Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Leapin' Lizzards!

What do the composer Gioacchino Rossini and 4-time All Star Al Rosen, have in common? They're just two of many who were born on February 29!

"Leap Day" is February 29, which is an extra (intercalary) day added during a Leap Year, making the year 366 days long – and not 365 days, like a normal year. Nearly every 4 years is a Leap Year in our modern Gregorian Calendar.

Ever since Leap Years were first introduced over 2000 years ago with the transition from the Roman Calendar to the Julian Calendar in 45 BC, Leap Day has been associated with age-old Leap Day traditions and folklore. For example:

According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St Bridget struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around – every 4 years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how Leap Day balances the calendar. In Scotland, it used to be considered unlucky for someone to be born on Leap Day, just like Friday 13th is considered an unlucky day by many. In Greece it’s said to be unlucky for couples to marry during a Leap Year, and especially on Leap Day.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the only verified example of a family producing three consecutive generations born on February 29 is that of the Keogh family. Peter Anthony was born in Ireland on February 29, 1940, while his son Peter Eric was born on the Leap Day in the United Kingdom (UK) in 1964. His daughter, Bethany Wealth, was, in turn, born in the UK on February 29, 1996.

If today is your birthday, well then, Happy Birthday!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Birthday Tea

My daughter, Peggy, surprised me with a nice tea for my birthday. She baked the loveliest scones with cream and red raspberries. There were open faced sandwiches - both cucumber and watercress with French butter. A little cheesecake made with Splenda for me, and fruit tarts for the girls. It was so sweet of her to make all that, and Polly to buy the tarts and cheesecake.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Shrove Tuesday

Back in the day, when I was a little girl and the Episcopal church was still a traditional Christian church, we always had a Shrove Tuesday pancake supper at church. This evening, I will make whole wheat pancakes for supper. I have some fresh blueberries that will be a delicious topping.
Here is a fine website from Woodlands Junior school in Kent, England which tell the history and traditions of the day.

Friday, February 17, 2012


A friend in California is expecting her first grandchild. She was going through her son's baby things and came across a little romper that I had made for him. She posted it on Facebook. I had forgotten I had made it. It was a surprise to see it again after all this time.
When my second daughter was born, I began smocking dresses for her. I loved doing it. I found it quite relaxing and rewarding. I smocked her dresses, nightgowns, robes, bonnets, little pouches to match her dresses. I smocked rompers and pinafores, I even smocked the ring-barer's suit for our #1 daughter's wedding.
Here is the picture of the little baby romper I made 30 year ago.

This is Max, son of a friend of the bride. He was the little ring-bearer, at our daughter's wedding. The little ecru smocked shirt buttons on the green velvet shorts. He was so cute. He was persuaded to preform with a bribe of M&M's which were his very favorite treat.
The bride and groom 1989
 Max and the bide share a moment

This is serious business. Max and daughter #2
His job was done and so was he! Which way to the M&M's

Here comes the bride
Father and mother of the Groom, and me and my husband
Saying goodby
the last goodby

Don't forget to sign up for the Jubilee teacup at Antiques and Teacups

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cherry blossoms

These branches just keep getting more beautiful.

Friday, February 10, 2012


I have been waiting patiently for the cherry tree branches to bloom. I brought from my friend's garden several weeks ago. Today the first of them began to unfold. I have watched the tiny brown buds swell and turn green. Now I know they will all bloom and bring a bit of Spring into the room.

Cherries next Summer

Monday, February 06, 2012

The Diamond Queen

Today Her Majesty the Queen celebrates the most happy and joyous occasion of the 60th anniversary of her accession to the Throne. Echoing the pledge she made as a young princess back in 1947 to dedicate her life to the service of her people, she has issued a statement to the nation to mark the occasion: 
"I am writing to thank you for the wonderful support and encouragement that you have given to me and Prince Philip over these years and to tell you how deeply moved we have been to receive so many kind messages about the Diamond Jubilee.
"In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighbourliness, examples of which I have been fortunate to see throughout my reign and which my family and I look forward to seeing in many forms as we travel throughout the United Kingdom and the wider Commonwealth.
"My sincere good wishes to you all 
For the Queen, this is a day tinged with some sadness as it also marks the anniversary of the death of her father, King George VI, who, 60 years ago, put his hand into the Hand of God and trod safely into the unknown. The cry ‘The King is dead. Long live the Queen!’ is both brutal in its insensitivity and joyous in its benevolence. It represents monarchical continuity, whence flow stability, security and peace.
Queen Elizabeth II becomes today only the second monarch of the Britannic Isles to achieve this quite remarkable milestone, which historians and future generations will doubtless view as the zenith of the second Elizabethan era. The whole United Kingdom along with the other 15 nations over which the Queen reigns, not to mention the other 38 Commonwealth countries and much of the rest of the world, will hold celebrations over the coming months, culminating on the weekend of 2-5 June (DV), with street parties, services of thanksgiving, fireworks, medals and coins minted, a concert at Buckingham Palace, a pageant at Windsor Castle, a nationwide chain of jubilee beacons and, for the first time since the 18th century, a Royal Barge will transport the Monarch along the Thames in one of the largest flotillas ever assembled. It will be the jewel in the crown of one of the most spectacular events in Britain's history.
I'll be watching the festivities on television and on-line. I only wish I could be in our old village to enjoy the celebration. It will be fun - knowing the folks there, I am sure there will be lots of fun!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Sunshine on my Hyacinth

The sun is shining on this lovely lavender hyacinth this morning. It is very windy and cold outside, but the sun is a welcome change from all the rain we've had lately.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


If Candlemas is mild and pure,
Winter will be long for sure.
Presentation at the Temple by Andrea Mantegnaca 1460
Candlemas is an ancient festival with many variations in different countries. Candlemas is the liturgical feast of the purifications of Mary, the mother of Jesus. It commemorates Mary''s obedience to the Mosaic law of ritual purification (as found in Leviticus 12:2-8) exactly 40 days after the birth of her child.

One of the traditions is taking candles to church to be blessed. These candles will be used throughout the following year in home worship. 

Punxsutawney Phil
Another tradition, because of this day being halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox, is watching for signs of Spring. In North America, we watch for the groundhog to see if he sees his shadow. In other parts of the world other animals are watched.
Update: Phil saw his shadow this morning - we'll see if we do have more winter.

It is thought to bring ill luck to bring snowdrops into the house before Candlemas. 

In France, crĉpes are the favored treat on this day. With as many fillings as there are cooks, my favorite is ham, egg, and Gruyère. 

What ever your tradition, I wish you joy of the day!


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