Monday, September 28, 2009

Cliffs Of Moher

Rising up out of the Atlantic Ocean like a defiant challenge to the ever flowing power of the sea are the Cliff of Moher. Far away across the horizon they stand like stone giants, guarding the Emerald Island. Clouds roll in from the sea, carried on the back of the West Wind. As they sail across the sky they hide the sun, permitting the cliffs only the occassional respite in the sun's rays.

You can hear the waves crashing on the rocks hundreds of feet below and its so powerful and so peaceful sitting on top of the edge of Europe gazing out at the horizon and to the West.

Somewhere among the visitors to that enchanting place, someone is playing a tin whistle, and the music rises and flies like fairies on the wind. Everywhere you go in Ireland there is music, in the people and in the places. It truly is the Land of Song.
When Carrie and I first talked about our trip, I told her I wanted to go some place I could be ispired. We found it in Ireland. I could sit there for hours just listening to the wind and the whistle and the waves; watching the sky and the sea and the light; and writing ... There is beauty all around this world of ours. It is there, a gift for us to take and cherish. If we but open our eyes we can see it, that great gift, and if we open our hearts we will feel it. Truly "all things denote there is a God," especially Ireland.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Adventure: On Stand By

On round two we made it no problem. Sioux Falls to Atlanta, Atlanta to John F. Kennedy, and JFK to Dublin in business class. And as we sit on the plane I can't help but feel so grateful to be married to such an amazing woman, a woman who tells me to remember ow sweet she's being now when she's feisty later. We're going on an adventure and it's because we sacrificed and saved, received so much generous help and now we get to enjoy it. - 9-14-09

Flying Stand-by is fun. sure it can be stressful at times, things don't work out, you have to sprint to make it, but when you do, you're in. You're on a trip and just hours away from discovering some place new or re-discovering somewhere you've been before. Being at the destination isn't the only part of the adventure, it's an adventure just getting there. Carrie and I were able to fly both in to and out of Dublin in business class. Lots of leg room, gourmet meals, comfy seats you can actually fall asleep in. Everyone shoud get the chance to fly business class some time in their life.

On the way out dinner was filet, exotic cheeses, balsamic vinagarette and romaine hearts, ice cream sunday and tomato basil soup. Then for breaktfast we had a full Irish breakfast of Irish bacon, eggs, sausage, grilled tomato and brown bread. I'm definitely a fan of a full Irish breakfast. One of those and you'll be full for a week. Carrie had salmon that had been steamed and was both moist and tender, and on top of that it even was flavorful (our experiences with salmon have always been miss or REALLY miss). I think I watched 5 different movies on the two flights crossing the Atlantic.

On the return flight I had chicken parmegean and a mushroom soup. It's like a combination of a four star restaurant, 5 star hotel and flight.

Then, on the way home, after flying business class I had the very last seat on the plane from JFK to Atlanta. Last row, supposedly a window seat. But since the engine was like 4 inches from my ear, there was wall instead of window. My seat didn't lean back, but the seat in front of me did, and the passenger took advantage of it. I swear when he fell asleep I could rest my chin on his forehead if I'd wanted to. On top of that there was a big guy sitting next to me. It ought to be illegal to charge full price for that seat.

Still part of the adventure of buddy passes are seats like that. And how could I complain? Part of the reason I enjoyed and appreciated business class so much is I've experienced the cramped quarters of the forgotten seat 4 inches from the engine. (I think I have most of my hearing back).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Adventure Begins

Our adventure begins with the blaring of two alarms going off in synchronized tandem, but these aren't alarms you dread, hit once and throw across the room before rolling back over, these are alarms we've been waiting for for almost 10 months, longer if you consider the destinatioin. Still, as we head to the airport, me grinning like a 2-year-old at Christmas, there's no guarantee we'll get on the plane to Atlanta. It's over sold by one, and we're the fourth and fifth on the stand-by list. Or if three people don't make it and three more give up, we're on. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Carrie owes me a back rub if we get on the flight, what can I say, I'm an optimist, BYU did beat Oklahoma after all.

The desk agent (not sure if that's the official term) tells us that everyone's checked in, we're not going to make it. So as we start to grab our things and walk away from the gate, she yells at us, "Wait don't go yet!" Not everyone that's checked in is on the plane, so she makes a final call for anyone who hasn't gone through security yet but already checked in to get there quick.

A few minutes later, a few stragglers come in, she tells us that five people haven't shown up, that's when this old couple walks up, presents her the ticket, and get scolded like they're a bunch of twelve year olds who just blew up the family barn. That's okay though, three seats left. She takes our tickets and tells all three of us to just find an empty seat. We made it.

We walk down to board the plane and Carrie gets on, then I'm told to wait. Carrie gets all the way to the back of the plane and realizes that there aren't enough seats. She can go, the flight attendent insists, just take the seat. There's no room on the plane for me. We almost made it, if that twelve year old senior couple hadn't shown up when they did, we would be on our way.

Tyson on his way back OUT the airport.

But they did and so we aren't, but we will be. Not every leg of an adventure is successful, and it wouldn't be quite as adventurous if there wasn't the chance for failure. So for now, our fingers are crossed that we get on that flight tomorrow.