Molly M

Alive a live o-oh, alive a live o-oh…cockles and mussels…

That’s the words I hear in me head when I’m standing in a pub, listening to traditional Irish music on a Sunday (soon-day) night with a friend and a room full of friendly strangers.

The moments we can’t capture on fil-um, when a pint of Guinness (or Murphy’s or some hoppy lager) fills your stomach and asks you to stay a bit longer.

Yes, those.

And these — the smiles we share when we’re clapping together in sync with the Celtic tunes almost as old as time, the bits and pieces we pick up from the instruments (accordion, pennywhistle, guitar, fiddle, voice), the singalongs and the drinkalongs, the couples kissing, the couples arguing, the singles dancing and the groups laughing together at an inside joke…

Yes, indeed.

Tonight was just such a night at a popular spot in Killarney, no need for photographs, living as one did in the moment, giving oneself to the performers, listeners and barkeeps (and some combination of them all (none of us giving much thought to quantum mechanics (probably (most likely (maybe)))))…

Wantin’ to relive memories from a decade ago, doing so, getting locked inside a pub with a singer, his daughter, and granddaughter belting out old tunes, acting as door bouncer meself for the tourists who di’n’t know better that a feller from Alabama was lettin’ them in after 11 p.m. at a Killarney pub he’d never set eyes on 15 minutes before.

What was the name of that pub?

Can’t remember, me bein’ alone and all, my previous night’s companion headin’ back to the B&B, full of diet Coke and wantin’ a full night’s sleep afore we take the RoK at 8 in the mornin’.

So there I was, all by meself, watchin’ the honest, heartfelt performance of three generations of pub singers and thinkin’ back earlier on the day when I showed a clerk behind the cash register at Bunratty Castle shopping centre a video of Jenn Nye and Travis Nixon dancing West Coast Swing, explaining to the clerk, who mistook me for Travis that I’d help Jenn teach a class of West Coast Swing and woulda kept doing so until me wife complained I was getting too familiar with Jenn, so, to show the clerk the difference between West Coast Swing and what the Irish call jive (since I’d seen the clerk dancing a bit of solo to a pop song playing over the PA system and her telling me she liked line dancing and then asking me if I was a dance instructor meself), I pulled me wife over and showed the clerk and her friend the difference between West Coast Swing and East Coast Swing (a/k/a Irish jive).

Days such as this I live for, making connections across the globe to complete strangers with whom I make instant friends.

No photos or vids necessary.


Preparation for offworld exploration.

Bit by bit.

What will tomorrow bring?

More of the same, and happily so!

How else are we going to explore Mars without an extemporaneous expository exposition?



A good day for a walk…


That Magic Moment

Guin held a tiny sprout of Phacelia in her right palm.

“Have you ever seen scorpionweed in bloom?”

Bai shook her head.

“I have.  Centuries ago.  On Earth.”

Bai laughed.  “You just said ‘centuries.'”

“I did?” Guin smiled at the slip.  Even though she hadn’t been to Earth in many a sol, she often caught herself using Earth-based time references.

She had asked Shadowgrass to keep one greenhouse available for her use, choosing to preserve a few precious specimens from Earth as a memento of her first century on that planet.

Bai looked around and wondered how many of the plants, fungi, bacteria and what all else could no longer survive on Earth, having grown here so long and adjusted to Martian gravitational and sunlight conditions.

“When did you see the scorpionweed?”

“On a hillside east of Rocket City.  Lee had invited me over to work on his laboratory expansion…have you ever seen his lab?”

“No.  But he’s talked about it a lot so I have a pretty good idea of its size.”

“I bet you don’t.  He repurposed an industrial 3D printer and CNC machine to create a network of cavernous rooms that flexed and moved with tectonic shifts.  With the help of my mechanical know-how, of course.”

“Of course!”  They both laughed and jumped high for fun, never tiring of Martian gravity.

Guin checked the condition of a few more seedlings while Bai updated her massage therapy schedule to accommodate requests from some of the new arrivals, engineering tourists assessing the viability of a new life here.

Lee walked up behind them.  “Hey, guys!  What’s Mars’ favourite Pioneers doing on a sol like this?”

“Hey, Lee.”  They hugged each other in turn.

“Just making sure I keep this microcosm of our home planet going.  What about you?  I thought you were tied up with tourists all day.”

“Well, getting tied up sounds like fun but I introduced them to Yaniner…”

“The new scientist?  Isn’t Yaniner having doubts about staying here?”


“Seems like that might turn them off.”

“Yeah, it’s a risk.  But I want Yaniner to remember the excitement of first arrival again.  Hopefully, Yaniner will see the tourists’ excitement and rekindle.”

“Might work.”

Lee reached out a left hand to Bai.  “I don’t talk about it much but I remember the first day we met.”

Bai’s face lit up, her body chemistry reorganised such that when she recalled fond memories, bioluminescent particles literally lit up on her face.  “At the dance studio…”

“Uh-huh.  Telling us about all your famous dance instructors…that Hollywood student of yours.  Although we’ve matured in many ways, you haven’t changed a bit.  I mean, you’re still as radiant as that first day.  Your courage shone through when I first saw you.  Your enthusiasm is still contagious.  Dancing with you is still magic.  As your hair colour changed those first few weeks, I knew we were locked into a lifelong friendship.”

“Bet you didn’t think it would last this long!”

They danced, spinning up and over the crop of daisies growing in a row.

The three of them sang a song in unison, three-part harmony that only they could pull off, their vocal systems re-engineered for subharmonic frequencies undetectable by Earth-based human ears.

“Tho’ Red Planet woes can rattle your senses,
Tho’ Red Planet blues can colour your fences,
The love that I found is better with youuuu…
‘Cause my Martian blood is red, green and blue.”



Nothing like a near freezing day for my first kayak ride!



My college buddy, David, and I suited up and rode several miles on the Flint River this afternoon.  We saw snowflakes on the way to our first launching point.

Great fun!




A relaxing paddle on the water is priceless and a meditative way to end a day off from work.


All that and a Google Maps car drove by while I was hammering in a post for a new mailbox, dressed in my best winter attire, of course — winter parka from my work days in Ireland:


…and running pants I wore under a wetsuit while kayaking:


Very fashionable!

If only our yard knew that we just had a false spring before winter set in!




Oh well, the puppet in the wheelchair understands that all is not what it seems, especially in ventriloquism…


…or electric cuckoo clocks…


…time for dinner and a dance, perhaps?

How best to wrap up a day of rejuvenating communion with nature?