February 2nd, Groundhog day
It was also known as Candlemas or Imbolc in the old European Calendar. This is the day that Christmas or Yule decorations must officially come down. Here is the full poem for the day from the old Almanack:
If Candlemas day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight.
If Candlemas day be clouds and rain,
Winter is gone, and will not come again.
~ E. Holden
The US tradition honors the groundhog, or marmot, as the local weather prognosticator. Other regions honored the fox, the robin and a host of other animals. The animal chosen is not important, nor is the forecast supposed to relate to a whole country, but is said to describe a local microclimate phenomenon. So don’t look at the TV News, look out your window. It is raining here today and no groundhog, robin, fox, or human would be able to see their shadow so I guess we are in for an early Spring. I hope you are too!
Some fun links:
The American Ground Hog: Click here to visit Punxatawney Phil’s official site.
For some of the science behind the tradition, yes, there is a wee bit of science, see the Farmer’s Almanac article.
Most importantly, watch Groundhog Day again. I love this movie.
This is too fun!
I’ve never seen anything like this on a flight before and I’d bet you never have either. They don’t miss a gag in this safety video. Wait ’til you see this plane too, it is a beauty. All my flights seem to be on 787s, the ugly buses of the airplane world ;) Scott and I watched 3 seasons of Air Disasters on Netflix last weekend and I was pretty much ready to never fly again, but I can’t drive to New Zealand.LOL
September 21st is the Autumnal Equinox: The day the Sun enters Libra and the beginning of Autumn. In the same way that the Solstice marks the days of longest and shortest “light,” the Equinoxes mark the day of equal light. Nox is the Roman goddess of night so equinox literally means “equal night.” The glyph for Libra represents the setting sun expressing the balance between night and day. In traditional Astrology, the Sun is “exalted” in Aries while halfway through its circuit along the ecliptic, it is in “fall” in Libra, Aries’ opposite sign.
The rising of the constellation Libra marked the beginning of the New Year in ancient Egypt. Equinoxes are the two points in the year (March 19-21 and September 21-23) when the Sun crosses the celestial equator. At these times, day and night in Northern and Southern hemispheres are of equal length. The Spring (vernal) Equinox occurs midway between the Winter and Summer solstices; the Autumnal Equinox occurs midway between the Summer and Winter solstices. The Autumn equinoctial festival of Mabon mirrors the spring equinoctial festival of Oestara with the Light and Dark forces of the Universe switching ascendancy.
In myth, the goddess Persephone departs the earth to join her husband in the underworld. It is time to give thanks for the summer and to welcome the impending dark. Traditionally, this is when some of the heaviest work of the agricultural year begins. The harvest is stored away, the farm animals are measured against their feed and decisions are made about how many to keep and how many to slaughter and eat. This is why so much Thanksgiving feasting goes on now. Fresh meat and fruit only last so long.
Symbols of Autumn:
Blackberries, cranberries, wine, gourds, pinecones, acorns, nuts, corn, apples, pomegranates, ivy
Foods of Autumn:
Breads, nuts, apples, squash, pomegranates, and pumpkin pie.
Colors of Autumn:
The colors of the sunset: violet, orange, russet, maroon, brown, and gold.
Stones of Autumn:
Libra is pink tourmaline, opals and rhodochrosite. Scorpio is topaz, bloodstone, and yellow agate. Sagittarius is turquoise and jasper.
Activities of Autumn:
Making cider and wine, gathering seeds and seedpods, walking in the woods, Halloween, and Thanksgiving celebrations, Christmas shopping.
The first album I ever bought…
Yup, American Pie by Don MacLean. It was $2.69 when it was freshly released in … 1972. We were living in Mt Prospect, IL and I crossed the busy street near my school, I was only 10 at the time, and bought it myself before heading home. When I got home I played it on one of these:
I was listening to the title track and his arrangement of Babylon today and thinking about how well they still hold up. Vincent was another hit at the time and has been covered by several artists more recently. A note for those who may not know it: the song Killing Me Softly With His Song was written about MacLean.
MacLean never matched American Pie’s success, but not many other artists have created even one classic so don’t hold that against him. :)
Do you remember the first album you bought?
Do you still listen to it?
This is MacLean at the Royal Albert Hall.
Isn’t it interesting that when you contract the word “perquisite” you drop the q and sub a k? The dictionary defines perk as a privilege or gain and we’ve gotten some cool perks over my years of blogging, a weekend at Crystal Mountain with Robbie was the most memorable.
But here is another, Flex Belt has offered me the opportunity to review their cool ab belt toning system. You know I love a gadget. It uses EMS, that is Electronic Muscle Stimulation with gel pads to give 150 muscle contractions in 30 minutes and best… I get one for my very own!
In 6 weeks I’ll send them before and after pix. Yes, of course I’ll post them here.
I can’t wait ’til it gets here…
Click the link to check out their website: Flex Belt.
This picture is of one of the items in Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century, which opens June 18 and runs through 2016 in Toronto, Canada. I wish I could see it but I’ll have to settle for the book by Alison Matthew David, a professor at Ryerson University’s School of Fashion whose decade-long investigation into the relationship between clothing and health inspired the show and comes out next year.
I’ve always been fascinated by fashion, not in the clothes-buying sense as anyone who knows me would know but in a more cultural anthropology “body-packaging” sense so this is right up my alley. How about giant hoop skirts in a crowded city environment? Did you know that “Crinoline fires” killed 3,000 women between the late 1850s and late 1860s in England alone? Women would lose sense of their skirt’s width, step too close to a fire grate, then flames would be fanned by oxygen circulating under their skirts, really.
The brief article describing the exhibit shows more items and discusses how fashion served to stratify society as well as documenting the ways in which it created health hazards of its own.
Read about it here.. http://www.macleans.ca/culture/arts/deadly-victorian-fashions/
Here are a couple of my favorite books on the topic if you are interested before the one related to the exhibit comes out:
The Unfashionable Human Body by Bernard Rudolfsky, Out of print but worth buying used.
Body Packaging by Julian Robinson, This was a very controversial book when it came out in the 90’s and I guess it still might be from the reviews on Amazon.