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Archives & Readers' Guides => Archives of Book Discussions => Topic started by: BooksAdmin on November 28, 2016, 09:35:26 PM

Title: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BooksAdmin on November 28, 2016, 09:35:26 PM
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/Holidayparty/Holidaypartyredandwhit3eannueal.jpg)

Welcome, welcome, ALL to our Annual Holiday Drop in, our 20th Anniversary Special!

Come as you are, have a glass of egg nog, and greet old friends. We hope to make this a Homecoming for old, and we hope, brand new friends, and that you will each bring the gift of sharing a memory, a recipe or a thought for the holidays.

We have a  Raffle, too,  and just by posting here you are in the contest. Winner to be announced the 23rd of December.

So come on in, and note the Topics du Jour as we count down to the 25th:



(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 1-2:  Come on home and tell us the best book YOU read this year and why.
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 3-4:  Give us the gift of your favorite Holiday  Recipe
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 5-6:  What Christmas or Hanukkah do you remember best and why?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 7-8:  Did you ever have a disastrous holiday you laugh about now? The dressing that ran, the turkey which never cooked? Tell us about it.
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 9-10: Are you giving a book for Christmas or Hanukkah? If so, what is it?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 11-12: What is your favorite book with a holiday theme? Can be   a mystery, etc.
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 13-14: What one thing do you absolutely have to have at Christmas or Hanukkah or it wouldn't be right (http://without it?
http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 15-16: What's your f(http://avorite holiday sweet treat?
http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 17-18:  What's your favorite TV holiday program?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 19-20: - As a child was there an annual social event you attended and do you still attend that social event 
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 21-22: What is your favorite memory from childhood of an unforgettable  Christmas or Hanukkah which means the most to you today?

(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 23: Raffle winner announced


(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 26- 31: Till January we'll we'll discuss  this charming short story, an allegory of virtues, A Kidnapped Santa Claus  by  L. Frank Baum

Lyman Frank Baum (15 May 1856 – 6 May 1919) was an American author of children’s books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A Kidnapped Santa Claus is a Christmas-themed short story written by L. Frank Baum. It is a continuation of the story set forth in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, telling how Santa Claus was kidnapped by “Daemons” in a plan to make children unhappy. It has been called one of Baum’s most beautiful stories and constitutes an influential contribution to the mythology of Christmas.

http://www.aesopfables.com/kidnap.html


Everyone is welcome!
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on November 28, 2016, 11:16:47 PM
I've got my new Christmas jammies, favorite Christmas mug, a few Christmas books to begin reading, and my Keurig caramel cappuccino cups stocked up.  Don't care for eggnog.  Can't wait for December 1st!! 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 01, 2016, 06:54:20 AM
:) That sounds cosy, Bellamarie! You're all ready!

A bright good morning to you all here in our Countdown to Christmas or the Holidays, and we hope, here in our 20th year of bookclubs on the Internet, that you'll drop by, have some refreshments, and share the gift of your thoughts or memories every day this month.

Remember just by posting a message here you are entered in our Raffle for a gift card to B&N or Amazon, whichever you choose, winner to be announced by drawing December 23.

The topics for the first 4 days are:

(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 1-2:  Come on home and tell us the best book YOU read this year and why.
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 3-4:  Give us the gift of your favorite Holiday (or any) Recipe

We hope you'll share a memory, a recipe, an opinion about one of the topics or a laugh with us this holiday season!

Welcome, Everybody!

I'll start off with the best book I read this year, and it's hard to say, really, I've read so many  good ones. I'm not sure how one picks the "best" of anything, but I know what I really enjoyed. The one that really stands out for me  is Bill Bryson's  The Road to Little Dribbling, I absolutely love his humor and his recounting of what it's really like to travel all the places he does, in this case he's returned to England, older, wiser and a bit more the  curmudgeon. 

It set me off on a reading jag of all his books, which has not stopped. So he'd have to be at the top of the list.

But what's YOURS?

Welcome!

Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Mkaren557 on December 01, 2016, 12:54:08 PM
My favorite book of 2016 hands down is The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson.  I loved this book for many reasons:  That transition from the Victorian Age to the Modern fascinates me; I grew to love the characters; and I hated to finish the book.  This book plus other books that remain with me have pointed out to me that, although plot is absolutely crucial to a novel, it is the characters that stay with me.  I guess I am drawn to so many "quiet" books and to Victorian novels.  Action books and mysteries, and I know many of you love them, make me anxious.  This December in the bookclub will be lots of fun.  Thanks Ginny.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: CallieinOK on December 01, 2016, 04:36:44 PM
One of my favorites this year was The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton.  Set in pre-WWII England through a bit beyond the 60"s, the plot development kept me interested all the way through.
I also enjoyed some biographies including:  Hissing Cousins (Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth) by Marc Peyser , Sisters In Law (Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sandra Day O'Connor) by Linda Hirshman and First Ladies (Jackie Kennedy through Michelle Obama) by Kate Anderson Browen.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: nlhome on December 01, 2016, 05:31:15 PM
One of my favorites this year was A Man Called Ove, which I bought as a joke for my sisters (I usually get them a book to share back and forth and then pass on to my aunt, and the blurb said something about a grumpy old man, which would fit certain people in their lives) but which they both enjoyed so much then insisted I read it next. And I did enjoy it.
But a second is The Seventeen Second Miracle, which a casual friend insisted I would like. I thought it would be soppy sweet, but it isn't really. Both are books I'd recommend.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 01, 2016, 10:31:13 PM
I have read a couple of books that just simply made me never want them to end, but since I have to pick one as a favorite, I choose the book that sat in a box of books a very sweet friend gave to me years ago I forgot about, and decided to look in the box just this summer.  My choice is... Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah.  This was simply one of the best books I think I have ever read.  It is about two girls who share their secrets, hopes and dreams with each other, and bond like sisters.  I did not want this book to ever end.  I laughed, cried and related to so many of the things these two girls shared as teens, and then into their adult lives.  It really made me cherish my best friends even more than I thought possible.  Oh heavens forbid, I just saw there is a sequel to this book called Fly Away!  How did I not know this?  That is going on my Christmas wish list!
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Annie on December 02, 2016, 04:30:57 AM
Hello, everyone!  Couldn't fall asleep tonight so i decided to look in on our Holiday Homecoming.  So,unable to remember the title of one of my favorite books read this year, I jumped out of bed to look up the title and while I was up, I decided I was hungry, so had to have a bowl of cereal and I just got back in bed.

 My favorite book for 2016 was "All The Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr. A book that Ella mentioned many times here on SL.  The author entwines two totally different stories about a blind girl growing up in France and a poor boy but brilliant, growing up in Germany before WWII and of course, how they meet during the war.  Doerr has a magical genius for telling a spellbinding story. I can't wait to read more of his books. He has won many awards for his writing.  I can't understand why I've never heard his name before.

Oh, I wanted to say that I too am in my p.j's but unlike Bella, I am not ready for Christmas!  Gadzooks, Bella! When do you find time to sleep?? Guess I better get crackin'! We have always hosted that day with a bring-a-dish-to-pass dinner.  My son's wife and two daughters always make
up a menu and they choose the meat and whatever goes with it!  The rest of us just choose one or two things from the menu!  Jane's dad bakes cookies but I always choose pies.  Fruit pies!

Good grief! Look at the time!  Nitey nite!😄😄😄

Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 02, 2016, 08:46:26 AM
Annie, I was just looking at that book on Amazon trying to decide if I want to buy it.  This is what I read about the book: It won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Wikipedia  I'm trying to decide if I should read the book before seeing the movie.  I generally like the books better

Here is the movie trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALjnZ0F9Pow

I think I may have been sleeping while you were up having a bowl of cereal!  Hope you finally got a good night sleep.   :)
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PeggyCasing on December 02, 2016, 09:58:59 AM
My favorite book of THIS year is an odd favorite, of sorts.  It is Blood Brothers, by Elias Chacour, with David Hazard.  It is autobiographical, but written in a way that conveys the story of Israel and Palestine from the "inside."  Chacour has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times, and it is easy to see why.  For me, this is one of those books that opens new ways of seeing the world, and it makes me acutely aware of the fact that I need to learn more about world history.  I think the thing that will stay with me the most is all about perspective.  A freedom fighter can be called a rebel, depending on perspective.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Mkaren557 on December 02, 2016, 12:07:56 PM
Peggy
I did teach World History to high school ninth and tenth-graders and current world problems to twelfth graders for several years.  I loved these classes because of incidents such as this:  I can't even remember what I was trying to teach at the time but up went freshman Sam's hand.  "Oh no," I thought, "another interruption."  Sam did ask a question unrelated to what I was teaching at the time, "Mrs. Hayes, would you explain the Middle East to me?"  This is what we called, a teachable moment.  Gulp!  I can't remember all of what I said but, I started with, "Sam, I am not sure  anyone can explain that but I will try."  And in the twenty minutes left in the class, I explained several thousand years  to Sam and a group of fourteen year olds.  I really want to read your best book of 2016 to add to all the books I have read since that day to better answer the hardest question I was ever asked. By the way, I now follow Sam on Facebook where he is still provoking discussion by asking loaded questions.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PatH on December 02, 2016, 01:00:02 PM
Peggy, welcome to this side of the site.  I hope we'll see lots more of you.

Wow, Karen, you must be good at marshaling your thoughts quickly.  I bet some of those students still remember your explanation to this day.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 02, 2016, 04:02:23 PM
The book I enjoyed reading the most this year was The Misanthrope by Molière -  actually a play - I do not read that many plays but this was fabulous - the quips and the line of thinking and the small scenes, some as if a sword fight of finesse using wit - I loved it - it was prompted by my seeing a French movie with English sub-titles Bicycling With Moliere If you have Prime it is free and would heartily recommend viewing it.

Karen, your Sam sounds like the kind of happening that helps us all grow - what a blessing to have such a student.

This year I almost feel as if to find any Christmas I need to block out most of the news - my head feels as if it will explode and I do not watch TV except on the weekends - need to get my Cds going - Been reading my book of daily writings for advent but all I seem to do is argue with the sentiment that I am not seeing as connecting to so much of the world's pain.

Please, what tricks are y'all using to get your heads wrapped around the holidays.

I hope, I hope, I hope, Joan joins us because I am hoping she can share her memories of living in Israel and tell us about Hanukkah and how she celebrates the days that I believe starts the same day as the Christian Christmas this year.  I wondered if there is any lead time of traditional preparation as Christians have Advent. 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Annie on December 02, 2016, 08:34:59 PM
Welcome, Peggy.  Loved your story about teaching the curious student and that he is still asking challenging questions on Facebook.  Is he old enough to join us here on SeniorLearn!  We always enjoy curious folks!😊😊
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 02, 2016, 09:23:34 PM
Barb, I don't need any tricks to get me into the Christmas spirit, I am filled with it each year as we draw close to Thanksgiving when I begin decorating my entire house inside and out, and wait for the kids and grandkids to come for Thanksgiving dinner.  I love the excitement of the grands big & small.  I also started The Elf on the Shelf a few years ago, so it's lots of fun watching my little grandkids Zak & Zoey run around searching for the Elf on the Shelf. 

The funniest story, last year I got out all my decorations and no where could I find that Elf.  So of course I had to buy a new one to keep up the tradition.  I bought a girl one with a baker's cap and apron and a matching one for the grands.  When they came for the annual cookie bake/sleepover the Elf was in the Christmas bowl of flour.  Oh what a burst of joy came from Zak & Zoey when they found her in the flour bowl.  So this year lo and behold I was unpacking my Christmas sweaters and there lay the missing Elf I could not find.  When Zak & Zoey came for a sleepover they squealed when they found two Elves.  They named them Andrew & Annabella or as they said Andy & Annie for short!  I'm having so much fun sneaking and hiding them elves for them to go hunting to see where they are and what mischief they are in.  Apart from all that.... I teach CCD third grade and we are in full swing of Advent projects and discussing the reason for the season, Jesus' Birthday!  Of course they do get sidetracked with Santa. 

Here is little Zak & Zoey
https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/12342436_10208504771120172_7792719337601054578_n.jpg?oh=3e82343ac0ca48be9476ceadc872684d&oe=58B57837

My little elves busy making cookies
https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/12346375_10208504778920367_3986387660082020626_n.jpg?oh=969ce5de1ae74d8ed8d3f8545764440d&oe=58B47F83

We usually end up with more flour on us than on the counter.
https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/12341210_10208504782200449_2144611518916804191_n.jpg?oh=d37b27b2d0f4fdda6089f62fb0afec8d&oe=58B7C165

Hope this helps bring some Christmas joy & spirit to you all! 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PatH on December 02, 2016, 10:39:16 PM
Looking back, my reading this year seems unusually nondescript.  Some things do stand out, though.  One is Ovid's Metamorphoses.  We read a few portions of it here, and I read some more on my own, though nothing like all of it.  There is an element of cruelty, and violence toward women, that I don't like, but the power of the old myths, and the beauty of the poetry (as much as comes through in translation) and the spinning of a continuous skein of stories through time, from the creation to the present time (Ovid's present) make it worth the effort.

A science fiction book I liked a lot was Elizabeth Moon's Remnant Population.  I thought of it when we were reading Two Old Women, and it turns out that Moon had heard of Wallis' book, but not yet read it, when she began her book.  When a colony is forced to leave its planet, one old woman decides to stay behind.  She finds a new set of personal resources and abilities, as she fends for herself and interacts with the native alien population.

A nonfiction book I liked a lot was Svante Paabo's Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes, which describes the author's successful attempt to elucidate the complete DNA sequence of Neanderthal man from the few, often poorly preserved, existing samples.  It's rather technical, though written for laymen, but it makes a very good story if you're willing to make the effort.

Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: mabel1015j on December 03, 2016, 01:20:00 AM
This is a difficult task. I usually have a stand out in my reading with others being just o k, but I have three this year that are in between those two categories -  ;) - not stand outs, but better than just o k. And they are all equal!

Plantation by Dorothea Benton Frank; The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier; The Nightengale by Kristin Hannah. Totally different environments. Plantation is, of course, South Carolina in the present and is Frank's typical discussion about family relations. Chevalier writes about 1850s Ohio and a young English Quaker woman who discovers that having an ideal about abolition as a concept is very different than being in the USA and faced with the consequences of aiding escaping slaves. The Nightngale is about two sisters who face the Nazis in WWII France in very different ways.

Good reads all three. Why? They are all good stories; they are all good authors, over and over again; the characters' dilemmas all gave me pause to think about what I would do in their shoes. Those stories always grab my imagination.
.....Jean
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 03, 2016, 08:11:22 AM
Jean,  my second choice for a favorite this year was The Nightingale.  I simply was amazed at the risks the two sisters were willing to take to protect the soldiers and the children in France during WWII.  It left such an impression on me, it made me wonder if I could ever be that brave in war time.  I would like to think I would be more like Vianne because of my passion to protect children.  I don't think I would be capable of doing the trekking through the terrains as Isabelle did to help and hide the soldiers. I know these two sisters made me stop and really think about their heroic acts of bravery during the war.

PatH., I think Ovid's Metamorphoses was my least liked book I have ever read, for the reasons you pointed out,
Quote
There is an element of cruelty, and violence toward women
  I did read The Odyssey by Homer after reading  Metamorphoses and liked Odyssey much more. 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: dean69 on December 03, 2016, 08:30:20 AM
I don’t post often on this site, however, I read all the posts and enjoy learning what others are reading.  It would be difficult to name the book I enjoyed most during the year so here is a list of some of the books I have enjoyed in 2016.

George Washington’s Secret Six by Brian Kilmeade (non-fiction) the beginning of the Culper Spy Ring
Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope-(fiction) a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s book.
Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn (fiction) the Queen feeling out of sorts remembers a train she loved in her younger days and finds her way back to it.
When Books Went To War by Molly Guptill Manning (non-fiction) The story of how books supplied to American soldiers during WWII helped to relieve the boredom and as a result of their reading many were able to excel when the G.I. bill became available.
Strange Gods by Susan Jacoby (non-fiction)  the cultural and political reasons why many people convert to a religion other than the one born into.
Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (fiction) Ian Fleming was one of the subjects of a biography class I taught.  Never much of a James Bond fan, however, I rather enjoyed this book as well as others and several movies I watched in preparation.  I also read a biography of the fictional James Bond by John Pearson.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PatH on December 03, 2016, 10:17:55 AM
I still have one of the books my husband got in the South Pacific.  He was very grateful for them.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 03, 2016, 01:07:24 PM
Goodness from books to recipes - I really do not have so much a favorite as enjoying the adventure of preparing food for a group again when I visit my daughter over the holidays. I like to cook and cooking for one where it can be an adventure at times it is not near the fun as cooking for a group.

My daughter makes the best pie crust that everyone raves over and with that she attempts all sorts of apple pie versions - Once she packed whole apples with only the core removed where the butter and brown sugar and cinnamon was placed - Years ago I used to do a fruit cake that required I soak dried fruit in rum for 6 weeks before assembly and then wrap the baked cake in a rum soaked towel for another 4 weeks - and with all that it did not taste of rum - just a warm feeling after eating - of course it was so rich you could only eat a small bit that we usually topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

Now my favorites are soups - like going back to childhood when there was always a pot of soup on the back of the stove. I usually get a whole chicken and while raw remove the breast leaving the carcass also, remove the legs and thighs as one piece but leave the wings and cook that in water with celery and leeks. After cooking for hours I strain it and throw out the spent meat, celery and leeks. I often put the carcass back in a small fresh pot of water to leach out anymore that is hidden in the bones.  Then I have my pot of stock - In another big pot I soften some cut onion, (but not minced, they burn too easily) cut carrots and celery add the breast cut in half, legs and thighs that I removed earlier, add about a third of a cup of wine cover for about 5 minutes and then add the stock with a couple of bay leaves and a ground mixture of dried herbs from the garden that include rosemary, thyme, marjoram, parsley and savory. I add some whole black pepper and some ground pepper.

No salt till I add the veggies. However, at this time I add a cored apple to sweeten the pot - let it simmer about an hour and a half then add either whole or cut in half carrots, potatoes, small whole onions, cuts of celery, a leek or two some salt - let that simmer another half hour then add some mushrooms cut in half and if the green beans look good or maybe some kale and let that simmer till the mushrooms look soft and then the pot is kept just below simmer and becomes the go-to pick-me-up all day.  It is great to have on the day when there is a lot of in and out, setting up a tree or decorating in and out.

I do frig what is left in the pot after supper to be on the safe side and I do get my chickens locally to assure they are not filled with growth hormones or penicillin although, I can no longer find anyone that feeds their chickens with scrapes and local corn - all commercial corn for livestock has at minimum been sprayed and various bug retardants are included in the fertilizer and some feed is gown from altered seed.

The small second pot of bones - after a couple of hours I remove the carcass and add an onion and an apple each cut in quarters, pepper and salt after about a half hour I usually end up adding rice or noodles and here of late after the rice or noodles are cooked I add some frozen mixed veggies so that it is a thick soup that is more like stew without chunks of meat.     

One of my grands likes to cook so last year I gave him some of my cookbooks that I used during the early years of my learning to be a homemaker. I still have far too many cookbooks but I enjoy reading them for ideas - I prefer the ones that have lots of photos of the area and tell something about the food or how the food was served or the experience of preparing, even stories that include a recipe along the way.  Since I seldom if ever use a recipe like a science project but rather, get the balance of foods in the dish and the math formula for the ingredients except, for a few cakes that require an exact measurement of ingredients, I am off adding and smelling and tasting till it is ready.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 03, 2016, 03:56:24 PM
Found this - Interesting... Each country (or region) has its own traditional Christmas gift-bringer.

(http://68.media.tumblr.com/d1186e33ac308aa5a3d1fe621da88ffb/tumblr_ohi7jxBgzJ1ro4v2no1_1280.jpg)
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PeggyCasing on December 03, 2016, 08:51:09 PM
Mkaren557, Wow!  Thank you for sharing your story.  I am an educator, and I fully appreciate the wonderful gift that an insightful and inquisitive mind can provide for a teacher and ALL of her learners.  When you get "one of those kids" in your room, it makes the year a joy... even if it is a huge challenge!

Thank you, all, for the warm welcome!   

As far as a favorite Christmas recipe goes... I am of German (and Polish) descent, and so one of my family's favorite traditions is baking (and eating) Springerle cookies at Christmas.  They require special molds, or a special rolling pin, but if you like the flavor of anise (black licorice), you'd love them! 

4 eggs
1/2 tsp anise oil (I usually use more)
2 C granulate sugar
4 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Lightly grease 4 cookie sheets. Set aside until needed.
beat eggs until very light.  They should be the consistency of cake batter. Gradually beat in the sugar.  Beat until the mixture is creamy (at least 15 minutes if using an electric mixer!)Stir in anise oil.  Sift together the flour and baking powder.  Fold into the egg mixture bu hand. 

Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until 1/2 inch thick. Lightly sift four over the dough. (some people use confectioner's sugar instead to "flour" the molds.) Place springerle molds onto the dough; press down, or roll, firmly and evenly until the mold's design registers in the dough. Remove the mold. Use a small knife to cut around each cookie, and place on prepared cookie sheets. Repeat, until all dough has been used. Let stand uncovered, and allow to dry 8 hours, or overnight. I leave them on top of my stove. -I don't have cats!  Bake in a 300 degree oven about 20 minutes.  They shouldn't brown.  They are done when they are firm and you start to see the slightest browning on the underside of the cookie.  This recipe makes about 30 cookies, depending on size.  Enjoy!
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PatH on December 04, 2016, 10:58:33 AM
Peggy, I love springerle, but haven't ever tried to make them.  Unless the egg-sugar mix is touchy, it doesn't look too hard, with a sturdy mixer.  I dislike black licorice, but like anise very much.  Whatever it is in the licorice I don't like isn't in anise.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PatH on December 04, 2016, 11:19:20 AM
This recipe for spiced, sugared nuts is very easy and VERY good.  We used to make it for presents.  Warning: it's easy to eat quite a lot of them.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2-1 tsp allspice
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 pound nuts--pecans or walnuts

Put everything but the nuts in a saucepan big enough to hold the nuts later, cook to 238 degrees (medium soft ball).  Remove from heat, stir in nuts, mixing well so all are coated, and spread out on wax paper to dry.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Mkaren557 on December 04, 2016, 11:35:16 AM
Christmas Eve in my family has been the time the whole family gathers.  I have three brothers and their wives, two sons, and eight nieces and one nephew, two grandchildren, and two grandnieces.  We decided long ago that we would not make a meal for this occasion, but we would each bring favorite hors d'ouvres and desserts. I loved my sister-in-law's chipped beef dip, the cold shrimp to dip, and my brothers steak fondu best, but of course sampled everything.  I always tried to bring something different every year.  So one year, I made brie en croute.  O.K. I confess that I used the recipe I found on the Pepperidge Farm puff pastry package.

Ingredients

1 sheet of puff pastry, rolled out to go around brie
i round brie
raspberry jam

Place brie in the center of the puff pastry
Cover the top pf the brie with raspberry jam
Fold the pastry around the brie and seal
Bake on cookie sheet at 400 for 30 minutes and let cool slightly
Serve on a plate surrounded by triscuits or any cracker you choose
I also heat some raspberry jam and place in a dish near the brie.  My family likes to spoon this on the brie


After the first year, I made this each year by popular demand

After having the first helping of one or more of my sister-in-law's pies and/or some of the Christmas trifle, we adjourned to the living room for a gift swap.  Now I spend Christmas Eve alone watching Christmas movies.  This year I am going to bake Brie for myself and sip on my favorite drink, Baily's Irish Cream.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 04, 2016, 03:41:49 PM
Karen your brie sounds grand - here instead of the raspberry jam we use a combo fig and jalapeno jam - we also make a sandwich we all call the Barton Creek after a local swimming hole made with a 12 inch piece of baguette split and a light smear of butter on the bottom - fill with folded slices of both Chicken and Ham then the brie and combo fig and Jalapeno jam topped with young loose lettuce and sprouts - it is so good and so filling even the men are full with one sandwich.

Last year I too spent Christmas alone - my only error was going to the old downtown Church for Christmas morning Mass - it was ever so disappointing for several reasons - I would have enjoyed attending Mass in my local parish even if after the fire they rebuilt an ultra modern building - at least I would have known folks to chat with for a minute after Mass - ah so... Although it was a nasty rainy day there was a break and I did get to take my Christmas walk - With everyone in their homes and the roads practically empty it was so quiet it was like the memory I have of my childhood Christmas, before highways when just the main streets were paved. The only thing missing were the boys shooting fireworks off at each other. 

Pat those sugared nuts sound perfect - a bumper crop of pecans this year so that would be perfect rather than pralines.  Perfect neighbor gift.  Yes, remember when liquorish sticks were flavored with anise - it has been years since I have even seen a long liquorish stick - the last time I did see them they were red not black. 

Peggy where do you get your Anise Oil? Mom used to bake them when I was a kid and someplace I still think I have a few of her old wooden molds - I should try your recipe but is it too late - as I recall Mom made them before Thanksgiving so they could age - I do not think you are talking about Anise flavoring that can be purchased in those small bottles from Adam's or other brand names of spices and flavors. 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Kristen on December 04, 2016, 06:37:13 PM
BarbStAubrey: "Years ago I used to do a fruit cake that required I soak dried fruit in rum for 6 weeks before assembly and then wrap the baked cake in a rum soaked towel for another 4 weeks"

I love fruitcake and I don't care if almost everyone I know makes fun of it.  We used brandy, wine, or fruit juice in the fruitcake and then dribbled whiskey over it before sealing it in waxed paper and foil for 6-8 weeks before Christmas.  Even as a child, I always went by the idea of "if some is good, more is better."  One year, my mom let me dribble on the whiskey.  We did it when the fruitcake first came out of the oven, so it sizzled when it hit the cake and soaked in.  I didn't just use the amount my mom had measured out.  I got more out of the bottle and kept going till she came back into the kitchen to find a very soggy fruitcake.  She managed to fix the problem by putting it back into the oven till it dried out enough.  I don't think anyone who ate it realized what had happened but I still remember that whenever I think about making a fruitcake.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 04, 2016, 06:57:44 PM
I host the annual Christmas Eve family get together, so after we all meet at church for 5:30 Mass, we return to my house for dinner.  As far as a favorite recipe, I would have to say it is a chocolate cookie called Chocolate Crinkles, I got the recipe from a friend of mine over thirty years ago and have baked them every year since.  I see Betty Crocker has the recipe and a picture of them at this link: 

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/chocolate-crinkles/941e22b3-9a48-4fb1-bdb0-27479e76d484



 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 04, 2016, 07:07:34 PM
Goodness, I think this is one of the most interesting discussions I have ever read, I am loving everything everybody has said, it's like opening presents. First the best book you read this year, now the recipes! And tomorrow....


(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 5-6:  What Christmas or Hanukkah do you remember best and why?

Meanwhile Ann Alden has sent me her recipe for creme de menthe bars, and I want to get it in, in time:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/11369/creme-de-menthe-bars/

She says: Using a jelly roll pan(11x15) is the way to go!  Not so much in each piece gives you a perfectly sized piece. Have been baking these since 1991.

I always think I'll try something new every holiday. I don't know what it IS about my ability to cook but I ALWAYS always mess up the recipe, today being no exception.  And it's not even a holiday.  haaha
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 04, 2016, 07:49:52 PM
hahaha Kristin you sound like as a child you were in imp - love it that your mom could repair the soggy swampy distillery you created - hahaha - oh oh oh.

Bellamarie do you serve fish for Christmas Eve dinner? I had friends who were Polish and they served a large meal on Christmas Eve but it was always fish done in a long fish pan and they had a starter set out before they sat down of a salmon recipe that was prepared in a copper fish mold and un-molded in a bed or sprouts they grew on the window sill.

Ginny are you saying you would not do well as a contestant on the British Baking Show  ;)

Had a surprise - my next door neighbor came over with a box of homemade tiny cakes - small like miniature cupcakes upside down coated with a jam and then heavily sprinkled with no empty space white Nonpareils - so good I have been eating them all day instead of saving them to eat slowly during the week - my excuse it is Sunday and during Advent I curb my sweet tooth ;) of course if you believe that I have a bridge I can sell you.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PatH on December 04, 2016, 09:01:59 PM
Sorry, Barb, I've already got a bridge I'm trying to sell.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 05, 2016, 12:23:08 AM
Barb, Egads!  NO traditional fish in my house.  First off there are no Polish ancestors on either lines in my family or my hubby's family, and secondly, we do not have a liking for much fish in our family.  I cook a ham, my daughter in law makes a delicious Rosemary potato dish and the other daughter in law makes green bean casserole.  Then we have hubby's favorite appetizer cold shrimp and sauce, and a ton of other finger foods.  (The shrimp is the closet our family gets to seafood being eaten in our house.)

Speaking of snacking on some sweets, my friend brought me two boxes of biscotti last night as a thank you for watching her five children while she went with her husband to his company Christmas party.  They are Nonni's dark chocolate almond, and the other box is salted caramel.  I had a couple with a cup of caramel cappuccino made from my Kuerig.  Oh were they ever delicious and only 110 calories.  I giggled when I saw Nonni's as the brand name since I am Italian, and all my grandchildren call me Nonni!  She said that is why she chose them.  No bridges to sell!  😉
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PatH on December 05, 2016, 09:23:36 AM
Nonni's biscotti are truly delicious.  I buy them whenever I see them, which unfortunately isn't very often.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 05, 2016, 11:21:35 AM
December 5 and no more children in our family - everyone is grown - this was the night to write letters to St. Nickolas since tomorrow is the feast of St. Nickolas - there was always some small token left exactly where the letter was left, most often in their shoe and sometimes on the fireplace mantel - things like a couple of new pencils for school or a new set of bows for my daughter's braids but best of all a new Christmas book AND the box of Christmas books collected from years past was set by the Fireplace along with a box of some of the house decorations - nothing for the tree because that was put up by Santa on Christmas eve after everyone was in bed.

Today Kindle or not there is something wonderful about the pages of a book filled with illustrations and words spinning out a satisfying story. A few years back I distributed the collection for their celebration of the holiday month.

OK the question of the day is - What Christmas or Hanukkah do you remember best and why? hmm Remember better things we did more easily and various happenings or miss-adventures - need to think and get back later...
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 05, 2016, 12:33:45 PM
Oh Barb, I absolutely love your family tradition for St. Nicholas Day!  I bet your kids could not wait to wake up to those special little goodies.  We did not ever hear of nor celebrate that day of the season growing up, so it was not a tradition for my children either.  I love the things you left them in their shoes.

 The Christmas I best remember as a child is being awakened by the sound of jingle bells.  My siblings and I all slept in the upstairs bedroom of a very tiny house my father had built years before being killed in a train wreck.  We were seven siblings with very little income or food, so Christmas was our magical time of the year.  We heard the bells and got out of bed and peeked through the floor heat register to get just a glimpse of Santa's red furry suit.  We heard a Ho! Ho! Ho! and the front door opened and off he went.  We all scurried back to bed for fear our Mom would hear us.  That Christmas has stayed with me for my entire life, because when you come from a very poor fatherless family, you hang on to anything that gives you hope and joy for waking up on Christmas morning finding the tree surrounded with toys, stockings filled with candy, fruit and nuts & food for your dinner.  When I was married and spoke of that night to my mother she said, "That Santa was from the Salvation Army bringing toys and Christmas dinner." To this very day I am thankful for the bell ringers at the red kettle in front of the stores, and make sure I donate to them and many other organizations to help make other children's Christmas a very merry one.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 05, 2016, 12:59:02 PM
I remember one special Christmas when I was quite young but I'm afraid it is  nothing noble or inspiring to hear about, but rather had to do with a ratty little mechanical dog which had been on the filthy streets of Philadelphia back in the late '40's.

I used to get to go into Philadelphia to see my father at his work, once a year,  and then we'd go out  to eat at one of the restaurants he liked and this was a big occasion for me, as a child. I'd get all dressed up in my Sunday best. He seemed larger than life on these occasions, and very important. I can see his long black overcoat to this day.  His office building was the old one, downtown, which later was replaced by a building so architecturally important my husband actually was sent there as an engineer from South Carolina in the late 60's to study it, (small world) but this was the  old one in the old neighborhood and it seemed gigantic and sparkly to me.  The mind of a child.

And it seemed the waiters all knew him (and of course I am sure they did, since it was not that far away, and he had to eat) and they were properly deferential, sweetly for my benefit, and so to a child it took on a certain magic, I guess.

So one day we were walking to the restaurant  and a man was selling motley  little mechanical toys on the sidewalk, and  had assembled quite a crowd around him.   Cheap things but spoiled as I was I really wanted one.  I may in fact have outdone myself in expressing a desire for one. My father was not amused,  especially when I would not take no for an answer, they were cheap and I could not understand why he would not buy everything I wanted on the spot. But he wouldn't.

As I recall he had lots of good reasons why not, it wasn't  my birthday or any celebration, it was cheap, it would probably break the minute we bought it, why would anybody want such a thing anyway, we really  can't buy every single thing we see,  and so forth. I see this happening every day at the supermarket, today, he was nice about it but firm and of course I was an only child, and rotten so I sulked and he said maybe after lunch we'll see if the man is still out there, and have a closer look and  think about it then, but  we have reservations now, the crowd is too big,  and we  can't be late,  so we went on in,  and of course when we emerged the man was gone.

So that was the end of that. So I thought.

But later that  Christmas,  in opening presents, I opened a small box, and there was  the very toy, a little mechanical white and brown  dog which walked and sat up and sort of barked/ squeaked. I don't know how my father  did it, he did not do it when I was there and the man had gone, perhaps the man was a staple on the street, and appeared later on,  I don't know. My father never would say.

But there it was, and I have never forgotten it and I have done it in memory ever since. For my children, friends,  and now my grandson, too.  Something is seen and admired and, if not purchased, for whatever reason, turns up as a huge surprise on a later  special occasion (I've checked with my grandson's parents of course). We have had some interesting adventures doing these clandestine purchases, most recently in Charlotte NC at some special kind of toy store, it took both parents to lure him off away from the...item, whatever it was...which was hurriedly conveyed to the cashier, but suddenly my grandson was spotted running back excitedly  to show his mother this thing he had discovered.....and when the cashier heard my hissed  "here he COMES!" she literally threw herself on the floor because she was holding IT in her hand, and instantly disappeared from sight behind the counter in front of the astonished other  customers.

hahaha

THAT one I'll never forget, either.

Ho ho ho!

Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 05, 2016, 01:04:23 PM
What a lovely memory, Bellamarie, we were posting together, it takes me SO long to type. I love it!
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 05, 2016, 02:02:55 PM
Thank you Ginny, your story is what a girl like me growing up would have dreamed of!  A father, and getting that chance to have lunch with him sounds perfect.  I never knew my Daddy since he was killed when I was just 2 yrs. old.  Not one memory to cherish, you were very blessed. 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Mkaren557 on December 05, 2016, 02:21:48 PM
     The worst Christmas ever started on Christmas Eve. It had started to snow about mid afternoon, and by the time we were ready to leave for the family gathering, it was blowing horizontally and we probably had eight inches on the ground.  My ex-husband went out in the garage to start the car, and discovered we weren't going anywhere: the roads hadn't been plowed and there was a huge drift at the end of the driveway.  The kids and I were heartbroken but my husband was happy to stay home and fall asleep on the couch watching tv.  So I read a book called The Worst Christmas Ever while we ate cookies and drank hot chocolate.  After putting the boys to bed, I sat in the living room in the glow of the Christmas tree and cried.  In truth I had not felt very good all day: sore throat, running nose, and sore throat.  After the headache set in, I went to bed expecting that a good night's sleep would cure me.
     Christmas morning the boys were up at a reasonable hour and after a special breakfast, we opened presents .  I had done all the shopping, wrapping, and decorating, so it was fun seeing the boys with their new "stuff."  I left the living room and headed to the kitchen.  I had invited my best friend and her husband for dinner so I had planned a very extravagant meal with many components.  So as I put together the meal and set the dining room with my good China, I felt worse and worse .  My headache had returned and I was so exhausted that by the time my friends arrived that they took one look at me and led me to the couch.  So my guests took over:  they finished cooking the meal,  carried the conversation at the table, played with the boys and cleaned up the whole mess.  The whole day from presents to dinner ,and as soon as he finished eating, my husband sat in the den watching sports on tv.  My guests played with the boys and got them ready for bed, and struck out for home.  I went up the stairs, said good night to my sons, and crawled into my bed.
     The only Christmas gift I got from my husband that year was a cheap iron which he bought at the drug store because he didn't shop until Christmas Eve.  That was the moment I decided to return to college and finish what I needed for teacher certification. I knew I needed to be able to make enough money to support my two sons, so I lived in the marriage for three more years.  Then the morning of Valentine's Day I told my husband that I was through with the marriage. 
     So I remember that Christmas as my worst, but today I see that finally making that decision was the beginning of a rebirth for me. 
     I have had seventy other Christmases that were full of joy, warmth, and love but this one was most memorable.


Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 05, 2016, 06:18:37 PM
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/Holidayparty/Holidaypartyredandwhit3eannueal.jpg)

Welcome, welcome, ALL to our Annual Holiday Drop in, our 20th Anniversary Special!

Come as you are, have a glass of egg nog, and greet old friends. We hope to make this a Homecoming for old, and we hope, brand new friends, and that you will each bring the gift of sharing a memory, a recipe or a thought for the holidays.

We have a  Raffle, too,  and just by posting here you are in the contest. Winner to be announced the 23rd of December.

So come on in, and note the Topics du Jour as we count down to the 25th:



(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 1-2:  Come on home and tell us the best book YOU read this year and why.
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 3-4:  Give us the gift of your favorite Holiday  Recipe
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 5-6:  What Christmas or Hanukkah do you remember best and why?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 7-8:  Did you ever have a disastrous holiday you laugh about now? The dressing that ran, the turkey which never cooked? Tell us about it.
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 9-10: Are you giving a book for Christmas or Hanukkah? If so, what is it?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 11-12: What is your favorite book with a holiday theme? Can be a mystery, etc.
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 13-14: What one thing do you absolutely have to have at Christmas or Hanukkah or it wouldn't be right without it?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 15-16: What's your all time favorite holiday sweet treat?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 17-18:  What's your favorite TV holiday program?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 19-20: - What one symbol of the season  do you have to have  every year?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 21-22: Who is the best Scrooge in all the movies and plays you've ever seen? Why?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 23: Raffle winner announced


(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 26- 31: Till January we'll we'll discuss  this charming short story, an allegory of virtues, A Kidnapped Santa Claus  by  L. Frank Baum

Lyman Frank Baum (15 May 1856 – 6 May 1919) was an American author of children’s books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A Kidnapped Santa Claus is a Christmas-themed short story written by L. Frank Baum. It is a continuation of the story set forth in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, telling how Santa Claus was kidnapped by “Daemons” in a plan to make children unhappy. It has been called one of Baum’s most beautiful stories and constitutes an influential contribution to the mythology of Christmas.

http://www.aesopfables.com/kidnap.html


Everyone is welcome!
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 05, 2016, 06:23:04 PM
Oh Karen - I know the anger and because of the feeling of defeat that this man who you loved was capable of such indifference spewing pain on his family and then your resiliency rediscovered to do what is needed to take care of yourself and your children - good for you...  Yes, Christmas is rebirth and notable is when we have an epiphany that leads to our own rebirth. 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: nlhome on December 05, 2016, 07:35:34 PM
My most memorable Christmas as an adult was the year we were married. The wedding was December 21, we went off to stay in the city where I was a student, and we took a few hours one day to buy gifts for everyone and then headed back home on Christmas Eve for church with my family and the big family get-togethers on Christmas day. I remember being so proud of all those gifts from both of us, although they weren't much. (I recall reflectors for my folks' country driveway as one gift.)  Two weeks later my husband flew off to catch his ship and spend the next year in SE Asia.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Annie on December 05, 2016, 10:50:18 PM
Ginny, thanks for putting up that link for me! I want to add that the Chocolate Creme De Menthe Bars can be cut up into 2 inch squares, layered using wax paper between the each layer (I use large plastic containers) and stored in the refrigerator or the freezer.  Also, I forgot to mention that not all Creme de Menthe liquior comes green so you can add green food coloring. Just a few drops.  The 2nd layer needs to be mint green.  My beauty operator says they are her favorite Christmas gift. I usually buy some Christmas tins and stuff them with the bars then give them to family and friends.


http://allrecipes.com/recipe/11369/creme-de-menthe-bars/
 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 06, 2016, 12:40:51 AM
I've several memorable happenings at Christmas but an entire day being the most memorable hmm -

I learned I was worth more, could and would be more capable the Christmas I was in 2nd grade when I received a pearled, short, pen and pencil set with gold clips from my father. My first thought popped out of my mouth, we did not write with a pen in 2nd grade and he calmly said, but you will and later in 6th grade he gave me, a girl, a basketball, a Wilson basketball -

I remember my cousins coming as they did every year and the tradition was to put all but one toy back under the tree as if on display and when our aunts and cousins came or we visited them the gifts were passed around for everyone to admire and then put back - each day another gift became a part of our lives. I also still hear my mother calling not to play with the manger as my sister and I played house with the manger figures and best of all when my one cousin, Jacky came we lay on our backs under the tree and look up at all the lights reflecting on the ornaments most of which were my grandmother's - she received them from relatives in Bavaria back before WWI. 

Then all the Christmases with my children and the Christmases with my grandchildren - taking a walk and visiting with my two from NC and stopping in a shop in Hendersonville and the youngest tried on cap - the kind you see on British golfers and men wore during the 20s and 30s - he looked great and then finding one for his brother who was not sure about wearing a cap but he looked great, then walking down the street they both stood so tall and enjoyed their hats that became the thing for the next year till summer.

Visiting my Son and his family when he lived for a few years in Oregon - we drove into the mountains to a tree farm along roads where evergreen trees were packed to the edge of the road - and the one year when they lived in Bryan Collage Station we just sat down for dinner after spending hours getting and decorating the tree and in amazement watched as in slow motion, we could not believe it was happening, the tree slowly and silently fell over.

The one I smile about to this day is the time I was in tears - we just moved to Kentucky and we were living in a 2 bedroom tract house where you walked in the front door directly into the living room that I put a mahogany desk along the wall that was as if a hallway to the doorway opposite the front door that led to the rest of the house - right to the kitchen, almost straight ahead to the bathroom, and left to the two bedrooms one facing the backyard and one facing the frontyard - On that desk is where I put my two sacks of groceries. I was exhausted having had a miss-carriage only 2 weeks before that was not as bad as the one I had the year before so I did not think I needed as much rest. 

My oldest, Peter was 4. I used to describe him that if I was an octopus I might be able to keep up with him and then just 9 months and 6 weeks after he was born there was Kathamarie, who was age 3 - came in, did not put the groceries up I was too tired, left them on the entry desk and immediately, put both of them down for a nap, shoes and socks off, potty, water etc. and then I laid down thinking a half hour and then I would take care of the groceries that had the makings for Christmas cookies, Flour, sugar etc. Well of course I fell sound asleep - did not hear Peter get up and even my daughter was up - he explored the groceries, dumped the 10 pound bag of sugar and the 10 bag of flour on the living room floor that was wood with a large 14 foot oval braided rug that gave groves to the flour and sugar so that with his trucks he had a whole road system laid out.

When I finally woke up and took one look, I cried - and cried - and cried - while picking everything up I cried - cried while vacuuming it up - cried moving the sofa and a large chest under the window to get the huge rug rolled up and into the yard to hang on the line and beat while crying - they're standing looking at me and I sat them down at the kitchen table and between tears told them they had to sit there without moving - I continued to clean up while crying, wiping down the floor, re-waxing the entry and the desk, vacuuming the sofa and the one chair - pulling and shoving and putting it all back - I swear I cried for 2 hours straight - deep, chest heaving, sobbing, nose running, red faced crying - if the tears ever mixed in with all that flour and sugar it would have been glue and I felt like I turned to glue, a long stretchy elastic cartoon of myself pulling my body to haul the rug back and forth from living room to yard.

Then, the icing on all this, since we only had one car and one day a week my husband rode with a working companion who lived about 5 streets away, I would not have what we needed to make cookies in my mind for a whole week unless, I got him to take me back to the grocery which meant the kids would have to go with us since it was now late and I had to fix dinner.

He came home, saw I was upset, saw the children sitting big eyed at the table and no one said a thing - we ate I said we had to go to the grocery - gave the kids the quickest baths of their lives, into their jammies and into the back of the car, went to the store - no words by anyone - I do not think anyone said a word till the next day. He never did ask what happened and the kids never had any idea the implications of their road construction and all I wanted to do was sleep, get up the next morning and bake cookies to recapture the holidays. Oh oh oh yep, that was memorable all right... oh,oh,ho,ho...my body still hurts when I think of it...oh god... what we do - when I think of that happening I laugh, shake my head and laugh again - such is life.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 06, 2016, 01:39:21 AM
tid bit - Today people associate Yule with the "Yule Log," a piece of wood decorated with evergreen, holly and candles.

The word (yule) itself it thought to have links to the word 'wheel,' (or turning) of the year and has associations with the Norse culture. Long ago, a huge log was placed in the fire, often extending seveal feet into the room. It was then burned for several days over the season!
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Flavia on December 06, 2016, 05:51:35 PM
Oh Karen,
That sounds awful, but praise God you had many many more Christmases to make up for it. My fondest memory was of Childhood Christmases. As a pure blood Swede, we had a traditional Christmas Eve Smörgåsbord, known as a Julbord. It probably had about 4-5 courses and dozens of dishes including lutefisk (which is probably the worst Christmas memory, the smell alone could drive you out of the house). The food was fantastic and we all had a hand in making it including my father making glögg, a potent mulled wine.  The party went on until 5 am when the adults went off to the local Lutheran Church that had a service in Swedish.  The fact that there were no DUI's is miraculous in itself.  Christmas day was spent recovering from Christmas Eve. Unfortunately between divorce, death, moves, and the kids growing up we no longer did it as the family had dwindled. 

I do have a special memory of a Christmas after my mom moved in with me.  My mom and I never got along; but do to circumstances among which my brother the golden boy, took up with the wicked witch of the west, she came to live with me.  Let me say that this was a blessing because we came to like each other very much.   Mother prior to this hardly ever could please me with her gift and I have to admit I was not very nice about it. So most of the time she just asked me what I wanted or gave me money.

The first year she lived with me she walked 2 miles to the saddle shop to buy me a hunt whip I was lusting after and to the hardware store for a level and power screwdriver.  You could have picked me up off the floor. My friend must have told her about the whip and I guess she heard me wishing for the power screwdriver and level as I did stuff around the house.  I loved that Christmas. 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: pedln on December 06, 2016, 11:25:36 PM
What a delight to read about everyone's Christmas celebrations.  Flavia, I didn't eat the lutefisk at our Scandinavian Christmas Eve table, but loved the lefse (mashed potatoes, lard, flour?) rolled thin and best cooked on a wood stove. My brother said it was like chewing on your napkin. That was my childhood Christmas. But how things change as we go through various life stages.

After I married we lived ten years in Puerto Rico, and while I think often of pasteles (not a pancake, not a meat pie, not an enchilada, wrapped up in something and boiled -- delicious) I think mostly of the music, the aguinaldos, and the men who would go from door to door with their guitars and sing these wonderful Christmas songs -- Pastores a Belen, Alegria, Si Me Dan Pasteles -- in exchange for coins or perhaps a bottle of rum.  And then there were the pointsetias -- they grew to the size of small trees and came into bloom during the Christmas season. And on the eve of Jan 6 my children would put out carrots and grass for the Wisemen's camels where on Three Kings Day they would find a small gift.

But other years brought other traditions.  My in-laws told of fixing cabbage and potatoes in the pressure cooker, topping with pastrami -- how good it tasted after so much party food.  And for a few years we adopted their recipe for Christmas Eve.

My oldest daughter started fixing her special macaroni and cheese before MAC-N-Cheese became a marketing phenomenon. And it has claimed its place on the Christmas Eve table to this day.  Started back when her college sophomore son was a little guy and said he loved it because it didn't come from a box.

And now I'm usually in Seattle for Christmas with oldest daughter and her family plus one or two other daughters and grandchildren.  My job?  Make the party mix -- we call them nuts and bolts.  Simply cereal roasted for two hours. This is done any time my family gets together -- to fortify the hikers, the bikers, the skiers or someone who just wants to curl up with a good book.



Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PeggyCasing on December 06, 2016, 11:56:33 PM
PatH, and BarbStAubrey, The springerle ARE easy to make! Using a sturdy stand mixer is the best!  No, it's not an anise extract. It should be labeled "anise oil."  I've bought it several places, but a cake decorating store (cake supply) has usually been my best bet. Good luck!

--------

My most memorable Christmas?

When my husband and I were first married, we didn't have much money.  As such, I suggested a $20 limit for gifts for each other. My husband is a good man, but thoughtful gifts aren't his specialty, so I wasn't expecting much.  As it turns out, when I opened my gifts on Christmas morning, he had bought a carousel type rack for my spice cupboard and a 9x9 glass baking dish.  Here's the twist:  I was thrilled! I never expected him to even know that I needed, or wanted those things!  I cried when I opened them.  How did he know?  He had overheard me admiring how my older sister had her spices stored, and he remembered that I had apologized  for using a pan that was too big because I didn't have one the size I needed. It wasn't the gifts that were the real present... it was the fact that he had been paying attention to me and my littlest comments... listening and remembering. I was very touched!  Since? It's been downhill from there!  Hahahaha!  Nah! 32 years later, though, that Christmas was my best because of the thought and effort that went into those "practical" gifts that most people would think were not good at all.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 07, 2016, 12:36:25 AM
Thanks Peggy for the explanation on the anise oil - it is special isn't it when you are heard without realizing someone cares enough to listen and acknowledge your hearts desire.

Puerto Rico - did they do the holy family walking to the various homes La Posadas as the Mexican families do here?

Flavia a Swedish drinking party - fun fun fun - too bad we no longer keep up some of these old traditions because yes, we move away, the younger generations marries and their traditions straddle both families so that a bit is lost as time moves onward.

Found this and it reminded me of what happens during Christmas when cousins are all visiting grandma at the same time.

(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/78/3e/3c/783e3c15944c48e1a16ee63a1b378a62.jpg)
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 07, 2016, 01:23:20 PM
Let's see there are a couple of disastrous Christmas eves I can recall.  The first that stays with me is the year my mother was in the hospital at Christmas time.  My hubby and I took the three kids to visit her to make her happy on Christmas Eve because normally she would host the huge family get together this night,  Her tradition and NO ONE was allowed to miss it.  So we spent the visiting hours with her and left to come home only to find ALL restaurants were closed by the time we left the hospital.  We were starving because it was well past the dinner hour.  I said let's just go home and order a pizza, assuming pizza places would still be delivering.  We got home, called the pizza place and they said they were closing in five minutes.  We practically begged them to please make us a couple of pizzas and we would gladly pick them up.  The guy was nice enough to make us the pizzas and we were finally eating by 10:00 p.m.

The next Christmas Eve disaster was when the kids were little and we hid all the presents in the attic in the closet in our bedroom.  Oh did we ever think we were clever, no way they would ever find them to peek.  We came home from my Mom's annual celebration which was a thirty minute drive and late at night.  We got home, put the kids in bed and said we would lay down for a few minutes so we would know the three kids were fast asleep before my hubby would go out to the garage to get the ladder to climb up into the attic to get all the gifts down.  Lo and behold, we both fell fast asleep and woke up at 6:30 a.m. to realize we had not gotten the gifts out.  Oh my I will never forget the fright we felt that the kids would wake up before we could accomplish the task of taking all the clothes out of the closet, getting the ladder from the garage, getting all the presents down and under the tree before they would awaken.  We finished getting everything set up when we heard our daughter stirring in her bedroom.  We climbed back into bed pretending we were asleep just in time before our three kids came running into the room asking if they could go down to see if Santa came. We looked at each other, exhausted and said let's go put the coffee on, our day is about to begin.  I told my hubby I will always believe in Santa Claus because I am certain it was he who nudged us to wake up before our kids Christmas would have been ruined.  Ho!  Ho!  Ho! 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Mkaren557 on December 07, 2016, 02:46:15 PM
     One year sometime in the mid seventies, I decided to host Christmas Dinner at my house. I had moved into a restored older home in April of that year and had a big dining room and my mother's big table.  There were twelve adults and God knows how many children. probably five.   I rolled out the wedding china and silver, an heirloom tablecloth and napkins, you know, all the dusty tarnished stuff.  I had spent days washing, polishing, wrapping, and preparing my contributions to Christmas Dinner.  Mom brought the turkey all cooked ready to put on the table.  My sister-in law and I did the veggies and my mother-in -law made many pies and her family's plum pudding and hard sauce.  We were all ready to sit down when my mother screamed, "Karen!" from my beautiful yellow kitchen.  I ran and froze as I saw water gushing  from under the kitchensink. Someone shut off the water to the kitchen and, as the stalwart group we are, took our places at the table.  I can still hear my mother's summons, "Come sit down or everything will be cold.  As dinner was ending, we discussed strategy for cleaning up.  I suggested that we burn the house down; my husband disagreed.  Finally, the men proceeded to the living room to sit in easy chairs and watch some dog show as the women swang into action.  We covered our clothes with aprons and big shirts.  I can still see my mother and mother-in-law kneeling by the tub washing my chins, silver, and glassware as the rest of us dried and put away.  Next came the greasy turkey pan and all the bakeware, cookware that we owned.  The grease clung to the sides of the tub as we drained the tub.  It took forever to clean the tub, but finally we finished and everything was sparkling.  Once again the women, in order to celebrate my clean kitchen, pulled out paper plates and my best plasticware and ate more dessert. 
     Oh, I can laugh now.  In fact we all laugh when this story gets retold each time we sit down to any holiday meal.  After eating around 2:00, at 7:00 the "party" broke up.  I don't know what dog won, but the men carried clean dishes and tired toddlers to the cars ,and six amazing, exhausted women were no longer individuals, but had formed a "band of sisters."
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Flavia on December 07, 2016, 11:22:47 PM
Men are useless. But you have a great memory, so I guess they are useful for that.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Kristen on December 08, 2016, 11:11:46 AM
Men are useless. But you have a great memory, so I guess they are useful for that.
When I was growing up we always ate Christmas dinner at my Grandma's house around noon.  My grandfather lived there too but I always thought of it as Grandma's house.  (Actually, she paid for it by taking in roomers and boarders during WWII.)  Grandma ate very slowly and talked a lot during the meal.  They guys never said much, they just ate and left the table so they could watch TV and talk about sports.  They would come back and eat with the women again when it was time for dessert.  Then back to the living room for them, while the women all worked together in the kitchen cleaning up.  It took a very long time to do everything by hand.  By the time we were all finished, my grandfather would appear in the kitchen, ready for a turkey sandwich for supper.  I remember my tired grandmother commenting every year about just getting finished with the big dinner and now he wanted her to start over making more food and getting more dishes dirty. 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Kristen on December 08, 2016, 12:45:21 PM
Actually, my brother, Eric, is very useful at the Holidays.  I like to get as much done as possible in the days and evening before.  For example, we usually have a cake for dessert.  I want to bake it the night before to be sure it turns out OK and is one less thing to do the day of the dinner.  Eric thinks, that food tastes better fresh and everything should be made that day.  He has taken over much of the dinner.  This year he baked bread and made a pineapple upside down cake on Christmas day.  Since he was already working in the kitchen, he also did the green bean casserole and a creamed corn casserole.  He's a vegetarian so I always deal with the meat but other than that he tends to take over.  He also did almost all of the house cleaning the day before.  My main task was setting up card tables and chairs and then doing most of the dish washing. 

Sometimes I even like to make dessert ahead and freeze it.  This year I made a pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting hoping to use it in addition to his cake for some variety.  The problem with freezing cakes and cookies is that we decide to eat a piece, and then another piece, and another until the whole thing is gone and I have to bake another and replace it.

My mom and I always started a month or two in advance with cookies so we would have a big variety and plenty to give away.  One year I had some pecan pie bars put back.  I noticed the supply was dwindling so I made some more and told Eric not to eat any more of them since I was going to give them to someone.  When I took the cookie can out of the freezer to put the name tag on it, I realized something was very wrong.  The box weighed hardly anything.  He'd been eating them again.  I was very angry, although I shouldn't have been since we both used to eat up the gingerbread cookies we had planned on giving away.  We'd use the excuse, "they don't know they're getting them, so they won't miss them."  Then we'd end up giving boxes of store bought candy to friends at the last minute.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 08, 2016, 12:52:35 PM
I think the great thing I do remember about my Dad was he beamed and was so proud of my mom bringing the roast anything, (Turkey, Chicken in a pot, Crown ribs, leg of Lamp) to the often makeshift table (sawhorses with planks covered with her best linen cloth to make a long table since our usual only seated 8 and holidays required at least a dozen) Anyhow - Mom's dream was to cook a whole suckling pig decorated with the apple and sprigs of holly and one year he surprised her and brought home the pig - you would think he brought her a gold bullion and again, he beamed with not just pride but happiness that she was bringing to us this creation that she cooked as if she was a fine master chef - she was a good cook and I think half the reason was my Dad was so proud that she saw it as something she could do well.

No, he never did help to clean up in the kitchen but he did put together and later take down the makeshift table and one year we had 16 so he figured out seating by putting the ironing board between two chairs and he decided only the kids could sit on it - he brought in the tree and set it up and he always did a good cleaning of chicken coup in December - Problem I had was thinking all men would be as proud of their wives cooking skills and to make a special dinner into an occasion. Ah so... but I still have that wonderful memory.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PeggyCasing on December 08, 2016, 10:42:38 PM
Disastrous holiday that I can laugh at now...?  Hummm.

I have to start by saying that I live in Michigan.

About four years ago, we had major renovations done to our house, pretty much changing the entire floor plan. (we lived amidst the construction, which the contractor said would be okay, but NOW I would NOT advise! My daughter, about two months into the project said, "This is like camping with none of the fun!") Anyway, after the construction we were having problems with heat getting to the new master bedroom.  We struggled with it for months, and brought contractors in, to no avail.  When my daughter and son-in-law came to stay for Christmas the following year, we all switched around rooms and they were given the chilly master bedroom.  We apologized, gave them extra blankets, and figured they'd be chilly but okay.  On Christmas morning, they were quiet and I asked if they had slept well.  My daughter said they hadn't, probably because of the unfamiliar bed, and because of the cold.  I, again, apologized, but not much else, because of the busyness of Christmas morning.  We had our celebration, and they, again, spent the night in the room, assuring us that they'd be fine.  It wasn't until at least a day later that I went into the room, and feeling how cold it was, looked at all of the windows.  As it turns out, THE DOORWALL WAS OPEN ABOUT SIX INCHES!!!  I have no idea who opened it, but they closed the curtain, but not the doorwall! Those poor kids were sleeping in a room with an open doorwall in 10 degree weather! That open window turned the usually chilly room into a freezer!  We laugh about it now, but I have a feeling that they don't quite trust me anymore!  :o       

Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 08, 2016, 10:45:17 PM
Flavia,
Quote
Men are useless. But you have a great memory, so I guess they are useful for that.
Okay I have to come to the defense of the men in my family.  My hubby is hands on with everything when it comes to preparing for the holiday meals.  He actually does ALL the grocery shopping, I make a list and he shops.  Then when it is time to begin preparing things the night before he is right there beside me, he chops up the celery and onions while I prepare the turkey stuffing, he cuts up all the fruit for the fruit tray, and he cuts up all the cheeses for the cheese and cracker tray.  The next day he is alongside me peeling the potatoes and even carries all the fine china down for me to set the table.  He carries in our two banquet tables the night before and carries them back out after all is cleaned up at the end of the day.  I have so many friends and family who tell me he is one in a million, and I know how blessed I am to have him, but let me tell you my two married sons, and my son in law also help their wives just as much as my hubby helps me.  My brother in law was as helpful and hands on in the kitchen, laundry and cleaning the house as much as my hubby and sons are, so I like to think there are a whole lot more guys out there who do as much.  Since my hubby retired I honestly think he has taken over my kitchen!!  He has become my personal chef, and I am not complaining, except for when he starts moving my things around.... then I remind him it is MY kitchen and the garage and shed are his.   ;)
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 09, 2016, 12:02:31 PM
Peggy, I just love that story. I don't think I'll ever forget it, it's so LIKE trying to live with construction, isn't it? What a hoot!  I'm loving every submission here, it's priceless, thank you all for the gift of yourselves and your memories!

Kriisten, I never thought about how much work it used to be, gives us a nice perspective with all our modern conveniences,  thank you for that, too, and Bellamarie, how lovely for you.

And even tho today the topic changes, we can still add anything from any of the previous topics, too, it's like a room full of open gift boxes.
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)   December 9-10: Are you giving a book for Christmas or Hanukkah? If so, what is it?

Yes I am and I had never heard of it before last Sunday's 60 Minutes.  They had a feature with a veteran of the Pearl Harbor bombing, Donald Stratton,  who  has written a book about it, called All the Gallant Men.

"The first and only memoir by a survivor of the USS Arizona, the ship attacked at Pearl Harbor. "

My husband was watching it and he and our sons are interested in history so I asked him if that were something he thought he'd like and he said yes. So I've ordered one for each of them.

I've always found those eyewitness books to history to be fascinating and I'm going to read it after the first one finishes.

I also got my husband a book I saw in a local  B&N  titled Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab written  May 17, 2016  by Steve Inskeep.  “The story of the Cherokee removal has been told many times, but never before has a single book given us such a sense of how it happened and what it meant, not only for Indians, but also for the future and soul of America.” —The Washington Post.

We in this area of SC hear a lot about the Cherokee Indians, just like we did in Pennsylvania as children hear about the Lenni- Lenape Indians but I don't know much if anything about the Cherokee and I look forward to reading that one, too, once he is finished with it.

(How IS it that when you're young you think you know everything but as as you get older you realize that  there is so MUCH that everybody else  seems to know that you don't?) So much to read, so little time. :)

Are there any  books on YOUR holiday tradition list?

Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Mkaren557 on December 09, 2016, 12:41:54 PM
In defense of men.  The men in my life were raised by women who were told by their mothers from the time that they first played house that women did the cooking, cleaning and childcare and men worked to support their wives and children.  And so my mother and David's(my ex-husband) mother did all that and the model many men of my generation saw was their mother's taking care of most everything in their domestic lives.  Many men did not expect to do "women's work."  And we women carried on the tradition and did do all the housework, cooking and childcare.  Some men like Bella's husband broke the mold. My older  brother's wife picks out her husband's clothes each morning, for instance; my brother does nothing.  On the other hand, my two younger brothers married women who had mothers who worked outside the home and had fathers who cooked, cleaned, and provided child care as they were needed.  So the women expected this to be the case in this own marriages.  So both my brothers cook, Bob cooks dinner all the time and does all the shopping.  Paul has done the dishes, cleaned and been very involved in raising his daughters.  I am thrilled when I see my son and his friends as equal partners in their  marriages and in raising their children.  So I did not mean to imply that all men sit in easy chairs and watch tv while clean up of preparation for holidays takeplace.  The problem in my life was that I believed that there was another way to have a relationship than the one my parents had and my husband saw men who did "women's work" as weak and not very manly. 
     I am as always giving books this year even to those who don't read very much.  My niece and I share a love for the New England Patriots.  She and I go to a bar on Sundays to watch Pats games as we live in Florida.  I have a poodle named Tom Brady. so I am giving her Brady and Belichick by Michael Holley.  I bought my best friend Deidre a book I saw at Amazon and know nothing about called Still Going Strong a collection of memoirs stories and poems about Great Older Women, of which she is one.    I love it when I find, just the right book for the right person.  I am giving my sister-in-law two books about living on the water because she does and for my non-reader brother a current World Almanac.  I sent my two granddaughters the first book in the Humphrey series and two books by Patricia Pollaco. 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 09, 2016, 01:41:37 PM
They all get books - it is as much a constant as washing your hands - 5 grandboys with different interests - one Hiking in France, another Walking Vienna, another the muscles and systems of the body, another a book on prospecting for clients Never Eat Alone, one more not sure yet, something about designing - daughter-in-law its a light novel, I'm thinking an Angela Thirkell, daughter a Christmas story preferably a children's illustrated story, I'm thinking The Christmas Wish by Lon Evert - Son-in-law I'm thinking Adam LaBor's Tower of Basel, and Son loves his woodworking DVDs - with severe dyslexia books are a struggle. 

Everyone on the street has been decked out with lots of lights since last weekend and I still do not have my wreath on the front door - today for sure - been so cold the last few days I have not wanted to get out but D-Day, last day for early voting, we have an important run-off plus I need a few things since I have decided to do a bit of baking.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: nlhome on December 09, 2016, 06:33:38 PM
Books are on everyone's list here as well. However, they are not all new books, because we also have a tradition that my Mom started many years ago, and I try to continue it now, of what she would label "GS" (garage sale) and most would be fun gifts or jokes. So I pick games and books up at garage sales or used book sales, along with new books I see that would suit people. And if everyone doesn't get a new book, they get a joke book instead, and each one gets a B&N gift card. It seems as though each of our children's families are considering a move in 2017 or 2018, so I don't really want to give gifts that will end up in storage in our basement. One book I bought for a daughter is Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners. I thought that she, her sisters-in-law and her aunts would enjoy passing that book around. Sharing the books is also a tradition.

As for husbands, my husband is a great cook, and after he retired while I was still working, he did almost all the cooking. Now, I do some of it again, but he's the best.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PatH on December 09, 2016, 08:34:19 PM
In defense of men: it's what you've been raised to expect.  My husband's father died when he was two, leaving his mother with two boys to raise, and no income except some insurance money until they were in school and she could go back to work as a teacher.  There was less question of gender roles when he was growing up, than a question of who had the time to do something.  So he didn't feel that any tasks were outside his abilities or responsibilities, and mostly we divided things up according to taste or ability or available time.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PatH on December 09, 2016, 08:54:53 PM
Books as presents: a good Christmas is one in which you get at least one book.  I'm giving one SIL the book about Neanderthal man I mentioned as one of my best reads, and the other SIL some used sci-fi books I think he'll like.  Haven't yet decided about the daughters.  JoanK and I have a present-giving convention: give her something you've read and liked, no pressure whether she will like it or not.  I won't say here what I'm giving her.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 09, 2016, 11:50:29 PM
I love reading all the different posts on the men and how the life situations determined how they decided what their role and responsibilities were in helping with "women's work."  It is true it was looked at as just that many years ago.  Today, with two working parents, and all the different activities the children are in, it's who ever gets home first starts the dinner, much like PatH. said, who ever has the time.  My son does the laundry and his own ironing because he likes his shirts and pants just so.  He picked up my OCD where that is concerned.  His wife had never ironed before marriage and has never ironed since.  It works for them! 

Today I went to our annual Dine & Dash Christmas luncheon/fundraiser for the organization Heartbeat of Toledo, which is where I volunteer, (a pro life pregnancy support center).  It was held at a very fancy hotel conference center with over fifty vendors selling their wares.  Our motivational guest speaker last year was Barbara L. Roose who wrote a book called Enough Already (Winning Your Ugly Struggle With Beauty).  She was one of our vendors this year and had packaged her book in a shallow brown box with little secret messages and gifts inside envelopes to be opened before reading certain chapters in her book.  I thought it was a superb idea on marketing her book, and the box with a gorgeous red holiday ribbon with sprigs of holly berries and evergreen on it made it even more irresistible.  I purchased it for my sister for Christmas.  I think she is going to really like it.  I give her inspirational/motivational books as gifts all through the year.   Now for my history buff hubby, he wants Bill O'Reilly's book, Killing The Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan. 

My kids usually give me a Barnes and Noble gift card which I absolutely love!!
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 10, 2016, 02:31:50 PM
Have you ever thought of making Wassail - Here is a recipe that looks easy.

(http://68.media.tumblr.com/edb0d7b12616fa475db0613a87cb8b6e/tumblr_ngvyeuQdMn1ro4v2no1_540.jpg)
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Flavia on December 10, 2016, 03:45:46 PM
Flavia,
Quote
Men are useless. But you have a great memory, so I guess they are useful for that.
Okay I have to come to the defense of the men in my family.  My hubby is hands on with everything when it comes to preparing for the holiday meals.  He actually does ALL the grocery shopping, I make a list and he shops.  Then when it is time to begin preparing things the night before he is right there beside me, he chops up the celery and onions while I prepare the turkey stuffing, he cuts up all the fruit for the fruit tray, and he cuts up all the cheeses for the cheese and cracker tray.  The next day he is alongside me peeling the potatoes and even carries all the fine china down for me to set the table.  He carries in our two banquet tables the night before and carries them back out after all is cleaned up at the end of the day.  I have so many friends and family who tell me he is one in a million, and I know how blessed I am to have him, but let me tell you my two married sons, and my son in law also help their wives just as much as my hubby helps me.  My brother in law was as helpful and hands on in the kitchen, laundry and cleaning the house as much as my hubby and sons are, so I like to think there are a whole lot more guys out there who do as much.  Since my hubby retired I honestly think he has taken over my kitchen!!  He has become my personal chef, and I am not complaining, except for when he starts moving my things around.... then I remind him it is MY kitchen and the garage and shed are his.   ;)

No, not all men are useless, some are fantastic, unfortunately they were grabbed up, before I put my bid in.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: pedln on December 10, 2016, 07:26:10 PM
PatH, your story about your husband growing up and ignoring gender roles for different chores reminded me of a friend when I was in grad school.  She was a widowed mother of four -- high school and college age and was telling me about her son, sewing things on his Boy Scout shirt.  I think my children are more independent, she said, because they don't always have someone to do for them.

I'm not giving books this year except to the youngest grand, but there will be sharing and raids on the book shelves. Santa usually puts one in my stocking, sometimes recycled, sometimes otherwise. I would miss it if it didn't appear.

The youngest, almost 10, is getting Wolf Hollow and one I recently saw reviewed -- Pax -- about a boy and his wolf. When I told my daughter about Pax she said, ok, I'll cancel the library hold on it.  Like minds, thank goodness.

One of my gifts to the youngest is a DVD, a golden oldie with Greer Garson and Walter Pigeon.  This past Thanksgiving, in Albuquerque, Aunt Judy took her to the Nuclear Science Museum and she came home with a book entitled Madam Curie for Kids. so I had to get her the Madam Curie DVD.  My brother took me to see that film when I was in 3rd grade.

Barb, if we drank some of your Wassail we might stay warm enough to put up outside decorations. I'm not decorating inside this year at all. Barely home from ABQ and getting ready to go to Seattle until after New Year's.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 11, 2016, 08:10:39 AM
I'm getting so many ideas from your posts, I'm actually writing them down. One thing Adoannie mentioned on early was the best book she read this year was the new Helen Simonson (she of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand). It's called  The Summer Before the War. And I thought don't I have that somewhere? And I did and OMG, it's post Edwardian England (think: EF Benson, one of my favorite authors) with humor and the protagonist is...I can't believe it...a Latin teacher in Rye, EF. Benson's home and site for his Mapp and Lucia series. What more could you want?   Latin  is really making a comeback lately, but how will she handle this?  Apparently with a lot of humor and Major Pettigrew type writing, the reviews are wonderful. it's sitting right here staring at me. Thank you for mentioning it, Adoannie!


There's just nothing like sinking into a good book before a fire, imaginary or real. hahaha

Now for today and tomorrow:

 (http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 11-12: What is your favorite book with a holiday theme? Can be a mystery, etc.

Now for some reason at Christmas I like mysteries. I like  Scrooge.  I guess The Christmas Carol is my all time favorite and we have one something like it starting the 26th, a short (very short) story allegory, see heading, to discuss, but at Christmas I like a little....I'm not sure what you call it...

My favorite Christmas mystery  is one that irritates a lot of people and I absolutely love it. It's called Christmas Crimes at Puzzel (spelled this way for a reason) Manor and the author is Simon Brett.

In this book with the requisite snowed in British country home  and stranded guests, Brett, who is obviously a very clever man, sets out murders but he also sets the reader a puzzle in Puzzel Manor. Every chapter has a different type of puzzle which gives, if solved, another  clue. It becomes a battle of wits between the reader and the author, a challenge, and the reason a lot of people hate the book is that he does not ever give the answers to the final puzzle.

Or did he? 

It's the perfect book to read chapter by chapter with a friend and see IF either of you can figure out each clue as you go.

Agatha Christie also did some lovely Christmas pieces, one with Poirot, but hands down  Brett wins it for me every time. I  reread it every few  years (just long enough to forget the solutions) so I can enjoy it again. This year I'm dragging it out again.

What about YOU? Is there a book with a holiday theme you  really like?
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Mkaren557 on December 11, 2016, 08:22:20 AM
My favorite Christmas themed piece of literature is actually the short story, "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry which I first read as high school junior.  It was my first O. Henry story and led to my reading many more. The idea that someone would sell what they love to buy a present for someone they love was the most romantic thing my sixteen year old mind could conjure up.  I also Loved the Christmas part of Little Women. I don't remember all the details, but I remember how poor the family was with the father off to war and how strong and unselfish the mother was. She was off caring for the sick all Christmas and it wasn't until Christmas night that they were able to share presents from the heart with each other. I think that is why I never ask someone to give me a Christmas list.  I want to give them something special from my heart.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Robby on December 11, 2016, 08:53:32 AM
I am at that stage in life (and I guess I have been like this for years) that material things are not that important to me.  What is important to me is Friendship.  I live alone and am being invited to someone's house for Christmas.  This family had me with them for last year's Christmas and absorbed me completely into their celebration.  This is a true gift.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 11, 2016, 12:10:12 PM
Lovely to see your post again Robby - hope your Christmas Day with friends fills your spirit.

Karen with all the growth here in Austin it was quite the dilemma what to do with the House O'Henry lived in while living in Austin - it sat for years on a huge piece of land that was at least an acre - they finally decided to not tear it down and the surrounding land is but a minuscule of its former glory but at least the developers listened to the city.

Favorite story, hands down The Christmas Mouse by Miss Read - it is just not Christmas without a fresh read. Young Mom of two young children recently widowed and living with her Mom - a trip on the bus to town on a rainy Christmas Eve gives the children a chance to shop along with Mom - this is pre-WWII - Another footballer that was on the trip and in the accident that killed the husband sees them at the bus stop on the way home and he drives them instead - so you know where that is going - then all the Christmas eve bustle of baths, excitement, wrapping and describing gifts till they settle in their beds and the Grandmother has a mouse in her room.

The daughter and she attempt to find it with no luck and instead the grandmother decides to wrap herself in a quilt and sleep in the chair by the fire - all is quiet and then after midnight more sounds like a mouse in the pantry where the Christmas cake is stored - investigating it is a young boy that is the Christmas Mouse and how he feels unloved so he ran away - ends up of course he had to guts up and walk home in the dark wet night and tell his adoptive parents regardless, that he could sneak back in the house without their ever knowing.

The rest of the story is the wrap up of Christmas morning, exchanging gifts and that evening the unexpected trip in the car passes the young boys house where through the window the grandmother can see all is well.

A warmhearted story with descriptions of cottage, weather that helps tell the story and for me, gifts that remind me of the typical gifts from my young childhood, ending with a promise of a gentle and loving life following the seasons with various kinds of love the cornerstone to their life.

As to a mystery - I think for me it was more suspense than solving a crime but I was enchanted and on the edge of my chair reading The Other Wise Man by Van Dyke. How much would he give away, who would he meet next that had a greater need then his travels, how he missed the caravan and what he did to continue his journey with the goal of seeing the Christ Child - I've only read it a couple of times but each time I pick up another metaphor to life.

Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 11, 2016, 12:25:16 PM
Here is a mystery - from what story is this bit?

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Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 11, 2016, 04:55:54 PM
MKaren, I absolutely love Little Women.  I went to see the movie with my daughter, sister and her daughter in law.  I fell in love with the March family, and the best friend Laurie.  I actually have the limited doll collection from Ashton Drake of the sisters and mother.  It truly is one of my all time favorite books/movies.

Robby, I am so happy to hear this family has made you an extended member of their family, especially for Christmas.  What a wonderful gift I am sure you are to each other.

I have wrapped myself into watching The Hallmark Channel's Christmas shows for the first time ever and have not read much.  I did just order this book by Max Lucado:

https://maxlucado.com/watch/new-for-christmas/

I am hoping I get it before Christmas.

My favorite Christmas book I read and has stayed with me is, The Great Christmas Bowl by Susan May Warren.  I read it at the time my kid's were all moving away or at least out of our house and it seemed to touch my heart.

Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PeggyCasing on December 12, 2016, 04:03:09 PM
Disastrous holiday that I can laugh at now...?  Hummm.

I have to start by saying that I live in Michigan.

About four years ago, we had major renovations done to our house, pretty much changing the entire floor plan. (we lived amidst the construction, which the contractor said would be okay, but NOW I would NOT advise! My daughter, about two months into the project said, "This is like camping with none of the fun!") Anyway, after the construction we were having problems with heat getting to the new master bedroom.  We struggled with it for months, and brought contractors in, to no avail.  When my daughter and son-in-law came to stay for Christmas the following year, we all switched around rooms and they were given the chilly master bedroom.  We apologized, gave them extra blankets, and figured they'd be chilly but okay.  On Christmas morning, they were quiet and I asked if they had slept well.  My daughter said they hadn't, probably because of the unfamiliar bed, and because of the cold.  I, again, apologized, but not much else, because of the busyness of Christmas morning.  We had our celebration, and they, again, spent the night in the room, assuring us that they'd be fine.  It wasn't until at least a day later that I went into the room, and feeling how cold it was, looked at all of the windows.  As it turns out, THE DOORWALL WAS OPEN ABOUT SIX INCHES!!!  I have no idea who opened it, but they closed the curtain, but not the doorwall! Those poor kids were sleeping in a room with an open doorwall in 10 degree weather! That open window turned the usually chilly room into a freezer!  We laugh about it now, but I have a feeling that they don't quite trust me anymore!  :o     

I'm quoting myself, just to say that my daughter and son-in-law, who have "always" been with us for Christmas have decided to head out of town, to his parent's, for Christmas this year!  hahahaha  I told you!  They DON'T trust me! hahahaha!
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PeggyCasing on December 12, 2016, 04:09:52 PM
Favorite Christmas themed book?

A cheesy read, but Shepherds Abiding, by Jan Karon comes to mind.  I just love her Mitford series for the lovely character development and the warm, cozy atmosphere that she portrays.  Reading this book on a cold, winter day with a cup of hot cocoa is a dream! 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 12, 2016, 04:40:55 PM
Peggy you caused the giggles - love it - do not trust you - hahaha - oh dear - but yes Mitford stories are like a warm cup of tea just when you need it the most.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 12, 2016, 11:31:40 PM
Debbie Macomber also has some great warm, snuggle up with a cup of hot peppermint cocoa books.  She is a favorite of mine.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Mkaren557 on December 13, 2016, 09:38:34 AM
Unfortunately, Christmas is not the same since I moved to Florida.  I miss the cold, the snow, and window shopping in my small town, but Christmas in Florida has its charms as well. The decorations are bright and cheery and plentiful.  I laughed the first time I saw a Christmas tree made from lights and wire, bit now they have become a part of my expectations.  The decorations at the several large malls in Sarasota cheer me up and, believe it or not, invite me in for a "little" shopping.  I really love walking out my door on Christmas morning in my bathing suit to go for a swim and for lunch I love grilling out. So Christmas is not the same; it is different.  I really know in Maine and Florida that connecting with my far-flung family whether in person or on Skype is what brings me the most joy.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PeggyCasing on December 13, 2016, 10:28:12 AM
The one thing I just have to have for Christmas?  -Springerle cookies  ...but I already told you that!  The other thing?  -a jigsaw puzzle.  The tradition of a puzzle started for me when my kids were small and I was working full time and going to school.  I never, literally never, had any downtime, and ANYTHING I did was intentional and with purpose. (I completed 3 degrees, one with a dual major over the course of ten years - all while working and being a mom... Girl Scout Leader, etc.  What the heck was I thinking?!?!) At some point, early on, I decided to start a puzzle on Christmas day.  To me, it represented a frivolous activity that was just for fun, the net result being disassembled and put back in the box.  We go to Mass on Christmas Eve and celebrate with family then too, so Christmas morning begins a day of leisure. While my kids played with their toys, I was able to clear a spot on the kitchen table to begin "The Puzzle."  "The Puzzle" was something that usually took the full day, often being completed a day, or two, after Christmas. On other years, however, "The Puzzle" became an enterprise of epic proportions! We had one year where "The Puzzle" -Van Gogh's "Starry, Starry Night" was so difficult that I/we didn't finish it over Christmas break, and it had to take a back seat to other life issues.  It was dusted periodically, but not finished until Easter when my sister and her family came to celebrate the holiday and helped to complete the project! We were SO happy to finally have our table back.  My girls usually help now, and we all look forward to the decision of what puzzle we'll be assembling.  I have my favorites- usually a still-life with many colorful objects, but most of my puzzles have been gifts, given by friends that want to gift me with a day of leisure, fun and family.  -You can't get any better than that!
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: rosemarykaye on December 13, 2016, 11:04:01 AM

(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/Holidayparty/Holidaypartyredandwhit3eannueal.jpg)

Welcome, welcome, ALL to our Annual Holiday Drop in, our 20th Anniversary Special!

Come as you are, have a glass of egg nog, and greet old friends. We hope to make this a Homecoming for old, and we hope, brand new friends, and that you will each bring the gift of sharing a memory, a recipe or a thought for the holidays.

We have a  Raffle, too,  and just by posting here you are in the contest. Winner to be announced the 23rd of December.

So come on in, and note the Topics du Jour as we count down to the 25th:



(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 1-2:  Come on home and tell us the best book YOU read this year and why.
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 3-4:  Give us the gift of your favorite Holiday  Recipe
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 5-6:  What Christmas or Hanukkah do you remember best and why?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 7-8:  Did you ever have a disastrous holiday you laugh about now? The dressing that ran, the turkey which never cooked? Tell us about it.
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 9-10: Are you giving a book for Christmas or Hanukkah? If so, what is it?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 11-12: What is your favorite book with a holiday theme? Can be a mystery, etc.
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 13-14: What one thing do you absolutely have to have at Christmas or Hanukkah or it wouldn't be right without it?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 15-16: What's your all time favorite holiday sweet treat?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 17-18:  What's your favorite TV holiday program?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 19-20: - What one symbol of the season  do you have to have  every year?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 21-22: Who is the best Scrooge in all the movies and plays you've ever seen? Why?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 23: Raffle winner announced


(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 26- 31: Till January we'll we'll discuss  this charming short story, an allegory of virtues, A Kidnapped Santa Claus  by  L. Frank Baum

Lyman Frank Baum (15 May 1856 – 6 May 1919) was an American author of children’s books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A Kidnapped Santa Claus is a Christmas-themed short story written by L. Frank Baum. It is a continuation of the story set forth in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, telling how Santa Claus was kidnapped by “Daemons” in a plan to make children unhappy. It has been called one of Baum’s most beautiful stories and constitutes an influential contribution to the mythology of Christmas.

http://www.aesopfables.com/kidnap.html


Everyone is welcome!





Coming late to this party, but Barb, is that excerpt from The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter?

I know I'm in the wrong time slot for this, but here is the Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe I promised Ginny:

Ingredients
5oz caster sugar
3oz margarine
2 eggs
6oz self-raising flour
6oz chopped dates
i/2 (half) a teaspoon vanilla essence
6 fluid oz boiling water
3/4 (three quarters) of a teaspoon f bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp coffee essence (I use Camp coffee essence that comes in a bottle, but I think you could also use very strong cold coffee)

Sauce
4oz margarine
6oz soft brown sugar
1/2 (half) a pint of single (pouring) cream

Method
1. Preheat oven to 160C;
2. Grease and lightly flour an ovenproof dish;
3. Put the dates, vanilla, boiling water & bicarbonateinto a bowl; mix together and leave to cool;
4. Cream the margarine and sugar together. Add eggs together with one spoonful of the measured flour. Beat;
5. Add the date mixture to the other mixture;
6. Gradually fold in the rest of the sieved flour. Mixture may be quite runny;
7. Pour mixture into the prepared dish;
8. Bake for 30-40 mins or until it looks like it is cooked.

Sauce:
1. Melt the margarine in a saucepan;
2. Add the brown sugar and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes;
3. Slowly stir in the cream;
4. Bring slowly to the boil;
5. Serve in a jug , hot or cold.

It's probably about a million calories a mouthful. Enjoy :)
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 13, 2016, 12:41:52 PM
Yes, Rosemary - The Tailor at Gloucester - lovely little story isn't it by Beatrice Potter... Never can tell if it is her stories or her illustrations that charms so that as grown adults we are still enchanted reading her little stories.

What makes Christmas for me hmm - like Phyllis and Karen and I bet others, there is little consistency celebrating the day. Life changes it seems as the children grow - first my own maturity from childhood, than my children and now the grandchildren are all in their 20s. When there are children the magic of creating fairyland and the excitement of hiding surprise gifts, the baking, decorating, candles, shopping, cleaning - yep, cleaning - I remember when I was a child and even with my children, the house had to be scrubbed so to speak from top to bottom - like a Spring cleaning all in preparation for welcoming the Christ Child. 

Last year was the first Christmas I was alone - my good friend who in the past, if I was still in town, had me join her and her family, she had passed, and for various reasons I was alone. I did decorate some but it has been years now since I had a tree. So that is not an important need - I do still tie with ribbon the live wreath under the chandelier in the breakfast area and hang off it some of the oldest ornaments that were my grandmother's and I do put a wreath on the front door but, if I did not do that I would not feel empty -  it must be the books - I can remember back before I could read a special storybook Mom read where all the illustrations were in shades of blue - the only part of the story I do remember after all these years is they were poor and searching for what to do, decided to bake cookies.

We forget how inexpensive some basic foods were, where as today we have pricing as a result of various shortages  that when the shortage ends the price never goes back to the pre-shortage price range - so when Sugar was unavailable and we were making trips across the border for sugar we now have that basic commodity no longer an inexpensive ingredient for baking - and look how flour has changed. I'm remember there was either regular or fine where as today there is all-purpose - bread - self-rising - pastry - fine baking, and no more cloth sacks. Of course the price of fuel a few years ago really hiked up the price of all foods that again, as the price of fuel dropped into a reasonable price range the affect on food pricing never dropped and so the idea of a poor family choosing to bake would today be a middle class type of luxury. 

But back to my consistent - yes, it has to be the Christmas books - I gave to the children the books collected as each year a new one was added but I still have my stash that only comes out from storage after December 6, the feast of St. Nickolas and is packed away after January 6, the feast of the Epiphany and I have some Christmas china cups for 40 or 50 years that come out - and for me personally I have an advent book with essays and readings, poems and prayers, one a day that inevitably one hits me in a new way that there is contemplation adding richness to my beliefs and another hits because of changes in my life over the year I question and even argue with the premise till I've come to a new understanding of the words.

So that it is, as I see Christmas - a cleaning out and sorting out - keeping what is valuable to my life, rearranging some values and acknowledging the change ready for a new beginning. Yes, that is the concept I learned as a child - Christmas is about a new beginning - cleaning up, shining what I value, everything, every friendship with words in notes and celebrating family with gifts and if nothing else the phone is passed to each for a special Christmas chat and taking time to read the stories in books about Christmas. 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PeggyCasing on December 13, 2016, 04:20:15 PM
Thanks Barb.  Your reflection reminded me of the importance of the "getting ready" (Advent), and the constant need for reinvention.  Thanks, again. :)
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Alf on December 13, 2016, 08:12:46 PM
Hello everyone! I have missed you and am delighted to see o many old friends still here.
I just reintroduced myself to SeniorLearn this week and was appalled , at myself, how much I have forgotten. I went on the in Memoriam site and had not realized we had lost so many friends since my last posting. Annie has been good at keeping me informed of many , but there have been some I did not know about. May they look down on us in love!
I'm behind the 8 ball on this site with all of the interesting chatter and sharing of Christmas memories. I have to agree with many of you . My very favorite books this year were: The  Light between the Ocean, a Man called Ove , Nightengale, and All the Light we can not See, by Doerr. By all means Bella DO read the book first before seeing the flick.  I read them all right I. A row and went months before I found anything close to mentioning. I recently (before years end) read Jodi Picaults newest novel, Big, small Things.  I love Picault due to the fact she gives every character their own voice; hate them, love them, agree or disagree, she allows you into their hearts and souls. The other one I just read was by Colson Whitehead; The Underground Railroad. Very interesting subject, to me, with a different slant.
Anyway, I'm happy to be back amongst my favorite people and will withhold my Christmas story for the time being.  Be well, be full of JOY, which ever holiday you celebrate.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 14, 2016, 11:11:05 AM
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OMG! Is that really ANDREA? Welcome home, Andrea (Alf), how long it's been and how GOOD it is to see you! A real Homecoming you've made it!  I h ave missed your sharp wit and insights.

And ROBBY!!! Welcome back, Robby, this is absolutely splendid. It's just like old times. I spent a looong time this morning looking for photos copied over from my old computer  and found Andrea in Washington DC at the Capitol from the National Book Festival years ago  and Robby out walking, at the Books at the Beach trip,  and if I can, I hope get them both here.

What are you both doing with yourselves lately? SO good to see you! We've missed you.

I remember Andrea and I at, was it DC? One of our many Books  trips when she and I keep missing each other on the airport air trains and  we kept going back and forth, and we were both hollering into the phone as to where we were and what exit we saw out the windows when we ran smack into each other. hahahaa Never forget that.

And Robby said something once on our boards I have tried to put into use, he only sat 30 minutes was it at the computer and then got up and did something else. I think recent research has proven, just the other day, that it's the sitting that kills you and if you just get up and walk a bit in between the sitting it does work wonders, but Robby said it first a long time ago.

Welcome back, we are so glad to see you again!

Auld Lang Syne.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 14, 2016, 11:32:26 AM
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)   Speaking of Auld Lang Syne, we ought to get our Rosemary to sing it for us as she's from Scotland, welcome, Rosemary and thank you for the recipe. You must be a mind reader,  I was just singing what I THOUGHT were the lyrics to We Wish You A Merry Christmas, but I was singing bring us some sticky pudding and that's not it at all!!

It's figgy pudding! And trying to see if that's the same thing, I found this on NPR and it's fascinating:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/12/20/460488236/oh-bring-us-some-wait-what-is-figgy-pudding   

'Oh, Bring Us Some ... ' Wait. What Is Figgy Pudding?

(http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/20/istock_000018579358_large_wide-bdba5ca1d8560725030d526be2cea8c8f730e350-s1700-c85.jpg)

I absolutely love Sticky Toffee Pudding, thank you SO much, Rosemary. I do have some caster sugar, Amazon can do anything. hahahaa

I can't wait to try it. I used to order it, you can order it in the US from the Sticky Toffee Pudding Company but it's not quite what you can get in the UK, so I am excited to have this real recipe! Thank you!

What wonderful reflections on Christmas, Everybody, and I agree,  Karen,  Christmas when it's 80 degrees is not quite the same as the snow. I always hope for ONE good snow, preferably for several days, just one. I have had to adjust from the snows of Pennsylvania and New Jersey to SC but I have to admit I have. :) I like a few days of sleds and  snowmen and after one is tired of hauling water to the chicken house, thaw. hahahaa

That was lovely on traditions, Barbara. I agree, Peggy, and I'm sorry your daughter won't be able to be there this year, I know that's hard. Things that happen when children get married, the other parents want equal time, too.  I like Jan Karon, too, I haven't read one of hers in years, I'll go back in the series and start again.

Meanwhile I'm loving Christmas Crimes at Puzzel Manor. It's an old hardback book so the typeface is charming, it's nice and big  in the hardback and it spreads nicely across the page (I'm interested in nice printing and type face, the way books used to be),  and the first letter of each chapter is enlarged, and it's full of drawn illustrations but I find that I could not even begin to guess at the first clue,  and I am wondering idly if it would be a good book for a future holiday read together. It would take a LOT of restraint by those who figured out the clues not to tell them and you need them in each chapter. I don't have the FIRST clue to the first one, so that bodes ill and I've read the thing about 10 times.

That's actually  a hard question about what you have to have or it wouldn't BE Christmas, etc. I think it changes over the years. I remember when my mother was in her 90's she'd sit there with a stack of presents and not open them, and  just enjoy watching everybody else open theirs. I'm kind of understanding why, now.

Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 14, 2016, 11:47:50 AM
Nlhome, that was such a sweet post, I meant to say that a long time ago and didn't get to it, thank you.

Peggy, I like puzzles, too. And I think, Pedln is it you or is it Adoannie who always does a puzzle on Christmas Day? New Year's Day? Or is it Settlers of Catan? I love the idea of a board game or puzzle.

I have a puzzle right now out in our living room.  The glass table which used to be so pristine and shiny  is now covered with puzzle.  (And an unfinished Monopoly game at the moment, it's a championship game which I am seriously losing to a 10  year old).

Peggy, do you ever do those puzzles on the ipad?  They are called Magic Puzzle and the software is very sophisticated. I find I am quite addicted to them.  You wouldn't think it would be fun but it is. They have one for every day in December, for instance, or you can go out and get one from anywhere, I did one of an English village that a person put up, people take photos and put them up so you can do puzzles of them, those are free. You also can make your own puzzle instantly from any photo on your device, and it's so fun. I did my grandson of course and the  red geraniums on the front porch against the white rockers, and the fall colors in the front yard.

You can choose your level and number of pieces and even if the pieces can rotate, so the skill level goes really high. I absolutely am addicted to it. I am also in the lowest level it's possible to get.  When you match a piece, they brighten up themselves and make a happy sound, you have to try one to believe it. :)
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Annie on December 14, 2016, 01:51:16 PM
Ginny, we have always done a puzzle on New Years Eve that must be done by midnight. Its a riot, just watching everyone working so hard to get it done.  Lots of laughter!  One year, at my daughter's home in Ithaca,NY, there were too many people there to work on the puzzle but one of Barb's friends brought a 3ft plastic hollow Kewpie doll and paints for those of us who weren't working on the puzzle had paint the doll and get it done before midnight too.  Talk about laughter and much fun.  Everyone including the children took turns switching back and forth from puzzle to doll.

Barbara, I loved your essay on favorite things (traditions) on Christmas and how they change as we grown older. Wonderful! Truer words were never spoke! :) :).

This will be our first Christmas without Ralph but we will carry on with the tradition of having Christmas here in our home.  We have been doing this every Christmas since we returned to Gahanna 18 years ago.
So my DIL and her daughters will make dinner and I will set the table.  But now I will ask one of the grans to come over to help me put in the extender for our table. The other thing we do is give out the gifts to my son and his wife plus his four children. These are the things that Ralph did.  So I will take his place that day. Maybe I will have to do the table on Christmas Eve day! :):). Just so I know its been done right!
 
We have always put up our fake big 8ft tree all these years but this year I am making a  change I wanted to start doing about 5yrs ago.  Just got tired of bringing the tree up from the basement, get its bubble lights strung,(that was another of Ralph's jobs) decorating the whole house and then  taking down the tree after Raph's BD, Jan 3rd. And putting all that stuff back in its boxes.
 
Soooooooo, this year we used a large Ficus tree made with silk leaves. It sits behind Ralph's recliner. We decorated it with some of our old ornaments even home made ones.  It already had tiny lights on it. Then My grandson, Nathan, 21yrs old, put up the Nativity scene on the mantel and strung some more tiny lights across the back of the Nativity scene.  I had already bought and put 3 huge poinsettias across the hearth underneath the Nativity scene so this all goes well together.  I have our regular big wreath on the front door and another on the porch post.  One more for the dining room, a beautiful wooden one made of pine boughs and red ribbons, and I am done!   I can't wait for them to see the tree!  Maybe if I can get a picture of it, I will put it up here!  With Ginny's help, of course!

Welcome back, Alf and Robby! What a nice Christmas surprise you both have given us.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 15, 2016, 01:14:53 AM
Annie, the ficus tree, nativity with lights and poinsettias sound perfect.  I'm sure it will be difficult your first year without Ralph, but his spirit will be in all the joy you are continuing on with your family.

Alf and Robby it is nice to have you pop in.  Please come in more often.

Barb, I am sensing small changes in our traditions as my grandchildren are getting older.  We skipped the annual visit to Children's Wonderland to see Santa and the beautiful light displays we have done  over thirty years now.  I am getting ready for our annual cookie bake/ sleepover this week end with the grandchildren, but it took a lot of maneuvering to get five of the six here with all their schedules, sports and friends.  I'm so happy it's going to happen!

As far as what the one thing I absolutely have to have at Christmas.... I would say it has to be Christmas Eve Mass with all my family.  Sharing our faith, celebrating the true meaning of the birth of the Christ child, singing the traditional Christmas songs, seeing all the grandkids dressed in their beautiful clothes, and watching the wonder in the little one's eyes as they go up to the altar and peek into the manger looking for baby Jesus is what makes me fulfilled.  After Mass we all come to my as Barb mentioned, sparkling cleaned house, decorated to the brim with our Dept 56 Dickens Village,  our collection of Nutcrackers, tree decorated with memorable ornaments, and stockings hung waiting to be filled by Santa is what adds to the magic of our family's Christmas spirit.  It's all of these things that I love and make my heart leap with joy every year.  I have to admit we spoil everyone shamelessly with stacks of gifts they put on their lists.  I started a tradition to wrap each child's stack in a different wrapping paper, tie the stack up with a huge ribbon and put NO names on the 6 stacks, so when the grands see them they have no ideas which stack is theirs.  Of course they must all have an equal number so no one fills slighted.  I go around with my camera as they unwrap taking tons of pictures so I can relive the night when I upload the pics to my social media site.  When they go home my hubby and I sit back and look at all the boxes, wrappings and bows strung all over the floor and simply smile at our mess.  The kids all try to pitch in and clean up but I insist we leave it just the way it is!  Since we have them unwrap in our downstairs family room, we just go up to the nice clean living room.

This is all I want and need to make my Christmas perfect!
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 15, 2016, 10:25:56 AM
So much fun reading everyone's celebration activities - varied and yet, not - family is the common thread -

Today we're asked about our favorite holiday sweet - Oh dear I have several - I love pfeffernusse - once I start it is another and another and oh this will be the last and that stops me for a bit, then I am back again - love those cookies - and then I also love mincemeat - pie, tart, cookies and I've been known to get the jar where it is all prepared and spoon it onto round water crackers - It is very difficult to find the non-such mince meat in the box any longer - always preferred it that way so I could doctor it up in a variety of ways - from orange slices and orange juice to coffee or rum or brandy along with golden raisins and apples cut up very small or maybe some candied cherries and citron - for pie it is always with raisins and apples using apple cider with a splash of Calvados.

And finally, Sopapillas slathered in honey - everyone loves their Christmas Tamales which really isn't a sweet but the same grandma who makes Christmas Tamales also for Christmas Eve through King's day makes Sopapillas - with thick hot Mexican chocolate hm - talk about calories - thank goodness it is usually warm enough to walk or run it off.

Wet Wet Wet today - did not go below freezing thank goodness - close but did not get there - the wet is a very very heavy fog that glistens on everything as if it were ice - it is already high 40s and will be in the 50s but just looks nasty out there - no walk for me today and no way will I drive - had a few errands but I will re-arrange tasks - no way am I getting out in this.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Mkaren557 on December 15, 2016, 01:15:44 PM
OK,  It is confession time.  I LOVE FRUITCAKE.  Sometimes I feel very alone and other times I just feel lucky because if there is fruitcake in the gift swap or if a client or patient gives one, eventually it will find its way to me.  I always order one and I eat the whole thing because no one else  likes it.
Now, I also love penuche.  In this I am not so lucky.  My father was a small town doctor.  At Christmas he would receive homemade everything and my mother never had to worry about dessert.  I could always count on one or two fruitcakes here.  But the motherlode was when Dad would arrive home with one or more packages of penuche.  Problem:  My dad also loved penuche and the order went forth. "You may eat anything in this pile, but I am the only one who can eat the penuche"  It almost sounds like the First Commandment.  However, I found it very un-Christmaslike and an occasion of sin.  Yes, in the dark of night I would sneak into the pantry and steal one or two (or even more sometimes)and slither off to my bedroom.  Then my father retired.  I have tried to make penuche and buy it in one of those fudge shops on the pier, but nothing tastes as good as my father's penuche.  I have now given up all hope that my doorbell will ring and it will be a friend bearing one pound of penuche.  And in the same spirit I learned at my daddy's knee, I will hide it and offer no one a piece.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: rosemarykaye on December 15, 2016, 01:41:55 PM
What is penuche?
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Mkaren557 on December 15, 2016, 02:12:07 PM
It is a fudge made with brown sugar, butter, cream, vanilla.  When its made right, it is creamy and smooth.  Mine always comes out dry and hard.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: nlhome on December 15, 2016, 02:57:31 PM
Favorite sweet:  Anise cut-out cookies based on my grandmother's recipe, with ground hickory nuts for some of the shortening and real anise oil for flavoring. The frosting is a boiled white frosting. Unfortunately, these don't get made every year. They are best made a few weeks in advance, for the flavors to meld. We don't always have the hickory nuts, and often there is no time. They are great with a latte or a cup of coffee.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: CallieinOK on December 15, 2016, 05:35:36 PM
Favorite sweet:  the gingerbread boys my mother made every year for my school class - They were very simple - with raisins for eyes and a red hot candy for the mouth.  She used real country sorghum molasses.
At class reunions through the years, I was always asked to bring them - and I used the same cookie cutter that she used, as well as real sorghum molasses..!
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: rosemarykaye on December 15, 2016, 07:10:31 PM
Aha - maybe penuche is like the Scottish tablet? My daughters love it. I avoid it as I know I wouldn't be able to stop until i was sick...
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: mabel1015j on December 15, 2016, 08:14:16 PM
 Ahhhh yes, penuche! My Mother used to make it, sometimes with peanuts and her's was very much like a peanut brittle.

Jean
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Annie on December 15, 2016, 08:58:16 PM
Oooohhhh, Penuche Fudge and also Penuche icing on chocolate cake!! Hmmmmm, gooooood!!  I have made it for years! It's my kids' and my grans favorite, too.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PeggyCasing on December 16, 2016, 08:52:52 AM
Going all the way back to Ginny's post... I'd love to try the puzzles on the iPad... but I don't have an iPad!  Hahahaha. Maybe Santa will be sweet this year and get me one!  It sounds fun though. As far as sweets go... I am shocked that I've never heard of penuche. I thought I knew every sweet that ever existed... on a deep and intimate level! Seriously, I'll need to research it! -my favorite? It really would be too hard to decide. I am an equal opportunity eater and once I start I have a tough time stopping!  Sweet and salty, yummmm.  Sweet alone, pretty good too. Chocolate - HELLO!  You get the idea! So, long story- short, I do my absolute best when I don't have anything in the house. I used to have tons of sweets and special foods in the house for Christmas and would covet the leftovers. Now, I buy plastic storage containers and give out care packages to guests as the leave. My husband hates it!  Some sweets that just remind me of Christmas and my childhood though would be ribbon candy and colored popcorn balls. Neither are particularly tasty, but they remind me of my wonderful grandma who died when I was about five. SHE knew how to cook and decorate for holidays. Her house was like a big, warm, festive hug. 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: rosemarykaye on December 16, 2016, 01:15:10 PM
I don't really have a favourite sweet but I do remember being thrilled when i was given a toy replica of a Cadbury's milk chocolate vending machine - it gave out miniature bars. In fact, what happened to Terry's Neapolitans - those boxes of mixed tiny bars in different flavours? They were yummy.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 16, 2016, 03:34:35 PM
I am absolutely LOVING everything you are writing, we ought to make a book of these memories and thoughts.  We will keep this discussion, it's a wonderful read.

For me it's maple sugar leaves.   I like the real sugar maple candy better than the one which is a compromise and is softer.  The little pure maple sugar leaf shapes OR the Santa shape (which is a hybrid).  I used to put them in the children's stockings. BOY are they  good. Pure sugar. I can taste one now. Reminds me of my childhood and the gorgeous sugar maple trees where I lived.

There was no "sugaring off" where we lived,  that I know of, and I was somewhat disconcerted to see recently that they actually apparently now use miles of tubing  of some sort now instead of a bucket and horse drawn sleigh (some of us live in Fantasyland) but that's the way it used to be so I figure that's the way it should be now. hahaha

When we moved here to South Carolina I planted one sugar maple a year here to line the driveway. The woodpeckers? or borers? certainly know it's a sugar maple, the poor things are full of holes, but the glorious LEAVES. I have a photo this year of my grandson in the gigantic piles of red leaves they make. As children in Pennsylvania we used to make leaf forts from those leaves which stay colorful on the ground SO long. PILES of red. PILES of yellow or tri-color, (red, yellow and green), depending on the variety.

Well that was then and this is now but when I see the little maple sugar leaves now it reminds me of all of that.  I heard my oldest explaining to his son what they were not too long ago but they are hard to find here. You can get them mail order and you can get them before they sell out in the Fresh Market but they do go fast in this area.
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)  Ho ho ho



Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 16, 2016, 10:04:02 PM
I absolutely love gingerbread cookies or snaps at Christmas time.  My 11 yr. old granddaughter Hayden shares my love for them so now it's become an annual tradition for us to bake them together.  I found this neat pack with the gingerbread man cookie cutter, small tubes of black and red frosting to draw on the cookie and candied eyes.  We are having our annual cookie bake/sleepover with all the grands tomorrow and Hayden can't wait for us to make the gingerbread men. 

My hubby was a mailman for forty years so he would bring home so many different kinds of cookies from the elderly ladies baking for him that I stopped baking so many cookies myself.  I came across a chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookie that I fell in love with!!  I looked forward for him to bring them home every year.  The lady knew how much I loved them and would had him the goodies and say your wife's favorite is in there.  I love oatmeal raisin cookies, and chocolate crinkles.  I allow myself the pleasure of these cookies for about two weeks, then stop after New Year's Day. 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 17, 2016, 11:40:44 AM
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)  I have got to stop reading this discussion, it's making me eat like there is no tomorrow. :) What a charming story, Bellamarie, like  your one with the stacked presents: priceless.

Rosemary, I would not be able to resist a toy vending machine, how CUTE that concept is! As a child my favorite part of any trip on the subway  in Philadelphia were the chocolate vending machines on the platform. You needed a penny. It was the only place I could get those little wrapped Hershey dark chocolates, (naturally it was Hershey, Hershey is a Pennsylvania legend)  and they were bitter, wonderfully bitter.

 I don't know if those machines are still there, but I bet it's a quarter now, or even 50 cents if they are,  what IS it about the holidays that makes one remember all these delights of the past? There's a store and it's online, too, with all the old candies we used to be able to get, hard candies, like Peggy's mention of ribbon candies, and  those little dots on the waxed strips...... what is it called,  Vermont something? They specialize in "old fashioned" things you can't find any more. Vermont Country Store? I occasionally get their catalogs, full of the delights of a childhood long gone. Flannel nightgowns, who on earth can wear those things, tell me you don't all wear them, don't your legs freeze?

:)

All of you talking about Penuche, how do you pronounce it? I bet it's different in different parts of the country., What lovely memories, nlhome,  and Callie, anise cookies, gingerbread,  and Karen with the fruitcake, and Jean with  a peanut brittle like penuche. Peanut brittle is something we used to have here, too, but don't any more.  My husband is from The Fruitcake Capital of the World, Claxton, Georgia, and is related to the people who make it.  I never liked it, I always liked Benson's Fruitcake (do they make it any more?) but now I wouldn't have any other than the Claxton, so much FRUIT, I do like fruit in a fruitcake, better than the cake. I wonder why fruitcake has become a joke in today's world? Do any of you make it from scratch, or has it, too, gone the way of the Dodo what with Claxton's in every supermarket? 

I used to have a wonderful recipe for fruitcake cookies that everybody liked and it disappeared.  Every year I think I'm going to make mincemeat cookies and substitute the mincemeat for the fruitcake recipe, but every year I don't.  It makes a million cookies, too.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PatH on December 17, 2016, 09:06:37 PM
Christmas sweets: first, I'm with Ginny about loving maple sugar candy--the real stuff, not diluted, and I don't even want to admit how much of it I can eat--but that's not really for Christmas.  It's not a strong favorite, but I'd vote for pfeffernussen.  And like Karen and Mabel, I actually like fruitcake a lot.

But there's no question about what's the most memorable Christmas sweet.  In 2009, I spent Christmas with daughter Cathy and SIL Erick, and they decided that we should make a Buche de Noel from Julia Child's cookbook.  This is an elaborate recipe:  you have to make the cake base, using ground almonds as much of the flour; you have to make a meringue, which is used in icing and for mushrooms, you have to make the icing and filling, which are different.  The cake base is baked in a jelly roll pan, and rolled up with a chocolate filling.  The chocolate frosting is made with part of the meringue, and spread roughly over the roll to imitate a log.  The rest of the meringue is used to make cute little mushrooms, which are placed appropriately (those that have survived the cooks--they're yummy).  The whole thing took the better part of a day, and we had a total blast, learning new techniques, admiring each other's efforts.  Fortunately, the result was delicious, and we feasted on it for several days, but the important thing was how much fun we had doing it.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 18, 2016, 11:38:36 AM
Good  heavens, what a complicated recipe, Pat! No wonder people talk about it like they do, it sounds a wonderful memory!

I watched Mary Berry last night again make a Pavolova, and how easy it looks when she does it and how hard I know it must be. I need something to go along with the pecan pie I always make because they like it. I don't like pecans, so am always looking for some other dessert and had settled on a coconut cake.

And then Paul made a Christmas tree out of what looked like cinnamon buns, that's a thought, I never considered that, you could (he didn't, he made it from scratch, it wasn't cinnamon buns but it looked like it,  and it was beautiful) but you could take a cinnamon bun thing in a tube,  and make the same looking thing a lot quicker. Cover it with icing and coconut...hmmmm.

You could, couldn't you? And how quick and easy that would be... hmmmm....

HMMMMM. hahahaa



Now here's a good one for today:

(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif) December 17-18:  What's your favorite TV holiday program?



(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/snowball-tumble.GIF)  Ho ho ho!




Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Mkaren557 on December 18, 2016, 12:21:21 PM
Remember back when there were so many variety shows hosted by stars like Carol Burnett, Glen Campbell and my favorite at Christmas time - - Andy Williams.  There was something very warm and comforting about this soft-spoken man in the red, v-neck, button-down sweater crooning old favorite Christmas songs that made it Christmas.  Then, as my children grew, there was a show called "Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas that they and I loved.  It had muppet like characters and lots of music and a super message.  Now I will admit that I love watching the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. They are not long on substance, but they all have such happy endings, which I am in need of this year.


This just posted the first time. 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 18, 2016, 12:41:38 PM
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif) YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Super Marcie to the rescue it's FIXED!

I remember  Andy Williams, Karen, and what a lovely program that was!  And he had brothers as I recall? A good looking family.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: rosemarykaye on December 18, 2016, 01:29:29 PM
I know it's a film but we watch it on TV every year - Love Actually. I also like The Snowman but nobody else in my family can bear it, so I only see it sometimes!

We are looking forward to the Christmas specials of Last Tango in Halifax, Call the Midwife and the late, lamented Bake Off.

Rosemary
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: rosemarykaye on December 18, 2016, 01:37:13 PM
Ginny, I don't make the Christmas fruit cake any more - too much time, effort and expense, especially when hardly any of us like it. My daughter would like to make it but I'm afraid I preempt her and buy one from Aldi before she starts. I do however make a much less rich fruitcake from time to time during the rest of the year - the recipe is on an old card that Tesco must have distributed years ago (many of my recipes are on cards picked up from the butcher or the supermarket, and I was just noticing the other day that the supermarket ones no longer give you recipes to make from scratch - it's all 'take a jar of pre-prepared sauce and pour it over something', which to me isn't cooking.)

Anyway, the simple fruitcake recipe tells you to include some walnuts. The first time I made it I didn't have any but we did have a glut of apples from our (then) garden, so i just grated half of an apple into it in place of the nuts. This has proved so popular that I always do it now - it does seem to make the cake moister.

Most British families do, I think, still have the traditional Christmas cake every year, whether home-made or bought - but I do wonder how many people actually eat it and how much ends up in the compost. 

Rosemary
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 18, 2016, 01:42:12 PM
Sorry for my absence the past couple days.  We are dog sitting, having our annual cookie bake/sleepover with the grandkids and trying to keep up with all their sports. 

Since it is almost Christmas and we are all avid readers of all sorts of stories I have a short story to share with all of you.  I posted it over in the Library section as well for those who are going there but not here to see.  As you all know I am an aspiring author, and love to write, so when our lives got a bit turned upside down Friday I decided it's something that must be shared.  This link will take you to my blog to read "Daisy's Getaway"  Hope you all enjoy it!!  Please feel free to leave a comment in the section at the very bottom of the blog page.

https://ciaobellamarie.wordpress.com/2016/12/18/daisys-getaway/

Oh, and feel free to read any of my other stories on the blog page if you like.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 18, 2016, 02:00:48 PM
I think my favorite TV Holiday program is probably the Country Christmas show they have every year.  I love Country music and all the new singers as well as the old ones.  They sure to know how to put on a show!   I have also submerged myself into the Hallmark Christmas channel this year.  I have set my DVR to tape tons of them and at night when I am ready to snuggle down I shut off all the lights in the living room except for the Christmas tree lights, get my hot caramel cappuccino, a biscotti, my comfy throw blanket, my remote control and settle into the couch with my dog at my feet and begin watching all these wonderful Christmas movies.  I know they are as predictable as a Harlequin Romance novel, or Danielle Steele book, but I just love the good feeling about them.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: rosemarykaye on December 18, 2016, 02:37:58 PM
I wish we had this channel! I think it may be available on Sky but we don't have that. Our free channels do show a lot of old Christmas films though - my main problem is not being allowed to watch them. Daughter is working her way through Wolf Hall (which we still had recorded although younger daughter and I watched it all when it was first on) so I am rewatching that with her and I must say it is just as brilliant on a second viewing, even if not exactly Christmassy. Mark Rylance and Claire Foy are outstanding, but every single cast member is superb.

Rosemary
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Kristen on December 18, 2016, 05:05:23 PM
My favorite Christmas movie has become "Silent Night" starring Linda Hamilton and Matthew Harbour.  "On Christmas eve 1944, in an isolated cabin in Germany's Ardennes forest, three American soldiers and three German soldiers are forced to confront the realities of war face to face.  What they discover is the real meaning of courage and the true spirit of a blessed night."
I first saw it on TV several years ago and liked it so much I bought the DVD so I can watch it every year.

Ginny, thanks for suggesting "Christmas Crimes at Puzzel Manor.  I stayed up very late last night reading it.  I was only able to figure out one clue completely and half of another one.  Luckily, the answers appear in the book.  I was too interested in finding out who did it, to spend days on each puzzle. And I had to google the last puzzle.  I had guessed right on the culprit but wasn't sure how to actually work out the answer. 
I was disappointed that some of the puzzle clues were in such small print.  I didn't even try on a couple of them because I didn't want to use a magnifying glass to read them. 
Thanks again for recommending it.  It was fun!

Have any of you read any of Parnell Hall's  Puzzle Lady books?  When I googled the final answer, I found mystery websites that recommended them.  I'm going to check out both more of Simon Brett's books and the Parnell Hall books at the library.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: pedln on December 18, 2016, 11:21:21 PM
Rosemary, your family feels about fruitcake much the way mine does about mince pie and canned plum pudding.  I was the only one eating them.  All the others wanted was the hard sauce that went on top of the pudding and pie. And they liked to flame the pudding, but not eat it.

One of my favorites films for Christmas is Christmas without Snow with Michael Learned and John Houseman. Learned is a newly-relocated to San Francisco mother, Houseman is the choir director of a downtown church trying to prepare his group for a Christmas performance of Handel's Messiah.  I had lost track of it for several years, but see now that it is available, along with the necessary captions, with Amazon Prime.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 19, 2016, 09:14:31 AM
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)  LOVE the comments here, they are  marvelous, as good as a book!  Better than some.  Thank you all for them. Thank you Bellamarie for your own lovely original story, and what a pretty site!

Rosemary, your story about the walnuts called for and the apples substituted, put me in awe, that's the difference between me and a REAL  cook. I have the same leanings, oh it calls for walnuts, I'll use apples...but I wouldn't have thought of  apples and whatever I DO  concoct instead makes the most horrid disaster it's possible to imagine and I'm not kidding. I think cooking is an art, I really do, and I watch these cooking shows where they oh here's the "mystery basket," and you now make a dessert and the contestant says  I'll just add xXX and YYY and XXX and a touch of QQQ and voila. So I do that too, and the result is absolutely ....er...well, it is the holidays.  I'll be charitable.

I believe the problem IS I eat too much junk so unless it's all junked up I can't cook it. I like strange things. I love mincemeat. Love Herring in Sour Cream with onions, have to have it at New Years.  Love that type of thing. Red pepper jelly on cream cheese.

Holiday movies, I am taking note of what you all are saying, and writing them down as I am not sure I've seen any of them. Pedln, that sounds lovely and I have not seen it, I'll see if I can find it, perhaps on Netflix.  I  am astounded none of you have recommended the Jimmy Stewart thing, what is it? The one with the perfectly awful commercial clip, the sing song  every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings? Or something. It's a Wonderful Life? Not sure of the title.

That commercial alone sounds like nails on a blackboard to me, it makes me shudder. I've never seen the movie, not once.  I like Jimmy Stewart and the female lead.  But I can't get thru it.

For Christmas movies I need A Christmas Carol, and not any old Christmas Carol but the old black and white  Alistair Sim one. I think I can recite it like the Rocky Horror Picture Show, along with the characters. I  like Albert Finney's old musical on Scrooge, (the only movie I ever saw where the theater goers exited singing into the streets the song " Thank you very much,"  which itself was a miracle), and I like George C Scott's Scrooge, because I like Scott's work and the scenery was wonderful. But the old black and white Alistair Sim movie with the best Marley I ever saw is IT for me. I don't really like Bill Murray's modern version but I like his work anyway.

Aren't movie actors lucky, that they can live forever on the screen? Their best work captured forever as they were.  I have a feeling that's one reason that our modern selfie is so popular, it preserves what must eventually decline in a period forever.

Kristen, your batting average with Puzzel Manor is better than mine!  I'm more than half way thru and have yet to solve even one. The print of the text is lovely and large but some of the reproduced little letters, etc., ARE small. Makes no difference, even when I get them to where I can read them I can't do them and I wonder if I have slipped that much OR if possibly the next one I will conquer. hhahahaa Not so far!

You were asking about Parnell Hall? You may be interested to know that when he began that mystery series he contacted one of our Latin students to help/ collaborate with him on it. Our Latin student was already famous, his name was Manny Nosowsky, he did the NY Times Saturday and sometimes Sunday crosswords. Manny was a retired physician, and did a lot of firsts: he did the first crossword for the  Wall Street Journal (which now has them online and they are a lot of fun), and he did a crossword puzzle to a certain pattern which has never been equaled, which he explains in the bonus material of the movie Word Play. Any bio of Manny will show his love of Latin, he absolutely loved it and continued with us and it  till his health did not permit.  Dear Manny, a  brilliant, lovely man. I miss him here a lot.

It's amazing, over the years, the people we have encountered on this website who have enriched our lives. Auld Lang Syne.

So NONE of you watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation? I know people who have to see it annually. :)

Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Kristen on December 19, 2016, 11:00:51 AM
I'd forgotten about A Christmas Carol.  Years ago, I saw a musical version with Mr. Magoo, the cartoon character.  I thought it was great and always wanted to see it again.  A few years ago, I checked it out from my local library and only lasted about 5 minutes before turning it off.  Sometimes, things aren't as wonderful as we remember.

Your information about Manny Nosowsky was very interesting.  Wow!

Puzzle #9 was easy for me.  I watch a lot of crime show reruns on TV and had recently seen one that solved a clue in the exact same manner.  If I hadn't seen that show in the last month, I would not have figured that one out either.

I too love mincemeat.  I don't care for pie crust and so I make mincemeat cookies.  One year we bought some very good mincemeat and  ate a spoonful or two every day out of the jar.  We never did make anything with it.  Unfortunately, it has gotten very expensive and I always hesitate to buy it just for a batch of cookies.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 19, 2016, 12:07:42 PM
Just a slip dash run today - getting out of here in the morning which means getting up at 4:30 ouch ouch ouch - I am NOT a morning person - my tummy is actually turning in worry over this early start of an active day... There is joy though - my grandson is flying to Austin on the Nerd shuttle between Seattle and Austin that runs back and forth 3 times a day and then meeting me at the curb and that the two of us together will fly onto Atlanta this time, where my daughter is driving in the over 3 hour trip to pick us up.

Last night was brutal for us - 23 - have not seen temps like that in December for years and years - January we get a cold blast that lasts a few days but not in December. Curling up covered with a quilt was all I was up to and so much to do - well double march today...

Favorite Christmas movie - so many - but only one - like the Christmas books and sweets and everything else to choose just one is just too hard - Cannot imagine Christmas without hearing Jimmy Stewart calling out, "Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!"

Or Lucy, bless her heart, saying, "Look, Charlie, let’s face it. We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It’s run by a big Eastern syndicate, you know." Or sweet Linus saying his long soliloquy that starts with, "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night." The wonderful,  Charlie Brown's Christmas.

Or all the shenanigans in "Home Alone" and finally, the color and strange looking characters, oh what a story "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" hahaha "Blast this Christmas music. It’s joyful and triumphant." - Jim Carey was not my favorite but he did himself proud in this one. 

Well I'm off to shut down the house - do my little packing since Paul and Sally were here on Saturday and took everything to send Fed Ex - but one gift I forgot needs packing - get to the bank - change the sheets - on and on - it may be a few days before I'm on again... Happy Holiday!
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PeggyCasing on December 19, 2016, 03:08:12 PM
I've loved reading the posts. :)  As far as a favorite program is concerned... I'd say, "It's a Wonderful Life." I do, however, remember those old TV specials.  Our family had a Christmas album that was from the TV show "Sing Along with Mitch." What a warm, and folksy memory... singing songs in front of the TV. 

A symbol of the season that I "have to have?"  I could say snow.  I do love a white Christmas, but it's not something we can count on for Christmas in southeast Michigan.  I guess I'd really have to say that I "have to have" a nativity set on display.  I'm a "church lady" so I've been known to have one in every room of our house-- bathrooms included. :)  The one set was from Avon, and it's made of a soft plastic.  They are the cutest figures and my girls were known to play with them in the bathtub.  They are 29 and 27 now, so they haven't done THAT for at least a year, or two.  :D
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 19, 2016, 03:26:34 PM
For today's question, what symbol "Must I have is easy for me....Christmas is about Christ in the manger for me and my family.  The nativity is what I must see at Christmas time.  I absolutely love how we get to church early Christmas Eve for the 5:30 p.m. Mass, and I take my youngest two grandchildren Zak & Zoey up to the altar so they can peek in the manger where baby Jesus will be placed during Mass.  I take their pictures with all the awe & wonderment in their eyes as we talk about Jesus' birth.  I will miss this special time when they grow up, but by then I just may have a great grandchild to begin it all again. 

[img] https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/10325685_10208591710013590_4017123456754548788_n.jpg?oh=a94c5395fd24052671ac77ddab8e9f51&oe=58DE5AE9 [\img]
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Mkaren557 on December 19, 2016, 03:31:05 PM
This is a difficult one. I have parted with all of my Christmas "stuff" and have given up decorating.  I guess I don't have any symbols that I look forward to anymore. I am feeling sad  :'(  and energy-less but the rolling snowball that Ginny posted earlier made me smile :D . I think I am going to climb to the top of the closet and find the stocking my mother made me and put on some Christmas music.  I need a happy laugh-out-loud book!
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 20, 2016, 01:02:57 AM






(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/Holidayparty/Holidaypartyredandwhit3eannueal.jpg)

Welcome, welcome, ALL to our Annual Holiday Drop in, our 20th Anniversary Special!

Come as you are, have a glass of egg nog, and greet old friends. We hope to make this a Homecoming for old, and we hope, brand new friends, and that you will each bring the gift of sharing a memory, a recipe or a thought for the holidays.

We have a  Raffle, too,  and just by posting here you are in the contest. Winner to be announced the 23rd of December.

So come on in, and note the Topics du Jour as we count down to the 25th:



(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 1-2:  Come on home and tell us the best book YOU read this year and why.
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 3-4:  Give us the gift of your favorite Holiday  Recipe
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 5-6:  What Christmas or Hanukkah do you remember best and why?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 7-8:  Did you ever have a disastrous holiday you laugh about now? The dressing that ran, the turkey which never cooked? Tell us about it.
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 9-10: Are you giving a book for Christmas or Hanukkah? If so, what is it?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 11-12: What is your favorite book with a holiday theme? Can be a mystery, etc.
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 13-14: What one thing do you absolutely have to have at Christmas or Hanukkah or it wouldn't be right without it?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 15-16: What's your all time favorite holiday sweet treat?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 17-18:  What's your favorite TV holiday program?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 19-20: - What one symbol of the season  do you have to have  every year?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 21-22: Who is the best Scrooge in all the movies and plays you've ever seen? Why?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 23: Raffle winner announced


(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 26- 31: Till January we'll we'll discuss  this charming short story, an allegory of virtues, A Kidnapped Santa Claus  by  L. Frank Baum

Lyman Frank Baum (15 May 1856 – 6 May 1919) was an American author of children’s books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A Kidnapped Santa Claus is a Christmas-themed short story written by L. Frank Baum. It is a continuation of the story set forth in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, telling how Santa Claus was kidnapped by “Daemons” in a plan to make children unhappy. It has been called one of Baum’s most beautiful stories and constitutes an influential contribution to the mythology of Christmas.

http://www.aesopfables.com/kidnap.html


Everyone is welcome!




Mkaren, I hope you do get that stocking down and put on some Christmas music to put you in the spirit. 

My hubby and I attended out grandchildren Zak & Zoey's Christmas pageant tonight and I loved Zoey's Kindergarten class all dressed in the jammies for a theme of Christmas in our Jammies.  The children sang beautifully.  Zak's 3rd grade class theme was about not getting so lost in the materialistic things and to remember Jesus' birth is the real reason for the season.  It was so cute the children acted a family with three very spoiled children who only cared about how many gifts they were getting.  The grandparents came to visit on Christmas and reminded them before they open presents they need to all go to church, while at church they heard the message of giving to others, so all the spoiled children decided to give away some of their toys to a shelter.  It really was written and acted out conveying the message, and the children sang all of their songs beautifully.  We said our goodbyes and was walking to the car and I told my hubby, "Now I feel like it's Christmas!"  So, I guess one other symbol I must have is the children's Christmas pageant!  We have been going to one for over 35 years, from our children to our grandchildren.  Of course I took a million pictures and video taped many of their songs.  When they come to spend the night on Wednesday I will sit and watch them with them. 
Title: Pass it On.
Post by: ginny on December 20, 2016, 09:11:17 AM
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif) Going back a bit, Adoannie, I was thinking of you and love the sound of your Christmas plans this year. I think it's very creative to try new things!!

Karen, read Bill Bryson, do you like him? I tried to read his last one The Road to Little Dribbling before sleep and ended up cackling all night hysterically. But he's not a comedian. I also reread Notes From a Small Island in paperback and I'm a  Stranger here, myself. I'm thinking those are the last laughs I had reading a book, but I bet people here know some good  laugh out loud  books to recommend.

What's the last laugh out loud book you all read, so we can recommend one to Karen?

I'll tell you what put me in the mood this year. Yesterday at McDonalds (hold on, the woman is getting really fancy here) the crowd was immense and you could not even get in the parking lot, blocking street traffic dangerously, lots of honking,  and I started to just drive on, but I stubbornly wanted some of their junk food, say what you will. The Season of gaiety and light was definitely stressed and angry.

And cars were backing out, and maneuvering forward,  it was a total mess, tempers were frayed, people were storming off from the line and suddenly a woman who I had seen go all around the building once to get in line motioned for me to go ahead of her. I couldn't believe it. But there it was, a tiny little  Random Act of Kindness, much waving and thanks. So I returned it to the next person who was trying to back out and then she was happy and we all were happy, it was a nice warm feeling. 

I realize this is not  a sterling moment in the world's progress, nobody will ever care  about it, but me,  but it made a difference. I'm going to do the same today for somebody again (and I'm going to the dentist who dislocated my jaw on the 16th so it will take some kindness) but it really does brighten your day and week.  It's the spirit of the season, perhaps. I wonder what the world would be if we all did just one and passed on what we received as well? It makes you happy, I know that.

Kristen, your success with #9 encouraged me in the Puzzel Manor book and I got #8!!!  I could not believe it, and,  flushed with victory, attempted #9. No matter what I did with it, and I tried everything, I read it up one side and down the other, I could not only not solve it,  I'm not sure I  understand the explanation. And then on,  was it 11, I don't play backgammon,  and so had no clue there.

I'm running out of clues and options. :) What a clever man he is, too clever by far for me, or I've gotten quite dull in my old age but I like being challenged. I AM beginning to remember the end, tho and it's coming fast.

Your idea of the mincemeat out of the jar is one I have considered actually. :) It's good luck. I don't know why people are obsessed with collards and black eyed peas, for New Year's, mincemeat and herring in sour cream are much older.  And better, but I have a sweet tooth, as we can see, resulting in dentists, and preferring mincemeat and herring in sour cream (and onions)  for luck to collards and black eyed peas.

I agree, on Manny  Nosowsky, tooo cool. And since we were discussing hm, I thought I'd send him some holiday greetings, as I hadn't heard from him in a while,  and got a lovely note back from him, extending his greetings to all of us here.  Wonderful man.

Barbara, hope you have a wonderful safe trip! Other than the 4:30 departure time,  it sounds lovely.

Bellamarie, a lovely tradition, thank you for sharing it.

Peggy, I'd have thought in Michigan you'd have feet of snow!  This recent storm did not get to Michigan?  I like snow too, I like it at night in the woods, the crunch of it as you walk thru it  and the beauty of no foot print but your own. I think if we lived where there was lots of snow I'd have to have snowshoes, because I can't ski. Do you ski?

The chickens, however, hate snow. Absolutely hate it.  Refuse to step ONE foot out of the chicken  house if there's the slightest patch, even if the rest is showing grass. How many people do you know who go and shovel  off a chicken ramp so they can get outside? hahaha Not many I bet.

(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/snowball-tumble.GIF) Ho ho ho


Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Kristen on December 20, 2016, 11:24:09 AM
Ginny, I left a post for you in the Latin classroom.  I didn't want to post it here and ruin things for anyone who might decide to read the Puzzel Manor book.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PatH on December 20, 2016, 01:26:59 PM
Bellamarie, now I see why dogsitting left you with no free time for a few days.  What a story! I couldn't help laughing a lot, though it wasn't funny at the time.  I'm glad it had a happy ending.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: CallieinOK on December 20, 2016, 04:42:38 PM
The Christmas symbol I must have is the Creche that belonged to my grandmother.  Some of the pieces may have been brought from Germany by her parents.  It was always out in my childhood home and has been in mine for at least 50 years.
A memory that makes me smile is the year our very young second son decided (for some never-explained reason) that the cow belonged on top of the manger.  So he exchanged it for the tiny angel.  Not long afterwards, Big Brother came by - and huffingly returned the cow and angel to their "proper places".  Younger Brother never said a word but, when the way was clear,  he quietly switched them again.
This backing-and-forthing went on for the entire Christmas season.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PatH on December 20, 2016, 05:15:49 PM
Ginny, you've described the heart of my one woman campaign to make the world a tiny bit better one smile at a time.  Tiny acts of kindness like yours, smiles or sympathetic comments when appropriate, etc.  Sometimes the good feeling gets passed on by the recipient.
Ginny:
Quote
How many people do you know who go and shovel  off a chicken ramp so they can get outside? hahaha Not many I bet.
That's a very safe bet, considering you're the only person I know who keeps chickens.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PatH on December 20, 2016, 05:17:34 PM
Callie, your creche story is a hoot.  I can just see JoanK and me doing something like that if we' thought of it.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 20, 2016, 07:54:27 PM
Thank you PatH., I don't blame you one bit for laughing reading my story.  I read it to my sister in law over the phone and we laughed til we cried.  Today I went to lunch with my hubby and our two sets of friends, while in Bob Evans eating our dessert after seeing the movie Collateral Beauty, I decided to cheer my one friend up from crying during the movie because she recently lost her daughter, so I got out my iphone and read the Daisy Getaway story to all of them.  We were laughing so much the waitress came up and wondered what was so funny.

Callie I know just what you mean with the switching the figures of your creche.  I have a Dept. 56 Dickens Village collection my hubby has been collecting for at least 30 yrs.  I meticulously get it all set up with the skaters pond, houses, figures etc., and my grankids rearrange the pieces every time they come over.  I quit putting the pieces back where they belong.

Barb, where ever you are, have a safe trip and enjoy every second with your family.

Ginny, One kind act generates another.  No one but you and that one person may not know of it, but it sure does make you feel good inside.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 21, 2016, 08:53:09 AM
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif) Thank you, Kristen, how clever you are! I would never have seen that pattern!

I agree with you, too, it's a fun book even if you can't figure out the puzzles. I did get one other, one of the crosswords, before turning to the answer for the last one  online, and I did figure out (or remember)  hu dun it this time before filling in the entire thing, but again, I have read the thing. MANY times. hahaha Now I have to figure out  WHY.

Such a clever man. One wants to read it quickly, the way it's written and the puzzles slow it down, I think it's a book to be savored and figured out before you advance, if you can, that is.  Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed it.  The page with the answers mentioned Nelson DeMille did one, too, in connection with 1000 piece puzzle, now THAT interests me, and I've found   a set, I think it's the last one on Amazon. I can see THAT one will take a great deal of time.

Callie, such a cute story, for some reason it makes perfect sense to me to have the cows on the roof, did that happen in Heidi? So cute.

(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)Today our topic is  who, in your opinion, made the best Scrooge in film adaptations? Or any other subject you want to talk about. There must have been 100 Scrooges.

Here is mine: Alastair (I spelled his name incorrectly the other day) Sim in the old black and white 1951  A Christmas Carol:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtJeVY_ojKM

I was delighted to find it on youtube last night. If you watch it 15 minutes you can see a wonderful Marley, too.  1951.  Wasn't that just yesterday? And what a CAST that thing has. You can see "Mrs Bridges" from Upstairs Downstairs (the original one) and Patrick McNee from the Avengers (remember him and Mrs. Peel?) and many others.

I like his brother, Gerald Sim, too, who was in the Mapp and Lucia series as the "Padre."

I don't like the older one, from the 30's, as much.  I am trying to remember who was in it. Seymour something?  And Basil  Rathbone did one on the radio, does anybody remember that? I used to have that recording, he was so good.

Humbug. I looked up the origin of humbug yesterday and it said it was "unknown." How can a word like that have an unknown origin?

Oh and so much for my tacky cinnamon bun tree idea, I forgot (?!?) we always have ambrosia to go with the pecan pie for dessert. How could anybody forget peeling all those oranges? Must have been a Freudian slip. hahaha Or the fact that my husband peeled them all last year, maybe it's wishful thinking he'd do it again. hahahaa

Memo to self: NEVER have any sort of periodontist visit scheduled before Christmas. NEVER. I think they're all sadists at heart.

Friday we'll have the drawing for the winner of a $25 gift certificate from Amazon, Amazon UK or B&N. Stay tuned!

Pat, everybody should keep chickens, they are wonderful barometers of human behavior. :)

HO ho ho! Here's one for Karen, to cheer her up:

(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/snowball-tumble.GIF)
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 21, 2016, 12:16:25 PM
Well, for today's question who played your favorite Scrooge, I have to admit I have NO favorite.  We have the movie on VHS and I could barely ever get through watching this movie.  I simply don't like it!!  As I mentioned before, my hubby has been collecting the Dept 56 Dickens Village for years and we have some wonderful pieces with the house and the figurines of Scrooge, present, past, future etc.  I love this collection and it brings the grandchildren great joy helping set it up and rearranging the figures, but.....  I don't like the movie.  I know like many children's movies (not that this movie was made specifically for children) there is a morale to be learned at the end of the movie.  I just found this movie frightening to watch, and it does break my heart in how cruel and mean Scrooge is throughout the movie.  So.....  Bah hum bug! 

We have a friend who is married with four children and all through the Christmas season he is Scrooge!!  He refuses to put up a tree til Christmas Eve day and takes it down December 26th.  He simply hates the whole idea of Christmas.  I nicknamed him Scrooge.  :)

Here's a Scrooge I may be able to tolerate...

(https://68.media.tumblr.com/42b6c4984e0ae9b5db9930fb7007c6dd/tumblr_ofgwry5flI1vj5t2go1_500.gif)
 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PatH on December 21, 2016, 12:32:01 PM
I'm no expert on A Christmas Carol ; don't dislike it, but it's been so long since I've seen any of the movies, I don't remember them.

Ginny, thanks for contacting Manny.  He hasn't been doing puzzles for the New York Times for a long time, and I wondered what had happened to him.  Different puzzle-makers have different styles, and Manny's were always rather scholarly, neatly constructed, and lots of fun.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Kristen on December 21, 2016, 12:43:32 PM
Bellamarie,
Try Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol.  It's a cartoon from start to finish. 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PeggyCasing on December 21, 2016, 12:47:04 PM
I, like others have no favorite Scrooge... I think the one I have watched most often was played by Lionel Barrymore??? (Spelling?) 

Ginny-  We DID get the snow and the temperature has been averaging in the teens, so it's hung around... but guess what? Just in time for Christmas, we're expecting temps in the 40's and RAIN.  I guess Santa is going to have to wear his galoshes this year!
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Mkaren557 on December 21, 2016, 02:46:03 PM
I came late to any movie of A Christmas Carol because I was scared out of my mind and about the time I covered my head with my jacket, my mother always left the theater with me or changed the channel.  So I have no idea how old I was when I made it through the whole movie or who was the best Scrooge.  I think they are all different and all interesting.  For instance I think George C. Scott, Alastair Sims are really what Dickens wanted Scrooge to be:  mean and nasty transformed to generous and joyful.  I think I saw a version where Henry Winkler was Scrooge and I liked that.  I have not seen Mr. Magoo because I can't suspend belief enough to want to see Scrooge in a cartoon.  I am going to do a little research about the book A Christmas Carol and come back.  My guess is that his intended audience was adults: social reform is always first with Dickens and his audience would recognize the greedy business owner very quickly. I'll be back.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 21, 2016, 06:05:42 PM
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif) You are right, Karen.  Here are only  a couple of things that bear on A Christmas Carol, and why it's more significant  than a cartoon:

   --- Early in 1843, as a response to a government report on the abuse of child laborers in mines and factories, Dickens vowed he would strike a “sledge-hammer blow . . . on behalf of the Poor Man’s Child.”  That sledge-hammer was A Christmas Carol.

--- The Cratchit family is based on Dickens’ childhood home life. He lived in poor circumstances in a “two up two down” four roomed house which he shared with his parents and five siblings. Like Peter Cratchit, young Charles, the eldest boy, was often sent to pawn the family’s goods when money was tight. Like many poor families the Cratchits had nothing in which to roast meat. They relied on the ovens of their local baker which were available on Sundays and Christmas when the bakery was closed.


 A Christmas Carol was first published in 1843.  Initially six thousand copies of the book were printed.  More copies were ordered after the first printing was sold in only five days.

 ----   At the time Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol Christmas wasn’t commonly celebrated as a festive holiday. In The Pickwick Papers and A Christmas Carol Dickens’ descriptions of feasting, games and family unity combined with his message that Christmas was a time “when want is keenly felt and abundance rejoices” helped revive popular interest in many Christmas traditions that are still practiced today.
   
I love it and every time I read it or see it, even after all these years,  I see something new in it.   
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 21, 2016, 06:44:15 PM
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif) We've actually come to the end of our Countdown to Christmas, but what have we left off?  There seems to be something we've forgotten to ask, what would you like to add to the discussion?

Peggy, I hope the rain holds off so you can have a White Christmas!  Lionel Barrymore! I think...is it possible I missed his? I bet it IS, I will see if I can find it. Perhaps it was he rather than Basil Rathbone who did the radio show, too?

Pat, yes, that sort of describes Manny, too, doesn't it? He'd like that.  I was very glad to hear from him, too.

Karen, I haven't seen Henry Winkler's take on it, I will look for it, I like him, a lot. Have you seen his recent one on the old guys traveling? I loved that thing. Bill Shatner, George Foreman, Henry Winkler, Terry Bradshaw and...who else? A young sidekick, traveled the world. I thought it was a hoot and it's been renewed for next year.

So now what category have we left out here? I know there's something, it's right at the tip of my tongue.





Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 21, 2016, 08:50:47 PM
Kristen thanks for the suggestion of Mr. Magoo's Christmas version.  I just may give that a try with my two grandchildren since they are spending the night with us tonight.  My eight year old Zak actually wanted to watch the Christmas Carol a couple of weeks ago, but our vhs version was all snowy.

As far as another category to mention, I would like to know everyone's favorite Christmas Carol or music they enjoy during this holiday season.

I have so many different songs but I truly love being at Mass singing, Silent Night.  That song always bring tears to my eyes and joy to my heart.  O Come All Ye Faithful is another favorite. 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Annie on December 22, 2016, 09:17:17 AM
 I liked "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" which seems to be quite popular for churches to do as a traditional play every year.  Also there's another traditional one which takes place on a train which seems quite popular also. Can't think of the title but will look it up.
 
"The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" and "The Polar Express" and my granddaughter has asked me to attend her church's Christmas offering on Christmas Eve because she didn't want me to be alone alone on Christmas Eve. And I bet I will get to see one of these plays!😊💕!  Kaleigh is one of my favorites!😊💕💕💕💕

Almost forgot to mention the Figgy Pudding!  When I saw the picture in someone's post, it looked just like my MIL's  Suet Pudding with hard sauce on it. She made it every Christmas and on our first Christmas at their home, I was totally prepared to dislike it!  But, after my first bite, I loved it! Surprise, surprisr, Ann!!!!😊😄💕💕💕😄
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 22, 2016, 04:30:10 PM
I don't think I have ever had Figgy Pudding.  I will have to make a special effort to try it. 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 23, 2016, 08:02:32 AM
Oh I do like the idea of including music as one of our categories, Bellamarie!

Ann, what a lovely gift your granddaughter has given you. Thank you for sharing it.

It would be hard to choose one song of the season, wouldn't it? I thought about it and  addition to old favorites, one of my favorite  Christmas songs is Past Three O'Clock and a Cold and Frosty Morning. This is a beautiful arrangement: (which starts out VERY quietly but do not adjust your audio, it ends up with a roar!) :)

Here are the Cambridge singers singing it and here are the lyrics:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N_ipQdIcY8

(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif) PAST THREE O'CLOCK
Old English Carole
(George Ratcliff Woodward)


past three o'clock,
on a cold frosty morning,
past three o'clock,
good morrow masters all.

born is a baby
gentle as may be,
son of the Eternal
Father supernal.

seraph choir singeth,
angel bell ringeth,
hark how they rhyme it,
time it and chime it!

mid earth rejoices
hearing such voices.
ne'ertofore so well
carolling nowell!

hinds o'er the pearly
dewy lawn early
seek the high stranger
laid in the manager.

cheese from the dairy
bring they for Mary,
and, not for money,
butter and honey.

light out of star-land
leadeth from far land
princes, to meet him,
worship and greet him.

myrrh from full coffer,
incense they offer;
nor is the golden
nugget withholden.

thus they: i pray you,
up sirs, nor stay you
till ye confess him
likewise and bless him.

We are hoping that each of you has enjoyed this Countdown to the Holidays, and we appreciate your contributions, they were wonderful.

(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/christmas_animated_gifs_03.gif)

We have a Winner!



We do have a winner of our Raffle of a Gift Certificate for $25.00 from either (winner's choice) Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

This year the winning number was selected by a person who has never been to the website. Asked to choose from numbers 1-138, the choice was 48.

And so Congratulations, Peggy Casing!  You have won the Holiday  Raffle!



I'll be in touch to find out which you'd like.

ALSO today we have a birthday!

Happy Happy Birthday, Callie!

(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/birthdaycake.jpg)

Please join us on Boxing Day (December 26, the 2nd day of Christmas), to give your thoughts on our Christmas story, December 26- 31.  We'll discuss  this charming short story, an allegory of virtues, A Kidnapped Santa Claus  by  L. Frank Baum

Lyman Frank Baum (15 May 1856 – 6 May 1919) was an American author of children’s books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A Kidnapped Santa Claus is a Christmas-themed short story written by L. Frank Baum. It is a continuation of the story set forth in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, telling how Santa Claus was kidnapped by “Daemons” in a plan to make children unhappy. It has been called one of Baum’s most beautiful stories and constitutes an influential contribution to the mythology of Christmas.

http://www.aesopfables.com/kidnap.html

Merry Merry Merry to you all!
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: CallieinOK on December 23, 2016, 10:30:23 AM
Thank you so much, Ginnie.

Family is "bringing the party" to my house this evening.  There are only 8 of us - youngest is 19.  As far as I know, we'll play table games and enjoy "hearty snacks".
My oldest granddaughter, who moved to NYC in September, is home for a week.  I can't wait to give her a big hug!

May each and every one of you have a Very Merry Christmas blessed with all Good Things

Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Annie on December 23, 2016, 11:24:00 AM
A note to Bellamarie!  I have the recipe for the suet pudding without the suet. If you want the recipe, let me know and I will email it to you. 
Ginny et.al, I am having a 2 day visit with my two brothers and their families.  So, after I catch my breath, I will be here for the discussion of L. Frank Baum's short story. 😊💕💕

Merry Christmast to all!!🛍🎁🎉🎊
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 23, 2016, 01:45:55 PM
Annie,  I would love your recipe.  I had my two youngest grandchildren over today since their Mom & Dad had to work and they are out for Christmas break.  We went out to build a snowman and of course developed into a snowball fight.  We came in for hot cocoa with tiny marshmallows, out of no where Zak asked, "What is figgy pudding Nonnie?"  I told him I had no idea, I have never eaten it before or seen it.  So... I will try your recipe and give him some to try.

Congratulations Peggy for being our raffle winner!!  Happy Birthday Callie!!

May you all have the Merriest of Christmas and I will be back to discuss the short story on December 26th.

(http://caccioppoli.com/Animated%20gifs/Merry%20Christmas/0167.gif)
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Annie on December 23, 2016, 04:21:52 PM
I will email it to you after the holidays if you wiil send me your email address or is it up on your member page here?  I just asked Ginny to put up the song for you!

Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 23, 2016, 05:03:56 PM
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)Ann has asked me to put up this song of Bing Crosby singing White Christmas for you all.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4l1qUbMHj4Y

:)
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Annie on December 23, 2016, 05:33:48 PM
Hey, Ginny, I can do it but only from my MacPro laptop.  So, I was able to bring it right here! Well, nuts, I have done this so many times and this time it didn't work.  Oh well, thanks.  Merry Christmas, everyone.  I also have the complete directions on how to make it from youtube video.  I will try to  see if I can transfer that one. 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Annie on December 23, 2016, 05:53:41 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6fPL2ZQwz4
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 23, 2016, 06:52:48 PM
OH good for you, Ann, and the recipe for Christmas Pudding. :)
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 23, 2016, 11:44:00 PM
 Annie,  Thank you so much for the music & recipe! 



Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PatH on December 24, 2016, 06:59:24 PM
This discussion has made me realize something: there are a lot of things that are customary for my family at Christmastime, and I love the way we do things, but I'm like the whos in the Grinch story.  All I really need is people I love, and I'm richly blessed in having so many people to love and who love me.  The rest is just icing.

Have a glorious holiday, all of you.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Annie on December 25, 2016, 04:59:39 PM
Bella, Don't try that recipe as it's ingredients are not the same as my MILs I will look for hers and put them up after Christmas for you.  Merry Christmas to all on here! I am awaiting the arrival of my family and the dinner!  Just passing time!😊💕
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PeggyCasing on December 26, 2016, 01:32:40 AM
Wow!  How great to have been the one chosen to receive a gift certificate!  (Ginny, Amazon is probably easiest, but either is great!!)  Truth is, reading all of your reflections has been a lovely gift for me as well.  The wisdom shared  and beautiful memories were such treasures. Thank you, all.  :) -Peggy
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 26, 2016, 08:52:27 AM
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif) Wonderful, Peggy, and I agree, all of the comments here themselves were gifts.  We hope you enjoy your prize  tremendously!

Here we are on Boxing Day and the 2nd Day of Christmas, and we had hoped to have a short look at the short story A Kidnapped Santa Claus, which is shown here in the heading. For those unfamiliar with the concept of "headings,"  I'll repeat it here:


December 26- 31: Till January we'll we'll discuss  this charming short story, an allegory of virtues, A Kidnapped Santa Claus  by  L. Frank Baum

Lyman Frank Baum (15 May 1856 – 6 May 1919) was an American author of children’s books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A Kidnapped Santa Claus is a Christmas-themed short story written by L. Frank Baum. It is a continuation of the story set forth in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, telling how Santa Claus was kidnapped by “Daemons” in a plan to make children unhappy. It has been called one of Baum’s most beautiful stories and constitutes an influential contribution to the mythology of Christmas.

http://www.aesopfables.com/kidnap.html

I guess to start us off, it might be good to see what your very first impression was of this tale?

 I was taken by so many different things at once when I read it, and I really had never heard of it before.

My first reaction to this is  wonder at  the levels of the caves. You can't get TO Malice without going thru Selfishness or Envy.  I was so interested in the progression. The Daemon of Selfishness is the  Cave one enters first.

Unless you enter that  Cave you won't progress to the others.

So then is one to assume Selfishness is the worst? Because if you did not enter into the Cave of the Demon of Selfishness,  you'd not move to the Daemon of Envy or his cave, nor the Daemon of Malice. Is that true in life, too?

Or is the Daemon of Selfishness not so bad?  I love the way the Daemons take on the personification of normal people, they are lonely and concerned.  But at one point I thought I saw.....a slip, right near the end?

It reminds me for some reason  of The Screwtape Letters, am I the only one?

But let's find out: what do YOU think? The floor is now open for your thoughts.

Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Kristen on December 26, 2016, 10:56:41 AM
Perhaps selfishness is not the worst.  It may be the least harmful by itself but is the entry way to more serious sins.  It's easy to be a little bit selfish once in a while.  Then it becomes a habit and leads to envy and malice.  Selfishness needs to be nipped in the bud before it leads to greater problems.  Although what I just wrote might mean it really is the worst since it is the start of a slippery slope.

I find it very interesting that the pathway to the first cave is broad and the cave entrance is "beautifully carved and decorated."  It's so appealing, just like putting ourselves first can be.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Annie on December 26, 2016, 11:15:51 AM
Ginny, I did tell you I won't be here first three days, didn't I? 5 more relatives are arriving today and will be here thru Wednesday.  I will read our short story at bedtime tonoght!
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 26, 2016, 12:29:57 PM
As a Christian who sees Christmas and Santa in a spiritual sense this little fable grabbed me instantly.  I immediately thought of an allegorical novel I had read many years ago, as I began my adult spiritual journey, dealing with family & friends who were not necessarily nice or wanting to be supportive or happy for me.  The book is, Hinds' Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard. 

In Kidnapping Santa I saw the different evils/sins as our human nature, also as the soldiers who came to capture Jesus. There will always be temptations of evil, there will always be people in our lives trying to steal our happiness, trying to tempt us to be envious, hateful, selfish and uncaring of others.  There will always be people who resent our goodwill, and will try to interfere with us doing good acts for others.  I saw Santa representing God, wanting to give us the grace of love, happiness and all things that are good.  The little ryls, knooks, pixies and fairies represented Jesus' apostles, who were with him and learned from him so when he was no longer with them, they were able to continue doing his work. 

Forgiveness represented Jesus, we must pass through all the other sins, selfishness, envy, hate etc., in order to come to the point of needing forgiveness.  Jesus came to free us of our sins through forgiveness, just as Forgiveness in the fable freed Santa.  Not that Santa had done anything to be forgiven for, but the significance was, it is through forgiveness we are freed.

The mistakes that were made delivering the presents represented to me that no one can do the work of Jesus, as well as he himself can, but each and everyone of us should at least attempt to be, and do as he taught us to do, continue his work.  It is through us, our good actions and being kind, loving, caring and giving to others, that we bring the joy to others and in turn to ourselves, therefore receiving God's gift of grace.

Just like in Hinds Feet On High Places, this allegory of Kidnapping Santa, helps us to recognize our human weaknesses, or temptations in life, and shows us the way to our own self happiness is through a higher power.  In both allegories emotions are used as the characters, so we can relate to the human nature in us, yet because of these emotions if we give into them, we can allow them to interfere or kidnap our very self, from the happiness and love, that God intends for us.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Mkaren557 on December 26, 2016, 04:45:45 PM
I immediately thought that once again, as in A Christmas Carol, we have a simple story that as Bella pointed out has at least one other level of interpretation.  It also reminds me of the allegory Pilgrim's Progress where faults are personified as Daemons.  I also think that Baum, like Dickens, often writes to point out flaws in society; he was also political, very much a populist favoring the interests of farmers over those of the industrialists.  I am struck that it all begins with selfishness, which was the claim of those who "hated" the selfishness and the greed of the factory owners.  What lesson he is trying to teach!  Once one starts down the path of selfishness, one will fall into the other vices and become so "evil" that one will be capable of horrendous acts.  What is more abhorrent than kidnapping Santa and taking Christmas away from innocent children!

By the way, when the Wizard of Oz was published, a teacher in upstate New York analyzed it as a novel that was written to support the populist movement.  Baum immediately denied that and the article was discredited, but it still exists somewhere online. 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 26, 2016, 06:34:17 PM
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif) Gosh, I think you all have done a wonderful job in pointing out little details that I didn't pick up at first. And I agree with Karen that I think that this piece opens itself up to a lot of interpretations and some of which have been said here that I  wouldn't have thought of. So I'm really pleased to read them.   But I agree that there's more than one that's possible.

 And I also think it's a really good thing to read right after Christmas. I really have been thinking about it all day. Kristen, I  sat up straight when I saw your remark about the carved entrance to the Cave of Selfishness. When I first read it I really got kind of stuck on that ornateness and why that should be, what it might symbolize,  but when you mentioned that I couldn't remember any of the others, what did  they  look like and then when I compared them I saw something i hadn't initially...

"The Caves of the Daemons are five in number. A broad pathway leads up to the first cave, which is a finely arched cavern at the foot of the mountain, the entrance being beautifully carved and decorated. In it resides the Daemon of Selfishness. Back of this is another cavern inhabited by the Daemon of Envy. The cave of the Daemon of Hatred is next in order, and through this one passes to the home of the Daemon of Malice--situated in a dark and fearful cave in the very heart of the mountain. I do not know what lies beyond this. Some say there are terrible pitfalls leading to death and destruction, and this may very well be true. However, from each one of the four caves mentioned there is a small, narrow tunnel leading to the fifth cave--a cozy little room occupied by the Daemon of Repentance. And as the rocky floors of these passages are well worn by the track of passing feet, I judge that many wanderers in the Caves of the Daemons have escaped through the tunnels to the abode of the Daemon of Repentance, who is said to be a pleasant sort of fellow who gladly opens for one a little door admitting you into fresh air and sunshine again." 


I found this really interesting, for  several reasons. In reading about the broad  pathway that leads to the first Cave of Selfishness which is so ornately done it just seemed  to me that it symbolized a lot of things. And I kept hearing the verse "straight is the way and narrow is the path,"  but this path is not narrow, it's broad to the first Cave of Selfishness,  and I thought  there's a point being made here.   It's   almost like the  story of Pinocchio. Pinocchio in the original is not a child's  story at all,  it's very much along similar lines.  Do you remember in the Disney movie Pinocchio how attractive it was to go to this land where there was all sorts of bad stuff going on, doing all sorts of naughty things....temptation, as Bellamarie said....the reason I thought of The Screwtape Letters....demons AND temptation.   But it seems to be the only cave described that way.    Why? 

And again here we have five caves, not seven,  we have five,  and one of the Daemons  is Repentance, and that stopped  me too.   

The thing that really stopped  me, though,  in this very first read and I think you've all really touched on it but the thing that really stopped me in the first visit was the word  you.

 The Daemon  of Repentance "opens the door to  you.   gladly".... he's changed his pronouns, hasn't he?  He's changed from an experience that we're not really connected with; we  have five caves and they're all owned by demons..... most of us don't like to think we know any demons but the Daemon  of Repentance will open the door to you.  That's the first time, I think the reader has been mentioned in the story. I think to me that was pretty clear that we are talking about every man and how he may go astray. 

 And I really appreciated the background on Baum,  Karen, that you provided-  it's interesting that you see a  parallel with A Christmas Carol as well. I wonder what an author can expect or mean  when he deliberately writes  an allegory--- it's impossible for people not to see in the characters symbolism of greater principles. 

 But in that same vein many puzzling  things emerge. Why is Repentance  a Daemon? Does Repentance  himself slip at the end a little bit, did you see anything in this little story that indicates he he slipped? What can it mean?  Is that why he's considered among the five caves?   This is quite a little puzzle we have before us ---it's not a simple little child's story at all. I guess it can be read like one or to a child.

I'm still trying to figure out which of the first four Daemons  is the worst?

Annie, enjoy your family. We look forward to your comments when you return.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 26, 2016, 11:08:38 PM
MKaren, I also could see a parallel to A Christmas Carol.
 As far as which demon/evil/sin is worse, I'm not so certain one is worst than the other.  Each of them would be considered venial sins.  Although one can lead to another, all are forgivable in this allegory because you are able to reach the cave of redemption, and through redemption, you are free.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Mkaren557 on December 27, 2016, 09:38:23 AM
I meant to say that like The Christmas Carol this story is a relatively simple story on the surface, but there are many layers of interpretation that we can apply to it.  I think your interpretation, Bella, is wonderful.  I gave it a political interpretation, and there may be others.  To me that is a mark of good literature.  It has depth.
Repentence is a daemon because you must face your sins to repent and after that happens, you see the light of day.  Repenting is not an easy thing; it is a daemon in itself.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 27, 2016, 10:27:04 AM








(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/Holidayparty/Holidaypartyredandwhit3eannueal.jpg)

Welcome, welcome, ALL to our Annual Holiday Drop in, our 20th Anniversary Special!

Come as you are, have a glass of egg nog, and greet old friends. We hope to make this a Homecoming for old, and we hope, brand new friends, and that you will each bring the gift of sharing a memory, a recipe or a thought for the holidays.

We have a  Raffle, too,  and just by posting here you are in the contest. Winner to be announced the 23rd of December.

So come on in, and note the Topics du Jour as we count down to the 25th:



(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 1-2:  Come on home and tell us the best book YOU read this year and why.
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 3-4:  Give us the gift of your favorite Holiday  Recipe
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 5-6:  What Christmas or Hanukkah do you remember best and why?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 7-8:  Did you ever have a disastrous holiday you laugh about now? The dressing that ran, the turkey which never cooked? Tell us about it.
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 9-10: Are you giving a book for Christmas or Hanukkah? If so, what is it?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 11-12: What is your favorite book with a holiday theme? Can be a mystery, etc.
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 13-14: What one thing do you absolutely have to have at Christmas or Hanukkah or it wouldn't be right without it?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 15-16: What's your all time favorite holiday sweet treat?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 17-18:  What's your favorite TV holiday program?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 19-20: - What one symbol of the season  do you have to have  every year?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 21-22: Who is the best Scrooge in all the movies and plays you've ever seen? Why?
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 23: Raffle winner announced


(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)December 26- 31: Till January we'll we'll discuss  this charming short story, an allegory of virtues, A Kidnapped Santa Claus  by  L. Frank Baum

Lyman Frank Baum (15 May 1856 – 6 May 1919) was an American author of children’s books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A Kidnapped Santa Claus is a Christmas-themed short story written by L. Frank Baum. It is a continuation of the story set forth in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, telling how Santa Claus was kidnapped by “Daemons” in a plan to make children unhappy. It has been called one of Baum’s most beautiful stories and constitutes an influential contribution to the mythology of Christmas.

http://www.aesopfables.com/kidnap.html


Everyone is welcome!







Thank you Mkaren, I like your interpretation as well especially pointing out, "Repenting is not an easy thing; it is a daemon in itself."

How many people go through life refusing to repent, refusing to acknowledge there part in doing wrong and live a life of misery carrying around the burden of an unrepentant heart.  I have relatives and friends, and I will admit even myself, who refused to enter that cave of repentance for years, refusing to say I'm sorry.  It is not easy at all to face the demon of repentance because it shows us our weaknesses, our flaws, our wrongdoings.  It's not easy at all because, I think the demon of arrogance, and self righteousness get in our way as well.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 27, 2016, 01:57:34 PM
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif) I am so enjoying thinking about this small piece, it's a good thing to think about in the new year, I didn't expect this out of a Santa Claus story.  I think, however, that repentance and redemption may be two different things; at least they are to me.

But to me, the chain of Daemons and their caves  is flawed, in that I don't think one necessarily causes another in the sequence outlined here. I have spent a lot of time thinking about  Envy. I don't think Envy comes from Selfishness, almost the opposite.

This is the definition of selfish from Webster's:

 1 :  concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself :  seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others

2
:  arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others <a selfish act>


I think in order for envy to be present, the person feeling envy must feel inadequate in some way, and since he cannot have what he perceives another does, he envies that person, and when it's taken too far, beyond anger, and hurt, it turns into hatred and wishing malice.

For example, if somebody comes in here and says oh I have won the lottery, 10,000,000 dollars, I would be totally  glad for that person, not because I have 10,000,000 dollars but because it doesn't threaten  me or my life in any way: I don't care. It's not a hole in ME that I envy that person having filled for himself. I'm happy for him.

Bellamarie, "Each of them would be considered venial sins."

Envy,  I believe, is actually a  cardinal sin, isn't it? It's one of the 7 Deadly Sins, unless I am mistaken.  I think it's worse than selfishness.  Because in order to be envious you have to begrudge the other person what you perceive he has, or is, or possesses; he has something you want which you do  not have, but which  really means something to you.  It's your own inadequacy, your own failing, is envy, to me.

I would have put Envy first, but I didn't write this little parable of every- man struggling with life.  I can see how envy leads to malice and hatred, but it's the person's own struggle with himself and his inability to overcome his feeling of not being as good as somebody else.

And that leads to selfishness. I love this type of thinking, I may be alone in that, but I didn't expect this little boon from the story and am enjoying working it out.  I am not sure, now, that malice comes before hatred.  Going to have to think about that one next.

What do you all think, if you care to say? On this subject or any other the story touches on?



Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Mkaren557 on December 27, 2016, 03:12:46 PM
Well, since you asked, I think that selfishness is the beginning of all sin.  You chose to do what you want rather than what God wants.  Like the story of Genesis:  God said,"Don't eat from this particular tree." Eve ate.  Then, believing that the fruit would make him equal to God, Adam ate as well.  Perhaps envy compelled Adam to chose, but they both chose to do what they wanted rather than what God wanted--selfishness. Whether it is envy, hatred, malice, lust, gluttony, I think it starts with "I".

However, I am so confused now that we may be saying the same thing, or at least we are not far apart.  . It seems to me that repentance is the way out of the cycle of sin.  Than there is the kidnapping of Santa by the daemons?  What do you think is going on here?

Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 27, 2016, 07:50:24 PM
When I said all these daemons/evils/sins would be considered venial, I meant they were lesser than mortal sins.  Venial sin according to the Roman Catholic teaching is a "forgivable" sin, a lesser sin that does not result in a complete separation from God and eternal damnation in Hell as an unrepented mortal sin would. 

The seven deadly sins, or as mentioned cardinal sins are lesser than mortal sins.  The word "cardinal" is defined as a serious lack of judgement, as are the seven deadly sins.

I see selfishness as the first step to the other sins.  But I don't think either of them are of any greater level of evil/sin.  They all can lead us to one of the others.

And yes MKaren, this story does indeed show that the cave of repentance is the way out, freedom.  But where I may disagree, is that repentance may free us from whatever sins we are repenting for, acknowledging, and asking for absolution at the time which does indeed break the cycle, but...I do also feel it is our human nature to sin again, so the cycle begins again.  Which is why we need to continue to ask for forgiveness. 

Where I see a flaw in this allegory is that Santa was kidnapped by these daemons while he was only doing good for others.  I did not see where Santa needed to pass through the cave of repentance, because at this time he had not given into the temptation of the daemons.  In the story no where does it say Santa is in a state of sin, needing to repent.  My only conclusion, is that I saw Santa as the symblance of God, showing us the way through our caves of sins, is to pass through the cave of repentance which is the symblance of Jesus the redeemer.  The true meaning and reason for Christmas.

I really liked this story.  I plan to give a copy of it to Fr. Miller so he may adapt it into his homily, and I will also use it in my CCD class.  It's a great lesson for teaching the children, with Santa being a character in it. 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: PeggyCasing on December 27, 2016, 09:24:55 PM
I'm coming a little late to the conversation, but enjoy the insights. I would have to say that even a "little" sin, like selfishness can be upon occasion, can turn into mortal sin. It isn't the type, but instead the intensity, of sorts, that morphs it. Selfishness can look good and be revered in any culture. I think that's why that one cave is attractive. I think of all the times that I have heard someone say, "you deserve it" in regard to an expensive trip, or gift, or pampering... that statement has always bothered me. It seemed to be a way to justify selfishness. The sense of an attractive gateway toward more serious sin is an appropriate one in my mind.  I'd think few individuals start off with one of the more deadly sins like envy, but we've all had to wrangle with selfishness.

It was mentioned that it made sense for Repentance to be a daemon, of sorts, and that we have to wrestle with it. I appreciate the thought.  I know, however, that it rubbed me the wrong way to think of Repentance sitting around hoping for people to be led astray, just so they'd have the opportunity visit his cave. Humm. It has been said that "God loves a repentant heart," but God, who is love, according to my understanding, brings no evil into the world, so the evil of sin comes not from a perverse motivation of God, but through choosing evil as one of the choices afforded by free will. Even Satan was afforded free will, ultimately choosing his way to becoming a fallen angel. In this story, Repentance- a good thing- is tinged by selfishness. I think, as I ponder, that much, if not all of repentance is tinged with selfishness, after all, what is it when we feel"bad" about hurting someone? (Or any other example) Our bad feelings can be embarrassment, or fear of discovery, or fear of punishment, etc. All of those examples are, ultimately, hinged on  selfishness.  Repentance, then, could be that same jumble of good, and not so good, motivations, feelings, etc., that make up any experience of repentance. - just some thoughts.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 28, 2016, 08:49:31 AM
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif) I think those are wonderful thoughts, Peggy and they make total sense, to me. I especially like the reason that the Cave of Selfishness is so attractively carved.  I loved your thoughts on repentance being tinged with selfishness.

So why kidnap Santa Claus  in the first place, super question, Karen.   It's clear that Santa represents different things to each of us.

There's no question that the Daemons of the Caves are referred to as evil, even the Daemon of Repentance: "the wicked Daemons of the Caves."

Bellamarie, I am glad that you like the story. I am really pleased at how well it has turned out.

All last night all I could think of was the Gesta Romanorum. In the 13th century it became the fashion to take the old tales, not only of the Greeks (Aesop) and Romans but of other cultures and meld them into the Church by creating little moral tales or  explanations or homilies by monks on them. These are known as the Gesta Romanorum and the intent was positive and pure, but the result was often a bit forced or strained, as you can probably imagine,  or made absolutely no sense at all, but the INTENT is what you grasp. You can see that if you read any of them for any amount of time.

I think the intent here, what  Baum was trying to do here (this is my own Gesta on it) was to present a moral tale based on the Santa myth so that we might have a shot at what Socrates called the Examined Life, a philosophical challenge to each person (sort of like the British National Health quiz in the paper today)...presenting a situation which could be interpreted many different ways --- sort of a litmus test toward self examination wherein the reader emerges refreshed by his ruminations and by the thoughts others offer.

So the broader the interpretation, the better. That does not mean we will all agree?  That's not why we discuss books here, we need not agree, (and we do not on this one which is fine).   I have loved the challenge of trying to THINK outside the box of the simple little story and to learn  what the symbolism might be seen here among  intelligent thinkers,  and what he's saying.

I think it's Everyman. Pligrim's Progress through life.  The temptations and what it takes to stand up to them. It's kind of like that quiz this morning by the British National Health, it makes you THINK about the choices you make in eating or exercising and it's funny and disarming in the process.

What a work, reminiscent of The Screwtape Letters, Pligrim's Progress, and the Gesta Romanorum, all rolled into one!

I'm sure we will all  be enlightened by the musings of our fellow thinkers here. I know I have been. Who KNEW this short little thing held so much? As far as Envy, I am seeing that  that is a concept that far more erudite minds than mine have been arguing over the import of  since it was added in 590 A.D., (and coming to completely different conclusions),  and its inclusion here, I don't think is a mistake.

What else are you all seeing in this story? There are no right or wrong answers, just your thoughts and opinions.

Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 28, 2016, 11:09:07 AM
Peggy,  Welcome!  I am so glad you stopped in, late or not you touched on something I knew I had thought about earlier on when I read the story and for the life of me I couldn't remember what it was with all the hustle bustle still going on in my house watching the grandkids during Christmas break.  Your statement,  "I know, however, that it rubbed me the wrong way to think of Repentance sitting around hoping for people to be led astray, just so they'd have the opportunity visit his cave."

When I read this story I did wonder why "Repentance" would be considered a daemon.  I do feel like the moral of the story was to acknowledge the other daemons in our life and to repent, but I felt that the cave of Repentance should not have been looped in with all the other evils since repentance is a good thing, not bad, and certainly not a daemon or evil. 

I see Santa and Repentance as the main characters in this story.  Santa as God, and Repentance as Jesus, so kidnapping Santa, and Repentance freeing Santa from the evils, reminds me of the soldiers capturing and crucifying Jesus for doing no wrong.  Through his Crucifixion we have repentance, are freed of our sins, and have everlasting life.  So in a sense I can see why Repentance would sit waiting for you to pass through his cave, just as God/Jesus sits and waits for us to come to HIM through absolution.  Since God and Jesus are ONE in the same, I can finally see where the author was going with the kidnapping of Santa. 

Ginny good reminder, there are no right or wrong answers or ways to see this or any story, we share what we individually think so as to bring interesting thoughts to others.  Many writers be it poems, novels, plays etc., seem to draw from Biblical scripture/parables, it's an excellent source for allegories.

I conducted a little experiment today.  I have my eight and five year old grandson and granddaughter with me today, I read them this story to see what their first impression is of it.  I was curious to see this story through the eyes of a child. After I finished reading it I said, "So what did you think of the story?"  Their first responses were, Zoey, "I like how the daemons decided to be nice." Zak, "I like how all the little people were going to help Santa." Zak, "It's good there was the cave that freed Santa."  Then my five year old Zoey said, "This story reminded me of The Year Without Santa."  Zak said, "Oh yea and it also reminds me of the movie Trolls we just went to see with you Nonnie."  Zoey said, "Oh Zak and it's also like, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas!"  Zak asked me when this story was written and who wrote it, and I told him the author and when it was written. He replied, "I think a lot of people used stories like this to make movies we see today."  I asked, "So what was your favorite part of the story and they both liked how everyone was nice.  Zak also said, "There were a lot of words in the story that I did not understand, like the word of the cave that let Santa go."

My conclusion is, children at least my grandchildren, can determine the nice parts of a story or movie, even when they can not understand some of the more mature words or parts in them.  They overlooked the bad/evil, and concentrated on the good/niceness. 

 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Kristen on December 28, 2016, 11:48:14 AM
As a Catholic, I believe that only Jesus and Mary were without sin.  Even though Santa was doing good and seemed to be perfect, perhaps he had a slight stain of sin from the past that needed repentance.  Maybe one thing the story shows is that no matter how good we may seem to others, there may be something hidden, even if it is very small, that needs repentance.  All the Saints had imperfections.  Some of them were very great sinners who became very great saints.

I'm almost sorry I wrote the above and wonder if I should post it, but it did occur to me so I will put it out there as an idea.  Mrs. Santa might know some of Santa's faults. :D
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 28, 2016, 01:46:12 PM
 Yes I know what you mean. I myself not only don't see Santa as God, I am having quite a time seeing Jesus as the "wicked  Daemon" of the Caves, aka the Daemon of Repentance. Baum, the  author,  has labelled the Daemons thus, not me.

That doesn't mean the theory put forward is "wrong," it means I can't see it personally.

Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 28, 2016, 04:12:48 PM
I see different points of views from each of you, and it opens me up to even more insights.

Kristen, I too am Catholic and believe only Mary and Jesus were without sin, so seeing Santa with some sort of sin, and maybe Mrs. Claus would know is a good point. I'm glad you posted, it made me stop and go back to read the story again, in doing so, there is a point where I do think Santa shows a weakness:

It is possible that Santa Claus was not as merry as usual during the night that succeeded his capture. For although he had faith in the judgment of his little friends he could not avoid a certain amount of worry, and an anxious look would creep at times into his kind old eyes as he thought of the disappointment that might await his dear little children. And the Daemons, who guarded him by turns, one after another, did not neglect to taunt him with contemptuous words in his helpless condition.

I personally felt the author portrayed Santa as sinless, thus causing me to see him as a semblance of God/Jesus, yet he also gave Santa the need for repentance, which seemed ironic, and contradictory, yet this paragraph did show Santa falter. 

This part of the story puzzled me:

"Do you never repent, yourself?" asked Santa Claus, curiously.

"Oh, yes, indeed," answered the Daemon. "I am even now repenting that I assisted in your capture. Of course it is too late to remedy the evil that has been done; but repentance, you know, can come only after an evil thought or deed, for in the beginning there is nothing to repent of."

"So I understand," said Santa Claus. "Those who avoid evil need never visit your cave."[
/i]

The author has made Repentance a character who not only is a daemon/evil, who admits to his sin, needing repentance, yet this character/daemon also can absolve sin, which is contradictory in itself.  So, in this aspect Repentance can not be a semblance of either God or Jesus.  Yet through Catholic belief and teaching, it is ONLY through Jesus, we can receive God's grace of repentance. 

Talk about a puzzle.....  this has got me going in twists and turns each time I go back and read it.  Makes me wonder how well versed this author Baum was in the church's teaching of repentance.  I think the author attempted at an allegory with a moral of forgiveness, with also pointing out how Christmas can be commercialized in the manufacturing of many toys, and that material things bring happiness to the children on Christmas morning, with Santa being the only person who can accomplish this mission.  Here is where I think it's a good story to use in religious classes and homilies, to gear us more toward the spiritual reason for the season. 

It does make you think, as we have done here. 

 

Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Kristen on December 28, 2016, 07:00:08 PM
"It was well known that no harm can come to Santa Claus while he is in the Laughing Valley, for the fairies, and ryls, and knooks all protect him. But on Christmas Eve he drives his reindeer out into the big world, carrying a sleighload of toys and pretty gifts to the children; and this was the time and the occasion when his enemies had the best chance to injure him. So the Daemons laid their plans and awaited the arrival of Christmas Eve."

Perhaps Santa should have planned more carefully for his safety when he left the Laughing Valley.  A sin of omission? Santa was captured by the Daemons because he was not observant or prepared.    Put on the armour of God!  Get a bodyguard, Santa. 
The Daemons "laid their plans and awaited" just like Satin and the evil spirits.   



Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Kristen on December 28, 2016, 07:14:28 PM
I know that you cannot believe everything you read on the Web but I still use Google quite often.  I wondered if Baum was Catholic.  Wikipedia says he was born into a devout Methodist family. 

And, I found the following on another site:

"Although the Wizard of Oz is widely perceived as an innocent children’s fairy tale, it is almost impossible not to attribute a symbolic meaning to Dorothy’s quest. As in all great stories, the characters and the symbols of the Wizard of Oz can be given a second layer of interpretation, which may vary depending on the reader’s perception. Many analyses appeared throughout the years describing the story as  an “atheist manifesto” while others saw  it as a promotion of populism. It is through an understanding of the author’s philosophical bckground and beliefs, however,  that the story’s true meaning can be grasped.

L. Frank Baum, the author of the Wizard of Oz was a member of the Theosophical Society, which is an organization based on occult research and the comparative study of religions. Baum had a deep understanding of Theosophy and, consciously or not,  created an allegory of Theosophic teachings when he wrote the Wizard of Oz."

If these are true of Baum and "The Wizard of Oz", then trying to match his Santa story with Christianity in general and esp. my Catholic beliefs may account for some of the problems.



Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 28, 2016, 08:48:36 PM
Kristen for me personally, I do see the story aligning with the parables and scripture, even if Baum had no intentions for it to.  I have a tendency to see many stories, especially children's stories and movies to be allegories with Biblical undertones.  I watched The Lorax and was amazed at how much it can relate to scripture.  I sat with my ten year old granddaughter and she and I were picking things out left and right that we saw Christians could see as a significance to moral, Christian teachings.  This Santa story has so many different underlying tones religiously, politically, societal, and commercial.  It's not a problem for me, it's fun discovering them!  As a religious teacher, writer, and member of a Bible study group with my church, I am always searching for signs or symbols that jump out relating to biblical events and scripture.  It's just the curious George in me.

Wouldn't it be a hoot if Baum purposely wrote this allegory with the contradictions knowing they would be spotted? Just a thought!  I have always loved The Wizard of Oz, but like this story, it did leave me questioning things, especially the trickery of the almighty Oz. 

I did a bit of research on Google today out of curiosity about our author as well, and it appears this story was not so much a favorite, and was seen more geared to an older audience rather than small children.  Interestingly, not ONE review or mention out of hundreds, did I find a spiritual/biblical comparison in this story.  It could just be me!  Oh what fun!!!!    ;) ;) ;)
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: Kristen on December 28, 2016, 09:20:17 PM
For me, especially the wide path and ornate entrance seems Biblical.  Enter through the narrow gate to Heaven as opposed to the wide and appealing path to Hell.  It might be that Baum's devout Methodist upbringing stuck with him and came out in his stories even though he explored other paths as an adult. 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 28, 2016, 09:41:23 PM
I agree with you wholeheartedly! 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 30, 2016, 02:51:34 PM
I've been reading a book, Because of Bethlehem, and came across this which made me think of our short story about Santa, and the evil daemons, and wanted to share:

"How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it," wrote G.K. Chesterton.  "You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theater in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky." 
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 30, 2016, 04:52:55 PM
(http://seniorlearn.org/latin/graphics/Graphics/holly.gif)  Oh I just lost a big post, I hate that, I'm pretty sure I can't resurrect it. Just to say I love that, Bellamarie, and I think it's a grand thought to end an old year and begin a new one. I think it's useful to think about things beyond ourselves this time of year, and we've certainly done that in this discussion.

I did not know that about the Wizard of Oz, Kristen, thank those of you who brought background here that illuminates the story. It really does open up lots of new ideas, which is perfect for our purposes.

It's amazing what  one  can see in a story. For instance  I am still reading (very slowly) Bleak House,  and I was stunned last night to see that the commentary for Chapter 13  reveals that many of Dickens's magisterial lines are Biblical in origin, it's  absolutely full of them. It's not a religious section yet it's almost verbatim line after line. It's lovely to read a good provocative story or book in a good thoughtful book club, because that also  brings out so many elements  one might never have seen. I know Adoannie is yet to come in, so if anybody has any more comments, feel free to express them.

I really think you've all done this one proud and it's a wonderful way to end our 20th year in book clubs and book club discussions. As the year closes I find myself thinking of our DL's  who have passed away over this  long period:  Ella, Pat Westerdale, Maryal (Deems), Éloïse De Pelteau, Joan Grimes, Theron  Boyd, Babi, Gumtree, Lorrie,  FairAnna, Charlie Wendell,  and  L J Kline.  I hope I didn't leave anybody out?

Auld Lang Syne

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?

    CHORUS:
    For auld lang syne, my dear,
    for auld lang syne,
    we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
    for auld lang syne.

Song always makes me cry,  but it shouldn't, especially in the case of these people who individually and collectively added so much to the last 20 years here. So here's a cup of kindness   to them,  and to those of you  still here who have labored so generously, selflessly and tirelessly  all these years to bring cordial, intelligent, meaningful,  and insightful book club discussions online.  We've made a difference in many people's lives in the last 20 years. Thank you.



Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 30, 2016, 07:02:40 PM
Oh Ginny what a perfect way to end this discussion, celebration of our twenty years, and tribute to our dear members we have lost along the way.  They are gone, but never forgotten.  Thank you, and all our members who make our book club discussions interesting, fun, insightful, and filled with knowledge.  I look forward to our next book, Cranford.

May you all have a Happy, Healthy New Year!  🍾🍷
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on December 30, 2016, 09:58:25 PM
Nostalgia - the web site Charles kept until he passed - https://chazzw.wordpress.com/
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on December 31, 2016, 10:54:55 AM
Thank you,  Barbara,  for remembering  Charlie,  and for putting in his beautiful blog page, I am glad it's still up. What a mind he had.  My best friend's husband just died of the same thing Charlie had and I had used Charlie's example to encourage them as long as it could. I hate I left his name off.

Thank you, Bellamarie, and a Happy New Year to all of you!
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: bellamarie on December 31, 2016, 02:04:32 PM
May you all have a very Happy & Healthy New Year!

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Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: BarbStAubrey on January 01, 2017, 03:19:13 PM
Reminding Everyone - We open the pre-discussion to Cranford this week.

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We are trying something new by way of an introduction to our discussion leader for Cranford, Karen.
So let's have some fun learning a bit more about Karen and her love of Victorian Literature.

Barb: Karen how did you become interested in Victorian Literature?

Karen: My mother joined a book club for me when I was eleven years old and each month a new book came for me.  I fell in love with Victorian novels through that book club: Black Beauty, Little Lord Fauntleroy, Around the World in 80 Days, Alice in Wonderland, and Little Women. 

I loved stories about the rich and the poor, about the "olden days" and about overcoming problems.  I also, in those days, loved adventure stories and strange characters.  I also loved fairy tales with the lords and the castles, the princesses, and even the wicked witches.

     My first assignment in high school was to complete David Copperfield during the first quarter.  That was my formal introduction to the Victorian novel.  In spite of its being the longest novel I had ever read, I loved it and went on to read poems, essays, and novels  from that age as part of my formal education. My love for literature from this period kept growing.


Barb: Looks like you were drawn to the Victorian Period - did you continue this love with scholastic study?

Karen: I taught world history to 9th and 10th graders and had to do much preparation because my undergraduate work had been mostly in speech and English.  At the same time the National Endowment for the Humanities offered a summer program in teaching the humanities using an integrated approach:with history as a base, bringing in the literature, art, and the music from the time period. 

I went on to be accepted into two NEH six-week workshops: one was on Chaucer and the Medieval World and the second was at Oberlin College and was on 19th century women writers.  I developed a medieval unit and a 19th century British history unit, incorporating literature art and music from both the romantic and the Victorian age.


Barb: Ah - So both the Romantic and the Victorian period was on your radar?

Karen: Yes, and at this same time I started a Master of Liberal Studies degree with a focus in Victorian Literature.  I actually wanted to design a Victorian Studies elective for my high school students.  I took courses in the essay, poetry, and the novel and completed the coursework I needed.  However, as school reform kicked into high gear, electives were no longer part of the curriculum, so I never had a chance to put my plan into action.   But my interest and love for the time period and the novels from the period led me to agree to lead a discussion here on Cranford as an excellent example of a Victorian novel.

Barb: How special for us. Of course there is an entire discussion in itself about the wisdom of eliminating electives however, we are going to really benefit from your love and study of Victorian Literature. What would you say is special about the Victorian period? Give us a glimpse into the life lived during this time in history.

Karen: The Victorian Age in both history and literature refers to the time that Victoria ruled 1837-1901.  In literature it was preceded by romanticism and followed by realism and modernism.

Historically it was a time of peace and prosperity for the upper and middle classes.  The population of England doubled during this period and improvements in transportation opened up the rural areas to the urban dwellers.  The industrial workers in the cities, in contrast, lived in squalor and poverty.  Frequently the whole family had to work with the smallest children chained to the weaving machines pick up bobbins that fell underneath. 

During the age, improvements in sanitary conditions, medical treatment, and the coming of electric power and lights improved the quality of life in the cities, but poor houses and orphanages abounded.


Barb: Wow! Although typical of Victorian life, the hardships of so many sound like realism enough doesn't it - Like all difficult life situations, authors can find the goodness beneath the rough veneer. It sounds like the readership was encouraged by reading how various improvements were making change and so they wanted more of this genre. Is this the difference highlighted in a story between earlier and later Literary periods? 

Karen: Romanticism grew out French Revolution which sought to cast off the the institutions of the Old Regime:  the Church, the aristocracy, the absolute monarchy and put power in the hands of the common man. 

Poetry which expressed strong emotion and an awe for nature, broke the forms and the rules of classicism.  The poets looked at the world with optimism, espoused strong nationalism and interests in the past and in the bizarre. 

In summary, it was a revolt against the rationalism of the classical period.


Barb: Thank you Karen - you have now opened our eyes and hearts to this time in history. Cannot wait to get started with Cranford - So glad you agreed to guide us through this story and now we have historical happenings to look for before we even start our introduction to the characters.
Title: Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
Post by: ginny on January 03, 2017, 08:32:09 AM
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Here on the 9th Day of Christmas (quick what was happening in the song, drummers, maids a milking,  swans a swimming?) hahahaa I'd like to take the opportunity to thank all of you who dropped by and shared your memories and thoughts with us this holiday season.

I hope it added a little bit of amusement or joy to your holiday.

This discussion is now closed and will be archived.

A very Happy, Prosperous, and Healthy New Year to You!

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