Monday, October 16, 2006

I have a gift...

Today we had our first class in the new module. This time I'm studying ecological aspects of food. Loosely translated, I'm learning about how farming does bad stuff to the environment. We've all ready been assigned a 4000 word report on one aspect of food production and the environment. I seem to have a gift for picking horrible topics. After a quick internet search, it seemed like a paper that reviewed organic chicken farming would be brilliant. The first thing my professor said was, "ooh...that aught to be a tough topic." Great! I just finished a doozy of a paper that looked at the unintentional introduction of allergens in genetically modified foods. The last thing I wanted to hear was that I had picked another junk topic. My professor keeps saying she thinks I'm on to something and doesn't want me to change my topic. Lovely...just lovely. So now I'm stuck. Let me tell you about my current relationship with poultry farming - I eat chicken, eggs, turkey, and once I ate duck liver. (I won't be doing that again!) Yup...that's my relationship to poultry farms. I don't have the slightest clue about farming techniques, regulations, or environmental risk. So here I am, once again writing about something with absolutely no previous knowledge base.

On a happier note...I got to leave Dublin on Saturday. Six of my classmates and I went on a bus tour to the Wicklow Mountains and Glendaloch. It was beautiful. I learned a lot about Irish history from the bus driver. She was great. I'm hoping to read more about Irish history in my free time...between 2 and 4 in the morning. Ha! Maybe when I'm retired! There are pictures of the trip if you click my pictures link.

If anyone has insight in the poultry business, please let me know!

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

What a joke!

I just checked the weather back in the states. There's a chance of flurries in Chicago and Logansport and it's cold in Lafayette. This may be my only chance to brag about the weather in Ireland. Ha! Today, I walked to school wearing a skirt and a long-sleeve jacket! It's 60 degrees and sunny. So, to all my friends back home...bundly up and stay warm! You wouldn't want to catch a cold!

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Sunday, October 08, 2006


I've been busy writing my research paper and haven't gotten a chance to tell about my trip to France. I flew into Carcassone last Friday and my friend, John, picked me up there. I got to go to the castle in Carcassone. We ate lunch at a cafe inside the castle, but had rather American There are pictures of the castle if you click on my pictures link. The castle was amazing. I can't believe the detail in the architecture. Really...I think our architecture is losing something. We've gone from artistic tile floors, beautiful woodwork and brickwork to vinyl siding and plaster. Something's wrong with that! Friday night, I experienced a traditional French dinner. A good three hours of eating. I had froi gras. It's some kind of duck liver patee. When in France, eat what the French eat, right? Well, since I'm sick now, I think I'll skip the weird stuff next time.

Saturday was the best. We went to the street market and bought everything we needed for an awesome breakfast. After that we drove out in the country and visited a few vineyards. At the first vineyard, an older guy came out to our care. John speaks 100% more French than I do (I don't speak any!), so he asked the guy if we could try the wine. The wife came out and treated us to a wonderful wine tasting experience. She, speaking precious little English and John speaking precious little French made it all the more interesting!

Ben Harper happened to be in Toulouse on Saturday night, so of course we went to the concert. It was awesome. Quite possibly the best concert of my life. I was surprised that there were so many fans in France. There were 7 or 8,000 people there I'd guess. It was a huge sports arena type of place. It was general admission, so I was pretty close to the front. Nearly all my favorite songs were played, so I was ecstatic! John's never really listened to the band before, but he enjoyed the concert too.

My big paper is due on Friday. I have a test on Friday too. I guess life is back to normal. Not that being a grad student in Ireland is normal!

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Today I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from school. All I needed was some meat to have for dinner tonight. Simple enough. I found a pack of two porkchops that came with a packet of applesause. Then I decided that a grilled cheese would be nice too. I was standing in front of the cheese, trying to decide what would be best...not an easy chore...all the cheeses have funny names here. As I stood there, I was kind of flipping the package of meat back and forth in my hand. Emmental cheese is my favorite right now and even after pondering all the others, I still chose emmental. When I got to the checkout counter, I realized there was a big slit in the pork chop package. Upon examination, I noticed that only one pork chop remained in the package. Uh....I smiled and told the cachier that I didn't really want an opened package of pork chops. Of course I paid for the cheese and the other little things that weren't needed, but ended up in the basket. Now I just wonder who is going to find the other pork chop and where it is...splat on the floor of the supermarket. Pork chops turn out to be cheaper at the butcher across the street anyway.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Climbing Rocks...

All work and no play is no fun at all! I've joined the DIT climbing club. It's proved to be a great way to meet new people and have a good bout of physical exhertion too. The club meets each Monday and Tuesday from 7-9pm. The gym is next to the Broohaha library, so it's pretty convenient. Usually...well, I've only been 3 times now, but I go to the library to study and then head to the gym. Today I bought a pair of climbing shoes. As any girl knows, having the right shoes makes all the difference in the world! Today I did a lot of climbing and belaying and a little bit of bouldering. I was able to make it to the top of 5 or 6 climbs. My first climb tonight I only made it half way up. Belaying is not as exciting, but it's important. Basically, there are two ends of every rope. One end is secured to the climber's harness. The other end is secured to the belay harness. The belay person is in charge of keeping the rope tight so if/when the climber falls off the wall, they don't fall to the ground. The belay person is also responsible for safely lowering the climber to the ground. Bouldering is a way to work on technique. No harness required. Ideally, your feet are never more than about 10 feet off the ground and there are lots of mats underneath. There's a game we play called "add on." Person one goes and grips two or three different grips. Person two copies the hand positions of person one, but adds on another hand position. It's great fun. At the end of October, we're going on a trip to the west of Ireland for a three day weekend. I'm excited about my first outdoor climb! I hope to be a little stonger and have better technique by then. We have a coach...Ronan...and he's helped me a lot already. It's cool because sometimes he'll come up to me and give me pointers about a previous climb. Usually I didn't even know he was watching! If I stick with this, I can be in the intervarsity competition in the spring. All the Dublin univeristy climbing teams compete. I don't know what the prize is...most likely bragging rights! The pictues is of our climbing wall.

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