Thursday, December 31, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday - Happy New Year, Ladybug!

Wishes for a Happy New Year to all of my Postcard Friendship Friday Friends! What better harbingers of a happy healthy year of good fortune than a gilt edged four leaf clover and a ladybug on a postcard of good wishes!

Appropriately, this card was sent one century ago, December 29, 1909! It was mailed from Miltonvale Kansas to South Tacoma Washington.

Along with the four leaf clover, the ladybug pictured on the card is a symbol of good luck and good fortune. It's bright colors, non threatening nature, and simple shape make it a favorite of children through the ages. It is a boon to farmers because of it's voracious appetite for garden pests. It is considered very unlucky to harm a ladybug, so handle with care.

According to my copy of The Annotated Mother Goose, the ladybird was immortalized in the still-popular children's nursery rhyme, which was the first rhyme in the first known nursery rhyme book:

Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home
Your house is on fire and your children are gone
All except one, and that's Little Anne
For she has crept under the warming pan.

In Yorkshire England, the last lines of the poem, called Lady-cow, Lady-cow are:

All except one that lies under a stone,

Fly thee home Lady-cow, ere it be gone.

In Norfolk, England it is known as the burnie bee, and people there once sang:

Burnie bee, burnie bee

Tell me when your wedding will be?

If it be tomorrow day

Take your wings and fly away.

In America, when a ladybug lights upon you, you are supposed to say:

Lady-bird, lady-bird, fly from my hand,

tell me where my true love stands,

Up-hill or down-hill or by the sea sand

Lady bird, lady-bird fly from my hand.

Fly, lady-bird, fly!

North, south, east or west

Fly to the pretty girl (handsome boy)

That I love the best.

(In my case, he's probably on the sofa, watching a football game)

Legends of the Ladybug, according to Wikipedia:

In parts of Northern Europe tradition says that one's wish is granted if a ladybird lands on oneself (this tradition lives on in North America, where children capture a ladybug, make a wish, and then "blow it away" back home to make the wish come true).

In Italy, it is said by some that if a ladybird flies into one's bedroom, it is considered good luck. In central Europe, a ladybird crawling across a girl's hand is thought to mean she will get married within the year. In some cultures they are referred to as fortune bugs.

In Russia, a popular children's rhyme exists with a call to fly to the sky and bring back bread; similarly, in Denmark and Norway a ladybird, called a mariehøne ("Mary's hen"), is asked by children to fly to 'our lord in heaven and ask for fairer weather in the morning'.

In Germany, Marienvoglein , corresponds with Our Lady's Bird; similarly, in Serbian the common name is bubamara (buba-Mara, Mary-beetle). The esteem with which these insects are regarded has roots in ancient beliefs.

In Irish, the insect is called bóín Dé — or "God's little cow" and in Welsh, the term buwch goch gota is used, containing the word 'buwch' meaning "cow"; similarly, in Croatian it is called Božja ovčica ("God's little sheep"). In France it is known as bête à bon Dieu, "the Good Lord's animal", and in Russia, Божья коровка ("God's little cow"), while in both Hebrew and Yiddish, it is called "Moshe Rabbenu's (i.e. Moses's) little cow" or "Moshe Rabbenu's little horse", apparently an adaptation of the Russian name, or sometimes "Little Messiah".

In Iran, two Persianwords are used; ﮐﻔﺶ ﺪوزک and ﭘﻴﻨﻪ ﺪﻮﺰ, both meaning "shoe cobbler". There is an old story about a woman who tells her husband upon his return from work that a "cobbler" spent the whole day with her and in fact sat on her lap. Hearing this, he flies in to a rage and kills his unfaithful wife. Just then, he notices a lady bird walking in the room and he cries out "Oh my God, that kind of cobbler".

In Greece, ladybirds are called πασχαλίτσα (paschalitsa), because they are found abundantly in Eastertime, along with paschalia, the common lilac plant, which flowers at the same time.

In Malta, the ladybird is called nannakola, and little children sing: Nannakola, mur l-iskola/Aqbad siġġu u ibda ogħla (Ladybird go to school, get a chair and start jumping).

In Turkey, when a ladybird lands on children, they sing Uç uç böceği, annen sana terlik papuç alacak (Fly fly bug, your mother will buy you slippers and shoes).

In Finnish, ladybird is, for its blood red color, called leppäkerttu, translating to Blood Gertrud.

In Dutch, the ladybird is called lieveheersbeestje, translating to Our Dear Lord's little creature.

In France, ladybirds are considered to be bringers of good weather.

So there you have it! Fair weather, abundant gardens, good fortune, marriage, slippers and shoes, bread and good wishes. Be nice to those little bugs and they'll return the favor for a

Happy New Year!

Stop by Marie's place at Voila! Vintage Postcards for New Year Postcard Friendship Friday Fun!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Time For That New Year Resolution!

A New Years Resolution –

Let us pray


Let our prayers rise on quiet mornings

Through dark nights

In puzzling pieces of our busy day

At times of need and times of plenty

Let us pray


Praise God in such communion

That moisture from combined breaths

Rises high on cold winds

To return His Love in such abundance

It falls - a blanketing of snow

Drifting over to cover and comfort

Blowing so it takes our breath away

Shining to dazzle and delight us so

That we make snow-angels in it

Let us pray


For those who are content

For those in need and those we’d

Rather cast aside by shovels full

With their misdeeds and malcontent

For those who lead and those who won’t

For those in pain and those with hardened hearts

Let us pray


For peace and quiet so we know He does surround

For comfort – and if not comforted

For understanding- and if not understood

For acceptance - and if that is out of reach

For the warmth of His Son

To melt our hearts come Spring

Let us pray!


Cynthia Ann Conciatu 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

An A-Musing Christmas Story Retold from 2008

Listen, kid, I'm tellin' ya one more time you can't have all the toys in the whole wide wide wide world. It just don't happen that way.

After The Mister's mother passed away, his brother, Doug, sent us a box filled with family pictures. We spent one evening browsing through photos filled with memories and enjoyed looking at pictures of The Mister and his parents at a time when they were all so young and vibrant and happy. Picnics, family gatherings, Easters, Christmas. There were pictures of family in Romania where both of his parents were born.
The Mister handed me a photo (shown above) of himself as a cute little guy about 6 years old negotiating with Santa for a real horse, a Red Ryder BB gun, a new cowboy outfit, a Maserati and a blonde. I looked at it for a few minutes and realized that this picture looked very familiar. At least that Santa did, and the tree and the decorations on the wall. I said, "Wait just a minute here!That's MY Santa!"

I had a similar box of pictures up in the closet which I immediately wrangled off the shelf and started flipping through until I came up with this one:
Look, Nick, I'm not saying another thing until you give me one of those candy canes? Got it?
Here I am, about 3 years old sitting on Santa's knee negotiating with him for one of the candy canes that are just out of sight in the picture. I remember sitting on Santa's knee that day. He WAS Santa with a soft red velvet suit, a snow white beard and a sparkle in his eye. I might have told him I wanted a doll. I don't remember that part, but I do remember the candy canes, and I wanted one. I'm pointing at them and agreeing that yes, I have been a good little girl. All year. And more than anything in the world I want one of those bright candy canes. Now.

If you look at these pictures carefully you will see that we each visited the very same Santa in the very same gold chair under the very same Christmas tree. The numbers in the right hand corner (both ending in 84) show that The Mister (he was called The Little Mister back then) probably showed up shortly after Thanksgiving, and I stopped in a few weeks later. I'm thinking Santa remembered that little dark eyed negotiator. When I showed up he put his plan in place. He knew all along what we really wanted for Christmas.
And we got it!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday - A Liberal Santa

Happy Postcard Friendship Friday! This cute fellow is looking all innocent and trying his best to convince us that he is decorating the place with holly as the little rhyme suggests. He's actually raiding his Christmas stocking for the pecans and that juicy tangerine stuck in the toe by the very liberal Santa.

The card was mailed to Miss Clorinda Ramsey in Charlotte Ut - the date is faint, but it appears to be December 22, 1915.

Eighty percent of the population of Utah lives around the Great Salt Lake which is a remnant of a much larger prehistoric lake called Lake Bonneville which at it's peak surface area, was nearly as large as Lake Michigan and significantly deeper, covering roughly ten times the area of Great Salt Lake. It was over 1,000 feet deep, and covered much of present day Utah and parts of Idaho and Nevada during the Great Ice Age. About 17,000 years ago a large portion of the lake was released through the Red Rock River in Idaho in a massive flood. The flood area can still be seen from the sky if you happen to fly over.

Utah is called the Beehive State. The beehive is a symbol of industry and the pioneer virtues of thrift and perseverance. The beehive was chosen as the emblem for the seal of the State of Utah when it became a state in 1896.

Honey, mainly clover, alfalfa and wildflower - is an important commodity of Utah, thanks to industrious bees. It has a low moisture/high sugar content due to the arid climate.

Speaking of bees, "the bee's knees" is a popular phrase from the Roaring 20's meaning excellent or highest quality. The origin of the phrase is uncertain.

The Real Bee's Knees

One possible connection between the phrase and an actual bee relates to Bee Jackson. Ms. Jackson was a dancer in the 1920's New York and is credited with introducing the Charleston to Broadway in February, 1924 when she appeared at the Silver Slipper nightclub. She went on to become the World Champion Clarleston dancer and was quite celebrated at the time.

It's possible that the expression was coined in reference to her very active knees.

The bee's knees probably was just a rhymed catch-phrase of the day like hocus pokus, hoi paloi and hoity toity. Isn't that the cat's pajamas? Mum's the word and let's 23 skiddoo!
Besides honey, what might we find on the Utah Christmas buffet?

How about these Utah favorites: Fried Scones, Funeral Potatoes and (this is sooo 1950’s) Green Jello with grated carrots.

The fried scones, a deep fried buttermilk yeast bread, may be an Anglicanized version of Navajo fry cakes and sopapillas. They are seved with honey butter, which is a mixture of one part butter and one part honey whipped together. The scones most of the population is familliar with are leavened with baking powder and baking soda and baked in an oven.

The "Four Corners" area where Utah, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada meet is known as the fried bread capitol of the world. Sounds like a place I need to visit!

There's Always Room For Jell-O - except Green Jello can stay in Utah for all I care.

According to Kraft Foods, Utah residents eat more Jell-O per capita than the other 49 states. Lime is a particular favorite. This Jell-O was immortalized during the 2002 Olympics, where pins depicting this dessert were sold. Apparently, Kraft underestimated the demand and they became collector's items.
" the early 90's, Salt Lake City residents became the Jell-O buying champs by eating four boxes per person per year, or about four times as much as the average American. Local food experts attribute this to the city's extensive Mormon population where large families and low alchohol consumption, compensate with high sugar intake. Salt Lake City residents also buy more lime Jell-O than all other Americans (presumably to make that most popular of local Jell-O dishes, lime Jell-O with shredded carrots." --Jell-O: A Biography, Carolyn Wyman[Harcourt: San Diego] 2001 (p. 121-2)

Well, have at it, I say. I ate enough Jell-O during the 1960's to put any Mormon to shame. This is a true statement: Jello was a fruit, vegetable and dessert back then. You'd find Jell-o molds at every meal and family gathering. Even weddings. And people would eat it, whether filled with sliced radishes, grated carrots, shredded cabbage, black olives or any kind of fruit or nut. It might have a layer of sour cream, ketsup, or Elmer's Glue. It was served like berries, with milk or cream! It was whipped, layered, molded or cut into diamonds or squares. When I think back....well, I try not to think back...erp.

And what about those Funeral Potatoes???

There are about as many recipes as there are people who prepare it. It has many other names, but it's always, really, funeral potatoes.

Here's one version:

1 Large bag of frozen, shredded hash brow potatoes (the raw ones, not the pre-cooked brown ones)

2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup

1 pint of sour cream

1 small bunch green onions cut fine

a cup or two of grated cheese such as cheddar/jack

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, spread in a 9X13 pan that has been greased with cooking spray or butter.

Top with crushed cornblakes, bread crumbs or crushed potatoe chips that have been drizzled with a couple tablespoons of melted butter.

The recipe says to cook at 350 degrees for about 1/2 hour but that does not sound right, especially if the potatoes are still frozen. I would guess that an hour or an hour and 15 minutes will work. Just keep an eye on it, and when it's browned on top and bubbly all over, it's done.

And finally:

An admission of guilt! About half way through my research I got to thinking about the mailing address on that postcard. Somehow Charlotte didn't sound tough enough to be a city in Utah. They need names like Burley Man and Skunk Rock to keep up their image. Besides, I couldn't find a city, town, village, place or ghost town with that name. I decided that the UT might actualle be VT. Hmmm! I was right. heh heh. However, we've already talked about Vermont - you remember - maple surup, granite yatta yatta. So I made a blogecutive decision and finished researching Utah. It's a pretty interesting state.

Hope all your Christmas plans are coming along smoothly and hope your house smells like cinnamon and pine boughs!

Be sure and stop by Marie's at Voila Vintage Postcards for more Postcard Friendship Friday Fun! The link is on my side bar. no, the right. Up a little further...up...uuuup. Yes! There. Just click and you'll be transported to France! Magic!