Thursday, December 31, 2009
Happy New Year !
This past year I have had bad news, good news, heartache, knowledge, frustration, shock, worry, sadness, happiness, wonder and lots of fun.
I am amazed at all the wonderful people I have met through this blog. I am amazed at the wonderful family I have. Sadly I am glad this year is gone and I am looking forward to a brand new year not just for me but for everyone. I pray that our president will bring home our soldiers, I pray that our economy will improve and people will go back to work. I pray that our country will remain free. I pray for peace in the world.
My new years resolutions are:
To exercise more
Go to bed earlier
Adjust my attitude
Keep in touch with my blogging buddies more than I have this past year
Improve my art
Lose another 5 lbs
What are you New Years Resolutions?
Happy New Year Everyone. I love you all!!!!!!
BOSTON, Mass., March 6.--Miss Louisa M. Alcott died this morning. Coming so soon after the death of her father the suddenly announced decease of Miss Alcott brings a double sorrow to the many friends of the family, while the loss of this talented writer will be felt far and wide among the many readers of her favorite books. For a long time Miss Alcott had been ill, suffering from nervous prostration. Last Autumn she appeared to be improving and went to the Highlands to reside with Dr. Rhoda A. Lawrence. She drove from there into town to visit her father on Thursday last, and caught a cold, which on Saturday settled on the base of the brain and developed spinal meningitis. She died at the Highlands early this morning. Miss Alcott was born on her father's birthday, and it is singular that she should have followed him so soon to the grave.
At the Alcott mansion this morning, within a few hours of the death of the daughter who had solaced his decline, the remains of the venerable A. Bronson Alcott were placed beneath her draped portrait, while words of sympathy were spoken by those who had loved him through half a century's association. The casket was environed with smilax and wreaths of ivy, violets, and white wild roses. There was present a company of notable men and women who represented the philanthropic causes for which the deceased had labored and through which they had been joined. There were the Rev. Dr. Cyrus A. Bartol, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Mrs. Edna D. Cheney, Messrs. F. B. Sanborn, Samuel E. Sewell, Frederick May, George May, John May, Mrs. George B. Bradford, Walter Blanchard, Walton Richardson, Mrs. John May, Prof. Shackford, the Rev. J. S. Bush, the Rev. Dr. E. G. Porter, Maria Porter, Col. Henry Stone, Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, Dr. Emerson, Mrs. Allen Emerson, President Warren, Dr. H. I. Bowditch, Dr. M. Green, and others, representing both the earlier and later phases of Mr. Alcott's career. The service was very simple. It was conducted by the Rev. Cyrus A. Bartol. The body was taken to Concord by train this afternoon and buried in the family lot.
Miss Alcott's life was in its beginning one of poverty, struggles, vicissitudes, and discouraging experiences. Fame, honor, and a comfortable fortune came in its later years. There was probably no writer among women better loved by the young than she. Her fame rested chiefly on her first successful story, "Little Women," and it was that story that endeared her to so many hundred thousands in this country and Europe alike. Its merit lay in its pretty pictures of the simple home life of the author and her little sisters. "An Old-Fashioned Girl" and "Little Men" which followed were nearly equal successes, and though she was the author of nearly a score of other books her fame will rest chiefly on the three named.
She was born at Germantown, Penn., Nov. 29, 1832, two years after her father, A. Bronson Alcott, had married Miss May, a descendant of the Quincy and Sewell families of Boston. It is a noteworthy fact in connection with her life and death that Miss Alcott and her father were born on the same day of the month, and that they died within 24 hours of one another. The parents of the authoress removed to Boston when their daughter was 2 years old, and in Boston and its immediate vicinity she made her home ever after. She was educated as a school teacher under the tutelage of her father and Henry D. Thoreau. In early life, too, she had the advantage of an acquaintance with Emerson, Whittier, Garrison, Sumner, Theodore Parker, the Hawthornes, Phillips, Margaret Fuller, Julia Ward Howe, and others of that brilliant band of writers and thinkers who resided near the Alcotts. These people had much to do with forming her character and giving the particular bent to her thoughts which is noticeable in the more serious of her writings.
When about 16 years old Miss Alcott began teaching a private school in Boston. Though very successful in this field, she did not like the work, preferring authorship to it, so teaching was abandoned for sketch and short story writing. When the civil war broke out she was one of the army of noble women who went to the front to engage in service as a nurse in hospitals. She was assigned to the Georgetown Hospital near Washington and served until she broke down under a severe attack of typhoid fever, from the results of which she never fully recovered. It was from her letters written to her mother and sisters during her months of service that her book called "Hospital Sketches" was compiled. After being obliged to give up hospital work Miss Alcott made a trip to Europe in company with an invalid friend, being gone about a year. This trip was made in 1865, and gave her an opportunity to form acquaintances with many of the literary workers of the Old World, with whom, as with those on this side of the ocean, she was always popular. "Little Women" was prepared after her return to Boston, and with it came fame and fortune. Secure in the constancy of a good income, she devoted her life to the care of her father and mother, the latter dying in 1877. Mr. Alcott was stricken with paralysis in 1882, and since that time and up to that of her own fatal illness, she was his constant and loving nurse.
Miss Alcott once aspired to be an actress and had perfected arrangements for her first appearance. Its untimely discovery by her friends prevented her appearance as a professional, and so saved her to literature. Thereafter she was content to appear as an amateur in performances for the benefit of the Sanitary Commission. She was the author of a farce called "Ned Batchelder's Adventures" which was produced at the then fashionable Howard Athenaeum. She also wrote a romantic drama, "The Rival Prima Donnas," which was accepted by Manager Barry of the Boston Theatre. There was a quarrel among the actresses as to the distribution of the characters, and Miss Alcott recalled the manuscript and burned it up, much to Mr. Barry's disgust. That is the story of her brief connection with the stage, but she was very fond of dramatic performances, and a constant theatre-goer all the later years of her life.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Did anyone watch the special on Public Broadcasting station on Louisa May Alcott?
She was an amazing women. If you didn't I wanted to share this with you.
Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888) was an American novelist. She is best known for the novel Little Women, set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts and published in 1868. This novel is loosely based on her childhood experiences with her three sisters.
Alcott was the daughter of noted transcendentalist and educator Amos Bronson Alcott and Abigail May Alcott. She shared a birthday with her father on November 29. In a letter to his brother-in-law, Samuel Joseph May, a noted abolitionist, her father wrote: "It is with great pleasure that I announce to you the birth of my second daughter...born about half-past 12 this morning, on my [33rd] birthday." Though of New England heritage, she was born in Germantown, which is currently part of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the second of four daughters; Anna Bronson Alcott was the eldest, Elizabeth Sewall Alcott and Abigail May Alcott were the two youngest. The family moved to Boston in 1834, After the family moved to Massachusetts, her father established an experimental school and joined the Transcendental Club with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.
In 1840, after several setbacks with the school, the Alcott family moved to a cottage on 2 acres (8,100 m2) of land, situated along the Sudbury River in Concord, Massachusetts. The Alcott family moved to the Utopian Fruitlands community for a brief interval in 1843-1844 and then, after its collapse, to rented rooms and finally to a house in Concord purchased with her mother's inheritance and financial help from Emerson. They moved into the home they named "Hillside" on April 1, 1845.
Alcott's early education included lessons from the naturalist Henry David Thoreau. She received the majority of her schooling from her father. She also received some instruction from writers and educators such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Margaret Fuller, who were all family friends. She later described these early years in a newspaper sketch entitled "Transcendental Wild Oats." The sketch was reprinted in the volume Silver Pitchers (1876), which relates the family's experiment in "plain living and high thinking" at Fruitlands.
As an adult, Alcott was an abolitionist and a feminist. In 1847, the family housed a fugitive slave for one week. In 1848, Alcott read and admired the "Declaration of Sentiments" published by the Seneca Falls Convention on women's rights.
Poverty made it necessary for Alcott to go to work at an early age as an occasional teacher, seamstress, governess, domestic helper, and writer. Her first book was Flower Fables (1849), a selection of tales originally written for Ellen Emerson, daughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson. In 1860, Alcott began writing for the Atlantic Monthly. When the American Civil War broke out, she served as a nurse in the Union Hospital at Georgetown, D.C. for six weeks in 1862-1863. Her letters home, revised and published in the Commonwealth and collected as Hospital Sketches (1863, republished with additions in 1869), garnered her first critical recognition for her observations and humor. Her novel Moods (1864), based on her own experience, was also promising.
She also wrote passionate, fiery novels and sensation stories under the nom de plume A. M. Barnard. Among these are A Long Fatal Love Chase and Pauline's Passion and Punishment. Her protagonists for these tales are willful and relentless in their pursuit of their own aims, which often include revenge on those who have humiliated or thwarted them. Following a style which was wildly popular at the time, these works achieved immediate commercial success.
Alcott also produced wholesome stories for children, and after their positive reception, she did not generally return to creating works for adults. Adult oriented exceptions include the anonymous novelette A Modern Mephistopheles (1875), which attracted suspicion that it was written by Julian Hawthorne, and the semi-autobiographical tale Work (1873).Alcott's literary success arrived with the publication of the first part of Little Women: or Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, (1868) a semi-autobiographical account of her childhood with her sisters in Concord, Massachusetts. Part two, or Part Second, also known as Good Wives, (1869) followed the March sisters into adulthood and their respective marriages. Little Men (1871) detailed Jo's life at the Plumfield School that she founded with her husband Professor Bhaer at the conclusion of Part Two of Little Women. Jo's Boys (1886) completed the "March Family Saga."
Alcott based her heroine "Jo" on herself in "Little Women." But whereas Jo marries at the end of the story, Alcott remained single throughout her life. She explained her "spinsterhood" in an interview with Louise Chandler Moulton, "... because I have fallen in love with so many pretty girls and never once the least bit with any man."
In 1879 her younger sister, May, died. Alcott took in May's daughter, Louisa May Nieriker ("Lulu"), who was two years old. The baby had been named after her aunt, and was given the same nickname.
Alcott, along with Elizabeth Stoddard, Rebecca Harding Davis, Anne Moncure Crane, and others, were part of a group of female authors during the Gilded Age to address women’s issues in a modern and candid manner. Their works were, as one newspaper columnist of the period commented, "among the decided 'signs of the times'" (“Review 2 – No Title” from The Radical, May 1868, see References below).
Alcott continued to write until her death. Alcott suffered chronic health problems in her later years. Alcott and her earlier biographers attributed her illness and death to mercury poisoning: During her American Civil War service, Alcott contracted typhoid fever and was treated with calomel, a compound containing mercury. Recent analysis of Alcott's illness suggests that mercury poisoning was not the culprit. Alcott's chronic health problems are associated with autoimmune disease, not acute mercury exposure. Moreover, a late portrait of Alcott shows rashes on her cheeks characteristic of lupus. Alcott died in Boston on March 6, 1888 at age 55, two days after visiting her father on his deathbed. Her last words were "Is it not meningitis?"
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
The next day our local public television network was having a fund raiser with clips of all the stars of the Big Band era. That was wonderful but it brought back memories of my Mother and the songs she listened to when I was a child and some that I remember were my Daddy's favorite. That made me sad.
Okay so right after that they had a concert with all the Doo Wop artists from the 50's and 60's. I enjoyed that one 100% but memories flooded my mind of my teenage years, old friends I have lost touch with, my first love that lost his life in 1983 in a freak accident, and memories that I have not thought of for years and years. That made me sad.
Okay so then the next evening Oregon Public Broadcasting had another fund raiser with clips of British Invasion with stars like the Beatles, the Doors, the Animals, The Four Seasons, The Supremes, Little Richard, Little Anthony and the Imperials and all the wonderful songs from that era. That made me think of me as a young Mother and my three sweet baby boys. That made me sad.
I was in such a funk that I started to worry about me and what depression really is. Was I becoming a depressed person or was this just The Christmas Blues.
The next afternoon my husband made his delicious latkes and that made me feel better but then I realized that since I went to visit my boys in October I had gained 5 lbs. That made me sad.
So I prayed that the Lord would give me an attitude adjustment and help me get out of this mood. That evening I had expressed to an online friend that was feeling pretty much the same way as I, the way I was feeling and she said to me that she had received two thoughts from God and she shared them with me.
She said the thoughts were...
This made me realize that I need to be thankful for the memories and make the best of the future and enjoy each day the Lord gives me, with or without family here during the Christmas season.
Then my sweet sweet doggies came to me and wanted to play. They are such characters. They like to play a game that I call "Where's Petey?". They get their little blanket and then I cover up their heads and say to them...Where's Petey? Kind of like peek a boo. They love it.
I guess he got tired of waiting for me to play so when Petey pulled my blanket off the sofa it must have fallen on his head and he brought it to me .....this is what he looked like.
It was as if he was saying.."Come on Mom, play with me"
I had to stop and laugh and giggle with love for this big dog with such a little boy temperament. He changed my mood and he and his brother, Sampson played for awhile and then I put on a DVD of the old program Carol Burnett.
That did it! I laughed so hard and that made me happy. It snapped me out of my Christmas Blues. It was so refreshing to see Carol do her stints with Vickie Lawrence and Tim Conway. This was entertainment at its best. I miss these kinds of programs. Programs these days are filled with crime, tragedy or reality TV which I say WHO CARES?
My husband and Sampson feel asleep watching Carol Burnett which made me smile. Sampson is as big as Alan!
I miss the good old days but I am happy to remember them and I am happy I have the memories of Carol on DVD and all the Doo Wop singers and the British Invasion CD's. I am blessed with what God has given me and thankful for my dear husband, my three wonderful boys, all my grandchildren, my two amazing dogs and all my dear friends.
I will not look back in a sad way but be happy to remember those good old days and I do thank God for each day he gives me and be joyful in each one.
Oh, and this morning I had lost 3 of those 5 lbs I gained.
Bye bye Christmas Blues!! Happy Birthday Jesus!!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
A Pioneer's Christmas
In the pioneer days, the home was decorated with green branches and homemade decorations. They did not have a big Christmas tree because there was no room for a large tree in their small homes. Pine cones, nuts, berries and popcorn chains were hung on the tree. Figures or dolls out of straw or yarn were made. Cookie dough ornaments and gingerbread men were also hung on the tree.
The Christmas dinner was planned and preparation of the food began weeks ahead of time. The Christmas goose was fattened up and the plum pudding was left to age in the pot until Christmas day. There were chores that began months before Christmas - such as making the gifts for the family members ( corn husk dolls, sachets, carved wooden toys, pillows, footstools and embroidered hankies ). Scarves, hats, mitts and socks had to be knitted. Girls were able to knit before they were six years old. Boys would make boxes for presents.
If there had been a good harvest that year, presents were placed inside stockings . The stockings were hung on the fireplace . Cookies and fruit might also be found in the stockings.
Christmas Eve was a night for singing carols and telling stories around the fireplace. Christmas Day the whole family attended church and returned home to a Christmas meal. Then it was time to visit friends and neighbors.
It is interesting to hear that things really have not changed that much at Christmas time.
We had a groom a maid of honor and a bridesmaid
The song playing here was our song and was played at our wedding as we walked out of the chapel as man and wife.
We have been in love and happy since. I can hardly believe it has been 13 years.
We went to dinner at our local Italian Restaurant, Beniti's, overlooking the bay. We came home and looked over all of our wedding and honeymoon photos as well as our memory album from that day with guest names and cards and then we watched the video of our wedding. It was fun to see all the guests and realize the changes in our lives since that day.
My Mother and Step Father were there, they sadly have both passed away.
My youngest brother and his wife, they are divorced now.
All of my sons have changed and the grandkids have all grown up and there a couple more since then.
Things change and life happens. The one thing that has not changed is our love for one another. As most couples, we have our ups and downs but our love has only grown.
I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family and to have found the man of my dreams.
I love you sweetheart. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY
Monday, December 14, 2009
If you are looking for a really beautiful Christmas gift for a special lady go check out Jantastic Creations.
These beautiful chokers are affordable and handmade by Jan Nist one of my Etsy Team members. Her work is superb! Just look at the detail in these pieces. They are crocheted chokers so the back is comfortable and not heavy at all. I just had to purchase the pomegranate choker but if you are interested she is willing to make another one just for you. These are just a few of the wonderful items in Jantastic Creations Etsy Shop.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I have always love nativity scenes. Since a child I have love them. I probably have 8 different nativity scenes. When I was a little girl my Mom had one made of cardboard and you could place it on or under your tree and there was a hole shaped like a star where you could actually put a Christmas bulb and it would shine inside the scene. I used to sit and change the bulb from one color bulb to another looking at all the different colors. Red, Yellow, White, Blue and Green. It is amazing I didn't electrocute myself!
Check out the condition of this poor cardboard nativity scene.
Do you have a favorite nativity scene? If you do post it on your blog and leave a comment here so we can all go see your favorite and check out your blog.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I miss my Daddy. There is so much I want to tell him and show him. He missed out on life. He missed out on watching me and my little brother grow up. He missed our graduations,our weddings, many birthdays and knowing his grandchildren. There are so many things I want to ask him and I think about how nice it would be to just sit and talk with him. I don't have many memories of him because I was so young but I do remember sitting on his lap in his big leather chair. He would help me tie my shoes and tell me stories. I dream of him now and then and we are always in that chair just talking. I was Daddy's girl and he used to tell me that I was never going to get married because he wanted me to stay home with him.
I miss you Daddy!
God Bless America !
Friday, December 4, 2009
For thousands of years people around the world have enjoyed midwinter festivals. With the arrival of Christianity, pagan festivals became mixed with Christmas celebrations. One of the leftovers from these pagan days is the custom of bedecking houses and churches with evergreen plants like mistletoe, holly and ivy. Apparently, as well as their magical connection in protecting us from evil spirits, they also encourage the return of spring.
No era in history however, has influenced the way in which we celebrate Christmas, quite as much as the Victorians.
Before Victoria's reign started in 1837 nobody in Britain had heard of Santa Claus or Christmas Crackers. No Christmas cards were sent and most people did not have holidays from work. The wealth and technologies generated by the industrial revolution of the Victorian era changed the face of Christmas forever. Sentimental do-gooders like Charles Dickens wrote books like "Christmas Carol", published in 1843, which actually encouraged rich Victorians to redistribute their wealth by giving money and gifts to the poor - Humbug! These radical middle class ideals eventually spread to the not-quite-so-poor as well.
The holidays - The wealth generated by the new factories and industries of the Victorian age allowed middle class families in England and Wales to take time off work and celebrate over two days, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Boxing Day, December 26th, earned its name as the day servants and working people opened the boxes in which they had collected gifts of money from the "rich folk". Those new fangled inventions, the railways allowed the country folk who had moved into the towns and cities in search of work to return home for a family Christmas.
The Scots have always preferred to postpone the celebrations for a few days to welcome in the New Year, in the style that is Hogmanay. Christmas Day itself did not become a holiday in Scotland until many years after Victoria's reign and it has only been within the last 20-30 years that this has been extended to include Boxing Day.
The Gifts - At the start of Victoria's reign, children's toys tended to be handmade and hence expensive, generally restricting availability to those "rich folk" again. With factories however came mass production, which brought with it games, dolls, books and clockwork toys all at a more affordable price. Affordable that is to "middle class" children. In a "poor child's" Christmas stocking, which first became popular from around 1870, only an apple, orange and a few nuts could be found.
Father Christmas / Santa Claus - Normally associated with the bringer of the above gifts, is Father Christmas or Santa Claus. The two are in fact two entirely separate stories. Father Christmas was originally part of an old English midwinter festival, normally dressed in green, a sign of the returning spring. The stories of St. Nicholas (Sinter Klaas in Holland) came via Dutch settlers to America in the 17th Century. From the 1870's Sinter Klass became known in Britain as Santa Claus and with him came his unique gift and toy distribution system - reindeer and sleigh.
Turkey Time - Turkeys had been brought to Britain from America hundreds of years before Victorian times. When Victoria first came to the throne however, both chicken and turkey were too expensive for most people to enjoy. In northern England roast beef was the traditional fayre for Christmas dinner while in London and the south, goose was favourite. Many poor people made do with rabbit. On the other hand, the Christmas Day menu for Queen Victoria and family in 1840 included both beef and of course a royal roast swan or two. By the end of the century most people feasted on turkey for their Christmas dinner. The great journey to London started for the turkey sometime in October. Feet clad in fashionable but hardwearing leather the unsuspecting birds would have set out on the 80-mile hike from the Norfolk farms. Arriving obviously a little tired and on the scrawny side they must have thought London hospitality unbeatable as they feasted and fattened on the last few weeks before Christmas!
Christmas Cards - The "Penny Post" was first introduced in Britain in 1840 by Rowland Hill. The idea was simple, a penny stamp paid for the postage of a letter or card to anywhere in Britain. This simple idea paved the way for the sending of the first Christmas cards. Sir Henry Cole tested the water in 1843 by printing a thousand cards for sale in his art shop in London at one shilling each. The popularity of sending cards was helped along when in 1870 a halfpenny postage rate was introduced as a result of the efficiencies brought about by those new fangled railways.
The Tree - Queen Victoria's German husband Prince Albert helped to make the Christmas tree as popular in Britain as they where in his native Germany, when he brought one to Windsor Castle in the 1840's.
The Crackers - Invented by Tom Smith, a London sweet maker in 1846. The original idea was to wrap his sweets in a twist of fancy coloured paper, but this developed and sold much better when he added love notes (motto's), paper hats, small toys and made them go off BANG!
Carol Singers - Carol Singers and Musicians "The Waits" visited houses singing and playing the new popular carols;
1843 - O Come all ye Faithful
1848 - Once in Royal David's City
1851 - See Amid the Winters Snow
1868 - O Little Town of Bethlehem
1883 - Away in a Manger