Wednesday, March 22, 2017

TEA CUP DISASTERS

Listen, styrofoam cup manufacturers, life is tough enough.

Getting up in the morning can be torturous.  Sometimes I stumble around blindly until I have tea, and sometimes I have my cup of tea at a more civilized hour, like halfway through my work day.  Either way, I don't want to fight with my tea cup.  Truly, I have enough issues.

So, explain to me why the covers for your cups end up chewing into the rims and not fitting?  Do you know what happens when the cover of the tea cup doesn't fit? 

A damn tea mess -- that's what happens.

Please, please, please manufacture the tea cups and covers so that they actually match each other.  Now, I know that some of you actually do this correctly because the brands I buy at home have covers that actually fit.  But the lower end ones at the hotel continental breakfasts?  The cups that people presumably want to and need to take on the road with them? 

Yeah, these ones suck.

In conclusion, just because the white styrofoam cups are cheap to make doesn't mean the covers should be ill-fitting pieces of crap.  I need my clothes, and I need my clothes to be tea-free.  Life is tough enough without wearing my tea to work.  Most of all, though, I NEED MY TEA AND I NEED IT TO STAY INSIDE THE CUP.

Thank you, cup manufacturers.  Now, get right on this.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

POEMS FOR SPRING

Spring has sprung
But I can't see
Roses, violets,
Nor pansies.
"Why?" you ask.
This much I know -
Spring is buried
'Neath the snow.

Suppose there's a season called spring.
The flowers and birds it doth bring.
But here north of Boston,
We get such a frostin'
Our fingers to nature we fling.

How much snow would the snowchuck chuck
If a snowchuck would chuck snow?
It would chuck much snow as a snowchuck go,
If a snowchuck would chuck snow.

Monday, March 20, 2017

MARCH OR NOT, I HATE YOU


So not fair.
Two weeks ago - a taste of Spring.
I almost put my patio table out to enjoy a book and some fresh air.
The trees started to bud.
I know this because my Spring allergies kicked into gear.
Then . . . snow.
Ice.
Biting winds.
Frozen toes.
Frozen fingers.
Frozen windshields.
It is March, yes;
This I know.
But, seriously.
Do not makes the grass grow, plants appear, and bugs fly around.
Do not make the sun so warm we take off our shoes.
Do not make us take off coats and gloves for days on end.
No, do not do these things if you are not serious.
Damn you.
It's.
Cold.
I.
Hate.
You.
Winter.
You gave us Spring before you were through with us.
March or not.
I hate you.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

TO NORTH CAROLINA AND BEYOND

If you're reading this and there hasn't been news of some major air disaster, there's a good chance I'm in North Carolina right now.  (If there has been an air disaster, maybe parts of me are all over parts of North Carolina.)

According to the NC weather, the low will be in the 30's, and the high will be in the mid-sixties.  This is good.  It's just like a regular spring or fall day back home in New England when the heat comes on in the morning, and the air conditioner gets fired up in the afternoon.

Here's what I do wish, though.  I wish I could stay longer.  As I type this blog, I haven't even left Boston yet.  I love Boston, I truly do.  I don't think anywhere else in the world could possibly tolerate my foul mouth, my smart-ass attitude, nor my sarcasm. 

I love the people down South, but it's tough for me to be so happy and laid back for sustained amounts of time.  I'm jealous of all-y'all for your hospitable ways, though.  And, man, I do love your weather.

Alas, this trip is a quick hit-and-run.  I've used up my personal days at work already, and I can only make this a weekend flight down and back.  As I write this, I hear I'll be returning to Boston in snow conditions -- not as bad as what we've had so far this March, but still.  It will be a rotten surprise when I drive my car out of the airport lot if the forecasters have their way.

But, then again, this is why I really do belong in Boston.  Much as I love the warmer weather, we New Englanders do so enjoy bitching about the foul weather conditions.  There's nothing more satisfying than telling semi-tall tales about surviving the howling winds and sub-zero temperatures, as if braving a Nor'easter on the streets of the city is as daunting as trying not to get blown off the Mount Washington Observatory patio with hurricane force gusts and windchills of negative a bazillion degrees.

North Carolina, as of this blog writing, I'm not even there yet, and I miss you already knowing I'll have to leave and come back.  Be thankful, though.  I'm not sure my smart mouth can control itself for longer than a couple of days, anyway.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

WEARING OF THE GREEN AND ORANGE

In keeping with the St. Patrick's Weekend theme ---

I have Irish lineage on both sides of my family, but it's definitely dominant on my mother's side.  Her father, full-blooded Irish, was supposedly first-generation Irish American, but we never knew a whole lot about him.  As a matter of fact, we knew nothing of his life before my grandmother. My grandmother was full-blooded Scot and supposedly first-generation Scottish-American.  (I really should verify this information via Ancestry.com, but it's one of those things for which I never have time.  I should, though.)

Anyone who knows anything about life in the early 1900s and Irish-Scottish relationships can sympathize with my grandparents' plight.  We never even knew my grandfather had siblings until he died and some of them came to his wake and funeral.  Even stranger, we didn't know until two years ago that my grandfather changed his Irish last name and started spelling it with two r's rather than the familial one r --  Kerigan to Kerrigan.

Every year on St. Patrick's Day, I'd shy away from celebrating.  My family was not Irish Catholic; we were loosely Protestant.  My grandmother the Scot had been born into a Christian Scientist family.  Sometimes I'd wear something orange under my St. Pat's clothing to feel camaraderie with my Irish Protestant roots.  The minority in Ireland, I exercised my longstanding connection to William of Orange, but I'd do so discreetly so as not to offend my Irish Catholic friends (of which I have many).

A few years before mysteriously hearing from my grandfather's family, I suspected that the rift between him and his kin stemmed from more than my grandmother being Scottish and also being a Christian Scientist.  I started to suspect that perhaps my grandfather had been Irish Catholic, after all.  My grandfather's family unknowingly confirmed this when they told me that my grandfather's parents and some of his siblings were buried at a Catholic cemetery in western Massachusetts.

Hmmmmm.  Seems I might be Irish Catholic, after all.  Who knew?  Well, someone in the family knew, but I certainly didn't.  I guess this means I don't have to feel out-of-place wearing green on St. Patrick's Day (and weekend) after all. 

I kind of wish I'd known about this decades ago.  I kind of wish I'd known a lot more about my grandfather and his family decades ago.  I guess I'll have to make time to get onto Ancestry.com.  No matter.  It's really not important, this meshing of cultures and religions.  It's why my father's side, the Pilgrims in the family, came over here in the first place.  There also some Welsh connections thrown in to the mix, and somehow there's a connection to the court of Queen Elizabeth I (probably at the end of a burning stake, if I know my relatives).

Who knows?  Maybe this is just the tip of the pot of gold.  So, for this weekend, I'll trade in my orange for my green.  If my grandparents could find a way to get along, I suppose I can bring together William of Orange and St. Patrick, whether it's historically correct or not. 



Friday, March 17, 2017

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY

Happy St. Patrick's Day, also known as Bostonians Get Shit-Faced Day. 

I'll be missing the Irish drummers and bagpipers stopping by the local Irish watering hole on their way out of Southie after the parade.  It's okay, though,  I've missed them before.  (Besides, I have a lovely young lady's first birthday to attend, and that's way better than post-parade frivolity.)

In the meantime, though, may the weather cooperate.  I hear it's going to snow in Boston on Sunday morning.  We shall see if the Luck of the Irish wins out or not.  Remember, there be nothin' under the kilts, lads and lassies.  It could make for a fun parade if the wind shifts.

Tomorrow, I'll tell a story about my crazy Irish roots, which turn out to be even stranger than I thought for my entire life.  Life can be like that sometimes.  It's simply the luck, in this case, of the Irish.

Eirinn go Brach, my friends.  Is ait an mac an saol.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

POST-STORM MUSINGS

Post-storm update --

My neighborhood is lucky.  We have some branches down and a lot of snow and ice, but we keep our electricity, cable, phone, Internet, and heat.  Just a half mile away, those people are not so lucky.  People all over my town and the towns surrounding us have no power and no heat.  Some of them get it back about twenty-four hours later; some are still waiting.

I cannot wrap my head around the pockets of damage, even as I watch two different angles of a tractor trailer jackknifing on the Zakim Bridge on the interstate in Boston.  As I'm driving to work early this morning, there are police cars with blue flashing lights at the top of the hill, about 1/10th of a mile from my house.  The entire stretch of stores uptown (about 2/10ths of a mile from my house) is powerless.  My daughter's street is without power.  Trees are down.  One tree completely blocks the opposite lane on a main roadway between my house and my work.

I'm a bit astounded.  It seems the aftermath is far worse than the storm itself.

When I arrive at work, the entire parking lot is a skating rink.  Everything has frozen solidly over.  By the time I leave work, it is still damn cold outside, but the sheer will of the sun has melted quite a bit of the ice and snow on the parking lot and on the streets.  I wonder when the town will get workers out to cut the snow banks around the street corners.

I'm thinking that the world looks a lot safer this afternoon until I pull up to a light by the prep school.  This is when I see the traffic light.  The light has suffered significantly in the storm.  The top red light is partially covered by snow and ice, the second two lights below it (both yellow and green) are encrusted with slush, ice, and snow.  I have to rely on the driver in front of me because even when the traffic light turns green, it's nearly impossible to see the colors.

I was a little smug yesterday, claiming this storm was nothing out of the ordinary, and that still may well be true.  However, to my neighbors suffering without power and dealing with closed streets and downed power and cable lines, I apologize if it seems I minimized your predicament.