Slainte Mary Higgins Clark and the American Ireland Fund

Slainte Mary Higgins Clark and the American Ireland Fund.

Several days ago, Tricia and I travelled to New York City to host a celebration of the publication of our book. We were humbled and honored to have shared the evening with the incomparable Mary Higgins Clark.

The American Ireland Fund is an organization devoted to the support of Irish Charities and is made up of Americans with an Irish connection. Several of the wise Irish women in our book have a connection to the American Ireland Fund and Tricia reached out to the organization to share our project. Our goal was to share our project and support the goals of the organization.

Serendipitously, the American Ireland Fund is currently focusing on developing a section of Irish Women Leaders—as Tricia mentioned to them, we have started the list with our book, Wise Irish Women.

After several emails back and forth, the American Ireland Fund graciously offered to help coordinate an event to celebrate the launch of our book. One of their most active members is our own wise Irish women, Mary Higgins Clark. With her usual grace and kindness, Mrs. Clark agree to attend our event and speak as a keynote speaker and share her amazing story.

The venue was selected—a lovely small Irish Chocolate shop located just across from Bryant Park in downtown Manhattan— Lily O’Brien’s. Lily O’Brien’s provides delectable authentic, Irish chocolate that is truly delicious. The party was the ultimate in sophistication—chocolate, champagne and good company.

Many wise Irish women, from the New York area attended the party including several of our own featured women. It was a treat to meet them in person. My only regret was that we were not able to spend more time with them. The few minutes I was able to share with them were very gratifying. I am so proud to be associated with such an accomplished group of people. It is very rewarding to be able to say thank you to each of them for being a part of this project.

Naturally the highlight of the evening was hearing Mrs. Clark speak about her life’s experiences. She is so gracious and kind. It is an honor to know her and a gift to have been able to include her in our book. On top of everything, she told us and everyone there that she loved our book. That really makes it all worth while.

Don’t forget that Wise Irish Women will make a wonderful Mother’s Day gift. You still have time to place an order–check out our website

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Stickers of Steel

I was very excited to bring home my new set of matching canisters to sit on my counter and hold Coffee, Tea and Sugar in lovely decorative containers. They are coordinated to match the “oiled bronze” look of my faucets and kitchen cabinet knobs. I was also pleased that they are designed with lids that seal tightly to assure that the contents will stay fresh. What I did not ever anticipate was the battle that would ensue with the “Stickers of Steel” that were affixed to the outside of the containers.

I noticed the stickers when I purchased the containers….they provided a general description of the items, manufacturer, product name, size and, of course, the ever valuable bar code. Useful, and some might say, necessary.

After I got them home, I washed them, dried them, and then tried to remove the “STICKERS.” At first I tackled them with my ordinary finger nails hoping to raise and edge enough to grab hold and pull them off. Impossible. No way could I get the stickers off.

I recognized that I had to bring out the big gun—Goo Gone—the miracle sticker remover.

I carefully laid the containers on their sides, set them on cardboard and then saturated the “STICKERS” with the Goo Gone. Goo Gone was rolling down the sides of the containers and pooling on the counter but the stickers where unaffected. I decided that I needed to let everything soak a while and went about doing other chores. One thing let to another and it was a couple of hours before I returned. I wiped the containers with a paper towel expecting the sticker to slide off like normally happens with Goo Gone.

Nothing. Not a dent or wrinkle or even a curled edge. I tried the fingernail trick again with no luck.

More Goo Gone—left it sitting overnight—nothing.

Now I was truly frustrated. I wanted to use my containers but, did I really want them “decorated” with the manufacturer’s label? I could always orient them toward the wall but was I going to let the “STICKERS” win?

Dilemma. If I score the stickers, I could break the seal and get the Goo Gone to soak in but I am risking scratching the surface of my new containers. Sighing, I realized that I was now on day two of soaking with no progress.

I carefully got my kitchen scissors and “scored” the surface of the containers. Four hours later, the scoring worked, sort of. I saw progress but was still a long way from success.

Scoring away I criss-crossed the label with multiple slices until finally the label was covered with a series of small scratches. After letting is soak over night, SUCCESS!!!

The labels came off the containers with only a little bit of rubbing.

My question? Now really, do manufacturers need to stick labels on containers that take two days to get off? How is it productive to put something on the side of the container that requires a special product and tools to remove? Don’t most people intend to remove the stickers before they use the containers? (Maybe I am mistaken here and some people like the stickers or just leave them on as decorations.)

In any case, I wish I was not a voice in the wind…..anyone else want stickers that don’t stick forever?

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Spring Break….Vacation or Nightmare?

Spring Break

While traveling on Spring Break, one of the first activities that I have to tackle is the visit to the Grocery Store to stock up on enough food to feed a small army.

I am proud to say that I have a menu stored on my iPad and options for a standard grocery list. In theory, all I should have to do is make a quick dash around the store to stock up for the week. The reality is very different.

If you have never been to a resort town on the weekend before a busy holiday week you have really missed something. “Crowded” takes on a new meaning. People are everywhere and seem to travel in packs. I will admit, that now, after many, many years of Spring Break spent in a vacation town, I am quite intrigued with the people watching aspect of the whole process.

Last Sunday I headed to the local grocery and grabbed my cart. Almost immediately, I ran into a group of three “guys” clearly on a “guys” vacation. They were in the dairy section of the store and I overheard them discussing the importance of milk. One guy mentioned that he loved milk. The other commented with some skepticism, “You really think that you are going to drink all of that?” “Sure.” was guy number 1’s response as he reached into the refrigerator section and grabbed two gallons of milk. “Hey grab one more.” he instructed guy number 1 who complied by grabbing one more gallon of milk.

The interesting thing (other than the idea of a 3 gallon milk fest) is the fact that they grabbed three different types of milk. That’s right. Guy number 1, grabbed whole milk and Guy number 2 picked up 2% and non-fat. I bet they never notice.

I left them grabbing enough frozen entrees to feed a dozen guys for a month.

Next I started watching two women who were shopping and still dressed in ski cloths. I could easily hear their conversation. “Well my family likes orange juice with pulp.” Woman number 1 commented. Woman number 2, emphatically replied, “Little Johnny won’t drink it with pulp.”

“Well should we get both?” Women number 1 asked.

“I guess so.” Johnny’s mother replied.

I watched as they put two half gallons of orange juice in their cart–with and without pulp. Then they started discussing breakfast options. Little Johnny likes frozen waffles, and pancake wrapped sausages on a stick, and yogurt, and cereal, and bacon, and french toast and an assortment of other choices, all for one week. But of course, whatever little Johnny wants, little Johnny gets. Woman number 1 was staring at the pile of breakfast goodies but didn’t say a word.

Woman number 1 placed hamburger patties in the cart. “We will make hamburgers for dinner tonight. We need buns and frozen french fries.”

“Little Johnny doesn’t like hamburgers. Let’s get some frozen chicken nuggets and mac and cheese.” Johnny’s mother informed Woman number1 while reaching for the freezer door.

I left as Woman number 1 watched a whole new collection of dinner items being added to the cart by Johnny’s mom.

We love to have company for spring break and I am happy to report that I have gotten to the point in life that I welcome friends but I no longer struggle to please everyone. I fix dinner–a good, basic menu–if someone does not like it, they can make a sandwich. I always have peanut butter and jelly.

Vacations are one of those things that are supposed to be fun and relaxing but can turn into a nightmare in a flash. Food shopping is a challenge. At the end of the day, if you are the host or hostess, remember, the peanut butter and jelly.

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Google Alerts–Wise Irish Women

Google is amazing. I have a feeling that I do not have any idea about all the options that are available through Google. I am learning more each day.

A friend of mine shared a very useful tip about using Google–Google Alerts. As I have mentioned before, I have been busy checking the web for mentions of Wise Irish Women online. I would check into Google, do a search and scroll through the pages for new posts. It was gratifying every time I found something, but most of the time, I was just revisiting old posts.

A few days ago, someone mentioned that Google offers an option that allows you to ask Google to alert you whenever there is a mention of your search term. So far it is a little broad but does bring up new posts. It is a great tool for tracking a topic or term of interest. I imagine that it has a lot of applications.

“Google”-google alerts and follow the instructions for setting up your own Google Alert.

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Forgive me a small brag–Texas Lawyer Interview

I did a google search for Wise Irish Women which is a regular habit I have assumed for the last few weeks and was thrilled to see a blog entry about our book. It was nice to be recognized in a newspaper that is relevant to my chosen career. The article reaches a whole new segment of the world.  Not your typical market for a book like ours.  But, in truth, our stories are very relevant to professional women in every field. We all face choices and challenges as we work to live (not live to work).

I was pleased that the reporter took to time to interview me and then wrote a very nice piece about our work. Most important, he focused on the real purpose of our project–to honor our grandmother, my father and Tricia’s mother. We miss them so much that it was important to us to make a small mark in the world. We hope this book will do so.

I was taken a little off guard when he emailed me and asked for a head shot photo. It is funny but I have not had a professional photo taken in years. Of course, time was of the essence but my trustee iPad came to the rescue. In just a couple of minutes I had scrolled through my photo album, found a shot of me and my daughter that was a close up of our faces, and quickly used one of my apps to crop and save a head shot.

It is amazing what flexibility technology has introduced to our lives. Of course, we keep setting the bar higher and higher, our expectations rising and our demands increasing with every new development. We love the fast life. We love the instantaneous connection. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget the little moments.

I was very happy to see the article–for many reasons. Most of all, I am sure my father is smiling.

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Fun. Fun. Fun!!!!

Fun, Fun Fun!!

Now that Tricia and I have finished our book the hard work really begins. We had no idea how many tasks it takes to get a book out into the world. We are learning as we go—finding out short cuts and exploring new ideas.

The best part of all, is the hunt for new chances to share our work. I have been thrilled to search the internet and find new blogs and “mentions” about our book in the most random of places.

We have been lucky that so many different sources have taken the time to publish a little tidbit about our book. I “google” “Wise Irish Women” several times a day and I am surprised at what I have found. The internet is amazing. The connection to everyone and the world is incomprehensible.

Just a moment ago I found a story about our book in the Hartford Connecticut newspaper. Then I found that we have sold a book to a man from Simsbury Connecticut. Each new sale is a mystery and a gift. I especially love seeing our book head out to all corners of the country. So far we have managed to hit, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, Georgia, Utah, North Carolina, Maryland, California, New Jersey, not including the home states and countries of our wise Irish women. Naturally, we cannot forget Texas. As I package and prepare our book to go to a new home, I am filled with excitement. I wish I could talk with our readers to find out what they think. To ask which story they like the best.

It is true, when you write a book you give away a little part of your heart.

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Wise Irish Women--Laura and TriciaIt was with a little trepidation that Tricia and I sat down at our book signing table just before 6:00 on Friday March 2. We had invited family and friends to share our excitement over the publication of our book at a party and book signing. We had no idea how many people would actually venture out on a very windy Friday evening but we were hopeful that we would have enough people present to at least eat the food.

Just a moment after my daughter snapped our photo, we were happy to see our first book buyer eagerly waiting for us to sign our names. After that, the line continued for almost two hours. We were so thrilled. It was immensely gratifying to have so many people gather to wish us well and share in our journey. We have worked for almost two years, gathering stories, interviewing our wise women, writing, editing, and then finalizing our book. It is amazing how much goes on behind the scenes. It is not a simple task and involves so much more than just writing the words on paper.

We know that we have had angels helping us along the way. Even though it has been a lot of work, there have been too many little miracles that have just pulled us along this path so that we are now able to present our work to the world.

We have always felt that there was an important message to share but we also know that we have to work to get it out. Now starts the work—with the fun thrown in.

Our party and book signing was a success because of so many people who took the time to care about what we have done. THANKS to all of you. Slainte. Enjoy the words of our amazing “wise Irish women.”

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Little Things Make for Big Excitement

We were thrilled to wake up this morning and find that the El Paso Times had included a mention about our book, Wise Irish Women, in the Living section under Book notes. It was a nice write up and even included a photo of our cover. I was very excited when Tricia called to tell me. He father had noticed it and called her early this morning with the news.

I stopped and bought a copy of the paper so I would have a paper copy for my scrapbook. It is very satisfying to see the news in print and to know our project has come to life. Both Tricia and I have wrestled with the fear that other people would not like our work. We still worry but we know we have accomplished our main goal which was to honor our Grandmother, and her mother. My father would have been thrilled beyond belief. I know that he would have relished every moment of this process and is in fact, sharing our joy over this work. Our grandmother and my aunt, were tough, resilient women who put family first and enjoyed the little things.

I humbly say that, no matter how many copies are sold, we are very pleased we have done this work. We are proud to be related to some very Wise Irish Women.

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Our Adventure Begins—Wise Irish Women is in print.

We are thrilled that we actually have received our copies of our book. We are so happy that we are able to share our project with you.

We are very humbled that so many wonderful women were willing to share their stories with us. We are grateful and honored that we have been able to share their words with you.

We hope you find something to take away from these stories. Most important, we hope you appareciate the wisdom of the many wise Irish women you may come across.

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Entering the Final Stretch

Wise Irish Women is currently at the printer and we are expecting delivery in early February.  We are anxiously awaiting the final product.  It has been a gratifying experience but, truthfully, it has been a lot more work than either of us anticipated.

We are working on the hardest part of all—getting the word out about our project.  I have been surprised at all the details that we need to handle.  Just today I had a long conversation with one of our Wise Irish Women, Renee Gatz, about the perils of publishing.  It is so much more complicated than I anticipated.  She was a wonderful source of information and extremely helpful.

Just figuring out how to sell our book has been a challenge.  We have to learn how to collect payment for the books, there is an “App” for that, pack and ship the books and most important of all, get the word out.

Tricia and I are open to suggestions.  If anyone has marketing ideas for our book, please share them.

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