New Day LIII: These Are a Few of my Favorite Things

March 3rd, 2015

Author Website: www.songsandstories.net

Friday’s Top o The Towers Benefit Night is an annual benefit for St. Augustine’s Health Ministries, located on West 78th and Detroit.  Home to many Irish with health issues and nursing home needs, the caring atmosphere there is amazing. For as long as I can remember, my dad goes there every Sunday to wheel auld folks to mass. I worked night shift security there in summers, saving money for college and losing sleep.

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Walking the halls of sleeping people fueled and fleshed out many dreams and a few stories. This was pre Rheumatoid days, and the world was wide awake for me. They are good people there.  New Barleycorn are playing too! (5:30 – 9, LaCentre in Westlake) Silent Auctions, raffles, sideboards and massive fun that pays it forward. The Ohio Irish American News is delighted to be a long time supporter of this event.

The Irish Pub movie presented by INCLE at The Cleveland Museum of Art is Friday as well.  We tried to launch INCLE 2 years ago, but now, the Cleveland Irish Chamber of Commerce idea that is the driving force within Irish Network Cleveland has gotten our group off the ground.  The first event is the presentation of The Irish Pub movie on Friday. All are welcome and the movie is grande.

Irish Pub Film

There is not a more beautiful setting then the Cleveland Museum of Art (11150 East Boulevard, 7pm), I can’t wait to see the movie again, see the museum and see my friends who are joining me to sink heart and soul into developing this amazing Irish resource for our community in and around Cleveland.

This weekend is also the All Irish Boutique, at Rocky River Memorial Hall on Hilliard.  The annual event has a lot of unique, crafted and gorgeous Irish items amongst many vendors, music, food, tea and much more.  I have a ton of Irish decorations and clothes; I’m going to load up on some more!

Saturday at noon is the Building Trades Mass at St. Paul Shrine (4120 Euclid Avenue).  An annual prayers and thank you for the roads paved by the trades in Cleveland, we remember, we pray for angels to guide us forward.

buider mass
Saturday night is the West Side Irish American Club adults Marching Units exhibition dance at the Club.  Marys Lane highlights the music, but the precision and passion of the marchers makes the night so impressive. They have been practicing for months; perfecting for years.  St. Patrick’s Day is so hectic, it is my best chance to see great friends stylin’!

Thanks Katie McCluskey for the pic of the 2015 West Side Irish American Club Ladies Drill Team

Thanks Katie McCluskey for the pic of the 2015 West Side Irish American Club Ladies Drill Team

Then it’s a two-fer: Marys Lane plays the Music Box Supper Club on Sunday – doors open at 5:30 – love the atmosphere there, the food and the values of Mike Miller and the gang at Supper Box.  It’s the last view of frozen Lake Erie as spring will be here before St. Patrick’s Day (I Commandeth Thee!).

West Bank

West Bank

marys_lane0315

Flats Phase II is on full display, and another section of our city vibrates upward.  Toby Keith’s new place is just across the water, surrounded by offices, restaurants and walkways. I worked at Fado’s during the Flats 90s heyday; this will make that look small in comparison.

East Bank comin' along

East Bank comin’ along

Carbon Leaf at The Music Box Supper Club in October

Carbon Leaf at The Music Box Supper Club in October

Tonight I self-inflict my 2nd shot of Orencia.  6-12 months to go! I lose myself in the good stuff, and there is an insanely great amount of it coming this month, to forget about the needle pricks in life.  They last seconds, the immersions in all that is good in our lives last forever. Today I do what I can, so tomorrow I can do what others cannot.

The massive Madness that is the March issue of the Ohio Irish American News hits the streets tomorrow.  Pick up your copy at over 240 locations in Ohio and six surrounding states.  Send or post a great pic of you and the issue, and the winning pic will be reprinted in the April issue, our 100th!

Ali DeCrane Rocks Rugby! Photo by Marianne Mangan www.mariannemangan.com

Ali DeCrane Rocks Rugby! Photo by Marianne Mangan www.mariannemangan.com

***

Comments on the blog itself, Likes and especially comments on Facebook, retweets and Favs on Twitter, all help share my writing and bring me to rippling audiences awareness. Reaching audience is the lifeblood of any writer.  I greatly appreciate any help in that.  Please share if you think I have earned it
I write about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on; Be Happy, it is one way of being wise. Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.

You can read all my blogs at: http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know:

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We are Ready; Are YOU Ready?

March 1st, 2015

Heeeeeeere’s March! And St. Patrick’s Day! and Oh the music, the gatherings and the Craic too!

Ali DeCrane Rocks Rugby! Photo by Marianne Mangan www.mariannemangan.com

Ali DeCrane Rocks Rugby!                                    Photo by Marianne Mangan www.mariannemangan.com

Editor’s Corner

As I sit in the sand in Clearwater writing Editor’s Corner, I’m on vaca physically, but with the mighty March issue of the Ohio Irish American News looming here before me, there is no rest for the wicked. So I sat down with one of my favorite authors, Ann O’Farrell, who by sheer coincidence lives in Clearwater, and whose new book, Roisin’s Song, has just been released. Love these kind of coincidences! Her’s is an amazing story, and it was a story and fun filled evening with a wonderful writer; don’t wait, get Roisin’s Song. The review is on page 17.

w Author Ann O'Farrell

w Author Ann O’Farrell in Clearwater, Fl.

Balance is beauty.  We strive to balance the history with the historic, the past, present and future, within these pages.  You hope you will find much to savor within.

St. Patrick, of course, figures prominently, but the Claddagh, The Forever Seven Signers of the Proclamation, Cleveland Rugby’s new generation, Inner View profile of former Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell, Taking Your First Trip to Ireland, the beautiful 2014 and newly named 2015 Ohio Rose of Tralee, highlighted with 2014 International Rose Maria Walsh joining in the naming of Ohio’s Rose each have a pic and prose. Music and book reviews and enough events to fill five Green Seasons are also the stars of this month.

So looking forward to that, and all the seminal events of the season leading up to the day.  Mass at St. Colman’s is always first, with family and friends all day, it is a hell’s bells pace to relax with the God, saint and humans I love.

I’ll be grateful to be home, to submerge myself with my family and friends in the St. Patrick’s Day activities, and on the flip side, the massive preparation for all the new things coming to the 33rd Annual Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival, July 24-26 at the Berea Fairgrounds. Urgency is easily balanced by all the fun, creative buzz and excitement.  Join us if you are looking for that, and to make an impact, and have a generous spirit for paying forward all our rich Irish culture provides.

Everyone here a the Ohio Irish American News wishing a sincere and grateful congratulations to all the St. Patrick’s Day Honorees; thank you is not enough, but a start; Thank You.

Slan agus beanacht. Le’ Fhe’ile Padraig – Good health and contentment to you all. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Slán,

John

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know;
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***

Milestones:

Congratulations to all the St. Patrick’s Day Honorees! Your service, vision and commitment honor our past and our present, and pay it forward to strengthen our future.

Congratulations to Austin Walkin’ Cane.  His new album, ONE HEART WALKIN’, was nominated for a
 2015 “BEST NEW ARTIST ALBUM” BLUES MUSIC AWARD (formerly a W.C. Handy Award) by the BLUES FOUNDATION.

Austin Walkin Cane

Austin Walkin Cane

Congratulations to Mairin Petrone and Brittny Goodell, who got engaged recently. Mairin is one of my favorite Pittsburgh Irish Fest people, who always welcome me, my books and the Ohio Irish American News with open arms.  We wish you both great health, wealth and happiness.

Congratulations to Sean Lackey of Lackey & CO CPA; Flanagan’s Wake and The Yank, opening Gandalf’s Pub this month at 6757 Center Road in Valley City.  Stop by and check it out.

Edit Corner Congrats Gandalf

New Day LI: Shot 3 The Ice Man Cometh … 100 Blocks of Laughter

March 1st, 2015

Author Website: www.songsandstories.net

The Ice Man Cometh! Can’t tell you how many times (per day) I heard that when I was working summer jobs at Corrigan Ice. Remember Mike Hart? Pat Mulgrew? Corrigan Ice owner Danny Corrigan, who I played ball with, gave me summer jobs stacking and then delivering ice school breaks and summer.

Pat and I got into more trouble in one summer than before or since. We had a blast. Mike drove the big truck, Pat ran with him; I had the rust bucket pick up for small deliveries. Never forget the time the tire blew on 90, just at East 185th Street and the ice shifting, roller coaster slipped slammed slid us to the berm, hearts dropping. Shiver me timbers. Pat and I had a few other shiverous experiences better left in our memories too. Remember any Patsy Gallagher?

We worked 7 days a week, 15-18 hours a day. At the end of most days, we went to the Mulgrews on W 73rd for a pepsi. The drinking age was 18 then, but we still really did drink pepsi, at least right after work.

Pop Frank Mulgrew ruled. And I mean RULED – ever shouting faux insults – teasing, you learned Frank liked you, by the fact that he teased you. Those days well prepared me for the ways that I see daily in our Command Staff now.

I learned more from that disabled former cop and his laughter filled ways than I could ever give credit for. I was young, painfully shy and thrilled to be assimilated into the shenanigans. Humor is a family trademark; Pat and his brothers, Tommy TBone Mulgrew, Kevin, Johnny, and Lil Frank, who is now about 6’ 4” and broadly powerful, and the absolutely hilariousest one of them all, cousin Mike Mulgrew, dismissed my shyness, and bear hugged me into some of the great memories of my life. Aunts and cousins alike accepted me without pause, remark or hesitation. From a six person family with no relatives in the US to being adopted by the Mulgrew Clan and cousins, was disconcerting, and glorious.

Me n TBone

Me n TBone at work

At the icehouse, there was a fella named Puerto Rican Mike, who could exactly imitate Eddie Murphy, and his self titled hilarious album just released at the time, and did, in sudden bursts all day long – my sides always hurt from laughing. Every day I rode my bike from West 150th down Triskett, Berea, Madison, West 58th, to Bridge, to the Ice house on 54th, now long gone. 100 blocks of contemplation. I liked the bike ride there early on quiet summer mornings, hated it home after a long day, and dodging traffic – I succeeded in dodging the cars every single day, but one.

No matter how much clothes you lugged with you to the ice house, you froze your ass off Long days stacking 10 and 25 lb bags, climbing into the 2 story ice bin that portioned out ice cubes into the bags to shovel out the jams …. I wonder if that is where RA first seeped into my bones.

Off I went to the U of Dayton. Pat came up to visit “me”, but was actually visiting a new girlfriend. Undercover. 7am on Saturday morning, Big Frank calls and booms out, “Let me speak to my son.”
Ummm, uh, ummm, he’s playing basketball Mr Mulgrew, I’ll tell him to call you back when he comes back.
“Its 7am O’Brien, WHERE IS MY SON?”

I’ll go get him and have him call you, I said as I stumbled off the top bunk. I think I heard him laughing as he hung up.

***
Comments on the blog itself, Likes and especially comments on Facebook, retweets and Favs on Twitter, all help share my writing and bring me to rippling audiences awareness. Reaching audience is the lifeblood of any writer. I greatly appreciate any help in that. Please share if you think I have earned it

I write about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on; Be Happy, it is one way of being wise. Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.

             You can read all my blogs at: http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know:

O’Bent Enterprises includes:
Ohio Irish American News
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Songs & Stories, my author web and SM sites
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New Day L: Shot 3: Casper Come Home

February 28th, 2015
Author Website: www.songsandstories.net

www.songsandstories.net

New Day L; Shot 3: Casper Come Home

When I just came out of college, I managed a few Bob Evans Restaurants.  I had majored in Business Mgt and Communications at U of Dayton. My goal was to learn the business from one of the great success stories, and then open O’B’s Music Pub, with fantastic music and food, spiced by the art of conversation.

Earlier this week, a friend from those early days saw my blog and followed it to my website, saw the pics of me there to confirm it was moi, and emailed me.  It was fantastic to catch up with her, and laugh at the memories and perceptions we each had. She was mighty mouse, though I called her Casper.  She had verve and constant laughter, kindled by kindness. Sounds like she still does.

As we are chatting, we laugh about the journey from our humble young beginnings new to the work world and dreams completely different now. We both grew to find ourselves, and what we want to be; we have each chosen roads most likely to have a positive impact on those around us.  The value ingrained in us to make our worlds better by our actions, to help others, has branched from our early roots and struggles.

She called me Superman.  I may have a lot on my resume, but amidst the memories, I am retrospective, as most every writer breathes.  I am then forced to wonder, what could I have done, if I wasn’t so immersed in this 30-year war?  Energy, time, talent, endless waiting in waiting rooms, Dr offices, tests far too numerous to revisit or count, and the drugs … the myriad of drugs, the drugs to counter the side effects of the drugs.  All the pain abandoned events, fun and impact opportunities, all that energy to fight each day … What would I have paid forward to the world if I had that at my disposal, rather than in the trash?

Or would I not have the foundation forged by that journey to be successful in career, to help others?  I will never know all I could be; I’ll never know.  And really, it doesn’t matter. It’s a futile exercise after the motivation type triggers autopsy is completed. Would the 1985 Bears defense beat Joe Montana and Jerry Rice? Hypothetical and fantasy leagues are more trend and trash; I am a realist that still dreams.

I shifted a while back, change what I can, accept what I cannot, and pray for the wisdom to know the difference, as they say.  I learned to structure my day to leave no regrets going forward, mapquest, but leave the road traveled to the beautiful, grace filled hands of God.

***

Comments on the blog itself, Likes and especially comments on Facebook, retweets and Favs on Twitter, all help share my writing and bring me to rippling audiences awareness. Reaching audience is the lifeblood of any writer.  I greatly appreciate any help in that.  Please share if you think I have earned it

I write about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on; Be Happy, it is one way of being wise. Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.

You can read all my blogs at: http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know:

O’Bent Enterprises includes:
Ohio Irish American News
Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival
Songs & Stories, my author web and SM sites

www.songsandstories.net
www.ianohio.com
www.clevelandirish.org
www.twitter.com/jobjr
www.twitter.com/365Irish
www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish
www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews
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99 things to do this weekend

February 27th, 2015

from your Ohio Irish American News

Out & About Ohio February 2015

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Flanagan’s Wake is Back!
The Hilarious Interactive Irish Wake Every Friday & Saturday @8pm Kennedy’s Theatre at Playhouse Square; Downtown Cleveland. 216-241-6000 or 866-546-1353 www.playhousesquare.org

Brooklyn – Hooley House!
27th – Michelle Romary Band, 28th – Phillip Fox Band. 10310 Cascade Crossing, Brooklyn 216-362-7700. 1FunPub.com

Cincinnati – Irish Heritage Center
Art Exhibit, Irish Teas/Library /Genealogy Detective: by appointment.  Irish Heritage Center 3905 Eastern Avenue 513.533.0100. www.irishcenterofcincinnati.com.

ALL under Cleveland;
The Harp
27th – Kristine Jackson, 28th – Chris Allen. 4408 Detroit Road, 44113 www.the-harp.com

Stone Mad
Live music entertainment every Sunday. Traditional Irish Session 1st Sunday of ea/month, Happy Hour Monday-Friday 4 to 7. 1306 West 65th Street Cleveland 44102 216-281-6500

Flat Iron Café
27th – Becky Boyd & Claudia Schieve. 1114 Center St.  Cleveland 44113-2406 216. 696.6968.  www.flatironcafe.com

Treehouse
820 College Avenue, Cleveland, 44113 www.treehousecleveland.com

PJ McIntyre’s
27th – Crazy Chester, 28th – School Girl Crush. T-Shirt Tues: wear any PJs T-Shirt get 15% off bill! Whiskey Wed:  ½ off every whiskey in the house. Thurs – Craft Beer $2.50. PJ McIntyre’s is a Local 10 Union establishment. Home of the Celtic Supporter’s Club and the GAA. Book all your parties & Events in our Bridgie Ned’s Irish Parlor Party Room. 17119 Lorain Road, 44111. www.pjmcintyres.com 216-941-9311.

Flannery’s Pub
27th – The Bar Flies, 28th – Brent Kirby. 323 East Prospect, Cleveland 44115 216.781.7782 www.flannerys.com

***

Avon Lake
Ahern Banquet Center
Ahern Banquet Center is booking weddings and special events.  Call Tony Ahern / Lucy Balser @ 440-933-9500.  726 Avon Belden Rd, Avon Lake  44012.  www.aherncatering.com

Euclid
Irish American Club East Side
27th - Donegal Doggs @Fish Fry. 28th  – Kick-Off St. Pats w Whiskey Limerick. PUB: 7:30 – 10:30. IACES 22770 Lake Shore Blvd. Euclid, 44123. 216.731.4003 www.eastsideirish.org  

Findlay
Logan’s Irish Pub
Trad Sessiún 3rd Wednesday. 414 South Main Street, Findlay 45840 419.420.3602 www.logansirishpubfindlay.com

 Lakewood
Beck Center for the Arts
17801 Detroit Avenue Lakewood 44107 (216) 521-2540 www.beckcenter.org

Plank Road Tavern
Open Sessiún Every Thursday 7 – 10.  $3 Guinness and Jamieson. 16719 Detroit Avenue, 44107

Medina / Montrose
Sully’s
27th – Brittany Reilly Band, 28th – Westside Steve.117 West Liberty Medina, 44256 www.sullysmedina.com

Hooley House Montrose 
27th – Almost Famous, 28th – Players Club. 145 Montrose West Avenue Copley, Oh 44321 www.1funpub.com

Mentor
Hooley House
27th – Usual Suspects, 28th – Abbey Normal. Every Tuesday – Open Mic w Nick Zuber, Every Wednesday – Trivia Night.  7861 Reynolds Rd Mentor www.1funpub.com (440) 942-6611. 

Olmsted Twp
West Side Irish American Club
28th – Junior Marching Units Exhibition Dance. Great food & live music every Friday in The Pub.  WSIA Club 8559 Jennings Rd. 44138 www.wsia-club.org. 440-235-5868.

Westlake
Hooley House
27th – Sunrise Jones, 28th – Big in Japan. 24940 Sperry Dr Westlake 44145. 
1FunPub.com
(440) 835-2890

Willoughby
Mullarkey’s
27th – 107.9 Band, 28th – Mossy Moran.  Wed: Karaoke, Thurs: Ladies Night w/ D.J. 4110 Erie Street www.mullarkeys.com 

Columbus
Shamrock Club Events
Happy Hour every Friday from 5-7pm! 60 W. Castle Rd. Columbus 43207 614-491-4449 www.shamrockclubofcolumbus.com

Tara Hall
Traditional Irish music w General Guinness Band & Friends 2nd Friday 8:00 – 11:00pm. No Cover. Tara Hall 274 E. Innis Ave. Columbus, 43207 614.444.5949.

Traditional Social Dance for Adults: All are welcome to learn and have fun

  • Set Dance Lessons: Tues: 8-10 pm, St. Clarence Church, N. Olmsted / Wed: 7-9 pm, Irish American Club – East Side
  • Ceili Lessons: 2/5, 12 & 26: 7-9 pm, West Side Irish American Club.
  • Traditional Ceili:  13th – St. Clarence Church, Terrace Room, 8PM, $10. Music by Fior Gael

                  Contact CeiliClubCleveland@gmail.com

Ongoing Traditional Irish Sessiúns - Bring your instruments and play along!

  • Akron Hibernian’s Ceili Band Sessions, Wednesdays 7:30 pm. Mark Heffernan  Div 2 Hall 2000 Brown St, Akron 330-724-2083. Beginner to intermediate
  • Croagh Patrick’s – 2nd Tuesday of every month 8 – 10pm
  • Bardic Circle @The Shamrock Club of Columbus Beginner – friendly, intermediate level Irish session meeting every other Thursdays 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
  • Plank Road – Every Thursday 7 – 10. All ages and experience welcome. 16719 Detroit  Road, Lakewood, 44107
  • The Harp – 1st Friday of every month, 9pm
  • Logan’s Irish Pub – 3rd Wednesday of the month, 414 S. Main St., Findlay, 7:30 pm
  • Oberlin’s Traditional Irish Session – 2nd Monday of the month 7 – 9 Slow Train Café, 55 East College St., Oberlin. Informal all experience welcome: www.oberlin.net/~irishsession
  • Claddagh Irish Pub – Sundays 6:00pm-9:00pm. All experience levels welcome
  • 585 S. Front St. Columbus, Ohio 43215
    • Tara Hall -Traditional Irish music w General Guinness Band & Friends 2nd Friday 8:00 – 11:00pm. 274 E. Innis Ave. Columbus, 43207 614.444.5949.Ohio_0215_28pages_pag1

The Habits of a Lifetime: a Story from this month’s issue of the Ohio Irish American News

February 26th, 2015

terry from derry Hdr

Terry from Derry: The Habits of a Lifetime
by Terry Boyle

My usual Christmas trip back to Derry was delayed this year until after the holiday. Since my mother’s 80th birthday was in January, a time when I’d normally be back in the U.S, I planned to return to Ireland later than usual.

In the months leading up to my departure, my sisters and I worked on what sort of party to throw this amazing lady. Coming from a family of 8, she had 8 children of her own, over 30 grandchildren, followed by a smattering of great grandchildren.

With such a legacy, we were eager to celebrate with friends and family the matriarch’s finest hour, or at least one of them, with a big party. When the idea was suggested to mother, it was crushingly deflated by the honoured one. The large affair was instead to become a small intimate dinner with family members.

An easy compromise you might think, but location became almost as problematic as size had earlier. One place deemed too expensive, the other too cheap, and middle option just right.

With the hard work of negotiations over, I flew into Dublin, intent to make this a memorable trip. Arriving in homeland with gigantic expectations of the holiday, I was, within a day or two, reduced to a weakling by a cold in the chest. Most of my time was spent buying over the counter medications, and bed rest. I had, it seemed, caught something that was going around. And, lucky me, I was chosen to be one the sickly elite.

I tried to minimize my time around family members, especially my mother, since this bug might be the very thing to do her in before her birthday. The few brave individuals who ferried me around in their cars seemed unperturbed by the invisible assailant as though bravery were enough to ward off its effects. A foolhardy decision as time would tell.

On the actual day of the party, my fever had reached a pitch that made it almost impossible for me to attend, but I was determined to be there no matter what happened. Mother was greeted with cards, gifts, and attention. She lapped up the hugs and kisses (none from the infected one), and indulged us with a hearty smile of contentment. She was in her element. Throughout the meal others would wish her well, dropping off flowers and gifts. Everyone ate and drank heartily, except me.

From my vantage point, the whole thing felt as though someone kept turning the heat up. Sweating profusely, I was finding it hard to not want to rush out into the winter’s night to cool down. Try as I might to engage in conversation, I was just not myself.

Feeling miserable when all around you are partying does not make a dull man happy, so I left. I justified my early departure to my mother from afar (a pointless effort since she’s become increasing deaf and my sentiment was echoed by more than one voice as it was carried closer to her), I had to go and get more medication. She nodded, and that was it. Some brave soul again offered to take me home despite the danger. The months of planning had ended in a weak cough of exhaustion.

My guilty, and depressed state was quickly lifted the next day when I found out that having gathered, immediate family, grandchildren, and friends together to continue the party after dinner, mother also went AWOL. Her illness, not detectable thorough the evening, had surfaced at the climax of the night after the blowing out of the candles. And, while everyone drank her health, she got up with my sister and disappeared. Gone, like Bilbo Baggins at the beginning of the Lord of the Rings, without a trace.

It’s hard, if not impossible to imagine how a woman who cannot walk without the aid of a three-wheeler walker rushing away into the night without someone catching a glimpse of her. Gone she was, and the party continued, undeterred by the missing guest of honour. There was no search party sent out. No raised eyebrows. It was as if she was never there.

Why, you might wonder would there be such a blatant lack of concern? It’s quite simple. Everyone one at that party knew the cause of mother’s disappearance. There was nothing suspicious about the escapee. No foul play at work. And, once I had been told of her leaving five letters lit up in my mind like an Irish menorah: BINGO.

Having dispensed of her duty, mother was ready to leave her gift at the gambling altar. Never a slave to convention, this 80-year-old woman was going to her usual place of worship. She had dined, mingled, and entertained with us enough, now it was ‘her’ time. It was a life long tradition each of us knew well.

Mother, a confirmed devotee of the numbers game with its funny litanies of: two fat ladies 88, key of the door 21, legs 11, top of the house 90, two little ducks 22 etc., was gone in search of bigger gains. It all made sense to me now. The dismissal of the big party, the location of the dinner etc. had been carefully selected to accommodate the bingo gods and their acolyte.

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New Day XLVIII: I Got Shot 2

February 26th, 2015
Author Website: www.songsandstories.net

www.songsandstories.net

 

New Day XLVIII: I Got Shot 2

How goes it? Loving all the comments on this blog and FB posts – What you say doesn’t define you or me, but deburring my sharp edges is always welcome, so thank you, and please keep commenting…

I’ve learned to savor whatever treasures I can from my own brand of unhappiness.”

Good Lord, I don’t know who said that; tho it seems a tad bit dramatic. I understand the sentiment, but I offer a well-earned / learned bit of wisdom; Happiness is a choice. Easy to say, no doubt hard to do. Yet still, it is true.

Sometimes it takes folks a long time to learn that, myself included. It is far easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting. I am proof.

Hang Neg ppl live pos life

They say habits take 6 weeks to ingrain. We have years to enjoy the benefits of the habit; 6 week sacrifice, for years of sowing those seeds? Sign me up. To impact the bottom line, to win or lose, we still have to touch all the bases, even when we hit a home run. Most of life is singles, less doubles, less triples, but oh those glorious homers when we have good hitting habits.

Massed little victories are what wins a good life. I struggle to find little victories each day; the search has opened doors and revealed friends, revealed things about me, that I never knew we could be or achieve, together. And sometimes, in those searches, I find release, relief, reprieve.

I always say we go to too many funerals to not dance at the weddings; I love to dance. Waltzing is prob my favorite, but I enjoy them all – its escapism certainly, but more so it is laughing in the face of the devils that haunt me. Because of RA, I haven’t danced in a long time.

Last fall, I saw an ad for a massotherapist and dance teacher, Marilyn Valentino, whose studio is just up the road from me, at West Park Massotherapy, on Rocky River Drive, south of Lorain. She is a life long certified and highly educated massotherapist, and a life long dance instructor too. If you think about it, those two callings fit so very well together.

west_park_mass_therapy0315

I said feck it, and signed up. This has been one of the best little victories in my recent ride; a marathon of new habits with unanticipated benefits of movement and returned abilities, to move once again.

We are in rhythm; we clicked. The monthly massages have worked wonders, deep touches on the RA pain, and the only thing that has reached it. Marilyn’s training has shown her how to reach the pain centers within me, to, yes, massage them, and loosen their grip on me. The waltzing has provided so much enjoyment, restoring confidence in dancing certainly, but added so much of that missing music back into my life.

She is a gift to me.

***
Comments on the blog itself, Likes and especially comments on Facebook, retweets and Favs on Twitter, all help share my writing and bring me to rippling audiences awareness. Reaching audience is the lifeblood of any writer. I greatly appreciate any help in that. Please share if you think I have earned it
I write about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on; Be Happy, it is one way of being wise. Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.

You can read all my blogs at: http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know:

O’Bent Enterprises includes:
Ohio Irish American News
Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival
Songs & Stories, my author web and SM sites
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www.ianohio.com
www.clevelandirish.org
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www.twitter.com/365Irish
www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish
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www.facebook.com/Cleveland-Irish
www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr/

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New Day XLVI: Shot I

February 24th, 2015

I have been writing these blogs called New Day for XLVI days now.  The forty-six is how many days since I started a new insurance with an appointment with my new Rheumatologist.  My previous Dr, who I have been with for 16 years, had drifted, and my new med was going to cost $18,152 per does, 7 doses per year.

So at the first of the year, I switched to Metro Insurance thru my day job at the Sheriff’s. The Dr appt on Jan 7th led to prescribing a new to me medicine called Orencia, which is a weekly self-injection.  I don’t like needles, but have had hundreds of them stuck into me in the 30 years I have had Rhuematoid; resistance is futile; grin n bear it.  The first dose of Orencia arrived today, forty-six days after first prescribed. My cost is $5 per dose.

Diabolical

Diabolical

Orencia is part of the cocktail of Leuflunomide (Arava), Orencia and some med still to come.  Doc says 6-12 weeks to know if Arava works (I’m in week 7), 6-12 months for Orencia.  No point in waiting; so, I guess I better get started.

Orencia is a fairly new med, of a group called Biologics.  Biologics are believed to not only stop the progression of the disease (and hopefully the pain), but to also reverse some of the damage.

I have had RA for exactly 30 years, misdiagnosed at age 19, pin pointed at 21.  Considering 30 years of it, I have very little visible external damage. Internally, it’s more train wreck then cruise ship.

The truth is rarely pure and never simple” – Oscar Wilde

I see swollen joints, but most people can’t see that.  In this visual society, it is hard to articulate what cannot be seen, or for folks to understand the slow moving me. I hope my writing of my experiences, lights a new way of thinking, of understanding;  a way out of the darkness, for others.

I always looked younger than my age.  At some point, that has probably caught up to me, but now it is not the years, it’s the mileage.  Arthritis is usually a hazard of the older – you see the stiffness in the morning and evening, slower moving and gripping life a little more tenderly. RA misreads the body and attacks the synovial fluid – the lubrication, in the joints, thinking it is attacking an invader – friendly fire indeed.

The fire in my joints has brought me calmness (eventually). Priority and perspective of what do I want to have at the end of each day, for that day’s work has become a bedrock. How ever humble or hard-earned the fire in my joints forged that rock, I feel so much urgency and determination to not regret.  I urgently feel the need to squeeze life, but not the turnip.

Time for a new ride; Orencia, you’re up.

p.s. it is 150 days to Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival.

CICF.ad_Web_150Days Post on Tuesday

p.s.s. the Madness March issue of the Ohio Irish American News went to print yesterday, a pure pot o’ gold full of music, events and the people who make St. Pat’s so special. Get yours March 4th at over 240 locations in Ohio and in six surrounding states.

The Ohio Irish American News

The Ohio Irish American News

***

Comments on the blog itself, Likes and especially comments on Facebook, retweets and Favs on Twitter, all help share my writing and bring me to rippling audiences awareness. Reaching audience is the lifeblood of any writer.  I greatly appreciate any help in that.  Please share if you think I have earned it
I write about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on; Be Happy, it is one way of being wise. Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.

You can read all my blogs at: http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know:

O’Bent Enterprises includes:
Ohio Irish American News
Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival
Songs & Stories, my author web and SM sites

www.songsandstories.net
www.ianohio.com
www.clevelandirish.org
www.twitter.com/jobjr
www.twitter.com/365Irish
www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish
www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews
www.facebook.com/Cleveland-Irish
www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr/
http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed

Blowin’ In: Forever, Valentine

February 24th, 2015

by Susan Mangan
a Story from this month’s issue of the Ohio Irish American News

When I was senior at John Carroll University, Valentine’s Day came rushing in on the arctic winds of a blizzard.  Classes were canceled.  The studious bravely set forth across the tundra to nestle into library corners.  The weary stayed tucked into bed in darkened dorm rooms. The jaded lamented lost loves over cold cups of coffee.

Studious, but neither weary nor jaded, I felt restless.  At the time, I was dating my future husband, so I felt secure enough that I did indeed have a valentine, but he was among the weary. My valentine wished to sleep the day away in his den.

In my heart, I knew he was as delighted to have me as I was thrilled to have him, but I wanted to celebrate. A free day that happened to fall on a holiday devoted to chocolate and love – my world was colored in pastel pink.  My celebratory fervor dimmed when my penniless valentine admitted that, alas, he did not have a valentine for his beloved.  Even my Shakespeare professor, Father Smith, gleefully passed out chocolate hearts to the clever students who could answer his most obscure questions about the famous bard during class the previous night.

Feeling glum, I sought out my friend who was less fortunate than I. Not only did she long for a valentine sweet, but moreover, a valentine with whom to share the treat. Rather than lament our unfortunate situations, we pooled together our babysitting money, tugged on our L.L.Bean boots and headed for the Fairmont bus stop.

Surely, Beachwood Place could provide us with a box of chocolate.  Call it desperation or youthful “joie de vivre,” but this snow capped outing proved to be a wonderful valentine retreat.

At the risk of sounding too cheerful, I, admittedly, have always loved this holiday.  As a little girl, my dad was my first and best valentine.  Every year he surprised me on Valentine’s Day with a frilly, heart-shaped box of chocolates.  When my children were small, I continued the tradition.  Each of my young valentines is greeted with a small gift at the breakfast table.

My teen-age daughter feels as though Valentine’s Day and romance is overrated, a waste of a holiday.  Certainly, others must share that viewpoint. My counterpoint, however, is that Valentine’s Day is not just a day to celebrate romance, but rather to celebrate love of self.  If you are among those who have a partner with which to share the day, fabulous, if not, seek out a way to be good to yourself.

Truffles and chocolate Linzer hearts are festive, but other treats abound.  Take an hour thumbing through that book of art on your coffee table.  Discover the transcendent music of Bach. Stir up a decadent cup of peppermint cocoa and whip fresh cream into your favorite oversized mug. Read or re-read for the hundredth time your favorite poem by William Butler Yeats.

If the love of Yeats and his muse Maud Gonne had lasted, eternity would not be graced with his words, “When you are old and grey and full of sleep  . . . dream of the soft look your eyes had once and of their shadows deep.” Sometimes, when longing is quenched, passion can melt like snow under a March sun.

I consider myself quite blessed; not only do I have a multitude of valentines, I have a deep appreciation, arguably love, of the arts and letters.  A carefully placed word of my own crafting, the turn of a phrase in a Shakespearean sonnet, the use of light in a painting – things such as these bring me immense joy.

I have to thank my first valentines, my mother and father, for passing down their love of art and literature to me.  Our shelves were filled with books. Before I could read, my mother would share with me her favorite fairytales.  At night, my imagination tended to run wild.  My mother would collect me from my bed and hold me in her favorite chair, whispering stories of the Three Bears and the wayward Goldilocks until I settled back into sleep.

Though my parents mutually enjoyed literature, card games, art, and classical music, they also had their own interests and careers, independent of one another.  My father enjoyed long bike rides through the city streets of Chicago.  My mother enjoyed ceramics and jigsaw puzzles.

Though my parents respect and love one another deeply, they understand that to truly give yourself to another, you must have a deep understanding of self.  In raising my brother and me, one thing, however, is certain – they are selfless.

Blowin 2

I have always thought it a great gift to be able to write about one whom you love, whether a parent, spouse, child, or special friend.  In some small way, when one pens a poem, composes a song, or paints a portrait, a moment, a love, is immortalized.

For my parents’ fiftieth anniversary, I wrote a poem for them.  Seven years later, the honesty in their relationship still rings true. To anyone who reads these words, may you find beauty in your day, promise in nature, and hope in the many facets of love.

Blowin

Among the Autumn Leaves

“Sweetheart, be still
We have visitors.”
Tawny sycamore leaves
Crunch
While a buck joins his doe.
The lake,
placid
and oh, so blue
reflects an image of the lovers,
Huddled in fleece
carefree eyes
Dancing in the sun.

“Dear, remember hot, summer days
when we sunbathed in the city?
I wore a white bikini
And your muscles were so sleek.”
“Yes, but I prefer
Autumn
as each day
Feels
like
Spring.”

*Susan holds a Master’s degree in English from John Carroll University and a Master’s degree in Education from Baldwin-Wallace University.  She may be contacted at suemangan@yahoo.com

February 2015 February issue, our 98th issue  Cover photo by Marianne Mangan

February 2015 February issue, our 98th issue Cover photo by Marianne Mangan

Six Nations Rugby: Owens Sports

February 23rd, 2015

A Story from this month’s Issue of the Ohio Irish American News
Owens Sports by Mark Owens

Six Nations Rugby: Depending on when you are the reading this, the annual European international tournament – The Six Nations Championship – has gotten under way. The tournament is contested between Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, France and Italy and typically runs during the months of February and March. This year’s tournament kicks off on Friday February 6th, when England travels to Cardiff to take on Wales at the Millennium Stadium. Ireland plays their first game on Saturday February 7th, when they make the trip to Rome to play the Italians.

One thing that might hurt Ireland is the actual schedule. For a team renowned for having one of the most vocal home support, they will actually only play two of their five games at home this year. Importantly though, the potential title decider against the English is a home game on March 1st.

Owens Sports ireland rugby

For those looking to watch the games, one of our long time sponsors, PJ McIntyre’s Irish Pub on Cleveland’s Westside, will be broadcasting all the games live. The schedule*:
Italy v IRELAND, Saturday February 7th @ 9.30am EST
IRELAND v France, Saturday February 14th @ noon EST
IRELAND v England, Saturday March 1st @ 10am EST
Wales v IRELAND, Saturday March 14th @ 9.30am EST
Scotland v IRELAND, Saturday March 21st @ 9.30am EST

*Be sure to visit www.pjmcintryes.com for full schedule.

Rugby in Cleveland Area: Rugby is growing immensely in the States, and in particular Northeast Ohio. The Cleveland Rovers are one of the most active and organized clubs in the region; they even have their own team bus – albeit a refurbished school bus. On Cleveland’s east side, Cleveland Rugby Club (part of the old Eastern Suburb Rugby Club I believe) are a crosstown rival of the Rovers. On the ladies side there is the Iron Maidens, based on the west side.

In my years of involvement recruiting players for Gaelic Football at high schools, I always came up against the old ‘sorry you are too late, we already have rugby here’. In the Cleveland area, St Ignatius, St Edwards, Strongsville, Hudson, Avon and Brunswick all have HS teams playing the Northern Region of Ohio School Rugby (boys). On the girls side St Joseph’s Academy, Lakewood, Hudson and Parma all have active programs.

Rugby Facts: #1 The sport is named after Rugby School, where the game was first played. The game is said to have been invented in 1823 when William Webb Ellis caught the ball while playing a game of football (soccer) at school, and ran to the goal with it. Although there is doubt about whether this actually happened, Webb Ellis is still remembered as the sport’s inventor; the winner of the Rugby Union World Cup, held every four years, receives the Webb Ellis Cup.

#2 Rugby is known for the use of an oval-shaped ball. However, this hasn’t always been the case. Initially, the balls were plum-shaped, due to the shape of pigs’ bladders that they were made from. They became more spherical towards the end of the 19th Century when they began being made using rubber inner tubes.
However, to distinguish the balls used in rugby from the balls used for soccer, Rugby School requested that their balls remained slightly egg-shaped. Over time, they have become more and more flattened to the shape that they are now. Oval balls are more suited to rugby than spherical balls as they are easier to catch, hold and run with and don’t roll as far, so don’t go out of play as often.

#3 As rugby balls and footballs were made from pigs’ bladders and they had to be blown up by breath alone, it was possible to become ill if blowing up a diseased bladder, and the wife of Richard Lindon, a man who made balls for Rugby School in the 19th Century, died after breathing in the air from too many bad bladders.

#4 The reigning Rugby Olympic champion is surprisingly the United States! The game of rugby has only has only been an Olympic sport four times and made its first and last Olympic Games appearances in Paris. The first time it was played was in 1900 during the Paris Olympics. It was played in the London Olympics of 1908, the 1920 Antwerp Olympics and the 1924 Paris Olympics.

As well as being the current Olympic champion, the United States is also the most successful nation, winning gold in both the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games. A seven-a-side version of Rugby will make an appearance in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

#5 The first time a national anthem was sung before a sporting event happened, spontaneously, before a rugby game. New Zealand famously dances the Haka before the start of a game of rugby, a traditional war-dance which is sometimes seen as an attempt to intimidate their opposition. On 16th November 1905, they played Wales at Cardiff Arms Park. After New Zealand danced the Haka before the match, Wales responded by beginning to sing the Welsh national anthem. The crowd picked up on this and joined in. Nowadays, before major sporting events, it is traditional for the national anthems of the countries being represented to be sung beforehand.

#6 Rugby Union World Cup tournaments are held every four years. The first tournament took place in 1987. It was hosted by Australia and New Zealand and was won by New Zealand.

#7 Rugby players mostly earn points by scoring tries, achieved by a player crossing the touchline with a ball and touching in to the ground. A try in rugby union is worth 5 points. However, a try was once worth nothing, instead it gave the player who achieved when the opportunity to “try” to score a goal, hence its name.

Goals were scored by placing the ball on the ground and kicking it over the crossbar between the two posts, therefore converting the try into a goal; a goal being worth 1 point. Nowadays, an attempt at a conversion still follows a successful try and gives players the opportunity to score an extra 2 points.

#8 The same whistle is used to kick off the opening game of every Rugby World Cup tournament. It is the Gil Evans whistle and was first blown by Gil Evans, the Welsh referee overseeing a match between England and New Zealand in 1905.

Trivia: Last month’s question: Robbie Keane’s has had a highly successful career with the Republic of Ireland. He is currently the top goal scorer for his country with 65 goals in 138 appearances. Who is the 2nd top goal scorer? Niall Quinn scored 21 goals in 91 appearances. This month’s question: Ireland currently plays their home rugny games at the newly renovated Aviva Stadium in Dublin; what was the stadium more commonly known as prior to the naming rights being sold?

*Mark Owens is originally from Derry City, Ireland and has resided in the Cleveland area since 2001. Mark is the Director of Marketing for Skylight Financial Group in Cleveland. Send questions, comments or suggestions for future articles to Mark at: markfromderry@gmail.com

February 2015 Cover of the Ohio irish American News, featuring Achill's Michael Lavelle.  Photo by Marianne Mangan

February 2015 Cover of the Ohio irish American News, featuring Achill’s Michael Lavelle. Photo by Marianne Mangan