here I am



Today, we went to church with Leah at her Presbyterian Church in Greystones.

Greystones Presbyterian
Leah’s Church

It was their Harvest service, so we got to see a little of the local church talking about action in their community. Neat people, good sermon. The music was a little difficult – I don’t know how much of it is that church’s choices vs. how much is cultural, but it was hard to sing. Words were in books and projected, but no music – I didn’t know but maybe one or two of the tunes, and those not well. We were left to fend for ourselves, musically – with no idea how to pull the melodies out of thin air.

I spend a lot of time any time I’m away from my church in Indy being grateful for the way we do things – always, we have music to read from. We can actually participate in the music and worship instead of being confused, self-conscious, and frustrated. But overall, as I said, it was a good service. I was glad to have been there and to have experienced my sister’s Sunday morning.

After church, we all got onto buses to visit Powerscourt, an estate south of Dublin. So gorgeous. I have a lot of pictures posted from this visit, but I have many, many more that I didn’t post. There were a number of gardens, tons of statues and ponds and fountains. The estate is palatial – grand. Please, please, please go look at my pictures – this place was breathtaking.

Powerscourt Estate
Powerscourt Estate

We spent the day mostly hanging with another student’s family – really enjoyed getting to know them, and to have company that fit well with us. The teens were fun – a lot of fun.

After Powerscourt, we went back to Coolnagreina (the YWCA the TU kids live in) for dinner. We got there and had a free hour, so Leah and I walked a little in the town and on the coast while Mom and Dad froze a little while on a bench overlooking the beach. =)

The view Leah gets to see every day

We all headed back for pizza and to warm up. Played a couple of games, first amongst ourselves, then with a large group of folk, before leaving for the evening.

I’m back at the hotel and VERY interested in getting into bed. =) It’s late, and we’ve got an early start tomorrow morning. We’re going to Kilkenny. =)

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If you keep up with my Flickr account, you’ll notice that I’ve started posting Ireland photos. Not too, too many, but enough to give you an idea what we’ve been doing and what it looks like over here. =)

I’m going to back post what we’ve been doing so you know what day we did what. I was writing in a journal-type book because I didn’t have constant computer access, but I think I can start posting. I’ll probably finish after I return to the US, though… Fair warning.

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I talked to Leah!, originally uploaded by tara.aukerman.

I finally got to talk to Leah! I spend so much time thinking and saying, “I wish Leah were here” or “Leah would SO get a kick out of this” that I almost feel like I talk to her often. Almost. Tonight I really got to talk to her.

I love Skype.

Those of you who know Leah know that she gets less and less eloquent the later she stays up. By the time we “hung up” at 3am her time, she was really starting to sound silly. A few gems:

  • “and they have shapely lower halves”
    — Telling us about how much she likes to watch rugby, a new sport to her. She was trying to explain that the guys are really strong on the bottom halves because anything above the waist is considered a foul. Ended up sounding more like she watched the sports for … all the wrong reasons.  =)
  • “muscular women – it makes me happy”
    — Telling us how women play rugby, too, but that they have to be very strong.
  • “here is the amazingness of my life today.” [long pause]  “I forgot what I was going to say.”
    — Getting ready to tell us about something exciting that happened today.
  • “I can always remember everything ever about all the rooms of my life I stay in.”
    — The response to my suggestion that she take pictures of the house she’s living in so that later she’ll be able to remember all the details.
  • “roll out, do some makeups and go to the food”
    — Her plan for tomorrow morning. =)
  • “probably some days in the night”
    — The next time we get to talk to her online.

She’s so much fun!

Now, my life will be complete if I get to talk to Melissa. (Hear that, sister? When can we talk?!)

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Inch Beach
, originally uploaded by Chupperwidge.

This photo is amazing. Leah’s in Ireland, and I miss her dreadfully. I’m going to get to go see her soon – I’ll be travelling to see her in… holy cow! Only a couple of weeks!

Anyway, look at this picture she took! Be jealous with me (that she gets to see this stuff, and that she’s such a good photographer that she takes such awesome pictures), then be jealous OF me (because I get to go see her soon!). =)

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Remember the Hamilton Street murders that happened literally in our backyard? The trial for Desmond Turner, the suspected killer, is about to get underway.

No death penalty in ’06 mass slayings | The Indianapolis Star

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We got both Jake and Lindy through the Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue. For a long time now, I’ve wanted to get more involved with this organization – after all, two of our family members came to us because other people volunteered their time and lives.

A couple of weeks ago, we heard about two dogs who were purchased at an auction. They were puppy mill dogs – dogs that came from a place where they were caged, mated, and bred to sell. One, Mac, an adult male, had been so neglected that he was covered in ticks. Thousands of ticks. The organization picked him and a puppy, Buck, up in Missouri. They medicated Mac, who was so miserable that he wasn’t active and wouldn’t eat.

RRR got foster homes set up in New England, but needed to get the dogs there. A bunch of folks started planning the transport, and asked for volunteers to take legs and keep the dogs overnight as needed. They coordinated a crazy caravan of folks.

David and I just drove a short piece of the trip – Indianapolis to Columbus – but it was a neat experience. For one, we got to meet some of the folks we’ve been talking to over the past couple of years. There’s another woman in Indianapolis whose home is a foster home for local rescue dogs – we met her and her husband (they kept the dogs overnight before we took them).

We also met Carol, a wonderful woman who lives in Ohio – she’s the one who arranged both of our adoptions. We left Mac and Buck with her. She was a delight to meet, and just the kind of person you’d think would open her home to hopeless dogs.

Being involved in this transport has made me realize that I enjoy doing things that matter. Getting involved, even in small ways, with things and groups that make a difference. I hope we get a chance to help out again – some day, I think I’d like to foster dogs – but Dave’s still getting used to our two. =)

A couple of (bad) pictures:

Dog Transport 018

Dog Transport 005

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I’m late telling you all about this, but I wanted to see what this reporter was going to do and say before I shared the link.

I live in the Indianapolis inner city, and get asked often what it’s like. Want to know what our schools are like? Matthew Tully, a reporter for our Indy newspaper, is embedded at one of our public schools.  He’s writing a daily blog and weekly articles about the school and the kids.

Read the kickoff article.

Read his school-daily blog.

Read this article about how Manual accepted the President’s speech. My favorite bit:

Across the country, parents have flooded school districts with angry calls, demanding their children not spend 20 minutes hearing from the president. But at Manual, Principal Richard Grismore received more calls about the matter from the media than from parents.

Actually, Grismore received only one call offering an opinion about the speech. It came from the concerned grandmother of a student who has been skipping class and breaking school rules of late.

“She told me she just wanted to make sure he was going to hear the speech,” Grismore said. “She said he needed to hear that message.”

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Update your feed readers, kids. I’ve moved from tara.elmadera.com to tara.aukerman.org.

A huge and MAJOR thanks to Steve E. for hosting me and David these past years – and for continuing to let us mooch some space. You’re the best!

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The Fantasy season has officially begun for me – I just finished the first of two live drafts. I’m typically a loser – I’m not sure I’ve ever done better than a losing season, though I’ve had a couple of great starts (before star players are seriously injured). Here’s to a new year, and hopefully at least an even season. =)

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Our summer has been incredibly full.  We’re about to be back to life as usual (or a new kind of life as usual, one where David is working and I’m not…) – the school year starts August 31, and that’s only a few days away.

In our summer, we:

  • Went to Myrtle Beach, SC (which I mentioned in the last post)

so very relaxing…

don’t they look SO happy?!

graduation party glasses. =)

  • Went to the Aukerman family reunion

me and my D

a really great picture of Randy (rare to see him really smile on camera)

D playing like a little boy

  • Saw three Indians games

the obligatory “us at the pro” photo

beautiful park!

the Aukerfamily in front of the Pro

  • Went to Canada, first to visit friends Jim and Jessie in Kitchener, then to Bethany’s family’s cabin on Aylen Lake, then back to Jim and Jessie’s. No pictures from the lake – I left my camera at J&J’s! – but a couple of photos from the border and Toronto…

Dave’s first time over the border – he was giddy!

interesting city, Toronto. we walked for a while after an Indians/Jays game
we won, father-in-law! seems like it’s you, not me… =)

  • Drove straight from Kitchener (in ONTARIO) to Shawn and Lauren’s rehearsal (in TERRE HAUTE)..
  • To watch dear friend Shawn marry his Lauren  =)

here’s the hall and his folks

  • watched cousin Greg marry his Val

didn’t get any pictures of the bride and groom!
got a pic of Randy and Carrie and their Garrett, though…

the ymca – a new party tradition, it seems =)

the brothers Aukerman

  • Had my whole family visit (last time for a while)

melissa, hamming for the camera

daddy, clowning for the camera

Grandma Dee =) our visit with her and Brad was so sweet!

me and melissa =)

  • Watched my littlest sister start her first semester of college
  • Waved goodbye to my middlest sister as she left the country for another 2 years, just when we were starting to get used to her being back…

… and that brings us to this week.

I’m about to wave goodbye to my littlest sister – she’s headed for a semester in Ireland.  And I’m about to wave goodbye to the job I’ve had for almost a year – my contract at the hospital is up on August 31.

David’s about to start adjunct teaching again as he begins the pastoral candidating process.

Lots of changes have happened already, and lots more are about to come.  Stay tuned.  =)

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