BOOM – 20 Sleeps

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This morning my cousin Anne sent me a video with a song about Banbridge the town where our grandparents grew up.

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There were some great photos in the video that got me thinking of what Christmas past must have been like all those years ago.

For sure there wouldn’t have been too many decorations in the homes of the working classes. Maybe some holly and mistletoe from the woods, colored pine cones and fir branches and paper chains.

The Church, that played a very important role in life, would have been so festive and much the same as it is today with advent crowns, candles and Christmas trees.

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This photo was taken just a week ago at our Parish Church in Ireland Holy Trinity at Ballylesson. The Church was built in the 1790s. It looks so beautiful.

It must have really been quite impressive for your average person way back then to live through the advent season.

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Lovely that these traditions are retained glad though that we each get to deck our own halls with a bit of bling today too!

Blessing # 536 – The Old & New

BOOM – 21 Sleeps

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Santa is very busy working on all those toys for girls and boys. He’s also making appearances at tree lighting ceremonies, in malls, hotels, clubs and at garden centers every day and every where.

There are lots of beautiful photos of friends children and grandchildren meeting with the great man all over Facebook and Instagram.

That look of awe on the little faces is so beautiful. Is there anyone who wouldn’t want to have those days back when we first met Santa even if just for a moment.

Thanks to my Moms great record keeping I can see my visits to Santa over the years. It’s so clear that while I got bigger Santa never changed. Just look at that beard!

Santa started making such visits to department stores way back in 1890 in the USA. Since then, and with the advances in supersonic travel he now can get all over the world so fast.

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Being a super energetic sort Santa now also visits with our pets and his beard has gotten so much bigger and bushier than when I went to meet him.

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He looked particularly well meeting HRH today. Maybe he is uses curling tongs to get that regal look. They must be really good ones. Just what I need! (Hint Hint Hint & Ho Ho Ho)

Blessing # 535 – Hope He Hears

BOOM – 22 Sleeps

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Cities, towns and villages all over the world have switched on their Christmas lights. Many have markets with festive fare too!

At this dark and cold time of year in northern countries those lights really give a lift!

We’ve been fortunate to live close to some great cities Bern, New York, Paris and Shanghai that all have their unique Christmas charm. What if we combined the best of all of them!

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In Bern its would have to be the arcades with their little white lights that are especially lovely if there has been snow.

In Paris of course what we remember most is the majestic Champs Elysées and the Eiffel Tower.

For New York it has to be the extravagant 5th Avenue and the best tree of all at the Rockefeller Center Tree.

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The noise of Shanghai, the bling of the Bund and the street vendors make it unique.

Nothing though can beat the lights of London’s Regent Street, that view of Westminster and Harrods.

Oh and not to forget the old home town and the market around the beautiful Belfast city hall!

Where is you favorite spot?

Blessing # 534 – Best of Christmas

BOOM – 23 Sleeps

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Aaron had the day of school so we went to the movies as the weather was really wet and miserable.

We saw the movie Harriet about the life of a very special woman who played a critical role in the set up and operation of the Underground Railroad.

Born into slavery Minty as she was known escaped to freedom. Her guide was the pole star and the sound of the river.

Once free with the new name of Harriet she just couldn’t forget her family and friends still living as slaves. She returned she came back many times to free others risking her life again and again.

In later life she went on to fight as a soldier in the American civil war and lived into her nineties.

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It’s almost beyond belief that one person could accomplish so much. Of course she had supporters but the courage and conviction she had is up there with history’s greatest.

How many of you know her story? I knew her name and what I’d read with Aaron in his grade 4?school books. I’m ashamed to say that’s about it.

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In this season of Advent when we focus and remember the coming of a very special person it’s timely to reflect on others like Harriet who had the faith to followed a star.

Blessing # 533 – Light in Darkness

 

BOOM – 24 Sleeps

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We went to the local Indian store today to stock up on supplies and snacks for the party season.

The smell of the shop is phenomenal. If you close your eyes you can imagine yourself in Mumbai. It’s a mix of spices and herbs and essential oils all topped off with some incense.

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It’s a great place to find foods suitable for vegetarian and vegan friends provided they’re partial to a little pepper!

I love watching the customers shop. Often you’ll see young men on their phones clearly taking directions from their wives or mothers on what to buy. There will be families too with little kids looking at the cookies and Mom and Dad at the traditional sweets.

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Its always a good idea to check what the more mature ladies are buying. They can point you in the right direction for the best quality in the produce aisles. Today chilis and limes looked lovely all bright and shiny and a must have. You can’t have enough of them for the margarita magic moments!

What took my eye though were the white turnips. They were absolute perfection. Krishna and Aaron can be bothered with them but I wasn’t home fifteen minutes till one was peeled, boiled and scoffed with nothing more than a bit of butter!

Blessing # 532 – Light Lunch

BOOM – 25 Sleeps

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This afternoon while we were watching the big football game between Ohio State and arch rivals Michigan I was working on the agenda for an upcoming meeting.

I’d just inserted the agenda into a covering email when Scooby took a mad leap up beside me, smacked into my iPhone and off went the half baked message to twenty people.

We’ve all heard excuses that dogs chewed up bills or homework but it’s only with the arrival of smart phones that we can honestly say my dog hit the send button not me! He really is on the ball!

Once the corrected version was sent and the game was over we went for a little walk. The rain came on so it was short lived and as always we stopped at the mail box on the way into the house.

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A Christmas card had arrived from my cousin Marty. It was clearly one she had specially chosen for us and very much appreciated.

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The very first Christmas Card was made in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole who had helped set up the Post Office in the UK. In the first year only one thousand cards were produced and sent. Can you imagine getting one? They were quite expensive at the time but if you had one now it would be worth a fortune.

My Mum loved getting Christmas Cards especially from people she’d gone to school with or family members who lived miles away that she rarely saw.

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They were displayed all around the living room on strings of ribbon pinned to the wall. Each year she’d count them always hoping the number was greater than the previous one. She’d also make a note of any greetings that had come from new senders so she wouldn’t forget to reciprocate.

Today it’s so easy to send messages on Facebook or by email but those personal touches like the one from my cousin today mean a lot. Maybe time to get writing again!

Blessing # 531 – Pens on Paper

BOOM – 26 Sleeps

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We all had a good lie in this morning. They say turkey is soporific. Maybe that’s the reason or maybe it was what it was washed down with!

Black Friday is big business here. Years ago I’d have been up and out to get a load of bargains but all that rushing and pushing lost it luster.

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Instead it’s the day to put up the tree and deck the halls. Seems we’re not alone her majesty did hers today too!

Aaron promised to help me get the tree put together as it drives me nuts. He was good to his word and got up and did it without any prodding while Scooby and I were out for our morning constitutional.

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Scooby got in on the act of decorating and found himself a cosy spot on the hearth to snuggle. He was soon displaced by snowmen!

We were a bit concerned he’d have a go at the tree or some of the baubles but so far he’s been good as gold.

Krishna and Aaron took off shopping leaving me to handle the final touches.

Sure they would be away for hours and looking forward to a wee bit of time alone I was curled up with a big pot of tea watching Love Actually when they arrived back. Seems those offers were just not worth having we can only hope Santa snagged some for us instead.

Blessing #530 –  Santa’s All Around Us and So the Feeling Grows!

BOOM – 27 Sleeps

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It’s hard not to miss Dibley today but we are blessed to have Scooby. He got his 10000 steps in early and we were back home in time for the start of the Macy’s Parade. The balloons including the new Snoopy flew albeit a little lower than usual

It’s a great part of thanksgiving especially if your nose can smell turkey roasting as you watch it!

There are so many big stars on the show and it’s funny to spot who does the best and worse lip syncing. When they’re really bad you can almost hear the director yelling « pan out «

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The Radio City Rockettes always do one of the best spots. We were lucky, thanks to our dear friends Roger and Linda, to see their whole show once when my Mum came to Connecticut for Christmas.

All the Broadway shows get great coverage and the one that really stood out today is Tina Turners life story called what else but TINA! What a woman she is. Hard to imagine she turned 80 on Tuesday! Certainly this show is no Turkey!

Blessing # 529 – Simply the BEST!

BOOM – 28 Sleeps

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Scooby and I decided to get our walk in early this morning before the gales started. We set off shortly after dawn and were about half a mile from home when the heavens opened.

It poured so much we were both soaked to the skin. Several people stopped their cars to say how brave we were but it wasn’t cold and we were both enjoying ourselves. Dibley wouldn’t even stick his nose out in the rain but Scooby doesn’t give a hoot. He’ll just keep on trucking.

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When we got home since he was already dripping it was time for a bath in the laundry room sink. No problem at all getting the lad in there and he stands like a big brave getting all soaped up. When his hair is sticking to his body he looks a bit like a greyhound. Certainly he has chasing fast moving objects in his blood.

The weather forecasters were spot on with their predictions of high winds. Just as they said at ten o’clock things took off. Trees were stripped of remaining leaves and being trash collection day for our area bins and rubbish took off too.

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Scooby by now was well dried off but on his midday outing that wind sure whipped up his fluff. He is so light and bright he blends right in with the carpet.

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There are some anxious people keeping their fingers crossed this stops before tomorrow morning when the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade takes place. For the first time in fifty years the famous balloons may not be allowed to fly.

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Just in case though they have started the inflation process. Seems that Snoopy like Scooby is all blown up!

Blessing # 528 – Rain or Shine Friend of Mine

BOOM – 29 Sleeps

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The Thanksgiving weather forecasts across the USA have been headline news for the past few days. No matter where you are in the country you’ll be hit by something. For some it will be feet of snow for others torrents of rain. For us it’s not too bad just powerful winds up to 50 mph!

Since today was calm and a balmy  60F / 15 C it was the time to get the outside lights up. Hanging around could mean perishing in cold or getting soaked in pouring rain.

The installation is always done with so much more enthusiasm than the take down. Even when you get wire tangles and branch scratches and fused bulbs and head bumps it’s all part of the fun.

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Some of our neighbors hire professionals to put their lights up and they are truly beautiful. The end result looks like something from a movie and we enjoy them very much. They probably don’t think much of our efforts but I’m happy enough with our little show especially when I see it through the front door side window.

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That little bit of deflection or is it diffusion makes those lights look so spectacular. Makes you think what else surrounds us out there in this big universe that we just don’t see.

Blessing # 527 – Splendor of Light