Am I Really Feigning an Irish Background?

Oh Danny Boy…I am no were near being of Irish descent. I think that I might actually be negative Irish.  I am a mutt of Mexican, Spanish, French, English, and sprinkled with a bit of German (a very small bit). Of course if you ask my dad he’ll say we have some Apache in us, but that was just when we were applying to colleges.

While proud of where I came from, I can’t get over the awesomeness of the land of Ire.  I have books on Irish folklore and history. I have Irish charms and jewelry, green is my favorite color, my daughter is about to take Irish dance lessons, and St. Patrick’s Day is BIG ass deal around here.  Throughout life, most of my closest friends have been/are Irish. I even married a man who is Irish (so I do have a little Irish in me, tee hee hee).

I currently live in a town outside of Boston, and it is awesome. It is chock-full of Irish, Catholic, and belly-full-o-beer folk up here. It rocks! The families are huge up here because Irish people like to pro-create. It is super fun.

So why do I like these magical folk so much?

The other night my family had the pleasure of going out to a local Irish Pub/Restaurant with some friends who are Irish. They also invited some of their family members and their seven (yes seven) children.  There was music and singing and dancing. My daughter had a blast, I laughed till my belly hurt, and my husband downed steak tips and ales. All good. They even invited us to Christmas dinner with their family. Christmas dinner!!!

Now of course, many other cultures are just as warm and inviting. Coming from a Hispanic background on my father’s side, my family is just was fun and loving. The food is always good (hey, who doesn’t like tacos?), the music is upbeat, and people are always dancing.

So why am I an Irish poser?  Let’s face it, the cuisine is not all that great and it is hard to get a tan with fair skin (my husband goes from white to red to back to white).

Maybe I was Irish in a past life. Maybe I just really like green eyes and freckles. Maybe I enjoy fermented drink and soggy cabbage.

Or maybe it is just plain fun and we adopt things we like, no matter what our background.

My mother is from Maine. She is super-anglo. Yet, she married my father, a Mexican-American. She can eat spicy Mexican food and not blink an eye. She enjoys using a Spanish accent whenever she can, even at Taco Bell. And the dancing, hang onto your hats people, whitey can cut a run. That’s her adopted culture.

No matter where you came from, you can always wrap your arms around another’s customs, wherever you feel comfortable.  Maybe we would have fewer problems if we all gave it a go with another’s way of life.

That’s what I intend to keep doing. So I raise my pint of Guiness in a toast to you and Saol fada chugat!

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Am I Really The Only Person Asking the Question: Where Have The Occupy Boston Protesters Been Peeing for the Past Two Months?

It’s like that children’s book, Everyone Poops. Seriously, it’s a natural thing. So where have these people been going?

Okay, so let me preface that this post is NOT one of an activist agenda. I am not here to sway anyone or vote “yea” or “nay” on the issue at hand. In fact, if you try to talk to me about “hot button” public and private sector issues my eyes will most likely glaze over and I will start asking for peanut M&Ms. I am here to talk about making your voice heard, from the comforts of your own home, with a toilette.

I am clearly an old fart before my time. While watching the Occupy happenings across the country (and world for that matter), the only things occupying my mind were: “Where do these people shower?” “God, it looks cold out there, they must be staying warm from the smoke coming out of that tent. Oh wait, that’s not from a campfire, nevermind.” And, “Are those trombone players out there? Do they have a band now?”

I am not here to rain on anyone’s parade. It is quite admirable to take a stand for one’s beliefs, or shake up the system (safely of course) to make positive changes in society. [Side bar – I would also like to commend our police men and women who really did an admirable job trying to keep things as non-violent at possible. Unfortunately, both sides had negative incidents such as the carting off of protesters and vinegar thrown in the faces of officers – that one really gets me!]. It just seems like there is a more comfortable way to get one’s message out.

As an objective observer from home, I noticed a common demographic among the population of the protesters. They were all mainly:

1)      Twenty-somethings – Aside from a few older folks who looked like they accidentally stumbled into the campsite and stumbled out with a sweet hemp braid – they were all pretty young. Young people can take the elements. They haven’t realized yet that they just can’t survive without warmth, running water, and TiVo.

2)      Caucasian – Not sure what this has to do with anything, just an observation – at least with the Occupy Boston movement.

3)      When evicted from Dewey Square, these folks sent a message by making a small tent crowd surf, a la indie rock concert style.

Based on the above observations, it seems that police departments could have saved themselves some trouble of trying to forcefully remove these picketers. All they had to say was, “Hey, you guys need to vamoose. If you promise to leave, we promise a concert by Phish and free hacky sacks for all!” Done. No horrible back and forth between the movement and the men and women in blue. The physical pains on both sides may have been avoided.

So what now?

Well, I’m not sure if anything came of this sit-in. It seems that so much frost-bite and unnecessary sod (to the tax payers of Boston somewhere in the department of a million $$ to clean up after the movement) could have been avoided.  Because I am 99% sure (see what I did there?) the individuals the movement were trying to target were slipping out the back door, hopping into their leather interior seat-heated cars, and driving home while texting and eating chicken wings. They could have cared less.

Once again, there has to be an easier way.

Below are some suggestions:

1)      Mormons and Girl Scouts Do It Better – Go door to door Jehovah Witness-style. Camp out in front of your local grocer. Obtain signatures to get a bill going. When we lived in Texas, petitions were going around so that the people could vote on the sale of beer and wine at local grocery stores. Guess what? They got enough signatures, got it into the next election, and it passed. This has happened numerous times with other issues; however, I can only remember the one that allowed me to buy Pinot Noir at my Albertson’s.

2)      Get ‘em where it hurts – in the Paper! – The government seems to be like one big paper party. I often wonder if our officials throw it up into the air and roll around in it Indecent Proposal style. Our nation has been conditioned to respond to the written word. If I may be so bold as to quote Public Enemy here, “When I get mad, I put it down on a pad.” Might I suggest doing the same.

3)      Saddle up to drunk Uncle Larry at the next family Birthday/Bah Mitzvah/Thanksgiving – Chances are you know somebody, who knows somebody, who works with somebody who has a crazy Uncle Larry who works in government. Hand him some egg nog and your petition and see it off to the races…er…congressmen/women or voting booths.

Let me reiterate here, I am not here to start a movement. I am not a supporter of the Occupy Movement, but I respect their passion and why they feel things need to change. I am also somewhat of a political dullard.

With that said, if individuals feel things need to change in their communities, government, society, then so be it. But let’s do it peacefully and gently. That officer you’re spitting at, he is somebody’s father, brother, and son. That kid you need to handcuff, he’s someone’s son too.

So go ahead, stand up for what you believe in. And maybe grab a shower too.

P.S. – I’d like to give a shout out to my husband on this one. He often goes around the house spouting Public Enemy lyrics…maybe too often.

Am I Really Spending $$ on Another Freaking Christmas Gift/Event/Charity?

Stop the Madness!!! For those of you who know Susan Powter, you know what I am talking about. For those of you who don’t, well, now you know my age.

My husband and I have coined Christmas 2011 the, “Open up your wallet and dump it out,” holiday. Joke’s on your Papa Noel, there ain’t nothing in that wallet but some change and growing debt. Yes, this year is a jolly plastic celebration.

What the hell man? Where did these organizations come from? Where were you people in June when we actually HAD money? I am not a Grinch, quite the opposite. I am dying to help everyone out, but the reality of the situation is that it is just not humanly possible. I have given time and money where I can, but somehow, it just doesn’t seem like enough. What about the Help the Orphaned Chimps Foundation (it is real!!), don’t they need some love too?

It doesn’t matter what your religious beliefs are, it seems like every year more hands are sticking out asking for donations (I think even atheists will agree that things are getting out of control). I used to have my go-to charities that I could budget for; along with all the gifts for families, friends, teachers, neighbors, mailperson, and the “just in case I get invited to a party” goody bag. And I would love doing all of these things. What a humbling and exhilarating feeling knowing that you did your part and helped out. Involving your child in the donating process is such a great thing as well.

So why do I feel like crap?

One word – Guilt.

I was born Catholic, so basically I am hard-wired to feel guilty about any and everything. Even if I did not do anything wrong.

So when I say “no thank you” to a salesperson when they ask if I want to buy a book for a child and they give me that “heartless bitch” look, it blows. I drag my can out of the store feeling like a horrible person whom the townspeople should stone in the parking lot.

“I’m sorry!” I want to yell, “But my credit card was cowering in fear because it is about $20 away from its limit and I still have to buy the damn ingredients for the Kindergarten’s gingerbread house kits!”

What to do? Should charities stop asking for help during the holidays? Absolutely not! People (and monkeys) need help, and we should help them (but maybe some organizations can ask for money in May, not too much going on in May!).

What about us? How do we make peace with not being able to help every single living and non-living thing? I don’t know if we ever do. But maybe we can be easier on ourselves. Volunteer when we can; donate money when we have it (or sock some away so we can donate); and be courteous to all stressed out shoppers.

So this season, I am going to chill-ax with my family and deliver some Christmas cheer to the best of my abilities.

Because that cheer is probably going down the toilette when January hits with a massive financial hangover!

Happy Holidays!

Am I Really This Excited About the Starbucks Holiday Cups?

Jing jing a ling, ring ding a ding….ooooooooh yeaaaaaaaaa…so those sweet little red cups with the winter motif are back and in effect at Starbucks. So are those delightful flavors of peppermint mocha and gingerbread latte. They have added a few new ones to their repertoire of dinks, such as salted caramel mocha and caramel crème brule.

But I am not here to discuss the delightful diabetic shock I enter when I suck down these drinks. I am here to talk about the cups.

Those red cylinder vats magically transform any drink into a libation. I’m serious; I would drink an old shoe if it came in that cup.

I make coffee everyday in my home. At night I scoop aromatic grounds into the filter so that I can wake to freshly brewed coffee.

Then I drive through Starbucks later that day.

Why? Why? Why does coffee taste better when it comes in a festive cup?

I’ll tell you why – because it is a symbol of the excitement that fills the air during the holidays. That and someone else is making it. But mainly the spirit of the season.

Even Dunkin Donuts has gotten hip to the jive and created a winter wonderland on their Styrofoam cups. They know suckers like me will gladly drink out of anything that remotely looks seasonal.

But I don’t care, I will keep doing it because it makes me happy. Isn’t that what this season is about, making people happy? And if you’re happy, then you are able to make others happy.

So I say, if a jolly old coffee drink is what it takes to get you through Christmas shopping at Toys R Us so that you don’t bitch slap the check out lady who won’t accept your coupon (“C’mon – it only expired yesterday!”), so be it!

And to all a good night!!!!