Luck of the Irish

Being a mid-west girl, I happen to live in between two bustling cities. It seems there’s always plenty of adventures to discover; but there’s certain adventures I find myself going to again and again. A few weekends ago I went with friends to Milwaukee’s Irish Fest; which happens to be the world’s largest celebration of Irish music and culture. It had been a few years since I’d been back; I really missed it. The event was nestled along the rocky shores of Lake Michigan, which made for a beautiful backdrop, and the day and weather couldn’t have been nicer.

The event was filled with an assortment of events and activities, from shopping to hurling, basket weaving, food demonstrations, wool spinning, dancing, dozens of bands performing, dining on Irish cuisine, and much more, but my personal favorite….the tug-of-war matches. It was fun to watch the teams battle one right after the next, while cheering on our favorites.

The music was outstanding as we bounced from one venue to another, trying to soak up as much of the authentic Irish music as we could. Some stage areas were intimate while others were bursting. All had the same enthusiastic crowds.

Most people dressed in green as a symbol of Ireland’s color; it was a sea of green everywhere you looked. I especially like when men were proudly displaying their family colors and plaid patterned kilts.

People were friendly throughout the festival, meeting new friends along the way. At one point we joined a large crowd on the second floor patio of the Jameson Lounge. Everyone was having a great time as we belly laughed about random things. Dave, or as we refer to him as the mayor (because he makes friends with anyone), was telling us the story of how he was on a mission to find his family plaid/crest and had gotten paperwork from one of the vendors in the market to start his research. We questioned him about his information as he proceeds to pull out his “paperwork”, which happened to be about a two by three inch piece of paper. We roared with laughter.

The day turned into the night as we enjoyed the music, weather, food, drink, laughter, and our friendship. We decided next year’s Irish Fest was a must…..here’s to another year of green, plaid kilts, beer, whiskey, traditional food, friends, laugher, and the luck of the Irish. Slainte!

xoxox…..Sheryl

Eclipsing

This past Monday marked a pretty significant event; as most of the contiguous United States were able to witness a total solar eclipse. I read a few articles in which the experience was being referred to as the “Great American Eclipse” and  had the media talking about it for weeks. I kept telling myself to read up on the event, but it always fell to the bottom of my to-do list. Never-the-less, I was excited I could witness the rare occurance, and even thought about taking the day off to make sure I didn’t miss it.

As Monday morning arrived I had completely forgotten about taking a vacation day, or looking into buying the special glasses needed to view the eclipse. Once I realized it was the day, I started chatting with people about the timing, based on our location. There were some people interested, but I seemed to be the only one really fascinated in my nearby area.

Most of the early morning sky looked like a typical summer day; sunny one minute and cloudy the next. However, later morning clouds began to roll in that just hung in the air. As the time neared closer to the phenomenon, people began hustling and bustling about, filing outside one by one to get a look.

One last time, I reached out to the people in my area to see if they wanted to join me…..nothing…..but crickets! Even though I didn’t have the special glasses or hand-made box needed to view the eclipse, I had to go and see for myself what the hoopla was all about.

As I made my way outdoors, people along the path were discussing whether to look or not to look directly at the sun. It was hilarious to watch as people would glance and then quickly look away. I have to admit, I was one of those people. Because it was so cloudy, it was hard to tell when it actually started happening.

The people with glasses were oohing and aahing over how awesome and cool it was. Someone told me to use my phone as if I was taking a selfie, but actually point it at the sky. I couldn’t quite determine if I was filming the eclipse or not. Like most, I thought at one point we would be in complete darkness, but that never happened! It was cloudy, but that was about it.

For those non-wearing glass folks, it turned out to be a big bunch of nothing. We didn’t really see much of anything other than a cool looking sky. For the well-prepared others, they were treated to an excellent and rare occurrence.  Note to self……next time I go eclipsing I’ll be better prepared. Sources say, I’ll have to wait another seven years. Where were you eclipsing from?

xoxox…..Sheryl

 

 

Tilliegate

We’ve had Tillie the kitten for five weeks now, and holy cow my social life has taken a serious nose dive. I run from work to home, and home to work most days now. I refer to the situation as Tilliegate….ha! My daughter and I try to coordinate being home in the evenings, at least until she’s a bit older. I feel guilty if I don’t rush right home. As soon as she hears the door open, I often see her running through the rooms to greet me. Purring immediately as I pick her up.

Since she had to be rescued from heavy storms and flooding, I believe we got her a bit earlier than we should have. I’m pretty sure she thinks I’m her mama. For the first few weeks she would nuzzle my neck rooting around to nurse. She was relentless in her efforts, and we often had to take her to her food bowl so she could remember to eat. For a few weeks she was so sassy, hindsight we think it was because she was “Hangry” being hungry made her angry. I swear the only time she would eat is if we would place her in front of her food bowl, even though the food was available all day.

Tillie is a social kitten and isn’t afraid of friends and family. She is playful and has the sharpest claws; my daughter and I have plenty of playtime scratches to prove it. From the time of her arrival, she is often perched on my shoulders, chest and neck. Tillie’s like a parrot, or a pirate kitty, as I sometimes like to call her. She refuses to let me do anything without her getting involved. If i’m laying down she constantly leaps on my head!

She is not only a bundle of energy, but also a bundle of joy. When she runs through the house it sounds like a mini stampede. My daughter recently asked if I regretted having Tillie, and I immediately said “Yes!” She was shocked and retorted, “Take it back!” I told her I was teasing, even though the reason why I resisted getting an animal for so long was I know how much work they can be. They need and deserve a lot of love and attention.

For now while she’s still a kitten, we’ll continue to be patient with her frisky behavior; tending to any wounds that occur during playtime. I’m hoping Tilliegate won’t last too much longer and I can get back to a normal social schedule. If you have pets, I bet most can relate.

xoxox…..Sheryl

 

Say a little prayer

I would consider myself to be a spiritual person; additionally I seem to connect with my heart much easier than I did when I was younger. Not sure if it’s wisdom, being more heart centered or simply age. Little things seem to matter more, or is it that I’m just paying closer attention? Earlier in my life I’m pretty sure I did most of my praying when things weren’t going well, but I’ve come to realize it’s also the blessings that need my attention as well.

Saying a prayer can be done anywhere at any time you choose. It could be a prayer of healing, gratitude, thanksgiving, grace, frustration, or uncertainty; the list goes on and on. When I am fully present, I find it natural to see all the goodness around me. Things that originally appear to be the furthest thing from a blessing, end up being just that. Maybe not in the moment, but rather in the reflection.

Most Sundays you’ll find me sitting in the fourth pew from the front, on the left hand side, directly behind my parents. I’ll be the first to admit, after a long week some Sundays I would rather stay in bed, but usually get myself up, and always feel better when I do. Recently, while making announcements, the pastor asked the congregation if they had been out to visit the prayer garden this season. Sheepishly, I shook my head……I was embarrassed I hadn’t taken the time to notice or give thanks to the people responsible for its beauty.

As soon as the service was over, I made a beeline straight to the prayer garden and was pleasantly surprised to see how it had grown since last year. It was manicured with great care. I didn’t see a weed in sight, just beautiful, lush green plants and flowers in various shades of orange, pink, yellow, purple, and white, all nestled into a neat little corner of the grassy hill. Directly in front of the garden resided two benches; patiently waiting for a passerby to sit, enjoy, reflect and pray.

As I sat on one of the benches it was easy to envision the loving hands that created the masterpiece that spread out before me. Asking nothing more of me other than to sit, relax, and enjoy its charm. I did just that while offering up prayers of gratitude.

The next Sunday I made a point to reach out to the woman that was responsible for organizing and making the prayer garden possible. She was beaming from ear to ear as I offered my gratitude, however, she wasn’t glowing because of the accolades but rather from the splendor the garden offered to anyone that would visit. Even though the garden offered me a place of rest and reflection, I was just a humble servant that offered to say a little prayer of appreciation.

xoxox…..Sheryl

Nauti-Girls

If you’ve followed my posts in the past, you may have read how much I love being near water. While vacationing in Bermuda, my girlfriends and I spent most of our time either in or near the water…..you could call us, Nauti-Girls…..HA.  The trip’s timing happened to coincide with America’s Cup yachting race, however on the days we were in the area the teams were either practicing or resting. All teams had been eliminated with the exception of New Zealand and the USA which would be competing for the victory.

Even though we weren’t able to watch the teams race, we still were able to enjoy activities near and in the water. We decided to spend one day at the beach, which turned out to be one of my favorite day of the trip. The ocean was beautiful shades of blue and the water was crystal clear to the bottom. The current was pleasant as the water bobbed up and down and carried in gentle waves. Swimming and wading was a vacationer’s dream. I didn’t want the time to end.

Another day we decided to take a sight-seeing cruise of the island’s most famous people and areas of interest. It was the perfect day to be on the water with a gentle breeze, calm seas and plenty of sunshine. As the captain and crew guided us along the shoreline and out into open water to get to the next location.

While we were making the long way back to the dock, the Oracle (Team America) and Emirates (Team New Zealand) of America’s Cup were practicing for the upcoming race. WOW, they crossed our path, which was an amazing sight to witness. Flying across the water at an almost unbelievable speed. It was a great end to the scenic island tour.

Even though a few more days would have afforded  us the opportunity to watch the race and perhaps go back to the beach, I am thankful we were able to spend the time we did enjoying the weather, sunshine, blue waters, boating, swimming and being all around Nauti-Girls.

xoxox…..Sheryl