Top 5 Reasons to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Paddy’s Day to all you temporary Irish Catholics using this celebration as a day to drink green beer and pinch people. For generations, March 17 has been set aside to honor St. Patrick who (according to legend) chased all of Ireland’s snakes into the ocean, turned water into green beer, wore clothes made of shamrocks and gave birth to Lucky the Leprechaun of Lucky Charms fame.

lucky charms

(They’re magically delicious.)

The Irish have a long, complicated history that I will not describe here. Because it’s long and complicated. Suffice it to say that St. Patrick’s Day is an Americanized version of the religious feast day in Ireland. But there are still several reasons (at least five) why you should observe this viridescent holiday.

1. Eating Irish food. The only reason to eat corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie or soda bread and potatoes is to remind yourself that Irish food really sucks.

2. Listening to Irish music. Throw in your Chieftains or Dubliners CDs to hear Irish musicians, or enjoy the melodic twang of Celtic music, the indecipherable lyrics of Irish pub songs and the insufferable wailing of banshees the Irish call “music.” Remind yourself that Irish music is an acquired taste.

3. Attending parades. Enjoy a Top o’ The Morning as you stand in dismal, rainy weather, waiting for drunk people dressed like leprechauns to stumble down the street whilst singing Irish folk songs (see #2) and urinating in the gutters. The South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the biggest in the country. I’m not sure what this says about Boston.

dog

(After the parade, this dog was found crying by the side of the road.)

4. Finding the Pot o’ Gold. Every child knows if you catch a leprechaun you get three wishes or his pot of gold coins. What children don’t know is that leprechauns are meaner than s*** and will not hesitate to Dornálaíocht the hell out of you. Why do you think Irish people know how to box so well? I spent an inordinate amount of my childhood trying to track down the little green rascals, hoping to find all that gold so I could buy candy.

5. Enjoying a good pub crawl. After all the food, music, parades, leprechauns and shamrocks, real St. Patrick’s Day observers end up sprawled across several tables in the local bar. After being jolted awake by the noisy patrons, these observers crawl (literally) to the next bar for more drinking: Because no religious holiday is complete without a massive hangover the next day.

Bonus. You get to say “Eejit.” Keep things jolly by calling your friends idiots in the language o’ the holiday. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, ye eejits!

irish

Leave a comment

Filed under Top 5 Lists

It’s National Women’s History Month. Whatever.

How cute of men to designate March as National Women’s History Month. Because we’re not quite patronized enough.

For every Eleanor Roosevelt or Florence Nightingale recognized for their contributions to society, there are millions of smart, creative, wise women who live below the radar, undervalued and oppressed.

Maybe men feel that if they give us a month to honor our accomplishments, we’ll stop nagging about equality. Maybe if they pat our heads and tell us “Good job” they’ll hope we forget that men continue to get higher incomes, are appointed to more leadership roles and earn more respect in society.

And it’s not just equality, have you watched any CSI episode or police procedural? It seems every episode must include one sexual predator with insane issues who delights in torturing women, and TV shows have at least one scene where a woman in a tank top is tied to a chair.

Women’s contributions are crucial to global success. We run companies. We work hard. We teach our children.  In fact, one study showed that people who give birth are 100 percent women. But whether we’re running for President of the United States or working our hearts out to provide for our families, we’re consistently undervalued.

  • Nearly one quarter of girls in the world will be married before their 18th birthday.
  • In UTAH (!) there is an increasingly high rate of sex trafficking.
  • Many women in the workplace are still told to look pretty, act demure and don’t talk too much.
  • A former employer once called a temp agency, requesting someone “hot.”
  • For every $1 men make in the U.S., women make .78.
  • Martha Stewart went to jail for insider trading. MARTHA FREAKING STEWART! Of ALL the Wall Street Executives who completely destroyed our economy in 2007, only ONE man was sent to prison. (Did you read they “Destroyed our Economy?!)
  • When women get upset, men assume we’re hormonal.  Or just bitches.
  • Utah was ranked the second worst state for gender equality.
  • Yesterday, golfer Dustin Johnson won the men’s Cadillac Championship and received $1, 570,000. Yesterday, golfer Inbee Park won the HSBC Women’s Championships, receiving $210,000. (Plus, her name was spelled wrong in the Salt Lake Tribune.)
  • Women earn the majority of college degrees, but only 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOS are women.
  • When NFL player Ray Rice assaulted his wife and was indicted on aggravated assault charges, he wasn’t suspended from the Ravens until MONTHS later, and initially, only for two games. When U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo was drunk and belligerent to police officers when her husband was pulled over for a DUI, she was suspended from the team for 30 days. Immediately. And she wasn’t even arrested.
  • A former employer would routinely and condescendingly ask me, “How’s that little project of yours coming along?” It didn’t matter if I was negotiating world peace or organizing an event. It was always “that little project.”
  • Pictures of Kim Kardashian’s ass still go viral. And we’ve already seen her ass too many times.

Yesterday, the Clinton Foundation introduced #NoCeilings, and #NotThere was used to explain that while we’re making progress in women’s rights, we’re not there yet.

I’m not a man hater, I’m not a feminist, I’m just someone who believes that women are amazing, that men are amazing–and that by working together as equals we could reach an entirely new level of amazing. Strong women don’t need a man’s good opinion to feel validated, but high self-esteem and confidence only get us so far when it comes to equality.

6 Comments

Filed under Daily Life

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

You really can’t go wrong with chocolate chip cookies. I’ve been following this recipe for more than 30 years, and the cookies are magnificent every single time; although they’re not always edible.

Just follow these easy steps for delicious cookies (and a kitchen full of mess) in less than an hour. Although the main characters have changed over the years, cooking with my daughters and grandkids is an absolute joy!

Step 1: Get out the heavy, WWII-era electric mixer. It weighs about 50 pounds, so you might need some help lifting it to the counter. But insist that you DON’T need help and try to get it yourself so it topples over, nearly shattering the tile.

Cookies (4)

Step 2: Position your chair just right. Make sure no one helps you scoot the chair to the counter. Demand that you do it yourself.

Cookies (3)

(“No help! I’ll do it. I’m fine.”)

Step 3: Find the recipe and make sure you have all the ingredients. (Which we didn’t. We were out of chocolate chips, so we improvised with M&Ms. Improvisation is encouraged.) (Make sure to eat lots of M&Ms before dumping the rest in the dough.)

Cookies (6)

Step 4: Add 1 cup of butter, 1 c. brown sugar and 1/2 c. sugar to the mixer. Turn it on, scream and cover your eyes saying, “Too loud!”

As the mixer works, smash 2 eggs hard against the counter until they break and start oozing egg whites. Then put them in the bowl. Sometimes a little shell in the batter doesn’t hurt. (Again, INSIST on breaking the eggs yourself. You don’t need help, dammit!)

Cookies (5)

Step 5: After adding 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. vanilla, carefully measure 2 1/2 c. flour, and then dump half of it on the floor as you pour it into the mixing bowl. This makes for some creative calculations as you try to determine how much actually made it into the dough.

Cookies (7)

(Measured flour: pre-dumping.)

Step 6: Drop BIG spoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet. Use your fingers if necessary, making sure to lick each finger, your hand and the spoon before grabbing more dough. This adds an element of Russian Roulette to your cookie adventure.

Cookies (10)

Step 7: Bake at 350 for 10-11 minutes. As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, shove one in your mouth so the lava-hot melted chocolate can burn the skin off your tongue. Repeat as necessary.

Cookies (11)

(Ringo the Dog walks slowly toward the cookies, hoping for some dropped remnants.)

After using this recipe for decades, I’ve developed a resistance to salmonella, most cold/flu viruses and scurvy. Enjoy!

2 Comments

Filed under Daily Life

Things I’m Giving Up For Lent

February 18 was Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Because I live in a state overrun with Mormons who don’t observe this tradition, most people here just know Lent involves a dirty smudge on the forehead and a big party on Fat Tuesday.

Typically, Lent requires faithful Christians of the Lutheran, Methodist or Catholic persuasion to give up something they love for 40 days until the Easter observation. While some people give up being religious for 40 days, others take it quite seriously and abstain from fattening foods (!), sugar (!!), sex (!!!) and watching funny animal videos on YouTube (!!!!).

Here’s what I’m giving up for Lent:

  • My New Year’s resolutions
  • Watching Better Call Saul (Just kidding. Not giving that up.)
  • Trying to fold a fitted sheet

fitted sheet

  • Attempting to read Moby Dick/War and Peace/Heart of Darkness or anything by an overly revered author who probably didn’t understand what he wrote, either.
  • Beating myself up for not being perfect
  • The idea of wealth
  • Hostess pies (specifically apple, cherry, blackberry and lemon)

hostess(With “real” fruit filling.)

  • Trying not to swear. (I’ve decided to embrace my piratey language and adopt a parrot to sit on my shoulder and imitate my salty vocabulary.)
  • Diet Coke (which I never drink anyway)
  • Patience with road-raged drivers
  • Regular Coke (which is my reward for being alive every day)
  • Trying to understand anything happening in Washington, D.C.
  • Creamed spinach

spinach

(Yep, no problem giving this s*** up.)

  • Listening
  • Becoming a vegetarian
  • Working hard
  • Doing dishes

Just think what an amazing person I will be in 40 days!

1 Comment

Filed under Daily Life

You Might Have Alzheimer’s If . . .

I watched the movie “Still Alice” over the weekend. It stars Julianne Moore as a woman diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and it’s depressing as s***. But, like when I watch most disease-focused movies, I began to wonder if I was afflicted with this degenerative illness.

I’ve been convinced I’ve had ALS (The Theory of Everything), Satanic possession (Carrie), stupidity (any Adam Sandler flick), a lethal airborne virus (Contagion) and the zombie illness (28 Days Later).

old yeller

(Oh, yeah. Don’t forget rabies.)

So I could completely freak out, I visited the Alzheimer’s Association website to get a list of the following warning signs. According to this list, I’m going downhill fast.

Memory Loss: Wasn’t 2009 only two or three years ago? Can someone remind me when it’s my grandchildren’s birthdays? When did milk jump up to $4 a gallon? Who’s the old lady wearing my clothes? I spent HOW much on Amazon?

Challenges problem solving: I’m reading, “The Martian” by Andy Weir where an astronaut is stranding on Mars for a couple of years. He has to a) make food, b) make oxygen, c) make water and d) stay warm. If I were in that situation, I would a) die.

Difficulty completing daily tasks: Sometimes just getting out of bed is a monumental achievement. Finding matching shoes, not eating sugar cookies for breakfast and brushing my teeth with toothpaste (not acne medicine) is exhausting.

Trouble understanding visual images: I watched Nicki Minaj’s video “Anaconda.” Not only was I completely confused, I was also rendered temporarily blind.

spongebob

(Just watch the SpongeBob version. It could save your corneas.)

Problems with speaking or writing: Because my mouth works faster than my brain, I often say the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person. And as for problems writing, you should see me the hour before my newspaper deadline. I’m writing like a Red Bull addicted chipmunk.

Changes in mood: What the #%@* do they mean by that?

Confusion in regards to time/place: My husband woke up the other day and said, “In six weeks it will be our half-year anniversary!” I stared at him blankly for a few minutes before asking, “Anniversary for what?”

Misplacing things: At work last week, I looked all over my desk for a document I was holding in my left hand.

Withdrawal from social activities: I guess they’re assuming there was a time I actually enjoyed participating in social activities–otherwise I’ve had early onset Alzheimer’s since fourth grade.

Poor judgment: So, you’re saving I HAVE had early onset Alzheimer’s since fourth grade.

Just like the bird flu, mad cow disease and malaria, I’m pretty sure I don’t have early onset Alzheimer’s. Yet. At least not that I remember.

Leave a comment

Filed under Daily Life

Things Driving Me Crazy Today

Not only is it National Umbrella Day, it’s also Tuesday, the legislature is in session and it’s time for my list of Things Driving Me Crazy Today!

Today’s list includes:

  •   The Utah Legislature selecting a commemorative firearm each year. This year it’s a freakin’ AR-15 assault rifle. Welcome to the Wild West, @#$@%$s!

ar15

(Why make laws when we can shoot things instead?)

  • Shaving off the first three layers of skin from my shins.
  • People who keep talking about the “incredible cleanse” they’re doing. Shut up, already. Have a donut.
  • Drivers who honk their horns before they run a red light. When did this become a thing?
  • The Entertainment Awards Season. Yes, we know you’re incredibly beautiful, phenomenally talented and fantastically wealthy. Congratulations on giving yourselves an award.

lego

(If the Lego cast wasn’t invited, it’s just not worth watching.)

  • When you’re at the gym and someone near you farts, and you worry that people will think it’s you.
  • Not winning the Idaho lottery.
  • The Utah Legislature making national news for all the wrong reasons.
  • When the pull-tab on a can breaks.
  • Stabbing yourself with a knife while trying to open a can after the pull-tab breaks.
  • Failing a Facebook personality quiz.

personality

Which Country Fits Your Personality?

(I didn’t know “The Black Hole from the Gravity movie” was a country.)

  • People who are still talking about the SuperBowl. Get over it. It’s a game.
  • News agencies that post ISIS execution videos. Why don’t you just write the terrorists a check?
  • Getting the wrong size straw for your drink.
  • My husband’s compulsion to turn off lights.
  • Sitting in the dark.
  • Moisturizer that doesn’t make me look ten years younger.
  • Did I mention the Utah Legislature?

That’s it. Feel free to carry on!

Leave a comment

Filed under Things Driving Me Crazy

Weird February Traditions

I guess people who survive January decide February is a great time to celebrate. But there’s really nothing to celebrate in February, so people just decided to make s*** up.

Take for instance:

Groundhog Day (2-2): Yesterday, all across the country, innocent groundhogs were pulled from their warm burrows with the demand that they forecast the weather for the next six weeks. (Keep in mind, meteorologists can’t correctly predict weather for the next six hours.)

Leave it to Pennsylvania Germans to create an observance that revolves around marmots. Lately, we’ve heard about groundhogs attacking mayors during these “celebrations.” I’m rooting for the groundhogs.

groundhog

(When groundhogs attack.)

Valentine’s Day (2-14): Regular readers of this blog know my impatience with this holiday created by Hallmarkians in the early 1900s. Honoring the people you love should be a year-round event. Not a one-time, box-of-chocolates, 7-Eleven rose bouquet toss off. (See Romance 101 or Romantic Ideas for Valentine’s Day.)

International Condom Day (2-14): This celebration coincides with Valentine’s Day, so just in case that box-of-chocolates, 7-Eleven rose bouquet actually works, use a condom. More than 5 billion condoms are sold every year. But the majority of those remain unused and are stashed in the wallets of hopeful high school students.

international-condom-day

(Not to be confused with National Herpes Awareness Day on Oct. 13.)

Presidents’ Day (2-16): As a government employee, I think we should honor a different president every Monday, with the appropriate day off to think about their contributions to the country. Whoever decided to combine Washington/Lincoln Day should be tried for treason.

Mardi Gras (2-17): Now that everyone has their condoms, let’s celebrate Mardi Gras! On Fat Tuesday, revelers spend hours drinking, dancing, partying and participating in all types of debauchery. This is in preparation for Ash Wednesday (2-18), or the beginning of Lent when people abstain from drinking, partying and participating in all types of debauchery until Easter. Or until their hangover wears off (2-19).

Chinese New Year (2-19): In 2015, the Chinese New Year ushers in the year of the goat/sheep and will be celebrated with fireworks, food and parties. So kind of like New Year’s Eve, only with goats/sheep. People born during this year are supposed to be sweet, kind, calm and easily fleeced.

goat

(This goat is obviously still recovering from Mardi Gras.)

And don’t forget to wear red on National Wear Red Day on Feb. 6 to honor . . . well . . . redness?

5 Comments

Filed under Daily Life