|Your New Year's Resolutions|
1) Get a pet hedgehog
2) Eat less brussel sprouts
3) Travel to New Zealand
4) Study japanese pop culture
5) Get in shape with capoeira
Saturday, December 31, 2005
You can find all 28 here. It was an idea I picked up from Oldoldlady. And then I made it bigger!
At my Crazie Christmas Party the other night, without telling them what it was for, I had each adult give me a number between 1 and 28. So there are 6 memories!
These are the memories that I have now recalled and will tell you about - at two a day (speeded up as it's the holidays!) :-)
Next up is number 13 (and don't blame me - they were picked as unbiasedly as possible!)
Jean-Luc Picard said...
Do you remember the time we went to see Santa at the store, and you tried to pull his beard off?
You learnt a few words you hadn't heard before then!
oh yeah - that one.........
Jean-Luc was about fifteen and I was thirteen. During the Christmas break from Star Fleet, we went shopping. But first, we stopped off at a Klingon bar. Dressed in our finery, we easily passed for sixteen and the huge barman had no qualms in serving us. That was the first (and last!) time I had bloodwine. Of course, I know Jean-Luc still drinks it now and then at ceremonial occasions, but I think he's pretty much sworn off it too!
Well, we downed a few goblets of bloodwine and staggered out into the street. Conveyances whizzed past us down the San Francisco street and pedestrians yelled at the annoying teenagers who got in their way. As for us? We were having a ball! Jean-Luc was telling me all about his latest debates with Boothby and how he was going to be a Star Fleet Captain, while I was clinging onto his arm to stay upright.
We got as far as the huge Mall before grinding to a halt. Malls were cool, much like the 20thC Malls, but with no stock. Huge windows were filled with magical things and, in the back, replicators produced whatever you asked for. If you wanted your gift wrapped, then there were replicators that did that too - you could even design your own wrapping paper. They were fantastic places to shop, as long as there was no limit to your imagination!
I ordered the gifts for my family and, as the replicators would take a while to create, wrap and collate my gifts, then we went for a walk. In one store there was a Santa. He was a huge jolly man, and had a tall dark elf with pointed ears.
Now remember, I had imbibed a fair amount of bloodwine and it all rushed to my head!
'It's Captain Kirk!' I yelled, running towards Santa.
'No, it's not! It can't be!' yelled Jean-Luc, pulling on my jacket. 'He's dead!'
'It is, it's Captain James Kirk!' I slurred as I reached the gaudy throne and its occupant. The elf quizzically raised one eyebrow.
'And that's Mr Spock!' I said accusingly, pointing at the elf.
Jean Luc caught up with me and pulled me back.
'How can it be Kirk?' he asked, puffing slightly. 'He's been dead for years.'
'Time travel!' I said loudly. 'Leggo!' and I wrenched free and walked steadily, but swaying slightly, up to the nonplussed Santa.
'You're James T Kirk.' I said. 'Former Captain of the USS Enterprise.' and with that I tugged on his beard. To my surprise, and Jean-Luc's horror, the beard came away in my hand, revealing a very familiar ruddy face. The man behind the beard muttered a selection of Klingon and ferengi oaths - which I cannot repeat here, being a lady!
'You are Kirk!' breathed Jean-Luc. 'Have you come here from another dimension in outer space?'
'No!' snapped Kirk, snatching his beard back. 'I'm from Iowa - why does everyone ask me that question!'
You can find all 28 here. It was an idea I picked up from Oldoldlady. And then I made it bigger!
At my Crazie Christmas Party the other night, I had each adult give me a number between 1 and 28.
So there are 6 memories!These are the memories that I have now recalled and will tell you about - at one a day :-)
Next is number 10
Jean-Luc Picard said...
Do you remember the time you and I played sardines in that cupboard. There was just us two in there and the door got locked, and it was hours before it could be released. We had to find SOME way to pass the time! What a laugh when everyone found I'd locked the door myself!
Oh, do I ever remember *that* evening [sigh]
It was one of the Enterprise's famous parties thrown by the secret object of my desire, Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Everyone was there and the Bajoran brandy was flowing easily. Always one with an eye for an opportunity, I suggested sardines. For the uninitiated you turn out all the lights in the house. The person that is "it" goes and hides - similar to hide-n-seek. Everyone else counts slowly to 100. When they're done counting they go find the "it". But when they find "it" they hide with him/her until the last person finds the hiding group. The smaller the hiding place the more [coughs] cosy the end result!
On basis of rank, Jean-Luc was "it", and I peeked through my fingers as I counted. As he left the room, I quietly followed without the others seeing. He ran down a hallway and slipped into a small closet. In any other place it would have been a cleaning closet, but as the Enterprise is self-cleaning it was a small very empty space.
I gently opened the door and sneaked in behind him.
'Was that 100?' he asked with a wry smile.
'Nope' I answered honestly. 'I just wanted to be alone with you.'
I shut the door and held my breath. Were my months, nay years, of desire to be fulfilled? Jean-Luc moved easily over to the door pad and locked the door using his command code.
I stiffened as he brushed past me and then he stood in front of me.
'Shall we get more comfortable?' he asked, unzipping his jacket. Well, I was stumped, wearing only a flimsy party dress and not a lot else, I couldn't get much more 'comfortable'. But I pulled off my high heeled shoes and instantly, my intended love was several inches taller than me.
'I've been wanting to talk to you for a while,' he continued, unbuttoning his shirt. 'I was trying to find some time with you alone tonight - but I guess you managed that yourself!'
I smiled keenly in the darkness of the cupboard.
'What did you want to talk to me about?' I asked.
'The new Enterprise talent night. Beverley has talked me into taking part and I thought I'd do the speech from Henry the V, St Crispin Day.'
And from the darkness the melodious voice rolled across me.....
'This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall see this day and live old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispin's:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day.
Then shall our names,
Familiar in their mouths as household words,
Harry the king,
Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot,
Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.'
I applauded gently, my heart sinking.
'Very nice, Jean-Luc - should go down well at the talent night.' I managed to spit out.
'Oh, good, glad you think so,' he said jovially, and reached out to unlock the door.
'Shall we join the others?'
Definition of irony: Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs!
Friday, December 30, 2005
I got 28 memories! Thanks guys! You can find them all here. It was an idea I picked up from Oldoldlady and was taken up by all sorts including dawn and wendy. And then I made it bigger!
At my Crazie Christmas Party the other night, I had each adult give me a number between 1 and 28. So there are 6 memories!
These are the memories that I have now recalled and will tell you about - at one a day :-)
First up is number 6
Do you remember the time Old Uncle Frank, the uncle that always was a bit too tipsy on every holiday, decided to dress up as Santa and tried to go down the chimney to surprise all us kids. Surprise us he did, by getting so wedged into the chimney that the fire department had to haul his ass out by crane.
oh yeah, I remember that well!
Me and Margalit went to bed fine and early on Christmas Eve, so as Santa would have us on his Good Girl List! We lay in the dark, looking at the twinkling stars through the window, aching to hear sleigh bells.
'Do you hear it?' she whispered.
'Not yet' I whispered back, feeling all excited as only a child can on Christmas Eve.
Then there it was - a gentle tinkling of bells, and the sound of footfalls on the roof. We gazed at the ceiling with huge eyes, Margalit praying for the Barbie house and me wishing for my new silver bike.
'Don't be silly' Margalit said. 'How's he gonna get a bike down the chimney?'
'Must be magic' I said firmly. 'He brought Uisce one last year!'
The bells died away and the footfalls quietened. There were a few thumps and bumps, then silence. I deduced the thumps and bumps was my new silver bike.
We lay silently, and slowly, ever so slowly, our little girl eyes closed to the images of christmas trees and dancing sugarplum fairies.
The next morning, Margalit and I were, surprisingly, not the first up. Aunt Edna was in the kitchen on the telephone. My mum and dad were looking anxiously around the house, inside and out. There was no breakfast ready, and worse! no gifts from Santa! No Barbie house for Margalit and no new silver bike for me.
'Yes, officer' said Aunt Edna. 'He was here last night. He was...' she caught sight of us two girls in our pyjamas. '...responsible for guiding Santa to our house.'
We were aghast! Not only no presents from Santa, but no Uncle Frank either! What on earth was happening this Christmas Morn?
We looked in all the cupboards and in all the rooms - no sign of Uncle Frank.
We wandered through the house, calling his name.
Suddenly, we heard something, very faint. A voice calling 'Edna! Edna!' We hunted high and low, but the voice was loudest in the living room, near the fire. We peeked into the grate and turned our little faces upward to peer into the chimney.
'Found him!' we yelled.
Half an hour later, Uncle Frank was carefully winched to safety by the local fire brigade. Margalit and I watched open-mouthed as the big man was lowered to the ground, still gripping a sack in one hand and a bottle of Wild Turkey in the other. His red suit was tattered and the white beard dangled from one ear.
He was black from head to foot, except his eyes which were red! Needless to say, the bottle was empty.
We gave him some water, then some nice hot coffee to help him recover. Meanwhile, dad took the sack and laid it by the tree.
I peeked in the sack. Sure enough, there were two gifts - one marked cq and one marked Margalit. But something wasn't quite right.
'Uncle Frank!' I yelled, stomping into the kitchen while he rinsed his face in the sink.
'yes cq, honey?' he asked wearily.
'where's my new silver bike!?!'
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Sounds idyllic, doesn't it? Here's some pictures (all with the subjects' or the subjects' parent's permissions)
Aginoth and the two elder Aginothlings learning the finer points of Frustration! This was utterly adorable - once we pulled A Jnr away from his new Pokemon Annual :-)
LMD - the only way to stop her wailing was to make sure she didn't catch sight of CQ! Each time I passed near her or looked at her, the lip quivered and the wail set up......and to her disgust everyone laughed - no one understood!!
This rather cute Jawa-esque person is our weeble. A bloglurker, and a sweet friend to us all. Over the years, many of us have relied on his sturdy spirit and strong friendship.
A Jnr watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory intently (the Depp version, of course!), one of my pressies from the Aginoths. This was accompanied by random shrieks of 'turn it up, I can't hear it! Excuse me! [he's a very polite child :-)] Turn it up!' as the silly grownup chatter got louder and louder....
Animal allergies sadly got the better of Mrs A [next time, take your Piriton *before* coming!] and she couldn't bed the children down in my bed, so they got to stay up very late. That being said, once they got past 'tired' they were actually very good, cuddling and snuggling mummy and daddy while we watched Charlie.
rca and K bowled up at 9.30 from another event, just in time to have half an hour with the Aginoth's before they peeled off home with three very tired babies.
We sadly said our farewells to the Aginoths [and yes, I got my Huggy Hug from Aginoth! - it's a bit of a tradition!] and they strapped their children in, packed in all the bags of gifts and toddled off down the M5.
'oh, good - I can let the felines out' I sighed with relief.
'er - is it all right if you don't?' asked a suffering K - yep, another allergic! So the felines stayed locked up while we sat and discussed......um.....stuff that should stay between six dear friends!
The girls wandered off tiredly to catch the footie at 11, which left me and my boys; cyberkitten, sleepy and weeble. I leapt up, new DVD in hand and put Jasper Carrott on the TV. GREAT late night TV. We were all weeping with laughter in no time.......
My boys left at midnight (I suggested this time they not slumber over in the usual tradition given the current war state in our house! :-O]
Oh, and I have the results of my Christmas Memory game - watch this space :-)
Two last pictures.......
This is the sight that greeted me this morning..........
'Whatcher doing wiff my tree, Mama........??'
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Please note Geoffrey the Polar Bear standing, well, sitting guard! :-)
And if Charlie kills it again before the party tonight, I am going to rip what are left of his balls off!!
First up I watched 5ive Days to Midnight; all five episodes back to back (thank god for Sky+!). Starring Timothy Hutton (who's only claim to fame in my book is that he is the son of Jim Hutton - the DREAMY Ellery Queen of the 70's!) and Randy Quaid (left); one of the most under-utilised gifted actors of his generation - overshadowed by his younger better looking brother Dennis.
JT Neumeyer finds a strange briefcase with police documents detailing his own death, in five days time. Can JT unravel the mystery (and the origin of the mysterious briefcase) before the clock runs down?
This was rather good, and I wouldn't sniff at the opportunity of having it on DVD. Randy was superb, as ever, and Timothy put in a sterling performance as the tortured JT. Kudos to Gage Golightly (there's a name for Hollywood, if ever I heard one!) as his daughter, Jessie.
She was sparkling and honest in her performance.
But, as ever, it was Randy who stole the show - illustrating that, although he had fun playing morons (Christmas Vacation etc), Quaid Major is a cracking actor!!
(Of course, I already knew that - one of my fave films is an independent called 'Roomates' about living with AIDS and he is OUSTANDING in that!)
The other thing I watched yesterday was Bride and Prejudice starring the utterly gorgeous Naveen Andrews (left). Of course, people may know him better from Lost, but he is not Iraqi - he is a British Indian.
This is a Bollywood musical based (loosely, very loosely!) on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, in which Mrs. Bakshi is eager to find suitable husbands for her four unmarried daughters. When the rich single gentlemen Balraj and Darcy come to visit, the Bakshis have high hopes, though circumstance and boorish opinions threaten to get in the way of romance.
They even fit in Wickham, Mr Collins (Kholi Sahib!) and the awful Mrs Darcy :-)
It was a popcorn movie (although I hate popcorn!), and it was good fun. Colourful, noisy, beautiful women, handsome men - typical Bollywood. And boy! is that Aishwarya Rai beautiful!
I could even follow the Austen original - although Wickham appeared romantically out of the waves at Goa!
Fun, fun, fun.... :-)
Popcorn Movie (definition): A movie which based on its merits of proper story-telling techniques, unique style and believable characters, would fail on all counts. A Popcorn Movie is a film that allows you to turn off your brain before viewing, crunch down on plenty of nachos and popcorn without having to worry about missing any relevant dialogue, and revel in its lunacy of plot, excessive action sequences and shallow objectives. It is NOT a film to take seriously.
oh and btw - Happy Birthday to the indescribably gifted Denzel Washington and also to the Queen of UK cinema, Dame Maggie Smith!
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Our Christmas Tree is completely demolished - Charlie was obviously busy last night. In fact, I have taken it down and put it in the downstairs closet until tomorrow, and until I can face rebuilding it again.
Cats have done nothing but argue and fight and Pandora took to her bed for two days (at one point I had to take her food in there too!) just getting up for her toilette then creeping back. I honestly thought she was going to the Bridge.
I have another nasty cold.
My Christmas dinner substitute went in the bin - it was awful! :-( Knew I couldn't cook....
My phone/computer link suddenly doesn't work and I can't upload some lovely pictures of the felines. Update - I think the feckin' modem is fecked.. :-(
I am *so* tired.
MB has toddled off to his golf competition today. He'll stay for lunch and then come home before heading off to his parent's for a few days. So, here starts *my* holiday.......
- Tell UM to *get lost* - failed
- Take Paracetamol for my cold - didn't bother
- Hoover and clean the house - check
- Clear through some laundry - check
- Nap - didn't bother
- Fix the tree - can't face it
- LMD-proof the house - it's as LMD-proof as it's gonna get
And tomorrow, my darling cyberkitten will be coming over to help me prepare for the Crazie Christmas!
Monday, December 26, 2005
Boxing Day is the following day after Christmas Day. Like Christmas Day it is also a national holiday in England.
The name goes back to medieval times, more than 800 years ago, when alms boxes were placed at the back of every church to collect money for the poor. Traditionally, it is on this day that the alms box at every English church is opened and the contents are distributed to the poor.
Historians say the holiday developed because servants were required to work on Christmas Day, but took the following day off. As servants prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with Christmas boxes.
The Christmas boxes were made from clay and were not made in the shape of a box. They were hollow clay balls with a slit in the top.
During the late 18th century, Lords and Ladies of the manor would "box up" their leftover food, or sometimes gifts and distribute them the day after Christmas to tenants who lived and worked on their lands.
The tradition of giving money still continues today. It is customary for householders to give small gifts or monetary tips to regular visiting trades people (the milkman, dustman, coalman, paper boy etc.) and, in some work places, for employers to give a Christmas bonus to employees.
Boxing Day is also known as St. Stephen's Day (when Good King Wenceslas looked out).
'Good King Wenceslas looked out, On the Feast of Stephen...........'
He lived in Rome and was the first man to be killed for believing in the teachings of Jesus. His story is told in the Acts of the Apostles 6: 1 to 8: 2.
Some people claim that he shares this day with another St Stephen, who came from Sweden. St Stephen of Sweden is the patron saint of horses. Boxing Day has long be associated with outdoor sports, especially horse racing and hunting.
Traditionally Boxing Day is a day for fox hunting. Horse riders dressed in red and white riding gear with a pack of hounds chase foxes through the country side.
Before a Boxing Day Hunt, the huntsmen and huntswomen would drink hot wine. Hunting with dogs is now illegal in the UK.
Boxing Day is usually the day when families travel to meet together if they spent Christmas Day at their own home. It is a day of watching sports and playing board games.
Recently some shops have broken from tradition and started opening on Boxing Day to start the New Year sales. Hundreds of people now spend Boxing Day morning in queues outside shops, waiting to be the first to dive for the sales racks as the doors opened.
It is unlucky to kill a wren on any day apart from Boxing Day. A tradition not carried out today was the Hunting of the Wren on Boxing Day. Groups of young boys would hunt a wren and then tie the dead bird to the top of a pole, decorated with holly sprigs and ribbons. With blackened faces, the group would sing at houses in hopes for coins, gifts or food.
"The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
On St. Stephen's Day was caught in the furze,
Up with the penny and down with the pan,
Give us a penny to bury the wren."
Those that gave money to the boys would receive a feather from the wren as thanks. The collected money was then used to host a village dance.
This odd ritual was not restricted to England. It was prevalent in some continental countries on Boxing Day as well as the Isle of Man, Wales and Ireland.
I call it St Stephen's Day, not Boxing Day - which still confuses some people!
Oh and by the way.........The Twelve Days of Christmas, or Twelvetide, are the festive days from Christmas to Twelfth Night (the eve of the Epiphany), or December 25 to January 5 - not the 12 days before! :-)
As the midnight bell tolls around and Christmas is over for another year, I offer my blogging friends a reprise of what is widely regarded as one of the most popular editorials ever written.
The work of an editorial writer named Francis Pharcelius Church, a former Civil War correspondent, it first appeared in The New York Sun in 1897 as a response to a question submitted by 8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon.
Is there a Santa Claus?
We take pleasure in answering at once and thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:
I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun it's so."
Please tell me the truth: Is there a Santa Claus?
115 West Ninety-Fifth Street.
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.
There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal life with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernatural beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Long Live Santa!!
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Check below for new posts!
As this was my last day at work for a week or so, It's time to play!
In true blogger tradition this has been passed on to me by Oldoldlady! It has been edited it a tiny bit because it is Christmas....but, don't let that stop you from being as creative as your dear little heart desires....
RULES: If your eyes are passing over this right now, (even if we don't speak often) please post a comment here on my blog with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL CHRISTMAS MEMORY of you and me. It can be anything you want - good or bad - BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE.
And, if you feel like it, when you're finished leaving your comment, post this little paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) with the memories people create....(isn't this fun?)
Oh my, I can't believe I'm doing this - considering my readership [closes eyes]....and as always, anything goes, my Crazies....
edit - wow....lots of boozy stories - do you guys know me or something!? Oh, and Neolithic; eric is gonna freak :-) [evil chuckle]
edit 2 - I am concerned at the amount of drink and sex in these memories....which could possibly suggest why I don't remember them!! :-) Bring it on!
edit 3 - doing well here! I have 'quality time' [snigger] with eric [rotflmao], the delish centaur [dribble], Dudley Moore [nurse!] and Jean-Luc Picard [falls off chair]! I have been a busy little queen! Oh, and Dak-Ind - I NEVER call mummies and daddies home......satisfaction guaranteed....actually, you could say the same about my memorable couplings! :-)
edit 4 - lots of lovely stories! Some made me sigh, some made me cry, some made me dream and some reduced me to helpless laughter. And this is where my Crazie Christmas Game is to begin.......watch this space on the 29th, and Crazies - your help will be needed on the 28th!cq
Saturday, December 24, 2005
I have crumbed, pureed, boiled, mashed, 'finely' chopped(!), whipped, mixed, seasoned and now am cooking....
And what am I cooking?
'Borrowed' from a recipe I found on the web; I removed the chestnut puree bit (YUCK) and added pureed Quorn mince instead. Nicer and a darker brown. Also my first time with a food processor - noisy but fun!
Something for me for tomorrow.....while MB tucks into his turkey.
Hopefully it'll be nice with roasties, carrots, sprouts, and all the trimmings... :-)
edit - btw now I know why I don't cook........yuck! :-(
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."
Clement Clarke Moore (1779 - 1863) wrote the poem 'Twas the Night before Christmas' also called “A Visit from St. Nicholas" in 1822. The tradition of reading 'Twas the Night before Christmas' poem on Christmas Eve is now a worldwide institution.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
I have been thinking that my advent has been very self-obsessed. Sure, there have been the odd crowd pleasers, but mostly it has been about me. Which is really rather sad.
Before the Christmas Spirit comes on Saturday, I would like to ramble slightly in my advent.
Christmas is a difficult time of year for so many. Recent blogging activities have made me realise what today's advent should be.
Animal blogging owners and I have been regularly visiting a blog run by The Cowboy for his beloved cat Eponine who became poorly. Sweet Eponine went to Rainbow Bridge yesterday at the magnificent age of 14, and all us pet owners feel for the Cowboy and have sent messages of support.
Animal or human, the loss of a friend or loved one is very sad.
On the international front, there is no news on Norman Kember. We keep him in our thoughts and prayers that the group holding him will be merciful and return him to his family for Christmas.
We remember the victims of the London bombings in July and wish their families and the survivors a peaceful Christmas with happy memories of those no longer near.
We remember all those injured and affected by the fuel depot blaze at Hemel Hempstead only a couple of weeks ago, and hope they will recover.
We remember the people who lose loved ones at Christmas, surely the worst time to lose a dear member of the family or close friend.
We remember those in hospital, those who will be in hospital over Christmas, and those who will be sitting by a bedside at Christmas.
We keep in mind those affected by others' cruelty or thoughtlessness over the Yuletide period.
We remember those who cannot be with their family or friends for Christmas.
We keep in our thoughts those still recovering from the Asian Tsunami and the devastating hurricanes in the US. And to the countless people affected by natural or man-made disasters the world over.
There is so much sadness in the world, but there is so much opportunity to give succour and comfort in some small way.
I received a gift today with the card 'Thanking you for all your kindness and support this year' from one of my staff. And there was me thinking that with all I could do within my powers as his boss, I wished I could do more. But he and his wife were comforted by what little I did do.
Spread some goodwill, peace and joy this Christmas. After all, isn't that what it's all about?
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
I borrowed this from dawn. I have taken out one or two teeny sentences, but other than that, this pretty much sums up how I feel too.
I'm on a "Merry Christmas" mission and I'm in full throttle.
My little yellow VW Beetle has turned into a Christmas billboard with Merry Christmas written across the back window. Yes, I've decided to trek off to work everyday on the public highways with a message that seems to offend people.
At stop lights, I even turn my music up a little louder, and to top it off, I sing along with it. Don't I know that stopping at a red light to roll my windows down only to share the joy of Christmas carols on public streets is a No-No? Don't I fear the Christmas Gestapo and those who would have me remove the written message from my car?
LEAVE THAT MANGER ALONE! We've allowed the Baby Jesus to be kicked out of His lowly manger, and those offended by Christmas are still not happy.
I refuse to let this happen. I'm going to do my part to make sure "Merry Christmas" doesn't become extinct. Because like it or not, if the believers in Christmas don't take a stand now, it's gone forever.
Listen folks, the Christian community has been underestimated before; we will have to show ourselves again.
I walked into a Wendy's Restaurant the other day and was rather exuberant with my "Merry Christmas" greeting to the manager. He didn't have much of a response and I said, "Where's your Christmas spirit?" He said, "We're not allowed to use the words "Merry Christmas" when greeting customers. We can only say "Happy Holiday."
This morning I grabbed a quick breakfast at a Whataburger Restaurant. I noticed there wasn't a single decoration in the store. I asked the manager why they weren't decorated for Christmas. He told me the corporate headquarters decided not to send any decorations to any of their stores, and he didn't know why.
After I heard about all the Macy's and Federated Stores taking down their Merry Christmas signs, the Target stores not allowing the Salvation Army to "Ring the Christmas bells," and the many incidents of children, choirs, and bands not allowed to play or sing Christmas carols, I realized it was happening right here in my own little Texas town.
How can this be? Not Texas!We do, however, have a store, Hobby Lobby, that plays nothing but Christmas carols during the season. On Christmas Day they run a full page ad in our local newspaper. That ad is not to promote the store, but uses the entire page to tell the story of Jesus' birth. Now that's taking a stand. We need to thank them.
When I saw a news report the other evening of children being taught new words to a song we've sung for years -- "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" - I was saddened to hear "We Wish You a Splendid Holiday." (Unbelievable.)
I know now that it's just a matter of time that the "Merry Christmas" greetings will be gone. Look around your town. Notice the "Holiday" greetings and not "Christmas." It's happening right before our very eyes.
Start singing the songs; go down the streets singing to your heart's content. Get some of those wash-off markers that these kids use to write on their car windows when they're rooting for their hometown football team. It's easy to do, and if a torrential rain washes it off, write it on there again.
The story of this "Baby Jesus" alone has brought about more goodwill at this time of year than any other day we celebrate. How can we sit back and allow Him to be snuffed out of our lives?Is it Jesus, or is it His followers that the "offended" don't like? What kind of revulsion galvanizes one to campaign so vehemently against the mere mention of His name, the mere singing of a carol, or the mere visual of a sign that says "Merry Christmas?"
I can listen to my own boss at work use some of the vilest words and follow up with, "Excuse my French." I may cringe inside at his damning of God's name, but I tolerate it. So if you don't like me wishing you a "Merry Christmas," I'll say, "Excuse my joy." You may cringe that I celebrate the birth of Jesus, but you can just tolerate it.
I cannot be concerned that "Merry Christmas" offends you. If I'm not careful, the day will come when saying I'm a Christian will offend you.
I'm offended that you're offended. How about that?
When we get to a point that we can no longer take part in a tradition we hold dear, we have no choice; we either defend that tradition or we give it up to those who say NO. That's it . . . period. So, which will it be?
I'm not giving up my "Merry Christmas" joy to anyone. If I know of someone that celebrates another holiday during this time of year, I will be glad to wish them whatever holiday they want. Just tell me what it is and I'll shout it to the world and wish you a grand celebration.
Just give me Christmas. To you merchants: Stop being so hypocritical and "filling your tills" on the back of Jesus! Who do you think is the symbol of giving at this time of year? It was the wise men bringing gifts to the newborn Christ-child.
You want your coffers full, but have ordered your employees to take down all the Merry Christmas signs. If that's the case, I'll buy gifts at a place that understands my joy.
It's okay to jump into the "Merry Christmas" spirit when it fills your cash register, but let's call it something else . . . and don't stop giving . . . and don't stop buying. . . we'll just change the name and you'll never know the difference.
I know the difference and I'm feeling it greatly. It's hard not to be aware that townships across the US have actually banned the singing of Christmas carols because it might offend someone. And it's not just the religious songs; it's the secular ones, too. No more "Jingle Bells" or "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" because they're associated with Christmas. Boy, aren't we getting sensitive?
If we're not celebrating Christmas for the hope it gives . . . there is no hope!
I noticed a few years ago that the name of Abraham Lincoln's and George Washington's birthday was changed so as to be all inclusive regarding the Presidents. Hark, if we should recognize anyone as exceptional. Now it's called Presidents' Day.
Well, if we're going to be so all inclusive, next month I'll have to refer to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as Civil Rights Leaders' Day. We don't want to exclude great Americans like Rosa Parks or Cesar Chavez, do we? And to think that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton might be left out.
We might need to change Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Grandparents' Day to All Parents' Day. Just lump them all together.
It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? So what's the difference?My freedom to celebrate Christmas in the tradition of the Christian religion is as much my right as it is your right to be offended by it. So what are we going to do? Did anyone hear me . . . what are we going to do?
Do we defend a person's right to go forward with a time tested tradition, or do we defend a person's right to end it all because they're offended? As long as we live in this great land and have the freedom to express ourselves and what we believe in, we will always offend someone.
If we try to make everything right for everyone, we won't have anything for anyone.
May you always have Christmas in your heart!
And, a Very Merry Christmas to you!
Christmas is Christmas, it's the way it always has been, and the way it always will be!! God willing.
Just as an update - I was shopping in the Mall last night for a couple of last minute thoughts. Although the Mall is heavily decorated, has a Christmas Market, Santa's castle, ice rink and the tills were clanging away - only one sales assistant said cheerfully 'Merry Christmas!', I turned back with a beaming smile and said 'Merry Christmas to you too!'
Thank you that young man in Waterstones bookshop :-)
picture from http://www.sydneystampstall.com/products/all_products.html
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Mind you, the deccies came as a surprise and he managed to get himself stuck! Just tinsel and lights and my precious santas (too high for him to reach!) - easy to rebuild without baubles.
It was so pretty, I turned the lights off and stared at it for about 15 minutes :-)
No pressies underneath yet - I am not going to tempt fate! Those are still locked in a cupboard!
24hr update - it's still standing, a bit battered, but still standing. Tinsel is still intact (mostly), ancient Canadian Santas untouched and the lights still work! And the feline demon seems to be beginning to lose interest [x's fingers]
But I am still bending branches back into shape where he has slept on them - being a big little ginger fluffball!
48hr update - the tree is still standing - just. Sadly, Charlie has noticed the Santas and two of them ended up on the floor (luckily undamaged). The tinsel is a mess, the tree is all bent out of shape and the lights are becoming knotted.
Two things I said to MB (safely back from his travels) as I stubbornly bent the tree back into shape, replaced the tinself and recovered my Santas.
I am going to have my Christmas tree if it kills me!'
'These Santas have hung on a Christmas tree for over 40 years - they will hang on it this year!'
Thank you very much for your lovely present of a partridge in a pear-tree. We’re getting the hang of feeding the partridge now, although it was difficult at first to win its confidence. It bit the mother rather badly on the hand but they’re good friends now and we’re keeping the pear-tree indoors in a bucket. Thank you again.
I cannot tell you how surprised we were to hear from you so soon again and to receive your lovely present of two turtle doves. You really are too kind. At first the partridge was very jealous and suspicious of the doves and they had a terrible row the night the doves arrived. We had to send for the vet but the birds are okay again and the stitches are due to some out in a week or two. The vet’s bill was £8 but the mother is over her annoyance now and the doves and the partridge are watching the telly from the pear-tree as I write.
We must be foremost in your thoughts. I had only posted my letter when the three French hens arrived. There was another sort-out between the hens and the doves, who sided with the partridge, and the vet had to be sent for again. The mother was raging because the bill was £16 this time but she has almost cooled down. However, the fact that the birds’ droppings keep falling down on her hair whilen she’s watching the telly, doesn’t help matters. Thanking you for your kindness.
You mustn’t have received my last letter when you were sending us the four calling birds. There was pandemonium in the pear-tree again last night and the vet’s bill was £32. The mother is on sedation as I write. I know you meant no harm and remain your close friend.
Your generosity knows no bounds. Five gold rings ! When the parcel arrived I was scared stiff that it might be more birds, because the smell in the living-room is atrocious. However, I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the beautiful rings.
Your affectionate friend,
What are you trying to do to us ? It isn’t that we don’t appreciate your generosity but the six geese have not alone nearly murdered the calling birds but they laid their eggs on top of the vet’s head from the pear-tree and his bill was £68 in cash ! My mother is munching 60 grains of Valium a day and talking to herself in a most alarming way. You must keep your feelings for me in check.
W e are not amused by your little joke. Seven swans-a-swimming is a most romantic idea but not in the bath of a private house. We cannot use the bathroom now because they’ve gone completely savage and rush the door every time we try to enter. If things go on this way, the mother and I will smell as bad as the living-room carpet. Please lay off. It is not fair.
Who the hell do you think gave you the right to send eight, hefty maids-a-milking here, to eat us out of house and home ? Their cattle are all over the front lawn and have trampled the hell out of the mother’s rose-beds. The swans invaded the living-room in a sneak attack and the ensuing battle between them and the calling birds, turtle doves, French hens and partridge make the Battle of the Somme seem like Wanderly Wagon. The mother is on a bottle of whiskey a day, as well as the sixty grains of Valium. I’m very annoyed with you.
Listen you louser !
There’s enough pandemonium in this place night and day without nine drummers drumming, while the eight flaming maids-a-milking are beating my poor, old alcoholic mother out of her own kitchen and gobbling everything in sight. I’m warning you, you’re making an enemy of me.
I hope you’ll be haunted by the strains of ten pipers piping which you sent to torment us last night. They were aided in their evil work by those maniac drummers and it wasn’t a pleasant sight to look out the window and see eight hefty maids-a-milking pogo-ing around with the ensuing punk-rock uproar. My mother has just finished her third bottle of whiskey, on top of a hundred and twenty four grains of Valium. You’ll get yours !
You have scandalised my mother, you dirty Jezebel,
It was bad enough to have eight maids-a-milking dancing to punk music on the front lawn but they’ve now been joined by your friends ~ the eleven Lords-a-leaping and the antics of the whole lot of them would leave the most decadent days of the Roman Empire looking like “Outlook”. I’ll get you yet, you ould bag !
Listen slurry head,
You have ruined our lives. The twelve maidens dancing turned up last night and beat the living daylights out of the eight maids-a-milking, ‘cos they found them carrying on with the eleven Lords-a-leaping. Meanwhile, the swans got out of the living-room, where they’d been hiding since the big battle, and savaged hell out of the Lords and all the Maids. There were eight ambulances here last night, and the local Civil Defence as well. The mother is in a home for the bewildered and I’m sitting here, up to my neck in birds’ droppings, empty whiskey and Valium bottles, birds’ blood and feathers, while the flaming cows eat the leaves off the pear-tree.
I’m a broken man.
(c) Frank Kelly (aka Father Jack) 1983 - and one of my Alltime Favourite Christmas 'songs'.
Monday, December 19, 2005
I thank the Police for being there even during the quiet hours of Christmas ready to help anyone who needs it.
I thank the Fire Brigade for standing by during our time of holiday overzealousness and putting their lives on the line to help anyone who needs it.
And I thank the ambulance and paramedics for saving lives and being there, should the worse happen, for anyone who needs it.
These are my local authority crests - keeping it real!
Thank you, boys and girls, for watching over us this holiday season.
And thank you also to the phone companies for keeping us in touch, the energy companies for keeping us warm and the myriad other service providers who help make our Christmasses safe, comfortable and enjoyable.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Saw this fun thing on Diva Kitty's blog and couldn't resist seeing what I came out as....
I kinda like 'Bouncy Angel-Pants' :-)
Edit: The MB is Tootsie Tum-Tums.....hmm - don't think I'll tell him that! :-)
Hence the question in the title.
Nope, I am not mad - yet! Ugly Monster has been in full-time residence for over a week now. For the uninitiated, Ugly Monster is the name I gave my chronic depression in order to make it more manageable. But sometimes UM really does take over, despite my best efforts.
It whispers in my ear telling me I'm crap and useless.
It makes me forget my meds (haven't taken them for weeks now!)
It makes me temperamental and unpredictable.
It makes me want to kill myself.
It puts me through cycles of insomnia and hypersomnia.
OK, so I'm managing to fight off point 4 - well, I'm still here, aren't I? Although there were a couple of enticing lorries on the motorway the other day.
So here I am, 4am and blogging. I was ill yesterday so napped a LOT, and am paying for it now.
I get really tired of my depression, you know. It's been 7 years now and it's almost as bad now as it was then. Depression is cyclic, you always follow cycles. You have depression, you feel guilty about being unhappy, which makes you more depressed, which makes you more guilty, which makes you more depressed - and so on ad infinitum.
My depression was triggered by surgery following a long illness, which meant I couldn't have children - although I always had a depressive nature. Well, there you have another problem - I yearn for my own child. But it's too late now.
Don't think I am unreasonable about this desire. I don't like the thought of surrogacy and I am too old to adopt in the UK - but I would love to have my child look up at me and say 'I love you, Mum'.
I'll just have to enjoy my Aginothlings looking up at me and saying 'I love you, [cq]', and the knowledge that my darling god-daughter Boo, thousands of miles away, would do the same, given the chance! :-)
And, of course, being craziequeen, I have my Crazies on side to support me, protect me and make me laugh.
Thank you, Crazies :-)
And now, I have my blogbuddies. From as far apart as Oz, Spain and the US, I have lots of people talking to me and infusing me with their zest for life.
Thank you, Blogbuddies :-)
Edit - just a quick note to those worried about the 'not taking the meds' comment. It is not intentional and I am not 'tweaking' my meds. I honestly can forget to take them for days or weeks at a time, for the very simple reason that those very meds have had an effect on my memory. In fact, I can look at them and think 'I must take them', turn around and completely forget instantly. But then I do the same thing with everything else! :-)
I'm also not supposed to take them with flu/cold remedies - and I have been plagued with colds over the last month.
Feel free to nag me to take my meds - but don't have a go at me for not taking them.
Usually I am very good at taking them (well, I have been on them for 7 years - practice, practice, practice!), so good in fact, that my doc has me self-managing. But sometimes....I just.....fall off the wheel - you know?