Sunday, January 18, 2009

Please Celebrate with me!

Celebrating the change! I made this last night and it brings me great joy to share it with you here!

I Be Your Water - Sweet Honey in the Rock, Reagon, Bernice Joh

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bush's Final Approval Rating: 22 Percent!

CBS News/N.Y. Times Poll Finds President Will Leave Office With Lowest Final Approval Rating Ever!

(CBS) President Bush will leave office as one of the most unpopular departing presidents in history, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll showing Mr. Bush's final approval rating at 22 percent.

Seventy-three percent say they disapprove of the way Mr. Bush has handled his job as president over the last eight years.

Mr. Bush's final approval rating is the lowest final rating for an outgoing president since Gallup began asking about presidential approval more than 70 years ago.

The rating is far below the final ratings of recent two-term presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, who both ended their terms with a 68 percent approval rating, according to CBS News polling.

Recent one term presidents also had higher ratings than Mr. Bush. His father George H.W. Bush had an end-of-term rating of 54 percent, while Jimmy Carter's rating was 44 percent.

Harry Truman had previously had the lowest end-of-term approval at 32 percent, as measured by Gallup.

Views of Mr. Bush's popularity are highly partisan. Only 6 percent of Democrats approve of the job he has done as president, while 57 percent of Republicans approve. Eighteen percent of independents approve.

Interestingly, Mr. Bush also has the distinction of having the highest approval rating for a president, as well as the lowest.

In November 2008, just before the presidential election, only 20 percent approved of the job he was doing as president - the lowest of any president since Gallup began asking the question in 1938.

But Mr. Bush enjoyed a high approval rating of 90 percent -- the highest of any president -- following the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.

Mr. Bush edged out his father for that highest rating. George H.W. Bush received an 88 percent approval rating in 1991 amid the success of the first Gulf War.

Truman comes closest to Mr. Bush's record low approval rating of 20 percent. In February 1952, just 22 percent of Americans approved of the job Truman was doing as president.

Evaluations Of The President

Half of all Americans, when they look back on Mr. Bush's eight years in office, believe he has been a poor president. Thirty-three percent think he has been an average president. Twelve percent say he has been a good president, and only 5 percent say he has been a very good president.

This evaluation is more negative than the ones Americans gave both the current president’s predecessor, Mr. Clinton, and the president’s father.

The president has also fallen short of expectations: As Mr. Bush was preparing to enter the White House in January 2001, 43 percent thought he would be a very good or good president. Only 12 percent thought he would be a poor one.

As for the incoming president, the CBS News poll also asked about expectations of President-elect Barack Obama. Sixty-eight percent think Mr. Obama will be a good or very good president - 25 points higher than expectations for Mr. Bush.

Nine in 10 Democrats expect Mr. Obama to be a good president, including 48 percent who think he will be a "very good" one. Republicans are less hopeful, but 38 percent still say Mr. Obama will be a good president.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Donkeys at the Royal Highland Show

donkey at Aberdour studio in Scotland

For a number of years Robert Stuart Brown operated a studio at Station Road, Aberdour, Fife, where a donkey was kept as a 'prop'.

I thought this pretty interesting since I have been to Aberdour. I once read in a book Scotland was too cold for donkeys. This is such a crock of donkey dung. I live in a far colder area with more snow fall than anywhere in Scotland and my donkeys like it out in the snow. Mine run in and out all winter they are never locked in a stall. If any of you out there have more on the history of donkeys in Scotland please let me know?

Kirkbuddo Scottish Donkeys

This is a cool website with really nice looking donkeys in Scotland

Christ surrounded by seven doves, Chartres Cathedral Stained Glass

Chartres Cathedral Stained Glass
Jesse Window (c.1150): King, Mary and Christ
A king, the Virgin Mary and Christ surrounded by seven doves representing the gifts of the spirit. Detail of the Jesse Window, dating from about 1150. It depicts the Tree of Jesse, a popular medieval motif showing a family tree of the royal ancestory of Christ. It is based on the prophecy of Isaiah: "there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots" (Isaiah 11:1). This window, the right lancet beneath the west rose, is one of only a few survivors of the fire of 1194 that destroyed most of the previous cathedral.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Spiritu Sancti Seven Doves

Seven Mourning Doves eating seeds and corn under our main feeder this morning

Seven doves surrounding a circle which contains the letters "SS" (Spiritu Sancti, Latin for Holy Spirit) represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit given in Revelation 5:12 — power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and praise. A different list of seven gifts from Isaiah 11:2,3 — wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, fear of the Lord, and delight in the Lord — is sometimes used in the interpretation.

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who,
before ascending into heaven,
didst promise to send the Holy Ghost
to finish Thy work in the souls
of Thy Apostles and Disciples,
deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me,
that He may perfect in my soul
the work of Thy grace and Thy love.

Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom
that I may despise the perishable things of this world
and aspire only after the things that are eternal,

the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind
with the light of Thy divine truth,

the Spirit of Counsel
that I may ever choose the surest way
of pleasing God and gaining Heaven,

the Spirit of Fortitude
that I may bear my cross with Thee,
and that I may overcome with courage
all the obstacles that oppose my salvation,

the Spirit of Knowledge
that I may know God and know myself
and grow perfect in the science of the Saints,

the Spirit of Piety
that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable,

the Spirit of Fear
that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God,
and may dread in any way to displease Him.
Mark me, dear Lord,
with the sign of Thy true disciples
and animate me in all things with Thy Spirit.


Sunday, January 11, 2009


Eugène Joseph Verboeckhoven (1790-1881), Belgian painter, was born at Warneton in West Flanders, and received instruction in drawing and modelling from his father, the sculptor Barthélemy Verboeckhoven. Subsequently he settled in Brussels and devoted himself almost exclusively to animal subjects.

Shepherd with animals in the countryside
attributed to Eugène Verboeckhoven - private collection

His paintings of sheep, of horses and of cattle in landscape, somewhat after the manner of Paulus Potter, brought him universal fame, and were eagerly sought for by collectors. Precise and careful finish is the chief quality of his art, which is entirely objective and lacking in inspiration. Verboeckhoven visited England in 1826, Germany in 1828, and France and Italy in 1841, and died at Brussels in 1881. He was a member of the academies of Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, St. Petersburg and Amsterdam. Examples of his art are to be found in nearly all the important galleries of Europe and the United States, notably in Brussels, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, New York, Boston and Washington D.C.. His long life and ceaseless industry account for the enormous number of his pictures in public and private collections and in the art market. In addition to his painted work he executed some fifty etched plates of similar subjects.

I am sorry to say...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Proud Prezes and all Tall!

Merry Twelfth Night a bit late

I wanted to wish you a very merry Twelfth Night but I am a little late. It is the traditional end of the twelve days of Christmas festivities. In the church calendar, January 6 is Epiphany, the day the three Kings arrive to honor the miraculous baby, who is the symbol of our new hopes.

Twelve nights of what?

For what ever reason, the "Twelve days of Christmas" span the period between Christmas and Epiphany, a period which obviously includes various other end of the year festivals (Boxing Day, New Years Day etc). What we're looking at here is a bundle of Winter festivals jammed up together with various traditions getting confused and conjoined. The winter solstice (the shortest day) is an obvious time to mark the end of one year and the beginning of another, and at no time do you more appreciate a big feast and a party than in the depths of winter - equally when food is most scare and the weather is at it's worst is probably the time you most want to turn to whichever deity you admire.

The Viking festival of Jarlstag (Earl's Day) which we now know as Yuletide was typical of religious festivals having a feast day, and an associated season - leading up to and cooling of from the festival itself. In the case of Jarlstag this meant twelve days before - each day represented the arrival of an Earl to give a gift to Odin before his feast, and twelve days after, marking their departure. With the last, twelfth night, being the last chance for a feast before returning to work-a-day life. This Viking festival was also marked with a raft of traditions the Christian calendar normally associates with Halloween, it was the time when spirits of the dead were abroad, and Cere Arras protected us from the wicked spirits, hunting them with dogs, while Freya rode through the sky these twelve days on a sleigh pulled by reindeer giving gifts to those the spirits favoured in honour of the Earls gifts.

It seems that Jarlstag was the festival which had most influence on what was to become Twelfth Night. As the Christian church appropriated pagan festivals it made the solstice celebrations Christmas and tied in the gift giving of the twelve nights of Jalstag with the gift giving of the Magi. The folk memory of the twelve Earls became symbolic of the twelve Apostles, so that in some traditions each night represents one apostle.

In the middle ages the church made Twelfth Night the "festival of fools".


Epiphany, (from the Greek epiphania) means "manifestation", and marks the day when the Magi saw Christ - an important event as this manifestation to the gentile 'wise men' is what gives the goyim the right to be included within the Christian Church. The festival was placed by the church to replace the Roman (pagan) festival of Saturnalia.

Traditionally Epiphany was celebrated on January 6th - but recently the Church has moved the date of the festival to the second Sunday after Christmas. The twelve days of Christmas relate to this tradition as being the period of the journey of the Magi.

Prague: Dressing up

The wild hunt

The Staw Bear

The Kings Cake

In the middle ages the Church introduced the ‘Festival of Fools’ to secede the pagan twelfth night celebrations in Scotland, France and England. In many ways the practices of this festival seem similar to those of the festival of All Souls. People would dress up in masks and fancy dress, the place of honour going to a lead reveller ‘the Bishop of Fools’. The Bishop (and his archbishops) presided over the chaos between the two years and for a night led the guisers in feasting and partying or all kinds. For one night ‘all things were turned upon their heads’, Bishops brought Chaos and merriment rather than order and piety, the peasants could be kings and the women could dress as men – foolish notions indeed.

By the 15c this practice had become seen as ‘pagan’ itself and was outlawed for it’s lewdness the disrespectful representation of the clergy and a sanitised version put in its place. The Bishop was replaced with a ‘king’ to tie it in with Epiphany – ‘The Lord of Misrule’ in England, In France ‘Prince des Sots’ and in Scotland he was called The Abbot of Unreason. No matter where one thing was central, the head of the festival would be selected by the cutting of the King Cake.

Those pesky pagans get everywhere though, and this tradition dates back even further to the Roman festival of Saturnalia. In Roman times a black or white stone or bean was used for voting in elections, and during the Roman feast of Saturnalia in early January, the king of the festival was also chosen by means of a bean. In the modern version of the festival the bean (or sometimes a coin or a figure of Chist) is placed within the Kings Cake. Whoever found that bean in their slice of cake would lead the parade through the streets, and would carry his good fortune through the year.

In the 18th century French settlers took this custom to the USA and it remained associated with Epiphany, these days however the Lord of Misrule now rules through to Mardi Gras, and the Kings Cake is cut every week between festivals.

In the north of Scotland many of the practices of the Medievil festval continue in Antonmass or Uphellyaa was celebrated on Twelfth Night or 'old twelth night' (the date in the pre-Gegorian calendar). These were then incorporated into the to the modern Up Helly Aa festivals celebrated in Shetland.

Recipies Two recipies are common throughout Europe, one for Kings Cake and one for Twelth Night Bread - depending upon the region the bean is hidden in one or the other, but both are usually on offer.

Twelth Night BRead is made in the shape of a crown (ie. a ring) and decorated with jewels of candied friuts or icing.


The Yule Log and Taking down the Trimmings.

In accordance with the Norse tradition the Yule Log should be burnt on Yuletide. It was kept burning for the twelve days of the festival, it's warmth adding to the festive spirit and the time that light was shortest, and then on Twelth Night, with the advent of the New Year, it was put out, and it's ashes saved to kindle the next years log. Bringing good luck, and ensuring that time kept running one year into the next.

As fire's in houses became smaller, not wishing to see a good tradition go to waste some homes would not burn the Yule Log at all, but just brought a log or a bough, or in Germany even a whole fir tree, into the house. For others the log became part of the feasting, and a chocolate Yule Log would be made to eat on Twelth Night. (Recipe?)

Just as the Yule Log was a way of brightening your house in a seasonal fashion, as time went by other decorations became used, some religious and some purely aesthetic. But just as good luck for the year came to those who stopped burning the Yule log on the Twelfth, bad luck would descend upon those who failed to observe this and kept decorations up past this date. Folklore would have it that if a single bawble(sp) or piece of tinsel remains in place, then witches or the devil can make their home in it and bring disorder to the house.

The Plays: Mumming and Shakespeare.

The Twelve days of Christmas, but particularly Twelfth Night, is the time for Mumming. Now mainly performed by special societies and morris groups the Mummer's Plays were

Shakespear's play Twelfth Night contains no mention of the festival or the season, so why the title? Well the play was commisioned for performance on Twelfth Night - following in the tradition of performing special plays on Twelfth Night that was still strong at the time.

The story telling tradition along with the notion of spirits walking abroad are also evident in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight a 13th century poem. Following a challenge from the ghostly Green Knight and a test by the witch Morgana Le Fey the court of Camelot elects to use boughs of Ivy decoration to ward off future evil during the time that spirits are abroad.

Thank you BBC for help with all the details!

Friday, January 2, 2009

And May this New Year Bring Great Things!

For me the real New Year begins on Jan. 20th when George W. Bush leaves office for good! Now that truly is the coming of the "rapture". I am holding off having a big old party until the slug departs and Obama takes the reins!

About Me

My photo
I grew up in Chautauqua County, NY. I graduated from Edinboro University of Pennyslvania in 1981 with a BFA in Jewelry and Metalworking. I have been married 31 years. I currently run a small business with my husband. We both enjoy the outdoors and animals a great deal and live on a tiny farm in Western, NY.