Saturday, December 31, 2011

Auld Lang Syne



I recently read that someone disliked this song. I love it. It’s about old friends, separated, longing to be together again. How great to start a new year with such a great song….friends remembering good times and planning to return to each other again.

It’s quite an old song. Written by Robert Burns in Scotland, it dates back to 1788, long before Guy Lombardo introduced it to us with His Royal Canadians. It must reach the heart of the people to have been so popular for so long. Every midnight on the first day of the year, this song is sung worldwide. Seven billion strong now, the global population has this much in common.

No matter how you sing it….“No man is a failure who has friends.”  It’s a Wonderful Life

Happy New Year

Cathy

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Friday, December 30, 2011

Friends




“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” Eleanor Roosevelt

As the year closes, I think back to how successful it has been in regards to friendship. We SMF’s have had a number of great get-togethers with more in the works. We had an amazing reunion this year from high school. Near and far, the people, places and events keep calling us back together. WOW…how good does it get?! The feeling of getting together and reminiscing the past while sharing the now just doesn’t get old. It reminds me of the Cheers theme song, “Where everybody Knows Your Name” because of the comfort it brings with it.

Like an old slipper, your favorite bathrobe, your favorite coffee mug, a quick touch-base phone call, a favorite book, an old worn down album and all the comfort food you can think of….there be your friends too! For friends are such blessings. They are of joint choosing. You to them and mutually, them to you….like magnets! For whatever reason, they complete you in some fashion, as you them. When your circle of friends gets larger and larger it becomes like a dance to the rhythm of life. Ebbs and flows will come and go as we all experience our seasons. As the cycles continue, we regroup, nurture, share and release all that we have to offer.

This year was one of those fascinating years when all the magic came together. It doesn’t happen each and every year, but when it does, it’s magnificent….and this is the year that was.

Links below are a few reminders of how great friendship really is….something to sing about!

Cathy

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Cheers

Golden Girls

JT

Lucy and Ethel

Beatles

Queen

Dionne Warwick and Friends

Bette Midler

Simon and Garfunkel

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Year in Review



When you review the year, do you review the past or prepare for the future? Is it full of regrets or do you carry the wish list forward in anticipation of the new year? Are the resolutions you promise yourself full of happiness and excitement? When your future holds promise, it’s more apt to come true. The momentum of the positive intent will most likely carry you through.

We as SMFairies already have our plans in work for our next get-together which started in September. What a great way to transition the seasons. January here we come.

When we move forward to the new year, we should ask ourselves what we would like to carry forward with us. As I watched the 34th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, I was inspired by a quote by JFK regarding the arts.

"There is a connection, hard to explain logically but easy to feel, between achievement in public life and progress in the arts. The age of Pericles was also the age of Phidias. The age of Lorenzo de Medici was also the age of Leonardo da Vinci. The age Elizabeth also the age of Shakespeare. And the New Frontier for which I campaign in public life, can also be a New Frontier for American art." (Response to letter sent by Miss Theodate Johnson, Publisher of Musical America to the two presidential candidates requesting their views on music in relation to the Federal Government and domestic world affairs. Answer from then Senator John Kennedy was dated September 13, 1960.) 

To recognize the creative qualities within an individual elevates humanity within civilization.  It is then that a civilization flourishes. It is then that civilizations can share and collaborate for a better world. The arts can express the individual while finding the common ground in humanity, thus binding the two. The arts can also inspire another to self-express in another means. Painting, poetry, music and service to another are all considered creative expression. Civilization at its highest level is enlightenment.



My wish for you in 2012 is creative expression in whatever means suits you….to strive for something new in you that brings you happiness, preferably a happiness that you can share.

Cathy

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Winter Berries



The sun fades behind the horizon
Leaves fall into bitter winds
But the winter berries linger
Nature’s store for the winter souls
Those that inhabit the woods
Dance through the snow
And sing to us after the blizzards
Reminding us it’s just another day
Restoring balance


Cathy

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Expect the Unexpected



When you walk down the street or stand in line at a fast food restaurant, do you connect? Do you connect with the people you pass or meet on a daily basis? Does a moment in your day become an event of a lifetime? The link listed below has just such a message. The article is titled Angels Among Us, The Homeless Man. This is a story of just such an interaction and how it affected a couple with regards to one man.



How many times have we passed someone in need, asking for coins in the subway or street? Probably, more times than we can count. Perhaps they are angels in disguise.

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
Hebrews 13:2

Cathy

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Great Gift of Friendship



Amidst the hustle and bustle of Christmas day I took some time to check email. It seems I was not the only one to do so. I did find a number of Christmas greetings…from both SMFs and PSKs as well! It was a treasure unexpected on what is usually such a busy day.

Two emails had Bible quotes in honor of the day. Both were perfect reminders of the season of Christmas.

Remember the Reason for the Season.  Luke 2:8-14.  

Luke 2:8-14
New International Version (NIV)
 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
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'Friends are God's way of taking care of us.' Psalm 55:22

Psalm 55:22

New International Version (NIV)
 22 Cast your cares on the LORD 
   and he will sustain you; 
he will never let 
   the righteous be shaken.

There has been another email going about this past week that most of the SMFs have filled out…a fun outline of our lives, checking off what we have done and what we may have in common. The one thing we all have in common is catching snowflakes on our tongue. It appears to be two thumbs up for this favorite winter activity! It’s something for all of us, regardless of age, as it brings out the inner child. As it turned out, we did have the small miracle of a few flakes of snow for a temporary white Christmas. I immediately ran outside with my camera for proof of snow. While there, I managed to catch a single flake on my tongue…..my first of this season.

It would seem that the greatest gift of all is the sharing with each other of our friendship over the years. The emails are evidence of friendship shared from grammar school, now continuing since out latest reunion. Christmas gifts come and go with the wrappings, papers and bows; but, the gift of friendship as seen today through our emails is living within our hearts and has obviously flourished over the years.

Cathy

Photos: my proof of Christmas snow


Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Christmas Star of Hope



And the star shone
And the people gazed in amazement
It lit the skies
And crossed the heavens
All followed: rich, poor, noble and peasant
Wonderment
They talked and conversed discussing the possibilities
It gave them hope
They discussed this star all of their lifetime
They passed the story onto their children
And to all generations thereafter
For this star shone in their eyes when telling the tale
And the light reflected in their voice when telling the story
And the story embraced the world
And it sustained the people
And the hope lives within the people today
As we share this star, we share the hope as we share with one another
As we gather today with our family and friends
May we remember the hope carried forward to the future
To live in the light of the Christmas Star of Hope


Cathy

Friday, December 23, 2011

Let’s Lighten Up



 Ok…Christmas is just around the corner. Time to lighten up, relax, have the cup of chamomile and catch your breath after running around this week. It’ll all work out in the end….the shopping, the wrapping, the baking and relatively speaking…the relatives!

Take a few minutes to have a laugh. Here are some You Tube videos to lighten the spirits.







Manheim Steamroller Light Display: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn45Uucq-AI





Enjoy!

Cathy

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Greatest Gift





I have just found this lovely article that is so perfectly written, it could not be improved upon. It talks of the most perfect gift…friendship…and how we impact each other’s lives, whether we are aware of it or not.

So here it is to all: Thank you for being my friend.


Cathy

Winter Solstice 2011




Today is the winter solstice: the longest night, the shortest day. Daylight will increase each and every day hereinafter for the next six months.


Enjoy!

Cathy


A White Christmas


The odds of us having a white Christmas this year are slim. On the upside, we aren’t having a blizzard either. We are so used to having at least a dusting of snow that our hopes for happiness seem to be dashed pending the weather forecast. Silly us!

The traditional New England Christmas with church spires peeking through the pine trees, tracks and footprints in the snow, boughs of holly and mistletoe, red bows on wreaths and carolers singing on the town common are embedded in our minds and hearts. It’s a delightful vision depicted on Christmas cards since their invention. We are blessed to be here as a part of its living history.

I like to think that Mother Nature is being kind to us right now as we finish our hustle bustle week before Christmas. Some places are up to their eyeballs in snow already. We have escaped the slip-sliding of icy roads and messy sidewalks. Today was so kind, we didn’t have to button out coats! It was even pleasant to be walking the dog. I’ll take it.

For the Christmas that’s memorable is the Christmas that lives in our hearts whether from old or the one in the making. The unforgettable laughter from our youth of snow over our heads with the hope of snow days extending out Christmas vacation will linger. The years of us lacking snow will be remembered as us peering out the windows in hope of the weatherman’s forecast being wrong. Both circumstances filled with the highest of hopes. Both situations had success in the holiday just the same. Should a Christmas lack only snow… with unused sleds, toboggans, ice skates and want for a snowman…then we surely had January and February to deliver the finishing touches. A white winter prevailed after all for we have yet to have a winter with no snow!

I do remember one non-white Christmas in particular not that many years ago. My Mom and I received a last minute invitation to see the Broadway show, White Christmas, on Christmas Eve. (Thank you, Linda…SMF) The air was bitter cold, but our hearts were filled with warmth. The lights of Boston and the theater district were glorious. It was one of the most uplifting holiday moments I can recall. The entire theater was buzzing with the excitement of Christmas. The audience sang and participated in unison with each and every song.  Who knew that all those years in front of our television sets, with and without rabbit ears, would bring together generations of strangers made friends in that one evening. People parted that night still singing en route to the parking garage. It turned out to be a white Christmas after all even without the snow. Lovely!


I can’t think of anything that memorializes the ideal of snow in New England more the movie and show “White Christmas”. This in turn brings me to the songs ‘Snow’ and ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’. In case you don’t get to see the movie this year, (I taped it on my DVR…it’s on my ‘to do’ list) then I hope you enjoy the two chosen songs from You Tube.

May all your Christmases be white.


Cathy


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Light Displays


I have found several sites on the net listing the best Christmas lights displays in Massachusetts. There are three directories listing towns and regions. There is also the Bright Nights in the Springfield area, a three-mile drive through lighted display. A virtual tour of it is also listed below. La Salette’s Festival of Lights website is also noted. Last, but not least is The Enchanted Village now located at Jordan’s Furniture in Avon. Oh, the memories of my childhood excursions into Boston to see the magical display!

Since I have yet to get to any of these displays…yet…this year, I have at least snapped a few digi-pics while tooting through the neighborhoods!



Happy holiday lights to you!

Cathy




Springfield, MA; virtual tour: http://www.brightnights.org/tour/index.html


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Cheer



One of the best ways to express your holiday spirit is to don a spirited holiday sweater! Oh, don’t tell me you don’t have one or two hidden in the back of your closet or dresser for just this occasion. Once a year you dust the moths off your holiday attire as I do. (Preferably with matching shoes! J…a spangle or two on the toes is very tasteful!)


Now, sporting a colorful sweater is not exclusive to the female sex only. Here we see the dashing Colin Firth playing Marc Darcy sporting a flashy little number, or ‘jumper’ as the Brits would say, in Bridget Jones Diary. Rudolph never looked so good!



Let’s take a look at the classic styling of Andy Williams in holiday attire.


Matt Damon can certainly play up the fun moment with his near psychedelic Santas sweater.


Neither are the news anchors spared the spotlight on holiday fashion. Take a look at Al Roker and Matt Lauer.








For even Santa himself must stay warm as seen in Santa Claus played by Tim Allen.




Cringe if you like, but these beauties are here to stay! And for those of you who wish they would go away, you may wish to take a look at the following options:

  • ·        An ugly holiday sweater party
  • ·        An ugly holiday sweater exchange
  • ·        An ugly holiday sweater competition
  • ·        Selling / auctioning an ugly sweater
  • ·        Buying a book on all of the above
  • ·        Viewing the links below for inspiration
Any way you look at it, it’s just plain fun and laughter. So enjoy…grab a sweater…or a jumper…and wear your holiday proudly. Grin and bear it!

Cathy



Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas in Black and White



1953, it was a very good year. (….ahhhh, I remember it well!) I know because we are living proof! Ok, so I don’t remember it so well, this glorious year we were born….which is why I searched You Tube for Christmas in 1953 to wax nostalgia. I did find lots of black and white footage from TV and lots of radio too. Your Christmas in review is a click away below.

This is a lovely review of a family’s memories that represent a nice Christmas cross-section of Americana in the 50’s.

TV shows from Christmas 1953 below.
Father Knows Best Christmas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dntu8I1yh18
The Elf and Mr. Little (marionettes): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=civO-9Q3zE4
Frosty the Snowman (animated): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu4b3bCdZOU

Radio, Christmas 1953.
Across The Dial Christmas Show (radio) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTUFHfaW0z8
Suspense Radio, Greer Garson, T’was the Night Before Christmas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLG4wp9_t28

Miscellaneous:
London Shopping 1953: (best viewed w/out sound; hit mute button): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuxaQy8uhx4

Songs at Christmas, 1953:
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCAWkdgbt8g

The top seven Christmas songs of 1953:
1
Christmas And You
Joni James





2
Christmas Dragnet
Stan Freberg With Daws Butler And Orchestra



3





4
The Beverley Sisters With Orchestra 
Under The Direction Of Alyn Ainsworth






5
I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas
Gayla Peevey



6
Put Christ Back Into Christmas
Red Foley






7
Santa Baby
Eartha Kitt With Henri Rene 
And His Orchestra

Yes, it was a very good year and Christmas!

Cathy

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hallelujah Chorus



I found this gem on You Tube. This is how shopping at a mall should be at Christmas time. Enjoy! Please note all the smiling faces in the crowd! J


Cathy

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Setting Up The Manger



As we prepared for Christmas in our SMFairies days, decorating the house was always fun as we all had our parts to play … placing candles on the windowsills and the wreath on the door.  Decorating the Christmas tree was of equal fun…helping with the lights, selecting the ornaments, positioning the tinsel, placing the star on top, chasing the cat away.

However…there was nothing more sacred in our young minds, future saints that we were, as the setting up of the nativity crèche. The box was brought out from storage. Tissue was delicately unfolded and set aside to be reused for a later date as the figurines were unwrapped with the greatest of care.  There were the animals of the stable, assorted shepherds, many sheep, three wise men, an angel, and of course, the Holy Family…with Baby Jesus set aside being the star of the show.

The manger was usually set center stage for the holidays. In our house, it was traditionally placed on the buffet. A little glittery fluff of cotton batting made a base of snow about the manger. A single light as the Christmas Star shone from the back wall casting a mysterious light and shadow. AWESOME! Mary and Joseph were placed first with the cradle in between. Behind them was the angel. Straw was carefully placed about the floor of the manger. Baby Jesus had to be tucked away until Christmas Eve, still delicately wrapped in tissue…usually in the first drawer of the buffet. An executive decision would have to be made by a parent on Christmas Eve as to which one of us would be chosen to place Baby Jesus in the crib!

The shepherds and sheep were placed next. Then the cow and donkey, just to the outside of the manger…not too close. Now, the magi, what to do with the magi?  How we played out their arrival was a dilemma to us each year for they were not to arrive until the twelfth day of Christmas. We tried to be more creative each year…however, it was always by camel. One year they crossed the living room, then from under the Christmas tree to the buffet…too short a distance! No matter what we did, they arrived early each time. We snuck down the stairs to spy on each other to see who helped them along. One year we decided to start them out from upstairs. There, that seemed like a long enough trek. Down they would come, descending the staircase with a day or two on the landing….hoping that none of us nor the dog would tip them over or knock them down. They still managed to arrive early. For Little Christmas was an eternity away. The wrappings gone and gifts put away from our most joyous day made us eager for the magi to arrive and give their gifts too.

With the arrival of Little Christmas, the nativity box made an appearance again. Out came the tissue, delicately flattened with statues laid on top. Each wrapped securely for another year. Straw and batting gathered up for hibernation. We must wait another year for the cycle to return. Anticipation!

Cathy

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cathy with a V




As I surf the net I find more and more vegan references in magazines and daily articles. More references and recipes are going ‘green’, au naturel, and organic for the benefits of mind, body and spirit. This does my heart good. What’s great about the lazy-vegan-to-be is that there are a greater number of restaurants with vegan menus, especially in the greater Boston area, for those of you who may be interested, yet not ready to change the ingredients in your pantry just yet! I say give it a try. Like ‘Mikey who hates everything’, you may just turn out to like the vegan lifestyle. Surprise, surprise!

With such diversity in the local cuisine, it’s a great introduction to your world. One meal at a time may just get you there. With vegan recipes at your fingertips on the net to entice you, you may just find yourself in a local bookstore with book in hand to bring home. The next thing you know, you may end up in the health food section of your supermarket! Again… Surprise, surprise!

It’s a great way to go…just ask me!

Cathy with a V(egan)

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5 decadent vegan drinks to warm you thru the holidays:

Boston vegan lifestyle:

Google search of Boston Vegan restaurants:

Google search for Vegan recipes:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

An End at Last


Today is the formal ‘good-bye’ to Iraq as our soldiers depart.
Peace on earth, good will to all men. May the peace be lasting.



Cathy