Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Up Helly Aa

Residents of Lerwick, Shetland, carry a Viking longship through the streets.
Image © Jeff Mitchell/Getty Images 2006

Scotland was long under the influence of Viking culture, in fact it was part of Norway for some 5 centuries. Much later on the soldiers and sailors returning from the Napoleonic Wars, who had learned to enjoy a week long  season of partying after Christmas was over, their partying usually included plenty of setting things on fire, including  inflaming barrels of tar.  Which often exploded. the resulting death and destruction, sorta put a damper on things.

But, have no fear! in the 1870's a group of enterprising young folks decided to organise the festivities and thus make them a bit safer, and I would guess keep the complaints to a minimum, and a bit more fun, they moved the Festivities to the last Tuesday of Jan.  They added a torchlight parade, and a decade later, the Viking theme was added, and the burning of a longship became a part of the celebrations.

There is also much feasting and drinking, singing and dancing. to learn more  about Up Helly Aa click on the official site at http://www.uphellyaa.org/.  

Monday, January 30, 2012

I know this place!!!

 "I know this place!"  "I've been here!"  "Just seems so familiar." 

Looking for that yard sale treasure or that untouched horde of dusty awesomeness, one traveled a lot of back roads and made a lot of wrong turns and sometimes ends up at wonderful places. All of that was more than a few years ago, and now it seems like another lifetime, until something like this jogs my memory, and then those days when the weather was always good, and there as always something interesting going on, plenty of surprises awaited me and they were all good; yes I know I forgot all of the bad stuff on purpose, that's why it's called the Good old "Daze". 
I know this place,  it didn't look exactly like the picture,there are no weeds surrounding the building, there was a rail surrounding the veranda now, and a few chairs so you can sit and do nothing much. I walked across that plank veranda, watching myself in the wavy glass of the old windows, wondering if there was gas in the old pumps by the outbuildings, and wondering what the lobby would look like, would there be a restaurant, would it be run by kind and thoughtful people?

Pulling open one of the double doors, I hold my breath, and wish. Step through into a quiet room which must have been a bar at one time, though now it serves as an office.  A woman who even looked like Bea Benaderet came through the curtained archway and asks if she can help me. "I just decided to stop for the day, can I get a room, a meal and may-be a drink?"  She looks me over and asks, "Wouldn't you be more comfortable in a motel, you know someplace more modern?" she pauses and says "We don't have AC, only fans, and you have to share the bath."  "Share it with how many people?" I ask.  "Well, if you don't mind the stairs, there would be just you on the third floor."   "That will be fine."  "Dinning room opens in an hour, but there's no liquor."  She handed me a key, "Room 8" she said "its in the back, quieter if a train goes through. If you want to you can use the writing parlor in the front, at the top of the stair."  And she vanished behind the curtained arch.

The climb up the staircase afforded me an excellent view of the tin ceiling, and it was a beautiful one.  The wallpaper was a simple stripped pattern and you could see where the gas lights had once been, I ambled down the hallway to the next stair, looking out each window, enjoying the late summer sun streaming through. The next staircase was small, closed in and seemed much steeper, it opened into a large room with small tables, books and overstuffed furniture, and a great view of the road I had driven up on and beyond it the freight yard, which looked like it had very little if any traffic. The room and hall had that wonderful smell I remembered from my Grandparents house, old wood and fields in August, would that I could bottle that fragrance.  I peeked in at the tiled bath, with it's old fashioned fixtures. My room was sunny, and the delicious smell of from the kitchen reminded me that I hadn't stopped for a decent meal in days.  The ceiling was tin, but a simpler pattern, and there was a bed and a dressing table, two chairs, and an ottoman.
The windows were already opened and there were fresh towels and a blanket arranged on the bed. I slid the ottoman closer to the window and proceeded to satisfy my curiosity about my surroundings, there was the shed where the gas pumps were, and where my little blue truck was parked, beyond that the vegetable garden of the next house  there were fields and a huge barn, grazing cows and goats, a field or two of corn, and one of pumpkins. Barn swallows and children playing,some farm machinery, rustling leaves. 

After a meal that was well worth lingering over, I took a short walk, would have like to have explored more of the town, but I told myself that for sure I was coming back to this place as soon as possible.  Later seated in front of the window in the in and overstuffed chair I watched the sun go down and the crescent moon rise before returning to my room, for a a peaceful nights sleep, until the rooster woke me.  And I noticed the wallpaper had a lacey blue  striped pattern with tiny violets and some unknown to me yellow flower.

After a quick coffee and toast, served in surprisingly moder kitchen,I was on the road again, heading for home.

Through the magic of my Internet machine, and much to my wonderment, one has discovered  the old hotel is now a B&B. 


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Eenie meenie chili beanie, the spirits are about to speak

Bullwinkle said "Eenie meenie chili beanie, the spirits are about to speak"....and I think they said "When do we eat? 
 To me chili is the perfect cold weather meal, it is whats for dinner, and sometime breakfast and lunch also when the weather turns cold and windy or a power outage threatens.  I guess there are as many versions of chili as there are cooks,  one of the first things I learned to make, my version has changed over the years, as I experiment with different beans , meats and seasonings. 

Whatever you choice of meat, beef, pork, venison, buffalo, turkey or meatless, home canned or store bought tomatoes, beans out of a can or beans you cooked yourself....it's all good by me.

Friday, January 27, 2012


“True silence is the rest of the mind.

It is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.”

William Penn

1644 - 1718

I don't listen to the radio anymore, unless I am driving the long and lonely back roads, it has been years since I used the radio in my house, in fact I am not sure that there is even a radio in the house.  There are times when music is a gift, and times when silence is a necessity.
Quiet has become the preferred mode, often the only sound is the ticking of the clock. 
One by one  all of the distractions, or what some might call noise pollution, that can be turned off had been, this started out to be an experiment, just to see what it was like. 
At first it was very strange, not to be surrounded my the sounds of electronic  people.  I often felt as though I was missing some important bit of newsfact.  When I would turn on CNN to see if I was invariably, I wasn't.  I grew accustomed to hearing the sound of my bare feet on the floor and the wind in the spruce, the sounds of traffic and the sounds of an old house.  But best of all I grew accustomed to hearing my own thoughts. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Winter dreamtime

I caught a picture of the very first flakes, of the very first snowstorm of the new year for you,  it was so pretty!  And as the snow  fell and covered everything with a perfect blanket of white it got even prettier. 
Later, sitting near the window, watching it get darker until only the headlights of passing cars,and the outdoor lighting illuminated the  falling snow,  my thoughts rambled across the hills, along the old railroad grades where I used to look through the leaf litter for insulators, and anything else I could find, savoring every detail of those spring days. 
 Growing gradually quieter as  the traffic had subsided and the snow muffled the sound of everything but the snow plow, and still I watched  for the snow flitting down.  Snowflakes don't make a sound until they slide off the tree limb with a muffled thud and a cloud of sparkle. 

Summer was so far in the past and just as far in the future.
But I was thinking about it, dreaming about it anyway.  Dreaming it into being, as if I could really dream something into being, like the ancient Beings of the Aboriginal Dreamtime had.  It has been a a while since I sat still for this long, sat still, and alone with my thoughts, awake and dreaming.    

Friday, January 20, 2012

Who do you love???

Be Good To You
Author Unknown

Be Yourself ~ Truthfully
Accept Yourself ~ Gracefully
Value Yourself ~ Joyfully
Forgive Yourself ~ Completely
Treat Yourself ~ Generously
Balance Yourself ~ Harmoniously
Bless Yourself ~ Abundantly
Trust Yourself ~ Confidently
Love Yourself ~ Wholeheartedly
Empower Yourself ~ Prayerfully
Give Of Yourself ~ Enthusiastically
Express Yourself ~ Radiantly

I found this on Donna Henes's wonderful blog on Beliefnet.
If you are a regular reader of my ramblings you already know that Queen MamaDonna is one of my favorite people.
Where was I going with this??? Oh yes. January is Self Love month, a whole month to do something nice for ones self!!! Here in the usually dismal depth of winter.  Now this could be a dangerous idea, because i already pretty much love me best. After all where ever I go there I am!  And I was there in the beginning and have been with myself through all the trying times, when there was no one else there for me I was there, and in the very end, when I "hit the buffers" as the English would say, I will be right there with me.  Of this I can be totally sure.

I know i know, it sounds so egotistical, but the egotistical are often boastful.  But self love is a  confidence that come form accepting yourself as you are.  Not needing to criticize others to make yourself feel good.

It sounds selfish, but the selfish need to gather in from those around them, because their plate is empty( OK, that is from one of my fave sayings "You can't serve from and empty plate).  The security of self love, like the security that comes from strength of body and/or character  make generosity not only possible but easy. 

It really is OK to tell yourself how great you are.  It really is OK to forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made.   It really is OK to not spend time criticising yourself  (or others).  It really is OK not to be Superwoman, so don't worry about.  Take all that time spent on negativity and spend it on fun.

Compliment you self, trust yourself, remind yourself of all the good qualities you have.


Wrap your arms around yourself and repeat after me.

Think may-be, just may-be I could learn to like January.

Friday, January 13, 2012

TODAY turns 60

There was a lovely bit of camera art at the opening of this mornings Today Show, a crowd of people seemingly brought forward in time 60 years looking in the window at the first Today show. 
We didn't even have a TV then, but a few years later when we did I used to tune in to that amazing machine that brought me pictures and sounds from the whole world, to watch Dave Garroway and J. Fred Muggs.

 I remember very little of the actual show, remember well that J. Fred was always into mischief, and the man who raised his hand at the end of the show and said "Peace".  Something I felt was so magical and needed to be imitated.
Later I would watch him on "Wide Wide World" and be in awe of just how wide and wonderful the world was, and thank him for showing it to me.  I never knew he battled depression, thinking he was the luckiest man in the world to see and do all of those things.  Never knew also that he was a disk jockey, and a very good one, or that he had been a reported for KDKA TV.

Tuning into the Today Show has not been a part of my morning for over 30 years, don't know exactly why I tuned in this morning, well may-be it was just to say, "Thanks Mr. G."


Thursday, January 12, 2012

A storm is comming

                                            ~~Selena Fox

It's going to snow, now snow in January is hardly and unusual thing, but this year there has been very little snow and and even less cold weather.  
I don't like snow very much, even if I have no where in particular  I need to be that day.  When it comes right down to it, it is difficult for me to find anything good to say about winter.  But there seems to be an excitement about this storm, not just among people I have talked with yesterday and today, but the weatherman, and the newsreaders seem like school kids anticipating the first snow of the season.  The weatherman is warning of dangerous drops in temperature that will  lead to slippery roads, and the possibility of heavy bursts of snow.  Strong winds gusting over 40 mph, and 3to 5 inches of snow, may-be even thunder and lightening. 
Sorta is the first snow of the season.
Sorta everyone needs to relearn how to drive in snow.
Sorta its gonna mean cleaning off the car first.
Sorta gonna need boots and gloves, may-be even a coat.
Sorta glad i don't have to stand at the School bus stop.
Sorta might sleep in tomorrow.
Sorta wish it was summer.
sorta think I will go for a walk in the wood tomorrow.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

of full moons and surises and sunsets

The January full moon is  at aprox 2:30 Am EST on January 9th. And there is a lot going on besides that, On January 5th  the earth was closest to the sun, the perihelion, the earth is farthest from the sun in July, not really what one might expect?
It is also at this time the sunrises are the latest, on January  9th  the  sunrises will begin to get earlier,  even though the sunsets have been getting later since the Solstice on Dec. 21.  During the month we will gain roughly 48 minutes of daylight.

January Moon names

Man Moon (Taos).
Joyful Moon (Hopi).
Avunniviayuk (Inuit).
Quite Moon (Celtic).
Ice Moon (San Juan).
Cold Moon (Cheokee).
Ice Moon (Neo-Pagan).
Flying Ant Moon(Apache).
Big Cold Moon (Mohawk).
Cooking Moon (Choctaw).
Strong Cold Moon (Sioux).
Little Winter Moon (Creek).
Her Cold Moon (Wishram).
Cold Meal Moon (Natchez).
Moon After Yule (Cherokee).
Wolf Moon (Medieval English).
Strong Cold Moon (Cheyenne).
Quiet : Dark, Wolf : Full (Janic).
Great Spirit Moon (Anishnaabe).
Whirling Wind Moon (Passamaquoddy).
Wolf Moon, Old Moon, Winter Moon, Yule Moon (Algonquin).

Other moon names : Storm Moon, Snow Moon, Disting Moon, Chaste Moon

The Wolf Moon, Moon after Yule, Storm Moon, Owl Calling Moon, Gathering Moon, and the Celtic Quiet Moon.  It is a quiet moon, the only sounds being the bare frosted branches clattering in the wind, the wind itself and the occasional thud of snow falling from the hemlocks.  Squirrels cut spruce cones which rattle down the roof, and once in awhile an owl calls for a mate.  And there is little but the sound of your own crunching footsteps and your own breathing.  

Friday, January 6, 2012

Epiphany ramblings

You may call it Epiphany, 12th Night, Little Christmas, the feast of the Three Kings.  After you see what the Three Kings left fg\or you and cleaned the camel poop(black jelly beans) out of  the shoes you left by the door  for them to fill, it is near time to take down the lights , and all of the other bright trappings.  Read all of the newspapers and answer the notes, that got set aside during the holiday rush, sit back and enjoy the tree and the trappings without thinking about what needs to be planned for or done. Settle in for the cold season and dream about gardening, well if you are me you do that.
This is also the day for the blessing of the waters, originally this was connected to the the Baptism of the Christ by his cousin John the Baptist. 

Orthodox priests have long blessed the waters on either the 5th or the 6th.  Good water is becoming rare, and in need of prayers and healing attention from all of us.  Remember those creeks you played in and drank from as a child are very like too contaminated for people now.
  On a planet that is 3/4 ths or thereabout water covered, but there is precious little to drink, so make it a point to give your blessing to the waters and perhaps united we will stand one year to celebrate the return of clean waters.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

first gelid morning

window  with frost ferns
 the woods  blanketed with snow
morning with coffee

Monday, January 2, 2012

a measure of time

Julius Caesar declared that the year started on  January 1st, or so it was told to me. January is named after the Janus, who having two heads/faces  also has two sets of eyes and can look backward and forward at the same time.  Janus was the the Roman god and guardian of gates and doors,  beginnings and endings and Janus also  governed the transitions of life. the transition from primitive to civilised, rural and city, war and peace, and the stages of life, birth , adolescence maturity and death. And  perhaps in choosing that Caesar was acknowledging the  parralell between the seasons and a life.
Though our calender year starts on the 1st of January, in other cultures it starts with the spring rains, or the autumnal dry season.  Or possibly on the date on which someone started their sober life, Samhain  ends the Celtic year, Christmas Day marks the passage of a year for some, clearly the beginning and ending of a year can be and has been marked in many different ways. 

The year is very simply a measure of time, as in the   commitment "a year and a day", or in the time it takes the earth to circle the sun.  Unlike the calendar year which always starts on Jan 1, in a year we define for ourselves we might hope to accomplish some task, or learn some skill, but still if this doesn't happen we have not failed, our resolution may not have been successful, but that doesn't mean that we cannot start all over again, the next day.

Silent Sunday with animals