Everything stated on this site is, of course, MY opinion / statement / thought, unless specifically stated otherwise. You knew that.


PLEASE NOTE: I'm *slowly* combining my blogs into this single site. If you are looking for Lotus Notes content from my old site, please EMAIL me at: jrlitton at gmail dot com and tell me the link or the content you were seeking. I will try to email you the content within a day.

- Joe

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Main | We've Cut the Cord »

Farewell 2018; Hello 2019

I'm dusting off the ol' blog. And wow , I see that it's been 2 years since I used this thing! Well, I'm working on some Google certifications and want to chronicle some of that (my Google Administrator certification expires in a few months and needs to be renewed, and I'm studying up for the Google Cloud Platform Architect cert). So yes, I'm still working as a geek, and hope to blog some about the latest forays in tech.

Shirley's dental tech contracting kind of dried up a few years ago. But she's been keeping uber-busy, caring for one or the other grandson for a number of hours a few days a week, and spending many, many hours each week using her extreme sewing skills for Days for Girls (if you're not familiar with the org, and I certainly was not, please do check the site; it is a truly amazing organization).

And we're both continuing to work on our fitness, and entering what I believe is our 9th year of veganism.

But for this post, I'm mostly just tossing out some random bits as a summary of Litton life during 2018 (click on the thumbnail image to see any image larger). Here we go...

I find the Hawaiian language beautiful. In Jan 2018, I posted this attempt at singing in Hawaiian - a song that has been recorded by many Hawaiian artists. Vocal volume is a little low; maybe it's better that way ;) 
Wahine 'Ilikea ...Some of you know that I used to teach guitar lessons and play / sing in the bars at night (decades ago). I've now fallen in love with the ukulele and it has become my main instrument.

In Apr, a number of colleagues came to Tampa for some work meetings. This pic is of a couple of my fellow miscreants: Holger (originally from Germany, but now with our São Paulo, Brazil office), and Marie - from our Virginia office. Weather in many places in Feb is nasty, but this pic was taken at Mango's Tiki Bar nearby, whilst enjoying the Florida "winter" weather and a libation or two...

I also uploaded another uke video - my attempt to play one of my favorite instrumentals from Troy Fernandez (from his Kauau Crater Boys days): Guava Jam

And in April, Shirley taught me how to use the drill press. In her words, "Joe could've avoided his permanently disfigured broken finger last September (2017) if he'd only used the drill press, instead of a hand drill - which caught and wrenched his finger in a spiral. "OMG! That's SO easy!" he says. Yes. That's what I said last September."






A big highlight for the year for us was a trip to Ireland in May with friends Chris, Kelly, and Evan Collins. We stayed a couple of nights in Dublin, doing a Vegan Food Tour, the required tours of the Guinness brewery and of Jameson's, along with plenty of walking about and pub visits. Then it was up to Northern Ireland. Shirley and I took the train to Belfast, stopping for a few hours to do a tour to learn history of The Troubles and see and learn about the various murals about the city. Then train up to Coleraine and time with our good buddy Steve, who was kind enough to serve as tour kind for our band of misfits (the Collins family hired a car and drove up from Dublin). Steve is a wealth of information and history, and we are deeply grateful for the hospitality and kindness shown.

I'm short ...5' 4" (163cm). This door at The Brazen Head pub (est. 1198 in Dublin) is from back when folks were proper height and doors were made to fit :)







Steve suggested we book our stay at The Royal Court in Portrush up at top of the island. Here is one of the absolutely fantastic views of the North Atlantic from the hotel. We and the Collins gang used this as our base whilst exploring the beauty of the area.



There was so much beautiful scenery, it's a bit terrible to only include a pic or two. This one is Dunluce Castle, which was amazing to explore.




I'm pretty sure law dictates that one must visit the Giant's Causeway at least once in one's lifetime. Here are Shirley and I standing on part of the famous rock formations. Yes, I married a taller woman; the camera angle may exaggerate the difference (slightly).




After Northern Ireland, we parted ways with the Collins clan and took a train down to Dublin, hired a car and drove down to spend the night at Kinnitty Castle (of course, making stops along the way, including a slight detour to see Trim Castle.  

Kinnity Castle. How cool is that, staying a night in a castle?






This is what my eyes saw when waking in the mornning in our upper floor ("attic") room. Absolutely lovely!





Then it was back up to Dublin and back home. But ... before leaving Dublin, we had an afternoon and evening, since we weren't leaving until the next morning. So we had some drinks at Darkey Kelly's and enjoyed the original songs of Tony Floyd Kenna and friends (and he was kind enough to invite me to do a few tunes, and Shirley sang harmony on the first one - so she is now an international performer). Good times!

Tony getting started early in the evening. The place filled up, so we were grateful that bartender Mo reserved us a spot (we'd been there for a couple of hours earlier in the day before popping back to our hotel a couple of doors down to rest up for the evening).




We pretty much spent June missing Ireland. But I went back for a long weekend in Sept to do a marathon (hiked it) along the Causeway Coast. More on that and a few other bits in another post. I want to at least get this much posted.
Cheers :)

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