Monday, December 31, 2012

Got Black-eyed peas?

Superstitions abound on New Year’s Day.  In my family I always make a big pot of Black-eyed peas with tomatoes and rice for luck, but why are they lucky? 

Well, in the south the story goes that when Sherman’s troops raided the south they took everything but the black-eyed peas, which they considered animal food.  So the southerners made it through the winter on black-eyed peas.  They were lucky and they credited the black-eyed peas.

Since I grew up in the south, that theory works for me, but my parents from whom I got this superstition were northerners and their parents came from Greece so none of my ancestors were around when the Southerners were eating those peas. 

Another tradition for New Year’s Day is the Greek New Year’s bread/cake.  Hidden inside this sweet bread is a coin--a dime when we were kids, but with inflation now it’s probably a quarter.  Whoever got the coin, got the luck.  My brothers always got the coin…and the luck.

Another superstition, (and I don’t know where this came from) is that a man has to be the first visitor on New Year’s Day.  My grandmother would not open the door unless it was a man on that day.  My mother always a rule breaker, made my brothers go outside and come back in just to be safe.  They weren’t men but hey they had that Y Chromosome so it worked for her. 

So just to be safe I guess I will go soak those dried black-eyed peas now. I mean why push my luck right?

What about you, what do you do for New Year’s Day?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas to all

Not to sound like a complainer, but this Christmas season has been the pits.  

After our trip to Florida for three days to visit relatives we came back to our 55-gallon fish tank leaking. We cleaned up the mess and then (See previous post) we went out a bought a 37-gallon fish tank to transfer the fish, which were biding their time in an interim tank. Hey, it happens, after all the fish tank was 25 years old.

Then the dryer broke.  Honestly I haven’t used a clothesline in years.  In fact I haven’t even seen one since I visited Amish country several years ago.  So, we went out and bought a new dryer.  Hey, it happens after all, the dryer was 12 years old.

So yesterday my husband worked all day fixing the new tank and transferred the fish from the interim tank, and then he went Christmas shopping. I figured I would take a nice hot shower.  As I relished the steamy warmth, I heard a loud noise.  I shrugged it off as a figment of my overactive imagination.  When I came downstairs…the new fish tank had burst.  All 37 gallons of water was seeping into the carpet where the fish (sadly) lay dead.
A fine crack that was already in the tank had worked its way all across and the pressure of the water pushed everything out. I can only imagine the speed with which it exploded.

HEY, that shouldn’t happen the tank was only several hours old!!! 

Honestly I do write fiction, but I couldn’t make this up if I wanted to.  Part of me just wanted to say—“Christmas is canceled”, but the rest of me wasn’t going down without a fight.  I grabbed my umbrella, (37 gallons of water makes an umbrella a necessity) and got to moving all the storage items that were stored in the very, very damp basement to a dry area. We are, however, done with fish tanks.  Judging from the recent events I think that the universe is trying to send us a message. 

So on Christmas Eve, we took the defective tank back to the pet store.  and I sat in wait for the delivery of my new dryer.  At least I won’t have to string a clothesline.  The turkey is in the oven, and the standing rib roast is standing at the ready.  Soon I will have a ton of people over and I will celebrate Christmas.  I always say that good things come from bad.  Good thing number one is that I will HAVE to go through boxes of stuff that have been in my basement for years gathering dust.  I’ll take the junk to the dump and the good stuff to Goodwill.  I also got a cool new dryer, and I’ll get a new rug for my office. Because no matter what problems I have, I still feel as if I am the most blessed woman on earth, and yes I will have a Merry Christmas and I hope you all have the best Christmas ever!

Merry Christmas and a (dry) and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Go fish

Water, water everywhere

I am starting to believe that Murphy must be a distant relative of mine. You know Murphy, the guy from Murphy’s Law, which states that if anything can go wrong it will.  I won’t attempt to research the actual Murphy associated with this law because there are many opinions and many stories.  Let’s just say that whoever he is, he must be a relative of mine.

After spending three days visiting relatives in Florida with the usual minor irritations like late flights and Floridian flu, we started our return trip simply enough, although arriving back during Washington D.C. rush hour was a poorly planned decision.  2 ½” hours later, we walked in the door ready to hit the hay.  The only problem was that the hay in this case, was in a sense, under water. 

Our 55-gallon fish tank had, while we were traveling, sprung a pretty good leak.  Ever had your feet squish as you walk? (50 or so gallons of water will do that) Ever had to rush around trying to find someone with a spare fish tank to save the underwater creatures that were soon to become land animals?  Ever had it rain in your basement, when it’s not raining outside?

After several hours, wet vacs and fish transfers, we survived, albeit a little worse for wear.  The fish swam in an interim habitat.  We slept. 

The next day, I purchased my husband’s 2012 Christmas present…a new fish tank and stand. (The old stand and tank now reside at the county dump)

Just like the Aesop’s fables there is a moral to this story. 

Never, ever put your faith in a 25 year old fish tank filled with 55 gallons of water because…

You can't trust water: Even a straight stick turns crooked in it.
~ W. C. Fields

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

This Christmas--Color me happy

Last night I watched one of my favorite Christmas movies, “Miracle on 34th Street”…again.  I say again because I have probably watched it every year since I could sit in front of a TV.  This time I watched it colorized.  I hope you all refrain from the preaching, I know you purists are gritting your collective teeth. It’s a 1947 black and white classic, oh no, not color!

Let me say that the color was amazing.  I know that it takes a lot of work to colorize a film.  Artists have to add the color frame by frame. It’s time intensive and probably very expensive.  To me (and I know many won’t be with me on this) it is just way more satisfying to see Santa in a red and white suit instead of shades of gray.

In 1947, adding color to a movie was way too expensive to stay within the budget.  So they filmed in black and white.  After all, most people back then only had black and white TV sets, if they had any at all.

Jump forward to the world of today.  There are 3-D TV’s, high definition, and screens so big that they almost belong in a theater. No modern kid will ever sit down and watch a black and white movie no matter how awesome it is because they wouldn’t give it a chance.  So would we rather be stubborn about it and keep the movies in their original black and white condition or use modern technology to enhance them for future generations?

Times have changed.  Walkman’s were better than transistor radios. (Remember them)  CD’s were better than record players.  IPods are better than CD’S.  And color is better (in some cases) than black and white.  When it comes to the old Christmas movies, colorization is like a gift from Kris Kringle--wink wink.

Hmmm, “I believe, I will go watch “It’s a wonderful life.”  Colorized of course.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Holiday Word (War) Games?

Frostina the snowgirl


a family possession handed down from generation to generation.
Law. property neither personal nor real that descends to the heir of an estate as part of the real property.

Why the dictionary introduction?  Well, let me explain. At a party the other night, just for fun, we were asked to unscramble a group of words relating to Christmas.  One of the words was heirloom.  A discussion ensued on whether heirloom actually had any relevance to Christmas.  On researching this debate, I discovered that….

To some people (although not those in tropical climates) snow would be a Christmas word—sleet although technically similar, not so much.

To some, hot cocoa could be Christmassy although probably not to Starbucks.

Carol the song…yup that screams Christmas.  Carol Burnette—nope, not unless she’s wearing a red hat with a white pom pom and yelling “Ho, Ho, Ho.

Before 1949 Rudolph was just a Latin lover in the movies named Valentino.  Nowadays ask anyone, and they will tell you he is a reindeer.  And by the way what do reindeer have to do with Christmas? Until the 1823 poem “A visit from St. Nicholas.” No one ever heard of a reindeer at Christmas.

Just try and list cow or sheep as a Christmas word and most people will be scratching their heads.  Try setting up a nativity with a reindeer instead of the above-mentioned livestock; however, and…well you get the picture.

So what have I discovered about Christmas words?  Just like art (you knew I would somehow fit that in didn’t you?) Some like Picasso…whereas others like Da Vinci. So it’s all pretty much relative.

Going back to the word--heirloom.  There are heirloom ornaments and there are heirloom tomatoes. Are tomatoes a fruit or a vegetable?  Scientifically speaking tomatoes are a fruit, where cooking is concerned they are a vegetable...

Hmmmmm….I think we have reached an

m·passe [im-pas, im-pas]
A position or situation from which there is no escape; deadlock.
A road or way that has no outlet; cul-de-sac.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas is coming; the goose (from too many cookies) is getting fat

Last weekend we visited Christmas town at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. After seeing all the hundreds of thousands of lights twinkling everywhere one looked, I will never again complain about the three strands in my dining room that refuse to cooperate. 

When I was a kid Santa’s were usually heavyset guys with a barely attached fake beard who smelled like garlic and sometimes whiskey.  We still believed.  Gullible and innocent as we were, my parents told us that even though it wasn’t the big guy, it was a look-alike helper. 

Now I find that Santa’s almost everywhere are real!  I’m an adult and I believe.  Do you think it’s because kids these day are a little smarter than we were?

As we traveled the much-lighted pathways we soon found ourselves at the Fest House.  Yes, fest house, where they sang almost all of the carols I’ve ever heard.  I admit it I joined in even off key I couldn’t damage the mood. 

The highlight came as my husband tried to scale Mt. Chocolate (cake).  He didn’t want the world to see him eat this gargantuan confection so I edited him out, trust me--- the cake was as big as his head.

Hope you all are enjoying the holiday as much as I am.

I got lucky and won a gorgeous Santa from Maddy at Santa and the Mrs.. Check out her awesome blog! I love, love, love him and I believe. 

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