Tuesday, December 30, 2008

THE NEW - New Years Eve Ball ~ Dec. 31st

New Year's Eve in Times Square is a bona fide phenomenon, I only did it once and that was enough for me, but I did it!!!!

Each year, millions of eyes from all over the world are focused on the sparkling Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year's Eve Ball. At 11:59 p.m., the Ball begins its descent as millions of voices unite to count down the final seconds of the year, and celebrate the beginning of a new year full of hopes, challenges, changes and dreams.

The "New" New Year's Eve Ball On November 11th, 2008, The co-organizers of New Year’s Eve in Times Square unveiled a new Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball at a press conference at Hudson Scenic Studio in Yonkers, New York.

The new Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball is a 12 foot geodesic sphere, double the size of previous Balls, and weighs 11,875 pounds. Covered in 2,668 Waterford Crystals and powered by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDS, the new Ball is capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colors and billions of patterns producing a spectacular kaleidoscope effect atop One Times Square.

The organizers also announced that the new Ball will become a year-round attraction above Times Square in full public view January through December.

“For one hundred years, the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball has attracted millions of revelers to Times Square on December 31st to celebrate the beginning of the New Year” said Jeff Straus, president of Countdown Entertainment and co-organizer of Times Square New Year’s Eve. “The new Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball will be a bright sparkling jewel atop One Times Square entertaining New Yorkers and tourists from around the world not only on December 31, but throughout the year.”

To ALL my new blogging friends ... I wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year!

A Happy New Year! Grant that I may bring no tear to any eye when this New Year in time shall end. Let it be said I've played the friend, have lived and loved and labored here, and made of it a happy year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Some Genealogy ~ Dec. 30th

Today I have been sitting here in my PJ's all day working on some of my geneaolgy (thank gosh for vacations!) Vacations can be nice, sip wine at night, sleeping-in in the morning, hanging out in your jammers all day if you want! YEA!!

So since I was doing some genealogy stuff I thought I would share some of my life with you.

I am of mostly of English and Irish descent, with a touch of French/German and a touch of Algonquain American Indian. Last year I went back to Ireland to trace some of my roots and was lucky enough to find more then I expected.

Here is GG grandma and grandpas house minus the thatched roof, it was actually in pretty good shape, the stones walls had recently been painted too. (Can you imagine living in this two room house with seven kids.)

My Great-Great Grandfather was Jeremiah (Darby) Leary b. 1830 d. 1905, he only spoke Gaelic (so the 1901 cesus shows) and settled in Mid-Ireland in the of County Tipperary, Ireland. He met and married Ellen Lewis b. 1834 d. 1920. They built their farm in ruarl Ireland near the Knockmealdown Mts. and they had seven children. I am sure they thought themselves and idyllic rural Irish family. Darby and Ellen had survived the great potato famine and must have had visions once again of a working farm, with their three strong sons to help, that is until their children decided to leave Ireland and go to America. My GG-Grandparents instead said good-by to five of their children, two sons and three daughters.

I can not even imagine the feeling of standing at the door of your home waving and watching five of your children leave. Hoping you will see then again but knowing in your heart you will not ever cross paths with your babies again.

So my G-GrandMother Margaret Leary ventured to the new world at only sixteen years old. Unbelieable rezliant woman. Here is GG Grandma's door.

Here is a view from that front door, the land has grown over but still beautiful
As the sun set, I had to leave the vacant farm and only wonder what their life was like in rural ireland.

My GG-Granparents (Peter's family) were from Northern Ireland, thier names were Owen Woods b. 1827 and Rose McNally b.1833, they were married in 1865 Roman Catholic Church of Keady, County Armagh, Ireland, they had two sons Patricks and Peter and a daughter Mary, who remained in Irland. Here is a picture of their old farmhouse.

Peter also left Ireland for America, I find his ships manifest as arriving in Boston May 27, 1889 and was naturalized in 1893. Here is his name on the manifest and the ship he sailed over from Ireland on:

So as the story goes Irish boy(Peter)meets Irish girl(Margaret)and live happliy ever after along with their twleve children.

This is their wedding photo which was taken from a Tin-Type so the quality is not very good. The lady standing is my G-Aunt Johanna Leary, the gentleman standing in a Leary cousin, bride and groom seated are Margaret Leary and Pater Woods.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Maxine Dec. 28th

Still working on my pictures ...

Just thought I would upload my of my favorite Maxine motto's!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Birthday! Dec. 27th

Our trip to NYC was great, saw the grand baby, rode the good ole subway, and of course one must always experience a NYC cab ride into Times Square! I will post pics once I upload them.

BUT TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY!! I always hated having my birthday so close to Christmas, combined presents Christmas/birthday gift, no cup cake school parties ... I always felt I got jipped but then I think of my sister-in-law, she was born Christmas eve.

This is the day they brought me home from the hospital ... mom and dad and my brother

I was born in good ole Brooklyn New York during a ragging snowstorm, mom said she was not sure she would make it to the hospital in time! This is my first birthday without mom, she passed away this year.

These are my grandparents
...and here I am!!

Birthday Cake History
History of Birthday Cake can be traced back to the ancient Greeks who made round or moon shaped honey cakes or bread and took it to the temple of Artemis -the Goddess of Moon. Some scholars, however, believe that the tradition of Birthday cake started in Germany in Middle Ages. Sweetened bread dough was given the shape of baby Jesus in swaddling cloth and was used to commemorate his birthday. This special birthday cake later reemerged in Germany as a Kinderfest or the birthday celebrations of a young child. Germans also baked another special kind of a cake called Geburtstagorten as it was baked in layers. This was sweeter that the coarse and bread like cake that were usually made at that time.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

'Twas The Night Before Christmas Dec 24th

According to legend, Clement Clark Moore wrote his immortal poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas, also known as The Night Before Christmas, for his family on Christmas Eve 1822. He never intended that it be published, but a family friend, Miss Harriet Butler, learned of the poem sometime later from Moore's children. She copied it into her album, and submitted it to the editor of the Troy (New York Sentinel) where it made its first appearance in print on December 23, 1823. Soon, the poem began to be reprinted in other newspapers, almanacs and magazines, with the first appearance in a book in The New York Book of Poetry, edited by Charles Fenno Hoffman, in 1837.
It was not until 1844, however, that Moore himself acknowledged authorship in a volume of his poetry entitled Poems, published at the request of his children. One hundred and eighty years later it is the most-published, most-read, most-memorized and most-collected book in all of Christmas literature.

Well gather around it is Christmas Eve and I shall now read you
'Twas The Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
way to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!
s dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
e was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
he stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
e spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Merry Christmas from me to YOU!!

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer ~ Dec 23rd

The Chicago-based Montgomery Ward company, department store operators, had been purchasing and distributing children's coloring books as Christmas gifts for their customers for several years. In 1939, Montgomery Ward tapped one of their own employees to create a book for them, thus saving money. 34-year old copywriter Robert L. May wrote the story of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer in 1939, and 2.4 million copies were handed out that year. Despite the wartime paper shortage, over 6 million copies had been distributed by 1946.May drew in part on the story "The Ugly Duckling" and in part from his own experiences as an often taunted, small, frail youth to create the story of the misfit reindeer. Though Rollo and Reginald were considered, May settled on Rudolph as his reindeer's name.

Writing in verse as a series of rhyming couplets, May tested the story as he went along on his 4-year old daughter Barbara, who loved the story. Sadly, Robert Mays wife died around the time he was creating Rudolph, leaving Mays deeply in debt due to medical bills. However, he was able to persuade Sewell Avery, Montgomery Ward's corporate president, to turn the copyright over to him in January 1947, thus ensuring May's financial security.May's story "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was printed commercially in 1947 and in 1948 a nine-minute cartoon of the story was shown in theaters.

When May's brother-in-law, songwriter Johnny Marks, wrote the lyrics and melody for the song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", the Rudolph phenomenon was born. Turned down by many musical artists afraid to contend with the legend of Santa Claus, the song was recorded by Gene Autry in 1949 at the urging of Autry's wife. The song sold two million copies that year, going on to become one of the best-selling songs of all time, second only to Bing Crosby's "White Christmas". The 1964 television special about Rudolph, narrated by Burl Ives, remains a holiday favorite to this day and Rudolph himself has become a much-loved Christmas icon.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Lights ~ Dec 22nd

Who invented the first Christmas lights?

Thomas Edison and Edward Johnson (1880 & 1882) and Albert Sadacca (1917) (on December 22, 1882)

Christmas lights have been one of the most popular Christmas decorations for the past century. In 1882, three years after Edison invented the first sensible light bulb, Edward Johnson created the first Christmas lights in his home in New York City. The tree was hand-wired and lit with 80 red, white, and blue globes. The lights blinked and twinkled while the tree slowly revolved.

1882 - First Christmas Tree with electric lights, in the parlor of the home of Edward H. Johnson in New York City – December 22, 1882.

Christmas lights were first made available for sale in 1890, but they were so expensive that most people could not afford them. They were a symbol of status among the wealthy and many of them rented the lights instead of buying them. In 1903, one set of 24 Christmas lights was sold for $12.00. Considering the average person made about $9 a week, this was far too extravagant for the normal family. In addition to the cost of the lights, the services of a wireman were required and, if the house was not electrically powered, they also needed a generator.

1903-1904 picture is of the first box of Christmas lights sold to the public

Christmas lights did not become practical for the average family until the 1930s. By this time, not only homes were decorated with electric lights. Stores, community Christmas trees and government buildings were adorned with the twinkling lamps. General Electric began to sponsor community lighting competitions in the 1920s, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that it was common to see rows of houses lit on the outside. Now, the places you find the lights are as numerous as the types of lights available.

Christmas lights have come a LONG way since 1882. Take for example the Great Tree in New York City at Rockefeller Center.

The tradition began during the Depression era construction of Rockefeller Center, when workers decorated a small Balsam Fir tree with "strings of cranberries, garlands of paper, and even a few tin cans."

Today the tree, usually a Norway Spruce 75 to 90 feet tall, has been put up every year since 1931. This year, the tree was lighted on December 3 and will remain illuminated until January 9, 2009.

The tree is supported by four guy wires attached at its midpoint, and by a steel spike at its base. Scaffolding is put up around the tree to assist workers in putting up 30,000 lights attached to 5 miles of wiring. The star that has topped the tree since 2004 is 9.5 feet in diameter and weighs 550 pounds. This "Swarovski Star" was created by the German artist Michael Hammers.

The decorated tree remains lighted at Rockefeller Center until the week after New Years Day when it is removed and recycled for a variety of uses. In 2007, the tree went "green," employing LED lights. After being taken down, the tree was used to furnish lumber for Habitat for Humanity house construction.

So next time you decorate that tree thank Mr. Edison, Johnson and Sadacca. Then sit back with a glass of mulled cider or eggnog and invite the family in for the unveiling: "HEY! HEEEEEYYYYYY! THE CHRITHMATTHHH TREE IS REAAAAAADY! COME SEEEEEEEEE!!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Soltice

Last December we were in Ireland on this day!

The Gallarus Oratory was built and used by local farmers of the area at an early date, estimates of which generally range from the 6th century to the 9th century. But some scholars date it to the 12th century, based on the shape of the east window. The Gallarus Vistor Centre brochure gives a date of c.700 AD ... mind you this picture was taken Dec 21st look how green things are!

The Gallarus on the Winter Solstice has a perfect alignment when the sun sets, it shins right through the the back window and out the door, like a beacon. You can see in the back window directly out the door.

The stones are laid at a slight angle to the outside, allowing water to drain off—a method of building developed by Iron-Age tomb builders. That has kept the interior of the church relatively dry and well-preserved despite 1,000 years or more of North Atlantic gales. The oratory has not been rebuilt. It stands as it was built a millennium ago, except for a very slight bowing in of the upper walls.

So hopefully now the days will now be longer!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

GreenWood Cemetery Brooklyn, NY

As mentioned I love to photograph headstones for genealogy and I love wandering the cemeteries, admiring gravestones, marveling at fancy tombs with beautiful stained glass, and spotting famous names.

In the spring I was on a weekend jaunt to Brooklyn and had recently found out my great-great grandparents were buried in GreenWood Cemetery. I knew my great-grandfather and grandmother were buried there and had visited their site before but had no clue my g-grandmother’s parents “my great-greats” were there too! NO their name is NOT Schultz and I have no clue who the Schultz are but my great-great grandparents are buried there as well as my great -grand mothers sister and brother.

One of the wildest things about GreenWood is that right there in the heart of Brooklyn, living in the cemetery are feral Monk Parrots! YES, I said parrots! The monk parrots are tolerated at the cemetery by its management and considered a benefit. WHY? Because unlike the pigeons which use to roost there in the front gate prior to the parrots arrival, their excrement does not damage the structure. As mentioned we were there in the spring and the parrots were all busy building their amazing nests in the tall spires, the nest are quite intricate and built only out of twigs. How did the parrots get there?? The story goes that during the 60’s the parrots were escapees from a container at John F. Kennedy International Airport, they were to be shipped to unauthorized pet shops, the parrots -- originally from Argentina -- are now successful Brooklynites and have learned to live under NY conditions, amazing! They even have their own calendar! And a song on YOUTUBE! (check Parrots of Brooklyn)

GreenWood dates back to 1850, the entrance to the cemetery is grandly gothic, there are said to be appox. 600 thousand graves spread out over 480 acres. It is an amazing place to wander. There are hundreds of notable graves, while there we visited Leonard Bernstein and Louis Comfort Tiffany, and of course the grandparents. Here is the entrace gates.

And some famous graves...you can click on photos to enlarge...

The cemtery was just bursting in pink, it looled like pink snow on the walkways...
and another

hope you like the pics I have so many I do not know which to choose!!

This tomb was so interesting ... all sorts of animals...click on pic for detail

you can actually take a tour of the place ... So if you are ever in Brooklyn stop by and see this amazing place!

I wish I could show you all my pictures!! Enjoy!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Christmas!

OK folks I have a whole new blog I have written but I am NOT good yet on picture posts so I am again starting off a wee bit small, and saving that for tomorrow?? I have gotten some great ideas from a few new follows and I THANK YOU!!

So tonight I went to a Christmas party and after a few wines I thought NOT to post LOTS of pictures ... so I am going easy tonight!

Christmas Eve 2007 we went to Ireland. So many things are different there at the holidays. For one the WHOLE country basically shuts down for over a week, hotels, gas stations, restaurants, everything! So make sure to have some sandwiches packed and plenty of Petro.

AND everyone takes a dip in the Irish sea on Christmas day ... the pics are blurring due to chill but you still have to see them!!
We flew into Shannon and I loved their "elaborate" Christmas display, I have enclosed a picture (you have to click on the picture for a close up)... lets not even talk about the music. BUT I thought it was most likely a display as our folks would have seen in 1940. Also in Ireland they never say MERRY Christmas, it is always HAPPY Christmas.

So before I mess this all up due to Christmas party wine I will keep it short!

Thanks for staying with me in this rough start!! I LUV IT!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

OK I am doing a QUICK ONE!!! This is my cat Darby, named after my great grandfather Jeremiah, the nickname in Ireland for Jeremiah is Darby! I will try again tomorrow!!

He thinks he rules the house but our other cat Clancy seems to be the dominate queen...sorry have no pics of her on this PC!

OK I hope this post is OK ... I am so sad the other one got lost!! I will try again!!

more to come .............