Sunday, December 31, 2006

Old pics of me

This was me when I was 2 years old. If you want to see other photos of me from when I was younger then go to my photo albums, because I just added loads of them. They are in the 'Me, My Family & Our Friends' album.


Saturday, December 30, 2006

It's that time of the year

It's that time of the year... the time when everyone is thinking about how their last year has been and starts to think about what the new year will bring.

After a lot of thinking, I've come to the conclusion that 2006 was a pretty good year for me. It didn't start off too great though... I had to give up my Yorkie pups - Jayde Bramblerose and Lucy Blackthorn - and also ended up re homing our rabbit - Stew Pot - then I got very close to getting a Chocolate Point Siamese kitten - Dakoda Diero Padfoot - but he died before I even got there to pick him up. But then it got better... the girls got great homes - Jayde with my Grandma, Lucy with a friend of a friend - I got our Red Silver Spotted Tabby Oriental cat - Myskanco Chance Silva Flame - and I met Kerry who turned out to be a wonderful person and showed me the wonderful world of The Wolven where I made even more new friends and learned how to stream. So, all in all, a pretty good year.

This time of year people also start to think about 'new year resolutions' and how they are going to change their lives or whatever in the new year.

I've been thinking about that too. And I've come to the conclusion that the main things that need changing in my life are my eating habits and the fact that I have no routine or structure to my day. For years now I've done what I want when I feel like doing it. I've left stuff until it 'has to' be done and even slept just when I'm tired... even if it means I sleep in the day and am up all night. So, it's time for a change! I'm working out a routine for myself and from New Year's day my diet begins again. But I wont be calling it a diet. It's a new healthy eating and exercises routine that I'm hoping will become habit so that though I will be doing it initially to loose weight, I will stick to it and keep doing it even after I've lost the weight.

So, how was your 2006? And what are you planning on achieving in 2007?


MSN Groups

So, there I was browsing the links on my sidebar and I thought to myself "how long has it been since I visited the MSN groups?" I told them back in about July-ish that I was taking a break (or words to that effect) and I planned to just be away for a couple of weeks at most. But I never went back... Until today! I don't know what made me decide to go there today and start posting again, but it was nice to catch up with what's been going on with them.


Friday, December 29, 2006

3 days to go

So, it's almost over with now... Yule and Christmas are over and done with and it's almost time to ring in the new year! Can you believe it? In just three more days we'll be saying goodbye 2006, hello 2007!

Though the celebrating is far from over we decided to take down our Christmas decorations today. My Mam came down to give us a hand. We probably could have done it without her, but I said if she wasn't doing anything then she could come help if she wanted to and I guess she did want to because she came down. So, now they're all put away until December 1st 2007.

We kept the heart lights up though because we think they look cool and besides, they aren't really Christmasy anyway. And there's a long tube light that took so long and so much work to put up that we decided to just leave that one too. Personally I think it adds some colour to the place. Besides, loads of people have various lights up all over the place nowadays.

So, anyway... I watched some good shows over the last week or so.

Of course, I watched my Full House DVDs... I can't wait to get the rest of them! Series 5 came out December the 12th so I'm hoping to get that some time in the next couple of months. The rest aren't out on DVD or video yet. But, I'll be keeping an eye out for when they are so I can get them all, obviously.

I have also watched all my other new DVDs (see 'Christmas 2006' post for details on titles) and enjoyed them all. But I knew I would because they were ones I'd asked for.

Anyway, I watched some movies from TV too.

One was 'Terry Pratchett: The Hogfather' and personally I loved it (I've watched it three times in the last two weeks). My Dad and brother weren't so keen on it though. They found it boring. I think that's because they've read the book and I haven't though.

I also watched 'The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe' I enjoyed that one too. I have to say though, the old version that was made in to a TV series was better, but this new one is still good.

I watched a Christmas movie called 'Crazy For Christmas' too. Not sure what I thought of that one. It was good, but not something I'd rush out and buy.

Oh yes, and last night I watched 'The Brother's Grimm'... where do I begin with this one? It was a really good movie but in some parts it was very confusing and totally weird, and in others it was disgusting and disturbing... There were some funny bits and the movie is definately not for children (it has a certificate of 12 and personally I agree with it, and I don't always agree with the certificates on movies). Like I said though, it was a pretty good movie.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bambi's birthday

I know I've already done three posts today, but I just realised what the date is... Today would have been Bambi's birthday - if he was still with us - Bambi was my Grandma's little Chihuahua. Just wanted to give that a mention.


Bandanna from Grandma

Just thought I'd show you both sides of the bandanna that Grandma made for Kero for Christmas.

One side, as you can see, is penguins. Kero wore it like this all day Christmas day and was very proud of his bandanna.

And the other side is harder to see from the photo, but it's a horse's head. I'm afraid the photo doesn't do it justice. But you get the idea.

Anyway, there are more photos from over Yule and Christmas further down and even more still in my photo albums section.


Yule and Christmas photos

I finally have all the Yule and Christmas photos off my camera and on to the PC! Woohoo!!! I've done a little post with a few pics of my stuff in it before this one, so, if you want to see that one then you just have to scroll down. I wont be posting all the photos of the animals on here because there are far too many and it would take all day! So, I have picked out a couple to show you and for the rest you'll have to go check out their photo albums.

Doesn't Kero look totally adorable in the bandanna that Grandma made him and the had she brought for him for Christmas? He's not sure what he thinks of it, but we think it's SUPER CUTE!!!

And here's Butterscotch with her tube toy that she got for Yule. Looks to me like she's quite pleased with her gift! I expect she's even more pleased with the treats she got both for Yule and for Christmas though... And can you blame her? I know I can't! LOL!

And Chance absolutely loves this red mouse that he got in a little toy pack for Christmas from Grandma. He's bearly touched the other toys but hardly puts this one down!


Some of my gifts

Thought I'd share pics of a couple of my presents with you.

This first one is the cat lovers gift set I got, but you probably figured that out by the cat and mug combination in the pic... lol!

There were a few gifts I got that I didn't list... like some slippers I got from Grandma and a few other bits. And I think this next gift was one of the ones I forgot to mention in my list yesterday.

It's a jewelry box. I appologise for the paint job, that's my doing. LOL! It came just in plain wood with paints to paint it with and the fluffy bit to put on top of it. On the box it was all pink and I was a bit worried I was going to end up with an all pink jewelry box, but nope, I got to pick the colours (though the fluffy bit was pink or nothing). The back of it is painted purple - the same purple as the butterfly handle on the top drawer - but I figured this would be a good enough photo for you. Not much to see on the back.

So, I guess now you'll be wanting to meet my hippo, right?

OK, well, here he is!

What? I never said I had a real hippo now did I? LOL!


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas 2006

Well, Santa Claus was obviously a fan of my cooking, 'cause he left us even more great stuff! LOL!

Kero got more squeaky toys, more teddies and even more treats. One of his treats is a huge candy cane shaped rawhide bone... you should see him trying to figure out how to eat it! It's SO funny! Bless him! And my Grandma made him a gorgeous bandanna and brought him a doggy baseball cap (yes, I have photos, lol!)

The cats got more treats and some jingly balls and toy mice and such (the toys were mostly all from my Grandma).

The hamsters only got more treats.

And what did I get? Well, I got some CDs: 'Cat Stevens - Tea For The Tillerman', 'Boyzone - Key To My Life' (which had somehow missed being in my collection) and 'Westlife - Allow Us To Be Frank', some DVDs: 'Madagascar', 'My Little Pony: The Movie', 'Paddington Bear: Original Series', 'Robots', 'Shrek', 'Shrek 2' and 'The Care Bears Movie' (I admit it, I'm nothing but a big kid, but I don't care! I love my cartoons), and some games for my GameCube: 'A Series Of Unfortunate Events' and 'Charlie And The Chocolate Factory'. I also got loads of craft stuff to use for card making, and some Pokemon figures that you put a little cartridge thingy in a ball and they do stuff... got all four figures but they couldn't get the ball, lol! (will look for it after the new year). And I got some wooden puzzles (the old puzzles kids used to be playing with all the time), a really nice mug and teddy set, a cat pendant, some new earings, a Charlie And The Chocolate Factory board game thing, some playing cards, and my Grandma got me a beautiful wall clock in the shape of a Westie head. Oh, and I almost forgot. I got a hippo for Christmas.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through my flat
Nothing was stirring, not one hamster or cat
The cages and litter boxes all had been cleaned
And the house had been tidied and scrubbed 'til it gleamed
And with the stockings all laid out on the table with care
(They are safest from the animals up there)
My pup was curled up on the foot of my bed
With visions of milkbones and bonios in his head
And I in my pjs and hubby in his too
Were cuddled up together in a blanket of blue
I dreamed of the gifts that were under my tree
And what might be wrapped up among them for me
I dreamed of the man that they call St Nick
As he went from house to house... so nimble and quick
And as he and his reindeer flew out of sight
He called out to one and all "Merry Christmas and good night!"
Then he exclaimed to the Welsh folks like me
"Nadolig llawen a nos da i chi!"

© 2006 - Tori Zigler

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Yule 2006

I guess Kris Kringle the Yule Elf must have liked my offering of porridge or something, 'cause I got some great gifts. LOL!

I got the thrid and fourth series of Full House on DVD, some Belgium chocolate seashells, a Westie callender for 2007 and a figure of Celestine The Living Saint. Celestine The Living Saint is a figure for Warhammer 40K and, no, I don't play it. I did at one point but never really enjoyed it. Anyway, I like some of the figures and put them up as ornaments and this was one that I wanted to add to my collection.

The animals got loads of stuff.

Sakura got a fish on a rod and a Santa on a string that attatches to something. Megan got a ball that is attatched to a little platform with a spring and a snowman like Sakura's Santa. Chance got a ball on a string that is on a clip that clips on to the door so it dangles for him and he also got a Penguin like Sakura's Santa and Megan's snowman. Each cat also got a blanket and they got a box of kitty chocolates between them.

The hamsters got some yogurt drops and carrot treats beteen them and each got a play tunnel, a mineral block thing for them to chew on and a treat ball.

Kero got two new blankets (one blue one with teddies on and one big one with dogs on it), some rawhide treats, some teddies, some squeaky toys and a new bowl.

We've been having a great time with our celebrations and Kelly and I are loving all the time we're getting to spend doing stuff together (which doesn't usually happen as much as it should). All in all, it's been a great Yule!!!

And, yes, I do have photos but I haven't sorted them out yet so you'll have to wait for those.



Here are the cookies that Mam and I made on Wednesday. There are close-up photos of them in my photo albums if you want a better look. We also made mince pies.


Gravy Boat

I promised Kerry a photo of my gravy boat, so, here it is. I took it off the dish it sits on to take the photo so you can see the pictures on them. My Nan had a whole dinner set that matched it, but I don't know what happened to them.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

On The First Day Of Christmas...

It is my friend Partick's birthday... HAPPY BIRTHDAY PATRICK!!!

Today was also - FINALLY - the day of my Christmas dinner with the Welsh class. We all had the same thing - the same as what I ate Saturday, which I actually remember today, lol! The starter was barbecued ribs, sortea chicken and turkey in little pokets of batter. The second course was crispy duck, seaweed, spring onions and cucumbers in pancake type things. And the main course was special fried rice, sweet & sour chicken, mixed vegetables, beef with lemon & ginger and aromatic duck with crispy turkey. We all had different deserts, and mine was different to what I had Saturday... today I had some orange ice cream. And yes, I did enjoy it!!!

Mam came down and we made mince pies and cookies. She also made me and Kelly a rasperry cheesecake. I'd already brought a great big chocolate log so we are more than all set for treats for throughout all these celebrations. LOL! I took photos of the stuff we made (appart from the cheesecake) which I will post when I get around to getting photos from my camera to the PC. I've got some I want to bring across that I took before but just haven't gotten around to it yet.

Kerry's Christmas present from me has finally got to me. Now I just have to send it on to her. Good thing I already told her it wont make it to her by Christmas, isn't it? LOL! Not sure when I'll get to post it since starting today stuff starts closing and being hard to get to here. I'll get it mailed as soon as I can though.

So, today starts all of the holiday celebrations in our house. We do both Yule and Christmas. And how do we do that? Well, what we do is we have the gifts from each other on December the 21st and the gifts from family and friends - since they all only do Christmas - on December the 25th. Mam, Dad, Carl and Rachel are coming down to us for a couple of hours in the afternoon of Christmas day with their gifts for us, so we technically get three lots of presents. LOL! Either way, our celebrations start tonight and we technically celebrate from tonight until January 1st. So, regardless of when other people think the 12 days of Christmas are, those are the 12 days of Christmas to me. Not expecting any partridges in pear trees, turtle doves, French hens, etc... though! LMAO!!!


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A couple of update type things

Two birthdays today... One is my Mam and the other is my friend Claudia. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you both!!! We got my Mam some teddies she'd seen and liked and had given her some money before for something (I forget what) and, or course, Jo and I went to dinner with her Saturday, so, that was basically her birthday celebrations.

Not sure how because nobody called or visited me from the phone company, but our phone now works again! Woohoo!!!


Some Yule Traditions

Santa Claus / Father Christmas / St. Nicholas / Kris Kringle

Santa Claus is many things! He is jolly Jupiter, a smiling Saturn and the Old God on his way to rebirth. Norse and Germanic peoples have told stories for centuries of how the Yule Elf - Kris Kringle - brings gifts on the Solstice to those who leave him offerings of porridge. In the guise of St. Nicholas he is a pagan deity who was absorbed into the Christian tradition. The Yule Elf wears red or green (the traditional colours of fertility), has a well-fed belly (the envy of our ancestors during winter), sports a burly beard (a symbol of male sexual maturity) and a crown of leaves (the sign of spring's return).

Reindeer & Goats

It is uncertain where the idea of reindeer towing a sleigh truly came from but there's the Julbock or Julbukk or Yule Goat from Sweden and Norway, who had his beginnings as the carrier for the God Thor. Now though, the Yule Goat carries the Yule Elf when he makes his rounds to deliver presents and receive his offering of porridge. Yes, that’s right. The Yule Elf is carried to us by a goat and is given an offering of porridge. You did read that right!

Yule Log

It is said that the Yule log must never be bought but should either be received as a gift, found or taken from you own property. Often the log to be burned at midwinter was chosen early in the year and set aside. It is also said that the number of sparks struck off the burning log indicated the number of lambs and/or kids that would be born in the coming year.


Holly was hung in honour of the Holly King in Pagan traditions and still is today in many Pagan homes. It symbolizes the old Solar Year, the Waning Sun, Protection and Good Luck. And it was particularly prized to decorate doors, windows and fireplaces because of its prickliness - to either ward off or snag and capture evil spirits before they could enter and harm a household.


Once called Allheal this sacred plant is a symbol of peace, prosperity, healing, protection, fertility, rest and wellness. The Celts believed this parasitic plant held the soul of the host tree.


Carolling is thought to come from the traditions that are associated with wassailing. It also may be from traditions where Children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges which were laid in baskets of evergreen boughs and wheat stalks dusted with flour. The apples and oranges represented the sun, the boughs were symbolic of immortality, the wheat stalks portrayed the harvest, and the flour was accomplishment of triumph, light, and life.


Presents have been a common theme of every Solstice and Yule celebration for thousands of years. People gave gifts in a time when community survival rather than consumerism was the driving impulse. You shared food and other creature comforts to ensure that your neighbours and loves ones -- your tribe -- would be able to survive the brutal months to come.

New Year's Resolutions

The tradition of the New Year's resolution is possibly a tradition based on that of the Norse peoples who swore a Yule oath. Their kindred did this on Twelfth Night (aka New Years Eve). And there in lies the answer to the age-old question of when the twelve days of Christmas are. The first day is December 20th and the twelfth is December 31st

Monday, December 18, 2006

A little note

I just wanted to take some time out from posting Yule stuff to let you know that I do realise that not everyone is going to want to see it and not everyone is going to be willing to accept how I feel about the holiday season. But this is MY blog and this is what I want to post, so, I will! You don't want to read it then that's fine! But I just want to say that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions - and I'm sure you all have yours - and these are mine and if you don't like them or if you don't like me for having them then I don't care! My opinion is that the Winter Solstice - whether you call it Yule, Christmas, Hanuka or whatever - is and always has been a celebration to mark the fact that we have reached the darkest day of the year, and the days will start to become lighter and longer, and spring is on its way... simple as that! So however you feel about my throwing a bunch of stuff about Yule at you, just remember this... however you celebrate the holidays, it's basically the same holiday as everyone else in this big ol' world is celebrating. So don't worry about whether people are celebrating the return of the sun or the birth of their saviour or whatever, just enjoy it and eat, drink and be merry with your family!

Happy Holidays!


Yuletide Stories

Click on the links to read the stories

The Yule Faeries - A Winter Solstice Story
(author unknown)

A group of little Faeries huddled in their home deep under the roots of a giant oak tree. They were safe and snug in their tiny underground cave lined with dandelion fluff, bird feathers, and dried moss.
Outside, the wind blew cold and the snow fell softly down to cover the ground. "I saw the Sun King today," the faerie named Rose said as she pulled her mossy cloak tighter about her. "He looked so old and tired as
he walked off through the forest. What is wrong with him? The great oak said he's dying" answered Daffodil. Dying? Oh, what will we do now?" Little Meadow Grass started to cry "If the sun King dies, our
little plant friends will not grow. The Birds will not come and sing again.Everything will be winter for ever!" Lilac, Dandelion and Elder Blossom tried to comfort their friend, but they were all very sad. As
they huddled together, there was a knock on the tiny door.
"Open up, Faeries," called out a loud voice. "Why are you hiding instead of joining us in our Solstice celebration?" Rose opened the door and the little gnome Brown Knobby pushed inside, shaking the glistening snowflakes off his brown coat and hat.
"We are too sad to celebrate," Daffodil said wiping her eyes, "the Sun King is dying, haven't you heard?"
"He is dead you silly Faeries." Brown Knobby's round dark eyes sparkled with laughter. "now hurry, or we'll be late for the celebration!"
"How can you be happy and laughing?!" Elder Blossom stamped her little foot and frowned at the gnome. "If the Sun King IS dead, it will be winter always. We will never see the Sun again!"
"Silly little child-Faeries." Brown Knobby grabbed Dandelion by the hand and pulled her to her feet. "There is a secret to the Winter Solstice. Don't you want to know what it is?"
The Faeries looked at him in surprise. "Secret?" they all said. "What secret? We are only new little Faeries, you silly gnome. We've never been to a Solstice celebration before."
"Come and see. Come and see. Get your capes and come with me." Brown Knobby danced and jigged around the room. "Hurry, Hurry, don't be slow! To the sacred oak grove through the snow!"
He danced out of the door and disappeared.
"What did that gnome mean?" Rose asked as she gathered up her cloak of dried rose petals held together with cobwebs and lined with goose down.
"I don't know, but the Lady lives in the sacred grove." Meadow Grass pulled on her hat.
"Perhaps if we go to see the Goddess, She can explain what Brown Knobby was talking about".
The Faeries left their snug little home and trudged off through the snow toward the sacred oak grove. The forest was dark with only the light of the Moon shining down through the thick fir branches and bare limbs of maple and hawthorn. It was very difficult for them to get through the snow because they were very, very small. As they waded through the wet snow and shivered in the cold wind, they met a fox.
"Where are you going, Faeries?" the fox asked.
"To the sacred grove," they answered, they were cold and shivering.
"Climb on my back and I will take you there swiftly."
The fox knelt down so the Faeries could climb up. Then he raced off through the dark.
"Listen!" Lilac said as they neared the grove of sacred trees. "Someone is singing happy songs. A LOT of someones."
The beautiful music carried over the cold, still, moonlit air. It was the most beautiful music the Faeries had ever heard. The fox carried the Faeries right to the edge of the stone altar in the center of the grove,
then knelt down.
"Look!" said Elder Blossom as they slid to the snow covered ground. "There is the Maiden and the Mother and the OLD Wise One, And many other Little People."
"They are all smiling and happy," said Lilac as she looked around at all the creatures.
"All the animals are here too," whispered Dandelion. "why are they all looking at the Mother?"
The Faeries moved closer to the three Ladies seated on the altar stone. The Mother held a bundle close in Her arms, smiling down at it. The Maiden reached down and took the Faeries gently in her Hands. She held them close to the Mother so they could see what She held.
"A Baby!" the Faeries cried. " A new little Baby! Look how he glows!"
"He is the newborn Sun King," said the Maiden smiling.
"But Brown Knobby and the old oak tree said the Sun King was dead," the Faeries answered her. "How can this little baby be the Sun King?"
"That is the secret of the Winter Solstice." The Old Wise One touched the baby's cheek with her wrinkled hand. "Every year the Sun King must come to the sacred grove during the darkest days of winter where he dies. I take his spirit to the Mother who gives him new life again. This is the way for
all creatures, not just the Sun King."
" You mean everything lives and dies and lives again? the Faeries looked down in wonder at the baby Sun King, nestled in the arms of the Mother.
" Yes Little Ones," answered the Old Wise One. "There is never an end to life. This is the great mystical secret of the Winter Solstice."
The Faeries laughed because they were so happy.
"I think the little Sun King should have gifts," said Rose. "I will show him where the wild roses bloom in the early summer."
"And, I will teach him to call the birds and listen to the songs of the wind," exclaimed Dandelion.
"When he is older and stronger, " said the Mother, "then the flowers will bloom at his touch, the birds will return to sing their songs, and the air will be warm from his breath, and winter will be gone for a time. Then the Sun King will run and play with you in the forest."
The little Faeries sang to the Baby Sun King, songs of the coming spring, the sweet smelling flowers, the bumbling bees, and all the secrets of the forest. And all the creatures within the sacred grove sang with them. Then the fox took them back to their snug home under the roots of the giant oak tree where they dreamed wonderful dreams, waiting for the warmth of spring and the fun they would have with the little Sun King.


The Good Wife and the Silver Pine Cones
(author unknown)

A very long time ago in a land far away lived a elderly woodcutter and his wife amidst a grand forest. The woodcutter had a good life chopping firewood from the surrounding forest to sell to the nearby town for food and money for him and his wife. Until one day when the tree he was cutting fell the wrong way and he was very badly injured and unable to continue working. Which soon made life very hard for them as there was no longer any money for food or any other necessity that they needed. What money that the good wife
could find she would use on medicines for her husband to make him more comfortable. The good wife struggled to feed her husband and herself from her garden until winter made it impossible to continue growing food and their stores of food were soon gone. But, still she tried to find ways to make money for food by helping others by doing small chores, and by gathering roots in the forest to stipend her meager food that she could buy. She continued working hard until one day when the good wife discovered an abundance of pinecones scattered around the many pine trees throughout the forest amidst the winter
snow. She realized that even though she could not carry, cut or bring enough large pieces of wood to sell to the town that people would buy pinecones for kindling for their fireplaces. So each day she would load up a bag with an apple and a small sandwich for her lunch so that she could make a trip into the grand forest to search for pinecones.
One day after she had gathered a apron full of pine cones and her back was sore from bending she decided to sit down underneath a huge oak tree to eat her lunch and to gather her strength for the long walk home. She had just pulled out her apple and sandwich when she realized that she was no longer alone. Looking up she found a very small, strangely dressed little man standing before her. Noticing that he seemed to be hungry she asked him if he would like her apple from her lunch. He quickly nodded and took the apple from her open palm and within a wink the apple was eaten. Thinking to herself that someone who would eat something so quickly must be in more strife than her little family she offered him her sandwich as well. She knew that giving him all her food would make her very hungry as this was all the food that she could spare for herself that day, but she could not allow anyone to go hungry. The little man took the sandwich with a grateful smile and quickly ate the sandwich with much relish and enjoyment. The good wife watched his enjoyment of her offering with a kind smile even though her empty stomach grumbled with hunger. As soon as the little man finished his little meal he picked off each crumb and each morsel of food off of his clothing and ate them. He then licked his hands of all the tasty apple nectar and sighed with contentment patting his now full stomach. He then sat down beside the good wife and looked at her apron filled to spilling of gathered pinecones. He smiled at the good wife and touched the apron with one tiny hand and said..
"Good wife I thank thee for the wonderful food you gave with such a giving heart and without asking for anything in return. I have a gift for thee in your apron, however, do not look within your apron until you are home again with your husband."
Then with a wink and a lilting giggle the little man bounded away deeper into the forest. The good wife smiled and shook her head thinking that the little man must be "touched in the head" and got up and started her long journey home. She was curious at what gift he had put into her apron as she knew that he hadn't placed anything in with the pinecones, but decided to do as he said and not look until she was home with her husband. Once she arrived home she went to her husband's bedside and quickly told him about her adventure in the forest with the strange little man. He was very upset with his wife as he had warned her of the dangers of the forest and to speak to a strange man was worth his worry. But, his good wife just smiled and touched his hand and told him that she knew of his worries and that she had been careful. Shaking her head she smiled and told him of his promise of
a gift as she reached into her apron and pulled out a pinecone. The woodcutter gasped in amazement at the pinecone that his wife held in her shocked grasp for instead of a pinecone of wood she held a pinecone made out of solid silver. Quickly she stood up and emptied her apron onto her husband's bed and looked in amazement at the large pile of silver pinecones. With one kind gesture of giving food to someone less fortunate than herself the good wife had gained enough treasure to allow her and her husband to
live very comfortably for the rest of their days amidst the forest that they both loved. Thus it is taught in the three fold law that what you do in kindness without expectations of gain you receive bounty back three fold more.
Blessed Yule to you and yours!


Baby Bear's Yule Tree
(author unknown)

Once upon a time, there was a Baby Bear, a Mama Bear, and a Daddy Bear. They lived in a beautiful forest. In the middle of their forest there was a meadow with a tiny old cottage. Baby Bear loved to go look into the window of the cottage, for there were always beautiful, magical things to see and smell in the cottage.
One cold snowy evening, Baby Bear looked into the cottage window and he saw the most amazing thing he had ever seen. It was a short, fat little pine tree that sparkled with red, blue, and gold. It was covered in candles and strands of cranberries,popcorn, and cinnamon sticks.
Baby Bear ran home to Mama and Daddy Bear, and told them all about what he had seen. The next day, the family of bears decided to make their own Yule tree in the forest. They searched and searched until they found the perfect short, fat little pine tree.They worked hard gathering berries and moss, pine cones, and nuts. They hung the berries, pinecones, moss, and nuts on their Yule tree. When they finished decorating the little pine tree in the forest, they stood back to take a good look. Baby Bear said, "It's not sparkling like the one in the cottage."
The Bears were disappointed. They all went to bed feeling a bit sad. They cuddled together and slept through the long, cold, dark night.
The next morning when they woke up, Baby Bear ran to his little Yule tree in the forest. It was sparkling! There were icicles hanging from the needles of the tree and the morning sun shining on the icicles sent out rays of sunshine everywhere. All the animals in the forest came to admire Baby Bear's Beautiful little Yule tree. Baby Bear said, "Let's all have a feast!"
So they feasted on the delicious nuts and berries from Baby Bear's Yule tree. The End.


Visions of Sugar Plums
by Margaret Morrison

Five minutes before the Winter Solstice circle was scheduled to begin, my mother called. Since I'm the only one in our coven who doesn't run on Pagan Standard Time, I took the call. Half the people hadn't arrived, and those who had wouldn't settle down to business for at least twenty minutes.
"Merry Christmas, Frannie."
"Hi, Mom. I don't do Christmas."
"Maybe not--but I do, so I'll say it." she told me in her sassy voice, kind of sweet and vinegary at the same time. "If I can respect your freedom of religion, you can respect my freedom of speech."
I grinned and rolled my eyes. "And the score is Mom - one, Fran - nothing. But I love you, anyway."
People were bustling around in the next room, setting up the altar, decking the halls with what I considered excessive amounts of holly and ivy, and singing something like, "O Solstice Tree."
"It sounds like party." Mom said.
"We're doing Winter Solstice tonight."
"Oh. That's sort of like your version of Christmas, right?"
I wanted to snap back that Christmas was the Christian version of Solstice, but I held back.
"We celebrate the return of the sun. It's a lot quieter than Christmas. No shopping sprees, no pine needles and tinsel on the floor, and it doesn't wipe me out. I remember how you had always worked yourself to a frazzle by December 26."
"Oh honey, I loved doing all that stuff. I wouldn't trade those memories for all the spare time in the world. I wish you and Jack would loosen up a little for the baby's sake. When you were little, you enjoyed Easter bunnies and trick-or-treating and Christmas things. Since you've gotten into this Wicca religion, you sound a lot like Aunt Betty the year she was a Jehovah's Witness."
I laughed nervously. "Yeah. How is Aunt Betty?"
"Fine. She's into the Celestine Prophecy now, and she seems quite happy. Y'know," she went on, "Aunt Betty always said the Jehovah's Witnesses said those holiday things were pagan. So I don't see why you've given them up."
"Uh, they've been commercialized and polluted beyond recognition. We're into very simple, quiet celebrations."
"Well," she said dubiously, "as long as you're happy."
Sometimes long distance is better than being there, 'cause your mother can't give you the look that makes you agree with everything she says. Jack rescued me by interrupting.
"Hi, Ma." he called to the phone as he waved a beribboned sprig of mistletoe over my head. Then he kissed me, one of those quick noisy ones. I frowned at him.
"Druidic tradition, Fran. Swear to Goddess."
"Of course it is. Did the Druids use plastic berries?"
"Always. We'll be needing you in about five minutes."
"Okay. Gotta go, Mom. Love you."
We had a nice, serene kind of Solstice Circle. No jingling bells or filked-out Christmas Carols. Soon after the last coven member left, Jack was ready to pack it in.
"The baby's nestled all snug in her bed," he said with a yawn, "I think I'll go settle in for a long winter's nap."
I heaved a martyred sigh. He grinned unrepentantly, kissed me, called me a grinch, and went to bed. I stayed up and puttered around the house, trying to unwind. I sifted through the day's mail, ditched the flyers urging us to purchase all the Seasonal Joy we could afford or charge. I opened the card from his parents. Another sermonette: a manger scene and a bible verse, with a handwritten note expressing his mother's fervent hope that God's love and Christmas spirit would fill our hearts in this blessed season. She means well, really. I amused myself by picking out every pagan element I could find in the card. When the mail had been sorted, I got up and started turning our ritual room back into a living room.
As if the greeting card had carried a virus, I found myself humming Christmas carols. I turned on the classic rock station, but they were playing that Lennon-Ono Christmas song. I switched stations. The weatherman assured me that there was only a twenty percent chance of snow. Then, by Loki, the deejay let Bruce Springsteen insult my ears crooning, "yah better watch out, yah better not pout." I tried the Oldies station. Elvis lives, and he does Christmas songs. Okay, fine. We'll do classical--no, we won't. They're playing Handel's Messiah. Maybe the community radio station would have something secular humanist. "Ahora, escucharemos a Jose Feliciano canta `Feliz
Navidad'." I was getting annoyed. The radio doesn't usually get this saturated with holiday mush until the twenty-fourth. "This is too weird." I said to the radio, "Cut that crap out." The country station had some Kenny Rogers Christmas tune, the first rock station had gone from John and Yoko's Christmas song to Simon and Garfunkel's "Silent Night," and the other rock station still had Springsteen reliving his childhood.
"--I'm tellin' you why. SANTA Claus is comin' to town!" he bellowed.
I was about to pick out a nice secular CD when there was a knock at the door.
Now, it could have been a coven member who'd forgotten something. It could have been someone with car trouble. It could have been any number of things, but it certainly couldn't have been a stout guy in a red suit--snowy beard, rosy cheeks, and all--backed by eight reindeer and a sleigh. I blinked, wondered crazily where Rudolph was, and blinked again. There were nine reindeer.
Our twenty-percent chance of snow had frosted the dead grass and was continuing to float down in fat flakes.
"Hi, Frannie." he said warmly, "I've missed you."
"I'm stone cold sober, and you don't exist."
He looked at me with a mixture of sorrow and compassion and sighed heavily. "That's why I miss you, Frannie. Can I come in? We need to talk."
I couldn't quite bring myself to slam the door on this vision, hallucination, or whatever. So I let him in, because that made more sense then letting all the cold air in while I argued with someone
who wasn't there. As he stepped in, a thought crossed my mind about various entities needing an invitation to get in houses.He flashed me a smile that would melt the polar caps.
"Don't you miss Christmas, Frannie?"
"No." I said flatly, "Apparently you don't see me when I'm sleeping and waking these days. I haven't been Christian for years."
"Oh, now don't let that stop you. We both know this holiday's older than that. Yule trees and Saturnalia and here-comes-the-sun, doodoodendoodoo."
I raised an eyebrow at the Beatles reference, then gave him my standard sermonette on the appropriation and adulteration that made Christmas no longer a Pagan holiday. I had done my homework. I listed centuries, I named names--St. Nicholas among them. "In the twentieth century version," I assured him, "Christmas is two parts crass commercialism mixed with one part blind faith in a religion I rejected years ago." I gave him my best lines, the ones that had convinced my coven to abstain from Christmasy cliches. My hallucination sat in Jack's favorite chair, nodding patiently at me.
"And you," I added nastily, "come here talking about ancient customs when you--in your current form--were invented in the nineteenth century by, um...Clement C. Moore."
He laughed, a rolling, belly-deep chuckle unlike any department-store Santa I'd ever heard. "Of course I change my form now and then to suit fashion. Don't you? And does that stop you from being yourself?" He said, and asked me if I remembered Real Magic, by Isaac Bonewits.
I gaped at him for a moment, then caught myself. "This is like `Labyrinth', right? I'm having a dream that pretends to be real, but is only made from pieces of things in my memory. You don't look a thing like David Bowie."
"Bonewits has this Switchboard Theory." Santa went on amiably, "The energy you put into your beliefs influences the real existence of the archetypal--oh, let me put it simpler: `in the beginning, Man created God'. Ian Anderson." He lit a long-stemmed pipe. The tobacco had a mild and somehow Christmasy smell, and every puff sent up a wreath of smoke. "I'm afraid it's a bit more complicated than Bonewits tells it, but that's close enough for mortals. Are you with me so far?"
"Oh, sure." I lied as unconvincingly as possible.
Santa sighed heavily. "When's the last time you left out milk and cookies for me?"
"When I figured out my parents were eating them."
"Frannie, Frannie. Remember pinda balls, from Hinduism?"
"Rice balls left as offerings for ancestors and gods."
"Do Hindus really believe that the ancestors and gods eat pinda balls?"
"All right, y'got me there. They say that spirits consume the spiritual essence, then mortals can have what's left."
"Mm-hm." Santa smiled at me compassionately through his snowy beard.
I rallied quickly. "What about the toys? I know for a fact they aren't made by you and a bunch of non-union elves."
"Oh, that's quite true. Manufacturing physical objects out of magical energy is terribly expensive and breaks several laws of Nature--She only allows us to do that on special occasions. It certainly
couldn't be done globally and annually. Now, the missus and the elves and I really do have a shop at the North Pole. Not the sort of thing the Air Force would ever find. What we make up there is what makes this time a holiday, no matter what religion it's called."
"Don't tell me," I said, rolling my eyes, "you make the sun come back."
"Oh my, no. The solar cycle stuff, the Reason For The Season, isn't my department. My part is making it a holiday. We make a mild, non-addictive psychedelic thing called Christmas spirit. Try some."
He dipped his fingers in a pocket and tossed red-gold-green-silver glitter at me. I could have ducked. I don't know why I didn't.
It smelled like snow, and pine needles, and cedar chips in the fireplace. It smelled like fruitcake, like roastturkey, like that foamy white stuff you spray on the window with stencils. It felt like a crisp wind, Grandma's hugs, fuzzy new mittens, pine needles scrunching under my slippers. I saw twinkly lights, mistletoe in the doorway, smiling faces from years gone by. Several Christmas carols
played almost simultaneously in a kind of medley.
I fought my way back to my living room and glared sternly at the hallucination in Jack's chair.
"Fun stuff. Does the DEA know about this?"
"Oh, Frannie. Why are you such a hard case? I told you it's non-addictive and has no harmful side effects. Would Santa Claus lie to you?"
I opened my mouth and closed it again. We looked at each other a while.
"Can I have some more of that glittery stuff?"
"Mmmm. I think you need something stronger. Try a sugarplum."
I tasted rum ball. Peppermint. Those hard candies with the picture all the way through. Mama's favorite fudge. A chorus line of Christmas candies danced through my mouth. The Swedish Angel Chimes, run on candle power, say tingatingatingating. Mama, with a funny smile, promised to give Santa my letter. Greeting cards taped on the refrigerator door. We rode through the tree farm on a straw-filled trailer pulled by a red and green tractor, looking for a perfect pine.
It was so big, Daddy had to cut a bit off so the star wouldn't scrape the ceiling. Lights, ornaments, tinsel. Daddy lifted me up to the mantle to hang my stocking. My dolls stayed up to see Santa Claus, and in the morning they all had new clothes. Grandma carried in a platter with the world's biggest turkey, and I got the drumstick. Joey's Christmas puppy chased my Christmas kitten up the
tree and it would have fallen over but Daddy held it while Mama got the kitten out. Daddy said every bad word there was but he kept laughing anyway. I sneaked my favorite plastic horse into the nativity scene, between the camels and the donkey. I came back to reality slowly, with a silly smile on my face and a tickly feeling behind my eyes like they wanted to cry. The phrase "visions of sugarplums" took on a whole new meaning.
"How long has it been," Santa asked, "since you played with a nativity set?-"
"But it symbolizes--"
"The winter-born king. The sacred Mother and her sun-child. Got a problem with that? You could recorate it with pentagrams if you like, they'll look fine. As for the Christianization, I've heard who you invoke at Imbolc."
"But Bridgid was a Goddess for centuries before the Catholic Church-oh." I crossed my arms and tried to glare at him, but failed.
"You're a sneaky old elf, y'know?"
"The term is `jolly old elf.' Care for another sugarplum?"
I did.
I tasted gingerbread. My first nip of eggnog the way the grown-ups drink it. Fresh sugar cookies, shaped like trees and decked with colored frosting. Dad had been laid off, but we managed a lot of cheer. They told us Christmas would be "slim pickings." Joey and I smiled bravely when Mama brought home that spindly spruce. We loaded down our "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree" with every light and ornament it could hold. Popcorn and cranberry strings for the outdoor trees. Mistletoe in the hall: plastic mistletoe, real kisses.
Joey and I snipped and glued and stitched and painted treasures to give as presents. We agonized over our "Santa" now we knew where the goodies came from, and we tried to compromise between what we longed for and what we thought they could afford. Every day
we hoped the factory would reopen. When Joey's dog ate my mitten, I wasn't brave. I knew that meant I'd get mittens for Christmas, and one less toy. I cried. On December twenty-fifth we opened our presents ve-ery slo-wly, drawing out the experience. We made a show of cheer
over our socks and shirts and meager haul of toys. I got red mittens.
We could tell Mama and Daddy were proud of us for being so brave, because they were grinning like crazy.
"Go out to the garage for apples." Mama told us, "We'll have apple pancakes."
I don't remember having the pancakes. There was a dollhouse in the garage. No mass-produced aluminum thing but a homemade plywood dollhouse with wall-papered walls and real curtains and thread-spool chairs. My dolls were inside, with newly sewn clothes. Joey was on his knees in front of a plywood barn with hay in the loft. His old farm implements had new paint. Our plastic animals were corralled in popsicle stick fences. The garage smelled like apples and hay, the
cement was bone-chilling under my slippers, and I was crying.
My knees were drawn up to my chest, arms wrapped around them. My chest felt tight, like ice cracking in sunshine. Santa offered me a huge white handkerchief. When all the ice in my chest had melted, he cleared his throat. He was pretty misty-eyed, too.
"Want to come sit on my lap and tell me what you want for Christmas?"
"You've already given it to me." But I sat on his lap anyway, and kissed his rosy cheek until he did his famous laugh.
"I'd better go now, Frannie. I have other stops to make, and you have work to do."
"Right. I'd better pop the corn tonight, it strings best when it's stale." I let him out the door. The reindeer were pawing impatiently at the moon-kissed new-fallen snow. I'd swear Rudolph winked at me.
"Don't forget the milk and cookies."
"Right. Uh, December twenty-fourth, or Solstice, or what?"
He shrugged. "Whatever night you expect me, I'll be there. Eh, don't wait up. Visits like this are tightly rationed. Laws of Nature, y'know, and She's strict with them."
"Gotcha. Thanks, Santa." I kissed his cheek again. "Happy Holidays."
The phrase had a nice, non-denominational ring to it. I thought I'd call my parents and in-laws soon and try it out on them. Santa laid his finger aside of his nose and nodded.
"Blessed be, Frannie."
The sleigh soared up, and Santa really did exclaim something. It sounded like old German. Smart-aleck elf. When I closed the door, the radio was playing Jethro Tull's "Solstice Bells."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dinner and telephones

It's a really good thing that I had already made up my mind that I wasn't going to do much in the way of dieting until the holiday season is over and done with, because otherwise I'd have seriously thrown the diet out the window last night! Went out to dinner with Mam and Jo and had a beautiful Chinese meal followed by some strawberry trifle topped with strawberry ice cream instead of the usual whipped cream. It was SO worth all the calories that must have been in the dinner though! LOL!

Anyway... got home about 10:30 pm so would have been in time for Name That Tune, but I was bloody exhausted so I went to bed instead. Woke up about the time Name That Tune would have been finishing (about 4:30 am my time, give or take).

Almost didn't get to do my stream yesterday. Went to make a call and discovered the phone wasn't working. After a few attempts of unplugging it and plugging it back in I called the main line with my mobile phone and it said it was busy. Hmmm.... OK! Not good! So, I call my Mam, give her the details for the phone company and get her to call them ('cause there's no way in hell I'm calling them on the mobile phone when there's an alternative). She calls them, they say to unplug everything but the phone itself and plug the phone in to the main port in the wall... BUT... the main port in the wall is behind one of the shelves my movies are on!!! So, they say they'll call my mobile phone "between noon and 2 pm" - this was 11:00 am mind - to give time for my Mam to get down mine and help me get the stuff off the unit to move it (luckily I knew which one it was behind so we only had to move one of them). So, we get everything out, unplug the wire that goes to the stupid port thingy where the Internet, sky digital and phone all plug in and I suddenly realise... I'd messaged Kerry to ask her to do my stream but only got as far as asking her to answer if she was about!!! SHIT!!! What if they don't call before 2 pm??? So, we unplug the main phone and replace the wire so I can get online to e-mail Kerry and tell her why it was I wanted her and ask her to do my stream (thanks for being ready to do it for me by the way Kerry!!!) Anyway, we then had to swap the wires back and wait. About 1:30 pm they finally call and say to try another phone in the socket. Well, we don't have another phone. So... Mam goes around asking neighbours and they're all like "I wouldn't bother, ours doesn't work either!" And meanwhile I'm on hold with the woman from the phone company. Mam comes in and tells me the wonderful - and I use the word with a note of sarcasm that's so clear you couldn't miss it in a snow storm - news. So, the woman from the phone company takes me off hold to see if Mam's back and I tell her what Mam said so she's looking in to it and says that she will 'hopefully' get someone to deal with it Monday and would I be home all day and reachable on the number she was using that day. I said I would - and I was telling the truth, I didn't have plans for Monday - then she hung up and we had to put everything back. Finally got everything put back and got back online about 2:25 pm (or something like that). So since my Saturday stream starts at 3 pm I was back in time for it. Phew!!! However, until this is sorted I can't receive or make calls on my home phone... good thing I have a mobile, isn't it? By the way, I just want to say thanks again for being ready to step in for me though Kerry!!!

So, that's the important stuff that you've missed out on! LOL!

By the way, below this post you will see a couple of Yule themed ones if you are interested in reading them. If you aren't then that's up to you, but I thought I'd let you know they are there in case you would like a little read of them. The second one is just some Yuletide carols that I thought I'd share, but still an interesting read. Well, I think it is anyway! LOL!


Yule Lore (December 21st)

Yule, (pronounced EWE-elle) is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, much celebration was to be had as the ancestors awaited the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth and made her to bear forth from seeds protected through the fall and winter in her womb. Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were "wassailed" with toasts of spiced cider.

Children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges which were laid in baskets of evergreen boughs and wheat stalks dusted with flour. The apples and oranges represented the sun, the boughs were symbolic of immortality, the wheat stalks portrayed the harvest, and the flour was accomplishment of triumph, light, and life. Holly, mistletoe, and ivy not only decorated the outside, but also the inside of homes. It was to extend invitation to Nature Sprites to come and join the celebration. A sprig of Holly was kept near the door all year long as a constant invitation for good fortune to pay visit to the residents.

The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the festival. In accordance to tradition, the log must either have been harvested from the householder's land, or given as a gift... it must never have been bought. Once dragged into the house and placed in the fireplace it was decorated in seasonal greenery, doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour before set ablaze be a piece of last years log, (held onto for just this purpose). The log would burn throughout the night, then smolder for 12 days after before being ceremonially put out. Ash is the traditional wood of the Yule log. It is the sacred world tree of the Teutons, known as Yggdrasil. An herb of the Sun, Ash brings light into the hearth at the Solstice.

A different type of Yule log, and perhaps one more suitable for modern practitioners would be the type that is used as a base to hold three candles. Find a smaller branch of oak or pine, and flatten one side so it sets upright. Drill three holes in the top side to hold red, green, and white (season), green, gold, and black (the Sun God), or white, red, and black (the Great Goddess). Continue to decorate with greenery, red and gold bows, rosebuds, cloves, and dust with flour.

Deities of Yule are all Newborn Gods, Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, and Triple Goddesses. The best known would be the Dagda, and Brighid, the daughter of the Dagda. Brighid taught the smiths the arts of fire tending and the secrets of metal work. Brighid's flame, like the flame of the new light, pierces the darkness of the spirit and mind, while the Dagda's cauldron assures that Nature will always provide for all the children.

Symbolism of Yule:
Rebirth of the Sun, The longest night of the year, The Winter Solstice, Introspect, Planning for the Future.

Symbols of Yule:
Yule log, or small Yule log with 3 candles, evergreen boughs or wreaths, holly, mistletoe hung in doorways, gold pillar candles, baskets of clove studded fruit, a simmering pot of wassail, poinsettias, christmas cactus.

Herbs of Yule:
Bayberry, blessed thistle, evergreen, frankincense holly, laurel, mistletoe, oak, pine, sage, yellow cedar.

Foods of Yule:
Cookies, caraway cakes soaked in cider, fruits, nuts, pork dishes, turkey, eggnog, ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb's wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples).

Incense of Yule:
Pine, cedar, bayberry, cinnamon.

Colors of Yule:
Red, green, gold, white, yellow, silver, orange.

Stones of Yule:
Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, diamonds.

Activities of Yule:
Caroling, wassailing the trees, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging of presents, kissing under the mistletoe, honoring Kriss Kringle the Germanic Pagan God of Yule

Yuletide Carols

The Twelve Days of Yuletide

On the first day of Yuletide my true love gave to me,
A Circle 'round a Pine Tree.

On the second day of Yuletide my true love gave to me,
Two pointed Horns
And a Circle 'round a Pine Tree.

On the third day of Yuletide my true love gave to me,
Three Silver Cups
Two pointed Horns
And a Circle 'round a Pine Tree.

On the fourth day of Yuletide my true love gave to me,
Four Pentagrams
Three Silver Cups
Two pointed Horns
And a Circle 'round a Pine Tree.

On the fifth day of Yuletide my true love gave to me,
Five Magick Rings
Four Pentagrams
Three Silver Cups
Two pointed Horns
And a Circle 'round a Pine Tree.

On the sixth day of Yuletide my true love gave to me,
Six critters Fetching
Five Magick Rings
Four Pentagrams
Three Silver Cups
Two pointed Horns
And a Circle 'round a Pine Tree.

On the seventh day of Yuletide my true love gave to me,
Seven Candles Glowing
Six critters Fetching
Five Magick Rings
Four Pentagrams
Three Silver Cups
Two pointed Horns
And a Circle 'round a Pine Tree.

On the eighth day of Yuletide my true love gave to me,
Eight Fires Blazing
Seven Candles Glowing
Six critters Fetching
Five Magick Rings
Four Pentagrams
Three Silver Cups
Two pointed Horns
And a Circle 'round a Pine Tree.

On the ninth day of Yuletide my true love gave to me,
Nine Herbs a-Brewing
Eight Fires Blazing
Seven Candles Glowing
Six critters Fetching
Five Magick Rings
Four Pentagrams
Three Silver Cups
Two pointed Horns
And a Circle 'round a Pine Tree.

On the tenth day of Yuletide my true love gave to me,
Ten Stones a-Standing
Nine Herbs a-Brewing
Eight Fires Blazing
Seven Candles Glowing
Six critters Fetching
Five Magick Rings
Four Pentagrams
Three Silver Cups
Two pointed Horns
And a Circle 'round a Pine Tree.

On the eleventh day of Yuletide my true love gave to me,
Eleven Brooms a-Flying
Ten Stones a-Standing
Nine Herbs a-Brewing
Eight Fires Blazing
Seven Candles Glowing
Six critters Fetching
Five Magick Rings
Four Pentagrams
Three Silver Cups
Two pointed Horns
And a Circle 'round a Pine Tree.

On the twelfth day of Yuletide my true love gave to me,
Twelve Witches Dancing
Eleven Brooms a-Flying
Ten Stones a-Standing
Nine Herbs a-Brewing
Eight Fires Blazing
Seven Candles Glowing
Six critters Fetching
Five Magick Rings
Four Pentagrams
Three Silver Cups
Two pointed Horns
And a Circle 'round a Pine Tree


Deck The Halls

Deck the hall with boughs of holly
Fa la la, etc
Tis the season to be jolly
Fa la la, etc
Don we now our gay apparel
Fa la la, etc
Troll the ancient Yuletide carol
Fa la la, etc
See the blazing Yule before us
Fa la la, etc
Strike the harp and join the chorus
Fa la la, etc
Follow me in merry measure
Fa la la, etc
While I tell of Yuletide treasure
Fa la la, etc

Fast away the old year passes
Fa la la, etc
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses
Fa la la, etc
Sing we joyous all together
Fa la la, etc
Heedless of the wind and weather.
Fa la la, etc


Away From The Harvest

Away from the harvest the seasons have turned
The nights have grown colder and fires we've burned
The stars in the heavens look down where we stand
Neighbors and friends with candles in hand.

The warmth is returning, the sun and the light
Will brighten our days and shorten our nights
Come gather around the Solstice is here
The old one is passing, begins the new year


Holly Jolly Yuletide

Have a holly jolly Yuletide
It's the best time of the year
I don't know if there'll be snow
But have a cup of cheer

Have a holly jolly Yuletide
And when you walk down the street
Say hello to friends you know
And ev'ryone you meet

Oh, ho, the mistletoe
Hung where you can see
Somebody waits for you
Kiss her once for me

Have a holly jolly Yuletide
And in case you didn't hear
Oh, by golly have a holly jolly Yuletide
This year!


Silent Night

Silent night, Solstice Night
All is calm, all is bright
Nature slumbers in forest and glen
'Till in Springtime She wakens again
Sleeping spirits grow strong!
Sleeping spirits grow strong!

Silent night, Solstice night
Silver moon shining bright
Snowfall blankets the slumbering Earth
Yule fires welcome the Sun's rebirth
Hark, the Light is reborn!
Hark, the Light is reborn!

Silent night, Solstice night
Quiet rest till the Light
Turning ever the rolling Wheel
Brings the Winter to comfort and heal
Rest your spirit in peace!
Rest your spirit in peace!


Yule Song

Ring, ring, ring the bells
Ring them loud and clear
To tell the children everywhere
That Yule time's finally here


We Wish You A Glad Yuletide

We wish you a glad Yuletide, we wish you a glad Yuletide,
We wish you a glad Yuletide, and a happy New Year!
Yule blessings we bring to you and your kin,
We wish you a glad Yuletide, and a happy New Year!

We all want some figgy pudding, we all want some figgy pudding,

We all want some figgy pudding, and a cup of good cheer!
We won't go until we get some, we won't go until we get some,

We won't go until we get some, so bring it out here!

We wish you a glad Yuletide, we wish you a glad Yuletide,
We wish you a glad Yuletide, and a happy New Year!
Yule blessings we bring to you and your kin,
We wish you a glad Yuletide, and a happy New Year!


Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful!

Oh, come, all ye faithful
Gather round the Yule fire
Oh, come ye, oh come ye.
to call the Sun!
Fires within us
Call the Fire above us
O, come, let us invoke Him!
O, come, let us invoke Him!
O, come, let us invoke Him!
Our Lord, the Sun!

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee!
Born again at Yuletide.
Yule fires and candles flames
Are lighted for You!
Come to thy children
Calling for thy blessing
O, come, let us invoke Him!
O, come, let us invoke Him!
O, come, let us invoke Him!
Our Lord, the Sun!


Glory to the New Born King

Brothers, sisters, come and sing
Glory to the new-born King!
Gardens peaceful, forests wild
Celebrate the Winter Child!
Now the time of growing starts!
Joyful hands and joyful hearts!
Cheer the Yule log as it burns!
For once again, the Sun returns!
Brothers, sisters, come and sing
Glory to the new-born King!

Brothers, sisters, come and sing
Glory to the newborn Sun
Through the wind and dark of night
Celebrate the coming Light!
Suns glad rays through fear's cold burns,
Life through Death the Wheel now turns!
Gather round Yule log and tree
Celebrate Life's mystery
Brothers, sisters, come and sing
Glory to the newborn Sun!


Here We Come A Wassailing

Here we come a wassailing
Among the leaves so green
Here we come a-wandering
So fair to be seen

Love and joy come to you
Peace and hope and friendship too
And we bless you and wish you a happy new year
And we wish you a happy new year!


We are not daily beggars who
Beg from door to door
But we are neighbors' children
Whom you have seen before


We have got a little purse
Of stretching leather skin
We want a little money
To line it well within


Call up the butler of this house
Put on his golden ring
Let him bring us a glass of beer
And better we shall sing


Bring us out a table
And spread it with a cloth
Bring us out a moldy cheese
And some of your Yuletide loaf


God bless the master of the house
The mistress bless also
And all the little children
Around the table go


Good master and good mistress
While you sit by the fire
Pray think of us poor children
A-wand'ring in the mire


O Yuletide Tree

O Yuletide Tree, O Yuletide Tree
How lovely are thy branches
O Yuletide Tree, O Yuletide Tree
How lovely are thy branches
Bring joyful tidings of great cheer
O Yuletide Tree, O Yuletide Tree
To us you are so lovely.

O Yuletide Tree, O Yuletide Tree
Evergreen and fragrant
O Yuletide Tree, O Yuletide Tree
Evergreen and fragrant
We bring you in our home to be
A sign of life's eternity
O Yuletide Tree, O Yuletide Tree
Forever green and lovely.

O Yuletide Tree, O Yuletide Tree
Thank you for your blessings
O Yuletide Tree, O Yuletide Tree
Thank you for your blessings
With golden stars and twinkling light
You cheer us on this holy night
O Yuletide Tree, O Yuletide Tree
Thou art most fair and lovely.


Gods Rest Ye Merry Pagan Folk

Gods rest ye merry Pagan folk
Let nothing you dismay
Remember that the Suns returns
Upon this Solstice Day!
The growing dark is ended now
And Spring is on its way
O, tidings of comfort and joy!
Comfort and joy!
O, tidings of comfort and joy!

The Winter's worst still lies ahead
Fierce tempest, snow and rain!
Beneath the blanket on the ground
The spark of life remains!
The Sun's warm rays caress the seeds
To raise Life's songs again!
O, tidings of comfort and joy!
Comfort and joy!
O, tidings of comfort and joy!

Within the blessed apple lies
The promise of the Queen!
For from this pentacle shall rise
The orchards fresh and green.
The Earth shall blossom once again
The air be sweet and clean!
O, tidings of comfort and joy!
Comfort and joy!
O, tidings of comfort and joy!


Joy To The World

Joy to the World, the Light has come
Let Earth receiver her Lord
Let every heart, prepare Him room
And Heaven and Nature sing
And Heaven and Nature sing
And He-av'n and Nature sing!

Welcome our Lord, who brings us Light
Our Lady gives him birth!
His Living Light, to warm our hearts,
And wake the sleeping Earth
And wake the sleeping Earth
And wa-a-ke the sleeping Earth!

Light we the fires to greet our Lord
Our Light, our Life, our Lord!
Let every voice, sing holy praise
And Heaven and Nature sing
And Heaven and Nature sing
And He-av'n and Nature sing!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

11 Days To Christmas

How sweet is this???

So... I took Chance to the vet yesterday. Don't worry, he isn't sick, it was only for his booster. Man can that cat meow though! He meowed from when I put him in to the carrier at about 8:00 am until when I got home about 10:30 am. I was lucky at the vets. We were first to be seen, so I was able to get one bus in to town and the next one back home. Anyway, he was declared as "a perfectly healthy cat" he weighs 8 lbs exactly - which was pretty close to our guess of '8 or 9 lbs' - and despite what he would have us believe with his "so called" cough his lungs are perfectly clear. So, the vet says I was right Grandma, it IS an attention thing. Little brat!

Went up to my parents' place in the afternoon and took a couple of photos for them. The ones of Willow came out great, I'm not so pleased with the ones of Wayne's figures and of Mam's Christmas lights though. Can't be helped though, can it? If you want to see them though then go look at their blogs.

While I was up there I helped my Mam clean out her bathroom. It looks quite nice now. And where all the junk has been chucked out there's a lot more space in there too. I also made some cookies up there for Mam to practice doing the icing before it's time to make the cookies for Christmas. My cookie recipe isn't written down because it was taught to me in guides with no written recipe and I've done it that way since and Mam says her cookies never come out right when she tries to do it. Plus, it's a messy job and none of them like getting messy like that. I however absolutely love getting messy! LMAO!!!

Apart from the fact that I'm still waiting for Kerry's Christmas present to arrive, I have finished my Christmas shopping! Hooray!!! Now I can get on with enjoying the rest of the Christmas season and looking forward to opening my presents! LOL!

By the way, Grandma, I found the card from you and yes, I love it. And thanks for the stickers!

I brought a load of cocoa stuff on Tuesday. About 20 packs for me and a load (about 10 I think ) for Kerry. So, as soon as Kerry's present arrives I can send her other package on to her, because her cocoa and Scotty's other present is ready to go.

Saying about posting stuff reminds me...

When I was in town with Chance yesterday I figured since we were done over half an hour before the bus was due I'd go mail the package for my friend, Corinne and the Christmas card to Penny (my old writing teacher) and take Chance with me. I knew he'd be allowed in since dogs are allowed. Plus, in a pet carrier you can take a cat almost anywhere. I took Megan to Tescos before. I wouldn't go through that with Chance though, he meows too much. Anyway, I'm straying from what I wanted to tell you. Like I said, we went to the post office, and like I also said, Chance meowed the whole time I was out. So, Chance is meowing and this woman starts looking about. Finally pinpoints the source of all the noise - my pet carrier - and asks me if it's a real cat. Thinking what a stupid question that was with all the noise he was making I replied quite simply that "I sure hope so, or I just wasted almost £25 at the vet." Everyone in the post office at the time - including that woman - laughed.

Did anyone else remember what day it is today? I bet Kerry did! Today is 11 days before Christmas and you know what that means, right? IT'S KERRY'S BIRTHDAY!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY KERRY!!!

OK, that's all for now, I think... LOL!


P. S. Don't forget to scroll down a bit and check out my other post for today...

Home Sweet Home

As requested by Kerry, here are a couple of photos of my 'appartment'.

This first one is the front. The door you can see (way at the left) leads to the entrance that leads to our front door. The window near that door is in the entrance. The next one (with the Christmas decks in it) is one of the bedrroms (the guest room) and the other window is our bedroom. We didn't bother to put any decorations in our window because they wouldn't be seen properly anyway. Besides, I ran out of decorations to put up! LOL!

This one is the back of the house, but - to be honest - it's the side we go in and out of most. For one thing, they arranged it in a strange way and the front of the house has the bedrroms and the back has the sitting room and kitchen, for another, it's less doors to open and close. LOL! Anyway, the door to thr far right here leads in to the same entrance way that the door in the other pic leads too. The open window is what we call "the cats' window" it's the kitchen window and also the window that the cats tend to come in and out of. The window with the pretty Christmasy lights in it is the sitting room window. And, of course, that door is our back door. And, yes, that is a light in the bottom right hand corner of the photo.

Also, while I was outside with the camera I thought I'd take aanother photo of the window while it was light so that you could see the little ornamental figures in it better. So, here it is!


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dark Chocolate Is Healthy Chocolate

Found this while browing the net and thought Kerry (as well as a couple of others) might be interested in reading it.

"It's the best medical news in ages. Studies in two prestigious scientific journals say dark chocolate -- but not white chocolate or milk chocolate -- is good for you.

Dark Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure

Dark chocolate -- not white chocolate -- lowers high blood pressure, say Dirk Taubert, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Cologne, Germany. Their report appears in the Aug. 27 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

But that's no license to go on a chocolate binge. Eating more dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure -- if you've reached a certain age and have mild high blood pressure, say the researchers. But you have to balance the extra calories by eating less of other things. "


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Salt, Pepper, Swansea & Ronan

I just realised I never did post the poto of my kitty salt and pepper pots that my friend Corinne sent me. So, here you go! I'm afraid the photo doesn't do them much justice, but you get the idea.


I never did go to Swansea yesterday. I ended up being up all night so when Kelly woke up (just before I was going to leave) he suggested I try and get some sleep and let him go instead. I agreed and he went. I finally fell asleep about 11:00 am and the phone got me up about 2:00 pm. I was up then until about 1:30 this morning then crashed big time. Woke up about 8:30 am I believe. My alarm was set for 9:00 am.

So, like I said, Kelly ran the errands for me yesterday. There were a couple of bits he never managed to do, but I can do most of them in Ammanford anyway and am going to see if I can get my Mam to do the other couple when they are in Swansea on Thursday. If I can't then I guess I'm going in next week some time.

I need a new battery for my watch. I've needed one for a while, but don't want to go back to the jeweler in Ammanford because I have so far had them change my watch's battery about three times in the last four or five months and that's not a good thing. Especially when you think about the fact that the battery that came with the watch lasted a good two years. So, I want to take it to one of the many jewelers that are in Swansea.

I also want to look for that new Ronan Keating single - which I still haven't managed to get a copy of - Woolworths in Ammanford are finally agreeing that there is one, but they said they only got a few in and are sold out and "not getting any more until at least after Christmas." And I sent Kelly to HMV in Swansea yesterday, but there were a couple of Ronan CDs there and he didn't know which one it was that I didn't have so he didn't get any. I told him next time get both - or all of them - since I can always give any extras away or something. I mean, if it comes to it, I could sell 'em on ebay! LOL!

Anyway, I have to go get dressed so I'm ready for when Mam and Dad come to pick me up to get my groceries.


Monday, December 11, 2006

More Christmas decorations!!!

My next door neighbour Margaret was selling her Christmas decorations because she's going away for Christmas so doesn't see the point in putting them up and also has decided that there are way too many for her to be bothering with. So, she was selling them and offered them to me and my Mam for £60 for the lot! It's a good price because for one thing I knew she had some beautiful stuff because I'd seen them up last year, for another thing, most of these decorations are at least £25 a piece! Anyway, Mam and I split the bill and the decorations between us. And these are the ones I got!

I had a set of reindeer like this up until last year, but they don't work any more and aren't easy to change the bulbs on. Anyway, this set is slightly different as it only has two reindeer (mine had four) but it's better because you can get in to the bulbs so I can replace the bulbs if they go on this one instead of having to throw them out! Woohoo!!! Anyway, these are up in the window of the bedroom.

I thought that this was a nice Christmasy pic... the tree decorations around it were mine already, but that cute picture in the middle was in the back of Christmas decorations from Margaret. Look at all that snow!!!

The Santa in the middle here you may recognise from my other decoration photos because he was mine already. But the candles and the comet are some of the new ones. As are the little siluettes of trees and such you can see both in this window and the other one.

And, last but not least... this is a cute little Christmas night light that was in among the decorations. I have it plugged in in the hallway near the front door so I can see to get to the door without having to put the hallway light on and spoil the nice Christmas light effect we have going on here!

There were a couple of Christmas ornaments too that you may be able to see in the window.