Céad míle fáilte

Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day!

In real life, it looks like the Irish flag, but the green and orange chalk didn’t show up well in the photo.

I have no good excuse for not getting this posted in a timely manner; I took the picture, I wrote the title, I got ready to write the post, and then . . . nothing. Oh, well! You guys probably needed a break from me, anyway

But I digress!

For those of you who do not know any Irish words, the title of this post is “A hundred thousand welcomes.” (I don’t think Irish people actually say this, but you read it everywhere when you are there. In fact, the Irish Tourist Board used to be called “Bord Fáilte” – the Board of Welcome.)

I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about being welcoming. I struggle with this. Not because I don’t love people. Not because I don’t want to spend time with them. I do, on both counts! I want to open my house to people, welcome them in, cook for them, laugh with them. Welcome them!

So, what’s my deal? I think it’s multi-faceted. There was a long time that I felt my house was too out of control to have people over. For years, I felt self-conscious about the fact that I didn’t really know how to cook. More recently, I’ve been afraid to make plans because my health was so unpredictable. I didn’t want to end up being flaky and canceling at the last minute.

This may be why I don’t stress about having the fry over. They don’t care if my house is a mess; they’ll eat whatever I put in front of them; if I don’t feel well, they’ll actually come up to my room and hang out on the bed with me and the dog. Even if I’m a mess, they don’t care.

I think with adults I feel more intimidated. I want to . . . not impress, actually, but just appear like a competent adult. Don’t worry: I know that’s silly. I know that the people who love me will love me regardless. It is kind of ridiculous, too, because my “issues” really aren’t even issues anymore! My house is basically company-ready most of the time (or 15-minutes-from-ready). Thanks to Blue Apron (my personal cooking school), I now know how to cook all kinds of tasty things. And, knowing my wonderful friends, even if I were truly feeling horrible, they would either a) understand, or b) be willing to come over and hang out with me anyway!

This is the point at which I want to make a pledge, start a new scheme, say I will have x number of people over in the next x number of weeks. But I’m not going to. I have been thinking that scheme-making is just setting myself up for failure. (I know, I know; you all realized this long ago.) But I am going to try to reach out more. The people in my life are so much more important to me than anything else, and I want to start living my life in a way that makes that real.

Bad dog


I could be writing about how I am 25-7 in the tourney, about how I had Butler and Marshall and Kansas State and Syracuse. (Nobody had Maryland Baltimore County, so I can be forgiven on that one.) But nooooo. . .

I could be writing about how Hudson Taylor are about to go on a meteoric rise (long-predicted by me, if I dare say so myself), about how they were on TV in New York this week, about how they got mentioned by Rolling Stone. But nooooo. . .

And why not, you ask?

Because my frakking dog peed in the house again, not 30 minutes after he was taken outside for the second time in the last hour, and it’s got me in a frenzy. I’m so angry. He was right by me. It’s marking behavior. He doesn’t need to do it. He just wants to declare his ownership of one upholstered leg of a living room chair. It ticks me off.

I hate having to clean up after him. I hate the sight of Nature’s Miracle. I hate that we will never be able to have nice things. I hate the fact that dogs can’t be reasoned with.

I love my dog. I do. But sometimes I understand why such a sweet dog was once a homeless stray.

And why, for the time being, he can’t look me in the eye.

Let the Madness begin!

It’s the first day of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, and — thanks to a timely reminder from Quinland — I actually had my bracket ready to go before the first game.

After the first sixteen games, I am 13-3. One of those three losses served me right (I whimsically chose San Diego State over Houston), one could have gone either way (I chose #9 NC State over #8 Seton Hall at the last second), and one was a complete upset. Who would have predicted that fourth-seeded Arizona would get soundly beaten by Buffalo?! Argh.

I did call a couple of upsets, myself. One was another basically-even #8 vs #9, where I chose Alabama over Virginia Tech, but I was thrilled to see that Loyola-Chicago beat Miami with a last-second three-pointer. Q had them, as well, so I got a couple of panicked-then-thrilled live updates from him at the end of the game.

The best thing about Day One, however, is that my Final Four teams — all of whom played today, interestingly — are still alive. Last year, I was seriously hurting after the first round. Fingers crossed that this continues through the second round!