Category Archives: Irish

Seeing the whole of the moon – U2 at MetLife

Note the vintage baseball jersey.

I’ve seen U2 a half dozen times, but I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited for a show as I was last Wednesday. Every single thing aligned to make for a perfect night – the weather was phenomenal, the company was sublime and our seats exceeded my expectations. The foundation was all in place and Bono and the boys stepped up and provided yet another musical experience to treasure. Unbelievable.

The last U2 show I attended was in Montreal. My middle son and I drove up and had a great night. As had been my previous experiences, the show was fantastic and I was so happy that I had made the effort to get there. While I didn’t imagine it as my last U2 show, it seemed that that was what it would be. After that tour, Bono had a cycling accident that did some damage and then the Edge fell off the stage at the beginning of their next tour. Having no interest in seeing a broken down band, I figured I was done. Until they announced the 30th anniversary tour of the Joshua Tree, that is. Game on.

The Joshua Tree is my favorite all-time album. I fell in love with it during my very first heartbreak. I had gone to the desert to escape and my jet-lagged body walked the streets of Palm Springs with my headphones in place and Walkman in hand. It was magical. I’ve never heard that record without feeling a tide of emotion and the opportunity to see it performed was undeniable. I re-upped my fan club membership and dropped a bunch of money for tickets.

The Lumineers opened and were just fantastic. Our seats were directly across from the stage and the sound was incredible. The temperature was ideal and the tequila buzz was delicious. All systems were go. The message of the night began with a huge display of rolling poems, sobering and inspirational all at once. The huge speakers started to crank out the Waterboy’s The Whole of the Moon and a piece of my mind was blown away. Unimaginable joy.

When the band came out is was, as always for me, like church with the Pope officiating. I feel their music in every part of my physical body. Without question, I am Irish and flawed and optimistic and sad and filled with compassion and hope. There’s no other way to describe it. My favorite songs of the night were the ones I’ve never heard live before – Red Hill Mining Town and One Tree Hill with another nugget, Running to Stand Still, that is my ultimate favorite U2 song. So tasty, so mind blowing.

I don’t know if I’ll ever see them again, but I’ll never forget the times that I have. I hope everyone reading this has been fortunate enough to connect and be moved by music or art or some other undeniable external force. It’s magic. It’s what makes life glorious.

Setlist here.


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Filed under concerts, Events, favorites, friends, Irish, Music, road trips, Summer, Uncategorized

New St. Patrick’s Day parade rules

I couldn’t be happier about the new rules announced this morning regarding Albany’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. In years past this event has been an absolute sh*t show and I haven’t felt comfortable taking my kids there in many years. If you know me, you know I’m all about having fun and a couple of drinks, but this annual event has repeatedly proven that far too many people have no capacity for moderation – or alcohol.

I think the comments posted under the TU article are representative of a smallminded percent of the population, but maybe I’m wrong. What do you think?  How do you feel about these new policies?  The response I would provide to the commenters is below.

I assume you all live in the city of Albany, right? You probably own property and pay taxes, too, don’t you? And vote, also. Maybe you have children you would like to bring to the parade but haven’t in years past because of the drunken and disorderly crowd in attendance? Well, I meet all of the preceding criteria and I am thrilled by the crackdown on public intoxication and the promised enforcement of appropriate public behavior. I love this mayor – she represents me and thousands of Albany citizens who want our city to be a place for families and residents who understand and appreciate that quality of life for citizens is an important factor in the place we have chosen to call home.  

I’m seriously considering going to the parade this year, my youngest child has never been and I’d like for him to experience festivities relating to his heritage.  The weather forecast isn’t great, but as long as it is only the sky pissing on me, I think we might just get there.  Erin Go Bragh!

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Filed under Albany, drinking, Events, family, Irish, Local, politics

Giving up

You may not know this, but both of my parents came from large Catholic families.  Is that redundant?  I actually have an aunt and two deceased great aunts, who became nuns, for real.  I grew up hearing about how my mother’s family went to morning mass every day, staying for a marathon mass on Sundays.  It was kind of our family’s version of “I walked to school, uphill and in the snow…”  You get it.

Believe it or not, my mother somehow managed to have her two illegitimate children baptized in the mid-60s.  I can’t imagine that was an easy task.  Growing up, my brother and I made Holy Communion, but did not, other than on Christmas Eve, attend mass with our mother.  She was done.  I remember the challenge of being still and quiet for an hour, while outside the stained glass window summer’s blue sky beckoned.  It was harder than those wooden pews.  As I grew older, I developed more of an appreciation for the ritual – the readings, the up, down, kneel, the music and faces which grew familiar over the years.  And the sooty smoke wafting from those brass orbs dangling from the altar boys’ hands?  I loved it

Eventually, though, I really started listening to gospel, to the word, and some of what I heard I didn’t like.  I was in disagreement about gays and euthanasia and punishment for mistakes made.  I pictured a more benevolent god, sort of a cross between George Burns and John Denver.  I met with a priest at the Cathedral downtown and we talked and I explained my inability to own only part of my religion.  If I couldn’t believe in the whole thing, how could I practice?  Wasn’t it wrong to turn a blind eye to the tenets I found it impossible to embrace?  He echoed what I had been previously told by my Uncle Eamon, “Take what you believe in and leave off the rest.”  I walked away, sad, but committed to no longer feeling partially invested.  I left all of it.

On days, though, like today, I miss it.  The crossed ashes on my forehead, the quiet of the altar and the echo of feet on the stone floors, the honor of sacrifice… I think I’m going to mark Lent this year by exploring churches, be they literal or figurative.  A cathedral, a ski slope, a path through the woods, can’t they all be considered churches?  I’m hoping to hit each of those places within the next 40 days.  If you see me at any of those places, be sure to say hello.  Just don’t ask me join you for Burger Night at the Capital City Gastropub.  I gave up meat.

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Filed under aging, family, Germany, girlhood, holidays, Irish, musings

Things you may not know about Ireland

I’m not here to talk to you about the likelihood of spotting a leprechaun or the intense greenness of the countryside. No, I’m here to tell you about some things you may not know. For instance, are you familiar with the phrase “going out for a bit of craic?” True confession: the first time I was in Ireland and my cousin suggested we partake in some craic, I was worried. Come to find out that “craic” is a term for fun. This craic isn’t whack – promise.

Another thing that I found confusing are the road signs, particularly one that says “Ramps.” This word refers to neither the entrance or exit to a motorway or those spring onions for which everyone goes crazy. Instead “Ramps” essentially mean speed bumps in the road. You’re welcome.

Most Americans have figured out that chips are fries and crisps are chips, but how about aubergines? Familiar? Well, aubergines are eggplants and they seem to be pretty popular, especially in Asian cuisine and vegetarian dishes. It is a much more elegant word for those purple orbs, don’t you think?

Speaking of colors, it is possible to get a lovely tan in Ireland if you happen to visit during the best summer in years. As a matter of fact, if you neglect to put sunscreen on your feet you just might end up with sunburn on your feet. At least that’s what a leprechaun once told me.



Filed under Ireland, Irish, Observations, travel, Uncategorized, vacation


Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound?  Nope.  More powerful than a locomotive?  Sometimes.  Proficient at getting a healthy, fast dinner on the table in a reasonable amount of time?  Now you’re talking!  How about you?  What’s your superpower?

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Filed under Cooking, Dinner, favorites, Irish, Moms@Work, Recipes

St. Patrick’s Day ~ 2013

On the weeks when I work two double shifts, I struggle to get my miles in.  In addition to being somewhat obsessive about exercise, I am also mistress of the rationalization so, I console myself on these alternating weeks with the fact that I get some physical activity running up and down the stairs at the Wine Bar.  Guilt assuaged.

I had planned to take a run yesterday, but between a super late Friday night, an array of errands and a soccer game (we won), I just knew I didn’t have it in me.  Sunday was essentially looking wide-open and I decided I’d experience that long run which had become almost mythical in my mind – my house to Delaware to Whitehall to New Scotland to Slingerlands and the bypass, to Kenwood and back to Delaware and then home.  I finally had the time and today seemed the ideal day to give it a go.

After a relaxing morning, I put myself in the mindset that my run was a St. Patrick’s Day treat akin to soda bread and a pot of tea from Bewley’s.  I particularly appreciated that any residual March 18 discomfort would be the result of muscle exertion rather than beer over indulgence.  My weather app kept promising clouds, but luckily they never materialized.  I think the somewhat aggressive wind may have kept those moving right along in the blue sky.

John McMenamin

John McMenamin

What kept me moving over the 9.5+ miles?  Good music, thoughts of my late Uncle John McMenamin, a man who loved a good brisk walk along the Irish Sea, and my sense that the sun was in complete approval of my efforts.  I allowed myself to move at a pace that I could keep moving at and I am absolutely content with my outing.  If Uncle John and I were able to sit down together with a couple of bowls of his wife Bridie’s creamy vegetable soup, I’d say today was just about an ideal St. Patrick’s Day.  I hope yours was equally enjoyable.

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Filed under Exercise, family, holidays, Irish, running, sunday

Blessed to be Irish

image from
A gorgeous St. Patrick’s Day seems the perfect time to share some things which I feel very fortunate to have in my life.  I seriously could probably list one for each of those shamrocks in the picture to the right, but I wouldn’t want to boast.  What I do want to do, though, is encourage you to take a moment, in a world filled with challenges and tragedies, to consider some of the wonderful aspects of your own lives.  A sunny day like today, when the wearing o’ the green heralds nature’s shades of green, which are merely around the corner, seems the perfect time to acknowledge life’s blessings.
  • I am incredibly appreciative of my physical self – despite surgeries and setbacks, I am amazingly strong and (fairly) consistently healthy
  • I have 3 sons who are fortunate enough to have been  born into a family which accepts and loves them and hopes to nurture and enjoy them for many years to come.  As their mom, this makes me incredibly happy.
  • I have 2 jobs which give me satisfaction and a decent enough living and access to healthcare.
  • I have the opportunity to travel – locally, out of state, out of the country…
  • I absolutely have the best friends in the world – ’nuff said.
  • I have a partner in childrearing who consistently shares the same priorities for our children.
  • I have a sibling who has had my back my entire life.
  • I know that for every door which closes, another opens.
  • I am positive that the future holds promise and happiness.
  • I believe that I truly live a blessed life, full of love, laughter and joy.

How about you?  On a spectacular day like today, would you share some of your blessings, too?

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Filed under family, holidays, Irish, musings