Apologies dear readers

I must beg your pardon, if you’re still here. I can’t even believe how long it has been since I’ve had a minute to breathe, let alone write and research. It turns out that the greedy landlord problem is growing on both sides of the puddle – and I have recently been a victim of it myself. I lived in the same place for nearly two decades until this month when I was forced out of what might have been the last affordable place in the Bay Area.

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Happy New Year

Just a quick note to wish all of you well on this New Year’s Eve and send blessings to you and yours for 2019! It has been a long, tough year for me and I’m quite glad to shove it out the door – but I’m looking forward to next with the hope that it will be easier and full of joy for us all.

Traditionally, The Parting Glass was often sung on New Year’s Eve throughout Ireland and Scotland prior to being usurped by Auld Lang Syne. You’ll hear it still in my home to mark the new year. For me it is a song that is about having no regrets, even if you have to leave something or someone behind. It is one of my favorites and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Happy New Year all. Safe home.

5 ways to be less of a jerk on Mar. 17th

Yes it’s that time of year again. St. Patrick’s Day is upon us and here on the U.S. side of the puddle, it can quickly become a train wreck. This year I’ve decided to make an easy list that we can all hand out to our beer hat wearing, cheap leprechaun-looking, fake Irish dancing friends in order to keep them (and us) from acting the fool. Here’s five simple DON’Ts that will make the Wearing of the Green safer and more palatable for everyone, no matter where you live.

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Blooming

“Everything speaks in its own way” – James Joyce

You know, there have been a thousand posts in my brain for the last week or two. There have been arguments in my head about how to write sensitively and objectively about things that are too close to my heart and in many cases, multiple things have been thrown at various screens. There are so many political nightmares both here in the US and in the North of Ireland that as soon as I start on one, it becomes obsolete and the next gets worse and worse…. so I surrender. It is my birthday weekend and instead of banging on the keyboard for another minute, I am heading into the sunshine with a well-worn copy of Ulysses, having a pint or two at my favorite local, and celebrating Bloomsday. I’m making silly Joyce-themed memes out of my photos and stepping away from the upcoming quagmires of doom. It’s time to clear my head for a minute and drop into frivolity for just one second…before parade season really starts and we see just how screwed everyone on both sides of the puddle is this summer.

So happy birthday to me and happy Bloomsday to you. Remember, “Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves.

sheepish

A Fairy tale

The true tale about a fairy tale….and the story behind the greatest Christmas song of all time. If you haven’t watched this particular ‘Making of’ there’s no better or more appropriate time than to remedy that than on Christmas eve (babe)… and this is especially true given that the Pogues’ touring manager Frank Murray just passed. Merry holidays to you all, whichever one you celebrate this time of year.

 

Merry Mabon

Autumnal Equinox. Second Harvest. Mea’n Fo’mhair. Mabon. Whatever you call it, this day marks the changing of the seasons and it celebrates equality and planetary harmony on the earth. The Northern and Southern hemisphere rarely get the same thing at the same time. There are only two days that they see eye to eye when it comes to light and darkness, and Mabon is one of those days. During the Autumnal Equinox both hemispheres get exactly the same amount of light—and the same amount of darkness—due to the tilt of the Earth and the position of the sun. The seasons may still be reversed, but the lengths of the day and the night are exactly the same and that balance only happens one other time throughout the year. The harmony may not have anything to do with mankind at all, but man has celebrated it for centuries.

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Merry Women’s Christmas!!

Gather the women!!

Jan. 6th marks Nollaig na mBan, also known as little Christmas or Women’s Christmas in Ireland. It’s an old Irish tradition that evolved from celebrating the Epiphany but these days it’s become less about religion and more about fun and frivolity. Traditionally, Irish women were not only responsible for the Christmas time entertaining and feasts but they also had to deal with all the holiday clean up, and every day chores and household duties too for that matter. Except on January 6th, that is. That’s the day they finally got a break. On Women’s Christmas, (12th Night, little Christmas or  whatever you want to call January 6th)  the men took over the chores and the households so that the women could gather and drink, tell stories, kick off their shoes and relax for a moment.

It was a real treat back in the day – so much so that it continues now, even though women’s roles have changed all around the world. In modern times, it’s a day for women to gather and treat themselves to a night out at a bar with friends, a trip to the favorite day spa or salon, or head out for a fancy meal. Nollaig na mBan is the day to play hooky from work (or from the house and kids) to enjoy a day with your ladies, create your own little henhouse, tell stories, catch up, or have a cocktail and relax. No matter what women normally work too hard on, Jan. 6th is the time to take a day off, even if it’s only a mental one.  It’s well deserved.

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