Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Erin Go Bragh!

It's St. Patrick's Day, and of course I am cooking corned beef and cabbage. My husband thinks it's a bit crazy because A) I have little Irish blood, and B) he's pretty sure I'm the only one who will be eating cabbage. The truth is I do have a wee bit of Irish mixed in with the half of me that is Euro-mutt, but the bigger reason I'm filling our still new house with the smell of cooked cabbage is because it's a family tradition. And when your family is far away those old traditions seem even more important.

I like to tell people I'm mostly Irish by marriage - my mom's, actually. Twenty-five years ago she married an Irish Catholic widower with six children bring us to a blended family of eight kids (take that, Brady Bunch!) His parents were Irish as were his first wife's, making the McGarry Clan of pure Irish blood. Being both Irish and Catholic was a big thing in our house and so my mother, daughter of Assyrian immigrants, adopted the culture. She started making Irish Soda bread and learned all the words to a virtual library of rebel songs. There was an embroidery of the Irish blessing framed on the wall as well as a Bodhran, Makem & Clancy on the stereo, and Shamrocks in pots everywhere you turned. At weddings and wakes my sister Anne would get out her guitar and lead us in song. (My personal favorite growing up was "Seven Old Ladies Locked in the Lavatory".) Anne was, in fact, married by Father Costigan, a dear family friend who was not quite fresh off the boat from Ireland but had an accent so think sometimes it was hard for me to understand him (especially after a pint).

On St. Patrick's Day there would be a party at our house with all the traditional foods. I remember more than one year when of few of the adults had downed a little too much whiskey or had one to many Mickey's or Guinness and had to be driven home. Sometime during that week, my parents would take a trip down to the Old Shillelagh in downtown Detroit. My mom would sing those old rebel songs she loves and bang on the table while her truly Irish husband played the spoons. Years later I heard a rumor that the
Old Shillelagh was a place where someone sympathetic with "the cause" could make a donation.

It's hard to live with that for more than half your life and not have your blood run a little green.

I'm grateful for my big Irish family and for them letting us share in their traditions without judgment. They have loved me as one of their own and always been there when I needed them. Celebrating St. Patrick's Day is not only a good excuse to raise a pint, but honors my family as well.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fall (Finally)

The weather here in CO has been beautiful, but honestly the Indian Summer has hung on a little too long for my taste. It's late October and we finally are having our first hard freeze and threat of overnight snow.

Summers are great here because there as so many things to do, but I am definitely more of a winter girl. I love holing up in the house on snowy day, watching football and making big batches of soup. I'm also big on cold weather clothing, and once the snow flies my neck goes under the cover of a turtle neck for the duration.

So this morning I pulled out a couple of old faves I'm happy to finally be able to wear - my thick knit black cotton cable t-neck from J Crew, and black suede Ugg clogs:

I Like:

Kohala by Ugg at Zappos.comKohala
by UggZappos.com - Powered by Service

Zappos.com still has these Uggs available, and they are definitely worth the dough. Comfy and warm, they also fit my casual style. I highly recommend them!