Me in the Middle of Ireland

A Guinness A Day Oct 1

Shamrock, Clover, Saint Patrick, Luck

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!

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What finer day than Saint Patrick’s Day to recall the year that I came home to the land of my ancestors?   Other than ‘the wearing of the green’, I haven’t gotten into too much of the American Celebration of the Day.  I lived across the GW Bridge in NJ all my growing-up years and can’t recall ever going into the big parade in NYC!  I don’t remember ever drinking green beer!  I’ve enjoyed Irish Soda Bread and Corn Beef & Cabbage off and on.  Loved watching the Irish Dancers and even attempted to do the Irish Jig!  All these things helped me feel a part of the tribe …..  though nothing can compare to going Home to Ireland. 

Setting foot on Ireland’s soil touched me in such a deep, primal way that I truly felt I was coming home even though I’d never been there before!

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Photos include:  Cong farmland, Atlantic Ocean,  Cobh Port of Cork, Kennedy Park,  Rock of Cashel, Atlantic Ocean, Ha’Penny Bridge

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Some watercolor sketches I did along the way.

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“Above all else, deep in my soul, I’m a tough Irishwoman.”

~ Maureen O’Hara ~

Sláinte! ☘

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Beautiful Music of Ireland

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Me in the Middle of Thinking SPRING!

Spring at MonticelloWatercolor and Ink pen sketch of a view at Monticello ~ Home of Thomas Jefferson

(c)  Mary Lou Q

I have been in the enjoiment of our delicious spring. the soft genial temperature of the season, just above the want of fire, enlivened by the reanimation of birds, flowers, the fields, forests & gardens, has been truly delightful & continues to be so … indeed my experience of the different parts of America convinces me that these mountains are the Eden of the US. for soil, climate, navigation & health.”  (Extract from Thomas Jefferson to Volney)

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Thinking about Spring starts me planning my next visit to Monticello, the Home of Thomas Jefferson.  Everything comes alive on the Mountaintop and seems to say that , just like Spring is a sign of Hope and New Life, so is Monticello a sign of Hope and New Life for our country.  Thomas Jefferson was a complex man and my favorite president.  Everyone seems to claim him for their political agenda yet he doesn’t quite fit the mold of labels.  He thought freely and with vision, and because of him and those who set our country on this great adventure we’ve continued to endure.  Monticello is a reminder of this for me. Continue reading

Arrival! ~ 2012 ~ At Abu Dhabi Airport

0061 Emirate with Falcon at Abu Dhabi Corniche

(c) Photo mlq

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As 2016 Campaign Season comes into full swing, I resolve to remember my visit to the UAE in 2012 and the lessons learned there.  Cable News 24×7 spews out fear of terrorist concerns about the Middle East and Muslims.  While I know there are genuine concerns about extremists, no matter where they spring up, I resolve to remember my arrival to a place in my awareness where I recognized that we all have so much in common as human beings and I refuse to let the media hype up divisions among us in the name of ratings.

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 My first introduction to the United Arab Emirates was through the Abu Dhabi Airport. This was the moment when I put aside all the preconceived notions and inner messages of fear of the unknown and of threat about the Middle East.  As I departed the plane and entered into the Abu Dhabi airport, I felt an inner peace and feeling of trust that enabled me to meet this new world with new eyes.

When I arrived I received a warm welcome from an Emirati dressed in the clothing worn by the UAE nationals; a Gothra (white headscarf) and Kandura (long white cloak).   He asked me where I was from  and what brought me to Abu Dhabi.   Being greeted by an Emirati who was dressed in traditional clothing and who spoke in English was my first step towards embracing a whole new outlook.

The atmosphere was calm, not chaotic, and the airport was bright and clean.  It was hard to believe I was in a foreign land arriving from half way around the world.  Security didn’t seem as heightened and frenzied as it was in the Chicago Airport where I had departed from.   Continue reading