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Thanksgiving has long been one of my favorite holidays. Some version of Christmas exists nearly anywhere you go, but not Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the one you must create, wherever you are, the one that makes you American and makes you … Continue reading

Grand Canal Theatre and a glimpse of the Dublin Docklands

We can’t thank Jerry and Jill enough for thinking of us and giving me a reason to leave the cuckoo’s nest of parenting last week. Jerry was in town with Alison Krauss and Union Station, and they played the Grand Canal Theatre. It was also a wonderful excuse to see a bit of the Docklands area, which had money poured into it during the Celtic Tiger years, much like the resurgence in Brooklyn’s Columbia St. Waterfront and Gowanus Canal areas. It is an interesting area of Dublin, where the Grand Canal empties into the Liffey River, which divides the city into north and south.

The Grand Canal Theatre. Parts of it remind me of L.A.'s Disney Hall, but the stage area is quite different.

The Samuel Beckett Bridge.

The Dublin Convention Center. Its lights change at regular intervals and reflect off the inky river.

The Dublin Wheel. Beyond it, the river winds it way to the port and out into the dark harbor. The boat all lit up houses a restaurant where Sascha and Jerry ate pre-show.

The sold-out show was fantastic. The band received standing ovations. Their tour buses were headed out later that evening, bound for Glasgow on the ferries. So after the concert ended, fittingly, we headed over to the Ferryman Pub.

Amid the gleaming glass and brushed steel and bright lights of the Docklands revitalization project, the Ferryman is a relic.

Rumor has it that the owner believed he would be shut down and kicked out during all the new construction, so he started giving away the pub's memorabilia. Like many things people say here, I'm not entirely sure it's true but it's a good story.

The Ferryman feels like everything a pub should be at this point in Ireland’s history. A young band was shoved up in corner, playing traditional music and the line to the bar was three people thick at every turn. Poured Guinesses sat atop awaiting their settling. It was crowded with suits, hipsters, old people and young people. It was low-ceilinged and lively, and we even ran into Maura’s sister and her husband.

They remembered going to NYC for their honeymoon and my father-in-law driving them through Harlem. They also remembered young Sascha had posted a sign (as part of his campaign for getting his parents to quit) reading, “NO SMOKING. LUNGS IN ACTION” and so they hung out the window of his room on 76th and blew smoke into the NYC air.

Here's something for you CT folk.

Thanks again, Jerry & Jill. And as for Samuel Beckett, he’s probably rolling in his wormy grave, but I think this is pretty solid advice for motherhood: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”


All of our constant moving has made me anxious about the idea of traditions. I am coming to accept that our life will be peripatetic, so it seems even more important that as a young family we create traditions. Last year, we took the boys to a pumpkin patch on one of those glorious, sun-warm fall days. We got lost in a corn maze and frolicked in a pit of corn kernels.


On Halloween, we dressed them up in adorable animal costumes and hit the party at the local library with our playgroup. Here’s a bit of time travel (photo by my friend Colleen):

C one year ago as a lion

Halloween is our first official holiday in this new country, so I really wanted to dress up the boys (for some inexplicable reason, they call costumes “fancy dress,” as in, we’re going to a “fancy dress” party). And though I wish I could upload some photos of them as a dinosaur and a shark, they lasted about 30 seconds in them and then demanded “Off! Off!”

So pumpkin-carving became extremely important. We got a pumpkin last weekend and went out into the lane to carve it before the flooding rains came.

I sketched a design on the front, then Sascha cut off the top. I wanted to save the seeds so we could roast them

The boys put on their "work" boots to help

Soon we attracted an audience, one of the neighborhood cats.

Sascha did the face carving, and voila! The roasted pumpkin seeds were not as successful. Let's just blame the damn fan-assisted oven.

Later in the week, we went out to the Halloween party at their creche. We thought perhaps if they saw the other children in their costumes, they might put on theirs. Each time I suggested it, I was met with “No, no.” It goes with the territory, I suppose. I read somewhere that toddlerhood is a kind of mini-adolescence. They are like little teenagers sometimes.

They did show us some of the things they made for the party.

Sascha’s office was pretty festive. Everyone dressed up on Friday. One of his coworkers was Sascha. Sascha got some Brylcreem, a cigarette and lighter, and made business cards that read, “Womanizer, Alcoholic, Sometimes Ad Exec” and was Don Draper.

That night, Sascha got some good news and we asked our sitter to babysit last minute so we could go out and celebrate. I am happy to report that after many “eh” meals in restaurants that were highly recommended (posts on dining in Dublin with and without the wee ones forthcoming), we had a fantastic dinner at Eatery 120.  Best burger I’ve had since being in Ireland.

And I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see if for myself on Skype, but I guess it will be a snowy Halloween on the east coast of the U.S. So much for tradition!

Happy Halloween, everyone!