Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter Solstice

Days get longer, so
This is a favorite time.
More daylight is good!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sunday Stealing

The Christmas Meme

From the archives!

1. Do you send Christmas cards?
Not any more.
2. How soon do you start shopping?:
I don’t shop - ever!
3. Who do you shop for?:
See above answer.
4. Do you put up a Christmas tree?:
No more. I think the last one was about 15 or so years ago
5. If so, is it fake or real?:
We had had an artificial tree for a number of years. The fire hazard was what made me decide to stop having a real tree.
6. Do you like tinsel?:
I loved tinsel on the tree - as least what I called tinsel. Other people called other things “tinsel”.
7. Do you use homemade or store bought ornaments?:
We used some of each, but mostly store bought.
8. Do you put Christmas lights outside your house?:
9. Do you put lights on the tree?:
We did when we had a tree.
10. How about popcorn and cranberries?:
11. Is there a wreath hanging on your door?:
13. Do you hang up your stocking?:
Not any more
14. Does your family read "Twas the night before Christmas?":
We never did do that.
15. Christmas Movie?:

Maybe Holiday Inn or White Christmas
16. Character from any Christmas Movie:

The Grinch
17. Christmas Song:
The Christmas Song, by Mel Torme
18. Christmas Memory:
The Christmas morning we woke up in Antarctica
19. Give or Receive?:
22. Ham or Turkey?:
24. White Lights or Colored Lights?
25. Blinking Lights or Still Lights:
Still (I hate blinking lights)
26. Were you Naughty or Nice this year?:
Probably naughty
27. What do you want for Christmas this year?:
World peace would be nice. Having people realize that “different” doesn’t mean “bad”.
28. When do you open your gifts?:
Christmas morning.
29. What's the best gift you've ever gotten?:
Our Christmas trip to Antarctica.
30. What's the worst gift you've ever gotten?:
I can’t think of one.
31. Who gives you the most gifts?:
We don’t much give gifts any more.
32. Have you ever had a secret Santa?:
33. Do you like wrapping gifts?:
I used to love doing it, and was very good. Not any more.
34. Do you put change in those red buckets?:
No. We give to our favorite local charities.
35. Do you burn a yule log?:
36. Can you name all the reindeer?:
Probably not
37. Do you bake cookies?:
Cookie baking got delegated to Kate and Jean.
38. Have you ever seen your mommy kissing Santa Clause?:
I AM the mommy, and I’ve kissed Santa Claus.
39. Have you ever gotten a kiss under the mistletoe?:
41. Do you drive around and look at the Christmas lights?:
42. Have you ever left Santa cookies?:
43. Have you ever sat on Santa's lap?:
44. Who do you celebrate Christmas with?:
John. Sometimes we go to Margaret’s for Christmas Dinner.
45. Where do you celebrate Christmas?:
At home, then see #44.
46. Have you ever had a white Christmas?:
Yes, but at our latitude, it wasn’t much.
47. What part of Christmas do you look most forward to?:
All the horrible commercial stuff being over.
48. Have you ever had your picture taken with Santa?:

Friday, December 19, 2014

Disappointing, then nice.

Today started out to be sort of busy, with the expectation that John’s cousin Marty and husband, John, would be staying here overnight. We’re about half-way between their home in the Tampa area and their youngest daughter in Cincinnati.

We didn’t find out until after swimming and coffee that they were having to cancel. They got delayed in leaving home and had to cancel. Phooey! We haven’t seen them in several years, and were really looking forward to their visit. Oh, well - maybe they’ll get through here sometime soon.

So we had pretty much an unplanned rest of the day. It was nice.

Three for Thursday

Three awesome things today:
1.  Massage - always awesome
2.  Jean and her friend Jamie came into town to meet us and Tina at Old Saigon for lunch.  Awesome lunch and visit.  Jean brought our box of cookies that she and Kate baked last week.  Yum!
3.  We went with Tina to the String Theory Concert at the Hunter Museum tonight.  How could Mendelssohn and Brahms and the Pacifica String Quartet be anything less than awesome.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UTC Lady Mocs 54, #7 Stanford 46 !!!!

After swimming, we had our annual Christmas brunch. All our gals are such good cooks, and the covered dish food was excellent, as always.

But the best Christmas present of the season came later. The UTC Lady Mocs beat #7-ranked Stanford 54-46! It was a huge win - the gals really beat Stanford. And it was sweet! Unfortunately, Stanford will play the Lady Vols on Saturday, and I’m afraid we sent them off to Knoxville in a really bad mood. It was worth it, though.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Happy Hanukkah - plus Christmas

Happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish friends!
Ten Things You Might Not Know About Christmas, by T. Steelman
 was a piece in in 2012.  I've just seen it for the first time, and felt it was interesting and worth repeating.
There are so many traditions associated with Christmas. Many of them we just take for granted, accepting the “prevailing wisdom” as to their origins. But sometimes things are not what they seem. Here are ten things that you may not have known…
1. Christmas was once against the law in America. When the Puritans came to this continent they brought their objection to Christmas with them. They believed it was a creation of man, not Christ, so it should not be considered a holy day. They weren’t too keen on the revelry that went along with the holiday, either. Christmas was celebrated in America by Anglicans but most Protestant groups forbade it. It wasn’t until June 26, 1870 that Christmas took its official place on the American holiday calendar.
2. Christmas trees were forbidden as a part of the celebrations until as late as 1640. Since the tradition of bringing evergreen boughs or trees into the home at the Winter Solstice was pagan in origin, the early Church forbade them. The first recorded instance of a Christmas tree dates to 1510 when the town of Riga in Latvia brought a tree into the town square, decorated it and then burned it. Thankfully, we have relegated the burning part to the Yule log. Approximately 30-35 million Christmas trees are sold each year in the U.S.
3. Speaking of “Yule,” that word is believed to originate from the Anglo-Saxon for “wheel” (though scholars are not completely certain). A mid-winter festival known by this name has been celebrated since well before 1000 CE, marking the Winter Solstice. The term “yuletide” as a reference to the Christmas season dates back to about 1475.
4. Christmas songs date back to the 4th century: St. Hilary of Poitiers composed Jesus refulsit omnium for a Christmas Mass. The Renaissance brought lighter songs and the earliest English carol came in 1410. It was composed by Ritson and is found in the Ritson Manuscript. One of the oldest carols that we still sing today is “O Tannenbaum” from Germany. The most popular Christian carol is “Silent Night,” while the most popular secular song is “White Christmas.”
5. The date on which we celebrate Christmas was chosen by Bishop Liberius of Rome in 354 CE. The actual date has been debated since the formation of Christianity. The biblical account says, “And there were shepherds living out in the fields near by, keeping watch over their flocks at night.” Shepherds in the Middle East would have only had their flocks in the fields from Spring into Fall. In December, the animals were brought in close to shelter to protect them from the cold and rain. The likeliest date for the birth of Jesus is March, 6 BC.
6. Santa Claus is an amalgamation of several figures: St. Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra (modern-day Turkey), the Norse god, Woden, and the Celtic Holly King primary among them. The beard, the cloak, the reindeer… these are associated with the aforementioned figures. Our modern Santa was created by cartoonist Thomas Nast in 1860 for Harper’s Weekly magazine. Every year he added more to Santa, including his home at the North Pole, the “naughty and nice” list, and coming down the chimney. When the Coca-Cola company started using Santa Claus in its advertisements, it built even more on the lore.
7. Gift giving at the Solstice did not originate with the Magi. During the Saturnalia, which had some influence on our own modern Christmas holiday, gifts were exchanged among friends. As for the Magi… the Bible doesn’t say that there were three of them. There were three kinds of gifts – gold, frankincense and myrrh – so it was just assumed that there were three men who brought them.
8. Mistletoe was a sacred plant to both the Druids and the Norse. According to Norse myth, when the god Baldur was killed by a mistletoe arrow, his mother Frigga wept white berries which brought him back to life. The mistletoe was then blessed by Frigga so that whoever stood beneath it received a kiss. The Druids collected mistletoe by cutting it with a gold sickle, catching it in a cloth before it could hit the ground. The sprigs were placed over doorways to protect the dwelling and bring blessings.
9. The first Christmas cards appeared in 1843, designed by John Horsley, and sold in London for one penny each. The image on the front was of a family raising a Christmas toast which caused the Puritans to denounce it. But cards became very popular anyway. A German lithographer named Louis Prang brought the tradition to America in 1860, printing the cards in his press in Boston. Nowadays, more than 3 billion Christmas cards are sent in America alone!
10. Santa’s reindeer are based upon the eight-legged Sleipnir, the Norse god Woden’s flying horse. The reindeer received their names from Clement Moore in his poem, “A Visit From St. Nick” in 1823. Rudolph didn’t join them until 1939 when Robert L. May wrote a verse for Montgomery Ward. Gene Autry recorded the song that Johnny Marks adapted from the poem, releasing it during Christmas week, 1949. It became the second best-selling song of all time until the 1980’s, selling over 25 million copies.
Though we know a lot more about Christmas traditions now, that shouldn’t stop us from celebrating them. Embrace all the origins and stories and archaic reasons we do what we do. Celebrate in your own way and enjoy the season!

Monday, December 15, 2014

An afternoon off

We had been told that bridge would have a delayed start this afternoon due to some function at the Civic Center where we play. We got there at the reset time to find that it would be at least another 45 minutes or more before we could have the space. So we came home. We left my car for routine servicing while we played, so we’ll just went back to get it when they finished it.

Oh, well. We got an afternoon off instead.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Quiet weekend

Last night, I watched My Fair Lady on TCM - uncut and without commercials. I don't know long it's been since I've seen the whole movie. It is so good (even without Julie Andrews) and such wonderful music and lyrics. A sheer pleasure!

Jesse and his lady friend (Caroline) were home last weekend for a Christmas visit. They came to Chattanooga to see us for about an hour. That was a treat. They brought a Xmas present - a painting Jesse had done for me at one of those "wine and painting" parties. It's an owl and very cute and colorful. I used to collect owls, so it's very special for me. Thanks, sweetie!

Today we did about as close to nothing as possible. I got the laundry done. John watched the Lady Vols beat Rutgers and took several naps.