Monday, February 11, 2008


The leg of the evening

I hosted my annual women’s brunch yesterday. Fourteen were in attendance. Over the years the numbers wax and wane as southern and warmer climes beckon some of the invitees. Other times, to my surprise, there is a wealth of women, thirty-six was the all time high achieved about ten years ago.

The day lingers long and lovingly, beginning around eleven in the morning and tailing off at around ten at night. After polishing off the big meal, we snack on the leftovers throughout the leg of the evening, the cheese and fruit trays, the plum pudding, the cinnamony thingies.

I prepare standard fare, this year ably assisted by the grandgirl who throws herself into co-hosting and who just may carry on the tradition as the whole event fascinates her. We had wild salmon on a long platter, my famous egg strata dish, equally famous curried cabbage, perogies, Irish soda bread, croissants, fruits, cheese, desserts, potatoes, ham, Irish tea, strong French roast coffee, juices, neglected wine.

Photo taken after the savaging of the feast.

There are many Irish in attendance so the conversation loops around our Irish experiences, upbringings and evolution, emigration, feminism, relationships, Canada, politics, passions.

We touch on those who are no longer with us -far too many.

We follow some of the tradition of my mother’s Nollaig Na Mban celebration in Ireland and halfway through we have a little meditation to the spirit of Saint Brigid and ask her to take all the trials and tribulations of the previous year and put them away so we can get on with the new year.

And then I pass around a basket where everyone blindly selects their gift. This year they were silver stones in tiny frothy lace bags with different words on each that everyone had to open and reflect on. All had particular and unique meaning for each participant.

Mine was “Laugh” and even though everyone present thinks I am a reasonably happy and content person, I recognised that I have a doom and gloom philosophy when it comes to politics and global warming. I need to lighten up and stop taking it all so seriously. I am limited - I can only take care of my own tiny section of the universe. I shared this.

And today my daughter forwarded me a very good article that I’ve taken to heart:

It would be possible to write an entire book on the psychology of disaster. Fire and flood, earthquake and tornado, explosion and collision, robbery and arrest — our response is always the same. The Irish potato famine, the 1929 stock-market crash, and the rise of Nazism were all received in the same manner: widespread denial, followed by a rather catatonic apathy. But those historical events at least reached an end.

The systemic collapse that we are now undergoing has no such end. There will be no return to normal. There may very well be a return to happiness, but there will be no return to "normal." We will become like the Australian aborigines: naked on the outside, but with a rich interior life. There will be no more television. And that is why it may be obsessional and ultimately self-destructive to be talking about disaster.

It would be more positive, more pro-active, to deal with survival skills, rather than with prophecies of doom. Instead of reading one more article about the fact that food prices are skyrocketing worldwide, it may be healthier to get out the seed catalogs — which are being published at this time of year — and ask oneself: Which corn is better, Iroquois White, Mandan Bride, or Painted Mountain?

See the rest of the article here.

And next I hauled out my Terra Edibles Organic Catalogue and plotted ordering and planting some new stuff for the acres on the Avalon.

All photos taken by the grandgirl


  1. That sounds like a terrific event.

    The food is making my mouth water!

  2. I know, GM, there are some smidgins of leftovers which the dog and I are sharing today!!!

  3. Makes me almost wish I were an Irish woman!

    Off-topic, I sent you directions for an email link, then noticed you already have one. Ten out of ten for observation, RJ!

    I also noticed Nick's link to Newfoundland was incomplete, so just in case you weren't able to find the article, here is the full link:

  4. Thanks RJA, we just might declare you an honorary Irish woman if you showed up!
    Yes, I perused some helpful hints on a website today and managed to set up the email link ***sits straighter, tries not to smirk :>)***
    Thanks as always for your help and I did a websearch on Nick's link when it didn't work and am saving the article.

  5. Sounds like a great get-together. I like the idea of asking Saint Brigid to take away all the trials of the previous year and give you a clean slate! And yes, too much doom and gloom doesn't do anyone any good. After an appropriate display of outrage and concern, we just have to let the cosmos work out its own destiny and hope we're included!!

    I just checked the link and it worked fine, so not sure what's happening there. If you still can't get the article, just go to and search for Newfoundland.

  6. Nick:
    And working on our own tiny section of life and place helps too, I think. Anyway LAUGH is the motto.
    And I note also, through Jenny's blog, you are nominated for Best Newcomer in the Irish blog awards!!
    Well deserved and congratulations!!!

  7. Gee thanks *looks away embarrassed*


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