Sunday, March 25, 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM


"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. "
     HAPPY 77th BIRTHDAY MOM.
             I LOVE YOU.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A MOVIE VENDING MACHINE


What is REDBOX? We wondered? They were popping up all over town the past couple years.  We FINALLY checked out what was inside these CLEVER automated vending machine KIOSKS.  We discovered a world of MOVIES and GAMES. To rent a current MOVIE feature it costs $1.20 and then 8 cents tax. HELLO. Is that cheap or what? Your first visit you are allowed 3 movies. After that you can rent up to 5. Or get only 1. You decide. You must use your credit/debit card to do this. They NEED recourse if you don’t return the movie by 9pm the next night. But REDBOX makes things convenient. In our locality there are about 50 machines. They are at grocery stores, fast food places, drug stores, etc. You can get the movie from any machine, if it's in stock and when you’re done, take it back to another machine, WHEREVER you happen to be. You can also RESERVE the movie in advance. Since my husband has been unemployed and on Social Security... we have stopped going to the movie theater, altogether. It’s just too expensive. And seeing NEW flicks through our cable provider at $4.99/$5.99 a pop, also adds up. We considered Netflix but it sounds too complicated. I hear it costs extra if you want to use DVD's. Plus they have to be mailed, and you have to wait for them.  Which for us, means extra gas money, and a trip to the Post Office, downtown. If you want to stream content from them, instead... you have to have a PS3, Wii, Xbox, or compatiable TV, etc. We don't. Besides my husband doesn’t like to see movies ONLINE because the screen is too small, and the sound is NOT as good. At our ages we need the volume up. Before he lost his job he added surround  sound to our DVD television/stereo system, so we could have a Home Theater. But alas, the HIGH cost of movies prevented us from using it, except for TV Shows. So REDBOX has filled a void in our lives.  In the past three weeks we’ve been able to see... ANONYMOUS- about someone other than Shakespeare writing his works. IDES OF MARCH- about a political campaign and the backstabbing that goes on.  And, MY WEEK WITH MARILYN- about a man who got close with Marilyn Monroe, when she was on her honeymoon with Arthur Miller, and making a movie with Sir Laurence Olivier. All of these movies were RECENT releases. Since we only intend to rent ONE movie a week, this Vending Machine option offers us the BEST value. We can BUDGET $1.28 into the weekly expenses. REDBOX has brought ‘affordable’ entertainment back into the lives of a couple of old geezers. It's SIMPLE and straightforward. Going to the movies has NEVER been this much FUN. We pop our own popcorn, set our own hours for the show... and don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to see it. Who can ask for anything more?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY

A little MUSICAL treat in honor of my Irish Roots...

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ALSO check the post below this one, for more Irish fun.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

IRISH LUCK, TENORS & COLCANNON



My great grandmother, Josephine came to America from Ireland in the 1800's when she was 15. I can't imagine being so brave? Traveling miles away from home, across the great BIG ocean to a foreign land, knowing you'd NEVER see home again. The conditions onboard were horrid. Getting sea-sick and vomiting daily. Having to go to the bathroom in buckets, sleeping on a wet deck, practically freezing to death. No first class luxury steamer for our family. Times were tough. Weeks, months were spent on this journey watching friends and loved ones die and get buried at sea. Their bodies tossed overboard into the dark, murky waters, never to be visited again. So sad. The trip took it's toll, indeed. But America was a land of promise and hope. No famine or religious persecution. It meant a NEW beginning. 'Sliocht sleachta ar shliocht bhur sleachta.' 'May there be a generation of children on the children of your children.' I am sorry I never got to meet you, Josephine. But every St. Patrick's Day... I do a little jig, drink a little stout, eat some soda bread, have a boxty with lamb... see that my hubby has a dinner of corned beef and cabbage... because of you... Your IRISH blood runs through my veins. If you're lucky enough to be Irish, you're LUCKY, enough. And I am.

'Beannachtam na Feile Padraig!'

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


May the roof above you never fall in,
And those gathered beneath it never fall out.

May your home always be too small to hold all your friends.


May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings, slow to make enemies and quick to make friends. And may you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.


May you be in heaven a full half hour
before the devil knows your dead.

May your heart be light and happy,
May your smile be big and wide,
And may your pockets always have
a coin or two inside!


It is better to spend money like there's no tomorrow
than to spend tonight like there's no money!


We drink to your coffin. May it be built from the wood of a hundred year old oak tree that I shall plant tomorrow.


May God grant you many years to live, for sure he must be knowing, the earth has angels all too few and heaven is overflowing...


May the lilt of Irish laughter
lighten every load.
May the mist of Irish magic
shorten every road...
And may all your friends remember
all the favours you are owed!


Always remember to forget
The troubles that passed away.
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day.


May the face of every good news and the back of every bad news be towards us.


May neighbours respect you,
Trouble neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And heaven accept you.


May you have the hindsight to know where you've been,
The foresight to know where you are going,
And the insight to know when you have gone too far.


May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past.


May misfortune follow you the rest of your life, and never catch up.


May you have food and raiment, a soft pillow for your head.

 May the luck of the Irish
Lead to happiest heights
And the highway you travel
Be lined with green lights.


Wherever you go and whatever you do,
May the luck of the Irish be there with you.

May you have all the happiness
and luck that life can hold—
And at the end of all your rainbows
may you find a pot of gold.


May you always walk in sunshine.
May you never want for more.
May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.

For each petal on the shamrock.
This brings a wish your way
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.

Saint Patrick was a gentleman,
Who through strategy and stealth,
Drove all the snakes from Ireland,
Here’s a toasting to his health.
But not too many toastings
Lest you lose yourself and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick
And see all those snakes again.

Leprechauns, castles, good luck and laughter.
Lullabies, dreams and love ever after.
A thousand welcomes when anyone comes...
That's the Irish for You!

May the Irish hills caress you.

May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.



According to one rather obscure Irish legend, a ringing in your ears means a deceased friend stuck in Purgatory is ringing a bell to ask for you to pray for him/her.

“Cemetery Sunday” is a lesser-known tradition still practiced around Ireland, although it seems to take place on whatever date is most convenient for local church leaders. A mass is celebrated for families of those buried in the local church graveyard, after which an effort is made over several days to clean up the churchyard. Special attention is traditionally given to the graves of those who have no one left among the living to remember them.


CRYING AT FUNERALS..."Keening" is the Irish version of loud crying at wakes practiced in several European cultures (Italy in particular). It involves wailing and expressing endearments in Gaelic to the deceased. At some wakes, the Keening goes on for hours, with many participants.

The first three days of April are called the "Borrowed Days" and are traditionally associated with bad weather. This derives from an old legend where a mythical cow boasted about March being unable to kill her. The result was that March borrowed three days of terrible weather from April to try and finish the cow off.

Aran Island sweaters have a variety of "family weaves." These were developed because when a fisherman drowned, his sweater would often be the only thing washed up on shore. The distinctive weave would tell a family their loved one had been lost.

Ireland is the world’s only country with a musical instrument for a national symbol: the harp.

Louth is the smallest county in Ireland; Cork is the largest.

Ireland’s highest mountain is Carrantouhill, in County Kerry (3,445 feet).

It’s not the custom in Ireland to wear green ties, hats or other green clothes on St. Patrick's Day. A sprig of shamrock in the coat lapel is the preferred display.


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Ingredients for Irish Colcannon

•1 ½ lbs potatoes
•1 ½ cups of milk
•1 ½ cups of boiled green cabbage or curly kale
•1 tablespoon butter
•Salt and pepper to taste
Some people ALSO add green onions.
Boil the potatoes until tender.
Drain well.
Mash the potatoes well.
Toss the cooked cabbage in the melted butter.
Add the cabbage and butter to the potatoes and fold well.
Season with the salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

DONATIONS & CHASING DREAMS


WE ARRIVE AT STORAGE UNIT.

THE TRUCK ARRIVES AND THEY START LOADING.
HALF DONE, MORE TO GO, WHAT A MESS.
THERE IS HIDDEN TREASURE IN THAT PILE.

ALL PACKED, TRUCK LEAVES, THANK YOU.

THIS IS WHAT THEY LEFT BEHIND. WE PUT IT IN OUR VAN
TO TAKE TO THE DUMPSTER.
THEN WE SWEEP UNIT.
IT'S JUST AS CLEAN AS WE FOUND IT 14 YEARS AGO.
 WE VACATE THE PREMISES.

Our bodies ached and our pocketbook was drained. But the deed was done. It’s finally over. After 14 years of pouring money into MAINTAINING storage for thousands of dollars worth of stuff intended for sale on eBay, we cut the cord and said GOODBYE. We are FREE, at last, of this albatross around our necks. The clothes from within the unit had been given to local charities late last year. But the rest of the merchandise remained until this week. We had already tried to sell the stuff in bulk, and couldn’t get any bites.  It must be jinxed. But we forged ahead, intending on using an auctioneer to help us remove the storage contents. But... after talking to several, it became crystal clear to us... the only ones making money on the deal WERE GOING to be them. They were going to charge us an arm and a leg, and we’d get little, if anything, in return.  So we told them... thanks, but, no thanks. We wondered, how much MORE money we were going to have to spend to just be RID of all this junk?  We decided, NOT another, penny. The decision was made. We would donate that inventory to the Salvation Army. It was gut wrenching to watch my dreams go up in smoke, as they loaded the truck, carting everything away. I spent too many hours immersed in the collection and sale of these things, trying to build our online business. But in the end, I had failed miserably. Watching the storage area being emptied verified it. In my heart I knew this extra baggage needed to be expulsed. We had paid a hefty price. Trying to recoup our losses was impossible, at this late date. It was time to just LET it GO and MOVE onto the next thing. Now... maybe someone less fortunate can have at it, picking and choosing what they want... or need to fill their homes with things they love. And maybe now... we can start a NEW chapter in our lives, chasing different dreams...