Category Archives: holidays

Hearts Among the Treasures Found in February

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February has so much to enjoy and appreciate, despite some of us

who have to endure such cold weather.  I have fun thinking about

what will good ole’ Punxsutauney Phil do on Groundhog’s Day,

how will we celebrate each of the Presidents, along with will any

of my grandchildren make me handmade Valentine’s Day cards

or will they give me a Sponge Bob Square Pants, Batman, Frozen

or Angry Bird valentines?

February is “Wise Health Care Consumer Month.”

There are choices in your reducing health care costs

and making good ones in your physicians, too.  Learn

more about over-the-counter and the prescription

medicines you take, asking what dosage is the least

you need to be the most healthy. Although it is not

always suggested, I like to take nutritional supplements

to ‘back up’ the fresh vegetables, fruits, fiber and protein

sources I choose to consume.

I take out a few decorations for this festive month, including a

couple of American flags which I put two on my door, along with

Cupid, a heart and a laminated Snoopy giving his pal Woodstock

a Valentine. This about covers most of the main ‘holiday rituals.’

I have had the cupid and “Peanuts” laminated pictures, ever

since my years of teaching middle school in the 80’s.

Amy Poehler, comic, actress and “SNL” show alumni

gives us good, comforting advice for February:

“I think sleep can be really magical

because sometimes Balance is only

a day away.”

FEBRUARY

Birthstone: Amethyst

Flower: Violets

Purple is a beautiful color echoed in both the gem

and the flower of the month.

Feb. 1-

“National Freedom Day”

“There is one thing stronger than all the armies in

the world and that is an idea whose time has come.”

~* Victor Hugo.

It is Super Bowl Sunday!

Are you rooting for the New England Patriots or

the Seattle Sea Hawks?

What snacks will you serve? If you wish to read

about the history of hot sauce on chicken wings,

you can push your clicker on the side panel of

my topics to read about. Recipes included from

past posts, too.

Feb. 2-

“Candlemas”

“If Candlemas be dark

with clouds and rain,

Winter is gone and

won’t come again.”

(“The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” 2015 edition.)

Groundhog Day.

You know the results, don’t you? If he sees his shadow,

he will run and hide, means a longer time until Spring.

If it is a gloomy day, and he doesn’t see his shadow, we

are that much closer to warmer weather.

Another special occasion is “The 14th Annual AARP

Movies for Grownups Awards.” Kevin Costner will

be honored to receive the career achievement award.

I would like to see his newest family movie that deals

with his character raising his bi-racial grandchild.

Viola Davis plays the other side of the family’s

grandmother, scenes look funny and uplifting.

It is called, “Black or White.” (Nothing ever is. . .)

Feb. 3-

Full Snow Moon.

On February 3, 1913 the U.S. Congress was

authorized to impose a federal income tax

under the 16th Amendment of the U. S.

Constitution. The beginning of our tax ‘woes.’

Feb. 5-

Personal special day, will go to see my Mom if the

weather is good the weekend after this day. It is

the 60th anniversary since my Mom and Dad got

married. In only 9 months and a week, I will be 60.

So many family members of my parents counted

back to make sure I was “legitimate!”

Feb. 9-

Family Day in British Columbia.

This is the beginning of a great week titled,

“Random Acts of Kindness Week.”

Feb. 11- Last Quarter Moon.

Feb. 12-

Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday.

The way he read books by the fire and the “Honest

Abe” nickname, made this President special to me,

as a child. Later, when his assassination was more

emphasized in Social Studies, I felt sad to have lost

this fine hero.

The military services always wish for U.S. citizens

to fly their flags for past presidents.

Feb. 13-

This is Friday the 13th… ooh! Some people

believe you may wish to be more careful.

Are you superstitious?

Feb. 14-

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Flowers or candy? Special jewelry or friendly

exchange of Valentine’s Day cards, however

you celebrate, hope it is a fun day for you.

I happen to like heart cookies with vanilla

frosting, what is your favorite ‘treat?’

Flavia quote:

“Love lives forever and belies the passage of time.

It is what we take with us wherever we go.”

The shiny ‘heart shaped’ flowers of the tropical

anthurium are perfect fir a romantic bouquet,

suggested by “Old Farmer’s Almanac,”

2015 edition.

I happen to like peach roses or pink-tipped

carnations. The scent of the roses is sweet

while the carnations smell ‘spicy’ to me.

Last but certainly not least, this is also our

“National Have-A-Heart Day” where the aim

is to raise awareness of healthy eating and

taking care of our hearts.

Feb. 15-

National Flag of Canada Day.

Susan B. Anthony’s birthday.

In 1808, on this date in history, the U.S.S. Maine sank.

Remembering veterans and servicemen.

Feb. 16-

Presidents’ Day observed, United States.

The American Veterans request you proudly

fly your flag.

President George Washington’s birthday is on

February 22nd, but most calendars say we

“observe” his and all other presidents’ today.

Celebrate the tale of young, honest George,

who said, “I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down

the cherry tree,” by having a piece of cherry pie

with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Yummy! I suppose if you were dieting you

could simply eat some fresh cherries or

have cherry yogurt.

A book recommendation from “AARP Magazine” is

of Robert Middlekauff’s “Washington’s Revolution:

The Making of America’s First Leader.”

Celebrate “Family Day” (Alta., Ontario, and Sask.)

The mid-month “Old Farmer’s Almanac,” 2015 suggests

planting winter beets. They are hardy, which surprised me

that they can be planted in the winter time. (Should your

ground not be frozen solid.) They suggest harvesting beet

greens when they are a couple of inches tall.

Did you know the ‘new green sprouts’ can be added to a

salad and are considered delicious?  I learn something

new every time I open and read the almanac. They are

most tender before they reach 6″. This will not disturb

the growth of those red or purple beets, which provide

sorts of healing powers, through their nutritiousness.

Feb. 17-

“Fat Tuesday”

or “Mardi Gras.”

Celebrating the last day before you go on a ‘fast’

for Lent. This seems early and I re-checked this

fact. We have forty days of Lenten Season, before

Easter, should you be Catholic or another church

which celebrates the ‘walk’ of Jesus’ last days by

not indulging in what you crave.

I like the idea which my friends and coworkers do,

eating pancakes with sausage, bacon and eggs. The

Filipino coworkers have a traditional feast full of

a variety of savory and spicy foods.

What I remember from my childhood was receiving

those Lenten “fish” cardboard boxes where we would

put our leftover lunch or allowance money into. On

the last Sunday before Easter, (Palm Sunday) we could

turn them in and they would go to a needy cause.

These days the church I am affiliated with uses the

money for preparing and serving twice a month free

meals for those who wish to come. We also collect

products once a month for local humane shelters,

the battered women’s shelter in Marion (“Choices”)

and  P.I.N. which stands for a food pantry that is

called, “People in Need.” If you wish to do something

extra this month and the next, check out local centers.

You may make a big difference, “in the spirit of Lent.”

Feb. 18-

“Ash Wednesday” is the first day of Lent. Some

Catholic and other churches use ashes to form a

cross on a person’s forehead denoting the start

of the Lenten Season. Mass or communion is

usually served on this day at churches.

New Moon.

“The February sunshine steeps your boughs

and tints the buds and smells the leaves within.”

~*Written by William C. Bryant

(American Poet,  1794-1878.)

Feb. 19-

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

This calls for my going to our local Chinese

restaurant and ordering Sweet and Sour Chicken or

Shrimp, or if I am in a spicy mood, General Tso’s

Chicken or Pork. I will ask for a fortune cookie

should they forget to throw one in. I will let you

know my fortune, hope you will let me know yours.

Feb. 20-

Heritage Day, (Y.T.)

Feb. 22-

If you still have some leftover cherry pie, you may

wish to celebrate George Washington’s ‘real’

birthday today!

This is the Academy Awards or Oscar’s night.

If you are one who likes the Red Carpet, the

guests and singers who will perform the “Best

Song” nominations, or just like to have a fun

time watching all the famous people, this is

one of my favorite nights of the year! I get

some snacks, popcorn or chips and dip, some

nuts and a piece of fruit, sometimes if there is

any leftover wine, or if I need to stay awake,

(more likely) I drink some flavored coffee.

Feb. 23-

The infamous photograph represents this real

event in history today, 70 years ago today:

The flag was raised on Iwo Jima in 1945.

Feb. 25- First 1/4 Moon.

Feb. 27-

Battle of Java Sea, 1942.

Here is a pray or words to consider for February:

“Extra Things

We thank thee, God (or Higher Being) for extra things

You send along our way,

Both when our days are sunny bright

And when our skies are gray.

The little planned surprises dropped

From Thy great, loving hand,

Like unexpected showers on

A parched and desert land.

The meeting of an old-time friend,

The lifting of a care,

And sunlight breaking through the clouds,

To tell us You are there.

Just why You do these extra things

Our finite minds don’t know;

It must be you delight in them

Because you love us so.”

~*Written by Alice Hanche Mortenson.

The above prayer could be just pleasant thoughts sent your

way, as if someone sneezed and you say automatically,

“Bless you!”

What special things do you do to celebrate the month of February?

Resolve: January Monthly Post

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Resolve: it means a few different things to each person. Sometimes,

it means what will get you to keep a few of your January “New Year’s

Resolutions.” I also like the meaning of being strong and sticking to

one’s convictions. This definition fits this the best: “Decide firmly on

the best course of action.” Following through is implicit in this one.

Great attributes to pass on to your children, while others around you

may see this outstanding characteristic in yourself. It is not pointless

to set goals, I believe. It means you are going to try something new,

let others know your choices for change and set personal expectations

of your goals.

This ‘resolution’ can be something you have added to your resolutions

annually or can be a brand new one. Life is busy. Never so much so to

not fit one more activity, exercise, habit or ‘tradition’ into your routines.

After all, you may have doctor appointments and job responsibilities, but

you may just open and see your  2015 calendar  as a ‘blank slate,’ ready for

exciting and new possibilities.

 

JANUARY, 2015

Flower: Carnation           Birthstone/Gemstone: Garnet

Already, I like the month’s flower, which has such a great and unique scent.

The color of garnet is red, which is also vibrant and snappy for this colorless

month we are facing in our Midwest. Hope your corner of the world will have

both color and beauty in it.

 

January 1-

Happy New Year!

 

January 2-

Bank Holiday (Scotland, England/UK).

“Statutory Day” or “Stat Day” for New Zealand and possibly Australia.

 

January 5-

Full Wolf Moon.

 

January 6-

“Epiphany” or when the Three Wise Men reached the manger to see

the King of Kings, some who worship Jesus Christ will find this day

a special remembrance. Thanks, Doris, for the important reminder!

Feliz Navidad!

 

January 8-

If Elvis Presley had lived, this would be his 80th birthday. I listened

to several of his Gospel songs, some with Christmas in them, over the

holidays. He was a fantastic singer with a lot of heart. If you happen

to live close to Tupelo, Mississippi, you may go enjoy a piece of

Elvis’ birthday cake, served at 1:00 p.m. This was where Elvis was

born.

If you live closer to Graceland, you may go there almost all day, to

receive a piece of his 80th birthday cake, starting at 9:30 a.m. when

the cake-cutting begins! (You may enjoy this live streaming from

http://graceland.com )

 

January 10-

Celebrate Rod Stewart’s #70 birthday. Happy Birthday, dear Rod!

Last year, 2014, while on his world tour, an interviewer asked him,

“Do you ever tire of singing some of your classic songs?” (I still love

listening to ones like, “Maggie Mae.”)

Rod answered,

“I still love to sing ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?’ and added: ‘It’s so joyous.'”

 

January 13th-

Last 1/4 Moon.

 

January 16- The Persian Gulf began in 1991.

 

January 17-

Benjamin Franklin’s birthday.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac suggests in celebrating Ben, to purchase a

Benjamin fig plant/tree, which helps to remove toxins from indoor air

spaces. (Ficus benjamina).

 

January 19th-

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Schools, public offices, the Post Office and libraries are usually closed

on this day in U.S. I have attended city and town breakfasts which give

the money for the meal to needy causes, in MLK, Jr.’s honor.

 

January 20-

New Moon.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, (2015) suggests this month to “plant bulbs

and destroy weeds during full moon times,” then during new moon to try

a different kind of house plant during the winter months. This month’s

featured plant, the air plant. This is like Spanish moss in its ability to

survive without much care of nutrients. Plant nurseries and some shops

have glass globes which can be suspended in small offices, along with

homes on clear plastic ‘threads’ of varied lengths. This creates a very

decorative and appealing January sight. Care includes, ‘light misting’

and feeding using a folian fertilizer, along with placing where it will

receive bright, indirect light. (Fluorescent offices are perfect in this

respect, while you may separate ‘offspring’ to create more plastic or

glass globes, helping spread positive oxygen into spaces.)

 

January 21st-

Evil Squirrel reminded me this is Squirrel Appreciation Day,

wherever you live in the world that has squirrels!

 

 

January 27-

Australia Day.

Celebrate with the Aussies you know!

 

January 29-

Celebrate Tom Selleck’s #70th birthday, with a viewing of one of

his older performances in “Magnum P.I.” (television series), one

of his ‘new’ performances in “Blue Bloods,” with a fine and well

rounded cast of policemen role models, along with a character

that plays his father as a past Police Commissioner and his

‘daughter’ is the District Attorney. This television show is one

which has a huge following, among whom are police around the

country. Tom’s fun character in “Magnum” made him a fixture

in our household television shows and now, “Blue Bloods” is part

of my Mom’s (and when I am home on a Friday night) my own

favorite shows. You may have followed Robert Parker’s mini-series,

where Tom played “Jesse Stone,” from R.P.’s past books. Sadly,

the author, Parker, died so the series must end. This can be found

at the library, in individual. Jesse Stone releases. I like the setting

of New England and there are a couple ‘bizarre’ murder mysteries.

In his personal life, you rarely hear anything about his life, since he

married his wife (Jillie Mack) in 1987. He is not known for too many

controversies, although, he has stood up for the N.R.A. which means

he supportsgun rights.

As far as movies with Tom Selleck go, my all time favorite has to

be the fun one he made with two other special men, Steve Guttenberg

and Ted Danson, called, “Three Men and A Baby.” My children and

grandchildren are very amused with this wild and unbelievable plot

line, but it is also heart-warming and sweet. I liked him in the comedy,

“Her Alibi,” while “Lassiter” and “Quigley Down Under” are good

action movies. (This became a rather long monthly tribute to the actor,

Tom Selleck!)

Happy 70th Birthday, dear Tom!

 

As always, you may add some dates that mean something to you or

your country in the comments for the month of January.

Thank you for making this monthly visit a fantastic one. I enjoy

all the additions I received last year to this monthly post.

 

Sir Basil the Great quotation:

“He who sows courtesy, reaps friendship.

He who plants kindness, gathers love.”

(Greek Bishop who lived from 329- 379 A.D.)

 

What challenges will you set out, for you or even your family?

Help get us motivated by sharing this with us, please.

 

I will make a friend out of an ‘enemy’ or one who I have had past

disagreements with.  I will give to a new, special charity, along

with continue to find more positives in my life than negatives.

 

A time of new beginnings, promises and resolutions is emphasized

in this Flavia, (poet and inspirational writer) 2003 quote:

“Our time on earth is woven of infinite moments,

Each holding a promise and its own exquisite beauty.”

 

In honor of the New Year of 2015,

Thanks to T. S. Eliot:

 

“Not fare well,

But fare forward, voyagers.”

 

 

 

A Special Mystery and a Christmas Prayer

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When I received the book, “The Christmas Wish,” written by Richard

M. Siddoway, I did not know how much it would mean to me, in so

many different ways.  Richard is an educator in the public school system

of Utah, along with being a member of the House of Representatives.

He and his wife, Janice, have eight children and possibly grandchildren

since the book was published.

I think where they live in Utah, sounds very much like the book:

Bountiful.

First of all, it is a lovely book, with a special Christmas annual mystery.

A grandson who loved his grandparents and who had been raised by

them. He respected his grandfather very much and after he has passed

away, he finds out Grandpa had visited a woman named “Lillian” every

Christmas Eve. It has a happy ending, one his Grandma is pleased about

and readers are blessed by.

This book holds such great meaning, including being open to what may

possibly be another way to view a situation, along with the powerful

ingredient of forgiveness.

It was written in 1995, given to me in 2003.

Jean A. was my mentor, almost a decade younger than I was. I was in

the midst of pursuing my Master’s degree, when she found out she was

pregnant. A ‘surprise!’ baby.

A mother of three teenagers, Jean was a little distracted. But she was still

the very best preschool teacher of integrated developing levels of children.

A fine example for me to attempt to follow her beautiful and lasting

footsteps. Her husband and family were such a fine example of love and

Jean shone with a year-round Christmas spirit.

Little did I know, she would pass away when her little Spencer was only

three years old, doctor having found cancer growing rapidly due to the

increase of hormones from pregnancy. This book is a treasure and one

that is brought out every Christmas. I read it again, since it has a lot of

history in it, along with all the elements of a good story. I also hang up

a framed snow painting that has the words,

“Star light, star bright,

I wish I may,

I wish I might,

Have this Wish

I wish tonight.

Peace on Earth.”

 

Inside the book there is a precious poem:

“The house is warm, good cheer abounds.

The heart of Christmas is all around.

The children sing, their voices sweet,

The candles are lit, such rosy heat.

My heart is full, my eyes aglow,

For those here with me

and those I cannot know.”

~* Anonymous *~

(A preface also says,

“To Janice.”)

 

“I said a Christmas prayer for you

because the seasons near.

I didn’t ask for riches

but for gifts so much more dear.

I asked for joyful gatherings

with your family all around,

and for carols to inspire  you

with their old familiar sound,

I asked for quiet moments

in your heart on Christmas morn,

for a special time to celebrate

the Savior who was born.

I asked for friends to send their best

that you might know they care. . .

I asked for peace and love and hope;

and I know God heard my prayer.”

Written by

Nancy Parker Brummett

 

Happy “Festivus for the Rest of Us!”

Happy Hanukkah!

Blessed Christmas wishes,

Joy in Kwanzaa Celebrations,

or Hope you find Peace:

May it be True.

Moving Ahead to Don Gay Apparel

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My coworker, Josephina, who goes by “Joe” among her friends

outside of work and “Fee” here at the warehouse, was sharing her

hopes for her wife and children to have an abundant Christmas.

Since the past two weeks, our hours have been cut, I have been

worried about those who have waited to purchase Santa’s gifts,

but cannot offer to help out anyone, unfortunately.

Fee was telling me about a publication on Monday, saying I

“should check it out.” It is called, “Outlook” magazine, which is

on the free newstand outside our library interior doors. This

would be like the ‘foyer’ of the building, where there are a few

public notices for clubs, organizations, and other public service

announcements.

I took home “Outlook” and was amazed at the multitude of very

interesting articles and information for the holidays presented

within a ‘magazine’ for Gays, Bisexuals and Lesbians. I was so

enthralled with the subject of music, since the ‘stereotype’ of

this magnificent group of human beings, is they love their

musicals and ‘show tunes.’ The articles about famous local

people and famous national people who have recently ‘come out’

had my attention, too.  The recipes for cocktails and yummy

appetizers had me interested and copying a few down. It is a very

informative and well-rounded publication. On the cover is a lovely

photograph of Bette Midler. Her article is titled,

“Divine Intervention.”

Do you remember when Bette Midler wore corsets and was on the

wild side, as “The Divine Miss M?” She made a lot of friends in the

gay and lesbian community, singing in the Continental Bath House.

I still consider her attractive, liked her G-rated family movie with the

theme of being an unprepared grandmother, “Parental Guidance.”

Her songs, “God Is Watching Us” and “The Wind Beneath My Wings,”

are on my all time favorite Top 50 songs.

 

Why did Fee send me to pick this up? The better question is,

“What took me so long?”

I have had a long history of having many gay friends, particularly

the guy who took me to my high school prom, along with both of

my brothers’ good and oldest friends. My youngest brother met

his friend in running clubs. My ‘older,’ one who is only 18 months

younger than I, had not noticed his high school friend who was a

wrestler and also, accompanied a group of us to my brother’s

high school prom, until college when he ‘came out’ to him.

 

Speaking of ‘coming out’ there is a well researched and presented

article on this subject in “Outlook.” It is addressing the idea of

trying this over the holidays. I would say letting relatives who are

younger know about your personal choices, but wait to inform

ones who are older. This is a ‘tricky minefield,’ and why make

the  holidays uncomfortable?

 

My friend, Fee, told me a few interesting facts about her life,

along with her girlfriend’s, too. Most people think that she and

her girlfriend are just living together to save money, to share

co-parenting with another woman and also, their long lasting

friendship. Fee also shared her growing up years with me, over a

sparsely populated break time. We had chosen to go to break later

than most of the order fillers. She is a grown version of Campbell’s

Soup kids. I would describe her as a past redhead, more blonde now.

She told me about how average looking she had been, how she did

not have much confidence and how being in a steady relationship

with her first boyfriend led to her marrying him. She says she had

lack of self esteem. Fee was friends with Jessie, her current partner,

through many years as Jessie was married to a friend of her husband’s.

I was glad to hear that there was no history of abuse on the part of

either of their husbands against them. This traumatic experience

can sometimes draw people away from being heterosexual.

My coworker Karen and her Suzie experienced this, individually

although not necessarily conclusive proof of most gays or lesbians.

 

In the case of the men I have known in my life, they ‘knew’ it, all

along but fought their desires to be with men, wanting so badly to fit

into the ‘normal’ society.

 

Fee told me their children are so happy they are a family. Some of

the kids remember the turmoil while they had fathers in their house.

Jessie was the ‘brave one,’ Fee told me. She ‘came out’ and told her

she loved Fee.  Fee still has a Granny and an “Auntie” who don’t

know that the two roommates are lovers. Fee also did give our work

insurance a ‘thumb’s up,’ since they do cover same sex partners for

medical, dental and vision insurance. Fee would like to get married

to Jessie. She says their wedding announcements would say a silly

and joyful declaration (like):

“Jessie is my girl,

Joe is my guy.

Together~

Jessica and Josephina

are one happy couple,

One happy family.”

Jessie embarrassed me a bit, but mainly since we work together, I

would not want to picture any of my coworkers’ romantic lives…

But Fee told me that the two of them take turns leading the family,

doing certain chores like cooking and cleaning, depending on their

busy schedules, She went a ‘step farther’ to share with me,

“Jessie likes me to be the ‘guy’ and I don’t mind wearing the pants

in the house, but sometimes I want to be the ‘girl’ who gets their

bath drawn, back and body parts rubbed and all those delicious

moments.”

Since I was sad to hear that a male college student got beat up

recently in the news, for holding hands and kissing in public,

I wished to ask her a personal question about prejudice. She told

me a shocking thought, that she “felt luckier to be a woman who

chooses to be gay, since men have it harder, it is not as easy for

society to accept men who are gay.”  She continued to surprise me,

by saying,

“It is easier to be a ‘gay woman’ than to be of a different race. You

know you can ‘hide’ your sexuality, if you choose, but I feel bad since

the world is still a harsh place to be if you are of color.”

Fee told me to go ahead and put the musical lists that I found in my

post, as long as I focused on a song that she and Jessie love and feel

says it all:

” Waiting on the World to Change,”

John Mayer,

“Continuum”

album,

2006.

 

How could I not include the fine and exquisite list of holiday songs,

recommended by the “Outlook” media magazine?

This is an excellent and eclectic list. Hope you will enjoy this and

it is much more encompassing than my short list of favorites on

another post.

1. “Blue Christmas,” by Elvis.

2. India.Arie with Trombone Shorty, playing “I’ve Got My Love

to Keep Me Warm.”

3.  Kenny G. and Dave Koz, “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow.”

4. Idina Menzel (of “Frozen” children’s animated film fame and also,

original cast of “Rent” on Broadway) singing the songs

“Holiday Wishes”

“Do You Hear What I Hear?”

“All I Want for Christmas, is You.”

and ** Original song written by I. Menzel, with Walter Afanseif

and Charlie Midnight, “December Prayer.” (The critics say this is

wonderful.)

5. Harry Connick, Jr. singing an original song, “When My Heart

Finds Christmas.”

6. Barbara Streisand, (recommended her whole album),

“A Christmas Album.”

7. Human Nature, “The Christmas Album,” with the songs that

they highlighted as, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

and an original song, “Mary’s Boy Child.” (I need to listen to

these original songs recommended very soon!)

8. Dave Koz, “The 25th of December” album. One song that

caught my interest was “All You Need is Love,” from the Beatles,

of course:

Sung with Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Richard Marx,  Heather

Headley and Johnny Mathis.

9. Any Christmas songs sung by Johnny Mathis, they absolutely

loved and recommended. The nicknamed J. M.: “Mr. Christmas!”

The favorite on the list of mine is, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time

of the Year.”

10. The Singing Bee brought us “Pentatonix,” which is an all

a capella group of singers. The song that is their original holiday

song is, “That’s Christmas to Me.”

11. Take 6 (band) plays “He is Christmas.” An original song to be

listened and appreciated.

 

The fun and lively Christmas Concert for my granddaughter’s (Lara)

Fifth Grade Chorus had these songs on their program:

1. “Yankee Doodle Boy/ Kid From the U.S.A” written by John Jacobson

and Alan Billingsley.

2. “Colors of Winter,” written by Amy F. Bernon.

3. “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth,” by Don Gardner and

arrangement by Sally K. Albrecht.

4. “March Pat-a-Pan,” accompanied on the flute by Ana Moder and on the

hand drum by Stacy Lemke, Chorus director. The song was arranged by

Audrey Snyder.

 

I enjoyed the four songs sung by the Sixth Grade Chorus:

1. “Jubilate Deo,” an old traditional “round” song, no author or lyricist

given.

2. “Hava Nashira,” Israelis Folk Song, arranged by John Leavitt and

accompanied by Laura Lenhart on the clarinet.

3. “Gloria Tibi Domine” written by Greg Gilpin.

4. “Peace on Earth/ It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”

 

 

Are there any other songs you would like to include?

I am always happy to feature music and especially

recommend your looking

into the original songs

on this list.

Music connects our senses,

gets us up and moving,

it builds emotions

and brings

couples

closer.

If

we

could

only get

the world

to connect

so easily

it would

be a

better

place.

I am ‘off’ to see the “Fantasy of Lights, ” after I pick up my oldest

daughter, Carrie with her two boys, Skyler and Micah.

We plan to go see Santa Claus and eat a dessert out.

(Wouldn’t hot chocolate and cookies, pie or cake be scrumptious?)

 

Happy Moments

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Here are some funny jokes that have children and all ages involved

in them. They will hopefully bring you a chuckle and some cheerful

thoughts to get you through the rest of the week. These came from

Pookie, my Mom’s good friend in California. Mom circled a few of

the  jokes on the pages and added her own wording.  I trust her

editing and typed them pretty closely to how she had these.

These are story ‘jokes’ where it may actually sound like they are

written by me, but they are not. I think it is fun to insert myself or

people I know into them.

1.  The Facts of Life:

“On the way home from a Cub Scout meeting, my grandson

innocently said to my daughter,

“Mommy, I know babies come from tummies, but how do they get

there in the first place?”

My daughter tried to change the subject, not quite ready to ‘break

the birds and the bees’ speech’ out at such a late hour with her 10

year old and 5 year old listening in rapt silence.

When she had ‘hemmed and hawed’ awhile, my grandson said in an

exasperated tone,

“Mom, it’s okay if you don’t know the answer, just tell me so!”

2.  A Military Story:

“Just before my friend’s son was deployed to Iraq, he sat his 8 year

old son (her grandson) down and broke the news to him, as gently

as possible, under the circumstances,

“Jimmy, I am going to be away for a long time but will keep in touch

with you, as much as possible.”

His son asked him, looking worried,

“Where are you going?”

Suddenly the friend’s son thought, ‘Oh no, I must not make him

worry,

Maybe he thinks I am dying… After all, just a few months’ ago, his

uncle had passed away…

“Jimmy, I am going to a far off country called, Iraq.”

Jimmy looked at his father like he was crazy and said,

“Don’t you know there’s a war going on over there, Dad?”

3.  Famous People Story, Kid’s Perspective:

“One afternoon a few years ago, Paul Newman was visiting the “Hole

in the Wall Gang Camp” for children stricken with cancer, AIDs and

blood diseases.

When a camp counselor spotted the actor with his wife, Joanne

Woodward, he pointed the couple out to his table of children,

‘That is the man who made movies and is a famous movie star

with his beautiful wife. Have you ever noticed or seen his picture

on salad dressing bottles?’

The kids all gave the camp counselor ‘blank stares.’

He tried once again to let them know about the importance to this

camp Paul Newman and his wife’s philanthropic project meant to

the kids,

“This couple came up with the idea for this camp so you could come

and enjoy the outdoors. Have you ever seen his face on any lemonade

cartons?”

Finally, a little eight year old girl perked up,

“How long was he missing?”

4.  God’s Problem Now:

“A man was at his wife’s graveside service, talking and thanking

people for coming to the funeral, despite it being such a stormy day.

He was speaking to the minister who had been so supportive to him

and his family.

All of a sudden, a massive clap of thunder rang through the gray clouds,

followed by a tremendous bolt of lightning.

This was followed by even more rumbling thunder in the distance.

The elderly man looked at his pastor, calmly saying,

“Well, we know she made it!”

5.  An “Aw-w-w!” Moment:

“I was waiting in the reception area of my doctor’s office, when a

woman rolled an elderly man in a wheelchair into the outer room.

As she went to check the elderly man in, over at the receptionist’s

desk, the man sat there alone and silent. His head was down, either

sleepy from his drive there or not feeling well.

Just as I was thinking about making small talk, hoping to brighten

his day, a little boy across the room slipped off his Mommy’s lap.

He walked timidly over to the older gentleman and placed his hand

over the top of the man’s.

He looked directly at the man and said,

“I know how you feel. My Mommy makes me ride in a stroller, too.”

6. Last one, hope this makes you smile. . .

“A group of us were chatting, while my oldest daughter was nursing

her son, (my grandson), Micah.

A 3 1/2 year old cousin, my son’s youngest daughter, went over to

my daughter…

She was quite curious and started asking questions,

‘What ‘cha doing?’

Carrie said, ‘I am feeding your baby cousin, Micah.’

‘What’s it taste like?’

Carrie responded, ‘Like milk. Like the stuff your Mommy puts in

your bedtime bottle.’

(She was still getting a bedtime bottle, soon to be a sippy cup instead.)

She was intrigued by the whole process, waiting to watch Carrie burp

Micah. When Carrie tucked herself back into her nursing bra, the last

comment ‘brought the house down,’ of the family gathering of adults

and children bursting into huge laughs,

‘My Mommy has two of those, but I don’t think she knows

how to use them.'”

My real family news, all joking aside:

Today, Lara is singing at Willis Middle School with the Chorus

singers. I am excited to be going to my first grandchild’s Middle

School program. I hope they will sing holiday songs. I will let you

know tomorrow. (12/17/14)

Tomorrow, in the later evening, Skyler, Micah and my oldest girl,

will do our annual tradition of seeing the lights at Alum Creek State

Park, which used to have just the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” now

has many wonderful displays. This display has gradually expanded

each year since my own three children, my parents and I would take

them. My parents had a Trans Van, which was a great way for the

kids to have a snack, their pajamas on, and get to see both sides of

the presentations. While you drive, you can tune into a local radio

channel that has the songs that go with the displays.

Dad was a ‘big kid at heart’ and loved listening to my children exclaim

in excited voices, “oooh!” and “aahh!” We would also enjoy going to

see Santa Claus across the street at Cross Creek Camp Ground. My

parents liked to sometimes stay there in the summer in the guest lots.

This probably excites me even more than the grandkids and my oldest

daughter. I pay for the ‘treat’ which goes to a worthy cause. They

are happy and do pipe up with their own little exclamations, like their

Mom did, when she was a girl.

What is your favorite family tradition?

Do you like to go out in your vehicle and look at Christmas lights

and decorations? Is there a special neighborhood that you like to

so see annually?

Joyful, Cheery Sounds

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On my way into work this morning, while there was frost on my

windshield and rear window, I blasted my heater and I was once

again, thankful for the warmth and the sound of the air coming

out with a whoosh! The radio was playing one of the most cheery

songs, with a country twang in her voice, Brenda Lee was singing,

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” The radio announcer was

using a pleasant, vibrant sounding voice, “Good Morning and let’s

all say, ‘Happy 70th Birthday to . . . Brenda Lee!'”

The first recording of this rocking song was in 1958, written by

Johnny Marks, for Decca Records.

 

While driving behind the school bus, the air brakes squealing and

the door opening on London Road,  to admit busy and excited

high schoolers, (yes, I am up that early!) I felt the movement in

my feet tapping to the music on the radio and the emotions of

the students, too. I usually wish I weren’t ‘stuck’ behind a school

bus, since this means two stops on London Road, along with the

longer stop at the railroad where we ‘catch’ the train, having to

wait for it to pass by. The train whistle blew, the steam was puffing

out of the ‘chimney’ and I felt the rumbling of its approaching

and then listened to the rattling of the clickety-clack.  That is how I

would describe the repetition of the sound.

 

Once I got into my building, several people call out my name, some

who are going off to sleep, (third shifters) and those who are on my

own shift, greeting me. These are happy people since our bosses

had decided to pack our day with ‘heavy’ work and include our half

day’s worth of work we usually do on Friday and complete it today.

This means a three day weekend! Hurrah!

 

At first break, I told my two friends, Tammy and Karen, about Brenda

Lee’s birthday. We agreed the song was still a popular one, the way

it has a lot of joy and glee in its words. Then, Tammy told me she has

been enjoying listening to Harry Connick, Jr. and Lady Antebellum’s

Christmas albums. Karen stated she loves her older albums, now on

Cd’s which include those familiar voices which bring nostalgia into

her home and heart. She likes Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and Burl

Ives.

I started making a list in my head, of the songs and people they were

talking about and decided to also, include some of my own personal

favorite songs and carols, along with some memorable sounds of the

holiday season. This is a compilation of some of my favorites, along

with some coworkers’ suggestions:

SONGS:

1. Harry Connick, Jr. singing, “Sleigh Ride,” which begins with the

words,

“Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,

Ring, ting tingling too…” (Thanks to my friend, Tammy.)

 

2. Dean Martin singing, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,”

which was written in 1951, by Meredith Wilson.

 

3. Bing Crosby singing, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” This

makes me sad, thinking of those who are in the armed services who

may not make it home for Christmas. The thought of the Bob Hope’s

USO holiday celebrations overseas for years and years, quickly cheers

me up again. This tradition carries on still through the help of the

USO.org. There was a lovely photograph of Idina Menzel with some

military families representing the USO. I hope the troops have a lot

of fun and the jokes make them laugh out loud, like Bob Hope would

wish this to go. “Thanks for the memories, Bob!”

Here is a short schedule of locations they are expected to be

entertaining the troops:

Dec. 7-16, 2014:  Japan, Guan and Hawaii, with the Dallas Cowboys

Cheerleaders.

Dec. 13- Clare Bowen (Hostess) at Tinker Air Force Base,  Oklahoma.

Dec. 16- Anthony Hamilton (Host) at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.

Jan. 3 – 9, 2015:  Robert Irvine (Host) at Japan and Okinawa.

(Thanks to my friend, Karen, for reminding me of both Bob Hope

and the USO, along with Bing Crosby and Dean Martin’s songs.)

 

3. Whitney Houston singing the hymnal carol, “Do You Hear What I

Hear?”

(Thank you to Melvin, my coworker, who suggested this version but

I enjoy Carrie Underwood’s ‘take’ on this lovely song also. )

Here is a bit of the history of the song:  It was written in 1962, by a

married couple who were moved by seeing children on the streets

of New York City (babies in strollers) and what the lamb might have

heard in the manger scene. This was on the cusp of the Cuban Missile

Crisis, which is why there are words imparting a message of Peace.

The lyrics were written by Noel Regney and the music was written by

his wife, Gloria Shayne Baker.

 

4. John Lennon and Yoko Ono, “Happy Xmas/War is Over,” which

begins with the words, “So This is Christmas.” It was written in 1971,

with tongue in cheek, by John and Yoko, in protest to the Viet Nam

War. It is also said they were thinking of their future children and

what children would ‘inherit’ in the world, with war still going on.

(Their son, Sean Lennon, was not born until 1975.)

When this song was produced, the voices of John, Yoko, the Plastic

Ono Band (with instrumentals) and the Harlem Community Choir

were beautifully blended together. The flip side of this single was

called, “Listen, the Snow is Falling.” The cover of this is ‘vintage’

looking in sepia brown and beige, with the children’s choir, ages 4-14,

included on it.

This song was also played a lot, after John Lennon was murdered on

December 8, 1980; 34 years ago this week.

*This is one of my own personal favorites.

 

5. Nat King Cole singing, “The Christmas Song,” also recognized as,

“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.” This lovely song was written

in 1944, by Bob Wells and Mel Torme.

*Another of my favorites, since my parents played this on their stereo.

 

6. Bruce Springsteen’s version of the old classic song, “Santa Claus Is

Coming to Town.” This is the 2nd oldest song on the list today. It was

written in 1934, by John F. Coats and Haven Gillespie. It was presented

for the first time on the Eddie Cantor’s Radio Show. Later, in 1935, it was

also recorded by the Tommy Dorsey Band. My parents listened to this

version on the stereo and radio.

*I love the way Bruce ‘rocks this one out!’

 

7. My friend Cheryl thought the carol, which to her sounds like it belongs

in a church with a choir, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” sung by

Julie Andrews, is her favorite song of all time.  This hymn was written

by a Unitarian minister, Edmund Sears, in 1849. He lived in Wayland,

Massachusetts. There are various versions of music to go with his

moving words.

Here are a few unusual ones to share with you:

Sergio Franchi sang this in 1965. He was an Italian opera tenor, who

died in Connecticut.

Eric Burdon and the Animals used the music from “The House of

the Rising Sun,” to accompany these lyrics.

Stefan Borsch, (Sweden) performed this in his native language.

The Lettermen performed and put this on a Christmas album in

1987.

Darryl Hall and John Oates included this in a Christmas album.

Anne Murray sang this in 2001, which I feel this would be simple

and beautifully done.

Josh Groban, who is known for singing operatic style, sang this in

2007. He does a fine performance of the song, “You Lift Me Up.”

 

Cheryl is feeling much better about her grandson’s recent death,

since she enlarged a favorite photograph of Christopher when he

was only 6 years old, with her mother, his great-grandmother. She

likes to say often, “Christopher is up in Heaven with my Mom.”

Last Christmas, you may have noticed, Cheryl had me write down a

short message/poem she had written in memorial of her mother’s

fifth anniversary of her death. We are close to one another in the way

we get emotional and are sentimental. She is my one coworker who

cried and held my hand, while we watched the first Inauguration of

President Barack Obama. If you did not read the one night I wrote,

“I have to go,” over and over on a post, you may not know that her

grandson died in his sleep, due to his weakened body, his having both

a combination of the flu and a cold. The autopsy of this fine 23 year

old graduate of Delaware High School and Columbus State student

will not be completed until after the first of the New Year. Cheryl takes

comfort that he had put up his Christmas tree the day of his death and

had also called her to tell her he was putting on some special family

ornaments she had given him when he turned 21.

 

Here are special sounds that are permanently etched into my own

memories:

1. A fire in a fireplace crackling. The logs making a ‘thump’ when they

fall into one another. There is peaceful serenity in listening to a fire.

2. A little child whispering in your ear. This almost makes the hairs

on my arms stand on end. It is magical, whatever words are told.

3. The ‘clink’ of a crystal or glass against another one, while a toast

is being given. The sound of the repeated ‘clinks’ at weddings, to get

the bride and groom to kiss, makes me smile.

4. Dogs bounding towards the door, barking or yipping loudly,

announcing the arrival of guests.

5. The door slammed. I imagine those who have little children saying

to themselves, “Oh, how annoying…” and following this with a lecture

to their children, “We never slam doors in our house.” Somehow, one

day it will come to this, you will wish to hear the door slamming with

the following sound of the words, “Mommy/Daddy. . . I’m home!”

Trust me on this.

6. Baby lambs in the country kitchen of my first babysitter, Mrs. Auble,

“Baa-ing” or ‘bleating’ for their milk bottles, followed by the slurping

noises of their drinking and pulling on the bottles, furiously tugging.

7. Hearty yells.  Across sledding hills, neighbors greeting each other

across streets and yards, and the one voice, that would bring you

running home for lunch (summer) and dinner (winter).

8. Leather boots or rubber boots crunching through the snow. The

sound of the crunch makes you stop talking and ponder in wonder.

9. Birds chirping and singing despite the weather. They always seem

to not be concerned with the cold, brisk air. Their songs echoing in the

early morning air. (Particularly, for me, the cardinal’s message.)

10. The sound of a familiar voice coming across the air waves, now

on cell phone. Back then, on a heavy, black rotary dial phone, of

loved ones (grandparents) far away.

 

Those are my carefully chosen Top Ten “sounds,” will you please let us

know what sounds make you happy, particularly around the holidays?

You may mention a song or a personal memory. . .

 

 

 

 

 

Bits and Pieces

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The Nutcracker book sits in my pile of Christmas and seasonal books,

along with Rudolph, The Night Before Christmas and other holiday

books. I include snowmen, gingerbread boy (and man), along with the

little dog Spot, in my menagerie of characters and stories yet to read

as the month progresses. I like for my once a year ‘treat’ for adult

choices, “The Gift of the Magi,” by O. Henry. There are plenty of

pieces of great literature to treasure, while helping to lift your spirits,

calm your soul and fill your mind.

 

In Columbus, “The Nutcracker” ballet is performed annually. I have

the details for Cleveland’s performances since it is exciting to note

their location:

Playhouse Square is the SECOND largest unified Arts Complex in

the United States! Wow!  My youngest brother took his wife to see

the Russian Ballet company perform, dancing their beautiful and

lively parts of the grand seasonal extravaganza. (Lincoln Arts Center

is the number one arts center in the U.S.)

 

Have you heard the R & B singer on the winter and holiday Glade

commercial? He turned 25 yesterday. His name is Kevin Ross, who

has been interviewed by several journalists, along with being in the

“Essence” magazine. He was a student and graduate of Berkeley

School of Music, he had a project where he had to perform, which he

chose Stevie Wonder to sing. The performance was outstanding,

he has been listed as a “Motown record artist.”

You may wish to check out other songs by Kevin Ross, but his soulful

voice soars into the upper registers and won my heart in his “My

Wish for You,” which keeps on going if you download it… to sing

the often mentioned but never less meaningful words of,

“Let there be peace on earth.

 

 

I love to walk in nature, despite my occasional grousing, to see frozen

waterfalls. There is one quite close to my home, less than a half hour

drive at Hayden Run Falls, off Hayden Run Road in Columbus.

The Hayden Run Falls is a part of Grigg’s Reservoir and Nature

Preserve.

Another close to my ‘neck of the woods’ waterfalls display is at the

Indian Run Falls in Dublin, Ohio. There is a short (3 miles) loop

where you can walk past a waterfall, look over a small ravine and

also, see the Veteran’s Memorial for Dublin veterans. The flags

displayed there are international and I think it is worth the walk.

 

I dislike repeating myself, but walking in the brisk winter air will not

give you a cold! It is invigorating and if bundled up properly, with a

warm set of layered clothing, scarf and hat on, you will find it rather

fun. It also will be enough exercise to take off a few of those extra

pre-holiday and holiday calories, too!

Here are a few more locations where the waterfalls are fabulous and

awe-inspiring:

Cuyahoga Valley National Park~

Brandywine Falls one of Top Ten in the U.S. visited National Parks.

 

Old Man’s Cave, where there are Upper Falls and Lower Falls trails.

 

In Michigan, the falls are abundant. I enjoyed in the U.P. the tannin

(looks like flowing whiskey) colored falls. The tall, tall pine trees lend

their sap to the coloration.

I am sure you know of a few in your area that are simply breath-taking

and would be happy to hear about them!

 

Two special quotes from the man who paints miracles upon canvas:

 

“When you live in the light of unfolding miracles,

There is always a future, always a hope.”

 

“The points in Life

where what has happened

and what you have done

converge,

Move you forward

and significantly shape

the person

you are,

Those are your miracles.”

~* Thomas Kinkade *~