Monday, December 13, 2010

A Christmas Memory

A few weeks ago I dug out my Christmas CD's and started loading my ipod with tunes of the season.  There I was sitting in my rocking chair with my head phones on one evening, I had just been singing along with Andy Williams and the next song to come on was actually not a song, but a recitation.

It is a recording made in 1964, and when I heard it, I turned up the volume, closed my eyes and listened to the artist's smooth voice telling a story about a little girl who didn't believe in Santa Claus.

It is a different version of the famous piece published in the New York Sun in 1897... and in my opinion much better - softer somehow.

Maybe it's how the artist calls the young girl - littleun, or maybe because he speaks with such conviction when addressing the issue of Santa Claus - or maybe it's simply the fact that the first time I heard this recording was in 1965, and I was 10 yrs old, and I felt just like the artist was speaking directly to me, and me alone.

My older readers will know that I am referring to Jimmy Dean's "Yes Patricia, there is a Santa Claus.

It's a timeless piece of Christmas tradition, that I believe should be played to young children all over the world.  The message is still appropriate even after all these years, and ten times ten thousand years from now, it will still be appropriate.

So here he is

Jimmy Dean in "Yes Patricia, there is a Santa Claus.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUJNlkP27i8

Sunday, December 12, 2010

And what have you been doing?

I am sorry I have been absent from here for a few weeks.  I have been sick since November 24th and while I have been home I really have not been on the computer much at all.

My brain seems to have gone on a vacation, and the few times I felt up to composing a post for here, I sat and stared at the screen for much too long, and in the end gave up and shut the computer off.

Thankfully these times come and go... and in my case I'm happy to see it go.  This time of the year, who has time to while away the hours being sick doing nothing constructive, but being sick?

So now I find myself back in the land of the living and Christmas only two weeks away.  Geeze Louise, this is not a good situation.  I did manage to struggle with some Christmas decorating - somewhat.  I usually go whole hog, but this year I just did the essentials - tree, wise men, Jon's nutcracker collection, and a big snowman with a couple of warmly dressed dolls in attendance.  Truth be said, it's more than enough in my little house anyway.

I put the tree up in the dining room this year, and it is so pretty sitting in there every evening, eating beside the tree.  Does wonders for a simple dinner of Chicken nuggets and noodles!

Yesterday I finally accomplished some Christmas baking.  I made mincemeat tarts, shortbread cookies, and rolled my Anis cookies which has been a family tradition all of my life.  I will bake them today, and the house will smell like Christmas ( or like Christmas' past) for a short time while the scent of licorice hangs in the air.

Last week in a moment of extreme boredom, I went digging in my studio closet - I think I was looking for Christmas wrap or something.  Instead I found a huge stash of yarn, left over from many many projects, and some given to me by people who actually clean their closets on a regular basis!  I was so excited with my find, and then remembered a little book I had bought quite a few years ago called 200 Knitted Blocks - by Jan Eaton... so I went looking for this too.

I hadn't looked in this book since I bought it so I grabbed the book, some needles and some yarn and started at block #1.

The book is full of basic knitting stitches used in traditional and contemporary designs to mix and match patterns and colors for making afghans and blankets.  What a delight; and what a load of fun I am having   progressing through the 200 blocks and through the huge stash of yarn.

I will be able to make quite a few blankets by the time I am finished.  Some I will donate to the homeless shelters and some I will give away to whomever wants one.  But I think I have found the perfect winter project to keep me occupied and at the same time free up some storage space in my closet for who knows what?

As I write this my husband has announced that it is -30... I'm thinking I have the best project possible - what better to do than knit and cover ones self with warm woollies for the long winter ahead.

Keep warm everyone...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A very Special Christmas Message


Note
  
IT WAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, 
HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE,
MADE OF PLASTER AND STONE.

I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY,
WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
AND TO SEE JUST WHO,
IN THIS HOME, DID LIVE.

I LOOKED ALL ABOUT

A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS,
NOT EVEN A TREE.
 

NO STOCKING BY MANTLE,
JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES,
OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.

WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,
AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT,
CAME THROUGH MY MIND.

FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,
IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,
ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.
 
THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING,
SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR,
IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.

THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,
THE ROOM IN  DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED,
A TRUE CANADIAN SOLDIER.

WAS THIS THE HERO,
OF WHOM I'D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO,
THE FLOOR FOR A BED?

I REALISED THE FAMILIES,
THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS,
WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.

SOON ROUND THE WORLD,
THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE,
A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.

THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM,
EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,
LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.

I COULDN'T HELP WONDER,
HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE,
IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.

THE VERY THOUGHT BROUGHT,
A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES,
AND STARTED TO CRY.

THE SOLDIER AWAKENED,
AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
"SANTA DON'T CRY,
THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;

I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM,
I DON'T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS MY GOD,
MY COUNTRY, MY CORPS..."

THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN'T CONTROL IT,
I CONTINUED TO WEEP.

I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS,
SO SILENT AND STILL,
AND WE BOTH SHIVERED,
FROM THE COLD NIGHT'S CHILL.

I DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE,
ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR,
SO WILLING TO FIGHT.

THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, "CARRY ON SANTA,
IT'S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE."

ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH,
AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
"MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND,
AND TO ALL A GOOD   NIGHT."


This poem was written by a Peacekeeping soldier stationed overseas. 
The following is his request I think it is reasonable

PLEASE. Would you do me the kind favour of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to all of the service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. 
Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.  Please, do your small part to plant this small seed.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

24 Days Till Christmas!

How did December 1st sneak up on us so quickly?  For that matter what the heck happened to the past couple of weeks of my life?

Sickness, that's what happened.  I've been off work for a week already and I don't think I will be returning to week until next week.  But I am getting slowly better so I won't complain... too much!

I might have been out of commission for the past week - but the world around me has not...

American Thanksgiving, came and went - and because I was home sick, I was able to watch the Macy's Parade for the first time in 24 yrs... how awesome it was!

We had a lot of snowfall here (which I did wish for some time back), so it looks and feels like it should for this time of the year!

My second oldest brother, Mervyn  had a birthday - Happy Birthday Merv - hope you had a great day yesterday!

My friend Gordon, who has been hospitalized for a month has turned a positive corner, and may be able to be home in a week or two.

And I think finally, I just might be ready for my Craft sale on Sunday!
You'll be thinking that my sick time off might have been a great time to catch up on my sale stuff - a natural thought - I had it too - but it didn't actually happen!  But in spite of everything I think I will be ready for my first sale in years, come Sunday.

My crafting friends in the USA have told me that their selling season has not been the greatest due to their economy.  It's frustrating after putting so much time and effort into a sale, and then not even making enough to pay for your table, but with this kind of business anything is possible, and most crafters go into it knowing that the results can vary greatly from year to year.

I will be glad when my sale is behind me, because the "Christmas Spirit" has not had an opportunity to hit me yet.  I have no tree up, no gifts made or bought, no lists made, no cards written, no baking done, I haven't even strung my outside lights yet - while many on my street are already lit up each night.

Well I do have 24 days left to find the spirit.... perhaps I'll have to make another trip to the library and spend some real time in the Christmas section... Soon!