Thursday, December 31, 2009
Two questions are always on everyone’s mind as the new year comes closer and closer. The first one concerns what we shall all do on New Years’ Eve and the other speaks of what changes we plan to make for the oncoming year. The main objective for the first hassle noted is to get through "The Eve" without pulling the bedcovers over my head. If this means counting champagne glasses until the dawn comes peeping through your windowsill, then so be it. Speaking for myself, I won’t travel because I don’t want to be a statistic and I won’t stay home because it’s too depressing. And so, you ask, what do I do? I compromise by going out but only somewhere close to home and at an early time, the ball drop in New York will be seen from the warm snuggly covers of my bed watching it on TV.
I am nor have I ever been one for making resolutions! But why you ask you foolish knave!! Because failure make me feel worse!! AND WHY does it have to be Jan 1st?? Who’s to say when a new year begins anyway? Why does it have to be January the first? For the Chinese it’s named after some animal I’d rather avoid and falls sometime in February. It really could be any day in the year, couldn’t it? It could be the day I rescued my kitten and gave him a new home, or the day I fell flat on my face and made an ass out of myself, see where I am going with this .... a new day, a new beginning!! Hey it could be March 17th...ST Patricks Day, there are still 365 days to follow! hmmmmm
SOOOOO no resolutions, and no promises and maybe a few more green vegetables. I will watch the ball drop in Times Sqaure from my warm comfy bed, sipping champagne,those are my plans for the new millennium, that is unless you know of a good party to go to *snicker snicker*!!
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
And then on Dec. 27th they found a Irish Pub in Jordan, and my daughter arrived by camel and took this picture .... she said since they could not be with me on my birthday they would stop at the Irish Pub and have a drink! Sooo funny!!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Bringing me home from the hospital!!!
Looking forward to both of these today!!!!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
No one is really sure how long ago humans recognized the winter solstice and began heralding it as a turning point but to visit one of these two locations during winter solctice you have to really wonder. It is amazing to think that 10.000 years ago Neolithic peoples who were the first farmers were intimately tied to the seasons and the cycle of harvest - which would mean that they were attuned to the movement of celestial objects and seasons. Stonehedge in England, Newgrange and Gallarus in Ireland, Orkney Islands north of Scotland, and even in North America, one of the most famous such sites is the Sun Dagger of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, built a thousand years ago by the Chacoans, ancestors of the Pueblo people. All watching the seasons of the sun. The winter Solstice is so amazing!
We were lucky enough to be at the Gallarus Oratory in Irlend in 2007 on the Winter Solstice, and then in Newgrange inside the tombs a few days later. Although the sun was playing "coy" that day, the emotions and feelings just to be there had to give you chills!
Here are a few pictures I had taken on the Winter Solstice in Ireland.
This use to be an early Christian church located on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland. Though the building is believed to have been built between the 6th century and 9th century, some believe it could have been built as late as the 12th century because the east window has a rounded top made of two carved stones (not a true arch).
This small oratory, built without mortar, uses corbel vaulting, a technique developed by Neolithic tomb-makers. It is dimly lit, with only a tiny window opposite the entrance door. Shaped like an upturned boat, this miniature church overlooks the harbour at Ard na Caithne (formerly also called Smerwick) on the Dingle Peninsula.
According to local legend, if a person climbs out of the oratory via the window, their soul will be cleansed. This is, however, physically impossible, because the window is approximately 7 inches in length and 41/2 inches in width.
See that tiny window in back? The building is sited in such a way that at sunrise on the Winter Solstice, the light enters that window and lights the interior. It's the only time of the year it happens.
This is a view looking in the door and out the back opening.
It is truly hard to believe this little building as old as it is was built only of stones, no motar, and today it still is bone dry inside.
AHHHHHHHHHHHH to only be standing there now as I was two years ago!!!
I just found this and thought I would add it, maybe it better explains it, rather then me!!
What exactly is the winter solstice?
The bleak news: It's the shortest day of the year, meaning the earth's tilt is at 23.5 degrees. As LiveScience puts it, the top half of the earth will spin on its axis away from the sun. Most of us will experience daylight for only about nine short hours. But it gets worse: The weather will actually get colder. Without sunlight to warm the ocean, temperatures will continue to drop.
There is a bright side: From here on out, minute by minute, each day gets a little bit longer. In other words: Countdown to summer. The summer solstice falls around June 21, marking the longest day of the year. Take that, winter!!!!!!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
The Christmas tree is the center point of holiday decorating. And, there is not anything more individualized than your Christmas tree, so it has to be just perfect, hmmm, but it always does not turn out that way.
When I was little I remember my parents using "angel hair" it made the tree look beautiful under this snow blanket of "angel hair" ... I was allergic and could not decorate or go near the tree, so it was loads of fun for me to sit and watch. Later I found out it was made up of spun glass of some sort! Good gosh I hated the stuff, so mom and dad went to Tinsel. Shinny silver tinsel, only it came on cardboard is globs, but at our house you were only to place one piece of tinsel on a tree at one time! One of those packages took hours to hang on the tree! As I got older I grew smarter and disappeared when the tree was decorated, phew! Then the artificial tree made its entry into our tradition. It had been a display tree at Macys, since mom worked there and had an eye on the tree through the season, it was "Not for Sale" until Christmas eve and guess who got it, your right, mom!! So the tree came home fully decorated, lights, ornaments, stand, even a tree blanket! That tree was beautiful (for stands of those days). It actually stayed in our family for some time. My parents gave the tree to my daughter, and every year the kids would drag the tree up to their rooms on Thanksgiving weekend and decorate it.
When I got my own tree I tried the traditional method of stringing popcorn and cranberries, you know those family moments when more ends up on the floor and in your mouth, the pride of success, then I gave that up after three or four years, it looked beautiful but took hours!!
I personally have changed from a live tree to an artificial tree ... ARTIFICIAL YOU SAY, NO WAY ... but there are many advantages to going artificial, with present-day trees now looking real as opposed to the "toilet bowl brushes" of the past. No needle clean up, and I can breath again in the house since the scent of pine does not agree with me.
Well even the funniest "Charlie Brown" Christmas Tree we have had, or our artificial tree, no matter how elaborate or simple they were, once you turn on the lights there is always a sense of awe regardless of what age we are.
Soooo I thought to look back at some other Christmas tree decorations over the years and here are a few pictures I found.
1900's: This tree is broader than what we're used to today - more pear-shaped. And look how the top smashes right into the medallion on the ceiling
1920's Even broader! And decorated with charming paper ornaments like the ones we've seen in grandma's collection
1950's: Tinsel ruled the day.
1960's: A fake metallic tree
1980's: It seems in this decade, it was the fluffier the garland, the better.
In the present, it's difficult to imagine how our decor might look "dated" in the years to come.
2007 tree with my grandson and son-in-law!
Saturday, December 19, 2009
The Twelve Days of Christmas are the festive days beginning on Christmas Day (December 25). This period is also known as Christmastide. The Twelfth Day of Christmas is January 5 - the day before the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6.
From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.
-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness,and Self Control.
-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.
So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol...so pass it on if you wish.'
Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas Everyone!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
About this time of year I always wonder how some of the customs of the season came to be! Last year I did a blog on christmas tree lights, Rudolph, and the NYC Christmas Tree, today I was thinking about candy canes ... so decided to do some research! That is why I love my computer! There is an answer to "almost" all questions!
Around the seventeenth century, European-Christians began to adopt the use of Christmas trees as part of their Christmas celebrations. They made special decorations for their trees from foods like cookies and sugar-stick candy. The first historical reference to the familiar cane shape goes back to 1670, when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, bent the sugar-sticks into canes to represent a shepherd's staff. The all-white candy canes were given out to children during the long-winded nativity services.
The first historical reference to the candy cane being in America goes back to 1847, when a German immigrant called August Imgard decorated the Christmas tree in his Wooster, Ohio home with candy canes.
BUT WHY The Stripes???
About fifty years later the first red-and-white striped candy canes appeared. No one knows who exactly invented the stripes, but Christmas cards prior to the year 1900 showed only all-white candy canes. Christmas cards after 1900 showed illustrations of striped candy canes. Around the same time, candy-makers added peppermint and wintergreen flavors to their candy canes and those flavors then became the traditional favorites.
Sweet Secrets of the Candy Cane
There are many other legends and beliefs surrounding the humble candy cane. Many of them depict the candy cane as a secret symbol for Christianity used during the times when Christian were living under more oppressive circumstances. It was said that the cane was shaped like a "J" for Jesus. The red-and-white stripes represented Christ's blood and purity. The three red stripes symbolized the Holy Trinity. The hardness of the candy represented the Church's foundation on solid rock and the peppermint flavor represented the use of hyssop, an herb referred to in the Old Testament. There is no historical evidence to support these claims, quite the contrary, but they are lovely thoughts.
A Catholic priest called Gregory Keller invented a machine to automate candy cane production during the 1950's.
Sooooo the next time you suck on one of those bad boys you can relate your knowledge of these canes to the rest of the candy cane suckers/lickers!!
I heard Santa said this ....
The night Santa first met his future wife, he uttered the now famous words:
"Yes, that is a candy cane in my pocket, and I am glad to meet you."
Hey .... don't shoot the messenger!!!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Today is the Worldwide Canlighting for all children that have died to soon. Please remember to light your candles at 7PM in your time zone, as one time zone burns down, another is lit, creating a 24 wave of light around the world.
In Memory of Jodi
Candles flame in darkness,
flicker, steadily glow,
bringing light from shadows
and help to soothe me so.
My daughter, like the candles,
gave my life true light.
I use the candle's beacon
to connect us in the night.
As I light the candles,
my wish and my request
is that she'll see my signal
and know my love's expressed.
As her light joins my lights,
our worlds touch and flame.
As I snuff out the candles,
I softly say her name.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Candle Lighting has carried the torch of remembering all children, in a special way, who have died. The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting unites family and friends around the globe in lighting candles for one hour to honor and remember children who have died at any age from any cause. As candles are lit at 7 p.m. local time, creating a virtual wave of light, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor children in a way that transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious, and political boundaries.
Believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe, the Worldwide Candle Lighting, a gift to the bereavement community from The Compassionate Friends, creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died, but will never be forgotten.
The Worldwide Candle Lighting started in the United States in 1997 as a small Internet observance but has since swelled in numbers as word has spread throughout the world of the remembrance.
The Worldwide Candle Lighting has carried the torch of remembering all children, in a special way, who have died.
This appeared in Dear Abby Dec 5,2009:
Dear Abby: In cities large and small across the globe, a sad reality occurs year after year. Children die. The causes vary -- an auto accident, suicide, drive-by shooting, fire, illness, war or something completely different. Families, friends and entire towns mourn the deaths of children who have died before they could reach their full potential.
For the past 13 years, The Compassionate Friends, a national self-help support organization for families grieving the death of a child, has sponsored a Worldwide Candle Lighting during the difficult holidays to honor the memory of all children -- no matter their age -- who died too young.
Dear Abby readers, whether or not they have been personally touched by such a tragedy, are invited to remember all children who have died by joining in the Worldwide Candle Lighting on Dec. 13. Although officially held for one hour at 7 p.m. local time, this has become an event where hundreds of services in memory of children are held throughout the day around the world.
Anyone who is unable to attend is encouraged to light candles in their home, whether alone or with friends and family. -- Patricia Loder, Executive Director, The Compassionate Friends
The Compassionate Friends Web site: www.compassionatefriends.org
Thanks to all who light a candle on this speical night .... maeve
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Remember This At Christmas Time
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December. Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring.
Therefore, according to EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa's reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl.
We should've known... ONLY women would be able to drag a fat-ass man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Irish folk singer Liam Clancy, who is credited with popularising his country's traditional music in the United States in the 1960s, died Friday aged 74, Ireland's RTE state radio said.
Liam Clancy, the youngest of 11 children in a County Tipperary household filled with folklore and song, emigrated to the U.S. in 1956 to join two elder brothers, Tom and Patrick, in New York City who were singing on the side as they pursued budding careers as Broadway actors.
But after recording a 1956 album of Irish rebel songs, they grew a New York following as musicians and formed a partnership with Northern Ireland immigrant Tommy Makem. Soon they were earning more as weekend singers in Manhattan bars and clubs than as full-time stage actors.
Scouts for U.S. television's flagship Ed Sullivan Show spotted them performing in Greenwich Village's White Horse Tavern, and their 16-minute appearance in March 1961 on the program — extended because of the last-minute cancellation of another act — turned them into an Irish-American folk phenomenon.
Their agent cultivated a schmaltzy appeal to Irish emigrants worldwide, encouraging the Clancy Brothers and Makem to perform in cream-white Aran wool sweaters hand-knit from home as well as tweed fishermen's caps.
But their up-tempo resurrection of traditionally slow, sad Irish songs made a deeper impression on much of America's emerging folk artist movement, including Bob Dylan, who paid tribute to Liam Clancy as "the best ballad singer I'd ever heard in my life."
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem performed Carnegie Hall, toured Ireland, Britain, Australia and repeatedly throughout the U.S., and recorded more than a dozen albums before breaking up amid arguments over bills, babes and booze in 1974.
May you rest in Please Liam Clancy!! You will be missed!!