It's March. The mail courier wears short sleeves today; I was feeling too warm in a shamrock t-shirt and spring-green polartec I had to unzip. A bit of rain this morning, hopefully it'll hold off tomorrow. Green, green, green...... still spots of solid ice Daisy and, okay, *I* slipped on this morning. I tell a coworker that I think this can count as spring, after she comes in, sighing that it's in the 60F's outside. Coworker, "We can declare it official Spring." Even if my aunt in Maine told me it's snowing quite a bit there today, even if I hear my aunt in Seattle got snow last night. Ahhh, tis time for wearing of the green, in earnest, then.
M and I have been booked fairly solid with her Irish step dance rehearsals for "big show," but also for rehearsals for St. Patrick's "Day" gigs (and recital later), and class, and my rehearsals, and, well, I skipped class this week. I danced, a bit under the weather, but enjoyably, at a St. Patrick's parade fundraiser.
This week, 4 nights worth of several-hour rehearsals for M, in part to make up for this past Sundays rehearsal cancellations (weather). Long, but she's smiling and enjoying them, not wanting to miss any. The dancers tend to hang in the main dance room, some with homework spread out (M did her algebra one night that way), watching each others dances, the fine-tuning of the choreography, the dancing, the music. The lighting specialist was there the past 2 nights, so every dance was run through, a costume per dance shown, too.
Except for "knock-knock," whose costumes have not arrived yet. The background for "knock-knock" will be photos of various doors, popping up and disappearing on the screen in time to the music. The dancers also use drumsticks (which M has found hard to keep track of, finally just leaving hers at the studio along with some backup ones there). This is a new dance this year, started on the night co-dancer Amy died in an undertow, developed to this fantastic number. I hope, in some ways, that it honors her spirit, too.
Tomorrow, though, we'll celebrate. It's one of thee favorite days for M and me. We'll join in festivities, green everywhere, gaudily so at times, decorated dogs even (sometimes, dogs will wear spraypainted shamrocks), beaded necklaces, "kiss meI'm Irish" buttons, waving of mini-Irish flags that somehow don't last to the following year intact, and all sorts of merriment.
There are two BIG St. Patrick's Day parades in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area. One is in Old Towne Alexandria (tomorrow's). The other is the Baltimore parade, next Sunday, March 11. There is also a Washington, D.C., St. Patrick's Day parade, which is fun and fine and we've been to often (I believe it's also next Sunday, March 11 this year), and only a few "town" ones that I'm aware of, one in a town nearby us, that is being held on March 17th itself! this year, which my main ceili/set dance group is in, and M's stepdance school has been in, but has conflicts this year for one thing.
Parade Info is for Olde Towne Alexandria's parade, or, go here: 2007 Alexandria Saint Patrick's Day Parade - Saturday, March 3, 2007 They have a dog show beforehand. M has school friends, brother and sister pair, who always go with their parents who are college friends with a business owner there. In March, 2002, the first time "the" flag from the Pentagon was seen in public since Spetember 11, 2001, it "marched" in the parade, as did M and I with my group. I loved that:) Of course, "the" flag was way way in front of us, but hey, I still feel honored and humbled by it. One year recently, the now Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley was the Grand Marshall.
Last year, M originally fussed about being with us, even walking with us, holding a banner which she sometimes likes, it's not step dancing. No, it's not. She's not with HER group. No, her Irish stepdancing group doesn't do this parade, other groups do. She was being an 11.5 year old not certain about hanging with Mom and the group that she was now seeing as Mom's group (even if it'd been her group, too, and she got ME started in it). Other mothers smiled and told me not to worry, which I didn't, and that they wouldn't push M to participate, after realizing encouragement didn't work. M found her friends watching along the route, however, and I agreed for those parents to keep an eye on her. The boy thought it really cool M had been in it. I went back after our group was done parading, chatting with the parents, and M, and us watching the rest of the parade. Another daughter competes in Scottish step dancing, so I promised I'd look for that girl when M and I went to the Southern Maryland Celtic festival later last year (last weekend of April, typically, big Scottish-bent Celtic festival, piping competitions and Scottish dancing competitions, one of the better ones). We didn't see her while there, but at the Irish parade last year, it felt like another fun connection.
The Irish stepdance groups who "parade" are sometimes on flatbeds so that they can dance without marching-dancing. (M's dance school does both, depending upon the parade itself, sometimes marching a parade march, and sometimes the performing troupes dancers on a flatbed in solo or school dresses.) One of the last groups to go at this one are trucks from the Alexandria Fire Department. They give out GREEN plastic fire hats:) Somehow, those don't last through the year, either, so we try to get one. Especially useful on years it rains more than a mite.
We joined my dance group for lunch, they always go to the same restaurant annually, then M and I "shop." We may not come home until evening, but there's a great kids store ("Y Knot" may be the name), and "our" ice cream shoppe with homemade ice cream with outrageous prices (but very good). We'll go by the water (Potomac River, looks into DC), and perhaps the oh, hmmm, there's a large building there with a lot of art in it, and artists workshops. It's a wonderful town, Alexandria is. We'd enjoy hanging out there other days, also. Pricey. Even the garages charge on SATURDAYS, ugh. But, I recall M smiling, eating something we'd gotten for dinner, sunsetting outside. There are specific places she believes we visit annually, forgetting that occasionally she's with her father the weekend of this parade. That's okay.
M could have gone skiing tomorrow (okay, I'd have to have had money to afford it, being I not only bought M a beautiful (used) Irish step dance solo dress recently, AND just ordered her new hard shoes). She could have had a sleepover tonight at a friends, and I would have her do that if M had a rehearsal scheduled for tomorrow, also. Friend and mother (MegMAID) was happy to have M stay over. "What's Saturday, Mom?" "It's the Old Town Alexandria St. Patrick's Day Parade." "This is the one with the little teeny cars?" Twice, my ceili/set dance group has been placed somewhat nearby a charitable men's group (Kiwanis????) with their wonderful mini "cars." When a younger girl, the guys would hand out stickers to children and M got to sit in one of the cars, play in it. I'm happy that she's come to treasure "our" annual day together. I look forward to tomorrow, even suggesting in her "spare" time, contacting her friends to see if they'll be there again, too.
I'm pretty certain I know where BOTH of our sweatshirts are, for my Irish ceili/set dance group. I can guess where my other "attire" is, lol. I've been so caught up in M's costumes, not focusing on my own which is MUCH simplier and doesn't vary from dance to dance, just from type of performance. (It's group t-shirts for the warmer parades!) M has her green/white/orange belt ready:) Not sure if she'll wear the group attire, or just celebrating Irish heritage attire. Maybe this trip to New York City and her studies of immigration helped her understand more just what many ethnic groups struggle with, and cherish, upon immigrating here. Eh, tis okay either way. It'll be "our" day again.
May the wind always be at yer back, the sun shine upon your fields, yadda yadda, insdert pleasant supposedly Irish traditional blessings here, and may you be in heaven half an hour after the devil knows you're dead ;)
For a couple local events, one I've never attended, Shamrock Fest, probably as tickets are $90. and up! but in the spirit (Flogging Molly is playing this year) -- St. Patrick's Day Celebrations Around Washington, DC
Or, if you hear someone insist that s/he knows how St. Patrick's Day is celebrated "properly," lol: blog.myspace.com/dudewheresmytuna