie-makers made with the way the book has "played out" in my head as I read it.  For example, I struggled with the first few Harry Potter movies because I imagined things happening in a much less cheesy way than they did on screen.  In fact, after the second movie came out I gave up on them all until recently, when I both reread all seven books, and then viewed all seven films consecutively.  

So, here are ten books-to-movies that are coming up soon that I want to see (and a couple that are already out), and hopefully read (if I haven't already) before I see the film.  I have also included release dates for the films as they were available on the interwebs.

1. Warm Bodies (February 1, 2013): Based on the book by Issac Marion, this is a book I had not heard of until I saw the rather amusing trailer for the film.  It is about a zombie who falls in love with a live girl, and while it is not in my normal reading/viewing bag, it looks interesting and different enough from many of the zombie/monster stories that have been permeating our recent culture. 

2. Beautiful Creatures (February 13, 2013): Another film based on a fantasy novel (the first in a series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl), this is the story of two teens with special powers and their effort to uncover secrets about their respective families and the small southern town they live in.

3. The Reluctant Fundamentalist (April 24, 2013): This is a book that has been on my to-read list for a while, and is about two Princeton graduates, an American woman and a Pakistani man, and their struggles in the aftermath of 9/11.  It is by Mohsin Hamad, and was shortlisted for the 2007 Booker Prize.

4. The Great Gatsby (May 10, 2013): I just finished reading this book, and while I enjoyed it, I did not feel like it really was life changing.  That being said, I am interested to see how Baz Luhrmann interprets it in the film.  This is the story of the narrator Nick Carraway and his observations of the relationships that go on around him, specifically as they have to do with his mysterious neighbor Jay Gatsby.

5. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (August 23, 2013): This is another fantasy novel that begins a series, by Cassandra Clare, and though I have read the first two books in  a semi-related series (The Infernal Devices), I have not read this yet.  This novel is the story of a girl, Clary, who encounters a group of warriors striving to rid the earth of demons.  When her mother disappears and she has to get her back, Clary gets the help of these supernatural warriors, and along the way discovers she might be like them.

6. Ender's Game (November 1, 2013): This is a book I read as a young teenager, in junior high, and it is a book that moved me deeply.  I am very excited to see how the filmmakers have turned it into a movie.  By Orson Scott Card, and also the first in a science fiction series, it is the story of Ender, a brilliant young boy, who is recruited to help save the planet and become a military general.  Through it all, Ender struggles with the battle "games" they are playing, interacting with the other children, and the concepts of justice and right vs. wrong. I have not read the other books in the series, but this one was exceptional.

7. Catching Fire (November 22, 2013):  This film is based on the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  While the first film did a very good job relating the plot of the novel, if not necessarily the theme, it failed, in my opinion, to evoke the same reaction from the watcher as Collins does from a reader of the book.  That being said, the second and third books were even more emotionally evocative, and offered more in the way of presenting a specific theme to the reader.  I am hesitant that the films will be able to pull this off and be as moving as the books are, but I still want to see them try.  A poor execution of a film only disappoints me, but I lose nothing from the experience of the reading of the books. These books should be read consecutively, as the plot builds until the final book, and the full message Collins is attempting to impart is not visible until the final book is finished.  If you have not read the first book, stop reading now and skip to number eight!  This book, specifically, is about the Capitol forcing the two main characters, Peeta and Katniss, to return to the arena in a special edition of the Hunger Games, as there has been some revolting against the Capitol, and it is trying to maintain control of the districts. 

8. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (December 13, 2013): SC and I listened to The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien on a long car trip, and I was very excited to see the first portion of the film when it came out.  That being said, I have still not seen it, as I am not sure how it will work to split up the story into three parts.  The story (as a whole) is the adventure of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who is rather comfortable staying at home, but gets dragged into helping some dwarfs get their property back from a dragon.  It is a very entertaining story, but I am just not sure how it will be split out into three movies.

9. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (December 25, 2013): This film is based on a short story by James Thurber from his collection The Thurber Carnival.  It is a collection that has been on my to-read list for a while, and "Secret Life" is the story of a man who has five different daydreams about possibilities of life while he waits on his wife in town at her weekly trip to the beauty parlor.

10. How I Live Now (2013): Another from my long list of to-read books, this is the story of children and teens attempting to survive without adults during a terrorist attack and subsequent war.  It is a young adult novel by Meg Rosoff, and won the Michael L. Printz Award for Young Adult Literature in 2004.

10. A Wrinkle in Time (2013): Ever since I read When You Reach Me, which was based on ideas presented in Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, the latter has been on my to-read list, and specifically, my read-aloud to SC list.  It is a science fiction novel about a young girl who searches to find her scientist father after he goes missing.  It is the winner of the Newbery Award, and the first in a series.  Hopefully the movie will be rated "G" or "PG" and SC and I can both read the story together, and then see the film.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: This film is already out in theaters, and it is one that I really want to see.  I read the book in my early college years and it is one of my absolute favorites.  It is another young adult novel, by Stephen Chbosky, and deals with finding oneself amidst the regularity of life, specifically in the pseudo-world of high school.

Silver Linings Playbook:  This fim is also already out in theaters.  I have already seen this film, but I have not read the book, but after seeing the movie and enjoying it immensely, I think that the book will offer even more.  By Matthew Quick, it is the story of Pat Peoples, and his attempt at a "comeback" after a stint in a mental health institution.  Along the way he tries to win back his ex-wife, handle living at home with his parents, and meets a young widow who has her own host of psychological problems.

So either I am really interested in fantasy/ science fiction books and films, or that is what just so happens to be coming out in 2013.  I think it is a bit more of the latter, though I have really enjoyed some of the fantasy/ sci-fi books and films I have seen lately!  

What movies are you looking forward to in 2013, based on a book or otherwise?  Leave a comment, then check out some more Top Ten Tuesday posts here:

Many Little Blessings

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What 2 Read Wednesday:
"is the fleeting jolt of meaning
that art gives us valuable?"
Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

"Given the final futility of our struggle, 
is the fleeting jolt of meaning that art gives us valuable? 
Or is the only value in passing the time as comfortably as possible?"
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

John Green's latest young adult novel, The Fault in Our Stars, is the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a sixteen-year-old girl living with thyroid cancer, and Augustus Waters, the boy she meets during a reluctant trip to a support group for children with cancer.  Like others of John Green's young adult novels, though the characters in this book are teenagers, the book is heavy and filled with adult emotions.  Hazel and Augustus develop an intimate and interesting relationship based on their compatibilities, which includes Augustus giving Hazel his "wish" to go to Amsterdam to visit the author of a book about a young girl with cancer.

I feel that I cannot explain anymore about the plot without giving the ending away, and it is imperative to read the book through before encountering the ending.  Green is a masterful relationship craftsman, and his writing evokes an emotional response suitable for the events of the story.  This story is not about a typical teenage romance, though if the main characters did not have cancer, and had not already been made painfully aware of the brevity of life, that is exactly what it might be.  However, they are who they are.  At one point Augustus tells Hazel 
"I am in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you."  
This is a story of star-crossed love that is more real than Romeo and Juliet ever could hope to be, and yet, though the novel ends in truth and reality, I closed the book with a feeling of satisfaction.

I would recommend this book to both mature, older teenagers, as well as adults.  This is a difficult book, due to the subjet matter, but it is worth every moment spent reading it.

**This post contains affiliate links.  Please read my disclosure statement.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday:
"you and I are the light that endures..."

Whoever loved as we did? Let us hunt
for the ancient cinders of a heart that burned
and make our kisses fall one by one,
till that empty flower rises again.

Let us love the love that consumed its fruit and went
down, its image and its power, into the earth:
you and I are the light that endures,
its irrevocable delicate thorn.

Bring to that love, entombed by so much cold time,
by snow and spring, by oblivion and autumn,
the light of a new apple, light

of a freshness opened by a new wound,
like that ancient love that passes in silence
through an eternity of buried mouths.

Love Sonnet XCV, 100 Love Sonnets: Cien Sonetos de Amor
Editorial Losada, Buenos Aires, 1960 (trans. Stephen Tapscott, 1986, p. 201)

This week AC and I are celebrating ten years since we met (we celebrate two anniversaries each year), so I wanted to focus on one memorable thing from each year of our relationship for my Top Ten Tuesday.

1. January 24, 2003: Technically, AC and I met the day before, Thursday, January 23, when we both agreed to go out to dinner with two other mutual friends, but after spending the evening pretty much ignoring them (sorry Y & K!), we went on our first official date the very next day, after setting it up via text.  What can we say, we were cutting edge.  I remember I went to the movie theatre where we were supposed to meet and I was terrified I wouldn't recognize him, even though I had spent so much time with him the night before!

2. 2004: AC and I traveled to Long Beach, California with my parents and brother to visit family, and so the boys could go watch Texas thwart Michigan in the Rose Bowl game.  However, this trip was memorable because we went to Disneyland with the family, and it was cold and rainy, which resulted in AC and I having an absolute blast acting like silly kids because there were so few other people at the park.

3. 2005:  AC and I were married on July 23, 2005, exactly two and a half years after we met.  We were married in a very small ceremony, at AC's parents' home, by the same minister who married them.  I honestly do not know how women handle the stress of a large wedding, because I was completely overwhelmed by a small one.  I remember not getting teary-eyed until AC did, when I was repeating my vows.

4. 2006:  We took our honeymoon (finally) to Whistler, Canada, and it was the first time I ever traveled out of the country.  We absolutely fell in love with Whistler, and it is at the top of our list of dream places to live.

5. 2007: AC and I took a trip to Chicago to see the Bears play in the NFC Championship game.  We also got a dog, whom we named "Rexy," after the worst quarterback to ever play in the SuperBowl.  Being a Green Bay fan, I told AC it was the ultimate act of submission as a wife to go cheer for his team, but I had a blast.

6. 2008: Our beautiful baby girl, SC, was born in May of this year, a whopping 8 lbs. 15 oz.

7. 2009: This year, unfortunately, will be remembered for the week of spring break, when I ended up in the hospital on St. Patrick's Day having to have my gallbladder removed, and while I was recovering, SC developed an ear infection, had a febrile seizure (her first) at Target, and was rushed to a different hospital about forty miles away from the one I was in.  I was able to get checked out, and my father-in-law drove me to the other hospital, where they pronounced SC okay to go home.

8. 2010: This year (and half of 2011, technically) will be remembered for how I worked as a high school English teacher (all four grades), and I missed out on so much of life with AC and SC.  I know now that my circumstances (the school, the economy, etc) made things much more difficult, but I am glad I had the experience because I realized I was missing out, and now I relish the time I get to spend with SC and AC.  

9. 2011: This is the year we spent trying to get back on track from the craziness of having a job that was so demanding.  AC started traveling more, and I got to tag along to San Francisco for the first time.  We spent family time in Southern California, taking SC to Disneyland (again - she has been a few times) and playing at the beach in the winter.  We started going to a new church, and made some great new friends.  We tried to get healthy by eating Paleo (though it is easier for me to do at home than AC to do while he is traveling).  It was a year of living life.

10.  2012: This last year will be remembered for the great family times we had, many around traveling.  We went to visit family in Kansas and Portland, OR.  SC and I tagged along with AC on an amazing trip to Curacao.  I was able to meet up with AC again in San Francisco, and we spent a great "adult" weekend with some friends in Las Vegas.

So, we obviously love to travel, as most of my memories have to do with traveling.  AC and I are great traveling companions, as we typically have similar agendas as to what we want to do and see, and SC has been a great tiny traveler addition to our journeys.

AC, I am so glad that I gave in to Y and met up with her and K for dinner that night.  When I look back, I am awestruck that God planned out what otherwise would be countless coincidences to bring us together, including my decision to go that evening.  I know that He created you for me, and I for you.  I cannot believe that it has been ten years, and I cannot wait for whatever adventures and experiences the next ten years will bring.

What is your favorite memory of the past ten years?  Leave a comment, then check out more Top Ten Tuesday posts here:

Many Little Blessings

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday:
"Serve God, love me and mend."

"Serve God, love me and mend."
William Shakespeare, 
Much Ado about Nothing, Act V, Scene II

Last week I returned on Tuesday from Ireland with many souvenirs, including the flu.  AC was slated to leave three days hence, on Friday, to travel for work to Luxembourg, so he did his best to stay away from me (which was helped by the fact he had to take a last minute trip to Houston for a client Thursday morning, not returning until Friday morning), but SC, unfortunately, was not so lucky.  It is easy enough to encourage her not to cuddle and kiss, but she was still stuck in the same house, breathing the same air full of my flu germs.  

So, on Thursday evening, when she started to cough and run a slight fever, I figured she had picked it up.  We started a homeopathic regimen immediately, but around lunchtime Friday, she deteriorated.  I called her pediatrician, who sent me to the urgent care clinic, and in the twenty minutes we drove from home to the clinic, her temperature had jumped from a low 99.9º to over 102º.  She was diagnosed with the flu, as well as slight bronchitis.

This week, for Top Ten Tuesday, I wanted to focus on ten things that helped us kick the flu in just a few days (much less than the average one to two weeks).

1.  WARM tea (decaffeinated) with honey and lemon:  First of all, those with the flu should be drinking lots of fluids (I am sure this sounds familiar), but tea is much more soothing when sick than plain water.  However, if the tea is too hot, the throat of the drinker will only become more irritated, so it needs to be comfortably warm.  Honey is a great throat soother, and if local honey is available, it will provide additional protection against allergens that might want to take up roost while the flu virus is there.  Lemon is an antiseptic, and will help make the throat an uninhabitable place.  Finally, it is important that the tea is naturally decaffeinated, as caffeine will only dehydrate the drinker more.  I find a chamomile tea is wonderfully relaxing and takes to the honey and lemon flavors well, and for sinus congestion, a peppermint (herbal) tea is gratifying.

2. echinacea & vitamin C: This is something to start taking if when exposed to another who is sick, or as soon as symptoms personally start.  Both of these are immune boosters, and will help a body fight foreign invaders, like the flu.  They can be found in tea form, caplets, or even drops to add to orange juice.

3. daily vitamins: Keeping as much of a body's systems going as regularly/normally as possible is important, so unless a doctor specifically says not to take daily vitamins, these should be taken.  I know it is hard to remember and keep up with when feeling poorly, but it makes a difference.

4. elderberry:  Elderberry is another thing that can be taken as soon as exposure to someone with flu-like symptoms, or even simply added to daily vitamins throughout the flu season.  There have been studies done documenting the effect elderberry extract has on the flu, and I think if I had been taking mine throughout the trip (as well as my daily vitamins - AC thought I would get flagged for drug trafficking with a bag of unmarked vitamins, so I didn't take anything with me), I may not have caught it at all.  We take elderberry in lozenge form, but it comes in syrup, or you can even make your own.

5. a good cough syrup: Generally, if I am constantly drinking tea, cup after cup, full of honey and lemon, I rarely need to take a cough syrup to mask my cough symptoms.  Sometimes, tea just isn't an option (though I have done my best to make it work in as many situations as possible).  Every year, at the beginning of the year, no matter what other illnesses I get (or don't get), I always get a cough.  AC and I joke that one of the things that attracted him to me was the constant smell of menthol coming from my face for the first three months of our dating relationship.  So, I have tried every cough syrup, and most of them don't work past the time it takes for the syrup to slither down your throat.  This is true, also, with cough drops/lozenges, and I laugh every time I pop another one in my mouth without making it to the two hour window.  I have found, however, a homeopathic cough syrup that not only works a reasonably decent amount of time, but it also seems to nip my cough in a few days instead of a few months.  It is called Chestal, and made by Boiron, the makers of many homeopathic remedies, and if you do not have a good cough syrup, I would highly recommend it.  As it happens, my current favorite cough drops are Jakeman's Throat & Chest drops, in the honey and lemon flavor, though Ricola Honey Lemon with Echinacea will do in a pinch (and can be found at Target).

6. soup: This goes along with the warm tea suggestion, but most soups are also a bit lighter on a stomach than other meals.  Typical sick-person fare is toast/crackers, which we usually don't eat anyhow, much less when our bodies are trying to fight off invaders.  I am of the opinion to give those invaders as few supplies as possible, so I would recommend soups that are broth-based, with vegetables, lean meats and no dairy or grains.  In fact, the only grain I allowed in any soup we had was wild rice in our chicken and wild rice soup.

7. hot showers/steam:  Sitting in a hot shower, breathing in the steam, breaks down the mucus that comes to line the esophagus and lungs when the flu takes over.  Loosening this mucus (which can be helped along by tapping on your chest lightly and rhythmically) will allow for it to be coughed up and out of the body, and will ultimately help with breathing.  If your shower does not allow for you to sit in it with the water hot enough, you can close yourself into a small bathroom and sit in a chair near the open shower, turning the entire bathroom in to a steam room.

8. acetaminophen/ibuprofen:  Fever is one of those things that comes with the flu, and while it is indicative that a body is fighting, too high of a temperature can be disastrous.  Therefore, fever should be controlled with either acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or a rotation of both.  In our family, ibuprofen works much better, but when SC runs a high fever, we have to alternate both, giving her one every three hours, in order to keep her temperature at a reasonable level.  She has had febrile seizures before (and in fact did have one with this illness), and while one every now and then with illness is unexceptional, having them frequently can be detrimental, as well as frightening to watch.  Therefore, we try our best to keep her temperature down so that they do not recur.

9. rest/sleep:  When a person sleeps, their body does quite a bit of work, and when one is sick, their body can fight the illness without having to expend energy doing anything else.  While many of the other suggestions I have made are merely to manage the flu and make one more comfortable, this one will really help your body fight.  Get as much rest as possible, and sleep as much as possible.  If your child is sick, enforce naptime, and try to keep him/her as sedentary as possible while he/she is awake.  If it is you, call in sick to work if you can (and if you cannot, you risk infecting everyone you come in contact with, plus prolonging your illness).  This means if your job is a mom/dad, you may need your spouse to call in sick and take care of you (and the kids).  I was lucky that AC was already planning on taking the day off after I returned home, as that is when I did most of my healing, allowing me to go back to "work" when he had to leave.

10. Tamiflu:  This is the recommended prescription medicine for the flu virus, though it must be started within 48 hours of symptoms.  There is quite a bit of hubbub about this medicine as the side effects are not the best, and even if only 1-2% of people get the scary ones, it can happen.  I put this on the list because I wanted to point out the time difference between SC and I, because she did take it (at the directive of her pediatrician, whom I trust) and I did not.  My symptoms started a week ago Saturday afternoon, and I was unable to get to my physician until Tuesday afternoon, well past the 48 hour symptom start window.  Therefore, he did not prescribe me Tamiflu.  My symptoms started to clear up on their own (after doing the other steps, most since inception of symptoms) on Thursday evening, and by Friday morning I was feeling much better, making my entire flu experience about six days.  SC, on the other hand, had symptoms starting Thursday evening, and was symptom free by Sunday morning after following all the steps, including Tamiflu, making her flu illness two and a half days.

If you or any of your family have the flu, I feel for you!  This is the first time I have caught anything other than a quick stomach bug in a very long time and it was miserable.  Hopefully the recommendations I have listed above will be helpful if you, too, are fighting the flu this winter.

Do you have any get-better recommendations?  Leave a comment, then check out other Top Ten Tuesday posts here:

Many Little Blessings

**This post contains affiliate links.  Please read my disclosure statement.

**I am not a physician, nor do I intend to represent myself as such.  The information presented on this blog constitutes personal "mom" recommendations rather than a professional recommendation, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor is it intended to take the place of a physician's advice.  Any use of, or actions taken based upon, any of the information contained on or accessed through this blog is done entirely at your own risk.  Readers are urged to seek professional medical assistance if they believe they have any symptoms of the flu, whether or not discussed here, as it is a serious condition that could require professional medical treatment.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

"There is no love sincerer than the love of food."

"There is no love sincerer than the love of food."
George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

One of the things I miss most about Ireland was the ready supply of Irish brown soda bread with every meal or tea.  So, though it isn't paleo, I decided to attempt to make my own to go with my chicken soup tonight.  I found so many recipes online like this one, this one and this one.  I didn't really like any one specifically, so I cherry-picked a little from each and this is what I came up with.


3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 to 2 cups buttermilk
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp molasses
1 1/2 tsp finely ground sea salt
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk both flours, salt and baking soda together in a medium bowl.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.

Mix 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, melted butter and molasses together.  Pour into the well of dry ingredients.

Use a fork to mix the wet and dry ingredients until it becomes difficult, then begin mixing with your hands.  You will need to start slowly adding the last 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1 tsp at a time.  Once most of the flour is pulled together, dump the dough out onto the counter and knead a few times until it forms a ball.  It will still feel fairly dry, and will be flaking off in places.

Place the dough ball on the parchment-lined baking sheet and score dough with a sharp, serrated knife in a cross pattern.

Bake at 375ºF for about 40 minutes, until the outside has browned lightly, and tapping results in a somewhat hollow sound.

Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling, unless you want to eat it warm!  Consume with IRISH butter (Kerrygold, found in most grocery stores) and IRISH jam (probably found online, though I got mine in Ireland).

**This bread can also be made without the molasses and it still tastes good, just less rich, and you may want to cut the salt to only 1 tsp.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thankful Thursday:
"It looked like an old painting, but real..."

"It looked like an old painting, but real – everything achingly idyllic in the morning light – 
and I thought about how wonderfully strange it would be 
to live in a place where almost everything had been built by the dead."
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

This week I am thankful that I was able to take a trip to Dublin, Ireland with my friend AB last week.  I had a wonderful time, saw many beautiful things and places, learned so much about the history and culture of Ireland, had a few interesting encounters, and cannot wait to go back and share it with AC and SC.  I am thankful that I have returned safely to my family, and that the travel itself was unexceptional, though I did return with the flu.  However, I am thankful right now that it seems to be almost over.

What are you thankful for this week?  Leave a comment, then check out:

Thankful Thursdays Button

Loved and Lovely

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday:
"...a picture of Dublin so complete..."

"I want to give a picture of Dublin so complete 
that if the city suddenly disappeared from the earth 
it could be reconstructed out of my book."
James Joyce, 1918

This Tuesday I am traveling on the second leg of my trip back from Ireland to home and I wanted to feature ten things I now know about Dublin/Ireland, that hopefully others can find helpful in future travels.

1.  Coffee on the menu does not mean coffee beans, it means espresso beans.  If you want something akin to coffee, they will make you an "americano," which is espresso and water.  Also, many people drink tea with meals (and tea time), and most restaurants and shops have whole leaf tea as well as bagged.

2.  You can get delicious homemade Irish brown soda bread with everything and at almost every restaurant and pub.

3.  People generally walk on the left side, just like driving, but not everyone, and it can cause chaos trying to do it "right."

4. People almost never wait until the green signal appears to cross, but dart out into the road as long as there is just enough space to clear an approaching vehicle.  However, they generally do all cross at the crosswalks.

5.  The small, winding roads that go through smaller towns are as narrow and fear-inducing as they appear to be on television.

6.  The Dublin Bus is a great way to travel around the city, and even to some of the more distant suburbs, but having a bus app that works without internet access is a must.  I really liked Dublin Buster Lite.

7.  There is so much incredible literary talent coming from Ireland, past and present, that extends beyond the well-known authors of James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, and Jonathan Swift.  The Dublin Writers Museum did an excellent job of presenting the cannon of Irish authors.

8.  Most of the major national museums are free to get into, and a number of the other museums and galleries offer discounts for students and children.

9.  Even if the temperature is the same as the day before, it can feel much colder if the wind is blowing, necessitating extra layers, gloves and scarves.

10.  Ireland became the Republic of Ireland much more recently than I realized, and I feel an odd kinship to the Irish people I did not expect, now knowing more about their struggles.  It actually sparked within me an interest in delving into specific details about the American Revolution, because I really only know the basic facts that are taught in history textbooks.

Plus a tip about tipping: it is almost never done in Ireland, and servers/waitstaff will give the oddest looks if told to add a gratuity amount to the total bill, or to keep the change.

I had a wonderful time in Dublin, but did not get a chance to see everything I really wanted to.  It is a city literally filled with rich culture, and a week was only long enough to pique my interest (though definitely long enough to miss AC and SC).  I cannot wait to one day bring them along and share new experiences in Dublin, and this is one of the few places I think I could eventually see myself wanting to move to (along with Whistler, Canada).

Have you traveled anywhere interesting recently?  Leave a comment, then check out some more Top Ten Tuesday posts here:

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings
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