I'm not sure they're interchangeable, but for the time being I'm pretending niblet and tidbit are synonymous. As such, I'd like to fill you all in on a few niblets from the last week and a half.

-- This week the world celebrated the greatness that is Irish culture. St. Paddy's Day came and went with your typical revelry and celebration of everything green. Unfortunately I worked, but I was still able to get out for a few hours after. I met up with another fellow Irish-American and, ironically, went to a Brittish pub. This wasn't by choice, so to speak, as neither of us were fit to drive (due to our warming up prior to leaving the house) and had to walk to the only local bar. Anyway, Bobby and I threw back some Jameson and Guinness, bitched about work, talked about our ancestry, and did our best to ignore the fact we were in an English establishment.

-- Speaking of English, I just found out that some of my Irish relatives are, well, actually from England...sort of. As it turns out, my mom's grandfather (McCready), who is from Ireland, moved to England with his brother as a young adult to find work. Later on, my mom's grandpa's family eventually emigrated accross the pond and settled in the States. He left his brother and family behind in England. Anyway, my mom's uncle in England had a daughter named Rosemary McCready. We didn't know any of this until when, the other day, Rosemary McCready found my mom online and emailed her. They did the math and discovered they shared grandparents, or something like that, and are indeed cousins. They have now been corresponding and trading pictures of each other's families (see our cousins here).

-- Skiing in the rain is no fun. I found this out the hard way. Last week I went up to Mt. Hood to get some skiing in before the snow melted. Little did I know that the melting had already started, and to make matters worse, the rain (it wasn't cold enough to snow) was speeding up this process. So, instead of the fluffy white powder we all dream about skiing on, I got more of a dirty-blonde sludge. If it were only aesthetically displeasing, fine, but the sludgey goo that I skied on made it difficult to remain upright, and I had a hard time staying on my skis. For about four hours, I got to practice my tumbling skills as I rolled, head over heals, down slope after slope. With arms, poles, legs, and skis flailing, I did my best tumbling while chancing life on black diamond, or expert, runs: the steeper, the better. It wouldn't have been so bad, as I can handle a couple bumps and bruises, but I did this while in plain sight of those riding the ski lifts above. In other words, I was providing a great laugh for those making their way to the top of the mountain. What's more satisfying, I got to pay $20 for the ski rentals and $40 for the lift tickets. Yay!!!

-- Ice blocking is fun. Never heard of ice blocking? Me neither...until last Wednesday. Apparently it's a country thing, but if I can do anything about it, it will soon be the rage in a major city near you. My friend Stacey, who grew up on a farm, introduced this sport to me a couple days ago...and I'm hooked. Here's how it works: go to a supermarket and buy a big ice block (at least 12 by 18 inches, preferably larger), find a steep hill, put a blanket over the top of the ice block, sit on it, and hang on for dear life. Stacey and her friend, Jessica, showed me the ropes late Wednesday night, while providing a show for the homeless folk who reside at Brooklyn Park. In fact, we actually had passersby ask if they could give it a shot. While it sounds like a winter-time activity, as long as you have a hill, you can do this in any season. It's joyous! Wear your grubbies, though, because if you're anywhere near as uncordinated as me, you'll be doing a bit of rolling as you figure out how to remain on the ice block.

--My car was the victim of a reckless assault the other day. As I was sitting in my apartment, reading the paper, I heard a loud banging noise outside on the street. I peeked out my window to see if North Korea finally unleashed one of its long-range Taepodong-2 missiles on the West Coast, but instead found that there was a car accident. As I surveyed the situation, I figured it wasn't a major accident and quickly returned to my paper. Then, my conscience got the best of me and I decided to see if anybody needed a hand (call the police, act as a witness, etc.). When I got outside, I saw an SUV blocking the street and a couple passersby helping to direct traffic around the oversized vehicle. I noticed there weren't any other cars nearby, so was confused as to what took place and what created the loud noise that distracted me from my newspaper. As I looked up and down the street to see if any other cars were involved, I noticed in the distance a small Honda Civic smased into the back of a car that was parked on the curb. After realizing the scene of the accident was farther down the street, I walked there to see if anybody was injured and/or needed help. When I got to ground zero, I was amazed to find that the car nestled underneath the parked vehicle was also perched in front of my paked car. And, as I got even closer, I noticed that there was a broken head light, dented fender, and scraped siding that didn't previously exist on my car. What the fuck? As it turns out, my innocent champion of a car was sitting peacefully in its parking spot, when an out of control driver side-swiped my vehicle just before lodging itself underneath the car in front of me. For those that don't know, my car has seen its better days. While once a very dependable vehicle, it has now become a salmon-pink shell of itself, fully intact with a cracked windshield, windows that no longer roll up or down (instead stuck with an open-inch gap that allows the Northwest rain to hit me in my face when I drive), a cracked headgasket, and a "check engine" light that won't go away. Now, to add to the suffering of my trusty companion, it now is missing a headlight, has a dented, inverted fender, and has scrapes along the side of it. While I was initially sad and angry for what was becoming the dreary fate of my car, I was soon overcome with pride. Yes, it may look like it came from the wrecking yard, but the Champ still drives and has more character than Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor (I believe he played like 8 different roles in this movie). I've had this car for 10 years now. In that time, it has seen almost half the country twice, it has witnessed coming of age adventures, and handled multiple break-ins (don't ever park your car in Hunter's Point). What's more, because of it being conveniently parked in the path of a reckless driver, I've reeled in $862.00 in insurance money that went straight to the bank (my car still runs and won't be getting a trip to the shop). Yes, my car is a cash cow...I'm rich bitch.

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