Friday, December 31, 2021

Dreading 2022

I don’t remember a time when I dreaded a new year like I do this one. Our young country has gone through a plethora of hard and confusing times but I don’t recall anything that compares to the pure HATRED that seems to have become the norm in America. I find it degrading and a very poor message to send to the rest of the world.

I know you must be tired of hearing me bring up “the browning of America” but I feel strongly that it is at the core of what is happening. The whole idea that the pure (?) white race, has a special priority over everyone else, is childish and fear driven. It’s time to grow up America and open our hearts and minds to a world of diversity.

There is so much we can learn if we just put the egos aside and give it a chance...AND it can be lots of fun. Have you ever realized how boring it is to be in the company of white-only folks. (Big yawn)

So, although I dread 2022 I’m not going anywhere and I hope you will stand by too. We need to be here to fight for our country the right way … with liberty and justice FOR ALL

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Namaste ..."The light within"

The first time that I became aware of the word NAMASTE and learned of it’s significance was in the 1990’s when my friend Douglas and I visited a dear friend who was married to an Indian man named Praveen.

She was American by birth but spent 8 years living in India when she and her husband first married. Although the bulk of their married life had been in the United States they still retained their Indian way of life. I had gotten to know her very well and was used to taking my shoes off whenever I was at her house. I had also enjoyed many an evening sampling delicious Indian fare and learning how to eat “Indian style”.

However, when I visited with Douglas I was intrigued to see that both he and our host, Praveen, put their hands together, made a small bow to each other and murmured “namaste”. When we were alone I asked Douglas about it and he said it is a salutation used in the Hindu religion. Evidently it can mean many things but to Douglas it meant “I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me”.

Now all three have passed on but every time I see a person using the namaste greeting it reminds me of them and it reminds me that it is just one more example of how life’s experiences have taught me that we are all different … but, at the core we are all the same.

Friday, December 24, 2021

the BIG DAY is here ...

To all my wonderful blogger friends ... near and far !

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Remembering Christmas in the 30's

Here I am in 1933. My parents used this photo on their Christmas card that year. I was just 10 months old when that photo was in Plainfield, New Jersey with my four older sisters. My paternal grandparents lived there also and we always went to their house on Christmas Eve for one of Grandma’s super dinners. They lived in a small home that sat close to the road in a highly populated area. It was a modest neighborhood but everyone seemed to pitch in to make the season festive.

The highlight of those visits would be the carolers who arrived just in time for coffee and dessert. They were local residents who yearly traveled from house to house singing the traditional Christmas carols. They always ended at Grandma’s house where she treated them all to her special three-berry pie and whipped cream.

Christmas day, of course, was when we opened gifts. In those years we were just coming out of the depression so we received few of them and each one became a treasure. Dad would play Santa and Mother would collect the ribbons, bows and wrapping paper that could be salvaged for use the next year. It was a “waste not, want not” era and I find it hard, to this day, to watch anyone tear apart a gift so that nothing is reusable!

When I remember those Christmas days in the 30’s and 40’s I realize how simple life was then. We had seven mouths to feed. It was a time of our country’s depression and then World War II. We had few frivolous possessions but we lacked for nothing. Love, laughter and respect for each other were in abundance and it is those things that I wish for all of you.


Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Charles Dickens “Carol Philosophy”

I have a collection of books by Charles Dickens, and it includes 9 versions of his most famous one, ... “A Christmas Carol'. Now is the time of the year that I take them from the bookshelf and highlight them for all to see. When I did this today it got me to thinking about him as a writer and a man. I decided to do some searching to see if I'd missed anything of interest. Lo and behold I had, and I am passing it on to you.

Evidently Christmas was not a huge deal in Britain and America until his masterpiece “A Christmas Carol” came out in 1843. It seemed to rekindle the joys of Christmas and today, more than 178 years later and despite the materialistic trappings of the season, Dickens' words seem to still get to the heart and soul of the holidays.

Dickens himself, although never lacking in egoism, seemed surprised to have his book have such an impact year after year, but he soon became tired of the same old questions about his “real” thoughts on Christmas and he finally wrote what he called “The Carol Philosophy”.

In it Dickens describes the holidays as "a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of other people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys." 

He carried copies of it and when the question of Christmas was broached the questioner would get a copy.

Friday, December 10, 2021

PRESSED-TIN Crèche Scene from Mexico

In 2002 a friend and I went to Mexico. It was my first and only time there and I remember being enamored with the colorful and often hand-made items that were for sale, but I couldn't seem to find anything that cried out “buy me”.

When I came upon this little Crèche scene, I almost passed it by.

                                                      Sorry about the poor video.

The little figures, ranging in size from three quarters of an inch to two and a half inches, came packaged in a small tin box and, like most of the folk-art in Mexico it was crude & almost primitive in style. I could see that the pieces were cut by machine, but the painting is definitely done by hand. An additional piece of metal is soldered to the back of each figure to enable them to stand on their own, much like an easel.

The little box and its contents weighed practically nothing, so it was easy to bring home. When I think of all the work that went into making the box and the 10 little figures, I can’t believe that, even considering that I bought it 19 years ago, I paid the equivalent of less than $3.00 for it.

Monday, December 06, 2021

Other FLOTUS gems

In my last post I highlighted Jill Biden and Melania Trump ...  First Ladies O The United States.  They, of course, are the latest 2 to hold that title, but that left 44 other ladies that came before them.   My all-time favorite FLOTUS is Eleanor Roosevelt, but she is one of a kind and not what I was looking for. Nor was I interested in the majority of wives who stood by their husbands and are lauded for the help they were to his Presidency. 

I thought it would be fun to read about the first ladies and see if there were any quirks or little-known facts that would be interesting to pass on to you.  I chose these 5 and hope you will enjoy then too.

Julia Tyler, President John Tyler’s second wife had a taste for the finer things. Not only did she introduce the polka dance to Washington ballrooms, but she was also known to drive a coach of matching white Arabian horses around the D.C. area.

Frances Cleveland at the tender age of 21, Grover Cleveland’s wife holds the record for being the youngest First Lady and the only bride of an incumbent president to marry—and give birth—in the White House.

Lucy Hayes. When children living in D.C. were forbidden to roll Easter eggs on the Capitol grounds, Lucy Hayes permitted them to use the White House lawn instead, and the traditional White House Easter Egg Roll was born.

Helen, "Nellie" Taft: After this first lady visited Japan in 1912 with husband, William Howard
Taft, the mayor of Tokyo sent her 3,000 cherry tree saplings  which are still blooming in the
nation’s capital each spring to this day.

And my favorite, Betty Ford. o
n her husband’s last day in office, Mrs. Gerald Ford was so overjoyed that she gleefully tapped danced on the Cabinet room’s conference table. 

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

A Real Whitehouse Christmas

December is here and, true to tradition, it's the time that our President's first lady chooses her Christmas theme and uses it while decorating the many rooms, entrances and hallways of the Whitehouse.

This year Jill Biden writes, "The things we hold sacred unite us and transcend distance, time, and even the constraints of a pandemic: faith, family, and friendship; a love of the arts, learning, nature; gratitude, service, and community; unity and peace. These are the gifts that tie together the heart strings of our lives."

Here are two of her rooms

I know that I'm prejudiced but it's such a nice feeling to see these rooms decorated with a touch of glamour, but not over the top & gaudy as they were in the past administration. Back then it was always to show off how much money was spent and it certainly didn't give me a soft Christmassy feeling.

Not only were the decorations grossly over done, but some made no sense at all. Remember this? It was Melania's pride and joy, but, (per her own admission) she didn't really care much for Christmas so maybe this was her way of showing it.