Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I am almost as Irish as an American Irish person can be. All of my ancestors, with the exception of one who came from England, came over from Ireland during the potato famine. I was born Colleen Garry and I married a man who is less Irish than me, but carries a more obvious Irish name, Corrigan. When we got married my brother told me that my new name, Colleen Corrigan, sounded like the name of a leprechaun. St. Patrick’s Day, which is this Thursday, is a day that I look forward to every year. I’m not quite sure what it is that I like so much about St. Patty’s Day. I’m not exactly a big fan of parades; I find them to be just okay. However, there are certain parts of the St. Patrick’s Day parade that I do enjoy, like the step dancers and the bag pipers. We actually had a bag piper play outside of the church on the day we were married. And, when I was little I used to be an Irish step dancer and dance in the annual parade on Staten Island. My husband is currently a New York City fireman and unless he has to work, he usually marches in the parade in Manhattan every year. Before my kids were in school, it was fun to take them into the city to watch him march. When I was growing up, St. Patrick’s Day was the one day of the year when Irish music and the smell of corned beef and cabbage swarmed the house and now, I enjoy carrying on the tradition for my children every year. I love to bake and March is the one month when I make several loaves of Irish soda bread. I actually made five loaves on Sunday and I will probably make a few more before Thursday. I love listening to the Irish music, the warmth of an Irish knit sweater, the little kids all dressed in green and how everyone is just a little Irish on that day. It’s also a reminder that spring is just around the corner. It’s a fun day and I’m looking forward to celebrating it again this Thursday. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all!!


Ancestors (noun) – a person from one whom one is descended

Leprechaun (noun) - a literary figure found in Irish folklore represented as a little old man who will reveal the location of a hidden crock of gold to anyone who catches him 

Exception (preposition) – exclusion of

Parade (noun) – A large public procession, usually including a marching band and often of a festive nature, held in honor of an anniversary, person, event etc…

Bag Pipe (noun) - an instrument consisting of a melody pipe and one or more accompanying drone pipes protruding from a windbag into which the air is blown by the mouth or bellows

Bag Piper (noun) – A person who plays a bag pipe

Corned Beef (noun) – beef cured or pickled in brine

Cabbage (noun) – the head or leaves of a plant, eaten cooked or raw

Potato Famine (noun) – a historical event between 1846 and 1849 a fungus infected the potato crops in Ireland, causing massive death and emigration throughout the nation.

Practice: Fill in the blanks with the vocabulary words from the list above.
  1. Her _________ came from Germany. 
  2. With the __________ of his aunt, the entire family went to the wedding. 
  3. The school band marches in the _____________ every year. 
  4. The ________is a difficult instrument to play. 
  5. The __________played a beautiful song during the ceremony. 
  6. He cooks the _____________ in a slow cooker. 
  7. I like to eat corned beef and ___________.
  8. My children believe that if they are ever lucky enough to see a ________ he will lead them to a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
  9. The ________  _________was a difficult and tragic time for the Irish people.
Grammar Point:
Verbs are action words needed to make sentences. Can you list all of the verbs I have used in my blog? Think of a holiday in your culture and write five sentences about it using at least five of the verbs I have used in my blog.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Don't Text and Drive

The other day I was talking with some friends about our pet peeves. Everyone has them. Some seem to make sense and others just seem kind of funny. In our discussion, the pet peeves ranged from lying to the inaccuracies of the weather channel. One of my major pet peeves is texting while driving. I have friends who tell me it’s not a big deal and they have it down to a science. This idea is something I simply just don’t understand. It’s amazing how dependent upon cell phones we have become over the years. Looking around, especially at today’s teenagers, it almost seems like the cell phone has become another extremity-- attached to the hand at all times. It seems a little excessive to me, maybe even an addiction. Don’t get me wrong, I am lost without my cell phone. I consider it a necessity in my everyday life and I am a pretty big texter. However, I don’t do it while driving and if I’m talking to someone while I’m on the road, it’s hands free. According to an article on Oprah.com, author Sari Harrar writes, “A recent survey found that 77 percent of respondents said they've texted or sent mobile e-mail while driving.” It is also quite alarming to me that studies have shown that while driving drunk makes you four times as likely to be in an accident, texting while driving makes you eight times as likely to be in an accident (see chart). I just can’t imagine what could possibly be so important that so many people can’t hold off on reading and sending text messages until they have reached their destination. I doubt anyone would argue that the message was worth sending if it caused them to kill someone. Ok, I’ll get off my soap box now.


Pet Peeve (noun) - a major annoyance or complaint

Discussion (noun) - an act or instance of discussing; consideration or examination by argument, comment

Inaccuracy (noun, plural --cies) something inaccurate; error

Dependent (adjective) - relying on someone or something else for aid, support

Extremity (noun) - a limb of the body

Respondent (noun) - a person who responds or makes a reply

Soap box (noun) - an improvised platform, as one on a street, from which a speaker delivers an informal speech, an appeal

Fill in the Blanks

1. The man was preaching his beliefs on a _________ outside of Penn Station.
2. There were fourteen __________ who replied to the volunteer request letter.
3. It is important to cover all of your ___________ when it is cold outside.
4. She is __________ upon alcohol.
5. The form was filled with so many _________, it needed to be redone.
6. The parents needed to have a ___________ about their daughter's behavior with the teacher.
7. Dirty dishes in the sink left from the night before is his biggest ____________.

Grammar point

In formal writing, it is best to avoid using contractions. However, since blog writing is an informal style of writing, I have used several contractions. Can you find all of them and undo the contraction? For example: I'm = I am.