Friday, December 25, 2015

Virgin Mary Sighting

It wouldn't be Christmas without a story about the Virgin Mary.

Has she appeared, miraculously first noticed on December 12th, the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe - or is it just an optical illusion - at a church in Marietta, Georgia USA? Check it out and see what you think.

Virgin Mary image seen on Ga. church window

MARIETTA, Ga. -- What some are chalking up as simply a "faulty coating" has others believing that a divine phenomenon has touched the window of one local church, reports CBS Atlanta.
That's because an image that bears a striking resemblance to the Virgin Mary seems to have appeared on a portion of glass at the Transfiguration Catholic Church, bringing throngs of onlookers eager to see what some are calling a Christmas miracle.
Father Fernando Molina-Restrepo posted a photograph of the window on Facebook this week and explained that image appeared on December 12, which is also the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He wrote that many are offering their own interpretations of how the foggy figure formed, perhaps the pane's coating reacting to a mixture of the outside elements, though there are plenty of spectators who are happy to point to their faith as the true cause.
Parishioner Victor Jose Alvarado was at the church when the image appeared on the window inside Bishop Hall. He wrote on Facebook: "We started praying and singing songs to the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, and immediately started feeling peace and the smell of roses!!! We just finished having lunch when someone noticed a very bright sun ray and in front of our eyes her image starting to appear in the window."
Source - article.
Wrote the pastor: "We may never agree on why or how this image appeared on the window. The true gift to us will be in how we are inspired to be MORE: more forgiving, more accepting, more loving to those with whom we share our lives."
© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Hola on Christmas Day from Milwaukee

Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas/Yule/Winter Solstice or whatever rings your bells, darlings!

I was up just before dawn and first thing I did was plug in the tree.  In the darkness it lights up the entire front and dining rooms!  Then I got the food ready to feed my tribe of fat squirrels and birds and opened up the patio door.  In the sky to the east/southeast was a large bright shining star (I learned later it is probably Jupiter or possibly a comet that is passing by Earth right now).  It was so beautiful I ran for my camera.

I didn't get any good photos - this one is the best and that is not saying much:

You can see dawn on the horizon and the bright star is up near the top of the tree branches just to center right.

And then I ran around to the front of the house to snap a quick picture of my Christmas tree from the outside, the sun was coming up quickly by this point and the skies were clear and calm (and positively balmy for Wisconsin this time of year):

No snow, grass is still green and unfrozen and in sunny spots even still growing!  The weather is supposed to be much the same tomorrow so I may pull out the mower and do a final clean-up of the front yard, which is crazy considering it will be December 26th and I can still do yard work.  Oh goody, the sun is starting to peek out again (it clouded over about an hour after sunrise, so I was so happy to be up to see the sun first thing this morning).

Here's a picture of five of my very fat (and large) squirrels eating on my back patio. The tribe is probably a couple of dozen,  The squirrel who is closest to the patio steps is partially blind and old -- he can't crack open the hazelnuts anymore without difficulty so he gets unshelled peanuts.  Okay, so I spoil my wild "pets."  I was lucky to be able to get a shot of this many together at one time:

2016 is just around the corner.  What will it bring?  I've been retired 11 months now and am getting my energy and some of my ambition back.  We'll see...

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Ho Ho Ho! Happy Holidays, Darlings!

This is going to be a rambling sort of post today, so if you've a mind to, get a glass of wine or cuppa of whatever turns you on and settle in for a read and pictures!

First up, the 2015 Christmas tree, TA DA!

2015 Christmas tree.
If you're at all familiar with me, you know that I'm a "more is more" type of gal, so this tree is an absolutely, positively restrained exercise in Christmas Tree Austerity, darlings.  Well, other than the white with sparkles feather boas I've used as garland.  But last year's tree was much gaudier, I swear!  This year, I only used about 20% of the usual ornaments and decorations I put on my tree.  It was put together in record time, and I only purchased twelve new ornaments this year -- all birds, in keeping with my "feather and friends," and I splurged on some faux pearl garland I've been wanting to add for years -- can you see them -- I'm in love!  Oh yeah, almost forgot - I also bought crystal branches to use as my tree topper this year, too.  Another splurge :)

You can see just how restrained (dignified and classy?  Nah) I was this year in comparison to last year's tree:

2014 Christmas tree.
You can see that 2014's version had a LOT more stuff on it -- hardly a bare green spot to be seen.  I'll probably go back to this kind of look next year, LOL.

This is my fourth Christmas without Mr. Don.  I miss him fiercely and it doesn't get any easier with the passage of time, but I'm still here and he's not, so I soldier on as best I can. It's just not as much fun as it used to be, that's the truth.

Mr. Don's trinkets go on the tree every year - the Nefertiti pin (which represents yours truly, a gift from Don -- he found it on a sidewalk outside his walk-up flat in Montreal, LOL) and his McLean clan kilt pin, which I place around the silver heart with the pretty organza ribbon.  Here is the 2015 arrangement:

I'm looking up at him.  I figured it's high time, since if there is a Heaven (which I don't believe in, at least, not the concept that is shoved down our throats by established religions), Don is probably there busy talking the ears off everyone around.  When he was alive, I always put my Nefertiti counterpart higher up so that she was looking down at him, like Juliet in her balcony :)

This year, as part of a much needed living room revamp, I cleaned out all of the cluttered knick-knacks and collectibles from my curio cabinet collected over the past 30 plus years or so (so proud of myself for sucking it up and finally doing that) and now it houses my small collection of chess sets/pieces:

A not very clear "before" picture, taken in October 2014, a few months
after I moved here to this smaller retirement home.

"After" photo, taken December 24, 2015, but the new
arrangement was done in early July.

The sets on the top two shelves were gifts:  a Thistle and Rose set of pieces (but no pawns) from a former co-worker who had collected them when travelling on a British airline back in the 1970's, and a replica of the Lewis chess pieces were a departing present from a colleague of mine when I left Officeworld in 2002.  The third set is a made in Mexico alabaster board and turned pieces that I played many a game on with one of my grand-nephews.  The bottom two shelves hold a set of pieces that I bought unfinished from Amazon and painted black and white (with the intention of someday pairing the pawns with my black and white Rose and Thistle set), and the bottom set is wood, made in Poland, that I purchased many years ago from Napoleon's that was an east side establishment for many years (unfortunately went out of business) -- it was a chess lover's delight.

My favorite set is the Thistle and Rose -- my close-ups never turn out so here is a nice clear pic I found on the internet:
From Bonhams auction catalog 2011.

I've written about the Thistle and Rose pieces that were gifted to me a couple of times here before; if you're interested in the details do a search to find the posts (too lazy to put them here for you).

I love how the sets are show-cased in the curio cabinet; none of them is particularly valuable, but they are all priceless to me :)

Caught myself in the mirror reflection of the curio -- hello, Jan - twins, eek!

This has been an extremely mild December, one of the warmest I remember in a long time -- here it is, Christmas Eve, and while we did NOT get the thunderstorms that were forecast for after midnight last night (yesterday hit a high of 56 degrees F), today at present it is 45 degrees F after a "cold front" came through and while it was sunny this morning (I walked last-minute errands, including a visit to the liquor store to stock up on wine -- one cannot have Christmas without a goodly supply of wine), right now it has clouded over, but the winds have died down (we had gusts of over 50 mph last night into the morning hours).

But despite the mildness of temperatures for this time of year in southeastern Wisconsin, I've turned into a positive freezy-cat since the last of my hot flashes disappeared earlier this year (although I still get night sweats) after menopause finally decided to wrap itself up (it started in 1998, for Holy Hathor's sake!)  I didn't notice it during the summer, but I sure do now.

Since retiring and not giving a fig how I dress when I'm home except to be comfortable, I've taken to wearing long sleeve turtlenecks underneath sweatshirts or sweaters underneath a thick cableknit cardigan, and I'm STILL cold!  So, today was delivered an "original Snuggie as seen on TV!"

AS SEEN ON TV! Grey Leopard Snuggie

Well, it isn't exactly what I was expecting.  I eagerly took it out of the box and it looks like it would fit a person 7 feet tall with arms down to his/her knees.  Hmmm...  No zipper either -- how the heck am I supposed to keep it closed?  I don't know why I ever thought the thing would have a zipper.  Not even a tie belt though, geez.  And while the picture on the box shows a lady wearing a Snuggie that appears to have cuffs, mine has no cuffs and the ends of the arms look like something Dumbledore would wear - at least 18 inches wide.  All that is missing is a pointy hat and I'd look like a midget version of him without the wand and long grey hair and beard.  Of course, Dumbledore would never be so gauche as to appear in a grey and black leopard print fleece.

A few days I saw an older story at Huffington Post, about a little girl who feeds crows and how the crows took to bringing her "gifts."  That reminded me of my own precious small collection of crow offerings from over the years:

Jan's crow offerings.  I also had a bone, but it was stolen right off my patio table at my former home,
probably by a squirrel on the same day I found it and the bracelet in my back yard near
water dishes I put out over a long hot dry summer in 2012.
The beer bottle caps appeared this summer from my crop of new neighborhood crows -- they appear to be either poorer than my former neighborhood's crows or else they are just cheapskates, ha.  Although I should give them credit -- there were a lot of beer bottle caps all discovered on one day while I was out cutting the grass.  I kept three rather than fill up my crystal trinket box with them, LOL.  These new neighborhood crows don't appreciate that I have champagne taste, but maybe they figured since I dress like an old babba, beer bottle caps are good enough for moi.

All in all, my collection, while impressive in terms of rather large objects (the blingy bracelet for instance), is nothing compared to what the crows have brought to the little girl over the past four years or so:

Little Gabi's crow offerings.  Photo from story at Huffington Post.

Afterwards, Gabi's family was sued by neighbors pissing and moaning about all the birds she was feeding pooping and leaving peanut shells around their million dollar homes.  Talk about frigging Scrooges!

Which reminds me, my favorite rendering of that Charles Dickens story ("A Christmas Carol") is on Sling TV tonight at midnight -- it is the 1970s version starring George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge.  I also have a video version starring Patrick Stuart (Captain Pickard) that was also extremely well done -- I'll pop that in for a viewing after it gets dark.

Speaking of which - darlings!  I totally MISSED the Winter Solstice, Holy Hathor!  What is this world coming to when I miss something like that?  I noticed just today it is getting lighter out earlier and the days are lasting longer, YIPPEE!  Then it hit me - SOLSTICE!  Since I keep my Christmas decorations up until the end of January so my house is filled with festive lights every night during the worst part of winter here, Winter Solstice is VERY important in my book -- and I missed it.  Perhaps I will ask my doctor to do a brain scan when I see her in the spring for my semi-annual visit, maybe I am in early stages of dementia or the dreaded Alzheimers.

I sure won't miss the Christmas Full Moon, though.  The last one was in 1977 -- I would like to say I remember it but I don't, and back then I would not have appreciated its significance anyway.  I was too busy working full time and going to college at night and dating dating dating, more boyfriends that I could count.

But that was then, and this is now, and I'm more a babba than a babe, alas.  Last evening, while we had a temporary clearing before the really strong winds hit later last night after a day of fog and pouring rains in dead stillness, I saw that gorgeous full moon as it rose in the east over Lake Michigan.  The skies are clouded over now, I may not see it tonight, but I will know it is there.

To those of you who celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas.  To those of you who don't celebrate Christmas but have other festivities around this Solstice time of year, happy Yuletide celebrations.  To everyone near this end of the year, may 2016 bring us all peace, love, happiness and prosperity.  May the Great Goddess make it so.  The sky is pink and purple in the west, time to sign off and celebrate my peaceful, quiet Christmas Eve.

Smooches, darlings!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Update on Dig at Vero Beach Site

Hola everyone!  I'm posting this article because it (1) hits on a subject I'm fascinated about - the peopling of the Americas and (2) shows the arrogance and ignorance that can happen in any given field of endeavor at any given time when someone steps outside the accepted limits of "the box" of standard thinking (hint: chess historians, I'm talking about you, not just the archaeologists back in 1913), and (3) Archaeologist Jim Adovasio steps on toes when he talks about the crucial role women played in developing civilizations around the world.

Sun Sentinel Online
December 21, 2015

Vero Beach Dig Site May Rewrite Florida's History

 In the heart of the Treasure Coast, a team of archeologists is poring over a 14,000-year-old site that could completely rewrite the prehistory of the state and, to some extent, the prehistory of humankind in the New World.
But it took a last-minute intervention by Florida Atlantic University to assure The Old Vero Man site would be around to reveal its mysteries.
The dig's story began a century ago, with the Indian River Farms Company dredging a canal in a backwater called Vero in 1913 — the actual town of Vero Beach wouldn't exist for another six years. The dredging turned up old bones and other artifacts, which in turn drew the attention of state geologist Elias Sellards. He excavated over the next couple years, turning up more evidence of ancient human habitation.
Given the depth of the artifacts and the layers of rock around them, Sellards put human habitation in the area at 14,000 years ago, and was promptly laughed out of the archaeology business.
Back then, the prevailing thought was that people hadn't been in America before the last Ice Age, had not coexisted in the New World with mammoths, mastodons and other now-extinct Ice Age animals. A few decades later, in the 1930s, arrowheads and other artifacts from what experts called the Clovis culture meant that people had been in America some 11,000 years ago — still not ancient enough for Sellards' theory to hold water.
And so the Old Vero Man site sat largely untouched as Vero Beach grew up around it. It now sits on the south side of the Vero Beach Regional Airport.
In 2009, a proposed storm-water system would have dumped 200 tons of concrete on the site. That's when the Old Vero Ice Age Sites Committee was formed to make sure construction wouldn't destroy a valuable window into antiquity. They found enough to halt construction, but committee chair Randy Old needed to bring in an expert to do the serious digging.
"Because the site had this stigma of was it real or not, we had to get someone in here to do excavation that was beyond reproach," Old said. "So I started asking around, 'If you were going to choose an archaeologist for this site, who would you choose?' And everyone in the field said Jim Adovasio. I asked for second or third choices, and most of the time, the answer was. 'Don't bother.'"
With his squinty gaze, close-cropped gray beard and predilection for safari wear, Jim Adovasio looks like some Hemingway-esque idea of what a rugged field archaeologist should be. And yet, Adovasio has done far more than most in his field to reexamine the role of women in prehistory. He is one of the foremost experts on ancient basketry and textiles in the world, and has written books positing that women are responsible for rope, fishing nets, a great deal of language development — civilization, in other words.
Adovasio also played a large role in overturning the Clovis-came-first idea — the Old Vero Man site is not his first that stretches back more than 11,000 years. Adovasio also worked an area in Pennsylvania that showed humans were there before the Clovis culture could possibly have arrived, and a few more have been found in both North and South America.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Women and Children Banned from "Christian" Homeless Shelter in Kentucky

Ho ho ho.  Merry Christmas, everyone, from your local Kentucky misogynist "Christian" males.

Reported at Raw Story.

Kentucky shelter tosses out all women days before holidays because they tempt men with ‘ungodly’ sex

A Kentucky homeless shelter said that it has banned all women and children in an effort to stop them from having sex with male residents.
Emergency Christian Ministries Director Billy Woodward told WYMT that he had to put a stop to the “sex problem.”
“They may want to meet or slip in a room occasionally, we can’t have that,” Woodward explained. “It seems like these last days it’s getting worse … the ungodly type.”
“They say, ‘We’re homeless, maybe we can find somebody, a mate or something,'” he continued. “If they done it right, it would be fine. But, you know, they go overboard with it.”
Emergency Christian Ministries forced up to a dozen women to leave, according to WYMT. It was not immediately clear if the women had been able to relocate because Emergency Christian Ministries is the only shelter for the homeless in Williamsburg.
A female-only KCEOC shelter in Gray, Kentucky was reportedly accepting women. However, that shelter is a 40 minute drive from Williamsburg.
Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison lamented that kicking out homeless women was “not something the city feels should be done.”
“I guess I’m a little old school, but the first people off the boat were the women and children,” Harrison remarked.
Woodward insisted that the decision had been made based on teachings in the Bible, but he admitted that women were not completely to blame for the “sex problem.”
“It takes two to do that,” Woodward said. “We are not biased or prejudice whatsoever.”
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