Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Why it's become a taboo phrase in the past several years, I don't know. But I say it proudly, and frankly, don't think it can be said enough.

I celebrate Christmas, in all it's religious glory. I refuse to debate the finer points of the telephone effect on a 2000+ year old story, nor will I discuss, at this point, what Biblical scholars think are the confirmable points. For me, it is the birthday of Jesus Christ, a baby sleeping in a hay-filled feed trough in a poor stable somewhere in the ancient Middle East. I know, with all the ads and shopping and media coverage and such, many people think that Christmas begins the day after Thanksgiving and ends on December 25. In reality, begins tonight, and carries on through the Twelve Days of Christmas, to the Feast of the Epiphany, when, as the story goes, the Three Wise Men arrived to view the Savior of the World.

And so, I wish you peace. I wish you joy. I wish you love. I wish you happiness. I wish you all the blessings of the Christmas season.

I wish you a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


My mother has a saying. Well, she has many, most of them which originated from her mother, and which get trotted out from time to time as the situation calls for them. Today, however, I'm talking about one in particular:

"Someday, you, too, will be old, and only in the way."

We use this one a lot. We use it when we're walking down the street — my mother at her best arthritic snail's pace while leaning on my arm for balance — and some pretentious yuppie type (or a herd of their equally pretentious and ill-mannered children) either huffs and blows and never considers uttering the words, "Excuse me" in an effort to get past us or nearly knocks us over trying to go around (and still doesn't say anything). We use it when I point out that she's telling the same story for the 14,000th time that day. We use it when people look at her funny for one reason or another, often because she can't hear very well and either she or the people she's speaking with are projecting rather loudly. But mostly, it's because someone is being rude and impatient while my mother is doing her best to walk, which can be a real challenge some days.

I often wonder whose way I will be in. And unless I turn out to be like the 100-year-old nursing home resident who was strangled by her 98-year-old room mate, I really can't see that I'll be bothering anyone much. (And I should hope I have enough visitors in the home to annoy someone. Just sayin'.)

(I also like the slightly different takes on this story available in the Boston Herald and the Daily Mail. Intriguing.)

This brings me back to my point, though. And I do have one. It is the lack of respect for the elderly that grows worse in the United States on a daily basis. Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange is a chilling depiction of youth in charge, their desires running essentially unchecked in spite of the efforts of a few. A little of "the old ultra-violence" was all the entertainment Alex DeLarge and his Droogs needed on any given evening. Youth, in their eyes, is more important than anything. How close do we come to this kind of id-riddled behavior now, where personal responsibility is not enforced? Where a parenting philosophy of "Don't tell the child no, you'll stunt his/her creative growth" is now growing into its hormonal teens and on into what should be a responsible adulthood? Where educational philosophy of equality and no one failing and "I'm OK, you're OK" takes the place of genuine accomplishment? Where it is common practice for older workers to be laid off or forced into early retirement, to be replaced by those younger and perceived to be smarter, hipper, more adaptable? Even reports of pending and proposed health care reforms will lead to lack of care for the elderly.

Makes me wonder if I'll ever be able to get old enough to be in anyone's way.

(Note: I will do something about health care later. I'm finding way too much information to use at this time.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tea Cozies (or Cosies, if you prefer)

I have the perfect tea cosy.

It came from Harrod's several years ago, when they first went live with their Web site. It's quilted, it fits both my big and my small tea pot, and it will keep the tea drinkably hot for as long as 4 hours, depending on how much tea is in the pot.

The problem is, it's beginning to fall apart. The seams are coming undone, and the inside is terribly stained from years of daily use. The further problem is that I can not seem to find another one like it. There are all sorts of tea cosys available, but either they are not quite the right size, not the right thickness, or fancier than I want. I've even got some patterns for them, such as the Kureyon Kozy on Knitty, and a whole book of Wild Tea Cosies, which I like a lot but have not had a chance to explore making. I'm also learning to quilt, and since I sew by hand, something small like a tea cosy might be a perfect starter project for me.

The final problem is that I'm unsure what to do.

So, the quest continues. Do I attempt to find the time and resources to make one? Do I keep looking and hope the right one will appear? Do I just bite the bullet and buy one that will do for now? Or do I go back to my tried and true method of keeping the pot warm, which I used for years before I got a tea cosy: sitting it on one thick, old dish towel, and wrapping it up in another?

Decisions, decisions....