Monday, March 30, 2009

Anal Glaucoma

Another new Illness to watch out for... Anal Glaucoma

A woman calls her boss one morning and tells him that she is staying home because she is not feeling well.

"What's the matter?" he asks.
"I have a case of anal glaucoma," she says in a weak voice.
"What the hell is anal glaucoma?"
"I can't see my ass coming into work today."
Sometimes you just have to do it!!!!

Happy Birthday Nettie!

I wanted to wish my friend Nettie and Happy Birthday!

She had a wondeful party on Sat. and the kazooers were there to cheer her on!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tweety Bird


"Where's my gwasses, I taut I saw a puddy tat"

We all start looking like this at 60!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

He's to one of my very favorite funny men, Robin Williams who is recouping from open-heart surgery!! The man who has made me laugh for so many years!! I loved him way back in the Mork and Mindy days 1978-80!! And his movies are fantastic ... Popeye, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanjii, The Birdcage, Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, The Fisher King, What Dreams May Come, Patch Adams, Good Will Hunting, RV, just to name a few, there are so, so, so many more!! And more recently on Law and Order Special Victims Unit. An incredible actor and funny man. May he heal fast to all make us laugh again!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mothering Sunday

Since I just did a mini tribute to my mom I thought it was fit do do a little piece about "Mothering Sunday."

In Ireland, Mothers Day is not celebrated on same day as in US. Mothers Day celebrations in Ireland takes place on the fourth Sunday in the Christian fasting month of Lent.

This corresponds to the day on which Mothers Day or Mothering Sunday is celebrated in UK, a close neighbor of Ireland. While in the US Mothers Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in the month of May. But just as in scores of other countries, people in Ireland honor their mothers on the occasion of Mothers Day for all their love and affection.

History of Mother's Day in Ireland
The history of celebrating Mothering Sunday or Mothers Day in Ireland can be traced to the medieval practice where children from poor families were send to work as domestic servants and apprentices to work with the rich. Once in the year in the middle of the Lent these children were given a day off to visit their 'Mother Church' and worship Virgin Mary. After visiting the Mother Church or Cathedral of their home town these children visited their mothers and presented them with flowers they picked along the way. Girls bake special Mothering Cake on the day. Mothering Sunday was also known as Refreshment Sunday, because the fasting rules for Lent were relaxed on tha day. A food item especially associated with the day is Simnel Cake: a rich fruit cake with almond paste on top and in the middle.

For strict adherers to the Lenten fast, the cake had to keep until Easter Day, which is when it is now more commonly found on our tea tables.
Pattern of living changed after the Industrial Revolution and Mothering Sunday celebration almost lapsed. The custom was revived after World War II. Americans too helped to bring back the charm of the festival in Eurpoean countries as their tradition and way of celebrating Mothers Day spread far and wide.

Mothers Hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever!

Simil Cake Recipe:
4oz butter or margarine
4oz soft brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
5oz plain flour
pinch of salt
½ tsp ground mixed spice (optional)
12oz mixed raisins, currants and sultanas
2oz chopped mixed peel
1/2 lemon, grated rind only
1-2 tbsp apricot jam
1 egg, beaten for glazing
For the almond paste: (Marzipan)
4oz caster sugar
4oz ground almonds
1 egg, beaten
½ tsp almond essence

1. To make the almond paste: place the sugar and ground almonds in a bowl. Add enough beaten egg to give a fairly soft consistency. Add the almond essence and knead for a minute until the paste is smooth and pliable. Roll out a third of the almond paste to make a circle 18cm/7in in diameter and reserve the remainder for topping of the cake.
2. Preheat oven to 140C/275F/ Gas 1. To make the cake:cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs until well incorporated and then sift in the flour, salt and spice (if using) a little at a time. Finally, add the dried fruit, peel and grated lemon rind and mix into the mixture well.
3. Put half the mixture in a greased and lined 18cm/7in cake tin. Smooth the top and cover with the circle of almond paste. Add the rest of the cake mixture and smooth the top leaving a slight dip in the centre to allow for the cake to rise. Bake in the preheated oven for 1½ hours. Once baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool.
4. When you are ready to decorate the cake, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 3. Brush the top of the cooled cake with the apricot jam. Divide the remainder of the almond paste into two; roll out a circle to cover the top of the cake with one half and form 11 small balls with the other half.
5. Place the circle of paste on the jam and set the balls round the edge. Brush all the top with a little beaten egg.
6. Return the cake to the preheated oven for about 10 minutes or long enough for the almond paste to brown.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

In Memory of Mom 8-11-23 to 3-19-08

I write this blog today in memory of my mom who passed away one year ago today. I miss you mom! The last few months of mom's life was spent in a nursing facility. Her mind was clear, but her body was giving up. It was hard to see her wane away. A lady, who was always dressed in suits and heels, always had her hair done, and her nails!! She sat before me with feeble finger and hands and it so sadden me. She was angry too; she hated seeing her body fail. Her memories were still thinking of times when she was a young girl, or dancing at the USO dances, or talking about marry dad and moving to Brooklyn; not the proper place for a New England lady!! Some of the folks that worked at the facility were not always nice to her, so I had a few “run-ins” with the staff. I wanted mom to be respected, she wasn’t some stupid old lady, who dribbled her soup on her bib, and she was Margaret Mary Woods, see her for who she is!! Her mind still works and she still has feelings!!!

A short time before mom died I came across this poem and I was in the process of putting it onto a poster-board for her room with pictures, however mom could not wait and decided to pass on to another plane. So mom where ever you are I am doing this for you!!! I miss you; give Jodi a hug and a kiss for me!!!

What do you see, nurses, what do you see?
What are you thinking when you're looking at me?
A crabby old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice,
"I do wish you'd try!"
Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is missing a stocking or shoe.....
Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill....
Is that what you're thinking?
Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse;
you're not looking at me.
I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.

I'm a small child of ten ... with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet.

A bride soon at twenty -- my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.

At twenty-five now, I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide and a secure happy home.
A woman of thirty, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man's beside me to see I don't mourn.

At fifty once more, babies play round my knee,
Again we know children, my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead;

I look at the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own,
And I think of the years and the love that I've known.
I'm now an old woman ... and nature is cruel;

mom's 85th ...

'Tis jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.

I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living life over again.
I think of the years .... all too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, nurses, open and see,
Not a crabby old woman; look closer ... see ME!!

In memory of you mom ....

a picture of you bringing me home from the hospital ...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Beannachtam na Femle Padraig
"Happy St. Patrick's Day!"

Who Was St. Patrick? Most historians believe that his name was actually at birth was Maewyn Succat, although he used the Roman name, Patricius or Patrick. St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of Christianity's most widely known figures. But for all his celebrity, his life remains somewhat of a mystery. Many of the stories traditionally associated with St. Patrick, including the famous account of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland, are said to be false, the products of hundreds of years of exaggerated storytelling.

Taken Prisoner By Irish Raiders: It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D. Although his father was a Christian deacon, it has been suggested that he probably took on the role because of tax incentives and there is no evidence that Patrick came from a particularly religious family. At the age of sixteen, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family's estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. (There is some dispute over where this captivity took place. Although many believe he was taken to live in Mount Slemish in County Antrim, it is more likely that he was held in County Mayo near Killala.) During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian. (It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.)

Guided By Visions:
After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice-which he believed to be God's-spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland. To do so, Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo, where it is believed he was held, to the Irish coast. After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation-an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than fifteen years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission-to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish. (Interestingly, this mission contradicts the widely held notion that Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland.)

Bonfires and Crosses:
Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire.
He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish. (Although there were a small number of Christians on the island when Patrick arrived, most Irish practiced a nature-based pagan religion. The Irish culture centered around a rich tradition of oral legend and myth. When this is considered, it is no surprise that the story of Patrick's life became exaggerated over the centuries-spinning exciting tales to remember history has always been a part of the Irish way of life.)

St. Patrick's Day is an official holiday in Ireland. However, in the U. S, Australia, U. K, and New Zealand, though celebrated with much fervor, it is not an official holiday. St. Patrick's Day is celebrated not only as a mark of respect to a great saint but also as a reflection of the cultural tradition of Ireland and the growing sense of its nationalistic pride.

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!
St. Patrick's Day blessing upon you!

Monday, March 16, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Eve

Here are a few “Traditions” to help celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on this St. Patrick’s Day Eve:

Wishing on Shamrocks and four-leaf clovers:

The Irish have always considered the four-leaf clover and Shamrocks as symbols of good-luck.

Traditionally, on St. Patrick's Eve, all the lassies or young girls have fun 4-leaf clover activities:

1.) Think of the person you want to marry while swallowing a 4-leaf clover- hang a 4-leaf clover in the doorway and you'll marry the first man who enters. 2.) Wear a 4-leaf clover in the heel of your left shoe and you'll end up marrying the first man you meet. 3.) Place a 4-leaf clover under the bed sheets at the 4 corners of your bed and you're sure to dream of the guy you'll marry.

And on St. Patrick’s Day …The first is the Greeting of the Day!! "May the Blessings of St. Patrick's be with you" - that's how people traditionally greet each other on St. Patrick's Day.

The traditions to wear green! In my post yesterday I wrote about the wearing of the green. And if you're not in green on St Patrick's Day, popular tradition will see you getting pinched!

Be very wary of Leprechauns, they are known to throw cabbages on parade day.

This is Brown bread and Jam ... and below Colcannon

Since St. Patrick's Day is celebrated as an Irish Day, what could be more traditional than Irish food and drink ? Although "corned beef and cabbage" is what will come to your mind when you think of Irish food, there are several other Irish recipes you can try out. These are some of my favourites. Irish Beef Stew, Colcannon, (YUM), Boxy, Champ, Scones, Brown Bread and homemade jam, rashs and bangers.

AND for the very best Boxty you have to go to Gallagher's in Dublin, every time I go to Dublin I eat there!!

So on St. Patrick's Day don't forget the Irish coffee, the Irish cream and the Irish whiskey - though you'll have to watch out for the kids - blackcurrant juice is popular enough for them! There is also Hard Cider, Yummy Mead make from honey, Poitín And we can not forget the black gold of Guinness and if the pint is a wee bit to harsh for yee lass, trying pouring a little blackcurrant syrup in your pint!

St. Patrick's day is a much celebrated holiday throughout the world, especially the United States, and for any major holiday, there are usually numerous parades. A popular location is Chicago, with their river being dyed green in celebration. However, the longest-running St. Patrick's Day parade can be found in New York City.

New York Police Department (NYPD) Pipes and Drums

With all of the customs and traditions surrounding St. Patrick's Day, you are bound to feel festive! So, put on your green sweater, gather some recipes, stock up on some Guinness and have a great St. Patrick's Day celebration!!!

Sláinte!" To Your Health!"

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Shamrock

"Seamróg", the Gaelic word for shamrock.

Although many think the shamrock is the symbol of Ireland this is not true, the official symbol is the Irish or Celtic Harp. BUT after all, the shamrock is without a doubt the most universally recognized symbol of Ireland.

It has such power to define Ireland in the minds of people that it is used in the official logos of many major Irish organizations, like Fáilte Ireland, the Irish Tourist Board, for example.

The shamrock is the symbol of Trinity is in Ireland and within Irish culture. This is due to the most famous shamrock legend, starring St. Patrick. The story basically says that he used the shamrock to help the pagan Druid High Priests and their followers comprehend the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - All in One Almighty God.

The shamrock legend also includes the story that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland forever. The legend goes on to say that St. Patrick filled the Emerald Isle with lush shamrock fields to keep the snakes from ever returning. In fact, people say that shamrocks would grow wherever St. Patrick had preached.

An old Irish blessing says,
There's a dear little plant that grows in our isle,
'Twas Saint Patrick himself, sure, that set it;
And the sun of his labor with pleasure did smile,
And with dew from his eye often wet it.
It grows through the bog, through the brake, through the mireland
And they call it the dear little Shamrock of Ireland

How did the shamrock become such a powerful and universal symbol of Ireland? Well, for starters, during the days of Queen Victoria, the shamrock became a symbol of rebellion against the oppression of the Crown, when the Queen made it a capital crime to wear the shamrock on military uniforms, punishable by death. It was during this time that displaying the shamrock proudly on one's clothing became known as the "Wearing of the Green".

Throughout the 19th century, the shamrock was used as a decorative symbol on everything Irish from churches and other public buildings, to clothing and household furniture. It wasn't long before anything connected with Ireland at all displayed shamrocks in some way. So the shamrock legend had taken on new meaning to Irish people. It went beyond being a spiritual symbol and became a source of empowerment and national pride.

Today the shamrock remains a quintessential icon associated with all things Irish. With its rich mythology and political history, it promises to remain an enduring and beloved symbol of the green rolling hills of Ireland.

Friday, March 13, 2009

You Tube Clip of Kazoo Band!

OK I admit I have been bad!!! I am between parades, marched in Syracuse, New York yesterday ... and the ole body is weary!! I found this on You Tube ... someone had taken this last Saturday ... now you can see the size of the band that I run every year. You can't really hear us, (we are Kazooing God Save Ireland) But you sure can hear our drums ... but you get some idea what a crazy bunch of folks we are!! This year we had about 135 march with us !!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dia duit. (jeea ditch)
Good day/Hello

Sorry I have not been “Into The Blog!”

Between work, Drum lessons, and parade day just days away (Saturday) my evenings have been full of “what have I missed, what have I forgotten, do I need to do this, or that, do I have enough of this or that.” Yup, that is how I am as the “high holy day” fast approaches. After doing the bulk of pre-parade day tasks the past eight years, it is hard to just sit back and let my Core Team “have at it!!!!”

You have to realize that this is my “Superbowl Sunday”!!! This is one day a year I soooo look forward to. Hanging with friends who come in from out of town that I have not seen in months, sharing in the camaraderie of 120 happy, exuberant, over zealous kazooers!!! And may I add drummers!! Drinking a Guinness or two, listening to the many pipe bands marching and just plain enjoying the day’s festivities!!

I will take lots of pics and see if I can get someone to do a video clip of us so I can share it with those of you who can stand the sound of 120 kazoos!!

Keep the faith … I shall return …

I leave you with this Irish Blessing:
Always remember to forget
the things that made you sad.
But never forget to remember
the things that made you glad.
Always remember to forget
the friends that proved untrue.
But never forget to remember
those that have stuck by you.
Always remember to forget
the troubles that passed away.
But never forget to remember
the blessings that come each day.

Slán go fóill (shlahn goh foihl)
Goodbye for now