1 Dec 2007
Today is the first Advent and as usual we will light the first candle.
This is a typical classic advent wreath.
and this is mine today.
Since a few years I don't buy a wreath anymore, I just put fir branches on a golden plate and decorate them. The table cloth I have got years ago from my American aunt. Above in my header you can see my advent "wreath" from two years ago. Last year I didn't do anything because we went on holidays.
And this is the story why the advent wreath has become a custom during Christmas time.
The Advent wreath (Adventskranz), was invented by a certain Johanes Hinrich Wichern in Germany and is relatively modern. He was a protestant minister and was running an orphanage in 19th century Hamburg. To contain the children’s excitement who asked him every day when the "Christkind" (Christ child, or Baby Jesus) is coming, (in Germany there is no Father Christmas and the gifts are brought by Baby Jesus), he created a wreath which held 28 candles, four “Sunday” ones taller than the rest. With each passing day, another candle would be lit, until the whole wreath shone on Christmas. Then it was changed into only four candles for each Sunday one candle before Christmas eve. That way the children knew when the last candle burns Christmas is there.
The smaller candles were replaced later by a Advent calendar. The first one appeared in 1904 and was commercialized from 1920 on.
The traditional calendar consists of two pieces of cardboard on top of each other. Twenty four doors are cut out in the top layer, with one door being opened every day, from December 1 to December 24 (Christmas Eve). Each compartment can either show a part of the Nativity story and the birth of Jesus, or can simply display a piece of paraphernalia to do with Christmas (e.g. Bells, holly). Advent Calendars can also consist of cloth sheets with small pockets to be filled with candy or other small items.
These were the kind of calendars I used to have during my childhood.
When my son was a child it was very hard for me to get such a calendar because they didn't exist in Belgium. Therefore we went to Germany to Aachen which is not far at all (only 150 km, 93 miles) and bought all things we needed to celebrate Christmas time as I was used to in my childhood.
The fact that only one door was allowed to be opened each day, increased the day-by-day suspense.
Today there are a lot of different Advent calendars on the market, containing chocolate or even little presents.
I was very surprised that I even found them ONLINE !! So I wouldn't be surprised if my grandchild will use internet to open its advent calendar.
Here is one I liked the most because everyday it tells you about Christmas customs in a different countries.
"RED" pictures are here
Beginning of November I went with two friends for two weeks to Egypt at the Red Sea.
We had a wonderful time and also did one very interesting excursion to Luxor.
Of course our Captain Mrs. Lifecruiser always hungry, can eat first together with all the others.
and drink ! Very important we are going through the desert !
Here are dip ins beautiful carved vegetables
This was our daily salad
30 Nov 2007
What is your favorite carnival/amusement park ride?
Now that's a question for an old yet to be grandma ! I don't know ! It changed that much since I went to amusement parks. I suggest you wait until my future grandchildren take me there. But that will not be tomorrow !
How do you react in uncomfortable social situations?
I don't react at all I just watch and slowly get amused. It can be very funny !
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy discussing deep, philosophical topics?
It all depends on the subject. If it is of any interest to me then I could go to level 10 and philosophe myself until everybody falls asleep. If it's not interesting I just look involved my face showing level 10 too. That makes me seem very intelligent.
Did you get a flu shot this year? If not, do you plan to?
How nice of you to take care of my health even during a Friday's Feast ! I am sure that the world couldn't care less about me being "shot" or not. So it remains my secret. But you can guess in my comments.
1. = yes
2. = no
Approximately how many hours per week do you spend watching television?
If I watch TV I don't have a counter besides me to mark the hours and a notebook to write it down. Therefore the answer is : I don't know !
29 Nov 2007
Christmas family gatherings are coming up and not all are full of harmony. Here are 13 quotes about family :
1. Family is just accident.... They don't mean to get on your nerves. They don't even mean to be your family, they just are.
2. The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you.
3. When our relatives are at home, we have to think of all their good points or it would be impossible to endure them.
4. A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold.
5. Family: A social unit where the father is concerned with parking space, the children with outer space, and the mother with closet space.
6. Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts.
7. If you don't believe in ghosts, you've never been to a family reunion
8. Having a family is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain.
9. The place of the father in the modern suburban family is a very small one, particularly if he plays golf.
10. Important families are like potatoes. The best parts are underground.
11. If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.
12. Having children makes you no more a parent than having a piano makes you a pianist.
13. One of life's greatest mysteries in a family is how the boy who wasn't good enough to marry your daughter can be the father of the smartest grandchild in the world.
27 Nov 2007
Queen out-dazzled by Camilla the diamond duchess in Commonwealth visit
The Duchess of Cornwall out-dazzled even the Queen last night in one of the most opulent royal necklaces and tiaras ever seen.Comprised of five strands of diamonds, it covered her entire decolletage and made the Queen's jewels look quite modest. Now that is the outmost !! She had my necklace copied in real diamonds !! The crown I have put away it is a little combersome when I do my shopping ! but I have to admit that her decolletage looks much better when it is covered.
Camilla and Charles become king and queen of the NileAfter visiting charity projects in Kampala, the royal guests took a trip down the mighty river, where Camilla captured the dramatic scenery with a digital camera. And here again she copied me !! I was there at the same time, looking for unexisting crocodiles. Fortunately we didn't meet she could have been able to wear the same clothes as I did !
A first call coffin for Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth II's undertakers always keep a special coffin ready in case a member of the royal family dies suddenly abroad. Leverton & Sons, a 200-year-old frim which was made royal undertakers describe the caslet as "first call coffin" in case of emergencies. The coffin's design meant it was airtight, added Leverton. That's a good idea ! I have to put this on my travel list for the next trip, I don't have an undertaker. Do you think they have foldable coffins ? Otherwise I could get into troubles when I check in. I am not a queen.
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands unhappy about a new book
Queen Beatrix is unhappy about a new book on her ancestors Willem I, II and III.The book, includes mention of Willem II's bisexuality, Willem III's boorishness and describes Willem I as grasping and pigheaded. I think she has nothing from Willem II but the two others ?? That's maybe why she got angry, nobody likes to hear the truth.
Boxing helps Hugh Laurie cope with the House work
At 48, it takes a lot of work to hang on to your reputation as television's sexiest man. Hugh Laurie, unlikely heartthrob and star of US TV series House, has resorted to boxing to keep fit. What ?? the sexiest man of TV ?? Oh God what has the world become !
and this one apparently is also the sexiest man ! I am so happy that men when I was 20 were at least handsome. It's like food, if a dish looks beautiful the taste is much better.
I sincerely hope that he too hasn't joined the range of the sexiest man ! I so much wish I could see the jury ! It must be composed by very frustrated women !
Boris Becker celebrates milestone birthday with ex-partners
Former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker showed it is possible to break up with a lover and still be friends as two of his former partners helped him celebrate his 40th birthday this week. Only two ?? That's not a lot ! According to newspapers he was seen with some more, but maybe it was only "seen".
A special mass is held in the Vatican to celebrate 23 newly appointed cardinals, who will act as the Pope's principal advisers. Look at these young man ! I wonder why they are not amongst the sexiest men ! The youngest one must have at least 80 ! Poor, poor catholic church !
Germany A crowd of geese in an open-air enclosure on a farm in Kuhhorst, eastern Germany, 5 November 2007. Most will end up as roasts for the traditional St Martin's Day festival. The poor things, they look much nicer unroasted. I think I will become vegetarian.
Granny banned from sweet handouts
A grandmother has agreed not to bring the children sweets anymore. She has been banned from giving sweets to her grandchildren after a court heard they had suffered dental problems.
The grandmother, known as EM, launched a legal battle against her own daughter over access to the four children. .................................. (big blank, I am speachless (for once), Mr. Gattino will be happy !)
A 96 year old cook and a 88 year old baker married at Clermont-Ferrand (France). Both answered with a clear "yes" to the famous question. Margueritte had already been married and has a son of 64. Maurice had never married. I did it for her he said, I should have done it long before, I hope she will be happy and Marguerite added "I am very happy". How lucky this guy, he even inherited a 64 years old son ! You see it's never too late.
26 Nov 2007
Blue Momma is hosting this week's Fun Monday. She wants to see our unfinished projects.
Please go to her blog to see the other participants.
MANIC MONDAY LINK
MANIC MONDAY WORD "RANK"
Since I am belonging now to the rank of retired women, I don't have a lot of unfinished projects. The reason is, I have time ! More than enough.
When you are working, or have kids (that doesn't mean that mothers have nothing to do) or both, then you often start a project and you don't finish it because you have no time. When I was working I often had very nice projects, but then more important things came up so finally I ranked them in the last line of my priorities and then I forgot. When I found them long time after, I looked at that unfinished thing and wondered why I had had such an idea !
Today the only things I leave as unfinished projects are in my art works, that means painting. I start a new painting with my head full of ideas and then I have to leave it because I go on holidays or whatever and when I come back I am sitting there and look at this unfinished painting and wonder what I wanted to paint exactly.
This happened just now when I came back from Egypt. Our teacher of my painting group had asked us as theme for the year to come, to choose a painter from the Impressionists and paint in the same way as he did. I choose van Gogh amongst the impressionists. Not because he ended up in a mad house and cut off one of his ears, but because I love his paintings.
I had started, and I found this when I came back.
Was I inspired by this
or that ?
I don't remember. Now my problem is what did I want to do exactly ? Copying the painting is not allowed. I only should use his painting style. My classmates complained that there is no cat on my painting and without a cat it's not a painting from me, van Gogh or not van Gogh. (cat paintings here) I think he didn't like cats because he never painted one. So maybe to finish this painting project I will hide a cat in the cornfield and put an arrow to show where she is ? Maybe I will start another painting and then paint in one shot for sometime until it's finished. That's what I usually do.
Another project remained unfinished and it's getting late. Usually I transform pebbles into cats like here :
and sell them for Christmas. This year I started in October and then for some unknown reason I just stopped. Now I have the painted pebbles but they don't look like cats at all. Probably I will keep this project until next year.
A proverb says "If you want to start something new, wait until you don't want to start it anymore". I admit this proverb is a little deformed by me.
Other projects :
(Press the button to kill my Daddy)
25 Nov 2007
12 Questions ! Please go to her Blog for other participants.
1. Christmas is .... phheeww ! (at least now, a few years ago it was very nice)
2. In memories, what was the best part of your Christmases past?
Getting gifts as a child. Later to see the joy of my son's face.
3 years old in 1976, he got a pram to walk around his guinea pig !
and 2 years later at 5 you can see the Christmas crip behind
3. Was Santa ever good to you?
Santa was never good to me for the good reason that he didn't show up on Christmas. In Germany it is Baby Jesus, Christ child, (Christkind) who flys through the open window and brings gifts which are then under the tree. I have never seen little Jesus although I always ran to the open window to look for him before I was looking what was under the tree.
4. Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or both?
Only on Christmas Eve never on the 25th.
5. Is there something you make each and every year? Each year on Christmas we have a "Fondue Bourguignonne (deep-fat fondue). We do that now for many years. It's so nice to sit around the table and dip the cubes of raw meat in the sizzling oil and then in different sauces. It is served with a salad. No cooking to do !
In 1983 the fondue
6. What is your favorite five Christmas songs ? I don't have any. I like "Gingle Bells" but usually I get an overdose of Christmas songs before Christmas eve ! You hear them the whole day around everywhere, during shopping, on the streets, in the radio etc. etc.
7. Is there a new tradition for Christmas since your childhood days? Of course ! Mr. Gattino is Italian and we had to mingle the traditions of both countries. He never had a Christmas tree it was unknown in Italy when he was a child and I never had a native scene. He has a beautiful handmade one he got when he was 3 years old. If you put it up properly it would take the size of a double bed. So we squeeze it a little under the tree.
a little view on the crip, I couldn't find more recent pictures.
8. Describe one of your Christmas trips. [whether it's across town or across country] Last year we escaped to Egypt at the red sea and had Christmas in sunshine and heat, just like the Australians. It was wonderful ! Our son travelled through Vietnam at this time and spend Christmas over there. We didn't want to celebrate alone and it had been a very good idea. Christmas eve was in a beautifully decorated Restaurant, with a big Christmas tree a Santa Claus and during supper wonderful shows ! We enjoyed it very much. I never had spent Christmas that way.
Christmas in Egypt
9. Do you have a special Christmas outfit to wear for the day? Years ago I wore a long dress and the men dark suits for Christmas Eve. Now I wear a cocktail outfit and the men a suit.
Christmas eve in 1984, our son has got new jeans otherwise he would have worn a suit too.
10. Have YOU or any of your family members sat on Santa's lap? Just my son, here in Belgium, but it was on Dec 6, Santa Claus day.
11. What is/or will be on your Christmas tree this year? The usual stuff
it will probably look like this. Over the years the tree has become smaller and the decoration more colorful !
12. Do you/or have you decorated your yard for Christmas?
In Belgium nobody decorates his garden for Christmas like in the States (in other European countries neither) What we do is putting lights around the windows, hedges and trees (a fir tree if you have) and sometimes a lightened deer. Some people put a father Christmas hanging out of the windows.