A WARM GLOW

A card arrived yesterday; we are fortunate to receive many lovely greetings. This card though, was a real puzzle. Who on earth were the people who signed it!

Hubby trawled the internet and found some interesting personalities in the U.K. with similar names, who were not known to me. I checked the envelope. Yes, it was correctly addressed, in fact the detail was absolutely right. It was obviously a card sent by people who knew us.

It is one of those uncomfortable happenings, when someone cares enough about you to send you their wishes and hopes for you, and you have no idea who it or they are. It bothered me all day.

Last night, hubby had an idea,:idea: I checked it out…….voila! Eureka! Apart from being really, really pleased that I now knew who had thought kindly of me, I was very touched. I have known the family, for about three years, on and off; the odd chance meeting in the street, or a community event, on rare occasions, a coffee group. This year, they have checked out my address and sent me a card. It has given me a warm glow.

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HO! HO! SANTA

Christmas will soon be upon us!

I have posted two packages today, thought it was safer to do so now that the postal system is fully back to normal, (whatever that is). I have more to do yet, and I have every intention of keeping them as light as possible, to keep post costs very much down.

One child’s gift was resolved today. Rather than put the present away, I got on with wrapping the two items, which are snugly sitting in a “Ho.Ho.” Santa designed carrier bag (recycled from last year).

The trouble is, if I post the UK gifts too early, I know for sure that some of them will be opened just that bit too soon. It means therefore, I can’t make space just yet, I shall have to hold on to the items. They’ll definitely go about the end of this month – November.

I still have a few items to find. I have absolutely no idea what to do about them; I hope inspiration will suddenly surprise me.

FAT BALLS

My original thought was to add some fat balls to ma-in-law’s Xmas gift bag. Of course, I would have wrapped them up in keeping with the tradition.

Ma-in-law (M-I-L) is in a residential facility and has a bird table (a previous gift from family) placed outside the window of her room. She has always liked watching birds, feeding them, hand rearing weak ones, and she was quite knowledgeable about bird behaviours. I thought long and hard about dressing up fat balls and decided against gifting them in that way. M-I-L would not have mistaken them for anything other than bird food but I was really unsure how she would have reacted to finding fat balls in her present bag.

Instead of fat balls, I have borrowed the better half of a pair bright red socks from hubby’s wardrobe and stuffed into it a reasonable sized satsuma, a 50pence piece and some good quality mint chocolates that are wrapped in green foil and are presented in a festive clear plastic cracker with little decorations at either end. I have secured the top of the sock with red and green ribbons.

WHAT MAKES A CAVALIER HAPPY?

Long awaited official rebate arrived today. A random security check caused the long wait, they said. I reckon, it was a matter of solvency, dispensing repayments in monthly rationed amounts.

What makes a cavalier happy? There’s no second class or surface mail letters into Europe. Every envelope must bear a 50p stamp. Each 50p stamp shows a self-satisfied cavalier.

My U.S. surface mail packages, that had to be off by 6th October, “they’ll take about six weeks” arrived at destination in under four weeks. One gift has already been opened.

Cards to the U.S. can go surface mail at about 8p cheaper than airmail, they’ll arrive on time for Christmas, just so long as they were posted by the 26th October. My card is going tomorrow, the 11th November. :> On present postal timing, the card should get there at least by Christmas week or sooner!

A DISPARATE GROUP OF LADIES

I usually try to arrange a group gathering for a ladies Christmas meal. None of us work together, most of us are unlikely to experience an external social gathering at this time of year. Some of us are friends and know each other well, some are people I am friendly with and they do not know some of the others. It’s an arrangement that has worked really well in past years and made for an enjoyable interlude.  

This year’s  festive dinner will be a little different, in that the group of ladies has almost doubled in size (late availability of extra seats so I took some extras).  Just to make it interesting, there will be a figure of eight round table set up. There will be named place cards to mix and match people. Hopefully, it will all happily work out for this year’s disparate group of ladies, who I trust will have an enjoyable evening in each others company.

TOO LATE FOR XMAS SHOPPING

There is a bombardment of advertising, emails and temptations to get us into mode to spend money on Christmas and gifts.

Last posting dates for surface mail have, for most places abroad, been and gone. That being so, it tells me, at any rate, that the ‘buy now for Christmas’ exhortation is a tad late. It is too late for me anyway as my preparations have been done and dusted.

Many of my gift parcels are winging their way to their recipients as I write, and others, here at home, are ready for gifting. There is still a bit of wrapping to do for nearest and dearest, which has to be done surreptitiously. All that is left are the greetings cards. I hope those will be on their way by the end of the first week of December.

ANCIENT SPIN

Just after Christmas I was reminded, by comments shared with Pollygarter about the Christmas story, of a blog I saw written by an American lady named Ruth Dickson, who has a sharp satirical wit. The blog, reproduced below, with permission, has been published in a book of her writings entitled LIFE, DEATH AND OTHER TRIVIA ISBN No. 978-1-4116-8432-4 http://www.lulu.com/ruthdickson

Of all the hundreds of variations in Biblical content, there is one glaring mistranslation that has had the most profound effect on the most people over the longest period of time. This is the meaning of the Greek word “parthenos”.

In both the ancient and modern language, this word means “maiden”, or “unmarried girl”. It does not specifically mean “virgin”. Although common mores would probably lead to an expectation of chastity in a nubile girl, there was no guarantee then, anymore than
there is now, that a young woman would retain her virginity until marriage.

So we see that the whole story of the ghostly insemination of Mary, leading to the “virgin” birth of Jesus, is based on nothing more than one translator’s interpretation of the Latin, then English, word for “parthenos”. The original text simply referred to Mary as “an unmarried girl”, which she was at the time, although apparently sleeping with Joseph, or maybe some other horny village kid.

Don’t you find it incredible that two billion people base an entire belief system, and in some cases, their whole lives, on this one little hiccup? A universal mythos has been built on it, millions of people have been slaughtered because of it, trillions of dollars have been made on it, virtually every aspect of every life on the planet has been affected by it. And all because a couple of kids in a Jewish community called Nazareth decided to have a little premarital roll in the hay.

If the truth be told, I think this would be it: After some sneaky shtupping in the fields, Mary found herself thoroughly knocked up. Knowing that no nice Jewish girl could remain in the village in that condition, without suffering severe shame and probable banishment, the couple decided to cut their losses and arranged for a hasty elopement, sans rabbi, chupah or hora-dancing.

They wandered the countryside, hitching rides and taking odd jobs for food until Mary went into labor when they arrived at Bethlehem. They tried to check into the Best Mideastern Inn, but because they weren’t married, the tightass desk clerk refused them a room and they were forced to bed down out in the stable, where Mary gave birth to a boy. Nobody knows how long she was in labor, nor who actually delivered the baby; however, if we believe the Genesis story, one has to wonder, in light of God’s curse upon Eve that “in pain shall ye bring forth children” how many hours of kvetching the poor kid had to endure before delivering a son.

After the birth, the couple finally legalized their union, but realized that as soon as they got home, people would start counting on their fingers, so they needed to devise a good cover story.
They did this by enlisting the aid of the local Mensa chapter, comprised of a group of well-educated mystics called “Magi” (add a “c” for a fuller picture of their talents).

Current translations say there were three of them, but there might have been as many as twelve. Whatever their number, they concocted a story so outrageous, it was impossible to refute. They threw the new parents a baby shower (myrrh, gold and incense, but no Diaper Genie). Then, to add veracity to their tale, they launched an amazing PR campaign to fill in the details. They chronicled a new star in the East, broadcast a story of a girl giving birth without having had sex, and declared that the baby must surely be the son of God, because who else could be born from an unfertilized egg?

The fact is, if the ovum actually did start to split without benefit of a spermatozoon poke, as in the experiment performed on frog eggs in every Bio 101 class, the resulting offspring would have been female, lacking a Y chromosome. So, either Jesus was a girl, or those Magi dudes were superb spin doctors.

In any case, the story spread, was told and retold so many times it became “truth”. (We all know how that happens…see “Hitler, A” and “Bush, G.W.). And here we are, some 2000 years later, still telling and believing it, still shedding blood over it, still capitalizing on it, still swallowing a completely irrational premise based on an unknown writer’s editorial error. Now, don’t you feel silly?

OH GLORY!

I HAVE JUST WRAPPED UP THE FIRST CHRISTMAS PRESENT, NOTWITHSTANDING THE PILE TO COME – IT IS A CRUNCHY BATH TIME DUCK.  IT WAS SITTING ON MY DESK ALL BRIGHT EYED AND PEERING AT ME.  I DECIDED THERE WAS NOTHING FOR IT BUT TO SWADDLE IT IN GLITTERY WRAP, IN READINESS FOR ITS YOUNG RECIPENT.

working backwards to Christmas

If you have experienced one of those smug moments when you’ve started to achieve something ever so much in time that it feels really sooo good, then I’ve had one of those moments today.:D

Why, you might ask: well, I’ve written two Xmas cards for surface mail post (first time I’ve managed that in years) and wrapped up a couple of parcels, though one is on behalf of mother-in-law. She’s promised to write a message on a label when I get it to her. That means her daughter will get one nice surprise from her this year. She, poor soul not only does her own post and parcels but ends up dealing with all of her mother’s gifts and post as well. Mum won’t let anyone else help – I’ve tried – while daughter has made it quite clear she would love some assistance. There’s a whole load of mother and daughter stuff wrapped up in this.

Gifts, get lost, usually between two rooms, or don’t get sorted, or can’t be dealt with when daughter can manage it: the whole kit and caboodle gets too stressful and last Xmas, daughter stood back and the majority of wrapping etc was done in time for new year instead. I think a gentle point was made. I wait to see this year if I will be allowed to assist.:crazy:

I quite liked having a new year surprise; Xmas gets too ritualised and I must say, I feel we all get dragged along with it for sake of family and traditions. Apart from helping out beforehand if I am allowed, I’m hoping to get away from the network over the festive period this year.

Though my blogs are about whatever train of thought comes to mind, I am very aware of world events, even if it may not seem so. There are so many people who can make apposite comments and offer original thoughts, that I prefer to read, observe and listen in order to reflect on what is happening and, where appropriate contribute in some form. In the international forum our main active contribution I believe, is our national vote. Not that those we vote for may necessarily be as effective as we would like nor do as we would wish. But then, we can’t plan for the vagaries of human nature and neither can they.

From another viewpoint, it is obvious in democracies that when the time for elections is nigh, the political mind becomes domestically focused in order to accrue votes and it is then, for a short time, we have a voice that the politicians are desirous of hearing but also for swaying to their particular cause. However, in the global scheme of things, our voices again fade away and we are left with the people who have achieved our national vote, to act in our best interests – but the question is do they?

Right – that’s my thoughts for the day, I’m now going to make a start on my annual letter while that nice smug feeling remains, and I think short will be better this year. I have tried not writing one and was roundly castigated by people for not sending it. Funny that 88|