Category Archives: People I love

Easter Radio Special!

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Not for the religious: or at least, not for the religious who can’t stand hearing a good bit of what is probably blasphemy. Show starts in 30 minutes, and of course I’ll put up the link to the podcast afterwards, when it is all said and done and all the wine has been drunk!

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/soulshenanigans

Radio station link: http://www.radio23.org/

s o u l s h e n a n i g a n s
“playing funkpunksoul’n’such” on freeform radio
this 17th April 2014 PST: 12-2pm EST: 3-5pm GMT: 8-10pm
This week: EP 267 :: a secular Maundy Thursday supper to cater for all of y’all Easter needs!

For anyone new – the DJ is my darling dear hubby, known here as iDJ. He’s been doing this show for over five years now, and knows his stuff!

He also does a new poster every week, and since the show is on Thursday, this year his theme has been throwbacks. Gotta love this one, on his confirmation day (he gave the name back a few years ago).

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Podcast/playlist: http://soulshenanigans.podomatic.com/entry/2014-04-17T15_37_58-07_00 . Can either stream it, or download it.

How Many of Your 9 Lives Are Left?

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My darling dear had a terribly close call while driving to the shops recently. An auld wan pulled out right in front of him, on a wet road, when he had a young wan about a meter and a half off his bumper. (For the non-Irish: wan means woman, basically just ‘one’ but rarely used for men.) Cars coming the other way, too. He made the quick decision to pass the old dear right snappy, nearly clipping her wing mirror in the action, and facing down the oncoming traffic. He made it, and left the young woman tailgating his arse to deal with the slow car instead.

Braking hard would have made a sandwich of our Mini, and steering while under ABS braking isn’t ideal. So he went for it, as I would have too, because while the Mini is 11 years old and just went over 125,000 miles on Friday, she is quick when you need her to be. I trust in that car daily when faced with slow arseholes behind slower tractors going around hard curves on narrow ass roads.

There is a dammed good reason Minis are used as rally cars!

As usual, I’ve gone off into a story instead of getting to my point. Which is entirely based on the Facebook update he did after arriving home: “Many thanks to the lady who pulled out in front of me (doing 65mph) today. If I braked, Ms tailgater behind would’ve been on my lap so boot to the floor into oncoming traffic & bye. Missed her wing mirrors by inches & lost one of my cat lives.”

Cat lives… we say that cats have nine lives, of course. I know hubby has had some bad times and if he thinks this is a number down, I believe him. I know of one other time he came close. So unless I want to get him all grumpy thinking about other times, I’ll say he still has seven. In reality, it’s probably six, but I don’t want to put him in a bad mood by asking. Maybe five. Who knows. Four? Sure there was at least one close call when he was very small.

I already did one post about a time I could have died, so I won’t go into the others. That post was gory enough!

How many cat lives out of nine do you have left? Tell me a story or write a post and link back if you find it’s a really good story!

Ooh, Socks Did it Again!

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One of the main themes I had when I first started this blog back in October 2012 was to follow my best friend’s journey into becoming a parent. I posted almost-weekly for nearly the entire pregnancy, as it was as much a learning experience for her as it was for me. It was great fun to have our weekly phone call (still being done) and get the update on where baby Button (now quite the little character) was in her gestational progress.

I introduce Socks here, and further explain our fantastic friendship here. If you would like to read the whole saga – it is pretty funny at times! – the link to every Socks post is here. Might be a few random posts about “actual” socks in there too, sorry!

Okay background is covered! New news! Socks and Bear have been making another new family member for the last 42 weeks. 42? Did I say 42 when a human gestational period is 40 weeks? Yes, yes I did. She went over time, and over over time… and FINALLY the docs said, ‘durr, yes, we have room at the inn.’

Believe me, Socks was not happy, not happy at all to have things delayed so long! She was scheduled to go in, being pretty much ready to go for over a week (just not having contractions yet) and it seems that everyone else decided to jump the queue ahead of her! She was due the 13th March. I had been joking since she told me she was pregnant that her child would be a Paddy’s Day baby, but thinking the whole time she’d be sooner. When she started to show signs of being ready, I was hoping for 6th March, as it coincides with the birthday of a loved one of mine (pretty apt as Socks’ daughter has exactly the same birthday as my only niece).

But no. The 6th passed, the 13th went by, the 17th was green (for me) but not a green light for them. Since then, it’s just been a drawn out waiting game.

The boy didn’t want to come out! Oh, didn’t I say? It’s a boy this time! He already seems to love his momma, as 42 weeks is a loooong time to hang around.

But! No more. Socks now has a son! Born yesterday at 7:52 pm, weighing in at 8lbs 4oz (3.74 kilos) and over 20 inches long (52cm)! Not an ouch to be had on Mom’s part, either – three pushes and hello, son!

Congratulations to Socks and Bear and Button on the new member of their warm family. He’s a lucky guy to be a part of it!

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words?

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I’m super low on energy as I have some sort of upper respiratory infection.

Also, coming down off the Paddy’s Day festivity excitement is slightly depressing.

Also, I always get a little weirder than normal in the spring. Even as a child, spring has messed with my head. All that potential life and energy and just plain potential, stored up and waiting to burst into…. well, I never quite managed to burst into anything particularly special so maybe that’s why I get a bit bummed out.

Anyhoo – I got a wee ceramic watering can and some narcissus bulbs for Christmas. I planted them and left them on my kitchen windowsill to grow.

And they did, of course. And they also looked like Spottie’s favourite snack – a long stringy thing. After he had a good munch, I moved them to the fireplace mantle, which is out of reach and too crammed with stuff for Spot to consider jumping up.

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I thought I was just taking a picture of my flowers. But what I saw was a little snapshot of me and who I am, displayed above my fireplace. Shall we have a tour?

Left to right: The plate is one made by my dad and his wife. She is a potter, amongst many other talents, and for several years they made Celtic pottery and toured the USA selling their wares at Irish festivals. Absolutely stunning work, and I’m very happy and proud to display their craft where it can be seen immediately. I’d love to share a link, but sadly they have retired from pottery-making.

The skulls – in old Ferrero Rocher chocolate boxes, no less – are ones I found myself. Top is a fox, bottom is a groundhog. I have a cat and an opossum, too – they just aren’t in the photo.

Well, the flowers of course. The wee watering can actually works as one, so it is pretty efficient at getting rid of excess water, despite having no drainage holes at the bottom (ye know, where they normally are). If you have time to stand around holding it at an angle to drip while keeping the long leaves from breaking. Meh. Will move the narcissus elsewhere I think.

The wonderful Celtic-carved skull! Man I love that thing. I bought it at the Cleveland Irish festival one year when dad came to sell their wares. I just fell in love with it. I believe I got it from Gaelsong – be warned, they are more than happy to send you catalogs full of drool-worthy items. I don’t see much stuff of their quality even over here. Maybe they just have an awesome photographer…

The wee white thing is a Philips IMAGEO LED candle light – we have them in red and blue and just love them. That’s the US/Canada link, but of course they sell them in Ireland and the UK (not sure about Australia/New Zealand). Cheap to run, charge quickly and cheaply, can be used on the charge base while lit, and give nice flickery light for hours and hours with no fire danger. I’d give them a 10 out of 10.

There is also the tiniest bit of a postcard that Socks sent me from her vacation to Maine in the fall of last year. ‘got lobstah?’ Hahahaha! I’d love to go to Maine.

Last – because it is not the least, not by any means – is the Ouija board.

I wrote so very much about that board that I think I will have to take a better photo of just the board and do a separate post. It’s incredibly important to me and deserves an explanation.

What treasures do you keep in a place of honour?

Paddy’s Day Music Special!

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Hi! I have plenty of notice to give this time – nearly a whole day in advance. Go me! Actually, it’s ‘Go iDJ’…
He’s been doing the Soul Shenanigans internet radio show for five years. Unpaid, by the way – it is all for the love of music – and he really does have a fabulous St Patrick’s Day show every year. It only needed a couple of tweaks and a new poster and bam! he had it all done tonight by 10pm (instead of around 3am, the man doesn’t seem to need sleep). So here I am, able to blog about it and share the love the day before instead of the day of.

Here’s the poster; he’s been scanning old photos out of his personal archive. This one dates to Paddy’s Day 1989. I think it is just perfect.

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As always: his Facebook is here, and the link to the live show is here.

Past broadcasts are on Podomatic – but they don’t stay up forever. Very much a limited time offer!

And since he’s a terrible self-promoter, here’s the donate link, too! (donations go to keep the station on the air, not to SoulShenanigans)

Damn that Talented Hubby o’ Mine…

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…and his spiffy ‘real camera.’ Imma just going to put these here.

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Dammit.

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Really, iDJ? You’re just showing off now.

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That jerk. How dare he spend his lunch hour taking really awesome flower pictures just for me (and you)!

De La Soul-Shenanigans!

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iDJ (my hubby) just loves his hip-hop, and one of his favourite bands is De La Soul. So this week, today, in just about an hour, he will be playing live on radio23.org Channel A, all of the original tunes that De La Soul took samples from.

This could be really interesting, and I’m sure there are bound to be surprises! If your a DLS fan or just curious, tune in to SoulShenanigans on the link above, or visit him on Facebook.

I’ll be posting the link to the podcast once the show is over, and maybe include the set list if anyone is interested?

This weeks poster:

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The podcast is now available! Give it a listen here.

Post-Holiday Depression in Pets?

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Most of us who dislike or tolerate our day (or night) jobs probably really appreciated the time off from work over the holidays. Ireland is very generous with holiday time – I worked from 7am to 10am on Dec 24th, and didn’t have to go back until Jan 2nd. I loved it!

The ones who loved it even more were our cats. They couldn’t wait for us to sit our (spreading) arses on the couch to catch up on movies, or TV, or box sets. I’m not kidding at all when I say that they were pulling at our sleeves to hurry us up to sit back from our breakfast and make room for them to cuddle under the blanket so they could snuggle into sleep.

I said our sleeves? No. They want to sleep on me. Just me.

Poor iDJ, he gets no cats. We have a running joke because the boys are always cuddling with me.
Him, pathetically: “Why don’t I get any cats?”
Me, hopefully: “We could get two more!”
Him, sad and resigned: “No, then you’d just have four cats.”

And that is true. Because he… twitches. He fidgets. Kitties hate that shit.

Me? I can lie like a slug for hours and hours and barely move at all. Kitty heaven.

It doesn’t hurt that I’m also really warm all the time – and they know it.

So, now that we are both back to work the boys are being rather mental because they miss lap-time, couch-time, whatever you want to call it. They are unimpressed that we are no longer here 24hrs a day providing comfy warm places to sleep. I know it upsets them, poor boys. It is so damn cold in this house during the day, and not a glimmer of sunshine in a month.

It’s not all bad. My good old man Spot decided to show iDJ some love on Sunday, and was adorable in his method. I think it was one last play at keeping us home to lurve on him constantly.

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New Beer! Lots and lots of it!

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Oh wow! Hubby got me a ton of holiday beer this year, and we’ve been having great fun drinking it! The labels are creative and beautiful, the beer is gorgeous, and the craic is mighty! I’ve been drinking these over the last few weeks, so I can’t quite recall how most of them tasted now. Please accept the brewery’s description (in quotes).

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Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. Our first one – our tree doesn’t even have lights on it yet!
“First brewed in 1981, Celebration Ale is one of the earliest examples of an American-style IPA and one of the few hop-forward holiday beers. Famous for its intense citrus and pine aromas, Celebration is bold and intense, featuring Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops—honoring everything we have at Sierra Nevada.” 6.8%

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Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale. This was our favourite, at least up until today’s tasting…
“Our Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale is a hand-crafted “winter warmer” with a deep amber hue and a rich, malty mouthfeel. Hints of toffee, spice, and caramel tickle the senses while the smooth, creamy finish will lift your spirits; a perfect beer to share with friends and family during the cold days and long nights of winter.” 6.9%

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Barbar Bok. It kinda kicked our asses!
“The Barbar Bok is adorned with dark colours and a ruby reflection. It undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle and merges the softness of honey with the strength of alcohol. The honey originates from Yucatan in Mexico and is hardly noticeable. In the brewery they maintain that the Barbar does not taste of honey but when accompanied by a dish with added honey, the dish tastes of Barbar. In the beginning, it was only brewed in the winter and was called Barbar Winter Bok. However, since 2008 the consumer decided otherwise. You can now also enjoy it in the summer to the great delight of lovers of brown beer.” 8%

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Anchor Steam Christmas Ale. I’ve had this in previous years, back when I was still an American.
“Every year since 1975 the brewers of Anchor Steam® Beer have brewed a distinctive and unique Christmas Ale, which is available from early November to mid-January. The Ale’s recipe is different every year—as is the tree on the label—but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons, appears born anew. Our tree for 2013 is the California White Fir. It was hand drawn by local artist James Stitt, who has been creating Christmas Ale labels for us since 1975.” 5.5%

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Smithwick’s Winter Spirit. I can’t get a brewery quote, just a press release quote – a shame as this is the first Irish beer on my list. Not enough spice – it tasted like a really good pint of Smithwick’s.
“…in making a winter ale, they sought a beer that would have body and colour and he believes that they’ve got it right with Winter Spirit. Winter Spirit provides a warmer, deeper flavour as a result of the roasted barley used in the brewing process.” 4.5%

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O’Hara’s Winter Star Spiced Amber Ale. Another Irish brew, it had a very spiced scent and smelled lovely – but not strong enough for us. The necessary warming note of a winter ale was lost here.
“In our 2013 edition, subtle use of spices and orange zest bring out a refreshing and different touch to this winter beer and also make for a dry finish. The orange zest and mild coconut flavours are the first to hit the palette, closely followed by the warmth of cinnamon spices mellowed in the orange essence. Dual purpose hops finish the aroma combination adding just a touch of evergreen, perfect for this winter amber ale.” 4.3%

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On to tonight’s smorgasbord! First was Italy’s Birrificio del Ducato Winterlude. ‘The champagne of beer’. Well, yes; it bubbled all over the damn countertop! We drank it a bit too cold – once it warmed up I got the wonderful fruity taste. I thought it was orangey, but it seems I was wrong.
“Top fermented beer which undergoes a secondary fermentation in bottle. It is intense gold, almost orange in color, with aromas of fruit in syrup (pineapple, peach and apricot), candy sugar, bread crust and a note of chives from the Belgian hops of Poperinge. Warm and sweet on the palate with a firm fizzy finish. Strong and structured, sweet and inviting. A tribute to a friend who went missing, who we may meet again one day, just like the sun that is hiding behind the hill. Winterlude is also named after a Bob Dylan song, a perfect fit since it is a winter warmer. The idea of winter as an interlude representing both the pause before awakening and the oblivion before new life.
This beer is inspired by some varieties of the Belgian Tripels. The hops come from the Poperinge region, a variety I have always been fascinated by. I connected with one of the region’s local farmer and had him set a preferred variety aside from his most recent harvest.” 8.8% (we like to start off at a gallop)

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From Denmark: Mikkeller’s Hoppy Lovin’ Christmas. Once again we had it a bit too cold at first, but once it warmed up? Pine needles. Not kidding. It worked! A lovely beer, I could have had several, no bother.
“Pours orange golden with a off white head. Aromas of fresh pine and tropical fruit with hints of floral notes. The pine aromas comes through on the palate along with citrus fruit. This is full of flavour with a touch of dry bitter hops on the finish.” 7.8%

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Alaskan Brewing Company’s Smoked Porter. The best. Best. Best! Technically, this is not anything remotely Christmas, Holiday, Seasonal… I don’t care. I got it for Christmas and had it tonight. I don’t think we said anything but ‘Wow!’ for five minutes. The smoke… wow! It was a strong, strong taste. It was amazing and wonderful and damn, if it didn’t cost as much as a bottle of fine wine, I’d have more. Wow.
“Smoked Beer. Known as “rauchbier” in Germany, smoke-flavored beers were virtually unknown in the U.S. until Alaskan Smoked Porter was developed in 1988. The dark, robust body and pronounced smoky flavor of this limited edition beer make it an adventuresome taste experience. Alaskan Smoked Porter is produced in limited “vintages” each year on November 1 and unlike most beers, may be aged in the bottle much like fine wine… Prior to brewing, selected malts are smoked in small batches under carefully controlled conditions in a commercial food smoker using local alder wood.” 6.9%

I can’t say enough how wonderful the porter was. If you try anything on my list today, try this! And pay what they ask: it is worth it when it comes all the way from Alaska (where two good friends and now my sister, brother in law and only niece are enjoying the long nights and snowy cold days).

Happy Beermas!

Not Your Typical Christmas Carols

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heretherebespiders:

I’m tickled pink that Tom loves my hubby’s music enough to do a whole post, with links! Thank you, Tom! The Xmas special is pretty damn good, too :)

Update: if the idea of more holiday music (ugh, at this point, right?) doesn’t get you excited, maybe having a gawk at the playlist will?

EP 250 Christmas Special Playlist:
1. Graham Parker – Soul Christmas
2. Jack Scott – There’s Trouble Brewin’
3. Lester Lanin And His Orchestra – Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairies
4. The Kirby Stone Four – Baubles, Bangles, And Beads
5. The Moonglows – Hey Santa Claus
6. Juliette – That Holiday Feeling
7. Mae West – Put The Loot In The Boot, Santa
8. Brenda Lee – I’m Gonna Lasso Santa Claus
9. Rita Faye Wilson – Sleigh Bells, Reindeer & Snow
10. The New Pornographers – Joseph, Who Understood
11. Rufus Wainwright – Spotlight On Christmas
12. Sufjan Stevens – Get Behind Me, Santa!
13. Chris Stamey Group – Christmas Time
14. The Smithereens – Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)
15. Dwight Twilley – Christmas Stars
16. The Buzz of Delight – Christmas
17. The Bratchmen – Christmas Love
18. Orange Juice – Holiday Hymn
19. Three Wise Men – Thanks For Christmas
20. Throwing Muses – Santa Claus
21. Cocteau Twins – Frosty The Snowman
22. Tracey Thorn – Tinsel And Lights
23. Belle & Sebastian – Are You Coming Over For Christmas
24. Sufjan Stevens – Christmas In The Room
25. The Smashing Pumpkins – Christmas Time
26. Smith & Burrows – Funny Looking Angels
27. Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler – Home For The Holidays
28. Gruff Rhys – Post Apocalypse Christmas
29. The Magnetic Fields – Everything Is One Big Christmas Tree
30. Robert Earl Keen – Merry Christmas From The Family
31. Yo La Tengo – It’s Christmas Time
32. NRBQ – Christmas Wish
33. Nick Lowe – Children Go Where I Send Thee
34. Half Man Half Biscuit – All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit
35. The Fall – Hark The Herald Angels Sing
36. Pearl Jam – Someday at Christmas
37. The Kinks – Father Christmas
38. Julian Casablancas – I Wish It Was Christmas Today
39. Cheap Trick – Come On Christmas
40. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Christmas All Over Again
41. A House – Here Come the Good Times
42. The Pogues Ft Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale of New York
43. Lynne Richards – Christmas In Ireland
44. NRBQ – Message From The North Pole

Originally posted on Off Topic:

Dedicated, DJ DCass even creates a unique cover image for his show every week

Dedicated, DJ DCass even creates a unique cover image for his show every week

Looking for good music for Xmas, but you’re tired of hearing boring carols you’ve been forced to listen to year after year since time immemorial? Well, DJ Dcass just gave us the Christmas Special I was hoping for.

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