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It is St. Patrick’s Day 2020!

Those of you who know me know that statement is usually followed by a lot of hoopla and celebration. I take the wearin’ of the green very seriously and like to start out with the perfect Irish outfit usually including hats, glasses, socks and my very own personalized Official Irish National Lacrosse Team jersey.

My day starts with Irish music and an Irish coffee or just a coffee with more than a wee bit of Bailey’s Irish Cream in it. I confess that part has already happened. Most of my nieces and nephews send me pics of their wee ones dressed appropriately. They know the rules.

This year I even dressed my houseguest that will not leave.

The rest of the day is seeking out Irish Dancers, Corned Beef & Cabbage and a proper Guinness. This year is slim pickings for any kind of celebration. All the St. Patrick’s Day Parades have been cancelled including the one in Ireland. In fact, for the first time in history there is a ban on kissing the Blarney Stone and pubs all over Ireland have voluntarily closed their doors.

Today I have been amusing myself with this.

nbsp;

It gives me a little joy in this otherwise very bleak day.

Let’s just say I definitely prefer Guinness to Corona at this point.

That being said and with nothing new to share I am reposting from several years ago …

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“The Gift Of Blarney”

There is no other time of year when it is easier to find a party than St. Patrick’s day. People will be wearin’ the green, adorned by four-leaf clovers and they’ll be drinking green beer. Let’s face it. St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, is the one day when everyone can claim to be Irish. The thing is, like the majority of the “Irish for a day” folk, most of what we know surrounding St. Patrick’s Day is…well, BLARNEY!

Everyone Is Irish

The Irish are truly great story weavers. They really do have the gift of blarney. According to Wikipedia the word blarney has come to mean “clever, flattering, or coaxing talk”. If you have every dated an Irish lad you know this to be fact.
As children we are told of the hero of the piece driving the snakes from Ireland. In fact, in religious lore the snake represented evil (you know that whole snake offering the apple to Adam thing). St. Patrick, having devoted his life to converting the pagans to Christians was considered to have driven “evil” out of Ireland.

Probably the biggest misconception of all is that…dare I say it…that Patrick was Irish. In reality, he was not.
In the Monday, March 12, 1995, Toronto Star, Travel Editor Mitchell Smith explained:

“It is not widely known that “Saint Patrick” was Roman not Irish and his real name was Sucat. Somewhere around 405 AD Sucat, as a lad, was taken prisoner and then sold into slavery in Ulster. For 6 years the Christian slave Sucat worked as a sheep herder. When he escaped he returned to Britain. Later he went to France where he eventually became a priest. At this point Sucat became Patrick and in his Confessio claimed he had a dream of Irish voices begging him to return. When he set sail to return to Ireland he was headed for the area he had been kept a slave, however as they say, with the luck of the Irish he was blown off course and then captured by some local peasants. He wasted no time in converting his pagan Irish captors to Christianity, starting with their leader.”

The 4 leaf clover is not, I repeat, not a shamrock.
Of course the most obvious difference is that the 4 leaf clover has, wait for it…4 leaves. The shamrock has 3.  Although clover is most often found in nature with three leaves, rare four-leaf clovers do exist. Finding one is thought to bring someone extreme luck. The folklore surrounding four-leaf clovers is that each leaf of a four-leaf clover represents something different: first is hope; the second is faith; the third is love; and the fourth is happiness.
Legend has it that St. Patrick used the shamrock with its three leaves  to visually illustrate the concept of the Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) when trying to convert pagans to Christianity.

4 leaf vs shamrock

If ever anything apart from the shamrock is associated with Ireland and the Irish it must be Guinness, the national drink. With its famous black body and soft creamy head, it is an icon of Ireland and its people — strong, smooth unhurried and extremely palatable. And no self-respecting Irish person would ever drink green beer.

Speaking of dying things green…I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when someone came up with the idea to dye the Chicago River green. I know there has to be a a tale of blarney behind that one. Don’t get me wrong. My favourite colour is green but I would have to draw the line on this one.

Chicago River Dyed Green

As for the wearing of the green, many simply believe it referred to wearing a shamrock, but an American tradition of pinching those not wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day was started in the 1700s in Boston, Massachusetts. It really has nothing to do with Ireland or St. Patrick. They thought if you wore green, it made you invisible to the Leprechauns, which was good because they would pinch anyone they could see. So the pinching is to warn and remind you about the Leprechauns.
OK, don’t get me started on these little guys…

Leprechauns

One of my favourite parts of St. Patrick’s Day (apart from all of the above) is getting to see the wee Irish dancers. When I was much younger I longed to join them with their wonderful bouncing curls. It was quite the blow when I found out that even their curls were just another part of the blarney.

Wee Irish Dancers

My apologies for the poor quality but I was well into the Guinness by then.

The absolute best stories are always based in some truth. The more you weave fact with fiction the better the chances your audience will not be able to tell the difference. The Irish are truly great story weavers. The masters of the tall tale. They really do have the gift of blarney. Much like most of us bloggers.

May your glass

be ever full.

May the roof over your

head be always strong.

And may you be

in heaven half an hour 

Before the Devil knows

you’re dead.

Slainte

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There is no other time of year when it is easier to find a party than St. Patrick’s day. People will be wearin’ the green, adorned by four-leaf clovers and they’ll be drinking green beer. Let’s face it. St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, is the one day when everyone can claim to be Irish. The thing is, like the majority of the “Irish for a day” folk, most of what we know surrounding St. Patrick’s Day is…well, BLARNEY!

Everyone Is Irish

The Irish are truly great story weavers. They really do have the gift of blarney. According to Wikipedia the word blarney has come to mean “clever, flattering, or coaxing talk”. If you have every dated an Irish lad you know this to be fact.
As children we are told of the hero of the piece driving the snakes from Ireland. In fact, in religious lore the snake represented evil (you know that whole snake offering the apple to Adam thing). St. Patrick, having devoted his life to converting the pagans to Christians was considered to have driven “evil” out of Ireland.

Probably the biggest misconception of all is that…dare I say it…that Patrick was Irish. In reality, he was not.
In the Monday, March 12, 1995, Toronto Star, Travel Editor Mitchell Smith explained:

“It is not widely known that “Saint Patrick” was Roman not Irish and his real name was Sucat. Somewhere around 405 AD Sucat, as a lad, was taken prisoner and then sold into slavery in Ulster. For 6 years the Christian slave Sucat worked as a sheep herder. When he escaped he returned to Britain. Later he went to France where he eventually became a priest. At this point Sucat became Patrick and in his Confessio claimed he had a dream of Irish voices begging him to return. When he set sail to return to Ireland he was headed for the area he had been kept a slave, however as they say, with the luck of the Irish he was blown off course and then captured by some local peasants. He wasted no time in converting his pagan Irish captors to Christianity, starting with their leader.”

The 4 leaf clover is not, I repeat, not a shamrock.
Of course the most obvious difference is that the 4 leaf clover has, wait for it…4 leaves. The shamrock has 3.  Although clover is most often found in nature with three leaves, rare four-leaf clovers do exist. Finding one is thought to bring someone extreme luck. The folklore surrounding four-leaf clovers is that each leaf of a four-leaf clover represents something different: first is hope; the second is faith; the third is love; and the fourth is happiness.
Legend has it that St. Patrick used the shamrock with its three leaves  to visually illustrate the concept of the Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) when trying to convert pagans to Christianity.

4 leaf vs shamrock

If ever anything apart from the shamrock is associated with Ireland and the Irish it must be Guinness, the national drink. With its famous black body and soft creamy head, it is an icon of Ireland and its people — strong, smooth unhurried and extremely palatable. And no self-respecting Irish person would ever drink green beer.

Speaking of dying things green…I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when someone came up with the idea to dye the Chicago River green. I know there has to be a a tale of blarney behind that one. Don’t get me wrong. My favourite colour is green but I would have to draw the line on this one.

Chicago River Dyed Green

As for the wearing of the green, many simply believe it referred to wearing a shamrock, but an American tradition of pinching those not wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day was started in the 1700s in Boston, Massachusetts. It really has nothing to do with Ireland or St. Patrick. They thought if you wore green, it made you invisible to the Leprechauns, which was good because they would pinch anyone they could see. So the pinching is to warn and remind you about the Leprechauns.
OK, don’t get me started on these little guys…

Leprechauns

One of my favourite parts of St. Patrick’s Day (apart from all of the above) is getting to see the wee Irish dancers. When I was much younger I longed to join them with their wonderful bouncing curls. It was quite the blow when I found out that even their curls were just another part of the blarney.

Wee Irish Dancers

My apologies for the poor quality but I was well into the Guinness by then.

The absolute best stories are always based in some truth. The more you weave fact with fiction the better the chances your audience will not be able to tell the difference. The Irish are truly great story weavers. The masters of the tall tale. They really do have the gift of blarney. Much like most of us bloggers.

May your glass

be ever full.

May the roof over your

head be always strong.

And may you be

in heaven half an hour 

Before the Devil knows

you’re dead.

Slainte

Read Full Post »

It is that time of year again. Spring is in the air. Everything seems fresh, bright and green. Very green. Ok, maybe a little too green. I happen to like green. It is my favourite colour. I also happen to really enjoy St. Patrick’s Day. In fact I have a reputation for enjoying St. Patrick’s Day. I draw the line at dying a river green like they do in Chicago every year and drinking green beer.
Chicago River Dyed GreenGuiness





Really, what self-respecting Irish person would drink green beer? I’ll stick to my Guinness, Irish whisky and perhaps an Irish coffee to start the day.

Ireland has long been my not-so-secret obsession. When I was 15 I went to London, England on a school trip during spring break. It was announced over the PA system on the plane that we would be landing in Shannon, Ireland to refuel (or something) but that we would remain contained in the airport as we would not clear immigration until we reached our destination. As we flew over our pit stop it became quite clear why they call this the Emerald Isle. It was breathtaking. An overwhelming sense of well being came over me – an instant connection; and as we landed in Shannon tears were running down my face. I didn’t want to go to England. I wanted to stay right where I was. This is where I belonged. Eventually I was forced back onto the plane and completed my journey to England. I’ve wanted to return to Ireland ever since.

All things Irish became my passion. I have a collection of Irish music, Irish literature, Irish movies, clothing and all manner of Irish bric-a-brac. In fact, I have some of the tackiest Irish paraphernalia on the planet, I kid you not. When you celebrate your birthday on this rather brash day you tend to always have a great party to go to and a lot of really weird gifts.

Usually at this time of year I start playing the Irish music at the beginning of March and continue until He-Who threatens to leave me. Unfortunately, my music is in a box somewhere in our new digs in a town a couple of hours away. I did have the presence of mind to make sure I brought my Irish National Lacrosse Team jersey with me so I have something to wear.

Lacrosse Jersey

My sister Pat made it her mission that  I have the obligatory head gear.

Hat from Pat

As it turns out He-Who is leaving me on St. Patrick’s Day. Temporarily. He is heading out to the new place so that someone can be there first thing Monday morning for the internet hookup. I will stay behind until my housesitting duties are finished.  So the party part will be a little light this year. I’m OK with that. I have participated enough for a lifetime. Once I misplaced a car that showed up in another town two days later. Another time a good friend’s husband put me to bed on their couch, swapping out garbage pails all night long. There was dancing, there was dancing on bar tops and there was dancing in the street…although, the definition of dancing was often broadened to just being able to stay upright. Like my youth, those days are long past. Believe it or not my absolute favourite St. Patrick’s Day party was on Maui. Now that one I would do over again.

Maui St Patricks Day

This St. Patrick’s Day may not be quite the day I usually indulge in at this time of year but one thing is for sure.

There will be cake!

I will eat cake

•••

Slainte

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Maui is one of my favourite places in the world.  I have had the good fortune to visit there twice.  A recent post from my good friend Lauren on Facebook reminded me of my least favourite event on my last visit there.  It is pretty hard to find something bad about Maui. As far as tropical paradises go it has to be at the top of the list.  It has sun and sand and beautiful crystal clear water as far as the eye can see. 

There are rainbows and double rainbows every day, although for some reason I never did get a great picture of one.

You can take the “Road Trip” of a lifetime and survive The Road To Hana.

Aside from the breathtaking views and the death defying twists and turns you can have a swim at one of my favourite spots, The Black Beach.

You can watch whales, sunsets and whales and sunsets.

You can go sailing on a catamaran as long as you have your sea legs.

And if you happen to be there on St. Patricks Day celebrating someone’s birthday you can attend the absolute best St. Patrick’s Day Party … ever!

Now, I have to tell you I enjoyed all those adventures and more.  The thing is I am a water girl. I love the water. I love the beach. I was born and raised in the Niagara Peninsula, surrounded by water. I had Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, The Niagara River, Niagara Falls, Sherkston Beaches and Crystal Beach as my playground growing up.  So if there is a beach I’m there! This particular trip we stayed right on one of the beaches. It was pretty mild, not as sandy as I would like for swimming but the views were spectacular. He Who Shall Remain Nameless for his own protection is not a water person. He grew up in Winnipeg, often called Winterpeg (especially by me) one of the coldest places in Canada. He had a ball walking around in the water up to his ankles on “our” beach.

He is quite content to sit on the beach and watch me frolic in the water. I say frolic because, although I love the water, I am not a strong swimmer. I can swim. I’m just not very good at it.  This has never hampered my spirits when jumping into “the deep end”.  I heard about this beach called “Big Beach” on Maui  that I had not seen on my previous visit.  Once I knew about it I had to go.  It was gorgeous! It was definitely “big”. This lovely sandy beach is almost 2/3 of a mile long and over 100 yards wide and  the official name is Makena Beach.  As we walked to the water we saw postings, warning signs if you will, with statements like this: “Cautions: Monitor ocean conditions closely. Strong currents and surf possible. Obey all postings and warnings.” There were a lot of people there and it was easy to see why it was considered “The” beach to go to.  I have no clue how I missed it on my first trip.  My little beach bunny  set himself up on perch where he could watch me and wave.  I was in my glory.

Is that not a beautiful thing to behold? I was having a great time. Not straying more than a yard from shore in what seemed extremely shallow water.  It was even shallow enough for my fellow!  I waved at him. He waved back. I laughed. I smiled. I got hit from behind!

I went face first, pushed right into the sandy floor. It definitely knocked the wind out of me. As I tried to right myself the undertow grabbed my feet and pulled them out from under me dragging me into the water. I couldn’t breath. I fought to surface, gasping for air. My fella smiled and waved. Another wave hit me pushing from behind, I had only made it to my knees and under I went again. My legs were like anchors holding me down in the undertow. I got my face up again and saw my fella, smiling and waving. I couldn’t understand how he couldn’t see I was in trouble! What was he thinking?! I heard a child’s voice right in front of me,  screaming at me, “Lady, stand up! Stand up!”.  What a great idea… but my legs are gone and I am being pushed down again.  I gave up trying to stand up. I dug my hands in the sandy bottom and hung on so I wouldn’t be dragged further out again. Then little by little I crawled the few feet with my hands dug in for dear life until my face surfaced and as I sputtered and gasped I could see my wonderful fella smiling and waving. I felt strong hands grab me on either side as they dragged me further out of the water to safety. Of course as soon as two young, handsome, strong bucks approach me then my fella knows something is wrong and perhaps he should see what is up.  As my rescuers were attending to me they looked up at this man grinning sheepishly wondering what he wanted. I followed their gaze and saw him standing there. I said, “That’s OK, he’s my husband”.  They looked at him like he was from outer space. The grinning waving man.Of course, as soon as I was able I tore a strip off him up one side and down the other.

Me: What’s wrong with you?

Him: I thought you were just having fun!

Me: Having fun?! I was drowning! What’s wrong with you?

Him: You looked like you were having a great time just splashing around playing in the water.

Me: What’s wrong with you? I was drowning?

I’m pretty sure I was screaming at some octave that would do damage to a dogs hearing.  This all came flashing back at me when I read my friend’s post Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

I have never been afraid of water in my life but I confess I was terrified that day. In fact I was terrified the next day. My biggest fear was that I would leave Maui with that terror of the water still hanging on to me.  Ah, but my Knight in Shining Armour  (not the guys on the beach – He Who Should Remain Nameless for his own protection) arranged for us to go to another beach before we left.  We went by boat to the island of Lanai where there was a beautiful, pristine, quiet, calm beach.  He also arranged for a water coach (for lack of a better word) who spent a great deal of time with me getting me back in the water and comfortable enough to have some fun. Of course my fella ventured in up to his knees and kept waving and hollering for me to come back in closer to shore. He watched me like a hawk. He was determined to not miss it if I was going to drown again.

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A month ago I decided it was about time to start blogging. I had procrastinated for some time because I knew (and had been warned over and over and over again) that it was very important to be faithful in updating a blog. If you truly wanted to have a successful blog you had to have fresh material posted at least weekly. The first week of March I finally bit the bullet and wrote my first blog, posted it and then sent out links informing everyone that I had “crossed the line and there was no turning back”. That was March 6th…one month ago. Well, as they say “timing is everything”!

March 11th I ended up in the emergency ward with the man of the house. As we all know there is no such thing as a quick trip to the emergency ward. We arrived at 5:00 pm and when I left at 12:30 am he was finally being given treatment. In the wee hours of the morning he was admitted to hospital. Three weeks, two surgeries, anesthetic, morphine, blood transfusions and eight catheters later he finally came home. That was two days ago. For those of you holding your breath he will be fine after some lengthy recoup time. But, as I said timing is everything…

Around Christmas time a close friend of mine who suffers from MS and is in a wheelchair sent out an email for help. He needed someone to watch over his blind 92-year-old mother in Niagara Falls while he went away for a much needed rest during spring break. I wasn’t working and was feeling the Christmas Spirit, and also thought it would give me a chance to catch up with people back home, so I volunteered. My friend’s timing for asking was perfect. Couldn’t have been better. The hospitalization of the man of the house, on the other hand, was really bad timing (although not his fault). Couldn’t have been worse. For 10 straight days I spent the day in Oakville hospital and drove to Niagara Falls each night to stay with my friend’s Mother. My first night I was able to sleep back in my own bed, I put my feet up and turned on the TV to veg. The phone rang at 10:30pm. My Father had been taken into emergency in St. Catharines. Talk about timing! The third week of March, First Toastmasters of Oakville, the club which I attend, had their theme set…”Timing is Everything”…Come on, you have to see the irony here. Really, it’s hysterical…perfect timing! It was also the week of my birthday (and St. Patrick’s Day). Lousy timing. Then of course, let’s not forget the “concert of a lifetime” that had cost us a fortune in December – our tickets for Fleetwood Mac were for March 26th. Hmmmmmm, timing.

Perhaps I picked a bad time to start a blog. Bottom line, you can plan, you can time. You can plan the time. But sometimes, no amount of planning can control the timing. My plan is to continue blogging, when I can… and when the time is right.

 -30-

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