Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Romance Weekly: St. Patrick's Day

Yippee!! I'm finally back on the RWW blog hop! It's the hippest place to be each and every Tuesday. This week, author Betty Bolte challenged your favorite romance writers to spill the beans on how they celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

If you found me by way of  Leslie Hachtel http://lesliehachtelwriter.wordpress.com, welcome!

If you've been following this blog for a while, you know I'm not so great at following basic directions. In fact, once I get my hands on our assigned weekly topic, it often morphs into something altogether . . .  well . . . different.

So here's my short answer to how I celebrate today's most green of holidays.

I DON'T. I usually don't have time to celebrate St. Patrick's Day because . . . well mostly because I'm too lazy to go through all the effort it would take to find cool friends who would invite my Mr. and I to a raging party.

See? Boring, huh? That's not even worth the effort you expended to find my blog. But lucky for you, that's not the whole answer.

I love Ireland. I always have. I'm just not a big fan of Irish food. Or of getting pinched, and I look terrible in green.

Nineteen years ago, I was part of the Riverside Community College Marching Band and Colorguard. Each year, the band took a big trip to some exotic locale. One year, the college-aged kids went to Japan, another year it was France. Over the years, the group has been around the world. When the Band Director, Gary Locke announced that he'd be taking a small group of members to Ireland, I leapt at the chance to go.

Let me tell you, that trip was not cheap. My parents couldn't afford it, so I fundraised as much money as I could (which surely wasn't much). Now, mind you, I was only 19 and lacked any skills I might need to make money. The only thing I had going for me was my grandmother's recipe for Fresh Apple Cake. Each cake took a ton of time to prepare. I sold each cake for $10. Thirty cakes later, I had a whopping $300, but it was enough to convince my parents to pitch in the rest. (To date, I've only made one Apple Cake since that time.)

We landed in Shannon, Ireland and traveled around the southern tip of the country, performing nearly everywhere we went. I distinctly remember performing in in a shopping mall in one city and even had the privilege of marching in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Dublin, Ireland. While I was technically part of the flag team, because I could play the piano, I was asked to play keyboards for one of the songs. At first, it was all so new, so exciting. I'd expected Ireland to look like this:

And it did. Sorta. There were lots of rolling green hills. Only the castles I saw looked nothing like in the pictures. What I saw were less impressive crumbling ruins of castles. Still beautiful, but after the tenth one, they all start to look alike, especially from a fogged up charter bus window.

And the sheep usually had been tagged by their owners with something like spray paint.

And it rained. All. The. Time.

And the food? Let's just say I spent a lot of time eating at McDonalds.

I was young and dumb. I know. Nineteen was way too young for me to actually appreciate the opportunity I'd been given. To make matters worse, I was a lousy photographer at that time, so none of my photos came out.

However I did manage to take something away from my trip (besides a handful of Irish coins and terrible photos). My parents loved me enough to send me on a trip of a lifetime, surrounded by friends who watched out for me, despite any fears or reservations they felt. I may not have truly appreciated the trip then, but my memories I'll always keep with me. Someday, I hope I'll have the strength to watch one of my kids board a plane for an adventure of their own.

And next time I go on an international trip? I'm taking a better camera!

Next up on the blog hop? J.J. Devine http://definingjjdevine.weebly.com/ramblings-of-a-writer

It's a crazy busy week for me. Thursday and Friday I'm off to the CUE Conference (Computer Using Educators) and Saturday, my family will celebrate my father's life. Sometime before then, I'm supposed to write the eulogy, so you may not hear much from me until next week.

In the meantime, I hope you come back and join me on Thursday, when I interview author Ryan Jo Summers.


  1. You're not so boring! I don't really celebrate either but I AM collecting recipes from today's blog hop.

    What a wonderful trip!

  2. You took me back to my own school trip to Spain. Exchange castle ruins to olive groves that seemed to go on for miles and miles. Thanks for sharing your memories!

  3. Loved the summary of your trip to Ireland!