Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Luck O' the Irish

We've always had a lot of fun with St Patrick's Day. Both my husband and I have some Irish in our background. I have just a pinch but Jay has quite a bit from his mom's side of the family.

It's also Jay's birthday today. Jay's mom once told me that having a baby born on St Patrick's Day made the family very happy.

Having some Irish blood and a birthday on St Patrick's Day meant we always celebrated this day. When our kids were little, we created a couple of naughty leprechauns that sneaked into our house and caused problems. The kids would find their underwear hanging all over in their rooms. When they asked for a drink, the water in the glass would be green (thanks to a drop of green food coloring in the bottom of the glass the night before) The leprechauns would steal jewelry, drawn green shamrocks on the kids faces as they slept, make the dog bark and leave little card with funny rhymes in them for the kids to find along with gold candy coins. The leprechauns called themselves Shamrock Pete and Shawn-Shawn the Leprechaun.

Jay's birthday celebration always involves corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, and a minty chocolate cake with minty green cool whip topping.

I just consider it a bit of Luck O' the Irish that I found such a wonderful guy.

Happy Birthday Jay!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Grasshopper, grasshopper, Go to Hell!

Have you heard of St Urho?

My mom's family is Finnish so I grew up hearing about St Urho . Today, on March 16th, we celebrate St Urho saving Finland.

I will share what I've learned, so you too can know this hero of Finnish lore:

The legend of St. Urho originated in Northern Minnesota in the 1950s from tales told by either a man from Virginia or a man from Bemidji. Over the years the legend has grown among North Americans of Finnish descent to the point where St. Urho is known and celebrated across the Unite States.

The legend of St. Urho says he chased the grasshoppers out of ancient Finland, saving the grape crop. He did this by saying: "Heinäsirkka, heinäsirkka, mene täältä hiiteen" (roughly translated: "Grasshopper, grasshopper, go to Hell!"). St Urho's Day is celebrated by wearing the purple clothing.

Obviously, this "holiday" sounds similar to another, better known, ethnic celebration in March. Those Finns, they weren't particularly creative. Oh well. it was a fun day growing up and I still remember each year.

Today, to honor my heritage, I wore a purple shirt (OK - maybe it was periwinkle but I don't have much purple so it had to do) I also made grasshopper drinks, with creme de menthe, chocolate liquor, chocolate syrup and ice cream for dessert.

I felt very connected to my ancestors.


Finnglish words by Sally Karttunento

St. Urho was a Finnish lad,
A blue eyed, blond hair poika,
St. Urho, bashful suomalainen
Ate grapes and kala mojakkaa.

He chased those big green bugs away,
"Heinäsirkka, mene pois!"
He said it loudly, just one time ---
Tose 'hoppers had no choice!

And so the Finns are here right now,
To celebrate Dear Urho,
And sing and dance in temperatures….
.It's always way 'plo zero!

Then in snowbanks deep and rivers iced,
To our saunas we will go, oh!
Cuz' Urho is our hero, now,
As all good Finns must know!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Snow Days

On Tuesday we got what my mom labeled "an old fashioned snow storm."

My mailbox has been under a drift for weeks and it doesn't look like I'll see it for awhile.
At the end of February, we had a snowstorm that covered the mailbox and since then our mailman, Chuck, has been bundling our mail and bringing it to our door every couple of days. Last week, I was finally able to dig to the see the mailbox and opened it up to find mail that had been in it for a week. The mail truck still couldn't pull up to mailbox because there was too much snow but at least we knew that it was still there.

This week's storm, however, was much bigger. We were unable to even get on to our street until Thursday night and had to park and walk in to our house.
I did try to get on to our street on Tuesday after work. I drive a four-wheel drive SUV. When I talked to my husband on the phone he said "there's a drift about four feet high at the entrance to our cul de sac that you can try to go through if you want" Apparently what he really said was "there's a drift about four feet high in our cul de sac that you can try to go through if you want to get stuck closer to the house"
I wasn't even very close to our house when I got stuck.

Plus there were much bigger drifts closer to our house.

This is on the road leading up to our house.

It's interesting that the way the wind blows , the sidewalk leading up to our house and our driveway stay relatively clear but the end of the driveway at the mailbox gets the biggest drift in our neighborhood. This photo is taken from our front door.

My husband cleared a path to the neighbors house so that I could walk in and out. Once I got past the path, I had to trudge through drifts to walk out to my car which I parked on a street.

The black mailbox you see in the photo is the neighbors mailbox. Our mailbox is somewhere just under that light pole.

Today, the sun is out and it is melting. I think I will see my mailbox again by the end of this month.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Windows to the Soul?

Can you see her soul?
It is brave and determined.

Can you see his soul?
It is perservering and unselfish.
Can you see his soul?
It is sensitive and faithful.
Can you see her soul?
It is peaceful and patient.

I believe that you can tell some things about a person by looking into his or her eyes. I have a nephew who has a spark in his eyes that tells me he is a handful. My brother has a twinkle in his eyes that starts right before the smirk makes its way to his mouth so you know when he's teasing you. My son's girlfriend has a spark in her eyes which gets brighter when she looks at my son. I love that.
Do you believe eyes are the windows to the soul?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Crime in my Neighborhood

My next door neighbors found out this week that even our nice neighborhood isn't safe from burglars.

And I'm embarrassed to say that I've raised the criminal element in our neighborhood.

First of all, my neighbors have a fence but it's no deterrent to my home-grown thief. A couple of snow drifts and a little dog with springs for legs are no match for a five foot fence.

On Monday, my neighbor Kathy open up her door to let in her dog, Angel. Little did Kathy know that when Angel was in her backyard, PD spied Angel and jumped over the fence to visit. When Kathy opened her door, my little menace of a dog-burglar bounded in with Angel. PD quickly dashed upstairs, then back down. Kathy was yelling. PD got Kathy to chase him around the table. He thought it was a great game. He ran through the bedroom., then downstairs and back up. Suddenly PD spied a rawhide left on the floor by Angel, seized it and dashed outside.

He was back over the fence and innocently scratching on our patio door within seconds.

He had something in his mouth but we thought it might be a landscaping rock which he's fond of bringing into the house.

Within minutes, my phone rang. It was Kathy. She told us about PD's shenanigans at her house. She was very amused. Then she invited us over for a beer. And that is why I love my neighborhood, in spite of the criminal element that resides within it.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Granny get your gun

Today my mom came to visit. She lives about 90 miles away from my house and drove up for the day for shopping and visiting.

My mom lives in the country, way out in the boondocks. She has a quonset where she parks her car. It's not rodent proof.

Yesterday, a squirrel got into the quonset. As most people know, squirrels are very destructive and are definitely not something you want living in a building. Over the years, I've seen some ingenious ways my mom has come up with to do away with the little critters - but that's another post. This squirrel was going to meet it's demise by pellet gun. Mom took her pellet gun out to the garage and did away with the rascal.

This morning, she was about 60 miles from home on the highway when suddenly, a gun flew off of her car hood and into the median.

My mom had set the pellet gun down on her car hood and left it there the night before after blasting the squirrel. The gun apparently stuck to the hood with a little bit of ice and rode safely on country roads, through a town, past a police officer and down the the highway filled with traffic before it loosened up and flew off.

Naturally, mom had to stop her car, run across the highway to retrieve her gun from the median, open up her trunk and stash it away.

So, if this morning, on your daily commute, you saw a lady, about 60 years old, running down the highway with a gun, there was nothing to be alarmed about. It was my mom and she's perfectly harmless, unless you happen to be a wayward animal in her quonset.