Thursday, December 31, 2009

Auld Lang Syne - Goodbye 2009 - Hello 2010



This age-old song evokes many memories for me, of New Year's Eve family gatherings from childhood. I remember glasses raised and everyone toasting in the New Year while watching Andy Stewart and Kenneth McKellar sing Auld Lang Syne at midnight on the TV, and my sister and I were allowed to stay up and join in. That in itself was exciting. Watching Hogmanay on television was a ritual in our English household for many years. Mom and Dad always said the Scots knew how to throw a New Year's Eve party, confirmed by my Aunty Freda who was herself a Scot but didn't have the brogue because she had been in England since she was a young girl. I remember her telling me some of their New Year's Eve traditions which I loved to hear about. She was always proud of her Scottish roots.

Hogmanay signals the end of the old year and the birth of the new one. It makes me reflective of the past year which at times has been bittersweet. At the beginning of this year we lost my dear sister, and at the end of this one a much loved uncle passed away on Christmas Eve. My uncle was my Mom's younger brother Len and Aunty Freda was his wife. They came over with my Mom and Dad for wonderfully long vacations when we lived in San Diego and Virginia Beach. Good times and that's what I am going to remember. These beloved members of my family who are now all gone were blessings in my life I will always be grateful for.

The happiest of events took place this year when our son married the love of his life in June, and we welcomed into our lives our lovely daughter-in-law. We were thrilled when she became part of our family. I think I have touched on this subject before but our son was heading to the west coast for Los Angeles to start a new life, plans that had been set in motion several years before. Things have a way of turning out as after a series of circumstances made him realize he had left someone very important to him back in Virginia and no, just in case you mothers out there were wondering that was not me (nuh-uh and yes I am smiling), when he reached Las Vegas he called her and asked if he returned would she consider seriously dating him. They had known each other for about a year but had only been out on a couple of dates before he left. She brought our boy home and I will always be grateful to her because of it. I had said my goodbyes, had cried a bucket of tears after he had left, and then all of a sudden he was on his way back to the East Coast. A total whiplash of emotions as I think I cried another couple of buckets when I realized he was heading home. When they married there were no more tears, just pure joy and the feeling still stays with me when I realize how happy our son is with his bride. They are making a wonderful life together.

At their wedding we had a fantastic gathering of family and friends which included my sister's daughter who came over from Germany and I don't know if she realized how much that meant to me. I look forward to the time when we will see each other. She is like a daughter to me but for most of her life I have called her my little sister.

Not so long ago we also had the wonderful news that the son of old family friends, a young man we have known for many years since he was a young boy himself, had just become a father. He and his wife are now the parents of twins and we received their first 'family' Christmas card. Those twins - a boy and a girl - are the sweetest, cutest little babies and I have their card up on the mantle. They are smiling at me as I write and I am smiling back every time they catch my eye.

A very eventful year, a lot of sadness but a lot of joy as well, and such is life. When I raise my glass this evening to welcome in 2010, I will be remembering all those I love and have loved, my family, my friends, and I will count my blessings and wish you all much joy, good health and happiness in the year ahead.

Here are some New Year's Toasts to share.
~
If there is righteousness in the heart,
there will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character,
there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home,
there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
there will be peace in the world.
So let it be!
~
Haste you back, we loue you dearly,
Call again you're welcome here.
May your days be free from sorrow,
And your friends be ever near.
Maye the paths o'e which you wander,
Be to you a joy each day.
Haste you back we loue you dearly,
Haste you back on friendship's way.
~
May the hill rise behind you,
And may the mountain be always over the crest;
And may the God that you believe in
Hold you in the palm of his hand.

~

Auld Lang Syne" is a song by Robert Burns (1759--1796). It is one of the better-known songs in English-speaking countries, and it is often sung at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day.

Burns' Original Scots verse:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne.

Chorus

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely ye'll be your pint-stoup,
And surely I'll be mine.
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
and pou'd the gowans fine,
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit,
sin' auld lang syne.

(Chorus)

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,
frae morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
sin' auld lang syne.

(Chorus)

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gies a hand o' thine,
And we'll tak a right gude-willie-waught,
for auld lang syne.

(Chorus)

~

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

My World Tuesday

Back when the weather was a little warmer our family went into Washington DC to look around The Smithsonian Museum of American History. Our main objective (okay us girls as the guys elected to wait outside) was to visit the The First Ladies exhibition where their gowns are on display. The last time we couldn't even get in there without having to wait an hour in line. This time it was a little better but still pretty crowded. Mostly women and one or two men. I am going to go back again because I would have enjoyed taking more photographs, but because there were so many people patiently waiting their turn to get up close to the glass, I didn't feel like I could monopolize my space and kept moving towards the end of the display, fortunately snapping off several shots along the way.

The exhibit only has 14 dresses on display. From the information I gleaned, this was because way back when they did not realize how even the littlest light did so much damage to these historical dresses, so they rotate them to prevent even more deterioration. At the time we visited we were allowed to take photographs but we could not use any flash for obvious reasons. The following is what I got on line:

"Why aren’t all of the gowns on exhibit?

Light, climate, and gravity are all harmful to fabric. Over time, they have damaged the gowns. There are some gowns that can no longer be exhibited because they were too badly damaged by their years on display. Other dresses are rotated on and off display in order to keep them in good condition."

It is hard to comprehend that this is Martha Washington's gown from the 1780's and is the oldest gown in the exhibit. It is made of salmon pink faille and is hand painted with flowers, butterflies and other insects. The collar and cuffs are reproductions.

This is Frances Cleveland's evening gown. She wore it with a fur-edged hem and a black satin and jet trim during her husband's second administration, and was made by Baltimore dressmaker, Lottie Barton.

I am not sure whose items are these, a guess might be Jane Findlay but I can't be 100 percent sure. Her portrait below shows her wearing a lace bonnet very similar to this one.


Oil portrait of Jane Findlay in about 1840 by an unknown artist. She was a Harrison family friend who came to Washington to assist with the first lady’s duties. Her gown was included in the original 1914 exhibition to represent the administration of William Henry Harrison.


This is Helen Taft’s 1909 Inaugural ball gown and is made of white silk chiffon. It is appliquéd with floral embroideries and trimmed in metallic thread, rhinestones and beads and was made by the Frances Smith Company. Her gown was the first one to be donated in 1912 so we have Mrs. Taft to thank for this wonderful exhibit.

The fabric and embroidery have become discolored and most part of the skirt was replaced as part of a 1940’s conservation effort.

Everyone who passed by this gown were in awe of it. It was just beautiful.

This very beautiful portrait is of Julia Tyler, second wife of John Tyler in about 1840.
Next is Grace Coolidge's flapper style evening dress. It is made of velvet trimmed, black and gold metallic lace over a gold lamé underdress.

Unfortunately I did not get whose dress this belonged to but there was a portrait of Pat Nixon nearby. My search online for the last hour didn't yield any results, so if you have that info and would like to pass it along, please do. I would be very grateful.

Various adornments worn by the first ladies.

This is Mamie Eisenhower's evening gown. It is a rose-colored silk damask ball gown for a 1957 state dinner at the British Embassy. Nettie Rosenstein designed the ensemble, which included a matching purse and shoes.

Jacqueline Kennedy wore this yellow silk evening gown, designed by Oleg Cassini, with an overlay of crepe chiffon in 1961 for the Kennedy administration's first state dinner, for Tunisian president Habib Bourguiba.

Finally this is Laura Bush's gown. Made of red Chantilly lace and silk satin with crystal beading, it was created by Dallas designer Michael Faircloth.

I am not sure when Michelle Obama's ball gown will appear. From what I read it could take up to two years before we will see one on display. A letter is sent from the Secretary of the Smithsonian asking her if she would donate something that would represent herself in the collection. The gown will be on view immediately after donation, another good reason to go back to see all these wonderful gowns. All were gorgeous but my favorites were the vintage ones. Clothing from these era's fascinate me.

Thank you Klaus, Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy, Louise and Sylvia for hosting My World.

You can see other ‘My World’ photos or join in and share your own by clicking right here.



Saturday, December 26, 2009

TODAY'S FLOWERS # 72


This is our last TODAY'S FLOWERS of 2009 and as we come to the end of one year and are at the beginning of another, I thought I would share a video I made with all my favorite flower photos taken over the last 12 months.

video

I always look forward to Sundays for so many reasons, and one of them is because it will be time to visit everyone's flowers. It really doesn't matter what language we speak. We all enjoy our flowers and at the risk of repeating myself, our love of them speaks to us in many languages and is a great way of bringing us closer together.

I am grateful for the amazing friendship I have made in this blogging world,
and from my family to yours we would like to wish you all
A Very Happy New Year!

~

A happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I've played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.

~Edgar Guest~


Today's Flowers was created with grateful thanks to Luiz Santilli Jr. Thank you Luiz.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Camera Critters

For this week's Camera Critters I would like to share not my photographs but those of a friend. This is Hamish and as you can see he is enjoying a fun walk with his dad in the snow. Hamish was having such a good time he didn't want to go back inside. He is looking very fashionably dressed for the season in a pretty red coat, with a nice wide florescent strip that shows up bright and sparkly when walking. Well done Hamish and Hamish' Mom and Dad.

Maybe we ought to give a similar one to the jogger we almost hit last week. He was dressed all in black from the top of his head to the tip of his toes. Even his fingertips were covered with dark gloves and his woolly hat was pulled down hard so that only part of his face was visible. And just in case you were wondering there were no burglaries reported. Believe me it did cross my mind. We were shocked to see him running towards us, way too far from the curb at a high rate of speed, on a pitch black night on an unlit street. We weren't able to see him until he almost bounced off our hood and even more maddening was the fact that there was a perfectly good sidewalk that would have kept him out of harm's way.

Fortunately the speed limit in our neighborhood is only 25 miles per hour and we were able to veer around after I saw him. I yelled out and we missed him by inches. He scared us badly and as I watched him run by my window, he disappeared into the darkness without so much as a backward glance, still running in the middle of the road as if nothing had happened. Was he so zoned out that he was only in touch with his body and not in touch with his surroundings? Does that happen?

Stay safe young man and well done Hamish's Mom and Dad for being smart and using good head sense while walking their precious pooch child. Hamish my little pal you are adorable, and all joggers out there, take a leaf out of Hamish' book. Please wear light colored clothing on those dark, unlit streets and as an added precaution, sow on some fluorescent strips.

Camera Critters was created by Misty Dawn. Thank you Misty!

You can find other critter photos by clicking here.

Merry Christmas and A Very Happy New Year

I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful morning with your families. Gregg and I are starting off quietly. Later our son and daughter-in-law will be coming over for dinner.

My sister-in-law, Gregg's sister, gave me this woodland Santa several years ago. It is one of my most favorite things that I bring out every year, and I always put him on the hearth with seasonal flowers. This year I added the Shooting Star Hydrangea to the Poinsettias. I have never seen them before and I thought they were beautiful when I saw them at the store yesterday.

In Languages from around the world

(Albanian) - Gezur Krislinjden
(Argentine) -
Feliz Navidad Y Un Prospero Ano Nuevo
(Armenian) -
Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand
(Bohemian) -
Vesele Vanoce
(Brazilian) -
Feliz Natal e Prospero Ano Novo
(China - Cantonese) -
Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun
Sing Dan Fai Lok
(China - Mandarin) -
Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan
Sheng Dan Kuai Le
(Croatian) -
Sretan Bozic
Èestit Boiæ i sretna Nova godina
(Czech) -
Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
(Danish) - Gledlig jul og godt Nytt Aar
(Dutch) -
Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar
Dutch (Netherlands) -
Prettig Kerstfeest
(Filipinos) -
Maligayang Pasko
(Finnish) - Hauskaa Joulua
Hyvää joulua ja Onnellista uutta vuotta
(French) -
Joyeux Noël et heureuse année
(Gaelic-Irish) -
Nolag mhaith Dhuit Agus Bliain Nua Fe Mhaise
(Gaelic-Scot) -
Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath Ur
(German) -
Frohe Weihnachten und ein glückliches neues Jahr
(Greek) - Kala Khristougena kai Eftikhes to Neon Ethos
(Hawaiian) -
Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hauoli Makahiki hou
(Hebrew) -
Mo'adim Lesimkha
(Hindi) -
Shubh Christmas
(Hungarian) -
Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket
Boldog Karacsonyl es Ujevl Unnepeket
Kellemes Karacsonyt Es Boldog Uj Evet
(Icelandic) -
Gledileg jol og farsaelt komandi ar
Gledlig jol og Nyar
(Indonesia) -
Selamat Hari Natal
Selamah Tahun Baru
(Iraqi) -
Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
(Irish) -
Nollaig Shona Duit
(Irish) -
Nodlaig mhaith chugnat
(Italian) -
Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo
Buone Feste Natalizie
Buon Natale e felice Capodanno
(Japanese) -
Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
(Korean) -
Chuk Sung Tan
Sung Tan Chuk Ha.
(Lithuanian) -
Linksmu Kaledu
linksmu sventu Kaledu ir Laimingu Nauju Metu
(Norwegian) -
God Jul Og Godt Nytt Aar
(Peru) -
Feliz Navidad y un Venturoso Año Nuevo
(Philippines) -
Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon
(Polish) -
Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia i szczesliwego Nowego Roku
(Portuguese) -
Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo
Feliz Natal e propero Ano Novo
(Romanian) -
Sarbatori Fericite. La Multi Ani
(Russian) -
S prazdnikom Rozdestva Hristova i s Novim Godom
(Serbian) -
Hristos se rodi
(Serb-Croatian) -
Sretam Bozic. Vesela Nova Godina
(Spanish) -
Feliz Navidad y prospero Año Nuevo
(Swedish) -
God Jul Och Gott Nytt År
(Turkish) - Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
Yeni Yilnizi Kutar, saadetler dilerim
(Ukrainian) -
Srozhdestvom Kristovym
(Vietnamese) - Mung Le Giang Sinh. Cung Chuc Tan Nien
(Welsh) - Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
(Yugoslavian) -
Cestitamo Bozic


Many of us are celebrating Christmas but to those of my friends who are of a different faith, I would like to wish you all a very blessed holiday season.

May 2010 be the happiest ever.