Saturday, December 31, 2016

Today is known as The 7th Day of Christmas! (It's also the last day of 2016!)


Today may be the last day of 2016, but it's also the seventh day of Christmas! And, if you are familiar  with the song known as The Twelve Days Of Christmas, dear reader, then you probably recall that on the seventh day of Christmas, someone's true love gave to them these gifts: seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five golden rings, four birds a calling (or a colling or a coaling), as well as the gifts of three french hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

As I mentioned in a recent posting here on Blogger, John R. Henderson, has studied the meaning behind the lyrics to the twelve days song, and has posted his findings on a web-page which he has titled the 12 Birds of Christmas. Here's what Henderson points out re the bird (swan) type associated with the giving of seven swans a swimming on this seventh day of Christmas:

"A message to celebrate the beauty of the unknown. Swans are birds of elegance and mystery. Seven represents mystery and elegance, largely in part to the movement of the seven planets (only seven were known until 1846). Planets moved unlike all the other stars and had their own intricate patterns – nothing was more elegant and mysterious. Oddly, although the swans are swimming they represent Air, which as an element includes the sky and the heavens."

At this time, I only recall seeing swans in a park not too far from where I grew up, however I haven't seen a swan in recent times. Be that as it may, Mr. Henderson's ideas have truly given me something to keep in mind the next time I happen to see a swan a swimming. Meanwhile, swans for the seventh day of Christmas, will have to be represented by the swan-themed ornament featured in the image atop today's entry.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Flash Back Friday: The Sixth Day of Christmas (Three Years Later)


Today is the sixth day of Christmas and it is a "holiday" that I wrote about three years ago in an entry here on Blogger, where I included the image of the figurine featured atop this posting. If you'd like to refer to that post, please click here.

Meanwhile, dear reader, if you are familiar with the lyrics to a song known as The Twelve Days of Christmas, than you know, that on this sixth day of Christmas, someone's true love gave to them, six geese a laying, five golden rings, four birds a calling (or a colling or a coaling), as well as the gifts of three french hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

As I mentioned in the day before yesterday's Blogger posting, John R. Henderson, has studied the meaning behind the lyrics to the twelve days song, and has posted his findings on a web-page which he has titled the 12 Birds of Christmas. Here's what Henderson points out re the bird (geese) type associated with the giving of six geese a-laying on this sixth day of Christmas:

"The important element is the 'a-laying' part. The Egg represents the creation cycle of birth, death, re-birth. And what about the number Six? Because of the shape of the number, which is a continuous, spiraling curve without angle, it too represents the cycle of life. Geese also represent Water, another of the four life-giving elements."

Mr. Henderson's ideas have truly given me something to keep in mind the next time I happen to see geese. My encounters with this bird type (the Canadian variety) have taken place in Central Park as well as when I've been down by the Hudson Riverside on the westside of  NYC.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Fifth Day of Christmas


Today's the fifth day of the 2016-2017 Christmas season. It is a day when according to a song (The Twelve Days of Christmas), that someone's true love gave to them five golden rings, four calling birds, as well as three french hens, and a partridge in a pear tree. The Christmas ornament seen in the photograph atop this entry is representative of today's gift that a true love gave to someone near and dear to him/her. And it's the gift I plan to bring it to a married couple that live not too far from me at some time today. I hope they will enjoy this bird-themed ornament as much as I do, but then, I'm someone who deeply appreciates birds, as evidenced by my posts here on Blogger, as well as by my entries on tumblr, Facebook, hometalk and Pinterest.

As I mentioned in yesterday's Blogger posting, John R. Henderson, has studied the meaning behind the lyrics to the twelve days song, and has posted his findings on a web-page which he has titled the 12 Birds of Christmas. Here's what Henderson, who associates pheasants with the fifth day of Christmas points out re this bird type and the giving of five golden rings on this fifth day of Christmas:

"They may not sound bird-like to you, but these are ring-necked pheasants. Not native to Europe, pheasants had been introduced there during Roman times and were quite common throughout Europe before the rise of Christianity. Pheasants were symbols of the element of Fire and sensuous sexuality. The number Five also represents sensuality and magic. Ever wonder why there is so much emphasis, rhythmically, to this verse?"

Mr. Henderson's theory has certainly given me something to keep in mind the next time I happen to see a pheasant. My encounters with this bird type have been minimal, the last time I saw a pheasant was this past spring.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Wednesday's Wisdom Facts Re "4 calling birds"



Yesterday, was the third day of  Christmas; and here on Blogger, I weighed in with my musings re that particular holiday and included some thoughts on the second as well as the first day of Christmas.

Today is known as the fourth day of Christmas, the day when someone's true love gave to them four calling birds or four colly birds; depending on one's interpretation of the story told within the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Growing up, I was always led to believe that on the fourth day of Christmas someone's true love gave to them, four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree. Now, after all these years of singing the twelve days, I've discovered one's true love was never given calling birds; rather he/she was most likely given colly or coaly birds!

According to "research and speculative detective work" done by John R. Henderson, "the version of the Twelve Days of Christmas that we know today dates back only as far as 1909, when arranger Frederic Austin's transcription of the words and his own tune were published in London. The three earliest printed versions (with no music) date back to about 1780, and it is noteworthy that the order of the gifts was different than the Twentieth Century version. The song was old when it was first published. One scholar has found what she thinks are elements of the song in a damaged manuscript from the seventh century, the time of Beowulf, the great heroic pagan poem.

"Most of what we know about the Anglo-Celtic pagan religion comes from Christian writers condemning it. What the Anglo-Celts actually believed will never be known for sure, but there are clues. We know numbers had special signifigance to them, and we know that birds were honored as holy symbols of fertility. That in itself might actually provide even more evidence of the song's true non-Christian origins."

Henderson states that on the fourth day of Christmas, one was given four colly birds and he claims "the birds are really Colly Birds, not Calling Birds. Colly birds may be any of several coal-black birds – crows, jackdaws, rooks, or ravens. These birds of the night carry the power and mystery of the dark season of the year. The raven was the bird of battle. Four is an important number to link with the darkness, since Four is the number of the Earth, which, though now asleep and filled in darkness, remains fertile and a potent elemental source of power. "

I have no pictures of crows, jackdaws, rooks or ravens in the collection of bird images that I've taken over the years. Therefore, I'm representing these coal-colored birds by featuring images (atop this entry) of figurines based on crow varieties.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tuesday's Truths WK 23: 3rd Day of Christmas


Welcome to the twenty-third week of my Tuesday's Truths series! Today also happens to be the third day of the twelve days of Christmas. This series of days is represented pictorially in an image atop my blog post and details re this picture can be found by clicking here.

According to a  Christmas-related web-page, "The 12 Days of Christmas start on Christmas Day and last until the evening of the 5th January - also known as Twelfth Night. The 12 Days have been celebrated in Europe since before the middle ages and were a time of celebration."

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Some musings RE "BABY'S FIRST CHRISTMAS": "A Christmas filled with love!"


It's Christmas Day and the photo atop today's blog entry features me on my parent's Christmas card*and seeing it now has prompted me to recall Connie Francis singing, "Baby's First Christmas." (A You Tube Video of this is posted below).



I became acquainted with this song because my dearly departed friend, Donna De Solis, who I knew for twenty-eight years, used to play it at her annual Christmas party. I attended Donna's event from  2002 through 2014. And who could've known that a few weeks after her December 2014 Christmas party, Donna would learn that she had Stage-Four cancer and would be dead within six months. (She ultimately died in June of 2015).

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Tonight is The First Night of Chanukah Moreover, it's also Christmas Eve!


Tonight is The First Night of Chanukah. There will be a menorah lighting ceremony on 59th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City, at the southern most point of Central Park. According to a NYC-related web-page, the menorah to be lit is 32 feet tall and weighs 4.000 pounds! The menorahs pictured in the image atop this entry are just a little smaller than that (-;

Be that as it may, in spite of having Jewish ancestors, I know very little about Chanukah or the lighting of the menorah, but I have read that "Chanukah means 'dedication,' and commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its desecration by foreign forces and the Jews' victory over the Hellenist Syrians in the year 165 B. C. For the rededication celebration, the Maccabees desired to light the menorah and looked everywhere for oil, finally finding a small flask that contained only enough oil to light the menorah for one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days. The message of Chanukah may be found in the name of the holiday itself: dedication —not only of the temple building but of individual lives to the pursuit of high religious and human ideals." This quote is something I discussed in bygone years in an entry here on Blogger where I wrote about a parallel between Advent and Chanukah.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Friday Follow-Up: The Celebration of Festivus


Today is a holiday known as Festivus! I blogged about it in 2010 in an entry where I included fun facts about my Japanese Larch (Larix Kaempferi) which grows in an urban garden that I have on my rooftop in NYC.

Be that as it may, the hot-looking figurine seen in the photo atop this entry is admiring the way she has made herself look for the celebrations (and yes that's plural, she gets around) which she plans to attend on this holiday!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Wednesday's Wisdom: The Winter Solstice (The darkest day brings more light.)





Today in New York City, the 2016 winter solstice began at 5:44 A.M. As most folks know, the winter solstice is the darkest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. However, it also signifies the coming of lighter days and often brings on a festive mood; as evidenced by the snowpersons pictured in the images directly above this blog entry.

In certain time zones, religious leaders have used the coming, of more light as an analogy to Christ's coming bringing more light with his birthday celebrated on December 25th, the day of Christmas.

It is a comforting thought on the surface for believers, unless one thinks about that too long. For isn't His birth proclaimed in a hymn's lyrics as "joy to the world?" Not all of the world experiences the December winter solstice in this manner. For example, our Aussie friends and Brazilian comrades are usually in the midst of summer at this time.

Be that as it may, some folks see the winter solstice as a sign of hope because the light will be increasing with each of the coming days, and they have the mindset of the snowlady pictured below.


Btw, those same people tend to dread the summer solstice because each coming day after that is darker and darker!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tuesday's Truths WK 22: Canadian Palm Trees (They Are Exotic!)


Welcome to the twenty-second week of my Tuesday's Truth series! In yesterday's post, I promised that in this entry, I would share images of my Canadian Palm Tree that has been placed in my urban garden which is on a rooftop in NYC. A view of this unusual Christmas tree can be seen atop this blog post. And a detail from it can be seen below.


Monday, December 19, 2016

Today is LOOK FOR AN EVERGREEN DAY!


Today, December 19th, is a holiday! Everyone in the know, which is surely you, dear reader, is aware of what this date signifies. According to a number of sources, today is called Look for An Evergreen Day! Both Holiday Insights and Melinda Meyers state that December 19th is National Look for an Evergreen Day. Meyers advises her readers not to "worry if (they) already have (their) holiday tree; (and to) take advantage of this unique holiday (by going) outside and (looking) at the evergreens in (their) neighborhood."

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Fourth Sunday of Advent


Today is The Fourth Sunday in the 2016 Advent season. I've written about Advent in bygone years here on Blogger, including an entry which you may refer to by clicking here. And this year, I've provided entries re The First, The Second and The Third Sunday of Advent. Each of these three entries has included an image of my 2016 Advent Wreath as it appeared on a given Sunday during this Advent season. My wreath is looking a little bedraggled on this last Sunday of Advent, as evidenced by the image atop this entry. However, the message for the Fourth Sunday of Advent is as vibrant as ever!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

A Reason For My UNWRITTEN Musings? (Including The Third Sunday of Advent)


The image above this blog entry is a copy of an essay by E.B. White. According to Rebecca Hall, who produced a collection of White's essays, this piece was published in The New Yorker in 1930. It is an essay that I've read and re-read a number of times as it truly speaks to my heart when I'm experiencing moments of frustration as a writer. Often when folks hear of one's inability to move forward with his/her writing, they attribute the "plight" to the author having writer's block. While this may be true, I think, in my case, the inability to move forward on composing a certain piece, might be due to the reason White offers re an inability to write about a given topic: "writing about them might prove embarrassing."

Friday, December 16, 2016

Follow-Up Friday: Christmas Card Day




Due to a number of circumstances, the last time that I was able to post an entry here on Blogger was December 8th 2016 and I'm glad to be back! In any event, last Friday, December the 9th, was a holiday known as Christmas Card Day and I'm sorry to be telling you about it one week after the occurrence! But since Christmas is ten days from now, it is certainly not too late to do something about Christmas cards!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Throwback Thursday: John Lennon's Murder: 12-8-1980


Today is the  feast of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary as indicated in the photo atop this entry in an image from Prints of Grace.

It is also the thirty-sixth anniversary of John Lennon's murder. And just as it is said that people of a certain age remember what they were doing when they received the news that John F. Kennedy was assassinated (as I blogged about in a post here on Blogger), it is said that most people of a certain age will remember what they were doing when they received word that Lennon was shot and killed in New York City, just outside his home, a half a block away from where I now reside.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Wednesday's Wisdom: Outdoor Xmas Trees... are for the birds!


The photograph atop this entry features a Christmas tree that I had in my urban garden (which is on a rooftop in NYC) in 2015. I am thinking of putting up a tree for the 2016 Christmas season next week. I have not done my garden winterizing for the 2016-2017 season, and that annual task is a prerequisite for putting up any holiday decor. This chore involves wrapping all my containers in bubble wrap, as well as burlap (from on-line fabrics), and then tying them with jute, before placing them in the southeastern corner of my garden (to protect them for the season). Btw, if you look closely at this image you will see an orange arrow (near to by signature) in the lower right corner. The arrow indicates the area where most of my winterized containers of flora are placed for a given season.

And if you look closely at my Christmas tree (topped with a star), you will notice that I have quite a number of ornaments on it which happen to be bird feeders (mostly suet cage varieties). My Christmas trees have become a place for an array of types of fauna (including a Harper, a Northern Mockingbird), to get food and keep warm.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tuesday's Truths Week Twenty-One: Honoring Saint Nicolas


Welcome to the twenty-first week of my Tuesday's Truths series where I am paying homage to the beloved Saint Nicholas, as today, December the sixth, is his feast day. The image atop this entry is a depiction Saint Nicholas, and it comes from catholicompany.com  In any event, according to Holiday Insights, "Saint Nicholas lived in the country of Greece, just a couple hundred years after the birth of Christ. (And) This day is in honor of Saint Nicholas and his life."

Monday, December 5, 2016

Repeal Day is today. It commemorates the repeal of the 18th Amendment!


Today, December 5th, is Repeal Day! It commemorates the repeal of the 18th Amendment.  Once more, Americans were free to buy, sell, and consume alcoholic beverages. According to Holiday Insights, in "the early 1900's, many of the good people of America believed that alcohol was the root cause of many social ills in the country. Prohibition on a national scale, was promoted in part by the American Christian Women's Temperance Union. This movement grew in popularity. Ultimately, the United States Congress passed the 18th amendment on January 16, 1919. The 16th Amendment prohibited the manufacture, transportation, sale and consumption of alcohol.  

"The ban on alcohol did little to improve the social conditions of the country, or to reduce crime. Rather, crime increased as racketeers got into the the business of making and selling alcohol.  The popularity of the 18th Amendment waned. More and more people and groups sought it's repeal.  

"Congress passed the 21st Amendment, effectively repealing the 18th Amendment. On December 5, 1933, the State of Utah voted it's approval of the 21st Amendment, achieving the 3/4 of states need to approve this amendment. Thus on this day, the 18th Amendment was formally repealed."

And in honor of this day, one of the things I'd like you to know is that the hats and scarves which you may have used on your bottles of hard liquor, liqueurs, as well as wine, can be re-used once your bottles get tired of wearing this apparel!

The photo atop this blog entry features a few of my bottles decked out in hats as well as scarves; and it may be an image that you recognize, as I featured it in a 2011 post, Rockin' Around the Hens and Chicks! In any event, bottles filled with alcoholic beverages get tired of wearing the same accessories year after year, and, so they shared some ideas on how their articles of clothing could be used for charitble purposes!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Two Celebrations! The 2nd Sunday of Advent AND National Cookie Day!




Today is The Second Sunday of Advent! Last Sunday, November the 27th 2016, which was The First Sunday of Advent, began the new liturgical year with The Season of Advent.

I wrote about this fact in a blog post and mentioned that, "according to Holiday Insights: 'Advent is a holy season in the Christian calendar. It is the beginning of the liturgical calendar. It is a very special time, as Christians wait and prepare for the coming of the Lord, Jesus whose birth we celebrate on Christmas. While Santa Claus' arrival is a big big event, we must remember Jesus' birth on earth is much bigger, and the real cause for Christmas. In the early days of the church, Advent was a time of prayer and confession. Today, Advent is more a time of preparation and expectation of the coming of the Lord.

"'The Advent Wreath is an important symbol of Advent of the season. It usually sits on the dinner table and is a constant reminder of the holy season. The wreath is of German origin and consists for an evergreen wreath, and four Advent candles. Three candles are purple and one is pink.

"'The lighting tradition- On the fourth Sunday before Christmas (the first Sunday of Advent), the first Advent candle is lit at dinner and a short prayer is said. The first candle is lit each night along with a short prayer. On the second Sunday  of Advent, a second purple candle is lit. On the third Sunday the pink candle is lit. Finally on the fourth Sunday of Advent, just a few days before the birth of Christ, the final purple candle is lit."

The first two images atop this blog entry feature my Advent wreath as it appeared on the Second Sunday in Advent during bygone years, while the third picture features how it appeared on the vigil (eve) of this year's Second Sunday in Advent.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Friday, December 2, 2016

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Throwback Thursday: The Week After T'giving



I generally don't use the term, "Throwback Thursday," but there is always a first time, and after all, today marks a week since the holiday known as Thanksgiving was celebrated. The video posted atop this blog post is one I found on You tube and it features one of the bands that marched down the streets of NYC in the 2016 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The view that can be seen here is from a vantage point that is much further south than from where I viewed the parade.