Rose Coloured Glasses

Sparkling bright silver
The colour of November
Not doomsday dull grey.

It is time to put our optimism on and wear it gladly and gaily.

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Published in: on November 22, 2014 at 2:57 pm  Comments (9)  
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Sweet November

There is no denying it. It is November, or as William Hartston of the London Express says, “Having settled in over the weekend, the month of November is now firmly with us….” In preparation for the rest of the month he provided ten not exactly “fun” facts about November. I find his first rather odd, and once you have read it, I am sure that you will agree with me that it is your least favourite and possibly most puzzling fact. Now that I have built it up, I am sure it will be a letdown, so here is his first fact about November:

“The Anglo-Saxons called November “Blotmonath” after the blood of slaughtered cattle.” This seems like a very random and distasteful fact—perhaps you have to be British to understand it. His second fact while not earth-shattering is interesting. He says that, “In any given year, November starts on the same day of the week as March and ends on the same day of the week as August.” I am too lazy to check out the accuracy of this, so I will just believe he knows what he is talking about.

Number 3 on his list is something we could all live quite happily without knowing, but nevertheless it gives us some sweet insight into another culture. Apparently, “according to data from Twitter, the Spanish are more likely to tweet “Te amo” (I love you) in November than any other month.” I understand this, as in our part of the world November is the beginning of the end of any hope of warm weather, so throwing a few “I love yous” around is sure to warm the cockles of the heart. Maybe this should become a Canadian tradition too.

He quotes Louisa May Alcott of “Little Women” fame for his fourth fact. Louisa was not a fan of November I take it. She said. “November is the most disagreeable month in the whole year.” At one time I may have agreed with her, but no more. To me November is the month that I plan for Christmas without stress—once December hits—it is deadline time. Shakespeare joins Alcott in enthusiasm for the month of November, as according to Harston “There is no mention of the month of November in any of Shakespeare’s plays or sonnets.”

I have not checked out this next one with our local police force but I hope it is not true. Harston says that “More domestic burglaries take place in November than any other month.” I have no real explanation for this one. This next “fact” is a bit obscure, but one that some of you may find entertaining and even understand. I am not part of your ranks, but if you see me around town and you understand it, I would be pleased to be enlightened. It is old weather lore and predicts that: “If there’s ice in November to bear a duck, There’ll be nothing after but sludge and muck.” Sounds a bit ominous to me.

Since I do not care that two American Presidents were born in November, I will still supply the information to those of you who may. Warren Harding born in 1865 and James Polk in 1795 were born in November. I will now tell you who I care was born in November: my niece Gilly, my grandniece Sophie, and my sister-in-law Starr. Happy Birthday to all of you btw. And do not be depressed about the next fact provided to us by Harston: “According to research by Clearblue pregnancy testing, “November is the least popular month for women to want to have babies in.” Gilly and Sophie and Starr, I am sure your moms were happy you were born in November.

Last, and least in my opinion of Harston’s ten facts is this: “November is the only month when more rain usually falls on London than Paris.” Elucidating though it may be, this fact is only handy for those of us in Canada who are thinking of visiting London, or for that matter Paris.

Personally I think the month of November is much maligned. I consider it my “hunkering down” month. The month (at our house) when we finally take the window air conditioner out. The month we turn the heat on without guilt. The month we can snuggle under blankets in the corner of the couch with a good book. The month when a warm fire is welcoming (unless you are like us and do not have a fireplace—then it is just alarming). So enjoy this month of November, despite what the Bard and Louisa may think.

Do you like November?

Let’s get this party started!

1st December 2013, Sunday, Was that a snowflak...

1st December 2013, Sunday (Photo credit: tomylees)

I am providing you with a rare opportunity ~ a sneak peek into this week’s  newspaper column which is not due until tomorrow morning. As this is the first day of December I thought it was apropos. This is not hot off the presses–it is a look at something before it even meets the presses:     

            December really creeps up on us. It is not like we do not know that it is coming. But I am always a bit unprepared for this most magical time of the year. It comes directly after stealthy November, so why am I so surprised that there are now just a few weeks before Christmas instead of months?  I believe that my ability to live in denial gets me through November, but when December skulks out of the shadows and jingles its bells even I cannot deny that I should get in gear.

            So what gets you into the Christmas spirit? I devour Christmas magazines and cookbooks but seldom glean anything of import from them. I am not particularly crafty though for years I pretended—but now I just let the authentic me loose, and authentic me is not all that crafty.  I enjoy a bit of cutting and pasting but that gets old after a while and does not really get one much past making  Christmas cards, paper snowflakes, or the occasional bookmark. I think that my crafting phase has passed and though it was short-lived I did give it the “old college try” and if you happened to be the recipient of my craftiness, rest easy that you will not have to admire my “all thumbs” creations in the future.

          

English: A bauble on a Christmas tree.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  I do have a bit of a decorating bent, but find that I am thinking about the fact that what I gloriously decorate my home with will have to be taken down in about a month—so of late I tend to decorate with statement  pieces rather than all the small things I have collected over the years. The only place I break this rule now is the Christmas tree—mine drips with nostalgic tissue paper bells, popsicle stick sleds, pipe cleaner snowmen, and pinecones decorated with lots and lots of glitter. Sure my kids are in their twenties now—and are no longer producing these little works of art—but I keep them stashed safely away and bring them out every year reliving their childhoods when innocent belief reigned supreme.

            I remember those days of innocent belief, when I was not the purveyor of all things Christmas but an innocent and receptive beneficiary. As a kid, I could not believe that there could be a thing so wondrous as Christmas. My mother can be blamed in large part for this, as she created the best Christmases ever.  I remember going to my cousin’s house one Christmas and she showed me all the clothes she got and I recall thinking how horrible—mind you she was four years older than I, so at 13 she was very happy to get clothes, but at nine years of age I could not imagine worse presents. I told my mom then that I was really glad that Santa had not left me clothes. Dolls and books, games and toys were more my speed at that age—and Santa always made sure there was plenty to unwrap under our tree.

            At our house, we did not have the tradition of each person unwrapping one present at a time while the others in the family looked on—and though I now think it is a lovely way to celebrate—I liked the way we were each given a present and we all opened them at once. It added to the confusion and chaos of Christmas morning—which is one of its most attractive attributes to me. We were a family of six—mom and dad and two boys and two girls—and the mayhem was all part of the fun.

        

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Shopping

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree  (Photo credit: K!T)

    Christmas past seems to play a large part of Christmas present. We remember old traditions and we keep them even if just in our memories. Some are translated to fit today; and others are kept intact to be celebrated over and over again. I have a rather bedraggled Christmas tree that my kids do not want me to get rid of because it is the one they remember from their childhoods. So every year we get it out and dress it to the nines, and it is transformed from a Charlie Brown Christmas tree to the belle of the Christmas ball. 

            So as this month of December gets started and we embrace it and all that it celebrates, we will enjoy the new season it heralds. Winter is made so much more palatable by the cheer imparted by the holiday season.

            In the immortal words of Pink: (Let’s) “Get this party started right now.”

ARE YOU READY FOR CHRISTMAS?

November 21st

Angel Wings

Angel Wings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

November days are

Flying by on fleeting wings~

Making their escape!

Published in: on November 21, 2013 at 9:39 pm  Comments (20)  
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Brrrrrr

Cold Hill

Cold Hill (Photo credit: Fred Jackson)

Bracing cold winds blow

Sun hides, peeking out shyly

Embrace November

Published in: on November 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm  Comments (26)  
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Winter Kept at Bay ~ For Now

November

November (Photo credit: Cape Cod Cyclist)

Mid-November chill

Sunshine melts iced frost caked world

Winter ransom paid

Published in: on November 14, 2013 at 8:18 pm  Comments (19)  
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Lady~In~Waiting

        

november // bois de boulogne

november  (Photo credit: kygp)

   I have been largely absent in the blog world of late. Plying my trade in haiku—17 syllables at a time. Good discipline. Clarity of thought. But now I find writing anything longer to be quite a task. I am now thinking in syllables. I come up with something, and count the syllables in each of the words. It can be creative. It can be limiting.

          I feel almost as if I have nothing to say that cannot be put into three lines of seventeen syllables. I am adrift and must find my way back. It is as if I have nothing worth saying that cannot be edited down, parsed fully in few words.

          It is November, and on the face of it—this poor dreary grey month suffers as much as my writing. But it can be a full month where autumn has not yet given way to greyness. Where the sun shines not quite as warmly but brightly. Where anticipation of the holidays is joyful as the deadlines are still comfortably far enough in the future that we can enjoy them before being caught up in the whirlwind.

          In November, anything is possible. I can dream of a white Christmas, of a homemade Christmas, of a Christmas wrapped in gold and silver, red and green. Yet it is still far enough away to be a dream and not a nightmare.

          I have always thought of November as the bridesmaid and not the bride. But there is honour in being a bridesmaid—you get to share the limelight without being the focus. You get a pretty dress but no huge change in lifestyle. You get to celebrate, have fun, and come away unscathed (not of course that marriage is scathing, but it is life changing).

 

Christmas in the post-War United States

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         I love to read all the December magazines in November, celebrating the perfect Christmas, the best Christmas ever, without the anxiety of making Christmas perfect and the best ever. I will enjoy this lady in waiting month—switching over my autumn décor mid-month to neutral before readying for the festive holidays.  I will enjoy November, take a deep breath, and get ready to plunge heartily into the month of endless celebrations.

What are your feelings about November?

 

Published in: on November 3, 2013 at 5:04 pm  Comments (46)  
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A Blogcation

James Taylor at Christmas

Wikipedia

Just a little heads up:

I am taking a week off from blogging to concentrate on a number of things that need my attention–so while I will be responding to commenters today–I will not be seen or heard from much until December 1st. Enjoy this last week of November and see you back here next Saturday.

Note: Make a note in your calendar to come to my virtual Christmas Party on Saturday, December 15th.

Here is my Formal Invitation:

Virtual Christmas Party

Date: December 15th

Where: Virtually Here

Why: It Is Christmas!

Theme: Come as your favourite author or character in a book.

Co-host: Robin Coyle (she does not know this yet)

Bring: Your favourite appetizer from the 1970’s

Music Provided by: James Taylor and Rodents & Rebels

Special Entertainment: Margaret Atwood. She promises to be festive.

Requirement: Description of your author or character’s outfit, appetizer, and favourite song request from either James or R & R.

I will provide an update closer to the 15th. Idea stolen from Robin Coyle who threw a virtual Cocktail Party that was a raving success. You can wear your shoes in the house if they are clean. Reindeer socks will be provided at the door for those who need them.

See you in a little less than a week!

English: Author Margaret Atwood attends a read...

English: Author Margaret Atwood attends a reading  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)