Thursday, June 17, 2010

I ♥ Festivals and Irish ♫

Last weekend, Matt and I picked up my Aunt S & my Mom to head on out to Worcester for the Irish Music Festival. We found out about it because my Aunt E & Uncle D were going, and so we met up with them there. What a great day!

Now I know what you people who grew up in Massachusetts with a decent lay of the land are probably thinking -- there’s that big an Irish population in Worcester that it could warrant an entire festival? Well judging from the fact that the tent was packed I’d have to say, yeah, there is.

It was down pouring which probably kept a few hundred away but we didn’t care, there was a tent overhead, Guinness to be imbibed (Smithwick’s for me though, no Guinness touches this Lass’ tongue) and incredible music to enjoy!

We got there in time to catch the end of The Granitemen but unfortunately didn’t really get to listen as we were paying our admission, getting beer, food and a seat. I’ll have to make a point to track them down someday. They didn’t just have any food at the festival either, and no, there was no boiled dinner (much to my chagrin, although there was no vinegar so how could I have eaten cabbage anyway?). They had Irish potato wedges, not French fries, corned beef and ‘kraut, not a Reuben…you get the idea.

During the break we checked out the vendors and my Aunt E bought a gorgeous shawl with a brooch, Aunt S picked up a crest pin from County Waterford, where part of our clan originated from. (I’m a mutt, from 3 different and very distinct counties on the west coast but that’s a story for another day).

Cunla Dear were excellent musicians and took the stage next; a group made up of three guys and a gal. After they were finished, and from what I read during just about every other break as well, a troupe of Irish step dancers from The McInerney School, ranging in age from preschool up through teens, took the stage. They were insane!

I have actually been to see Riverdance, laugh if you like but that is some intense energy those mofos exert every night. These girls were really, really amazing, a couple in particular really had the gift for the dance steps and they were a lot of fun to watch.

Who we were all really excited to see, was Solas. My Mom expressed her crush on one of the members and I could see why, these people sure are talented. It was my first time seeing them live and was quite impressed. Sadly their fiddler had a medical issue and couldn’t be there but there was accordion, flute, other flue-like instruments, guitar and of course the voice. In Irish music sometimes the voice is the most prominent instrument of all.

They were great and then we stayed to hear a couple songs by the headliner, Makem & Spain, but we were all a little cold with soaked feet by this point and decided to hit the road during a break in the rain. I will also have to make a point to catch them again, they were really quite good.

Despite the weather…actually, check that. Because of the weather, it truly was an Irish day -- mid 60’s, humid and raining. All the better for beer drinking and sing-alongs!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Why Do We Celebrate Things That Haven’t Happened Yet?

I’m all for parties. Attending one can be a fun and relaxing time where everyone comes together to laugh and smile, sometimes exchange gifts, eat, drink and do all the be merry crap that makes it a celebration. The thing I can not wrap my head around is having a party to celebrate something that hasn’t happened yet.

Specifically, I’m talking about a baby shower.

One of my closest friends is having one today and although I have my personal beliefs and whatnot, I do plan to go. But…and this is a huge but…I will go only because I love her to death and we have been friends for twenty some odd years. Otherwise, inviting me to one of these things is probably a useless waste of a stamp.

I have been to a grand total of three baby showers that I can readily recall -- my sister in law’s (with the twins, not her youngest), my best friend’s, and the same friend who is having one today (14-ish years ago with her first born). I have been invited to more than that but there is something inside my brain that can not wrap around the concept.

Call it superstition or whatever but it just seems wrong to celebrate something that isn’t even physically there.

It is the all too scary, I can’t even really say it out loud, “what if” factor.

Never would I wish a child to be, mother, father, (whoever) harm but the baby isn’t actually here yet so how can I go out and buy loads of stuff for it? Not to mention, Doctors have been known to be wrong. What if they say it’s a girl but, oops…suddenly a little bundle of baby boy is wearing a pink dress home from the hospital? Sure there are worse tragedies than that, and that is the very reason I have a tough time with the concept.

I’m all for the biggest ever crowd of friends and family showing up at the hospital the day the child is actually born with a slew of stuff -- diapers, car seats, playpens, clothes, etc. -- but why do we pile into a room a month or two before there is a real being and ogle over a bunch of stuff that we end up handing off to a worn out, tired, pregnant woman who then just has to find a place in her home to organize it all?

So when I do go to these things I never, ever, buy baby things. Instead I focus on mom to be who, at 8 months pregnant, could probably really use a break. Especially when she’s already got a couple kids at home who need her attention and effort. Since I haven’t gone to the shower yet & I don’t know if my friend reads my blog I won’t reveal what her gift is but suffice to say there is no way she could use it for baby stuff.

In about 20 days she will likely be giving birth, then and only then, I will spoil this baby rotten, but until then, all the spoiling rotten goes right toward my friend.