It was red this morning when I got up.  ‘Red at dawning – sailors take warning’.  I heard that all my life with a Grandfather who was a Lobsterman and a Father who worked in Marine Hardware.  I wonder what kind of weather this day will bring?  I think I am glad that I have no plans for the evening.  I am going to try to talk the residents into going to see an early movie followed by some surf and turf here at home.  I am thinking shrimp and steak and it could end up being hamburgers and canned tuna!!!

I absolutely cannot believe that it is the last day of the year.  Where did 365 days go?  There really were 52 weeks that passed evidently with no dragging.  There actually were 12 months that seemed like more if you put the Presidential election in the mix.  Additionally four seasons passed as swiftly as a hummingbird flapping his wings zipping about.

I am one of those who like to watch the retrospectives that are on TV this time of year.  I usually remember most of what is shown though occasionally I pick up on something I missed.  I am also one who cries again at the people who have passed in the 12 months we’ve just lived.   This is a day we remember the ‘lasts’.  It will be the last time I write 2012.  Well unless I forget.  It will be the last time I – you?  What last will this be for you?

Resolutions come to mind at this point.  Many say it will be their last cigarette or last gooey edible treat as they are going to diet.  It may be the last time you start your day without exercising as you are starting a new program.  Do you make resolutions?  What I could find was that the Babylonians were the first to make New Year’s resolutions.  It was usually to return tools to neighbors.  Early Christians believed that the first day of a new year should be about reflection of the last and thoughts of improving in the coming year.  I do NOT make New Year’s resolutions.  Failure is not something I like so why would I set myself up for it deliberately?

I will be spending this New Year’s Eve day finishing up putting away the inside Christmas decorations.  I am planning on doing a last load of laundry as well as get some desk work done.  I understand that these objectives are well within keeping of the superstitions of New Year’s Day.  The information addict in me led me to the web to see what happens today in other places.

There are many superstitions surrounding this holiday.  In Spain one must eat 12 grapes as the clock strikes.  Each grape means a month of good luck.  In Finland they cast molten tin into a container of water.  The shape is interpreted.  I could understand the shape of a heart means a wedding.  A ship-shape means travel and a pig shape means food – who interprets the shapes?  Even better who has tin to melt?

Others are round shapes in the Philippines.  The shape represents coins so they have round fruits around or eat round fruits – grapes like Spain are the easiest.  Some wear polka dots for the shape.  In Brazil and Central America it is not the shape it is the color.  They wear special underwear!  Red means love and yellow means money!

It is activities/games elsewhere.  In Scotland they celebrate ‘Hogmanay’ which is the practice of ‘first-footing’.  The first person crossing a threshold  should carry a gift of luck – hmm usually whiskey!  Single people are told to leave a gift out side to bring it across the threshold first thing.  Since 1951 Japan has celebrated with a song battle with teams participating in sing offs.  The Japanese also laugh at the stroke of midnight to bring good luck with laughter.

In Belarus unmarried women are a focus.  Piles of corn are put before them as they are gathered in a circle.  A rooster is let go and the pile of corn he chooses means this woman will marry first.  Another game there is that married women hide things in the house of an unmarried woman and if she finds bread she will marry rich if she finds a ring she will marry a handsome man.

In the Netherlands they make bonfires of Christmas trees to signify the purging of the old and bringing in the new! The Greeks bake a silver or gold coin in a cake and whoever gets it gets good lick for the coming year.  (NOTE: if they don’t swallow it!)   In Denmark they jump off chairs to signify leaping into the New Year.

At the stroke of 12 tradition says we toast and kiss.  The toast goes back to ancient Romans and Greeks.  At functions in those days the host would drink the wine first to assure all that it was not poisoned, a common practice to do away with enemies.  Also a square piece of bread was added to absorb acidity.  This became known as toasting when all would drink together.

In the USA we all are accustomed to watching the ball drop in Times Square.  I saw the ball when I was there earlier this month.  There are other things that are dropped in this country.  I was amazed to discover just how many.  From my own experience living in the area I know of the copper acorn that was created in 1992 to honor the bicentennial of  Raleigh, NC.  Folks there are so many other things that are dropped you must go look.  It is hysterical!

A giant Peach is dropped in Atlanta, GA.  A Conch Shell is dropped in Key West, FL and an orange in Miami.  A Pickle is lowered in Mount Olive, NC at 7PM to acknowledge Greenwich Mean Time.  A Sardine drops in Eastport, Maine.  Pennsylvania had the most drops.  They vary from ping-pong balls, a beaver to a 100# stick of Lebanon Bologna in Lebanon, PA.  Check it out it is fun!


There things we are not to do on New Year’s Day so that means we must do them today.  Snopes.com has a whole list of these.  According to this list I cannot pay bills or do laundry or break things and I must have a full larder as the new year begins.  Another fun read at that website.  It also gave a list of foods that you  must eat on New Year’s Day.


I know in the south they eat black-eyed peas in hoppin’ john.  Lentils are a must have.  Pork is the meat as chickens scratch backwards and cows stand still only pigs root forward.

And of course there are the noise makers.  This is to scare away evil.  You are to fling open your doors as well to let the old year out.

As I write this all down I am filled with a sense of urgency that I must get to my day.  I have bills to pay, laundry to do, and shopping.  I have to go get the black-eyed peas, the lentils, the pork and a few things we really do need.

In case we do not get to the movies we will be able to bring in the new year with gifts of dvds from Christmas.  I can be watching ‘Serendipity’ or ‘Jane Eyre’.   Or for the more masculine  it might be ‘Muskie Techniques’ or ‘Muskie Hat Cam’!

Off I go to get this day and night covered.  I bid you a HAPPY NEW YEAR’S EVE.   Tonight know that I will flinging open the doors, making loud noises, jumping off my chairs in my yellow underwear while eating the 12 grapes (I wonder if a handful of raisins would qualify) then rushing to the garage to first- foot a gift I left there  into the house!  Let the festivities begin!





In the newer homes in the last 15+ years you will find oversized tubs commonly referred to as Whirlpool or Garden Tubs in the master bathrooms.  Some of them have jets in them thus giving the whirlpool effect. Others are simply oversized.  Usually they are triangular and fit in a corner of the bathroom.  Most of them have a large window or windows above them.  All they are is more surface to clean as far as I am concerned.  Do I really want water that has been circulated and is now sitting in the pipes re-circulated again at a later date?  And who wants a window over a tub when you will be standing naked in it?  Am certain the curtain or blinds industry played a part in this design.  Can you tell not my favorite?

In North Carolina our first new house with a whirlpool I was very excited.  This contractor put a lot of thought into the construction as there actually was a door to get to the underside of the tub should something go wrong.  That is not always the case.  Also you could sit on the whole front of the shelf and slide your legs over to get in.  Plenty of room for access.

The Memphis house had the same and also easy access in and out of the tub.  As well as being larger they are also higher than normal tubs.  The Missouri house had a step to get into the tub which we eliminated as a cost cut.  We did not need the step as we judged we were young enough to put a leg over should we use it.  Again the whole front was open to the tub itself.  From then on in the tubs were our choice and no longer whirlpools and not funky shapes until now with few choices in design we are back to the triangle in the corner with windows.  By the way the fixtures are in the front (aka the hypotenuse) of this tub.  Try and get in and out of this thing!  Plus I am older and less bendy!!!

I get in our tub every few months or so just to dust it out.  Pretty good when to clean a tub you dust it not use comet or scrubbing bubbles!!!   I have the 4 windows that are above it covered with solid white cafe curtains so some light still comes in during the day.  I do not want to scare the neighbors on those occasions I chose to try and figure out how to manipulate this aging and ever increasing in size body to get into this contraption.  Last night was one of these occasions.  It was Saturday night after all!!

Cute aside.  Grampa Smith who lived down the street from us in Maine used to say he only took a bath once a week on Saturdays.  I know that was not true however he made a big deal of it.  No wonder.  He wore about thirty layers of clothing to stay warm all year long.  He had long johns.  Flannel lined Pants. Wool hunting pants.  Undershirt, Flannel Shirts. down vest and jackets as well.  I hope that is not what I am looking at in my eighties!!!

I decided to use a gift from Christmas as a treat for all the work I did over the holiday.  I decided to have a luxurious bath.  The gift was from a very special person and they usually use a theme.  The theme this year evidently was shells.  There were two beautiful towels in purple with shell designs.  There was a bath brush in a lovely muted purple and other floral patterns ala Monet.  The bag also included a delicious smelling bar of beauty soap and similar moisturizing lotion.   There were chocolates in the shape of shells and a matching lovely gold shell ornament.  Additionally in the gift bag was a box of my favorite chocolate covered cherries.

Off I tromped to the bath with towels, brush, soap and moisturizer in hand.  I took the tags off everything and turned to get the tub ready.  I took my long swiffer and dusted out the tub.  My oh my!  If ‘dust though art to dust though cometh’ is real, then I had tons of people coming and going in that porcelain whiteness.

I began to fill the tub.  That is another questionable thing about these tubs.  In order to have a decent bath you have to fill them up with gallons and gallons of water.  Thankfully I am not an environmental elitist or I would NEVER use this luxury.

Now remember the fixtures are in the front.  Let me draw this picture for you.  This is a sort of triangle.  The long side is facing you – the hypotenuse of the triangle.  Across from that is the point of the triangle with two long sides coming out.  Then each of those end and we have two short sides to the front.  So perhaps it is more of a pentagon with two short sides and the one long across the front with the large V in the back.   Regardless it is oversized and odd shaped.

Let me try again.  The corner has four windows – 2 on each side.  Under those are the back wall of the tub. The right, as you are looking at it, ends and becomes a short 24″ side that ends in a wall right up to the tub.  No access on that side.  The left side as you are looking at it ends and is open for the 24″ short span except for a small chest of draws sitting there.  There is no other draw storage in this room.

To get in this tub I have to maneuver between the fixtures in the center on the front hypotenuse and the small 4 draw chest on the left short wall.  Remember there is a corner there where the short edge meets the front.  The shelf as it sits is about 12″ across.  I have three decorative blue bottles in varying shape on the tub shelf under the windows.

I could make the choice to remove the bottles and move the draws closer to the shower to gain easier access.  The water was filling and I was now naked and a little chilly.  I have about 12 inches to put my leg up over and hang onto the window sill while I shift my weight to pull up the other leg over and in and hopefully not slip during this whole procedure.  Halfway through all of this I remember I left the towel in the bedroom.  Stop go get the towel.

As I proceed again I decide to sit on the edge of the tub straddling it to get in.  Halfway through this I remember the beautifully scented body soap on the sink across the way.  Oh joy have to stop the process and start again.  But wait!  There on the top of the draws within reach was a new package of 8 Coast soaps that had not been put in the draws.  Thank you laziness!  I forgo the beauty bar all the while thinking it probably would do no good anyway at this late time in my life and grabbed a bar of Coast!  Straddling the shelf is harder than I thought and I am getting colder.

I turn my body to bring up my other leg over the small area to get into the tub and discover this is no easy chore after all.  There is not much room.  Finally I have to stand up with grab the sill and get my leg over the lip and ahhhhhhhhhhh….both feet in the hot warm water!!!  I sit, I lay and relax.  The warmth is enveloping me and I can feel my joint pain ease.  This was really worth it!!!

As I am in the joy I think, well I got that done now how in the world am I going to get out!!!  In true Scarlett O’Hara fashion I said to myself out loud, I said, “I’ll think about that in a little while!”




The following has been making the rounds on facebook. I found it at: http://bitsandpieces.us/2012/12/27/57231/

“Fiscal Cliff” put in a much better perspective

Lesson # 1:

U.S. Tax Revenue: $2,170,000,000,000

Federal Budget: $3,820,000,000,000

New Debt: $1,650,000,000,000

National Debt: $14,271,000,000,000

Recent Budget cuts: 38,500,000,000

Let’s now remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budge:

Annual family income: $21,700

Money the family spent: $38,200

New debt on the credit card: $16,500

Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710

Total budget cuts so far: $385

Got it?…. OK now…

Lesson # 2

Here’s another way of looking at the Debt Ceiling:

Let’s say you come home from work and find there has been a sewer backup in your neighborhood… and your home has sewage all the way up to your ceilings.  What do you think you should do?

Raise the ceiling or remove the sh–?

While not thrilled with the language of the end I have to say this is the clearest example of what we are facing this Dec. 31st.  I believe it is an old item as the debt is already higher.  Still serves the purpose for understanding.  What is the President and the Congress doing about it?  To me it looks like nothing.  Oh no there was a meeting yesterday!

Cliff # 2 – The Dairy Cliff –  I am sure that there are few people out there, unless you have become a news junkie, that are aware that we are about to fall off another cliff due to the price of milk.  Unless there is legislation the price of milk will go sky high.  The farm bill that has been renewed over and over from 1949 expired in September.  Legislators have been trying to add this to any fiscal bill since September and it has not stuck.  Here are some other sources.

TV STATION IN DES MOINES IOWA – http://whotv.com/2012/12/27/expensive-milk-new-year-could-bring-new-prices/

The fiscal cliff has been making news for several weeks, but there’s one consequence of going over the cliff that has hardly been mentioned.

The farm bill expired in September and many in congress have been pushing for key provisions to be tacked on to anything that passes before the New Year, one of those provisions in the Dairy Security Act which controls U.S. milk prices.

If the act isn’t renewed the government would be forced to revert back to a milk pricing system based on production costs of 1949, when most milking was done by hand.
Applying that system of pricing to today’s market could push the price of milk to as high as $8 per gallon.

Industry analysts are hopeful lawmakers will pass some kind of provision, but if it doesn’t happen it would take several weeks for the USDA to draw up a new milk purchasing plan to replace the outdated pricing rules and bring pricing back down.

From the Huffington Post…..

Got milk? Your answer may be no come January when milk prices could double.

If the Farm Bill is not renewed by Congress by the end of the year, the price of milk could surpass $6 a gallon, according to CBS News. That would be a big problem for Americans who are already spending on average 10.6 percent of their grocery budget on dairy products.

The Farm Bill currently regulates the price of milk. Without the bill, milk prices are projected to climb around four times higher than what the current bill permits, which could lead to skyrocketing prices in grocery stores across the country.

From the examiner.com

Chris Galen, spokesman for the National Milk Producers Federation, said in October that the nation was facing a “dairy cliff.” The Federation, which represents dairy farmers across the country, issued a warning that if federal farm subsidies were not renewed, that families could face steep price increases as early as January 2013.

“We’ve never been in this position before, so we don’t know what will happen.”– Chris Galen of the National Milk Producers Federation.

Bob Nichols, a dairy farmer in Addison, New York, told the Leader that the bill is essential to keeping dairy prices affordable.

“Without (a new farm bill), milk will be $6 per gallon. We’re at the mercy of things we can’t control.”

Traders were not worried about the milk market futures I read.  One was quoted as saying, “We’ll go off  the Dairy Cliff, but Congress will fix it, just like they’ll fix the fiscal cliff.”  Wonder what he would say today?

Then we have the debt ceiling.  I have said it before and I will say it again.  If a household budget goes off track you simply cut back and do not spend any more.  Why is that so hard to understand?

The sad thing is that few understand or care about it.  If you get a refund after you file your taxes what do you care if it is a little less?  If they take a few more dollars out of your pay check will you notice?  It is such a small amount for many people that it will slip through without pain.  If the price of milk goes up will it be important to you?  I have 2 boxes of powdered milk already in my basement and depending on the 31st may buy more.

Chip chip chip away.  Can you hear it?  Freedom chipping away?  Solvency is freedom! We are looking more like Greece everyday.  Again unless you are a news info junkie that means nothing.  The comparison is that Greece gave away money to help the citizenry.   When there was no longer any money to give the people, who had been accustomed to being taken care of by the government entitlements, the people revolted.  Is that coming to America?  Greece is now borrowing more and more as are we.  We however have the opportunity to turn the ship around.  George Washington said, “To contract new debt is not a way to pay old ones.”  Then again who is he?

Of course the problem is all the fault of the Republicans.  Sen. Harry Reid called John Boehner a dictator for not letting the House work.  It is important to note that the House has actually passed two budget bills regarding the fiscal cliff and sent them to the Senate.  Speaker Boehner says they have done their job as these bills start in the House.  Is it not now Sen. Harry Reid’s job to bring this up to the Senate who has not passed a budget in over three years?  Isn’t it up to the Senate Majority Leader to bring bills to the floor?  He has two bills from the House.  Where are they?  Who is the dictator not scheduling discussion or votes on bills in his possession?

Maybe you do not believe there is a fiscal cliff.  Perhaps it is okay with you that taxes go back to the 39% of the Clinton era instead of the current lower rate that Obama signed last year.  Perhaps you are one of those who get a refund and are simply glad to have money returned.  A slightly smaller paycheck is no big deal.  Perhaps it is okay for the cost of milk to be what it actually costs to produce it thus stopping the farm subsidy.  Perhaps raising the debt ceiling is really of no consequence to you and your children can deal with it.  If so then – let the diving begin…………




I could not come up with any catchy title this morning.  This is a topic that is very much in the news of late.  To control more or not to control more.  There already is gun control in this country.  To stop violence?  To legislate behavior?

Do citizens need high-powered assault weapons?  This is a conundrum to me as any weapon is used to assault isn’t it?  People pushing and shoving others can be arrested for assault.  They do not need a weapon so why the specific designation?

David Gregory ignored the DC police I heard when he brought a magazine onto ‘Meet The Press’.  All weapons and bullets and magazines are banned in Washington, D.C.  Will he be arrested for breaking the law or were those stage props?   I never in my life thought I would use the term magazine to apply to anything other than a bound  paper and print epistle.

Our local newspaper had 7 Letters to the Editor yesterday.  All but one of them were about guns in one way or another and referencing the incident in Connecticut.

The first one of the six said the paper had reached a new low followed by the words ‘blaming guns for the shooting in CT is like blaming box cutters and airplanes for 9/11’.

The second blamed men in general.  It alluded to the fact that women would not do such a thing as they were reserved.  Men had no restraint so males should be severely restricted in gun ownership.  I really could not tell if it was tongue in cheek or not.

Next the writer commented on a local election where the candidate swore to protect the children and pleaded with another elected official to take a stand and ban assault weapons.

After that I read a letter that said we should ‘outlaw the possession of all multi-round assault weapons including handguns.’  If this law was broken the offender should be put in jail immediately.  If a second offense for life!  The second amendment is insane and should be abolished was the writers last line.

The fifth letter blamed free access and groups that promote guns.

The last writer posed a question when he wondered if there would be such an outcry if the 20 children had been lost through abortion.

Death of anyone is sad.  Death through violence is tragic.  What can we do about it?  Will gun laws stop the violence?  In looking at this shortly after the CT shootings I discovered that violence crime in WashingtonD.C. is up 60%.  Of that amount 40% of that is crime that involves a gun.  Guns of any kind as well as ammunition are banned/against the law in D.C  How can gun violence be up 40%?

It is my contention that it is behavior that is the problem.  We cannot legislate our way to good behavior.  While no one wants the hurt that comes from losing a dear one to a violent crime it is not the guns or weapons.  It is the behavior of the people wielding this instrument.  Just like a surgeon wielding a scalpel saves lives.  It is not the scalpel it is the expertise of the surgeon that keeps our loved ones alive.

I looked at the information available to find that 39% – 50% of households in the USA have guns in them.  Recently a reporter printed the names of the legal gun owners and their addresses to much furor and retaliation.  I was going to look further into these numbers and then I realized it did not matter.  It is legal to own a gun in this country.  These numbers also would not tell me how many illegal guns there were in our communities.

The NRA is under attack.  The government has a special committee set up to look into this.  Isn’t this a bit disingenuous as is it not this administration that sold guns illegally in ‘Fast and Furious”?  While we need a conversation about guns do we need it to be led by the Vice President?

Additionally we need to stop placing blame.  It does no good and demonizes rather than helps.  Mentally ill people are now the targets as we look into the mental states of the most recent killers.  They were not mentally ill.  They were insane.  There is a difference.  Many mentally ill people live wonderfully productive lives and live among us successful citizens working daily at their jobs.   They are our doctors and lawyers and judges and teachers.  They are probably on some form of medication and have worked and continue to work hard to maintain their quality of life.

The world has changed.  We may not be able to change back to a more peaceful way of living.  We can however be prepared and cautious as we move forward.  In the wake of the CT violence it has been suggested that guards be put in our schools. I have no answer as to if this is good or bad.  I can share that after 9/11 we put armed Marshals on our airplanes.   Pilots now are even allowed to be armed.

This conversation needs to be open and include all voices. We need to look at the whole picture.  We need to look at how we raise our children.  How we teach them.  What we teach them in school and in church.  What they are watching on TV.  In the movies.  In video games.  In music.  We need to review our own responsibilities in all of this.  Are we as parents setting good examples?  Are we raising strong self-sufficient caring responsible individuals?

I have no answers.  I know that the knee jerk reaction of the President and his commission for more gun control [or heaven forbid amending the Second Amendment] brought a gun into this house with talk of an additional firearm.  We will take gun safety courses along with practice at shooting ranges.  God forbid we ever have to use them for protection.  Maybe there is something in that last statement.  God…hmmmm…

There was a favorite poem of mine from my teens and I have no idea how to find it or where it is.  I do remember the last line.  It was “‘Why God Why?’  He answered ‘Why man why?'”




Today is the third day of Christmas.  Remember that song that goes on forever?  Copied here from http://www.12days.com.

The Twelve days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me:

A Partridge in a Pear Tree
On the second day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
On the fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Four Calling Birds*
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
On the seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
On the eighth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Eleven Pipers Piping
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
12 Drummers Drumming
Eleven Pipers Piping
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

By the time this song is over I am out of breath and patience.  It really is a long song and who can keep the ladies dancing from the leaping or swimming.  Did you know that the days start on Christmas Day?  Advent leads up to the birth of Christ and the 12 days begin that day.  Do you know the meaning of the song?  Well away we go…

The story goes that in the early years of the Catholic church in England (1558-1829) that they were not allowed to practice their faith openly and lived under persecution.  This song was made up as a song to help them learn and remember the Catechism thus the song has two meanings.  The obvious one as well as the church’s code words.

For instance the first day the Partridge in a pear tree was the birth of Christ.  Not knowing all the others I found this theory at urbanlegends.about.com.

* 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.

Urban Legends said no one was sure how old the song actually was when it was published in 1780.  Many do not believe this is a religious song.  Much discussion comes with the interpretations of this song to this day.  Both pros and cons refer to these theories as ‘genuine myths’.  Who knows?  Is it important?  No though it is interesting.  Perhaps it really is only a silly counting rhyme for children of old.  Check it out for yourselves.

There are some folks who still play a game with this song by being a Secret Santa for these twelve days.  I thought what a fun idea.  The hustle is over.  You can enjoy the 12 days with small gifts secretly left.

There was a website familycrafts.about.com that had some suggestions for gifts for just this sort of fun.  Day 1 no partridge and leave some nice pears.  Day two instead of turtledoves leave Dove candy?  Candy Turtles or Dove soap.  Three French hens – a can of chicken noodle soup.  Day 4 would be four messages about how nice this person is in lieu of calling birds.

I have to stop here as it is really not ‘calling birds’.  I looked this up years ago it is ‘colly birds’.  A ‘colly bird’ is a blackbird in England.  These birds were referred to by both names.  The thought was that since blackbirds were  commonly eaten there that this 4th was a gift of food.  Check all this out for yourselves.  I will not record all the 12 days as I can see some easy writing coming up perhaps!!!

In the meantime it is still the third day of Christmas in this house.  I do not have ‘Three French Hens”.   I only have two small organic free range chickens for dinner.  Not something I commonly buy and all that was available.  Our guest could not come so no fancy cooking.  I will simply stuff the birds and toss them in the oven and call it good!



By ktsquared Posted in Trivia



There is a picture circulating on facebook (www.facebook.com/Kysouth/photos_stream)depicting Santa asleep in a chair.  He appears to be ‘done in’ and exhausted.  I can relate to this shot.  Yesterday afternoon found me asleep on the couch sitting straight up.  I knew I was dozing and was so relaxed I did not care.  I remember being aware of my pose and feeling a little chilly and wanting the new blanket that had stars on it to put over me.  I was so comfortable I did not want to break the mood so did not bother to move and fell off to sleep again. 734546_313963812040856_1844614011_n

I think I was in and out of this state for well over an hour.  All else was quiet.  Dinner was done and the dishes being washed.  Someone was watching shows on TV.  Someone was putting together a Christmas toy and someone was playing a video game.  I was aware and relaxed as my work was done.  That is what the picture of Santa said to me.

Today the returns to the stores begin.  We have a couple of things to return and it will NOT be today.  When I first heard of boxing day as the day after Christmas I thought that was what it meant.  Wrong.

We used to be invited to a boxing day party each year.  It was lovely getting together with friends. The hostess was British so this was her tradition.  I could not imagine having my house as clean as hers let alone as organized the day after Christmas to have a party.  She did each year and it was very nice and relaxed, no pressure, despite the fact that her husband was my husband’s boss.  Things changed.  We moved and no longer celebrate the 26th as Boxing Day.

The origins of Boxing Day is not related to the sport or as I said returning gifts.  There are a couple of thoughts among historians.  One is that servants had to work on Christmas Day and not the 26th.  The Masters would give them gift boxes as they left to be with their families.

Another is that it is St. Stephen’s day and the alms boxes [i.e. poor boxes] at the churches were opened and the monies distributed to the poor on the 26th.   St. Stephen was on of the original seven deacons ordained by the apostles in the Christian Church to look after the poor.  When he died, he was a martyr and stoned as his preaching was so successful, he asked God not to punish his killers.

Another may be found in the carol “Good King Wenceslas.”  He was the Duke of Bohemia.  As the song says he went out on ‘the feast of Stephen’.  It goes on to say that as the Duke of Bohemia he helped his peasants through a blizzard the day after Christmas by bringing them food  and wine.

Today Ireland and England use the day as an added holiday and do the same as we with sports and shopping.  Occasionally there is the odd event such as swimming the English Channel to heighten the festivities.

For me it is going to be another day to relax.  I may play some games or do a puzzle with our resident, for the next few days at least, 8 yr old.  I am certain we will play Mine Shaft that Santa brought and his dad spent 6 hrs assembling the 400 pieces yesterday.  I may take another one of those gloriously relaxing naps.  Though I think it will be hard to duplicate the quality of the one I experienced on Christmas Day, I am willing to give it a whirl.

I usually keep our decorations up until January 6th, Epiphany or ‘Little Christmas’.  As I look around this house I am thinking that with the long New Year’s weekend coming up I might just break that tradition this year and put things away for a clean slate January 1.  Perhaps I could ponder that on the couch with that shell blanket.  Hmmmmm – that might just bring on a restful nap!




Happy Birthday Baby Jesus.  What more can anyone say.  Last night we attended our Christmas Eve church services.  The message at the service was of good news of the birth of the baby.

One of the stories we were told was of a messenger that went to a village and told the ruler that he had a message for him.  He said that no one must know the words of the message.  The message was that ‘God is hidden among them’.  The ruler requested that the messenger take the message to the local monastery as well.

The monks, who had been bickering, began to treat each other differently as they did not know who among them, if he was there or in the village, was God.  The ruler began treating his people differently as he did not know who among them was God.  The people seeing this began to be nicer and kinder to each other.  They did as they were experiencing.  Perhaps that is what this world needs today.  Kindness and caring as we do not know who among us might need it.

After the singing of ‘Joy To The World’ we left church to walk out into a beautiful first snow of the year for us.  Joy was born this day.

I am leaving the rest of this entry to others wiser.  I pray your day is everything you want it to be.  I hope that Santa shared his bounty with you and yours.  It looks like he did here.  We are as I type awaiting the 8 yr old child to wake up.  The grown ups are already excited!  We will sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and then see what Santa brought.

From the Gospel according to Luke:

2: In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.

2] (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.)

3] And everyone went to their own town to register.

4] So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.

5] He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

6] While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,

7] and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8] And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

9] An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

10] But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.

11] Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah,the Lord.

12] This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13] Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14] “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15] When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16] So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

17] When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,

18] and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

19] But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

20] The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.


(from awayinamanger.org)

The Author of Away in a Manger remains unknown. Some early works suggested it was written by Martin Luther, although this appears unlikely. It is probably a late-nineteenth-century American carol. The first published appearance is in the 1885 Philadelphia The Little Children’s Book for Schools and Families. Richard S. Hill, who was head of the reference section of the Library of Congress, researched the origins of the carol and concluded it was likely a poem read in Lutheran children’s celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the birth of Luther in 1883. The third verse did not appear until 1892 in a collection edited by Charles H. Gabriel.

Away in a manger, No crib for His bed

The little Lord Jesus, Laid down His sweet head
The stars in the bright sky,Looked down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus,Asleep on the hay

The cattle are lowing,The poor Baby wakes

But little Lord Jesus, No crying He makes
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, Look down from the sky
And stay by my side, ‘Til morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay

Close by me forever, And love me I pray
Bless all the dear children, In Thy tender care
And take us to heaven, To live with Thee there


(from carols.org)

The words and lyrics of the old Christmas carol ‘Joy to the World’ were written in 1719 by Isaac Watts (1674-1748). The father of John Watts was a Non-conformist and so extreme were his views that he was imprisoned twice. His father’s influence over Isaac was demonstrated when he choose to attend Non­conformist Academy at Stoke Newington in preference to a University. Watts was ordained as a Pastor of an Independent congregation.

Joy to the World , the Lord is come!

Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

May the Peace of Christ be yours today.   MERRY CHRISTMAS…..




Today is Christmas Eve Day.  All that needs to be prepared is completed.  Today we are going to enjoy each other, go to church and have pancakes and bacon for supper.  Caleb, grandchild #3 who is 8 will open his gift and we will spend the rest of the evening playing a game or watching a movie.  Sleep will come I am sure as well as Christmas itself!

We have had pancakes and bacon for supper since 1976.  How do I know that?  We moved into our home in Hollis, Maine in the summer of 1976.  That Christmas we went to church at 4PM as usual.  The children were so hungry when we got home I made the first thing I could find.

It happened to be a recipe for pancakes I had cut out of  a Family Circle magazine.  It was from Emily’s Dairy King, Sharon Springs, Kansas.  I wrote this on the recipe card!  They loved it.  Thus our Christmas Eve tradition began.  We have not strayed since.  Nor do I believe have our children in their own families.  Traditions become legends.

There are many legends associated with Christmas.  The older I get the more I learn.  You know I love learning.  I also like sharing so here are some legends of Christmas for you to enjoy as you prepare this last day.  Enjoy.

X FOR CHRISTMAS (from hotword.dictionary.com)

Here’s a holiday surprise that only the dictionary can provide. Do you find the word “Xmas,” as an abbreviation for Christmas, offensive? Many people do.

You won’t find Xmas in church songbooks or even on many greeting cards. Xmas is popularly associated with a trend towards materialism, and sometimes the target of people who decry the emergence of general “holiday” observance instead of particular cultural and religious ritual.

But the history of the word “Xmas” is actually more respectable — and fascinating — than you might suspect.

First of all, the abbreviation predates by centuries its use in gaudy advertisements. It was first used in the mid 1500s.

X is the Greek letter “chi,” the initial letter in the word Χριστός. And here’s the kicker: Χριστός means “Christ.” X has been an acceptable representation of the word “Christ” for hundreds of years. This device is known as a Christogram.

The “mas” in Xmas is the Old English word for “mass.”  The thought-provoking etymology of “mass” can be found here.

In the same vein, the dignified terms “Xpian” and “Xtian” have been used in place of the word “Christian.”


The bee is a symbol of industry, resourcefulness and prosperity.  These tiny creatures demonstrate the success and satisfaction found in working together harmoniously to enjoy the sweetness of life.  British farmers believed the bees hummed in honor of the Christ child on Christmas Day.


Legend tells us that as a baby Jesus shivered in the manger on the night he was born, a tiny kitten jumped into the humble crib to warm him with its fur.  Mary touched the little tabby cat to thank hit for its gift of love and warmth, bestowing he initial “M” on its forehead.  Since that day, tabby cats have been known for the characteristic “M” on their foreheads, a symbol of gratitude for love gently given.


Roast pork for dinner Christmas Eve is a German tradition.  They believed it prevented evil and promoted prosperity in the new year.  In German they say “We have good luck” or “Wir haben Scwein”.  Children are traditionally given piggy banks to encourage them to save.


It is symbolic of eternal life as it is green all year long.  Eternal life for Christians is through faith in Christ.  The treetop points to heaven.  A star signifies the star that guided the wise men to Bethlehem.  Lights represent the light of the world – Christ.  Gifts beneath the tree are representative of God’s gift of his only begotten Son, who brings hope, love, peace and joy.


The angels cried tears of joyful adoration when Christ the Savior was born.  Their tears of happiness fell to earth that crisp winter night.  They formed icicles on the edges of the stable.  These icicles twinkled in the starlight.  Icicles are used on Christmas trees as reminders of the joy celebrates at the birth of Christ.


Candles used to adorn trees before electricity.  The candle is the symbol of Christ the Light of the World bringing us out of darkness.


It lit the fireplaces in Europe to bring warmth to the homes during the cold Christmas night.  Tradition had it being lighted from the remnants of the previous years log.  The reason was to erase the troubles from the past and bring good fortune and protection from the fire. Today the yule log takes the form of a traditional French cake shaped like a log, a perfect finish to a Christmas feast.


The candy cane begins with a stick of white candy.  The white symbolizes the purity of  Christ.  The red stripes are for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we may have eternal life.  The candy is formed into a “J” to represent the name of Jesus. It can also represent the staff of the Good Shepherd.  The hardness represent the solid rock of the church foundation and the firmness of the promises of God.


Mushrooms are considered to be very lucky and mean good fortune is at hand.  In Germany mushroom ornaments are on the tree in reverence for nature and good luck in the new year.


The legend says that the only time the rooster crowed at midnight was the night that Jesus was born.  In Spanish and Latin American countries, “Misa del Gallo” the Mass of the Rooster, is celebrated at midnight on Christmas Eve. The crowing at dawn symbolizes the daily triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.


The story goes that the night that Christ was born a little brown bird shared the stable with the Holy Family.  During the night Joseph built a fire to keep the family warm.  As they slept the fire burned out.  The bird flew down and fanned the embers with its wings.  The little brown bird got so close that the heat turned the breast of the bird to red.  The robin red breast reminds us of its love and compassion for the baby Jesus.

I did not know all of these until I found an ornament catalogue from Bronners that had them all in it.  I love them!!!  I will not ever look at a robin or an icicle or even a mushroom the same ever again.

As we enjoy our day and end it with a reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’, I wish you all a happy Christmas Eve and a very Merry Christmas.





Today’s scripture references Mary going to see Elizabeth.  Elizabeth’s baby leaped in her womb we are told.  At that point Elizabeth says words, “Blessed are you among women, and blesses is the fruit of your womb.”  In two days we will wake to celebrate this birth.  We in this home will sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Baby Jesus.  We will place him in his manger and put the blanket over him.

For years he was in the manger with no blanket.  A few years back as I was crocheting a blanket Caleb, our youngest grandchild, told me that he believed Jesus needed a blanket as well.  I made one and he put it on the baby.  Caleb was very satisfied with this effort.

So many directions I can take this post this morning.  I could go to the Virgin Mary.  This young girl is going to give birth to a baby in a few days.  Think back to what has happened to her.  She is a young girl betrothed to Joseph.  An angel comes to her and says words to the effect that you are going to be pregnant Mary and this baby is going to be the savior of the world?

As a 16 yr old girl I would have laughed at this audacity and probably run out the door to tell this tale to my friends.  Of course it was a different time.  There was reverence and respect back then and dare I say obedience.  Mary was an obedient Jewish woman.  This young girl simply said “Yes”!  Imagine it?  She said yes to following the will of God.  Do we do that today?  Could we do it?  Will I do it?  Do I walk in my faith as Mary did in hers?  Tough example to follow and indeed one to try to emulate.  The operative words there are example and try.  I think, especially in my humanity, if I try to follow Mary and her Son’s examples that I just may be on the right path.

Another direction I could go is the gift of our grandson to be so thoughtful to want a blanket for the little manger under our tree.  I think it took me three – five crochet stitches and I crochet them about ten times for the rows.  It is tiny and sparking white.  What thoughtfulness in this little boy.  I think he was 4 or 5 at the time.  Isn’t that really what we think of this time of year as we gift our friends and neighbors?  Well I agree there is Santa Claus as well.  Yet the handmade homemade thoughtful gifts are special as well.

I think that is why I still continue to make cookies for our next door neighbors.  I could give this up for sure.  It would be a time saver.  I no longer have little ones to bake with to make it a fun activity and teach them to give as well.  This year I really had a fun time with the project.  I decided to mix it up.  I did not make shaped cookies.  I made plain sugar cookies, ice box vanilla and ice box molasses, oatmeal spice and chocolate chip.  The gift also included a banana bread and some candies.  As I put them together today I had a great deal of satisfaction.  They looked lovely and I heard from my taste testers that they were indeed good.

The greatest gift of course is the baby to come Tuesday morning.  Jesus came to be one of us.  He came to give us love and hope.  After what has happened in the last weeks with the hurricane and the shootings we need both love and hope in this world.  We need to turn the bad to good.

Mary listened and turned any fear she may have had into faith.  Caleb asked me to ‘cover the baby’ turning yarn into a blanket.  I took flour, sugar, eggs and other ingredients and turned them into treats.  All gifts from the heart.  Maybe that is the best message this last Sunday before Christmas.




After one of my posts I read a comment about my being relaxed during the season.  I really am.  I know what I want ready for the holiday.  I have a plan.  I am carrying it out.  There are things I planned to do and did not complete.  I let go of any chagrin about that long ago.  I do what I can and hopefully it will be enough.

Many years ago as I was tearing my hair out about getting the perfect gift for people I made a formula for our family.  Santa brings a toy and fills the stocking.  The kids get to ask him for one thing and know that it may or may not be there depending on his list.  Not sure they have ever been disappointed.

I then bought each of them pajamas and a game for Christmas Eve.  Under the tree was a book, a movie, a craft, three toys and one outfit – ugh the dreaded clothes!.  The list used to have music on it as well.  That was it and more than enough.  As they got older the ‘toy’ could have been a watch or piece of jewelry or an additional book.  They still make lists for me.  The grandchildren do now as well.

On a facebook thread I read a great formula – ‘Something They Want, Something They Need, Something they’ll wear, Something They’ll Read.’   Somehow the play part was left out of that though I thought it a great plan.

My plan?  I know the tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving.  I know the fruitcakes have to be made and rummed for mailing the 15th or so.  Same with the cards, gifts and sock project.  All gifts have to be bought, wrapped and mailed.  Thinking that is the organizational gift to me.  There is a deadline and if I want Christmas to happen for all I have to meet that.  All I have left to do is bake the cookies.  I am changing that up a little as well since it is just me making them!!! Today’s project as I mixed them all up yesterday.

I decided long ago no matter how stressed I got that there were 25 days in December to Christmas.  It was going to arrive whether I was ready or not.  Ready was more fun.  I also let myself fail and not DO some things.  The world did not stop.  That was a monumental discovery.

The other thing that it allowed me to do as well was to think more about why we celebrate this holiday.  It is the birth of Jesus Christ!   As Dr. Seuss reminds us in ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’ it is not the ribbons and bows or even the roast beast.  From the book:

The Grinch: It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags.

Narrator: Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.
The Grinch: Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…
Narrator: He thought
The Grinch: …means a little bit more.

With more time I can enjoy the stories of the season as well.  Here’s one.  We have a couple of Sand Dollar ornaments on our tree.  I wanted to share the legend and found it on:


The Legend of the Sand Dollar

There’s a lovely little legend
That I would like to tell,
Of the birth and death of Jesus
Found in this lowly shell.

If you examine closely
You’ll see that you find here,
Four nail holes and a fifth one
Made by a Roman’s spear.

On one side the Easter Lily,
Its center is the star,
That appeared unto the shepherds
And led them from afar.

The Christmas Poinsettia
Etched on the other side,
Reminds us of His birthday
Our happy Christmastide.

Now break the center open
And here you will release,
The five white doves awaiting
To spread Good Will and Peace.

This simple little symbol
Christ left for you and me,
To help us spread His Gospel
Through all Eternity

Isn’t that just a great bit of trivia?  There are other legends associated with Christmas as well.  Did you know about the candy cane?  Piggy Banks?  Christmas Tree?  The Icicle? Yule Log? Candles?  The Rooster?  The Robin?  The Mushroom? The Bumble Bee?  The Tabby Cat?  All have ties to Christmas.  Stay tuned…





Today the world is supposed to end at 11:11AM or is it 11:11PM there are two of them?  I posted on my facebook timeline that I believed if we survived Y2K that we will have no problem surviving the end of the Mayan Calendar.

USA Today answered the question below.

Q&A: Is Friday Doomsday? Ask an expert Thursday at noon

The ancient Mayans, who ruled throughout southern Mexico and Central America until about 900 A.D., used three calendars, one of which was the Long Count Calendar that completes a major cycle on Dec. 21, 2012. Some today have claimed that the date signifies the end of the world, while scholars say it is merely the beginning of another cycle.

The Mayas still exist today as a diverse number of indigenous peoples, some of whom still speak the Maya language.

The end of the Mayan calendar put the spotlight on a people known for human sacrifices but celebrated for their past prowess in subjects such as math and astronomy. Today they live largely on the margins of the lands conquered by the Spaniards beginning in the 16th century.

The Mayans across the YucatánPeninsula were in rebellion throughout the later half of the 1800s, angered at discrimination and being treated as slaves by those of European descent. At the church here, they looked upon the “Speaking Cross” as an oracle in what is known as the War of the Castes. The Mexican army ended the uprising in 1901.

Ek, who conducts a Mayan form of Mass at his church, plans to mark the new calendar with prayer and traditional ceremonies, which he says many Maya have abandoned for other faiths, along with their language. He says this rejection of their culture might bring plagues, disease and drought.

Yet most people, says local museum guide Karla Chan Poot, “are receiving Dec. 21 with calm.

“People believe that they’re going to see a change, in humanity, in our thinking, that there should be a return to nature,” Chan says. “This won’t be anything like the world ending, or a meteor crashing, or extraterrestrials arriving,” or anything depicted in the popular culture or movies.

News of the pending end has reached people here, like aspiring Mayan artist Marco Poot Cahun, who incorporates doomsday talk into his monologues – which he delivers in Maya.

I think I am not going to worry about it at all.  I will continue with Christmas preparations and enjoy the day.  It rained very hard all night last night and is still very wet out there today.  Wishing it were snow for Christmas.  In the meantime I am looking around at our world today.  This is what is going on as I see it.

I do not want to negate the horror that happened last Friday.  My heart is still heavy as are many others.  I know America will come through this as we have tragedy so many times before.  Our America is a wonderful place and we need to hold her high as well.

We are looking at a fiscal cliff.  Are we going to go over it?  I have no idea.  I know we all have to get more honest with ourselves about what actually is going on in this government.  From the President right down to the congress and it’s members.

The President


Sept. 11th Benghazi consulate attacked at 4/5PM EST

There was no protest in Benghazi

Administration says it was due to a film

Susan Rice knew details before appearances Sunday September 15th

Failure in State Dept.

Libyan guards being blamed

Libyan guards on strike over salary and working hours

Sept 12th President speaks in the Rose Garden 10AM and does not call it terrorism and           flies to Vegas

Sept 12th President tells Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes it is too early to call it terrorism

Sept 25th the President still says Benghazi is a reaction to a film


It took 14 days to come out with clear information.  The final report came out this week – 4 months later.  The report shows there were errors, seems to blame Chris Stevens the Ambassador and says the State Dept. had systemic problems.  The result is?  Four citizens were killed for goodness sake.  Is it true that this did not come to focus as it was during the election?  Or is it to the ‘2016’ movie that this is what Obama really wants?  Where is the accountability?


October 29th hurricane Sandy hits

October 29th the President warns all in Sandy’s path to prepare

October 31st the President goes to New Jersey/the President says he will do anything and         cut red tape


This took the President 3 days as opposed to the 14 of Benghazi.  Great photo ops and during an election.  Was this a plus instead of Benghazi?


Friday Dec 14th the President is told about the killings in CT an hour after they occur

Friday Dec 14th the President speaks out about the killings over Television at 3:16PM

Sunday Dec 16th the President speaks in CT

Wednesday Dec. 19th the President speaks out against gun violence and presents a gun             control initiative for proposals by January – IT IS NOT JUST ONE THING!!!


How come the President spoke so quickly after this horror about following it and we did not hear from him after Benghazi for 16 hrs?  What did he know and when?  What do you think the families of the four killed in Benghazi are thinking about the lack of the Presidential voice after their tragedy and his very vocal comments after Sandy Hook??

The Congress:


Entitlements must be reviewed and modified

They must find ways to cut spending

Earmarks must stop –    Hurricane Sandy legislation has pork in it and the actual funds to help the hurricane victims total only a third of the whole bill!



example from the article:

….the Sandy emergency spending package includes $150 million for fishery disaster areas in Mississippi and Alaska; $20,000 for a new car for the Inspector General of the Justice Department; $10.8 billion for the Federal Transportation Administration; and cancellation of loans related to Hurricane Katrina. It also contains $4 million for repairs at the KennedySpaceCenter and $3.3 million for the PlumIslandAnimalDiseaseCenter.

Read more: http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2012/12/19/Congress-Piles-the-Pork-into-Hurricane-Sandy-Relief.aspx#page1#ixzz2FWDOel8C


Fact is we need common sense.  We need a bill that says “We the Congress vote $XXX to help people in NY and NJ due to Hurricane Sandy.”  End of bill!!!  Obamacare was so long that Nancy Pelosi is famous for saying you had to pass it so you can read it.

Then there is the Fiscal Cliff.

We need common sense talk not double speak.  This is not a tax cut!  The Bush tax cuts which Obama adopted are expiring.  This tax has been the rate for the last ten years.  If these cuts expire the tax rate will go back up.  This Folks, is a tax increase no matter how they want to play it.

Imagine it in family terms.  You have an outstanding credit card that is higher than anything you have in your savings account.  How are you going to pay that down?  You have reached your limit.  You can charge nothing more.  The answer is to spend more money? I don’t think so!


We have FortHood still being classified as ‘workplace violence’.

The President said Al Quada is dead and the report on Benghazi says it is not.

A Fast and Furious gun showed up in Mexico beside the dead body of a beauty queen.

Did Hillary really have a concussion or did she want to wait until the report was out? Did she have ‘Benghazi flu’?

If Gerard Depardieu left France due to a millionaire tax will highly taxed wealthy leave this country?

How does the President connect hurricane Sandy and the deaths in Sandy Hook with making good choices in Congress as he did in his news conference?  made no sense when I heard it?

In his own words, “After what we’ve gone through over the past several months, a devastating hurricane and now one of the worse tragedies in our memory, the country deserves the folks to be willing to compromise for the greater good.”

What does it say that WalMart sold out of assault gun?  Then again if a gun can kill aren’t all guns assault guns?

If the world ends today at 11:11AM all this is moot.  If it doesn’t then we need to get to work.   Call or write your Congress people!!!  They work for us – remember of the people by the people!

I am writing an entry for tomorrow.  See you then.  In the meantime I am going to focus on Christmas and the good things in our world and I am still…




Yesterday I wrote about the fruitcakes.  I did not write about what a trauma it is each year to find the cheesecloth to wrap around them to hold the rum so the cake can soak.  Cheesecloth is a thin cloth that is loosely woven and used for cooking.  For instance when making jelly cheesecloth is used to let fruits drip out their juice when smashed and hug in a cheesecloth bag.  It is becoming harder and harder to find.  One year I bought cloth diapers to do the same.  This year a friend told me they used to use linen cloth so perhaps an idea for next year or even better muslin.

Well I went to find cheesecloth and this is what happened.  Letting you in on the whole affair by including part of the letter I wrote to Food Lion.

December 6, 2012

Dear Ms Burns;

I ran to Food Lion as I needed pans for Christmas fruit cakes that I make every year.  I remembered I needed cheesecloth as well.  I got the pans and could not find the cheesecloth.  I went to check out and asked the lady there if they had cheesecloth.  I said check me out and I will wait while you call someone.  She checked me out and called.

No one answered her call.  I was still standing by the register and the next cashier said ‘they are both on break’ when my cashier asked where was the manager.  My cashier started to reach to check out the person behind me.  I asked her if that was it – was this all she was going to do?  She said they were on break as to be the end of the conversation.  I asked is there no one else?  She turned her back to me to the other cashier and asked about a ‘stocker’.  The other girl did not know.  My cashier turned to me and said if I wanted to wait till after she was done with the person next in line she would go look herself. I declined and started to leave the store.

At this point the other cashier said something and my cashier looked and said ‘there he is’ or some such and I stopped.  She asked the very tall unkempt man approaching if they had cheesecloth.  He said in a very loud voice in front of the whole store in a not so nice tone, “You called me up here for that?”  I spoke up almost as loudly and said, “Yes she did!  Do you have any?”  He started on what turned out to be a long overdrawn discussion that it might be in baking as it came in during the holidays.  He was not sure as someone else stocks it – sounded like a vendor.  The only thing I could do was to go up and down every aisle.  It comes in during the holidays he said again.  I reminded him that it was Christmas and he said check next week and continued walking off.  All this in front of the whole store.  There was no attempt to satisfy my customer needs.  He was obviously upset he had been called to the front.

I usually do not comment on peoples appearances.  I believe everyone tries the very best they can to  look presentable for their jobs.  This man’s clothes were dirty and unkempt and he had no bottom teeth.

I write when things go wrong as well as right.  I have been in this very same store when I have been asked over and over if I needed help.  I think that is one of the reasons I was so shocked at my treatment this afternoon. If I had not been treated so shabbily I might have let it pass instead I am letting you know.


On Tuesday this week I got a phone call from the customer service manager of this store.  She asked me what they could do to make this right.  Did I want to have the man apologize to me personally?  I said no that was not necessary just that he be made aware of the behavior.  She apologized to me and assured me that the man in question would be made aware of the situation.   She invited me to introduce myself to her the next time I am in the store as she thought I sounded like a nice lady and she would like to apologize in person.  Will see if the customer service is any better next time I am in the store.




“The Peach Blossoms are here!  The peach Blossoms are here.” I run around singing that ala Steve Martin in “The Jerk” when the phone books arrive.  It is the candy that says Christmas to me as they only come out once a year.

They are described in the Vermont Country Store catalogue as an ‘old-fashioned combination of peach hard candy shell filled with smooth, creamy peanut butter’.  They are yummy.

When they arrived this year I was so very excited.  Ripped open the can – you have to know I do nothing without passion – and saw them looking not as sparkly smooth and shiny.  I took a bite – yuck – stale!!!  I was so sad and disappointed and wrote Vermont Country Store immediately for a credit.  Did not even want to chance more stale treats of disappointment!  Well there are still the chocolate covered Cherries and all the other Christmas goodies.

I started thinking of all the foods that we only have at Christmas time.  The first that comes to mind is the oft dreaded fruitcake.  The fruitcake is probably the most maligned food at Christmas.  Joke after joke are made about fruitcakes especially that they go from person to person year after year and are never eaten.  And of course there are the Christmas cookies.

I make a recipe I got from a friend, Marie Cannizzo, years ago.  The recipe is called “Ethel’s Sugar Cookies”.  Have no idea who Ethel was or if she still is.  Each year the kids and I would make these with the Christmas shaped cutters.  When the kids grew older and tired of this activity I had another little girl that became our goddaughter – really our daughter from another mother!  She loved making cookies.  Then when she was too old I would find a neighborhood child who might like to play until our grandchildren came along.  I made an interesting discovery a few years ago when there were no kids available. I found out that I could indeed do it on my own.  Amazingly it was not quite so messy and did not take as long!!!  This will be my activity for Friday.

Once the cookies are made my Christmas baking will be done.  No big cakes or pies for us for Christmas for dessert.  We have Schwans’ French Vanilla ice cream with cookies for our dessert.  Now there is a great Christmas food.

Schwans  only makes French Vanilla ice cream once a year.  It is delivered in a tin with Currier and Ives decorations on it.  The scene is usually a farm house with a fire or ice skaters of some form of travel like a sleigh.  I have been getting this ice cream since 1982.  The tins are used as decorations in my house as well as for holding items I use regularly.  In years passed when I had a freezer I would buy more than one and take them as hostess gifts instead of the usual wine.  Got to say they were well received!!!

Our Christmas dinner has also changed.  As I think about it the timing might be the same as the beginning of the tins.  We used to go to family for Christmas dinner.  When the children did not want to leave their toys and the distance was more than an hour we stayed home.

I made a turkey the first year it was only four of us.  That was way too much food leftover so I started looking for an alternative.  We lived in a small town in southern Maine with a really nice small market with a great meat department.  The next year after the turkey we had a rolled rib roast for dinner for four and that was perfect.

We were, inadvertently, having a typical English dinner as I even tried the Yorkshire pudding.  That gave way to regular mashed potatoes.  The simple meal and dessert were just enough for us.

The fun part is when I moved.  A rolled rib roast is not the same the country wide.  My favorite market in NC, The Fresh Market, had a great meat dept as well.  I asked them for a rolled rib roast at Christmas time and they had no idea what I was talking about.  I opened the package and chuckled. There was a standing rib with the bone cut away and the rib meat tied in a string.  I had no idea that food could be regional.  Then again I should have as I could not get Fluff in NC.  Nor Peach Blossoms as they are made by the New England Confectionary Co.  Now it is simply a standing rib roast!

I was pleased to hear that my fruitcake, yes I make the much maligned food, was well received this year.  I was told by one family member that it might just be the best yet.  This person suffers from gout.  I was concerned about the alcohol as that irritates gout.  I was told that rum does not harm and that fruit is good for gout.  We decided that my rum soaked cake may just be a gout fixer!!!

My fruitcakes are made with a recipe that my second mother brought with her from her family in Indiana.  It is loaded with fruit, has just enough cake to hold it together and is doused with rum.  This year I put them in plastic containers, instead of the rolled cheesecloth covered cakes in a baggie, as I was certain the mail carrier could be picked up for drunk driving from the smell alone.

My dad wrote the recipe out for me in his own handwriting so I have it in a plastic sleeve to preserve it.  It is wonderful  I calls for flour spelled flower!!!   I know he knows the difference.  He wrote it after mother Marie passed away so I can imagine the distractions.

This year someone told me they liked fruitcake and I said I would send one to them.  For the life of me I cannot remember who it was!!!  Oh well next year I will write it down.   Your foods are???




Boy that is an easy question to answer. It is spelled  A M E R I C A!!!  The last couple of days I have watched some interesting shows.  An aside here.  I usually watch only sappy Christmas movies at this time of year.  The formula is girl meets boy they quarrel and leave and there is an intervening wonderfulness and they get back together.  Or it is a family who are fine meet disaster and overcome it with help from their town or otherwise.  Heartfelt sappy stories of Americana and happiness.

Sunday night we watched Neil Cavuto’s previously DVR ‘d show, “Fly Me To The Moon”, about the astronauts and the space program.  It took us from the beginnings to the end of the race to the moon including the sacrifices along the way and the joys of steps on the moon.  It was inspirational and full of American determination and resilience.

Yesterday I watched another DVR’d show as Rachel Ray, ala Oprah, gave away thousands of dollars of gift cards and products to 133 people that were struck by Sandy.  She showed the stories of heroism of the storm and what people were doing to regroup now.  As I watched I shared the joy as these people were given lots of help to get them back on their feet.  She even gave everyone a trip to get away from the stress for a few days.  There were tears everywhere in her audience and especially on my couch!

It led me to think back to 9/11 and the aftermath.  I thought of all the fires, hurricanes and other recent weather related disasters.  I thought of the shootings on a college campus in Virginia and elsewhere.  Gabby Giffords shot outside of a supermarket in Arizona.  In a Colorado movie theater.  In a Wisconsin Mosque.  I thought of the Mall in Oregon.  Of course the school in Newtown, Connecticut.   I came to the realization that no one place is safe any longer in this country.  There is no way we can ever do enough to be safe every single day of our lives.

Never will the deaths be forgotten.  America does not let that happen.  There will be memorials like the Vietnam Wall, Oklahoma City or Ground Zero.  Quiet peaceful places to leave our sorrow when it arises.

Innocence is gone for most now.  As I was in this dark place in my thoughts the question came to my mind.  How do you spell resilience?  And I smiled.  I know that America will  once again survive this tragedy.  In the end the spirit that is the USA will come through this.  There is no ‘getting over’ anything like this.  America will plow through it as only this nation can with determination and caring and love for our neighbors.  You watch this and make some notes.  You will see us all doing more than ever before.  Kindness will abound.

It is like the Grinch.  For awhile our hearts will be a little smaller and less trusting.  We may be a little more wary.  We may lock our doors where we didn’t.  We may now start locking cars in our own driveways.  We may hold our children’s hands a little longer as we walk to school.  We may be a little bit more quiet.  Then like the Grinch’s heart we will let go and our tears will be wiped away.  We will smile a little more often.  We will trust once again.

One morning we will be walking our child to school and they will run ahead and there will be no worry.  Instead we will laugh and let go.  Another day we will run out of the house to do our errands and forget to lock the door and that too will be okay.  Our hearts will be refilled with the air of happiness as the darkness of these days ebbs away.

Death and destruction around Thanksgiving and Christmas are especially hard to handle.  I saw the generosity at Thanksgiving after Sandy and know that will come again as well.  Nothing can replace the loss of home or child.  No one gets ‘over’ that.  America can get through it.  America will get through it.

Resilience is spelled A M E R I C A!  We have been to the moon and back and nothing is impossible in the good old USA!




This weekend I accomplished much with cards going in the mail, wrapping of last mail away gifts completed and the sock project done for another year.  Hitting the UPS/USPS store today.  All this mailing includes my aunt’s December birthday gift as well – act surprised “Aunt Becky” when it arrives!!!

PHEW!!!!!  What you just heard in that one word was the expression of a sigh of relief and a breather that the holiday may just now be filled with less anxiety to enjoy the festivities to come.  Why do we do this to ourselves?

Each year I tell myself I am going to enjoy ever single second of preparation for Christmas.  I am not going to tear my hair out or react negatively to anything.  Failure this year as you all know so very well from my frenetic post about being fractured.

Imagine if you or a child has a birthday around Christmas as my aunt on the 20th.  Or my friend Peg – they share the same day.  Perhaps the 20th is far enough away to not interfere with the holiday and children get the same attention on their own day.  Though I have to stop here and mention that a young neighbor of ours always bemoaned she got shortchanged on her Dec 31st birthday as she said her parents had spent all their money on Christmas.

My great nephew was born on Christmas Eve.  His mother was determined that she would be home to have her mother’s Christmas dinner.  As I remember she did.  Each Christmas Eve he has his own birthday party.  A point is made to do that so his day does not get lost in the shuffle of the holiday.  Poor guy – his Aunt Kack is not so good at remembering and his gift is sometimes late.  Well actually I am late a lot so guess I cannot use the holiday as an excuse.

Went to famousbirthdays.com and discovered that Ryan Seacrest, singer Ricky Martin, author Mary Higgins Clark, actress Ava Gardner, cowboy Kit Carson and recluse Howard Hughes were born on Christmas Eve.

I discovered that Sir Isaac Newton, I mentioned him yesterday, Rod Serling, Jimmy Buffett, Humphrey Bogart, Sissey Spacek, Clara Barton, Anwar Sadat, Karl Rove, Cab Calloway and Larry Csonka were a few of the people born on Christmas Day.

Of course we know the reason we celebrate a birth on Christmas day.  That is a major part of our tradition in our home.  It was not always and glad we started it.

Years ago, and I am going back over 30, we lived on a back road in a small town in Maine.  We could see no neighbors.  On Killock Hill Road we had a stone wall as one border and a brook as another.  It was a great place to live for most of our children’s school years.  We moved in during the summer of 1976 before our oldest child’s first day of kindergarten.

We hadn’t been there long when a knock came on the door.  There standing outside were two little kids.  The tallest was a boy and the other (the Dec. 31st birthday) a girl.  The boy spoke and said, “You got any kids in there?”  I allowed that yes indeed we had two –  one a little boy and one a baby girl would they like to come in.  No they just wanted the boy to come out and play.  That knock started our new family ‘The Killock Kin”.

For the next 14 years we shared our lives with the family down the street.  There actually were two homes.  The elderly Father/Grandfather and his widowed, retired Army Lt. Col. daughter lived in one home.  On the hill across from them lived the children that knocked on our door with their parents.  The mother was a sister and daughter of ‘Gramps’ and ‘Aunt Robbie’ in the other house.  As time grew on we began to celebrate birthdays and holidays together.

One of the holidays was Christmas.  I wish I could remember if Robbie brought this with her as a tradition or if I suggested as I had read it in a book at the time and we already did it.  Does not really matter.  The first year we celebrated Christmas all together we sang “Happy Birthday” to baby Jesus before we began to open gifts.

That is how we start out Christmas mornings.  The mangers in our home are empty until then as Jesus has not yet been born.  On Christmas morning before we do anything we sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Baby Jesus and place the baby in the manger.  Not until all this has taken place do we open any gifts.  He is of course ‘the reason for the season.’





The title of this entry is from the Bible.  It is in Isaiah 48:17-19.  It was part of my scripture reading on Friday the 14th.  This was the day the shooting happened in Newtown, CT.  Is it something we should be paying closer attention to as we review this horrid day?

Since the shooting I have heard from dear friends that their family who live in that town were okay.  I knew their family was in Connecticut and never made a connection.  I did quickly look up where our niece in Connecticut lived referencing Newtown.   She was over 20 miles away so I assumed her children went to a different school.  Sad when you think that they may know people who were directly effected by this tragedy.  Heavens as I told my husband we had stopped for lunch at a Subway in Sandy Hook last year.  It was a quaint little village.  No man is an island is a recurrent theme.

When a tragedy like this occurs we look back.  We have been hit by many tragedies in the last 20 years.  The bombing in Oklahoma City took 168.  In the attack on 9/11 there were @ 3000 deaths.  We can go down a list from Columbine in 1999 with 13 souls lost, Red Lake 7 souls, Virginia Tech 32 souls, Northern Illinois 5 souls, Oikos University 7 souls, Aurora CO with 12 souls, January 2011 Gabby Gifford was shot with 6 souls, the two souls at the Oregon Mall and on Friday there were 26 more souls.  This does not include the injured or the people effected emotionally by these incidents.  When is enough going to be enough?

That is just this country.  There were 87 killed at a summer Camp in Norway in 2011.  Babies were stabbed in a daycare in Belgium.  Is anyone aware that on the same day Friday the 14th 22 people were harmed in a violent stabbing attack in China.  It seems in the past few years school stabbings are up in China and more authorities are now going into their schools.

In math we were told to take a problem and bring it down to a common denominator.  Is there one in all of this violence?  Who can understand the mind of madmen who carry out such evil?  I certainly cannot.  To bring this down to a simple common thought might I suggest, this being Sunday, that faith is lacking?

Do not the majority of faiths have as their guiding principles to love our neighbors and live in peace with all of those around them?  I quickly looked through faiths from Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, to the Jews and Deism including as many as I could.  All call for love and/or respect for others.  All speak to good over evil.  If we believe in these values how can we be killing our brothers?  Could it be that we have strayed far from the basic tenets of our faiths?   Have we forgotten that if we have good then there is also bad.  Have we forgotten that every action has a consequence?  If so how do we change/restore? More questions.

I will put forth ever so cautiously that if we as a society do not find a way to change our behavior, we will allow EVIL to rule our world.  Despite Sir Isaac Newton’s scientific theory that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, I put forth that good brings good.  A negative pole cannot adhere to a negative environment.  A negative pole can  only adhere to a positive.  If all the positive in the world would come forth wouldn’t it smother the negative.  If we actively speak and put forth all of the good our faith gives us would we not be a better world?

I leave this morning with two things.  One is the greatest hoax’s in all the world is that Satan has convinced people that he does not exist.  The second is one of my favorite Church Signs sayings.  It is, “You know that love thy neighbor stuff?  I meant it.  Love God”.





This morning I had planned to be someplace else except behind this keyboard.  It had been on my calendar the last two months that I would be in Arlington Cemetery helping the Maine State Society of Washington D.C. place wreaths on the graves of the heroes buried there.  Living less than 2 hours above D.C. if seemed logical to join this group.  Plus one of the officers is a dear friend of ours.

As I have often written about ebb and flow and highs and lows it did not work out as I had hoped.  I changed my plans.  Perhaps I can attend the clean up that will take place on January 26th.

If you are unaware of this project go look it up. Read the story of Morrill Worcester who began the project in 1992.  I am including much of it in this post. Go to the site http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/ to see the pictures.  It seemed to me important enough to simply copy it and paste it here.  My words are no better than the author of the site:


The Arlington Story

Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, was a 12 year old paper boy for the Bangor Daily News when he won a trip to WashingtonD.C. His first trip to our nation’s capital was one he would never forget, and ArlingtonNationalCemetery made an especially indelible impression on him. This experience followed him throughout his life and successful career in business, reminding him that his good fortune was due, in large part, to the values of this nation and the Veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their Country.

In 1992, Worcester Wreath found themselves with a surplus of wreaths nearing the end of the holiday season. Remembering his boyhood experience at Arlington, Worcester realized he had an opportunity to honor our country’s Veterans. With the help of Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington in one of the older sections of the cemetery, a section which had been receiving fewer visitors with each passing year.

As plans were underway, a number of other individuals and organizations stepped up to help. James Prout, owner of local trucking company Blue Bird Ranch, Inc., generously provided transportation all the way to Virginia. Volunteers from the local American Legion and VFW Posts gathered with members of the community to decorate each wreath with traditional red, hand-tied bows. Members of the MaineState Society of Washington, D.C. helped to organize the wreath-laying, which included a special ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.Arlington National Cemetery

This project went on the same way by Mr. Worcester donating each year until 2005 when a picture of the wreaths on the stones in the snow appeared on the internet.  Requests poured in to Mr. Worcester.  In 2006 Mr. Worcester sent 7 wreaths representing each branch of the military and the POW/MIAs.  The Civil Air Patrol and other civic organizations helped place wreaths in 150 wreath laying ceremonies in 2006.  In 2007 ‘Wreaths Across America’ was begun as  501 3c non-profit organization.  Their mission is simple, ‘Remember. Honor. Teach.’

On December 9th the wreaths left Harrington, Maine bound for Arlington.  The Patriot Guard Riders have been escorting these tracker trailer trucks since 2006 in what has become known as the world’s largest veteran’s parade.  It arrived in Arlington this morning after several educational stops along the way.  In 2010 220,000 wreaths were laid in 545 locations.  In 2008 Congress unanimously voted December 13 to be “Wreaths Across America’ Day.  Go read more about it.  It is quite uplifting.

We need something uplifting today this day after the horror of Newtown, CT.  The news has been totally taken over by this tragedy of the 26 that were killed there.  Having young children slaughtered in a classroom is unheard of in this country.  These children were babies.  As our President said yesterday they had their lives ahead of them.  The most poignant thing I read yesterday was from my young cousin Lindsey, I think she is 11/12yrs. old.   On her facebook page she posted these words:

18 children dead? 18 futures, 18 personalities, 18 possible world changers, 18 children that aren’t making it home today.

My Prayers Go Out To All Of The Families In Newton, Connecticut.

I can add nothing except to suggest we keep all these people in our prayers.

The drums are already beating about gun control.  It is too soon and will not change a thing.  Here are a few facts – please check them out for yourself.

1]  Connecticut has the third strongest gun control laws in the country

2]  WashingtonD.C. has THE strongest gun laws with no guns allowed in the city.  This last year has seen a 40% increase in crime and twice as much of that is gun related.

3]  The bombing in Oklahoma City killed more people in a single action.

What happened yesterday was an act of evil.  I am predicting we will not ever really know or understand why this happened despite all the talk and conjecture.  I have heard that we need gun control.  Lack of faith has been blamed.  Video games and the culture of death we have in this country has come under discussion.  The shooter seemingly has been identified with an illness where he could feel no pain.  He also has been identified as a master gamer.  What he did was evil pure and simple.  No explanation will change this.

I was on a facebook thread yesterday with adult nieces and a nephew who believed very much in gun control.  Despite what I said it was their contention that gun control was the answer.  How else could so many be killed in a single action unless they had guns and gun control would stop it.  When it was pointed out that Oklahoma City bombing did the same the reaction was that  a bombing was rare.  Well so were mass murders with guns years ago.  Bombings though are not rare in London or other places.  I think 9/11 in NYC was evil as well.  An act without guns that killed many.

I was asked the following: ”Until we can agree on the problem it is hard to come up with the solution. Again I ask, you say guns aren’t a factor, so why are they always the weapon used in these horrible occurrence”.  My answer was simply that we did indeed need to talk to find a solution.  I asked did we have to agree or simply come to their way of thinking?  This was not perceived as an answer.  For me it was.  Until there can be meaningful discussion on the fullness of the situation nothing will be accomplished.

In order to understand the tragedy of yesterday I believe we have to examine our whole society.  It is not ONE thing and the one thing in gun control will not change it.  We have to look at how we are living.  Using a tired old axiom, in my day, kids used guns to hunt and there was even that occasional gun during hunting season in the rack of a truck in the school parking lot.  There was also respect for that weapon and the damage it can do.  The question can be asked here if the callousness with which people are killed in movies and in video games has any impact on the kids who watch and play them.  I used to watch the occasional violent movie and can no longer due to the graphic nature of the seemingly gratuitous violence.

We need as a society to look at the lack of faith we are experiencing in our world.  I believe fewer and fewer people go to church or have any form of religious education.  I can hear it now – ‘gun toting Bible thumper’.  No it is the morals that lay in most faiths that are important.  It is the respect for each other, our families and our world that is being lost with lack of any kind of religious education.

Our schools are teaching children that there are few consequences.  When I was a new school parent I remember a class of children where many had to stay back.  This was back in 1976/77.  This just could not happen we were told.  These children would be damaged.  Contrary to what the parents were saying, the school board went ahead and created a transitional grade to help these children achieve what they had not the previous year.  While I did not agree with this at the time or understand it, I can now see it as the beginning of the decline of consequences.  We do not let anyone fail anymore.  If no one ever fails we take away the ability to learn from failure.

Look at some other cultural issues.  The nuclear family is being lost.  Divorce effects 50% of our marriages.  Drugs abuse?  We have now legitimized marijuana in two states and chaos is breaking out as they do not know how to handle this new law.  Alcohol abuse?  Homelessness?  Abortion?  We are a society who has made it legal to kill unborn babies.  Cell phones, computers and gadgets allow us to stay isolated and  keep us further separated from any relationships whatever.  If we have no relationship with family, friends, faith then how can we distinguish right or wrong?   We are more polarized in our politics.  There is the left and right.  I believe Reagan and Clinton worked with their congresses to solve problems and find solutions.  Working with not setting against.

The solution to all of this comes from a large discussion not just the simplicity of more gun control.  As a society we are becoming less and less engaged with each other while at the same time believing through our technology we are closer than before.  No Skype will replace the touch of a hand in yours no matter how we try to tell ourselves that it is just as good.

I believe there will be wreaths brought to this school in Connecticut.  Wreaths to Remember.  These wreaths will also honor these sweet souls.  Hopefully they will allow us to learn the lessons to help change our world for the better.

As we remember all of those who are gone today let us please not let the deaths of the military be for nothing.  They died protecting our freedom.  Let us honor them and the sweet children and the adults in Newtown.  Let us learn that we as a nation need restore the values that made us great.  We need to come together as people of faiths.  Not one faith – the many faiths who share similar values.  We need to become bi-partisan not polarized.

Yesterday many of us, including our President, went to prayer and scripture.  I think that just may be the best starting point.




Before I go into my subject this morning I have to apologize for my rant yesterday as well as ask for your forgiveness.  I simply dumped my angst without care expecting you to read it.  For that I am sorry and hope you can forgive my callousness.   The day did improve once I made my ‘Blessing’ list.  Well until last night when I wrote this whole post and then lost it.  I could not find the copy even with a ‘search’.  Perhaps I needed to re-write it anyway.

Yesterday morning as I was writing my ‘Blessings’ list I received a call from people I consider a blessing.  I was invited to share in some news they were creating.  They were changing some things in their life with the end result that we may not see each other as often as we would have had they not made the decision they did.  I was very sad to hear this news.  On the other hand with their lack of participation we might see them more often.  Regardless the world will feel a loss from this choice while at the same time the world may just experience a larger impact from them in a different way.

I am a big believer in the butterfly effect as I have shared before.  No man is an island entire unto himself wrote John Donne in his poem “For whom the Bell Tolls”.  It is one of my favorite poems.  I share it with you and the additional information I found that it was a meditation and prose!

For whom the bell tolls a poem

(No man is an island) by John Donne

No man is an island,

Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

These famous words by John Donne were not originally written as a poem – the passage is taken from the 1624 Meditation 17, from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions and is prose.

Yesterday afternoon I found myself in tears at my desk.  The day was slogging along so I decided to become proactive and write my blog early.  Before I began I thought I would visit some other blogs I like.

I went to iamrising.wordress.com.  I like the energy this young girl leaves on the page.  I’ve mentioned her before.  I know nothing other than her name is April.  She has a friend, Oleg Volk, who takes great pictures of her and her bald head.  Maybe she is suffering from cancer?  She supported Ron Paul then Gary Johnson.  She lives around Nashville, struggles with bulimia and drugs.  She is into good nutrition and the Ayurveda way of living which I had heard about at the spa.  Her writing and use of words is terrific and her blogsite is visually appealing.

I went to see what was going on with her and received the message:

iamrising.wordpress.com is no longer available

I broke out into tears.  Where was she?  Had she lost her struggle to drugs?  I went back to try finding her through a google search.  All I could find was a November post reference called ‘Slew the Daydream Won the Nightdream’ with the following:

Nov 28, 2012 – It’s something like day 10 now since my last “high” (after the first few months, I could hardly notice it as a high anymore,) after a 4 year daily life.

When I clicked on this I got the same no longer available message.  I was heartbroken.  What had happened to this vibrant young girl.  I cried again.

I went to save my work and lost every single word.  I stopped for the day.  I had no idea why all this had happened until this morning when I tried to find her again this time through a bing search.  I discovered another blogger ‘Veritaze’ wrote in his blog on Dec. 10th that he was looking for her as well.  I only hope she is well and has chosen simply to no longer blog.  Perhaps she is on to another blog with a different name?

No man is an island.  ‘iamrising’ touched many people.  I am going to look for her again later.  In the meantime I am praying she is well and onto her own new misadventures.


trivia:  bing had more information when I searched than google – found this interesting and may have to use bing more often!!!



I overslept this morning after a sleepless night and my day is not starting the way I want and I can feel my body tense up and my headache is back and I can feel it coming on strong and the news is bad and a man shot people in a mall in Oregon and a man got beat up in Michigan in a protest and no one reports it and the Michigan lawmakers say they will not accept the recent vote and said there will be blood and our country is headed off a cliff – I think I want to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head and let the world go away.  CALGON!!!

I have two deadlines for projects approaching – well three if you include Christmas.  I am sitting in an office that is filled with work to do – wrapping gifts, dusting, cleaning off the desk and paying bills.  The last three are recurring items on my list.  LIST – I dare not make one as I do not have enough paper to hold all the things I need to do to save or even find sanity.  A quote comes to my mind in these cases, “Besides that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”

So how is your morning going?

The feeling I am experiencing is fractured.  It looks like Pick Up Sticks that have been let go for the first go round of play.  Does anyone play Pick Up Sticks anymore?  I used to love that game as well as Jacks.  I was pretty good at them both.  This fractured feeling is scattered like those sticks in place.  See even in this paragraph I am going every which way.

Fractured feels heavy like an elephant sitting on your chest.  There is a commercial on TV that depicts this visually.  The heavy leaves me immobile and incapable of a single clear thought or action.

Fractured smells overpowering like too many perfumes in an elevator.  Or like being at a perfume counter and trying to pick out the best scent for yourself or someone special.  Did you know that if you are testing perfumes that a whiff of coffee beans will reset your ‘smeller’?  Did not know that and was at a perfume counter during the trip to NYC and my sweet companion asked the lady behind the counter if she had the coffee.  I thought what an odd question.  It works and I learned something new – a good thing.

Fractured sounds like the sounds of a city.  All sorts of different sounds happening at the same time so non are distinguished.  It is simply chaotic.  Or the sound of a heavy metal band which is noise to me.

Fractured is physically uncomfortable.  It feels jittery like I have had too many cups of coffee.  It’s the sting in my nose from ginger ale bubbles.  It leaves my stomach upset like I have eaten too much spicy food.

On top of all of this I think I have written this same exact post before.  Is this Ground Hog day?  I am repeating and rehashing redundancies.  Even writing all this is not helping. What is the cliché of the day – it is what it is?  The larger question is – with many hours of daylight ahead of me how do I turn this around to get anything done at all?

I think I WILL make a list.  On the top of it I will write the word BLESSINGS.  Then I will start writing them down with a ‘Thank You God’  after each.

….and there it is – the plan to restart this day…


By ktsquared Posted in Trivia



Last night before going to sleep I was thinking about what I would or could write today about 12-12-12.  It seemed to me that it must be profound or at least worth reading.  Not being in the ‘profound’ pronouncement making business, I am simply going to try to put some interesting words on paper.

This, as many know, will be the last time in our lifetime we will see this date – 1000 years actually.  I think babies born on this day will enjoy the uniqueness of their birth date.  David’s Bridal has estimated that weddings on this date, despite it being a Wednesday, will be up over a 1000%.  Perhaps the reason it is on a Wednesday is exactly why they can make that prediction.  Their actual number was up 1446%!!!

Since there, in these early morning hours, is no way to know what this day will bring I decided to look back a hundred years ago to 12-12-1912.  I was disheartened to note that the day sort of slipped by that December.  Henry Armstrong, the boxer, was born this day.  “Firefly”, a musical premiered in NYC on this day.  I could find nothing else exciting about this play except it’s name in the quick look I gave to the web.

12-12-1912 looks like it was an inconsequential day.  I think that might not be a bad thing.  It was a day like other days.  People were born and people died though the only death I could find was a 91 year old Prince Regent of Bayard – wherever that is.  I did not take the time to look it up.  A regular day is a good way to pass 12-12 I believe.  Hopefully it will be a regular easy going day this year in 2012 as well.

I looked further into the whole year 1912 to get some interesting information to pass forward.  The most notable piece of information was the Titanic sinking in April – actually April 12th – of that year.

Interesting aside here.  My family has a vicarious connection to the sinking of the Titanic.  In 1976 Dad married the former Mildred Sherman of Rockland, Maine.  Her father Austin spent his last years with them in their home in Southwest Harbor.  In 1912 Austin Sherman was a HAM Radio operator.

Wikipedia gives the following as a definition of Ham Radio:

Amateur radio (also called ham radio) is the use of designated radio frequency spectrum for purposes of private recreation, non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, and emergency communication. The term “amateur” is used to specify persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without direct pecuniary interest, and to differentiate it from commercial broadcasting, public safety (such as police and fire), or professional two-way radio services (such as maritime, aviation, taxis, etc.).

I also found from http://www.howstuffworks.com/ham-radio.htm:

This mix of fun, public service, friendship and convenience is the main feature of amateur radio. The true origin of the term “ham” seems to have been lost, but there are several theories. It may simply be a shortcut way of saying the first syllable of amateur radio, or it may have originally been used as an insult. Hams start out in amateur radio for many reasons, but they all have in common a basic knowledge of radio technology, regulations and operating principles.

On April 12th Austin was listening to his ham radio in the early morning hours and heard the distress calls from Titanic and passed them on.  He believed he was one of the first to hear those calls for help to alert authorities which he did.

More trivia about ham radio is that a neighbor of mine received a message for me from my pen pal when he was involved in a ham radio scout project.  The message was printed out like an old fashioned telegram.  It was such fun and so different in the 60s to receive this form of ‘mail’.

The year 1912 was a leap year.  On January 1, 1912 The Republic of China was proclaimed.  On Jan. 6th New Mexico became a state.  The Girl Scouts were founded on March 12, 1912.

In October of 1912 Tarzan first appeared.  Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote the story “Tarzan of the Apes” for the pulp magazine ‘The All Story’.  Pulp magazines were named such as they were typically 7″X10″, 128 paged magazines printed on cheap ragged paper.  They were around from 1896 to the 1950s.

In November Albania declared independence from the Ottoman Empire.  Somehow this was interesting to me, today, as I had envisioned the Ottoman Empire from history to have been 100s+ years ago.  When I was studying this fact in history class in school it was not yet a 100 years before.  Wish I had been more engaged in history then as it was only 50 years previous which was is very short time.  Wonder why that was not a big deal then and is so interesting now?  Perspective!

Notable people born in 1912 were spy Kim Philby, artist Jackson Pollock, mistress Eva Braun.  Entertainers born this year were Woody Guthrie, Perry Como, Gene Kelly, Art Linkletter and Julia Child.  We had two first ladies born in 1912, Pat Nixon and Ladybird Johnson.  Claudia Alta Taylor – I had to look up Ladybird’s real name as I am not so sure I even knew it!

Author Studs Terkel was born in 1912 as well as one of the world’s best golfer according to my dad, Slamming Sam Snead.  Dad wore a Sam Snead hat in the summer for years!!!

As we approach the rest of this day, 12-12-12, may everyone ‘make it a great day’!  Remember I say ‘make it a great day’ instead of ‘have a good day’ as I believe we have a choice in the process of living!!!  Today I am choosing a great day!!!