Sunday, October 26, 2008

HALLOWEEN FUN...PART 2



Do you know where the origin of Halloween pumpkins or known to some as 'jack-o-lanterns' came from? Legend would have it that a miserable man named Stingy Jack who was a drunk, and known for his love of playing tricks on people, ran into the Devil, himself one night while out and about. Stingy Jack decided he was going to play a trick on the Devil. He offered his soul to the Devil if he would have one last drink with him. The Devil, falling for Jack's antics, turned himself into a silver coin to pay the bartender. Stingy Jack snatched up the coin as quick as he could and deposited in his pocket next to a silver cross he was carrying. The Devil was unable to change himself back and Jack refused to allow the Devil to go free until the Devil promised not to claim Stingy Jack's soul for ten years.

The Devil agreed and ten years went by. One day Stingy Jack came across the Devil once more while walking down a country road. The Devil tried to claim Jack's soul. But before he could do so, Stingy Jack decided he would trick the Devil again. He asked the Devil to grab an apple for him from a nearby tree. The Devil obliged and jumped up into the tree to retrieve an apple for Jack. Before the Devil knew it, Jack had placed crosses all around the trunk of the tree, trapping the Devil so he could not get down. This time Stingy Jack made the Devil promise he would not take Jack's soul when he died. The Devil seeing no way out of his predicament made Jack a promise he would not take his soul.

The day finally came and Stingy Jack died. When he got to Heaven, he was not allowed to enter because he spent his life drinking, was stingy with his money and was constantly deceitful. So he went to the Devil's house but was refused entrance there too. The Devil would not allow him to enter in keeping his promise he'd made to Stingy Jack some years earlier. The Devil told Jack to go back to where he came from. Stingy Jack pleaded with the Devil to provide him a light so he could find his way in the darkness. The Devil tossed Stingy Jack an ember from his place of residence. Jack placed the light inside a hollowed out turnip that he carried around with him.

From that day forward, Stingy Jack has been resigned to a life of roaming the Earth carrying his hollowed out turnip with the light inside.



**The idea of incorporating carved pumpkins originated when Irish immigrants brought with them a tradition of carving out turnips when they migrated to America in the early 1800's. They would place coals or a small candle inside and place them on their doorsteps on Halloween to ward off evil spirits. It didn't take long for the Irish immigrants to realize that jack-o-lanterns could be carved much easier out of pumpkins as they were rich and plentiful in the New World. Turnips and rutabegas tended to be more scare. It didn't take long and the practice spread all throughout America. The jack-o-lantern is the most well known symbol of Halloween today.




The broom is now ready for its annual flight. Now I must go prepare my jack-o-lantern and summons Stingy Jack for a little help!


Until next time....(mu-wa-ha-ha-ha)....BOO!! Broom Hilda a.k.a. Delta Dawn



HALLOWEEN FUN....PART 1

Since Halloween is just 5 short days away, I thought it would be fun to blog about the different aspects of Halloween that we all enjoy...and in some cases, don't enjoy so much...(like the scary movies for instance.) I realized that I didn't know much about the holiday beyond dressing my kids up to head out and score loads of candy in one single night. So won't you join me in learning about this 'spooky' time of year.....if you dare!!!

Let's talk about how Halloween originated. The history of Halloween goes back 2000 years and its origins are derived from Ireland, the UK, and northern parts of France. Halloween means 'All Hallows Eve' and occurs the day before "All Saints Day" on November 1; also considered New Year's Day by the Celts. It is believed that All Hallows Eve marked the end of summer and the start of the cold, dark winter months on November 1. The Celts associated this with death.

Some of the earliest traditions that paved the way for 'trick or treating' as we know it today included people setting bowls of food out on their doorsteps to keep the ghosts that were wandering the earth from entering and poor people would beg for food from rich people and in return the rich would ask the poor to pray for their loved ones who had died.


Dressing in costumes came about when European and Celtic people considered winter to be a frightening time. Fears of it being colder, darker and running out of food were prevalent. They would don costumes and masks in order to keep the ghosts that they believed returned at this time of year from recognizing them.
Halloween was brought to the US in the early 1800's by Scotch & Irish immigrants. Believe it or not, at that time, the elements of spookiness was removed and it was created to be a fun and festive holiday. Through time, scary themes evolved to add to the overall celebration of the holiday.

So...pardon me while I go dig out the broom from the dungeon. It needs a tune up and a few repairs before Halloween night!


Until next time.......(cackle, cackle)...my pretties!! Broom Hilda...a.k.a....Delta Dawn!!!


















Saturday, October 25, 2008

RAINY DAYS & SATURDAYS...

Today has been absolutely one of those days I don't get very often. It was a rainy Saturday, fall day. When it was predicted that rain was in the forecast for today, all I could think was it would be the perfect day for making a big pot of homemade vegetable beef soup and watching some Halloween flicks!




More importantly though it was a day for relaxing and just kicking back! Suffice it to say I don't get days like this very often. Life tends to run along the 'hustle-bustle' lines the vast majority of the time. So when a day like this presents itself, its best to embrace it and make the very most of it.

So today lent itself to the wonderful smells of homemade soup brewing in the Crock pot preceded by freshly baked cupcakes that were decorated in the colors of Halloween.


Yes...today was indeed that one of a kind perfect fall day. The rain subsided in the afternoon, followed by glimpses of the sun before it faded into the darkness of the evening hours. The ground looks like a leaf covered canvas; a result of the drenching rains. The cooler temps have encouraged the trees to change into their fall decor; providing the beauty of a colored landscape that can only be seen this time of year.



Its been a near perfect day. I say perfect because there's only one thing left to do...that's go get under a warm afghan with a good book while I listen to a little smooth jazz...oh...and let's not forget that nice cup of coffee tinged with a hint of cinnamon and vanilla creamer! Ummm! What a perfectly unforgettable fall day!

Until next time....Dawn :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

OLD FRIENDSHIPS NEVER DIE....


Of late, I have been a constant visitor on Facebook! You know that site where you can connect & stay in touch with family & friends. I guess you could say I've quickly become addicted (and not so sure I don't need some sort of 'rescue plan'!!!).



What has caused my intense attachment to this website, has been the sudden onslaught of my fellow classmates & alums of my high school alma mater, Hugh M. Cummings High located in Burlington, NC. The Class of 85 (okay...so I'm telling my age here!!) I'm proud to say that I belong to perhaps one of the best classes if not THE best class to ever come out of Cummings High School.


Through the years, I've worked very hard to help keep our class connected. It might have something to do with the fact that I was Cummings 1st Freshman class President. The year our class entered the school as Freshman was the 1st year Cummings had 9th grade on the high school level. Many years prior to that the 9th grade classes from both Cummings and cross-town rival school, Walter Williams High were sent to Sellars Gunn Junior High School for the one year.

**Everyone's favorite Principal, J. A. Freeman**

After all these years our class remains just as tightly close knit as we were in high school. Our class truly cares about one another and never fails to rise to the occasion when a fellow classmates loses a parent or loved one, or when a fellow alum is shipped overseas to serve our country in the military, or when one of us has a triumph to share, we all cheer and celebrate, or when a classmate has learned they have a tumor that requires us fighting right along with them to beat it. No matter what the cause, our class truly lives up to our class motto, "Nulli Secundus" which means "Second to None".


**Class of 85's very own Amanda Smith Swan**

I have no doubt that as the years continue to tick away, we will continue to stay connected and up to date with each other. That's just the kind of class we are. We're friends & Cavaliers to the end!! :)



Until next time....Dawn

Friday, October 3, 2008

THE SHOWDOWN OF THE CENTURY!

Last night's debate was perhaps the most watched event on television since the American Idol finale in May. I even go so far as to say that I would venture a guess that more people tuned into the VP debate than the 1st Presidential debate between McCain & Obama.


Leading up to the kick-off of the showdown between Governor Sarah Palin & Senator Joe Biden, set the stage for the greatest amount of hype known to American's over the course of the last century. Would Sarah Palin fumble her answers to posed questions by a Barack Obama supporter moderator or would she once again rise to the task at hand and surprise us all? I think the latter certainly took place last night.

Poor Joe Biden. Everyone expected him to do just exactly as he did. He's a great Senator who has been around Washington long enough to know the political game like the back of his hand. But what set he & Palin apart last night was his inability to answer the questions asked without bashing John McCain at every turn. He was playing politics to the hilt. While on the other hand, little ole Sarah Palin (a virtual unknown to the vast majority of American's prior to 5 weeks ago...I mean really, could you have named the Governor of Alaska before all of this? I didn't think so! Neither could I!) who just answered the questions as honestly and plainly as she could for all of us.

She wasn't worried about impressing Americans with the fancy political mantra that spews forth from the mouth of every politician that embraces Washington (i. e. our Congress...a few names come to mind...oh, heck...how bout all those politicians up there who voted for the insane $700 billion bill to save Wall Street..and has a spokesman like Nancy Pelosi speaking for them....Sheesh!!! I bet Sarah Palin doesn't look so dangerous now!!) (Sorry, a little rant there!)

Sarah didn't have to pretend to get on the level of every American feeling the Washington squeeze because she's lived it. She's a mom, a wife, a taxpayer, & someone despite what she does for a living, lives a normal, ordinary life with her family just like most of us out there. She goes to her kids hockey games. She drives her kids to school. I mean heck, her 17 yr old daughter got pregnant out of wedlock just like some normal, average American families have experienced. If that doesn't put Sarah Palin on our level, I don't know what does!! She didn't just become Governor and say, "Well, now I think I'll hire a nanny to pIay mommy for me!" When was the last time we had someone running for our country's 2nd highest office that actually knew what the American people were thinking and feeling? (And don't say...well, Obama does because he used to organize communities...he came from humble beginnings, grew up poor!)


With all due respect, I don't discount that Obama has 'made it' & he's done very well for himself, I might add, and I'll admit until Sarah Palin came on the scene, this Republican was actually considering leaning towards and possibly voting for Obama. Obama seems like one of us too, to an extent & someone who also can identify with the American people & all the things we deal with on a day to day basis. I don't know though, there's just something about Sarah Palin that sets her apart from Obama. Maybe it is the fact that she's a woman with emotions, passion and drive. Women can identify with that. When we women get fired up about something, nothing & no one can stand in our way...(and forget about changing our minds...not gonna happen!!)

I've heard it said over and over "Sarah Palin scares me!" "I fear for what our country will turn into if John McCain kicks the bucket and Sarah Palin takes the helm." Okay...for all of you out there who have said that or feel this way, let me point out a few things:

1. Everyone has bought into the media conspiracy of trying to pick apart Sarah Palin, just like they would a celebrity! (Let's not forget that prior to 5 weeks ago, no one had heard of Sarah Palin. There was nothing being reported in the media about Sarah Palin. Why? Because the media doesn't pride itself these days on reporting 'good' things to the American public! It's not their style...(and to think I wanted to minor in Journalism in college...I would have a hard time working in this industry now!!)

2. Everyone keeps saying "Sarah Palin is not qualified to be Vice President." Hello! Has everyone forgotten she is Governor of Alaska...not a Senator, Congresswoman, etc...but Governor people...and she has the highest approval rating of any governor in the ENTIRE United States!

3. It keeps coming up that "Sarah Palin doesn't have a clue about major issues going on in the world." Okay...maybe she's not as schooled on the world as she could be considering she's running for the second highest office in the US. BUT...let's look at it this way...maybe she's has the highest approval rating as Governor in the United States because her focus has been on her state rather than the nation and world as a whole. Maybe that's why she's been able to accomplish what she has in Alaska and make her people love her and give her that 80% approval rating. Or maybe, what America needs is Sarah Palin in Washington...someone who is not in touch with the political game that is constantly being played by those currently in office there. (I mean just take a look at the hoopla that took place this week when Congress was trying to pass that stinking bill that all American's hate???) Need I say more??

Yes...Sarah Palin has fumbled in the few interviews she's given, but last night showed that when prepared Sarah Palin can take on anyone and their questions and give it her all and best! Personally I don't want someone in Washington who is like everyone else. Just look at the shape our country is in. I don't want another politician telling me they will do one thing to get elected and then another once in office. I believe in Sarah Palin. I like her style and I like the way she doesn't care if 'straight talk' offends anyone. She talks on the level of Americans everywhere that if given the chance to take the podium in her place would pretty much say the same things. We don't need another eloquent politican in Washington...we need someone who tells it like it is, means it and then will stop at nothing to get things done! Sarah Palin makes us believe that she is someone to be reckoned with! (I don't know why but when I think of Sarah Palin, I think of Annie Oakley!) That is what will turn this country around. And if Sarah Palin could take on the corrupt officials in her own state to enact reform and win, I have no doubt the Washington cronies will be any match for her!


My philosophy is this, America has had enough of the same ole people in Washington running the show who strive to get elected so they can get a piece of the corrupt 'good life' pie which in turn makes our elected officials forget about the people who voted them into office. The fact that Sarah Palin doesn't have all the answers doesn't bother me. The way I see it, how could she do worse? We've already seen that Sarah Palin does her homework on issues & after much study and preparation, she can answer the questions. She's not afraid to learn and then act on what she knows. Heck, even as adults we're still learning...we learn something new every day of our lives...so why should Sarah Palin be any different? We have to ask ourselves if we were elected to go to Washington, would we know any more than Sarah Palin? I mean there's having an opinion and really knowing what in the world is going on. Sometimes lack of experience can make a person better because they don't know how to get involved in the political games of Washington which in turn makes them and us American's better off for it.

We've elected people throughout the decades to go to Washington and make changes for the good of our country. Time and again, history has proven that more times than not, our country has suffered at the hands of those who 'claim' to know what's going on or have all the answers and we've ended up in worse shape than if well enough had been left alone. I think our most recent example is the failed bank, mortgage lending, & credit crisis threating to turn our country into a Socialistic system. For some reason, I just believe Sarah Palin, if elected along with McCain, will go to Washington and do everything for the good of the American people. I realize she'll have her work cut out for her and she'll be met with opposition from the Democratic party and the likes of Nancy Pelosi, (boy, would I love to see her take on Nancy in a little debate...now that would be better than WWE RAW! If you think Nancy Pelosi gives off the deer in the headlights look when things are calm, could you imagine what her expression would be once Palin was done tearing her apart?) So, regardless of all the naysayers out there who 'fear' Sarah Palin, I'm giving her a chance to get things done & get them done right! Maybe once she shows America what she's made of and able to accomplish despite her limited knowledge of the world's affairs, we'll all be believers and will stop the "Sarah bashing" and realize that maybe, just maybe, Sarah Palin knew what she was talking about after all!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

AT LAST...WELCOME FALL!!!


Finally after many, many weeks of excited anticipation, Fall has arrived & I couldn't be happier! This has to be my absolute favorite time of year. For weeks I have been ready for this season of cooler temps that prompt the leaves to change into gorgeous colors and fall from their trees. It's the only other time of year besides Spring that I love getting outside and taking in the beauty that surrounds me.


There's just so much to do this time of year! From going on hayrides to building bonfires, to creating fall scenes in the front yard & decorating the house and filling it with the smells of fresh pumpkin pie or a cinnamon spiced candle, the Fall season is one that offers something for everyone!



The thing that I love most about this time of year is that Fall is the 'kick off' to an entire season of wonderful events and happenings. Halloween looms just around the corner, followed by the Holiday season consisting of Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year's celebrations. It is mind blowing to say the least to think that we were just celebrating July 4th what seems like a few short weeks ago, and here we are saying hello to Fall & October 1st! Time will only get faster as the year pushes onward to the end of 2008!


Despite all the talk of late about our economy, I refuse to allow any of it to dampen my spirits about this time of year. I plan to enjoy it no matter how bad things get. I've come to realize over these last few days of watching our country's impending financial crisis unfold, that no matter how tough things get, its hard to ignore the fact that God is in control of it all when you look around at the splendor and beauty of the season that He provides to us each and every year. And as I watch the gradual change in the color of the leaves, I'm reminded that just as Fall passes into Winter, our country's woes will pass too!


So, get out and enjoy this wonderful season and soak up all that it has to offer! Fall is one of the few things in life we get to enjoy without it costing a thing! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm headed over to the pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect pumpkin. Won't you join me in celebrating this wonderful time of year!