Archive for the ‘religious’ Tag

03-27-2016 Journal – Easter?   Leave a comment

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‘Religious & Silly?’

Well with another  Easter finally here we should be that much closer to warmer temperatures. Having a bright sunny day just isn’t enough when the temperatures remain at or below freezing. That’s just another of Mother Nature’s teases but there’s only one way I like to be teased and this isn’t it.

It’s 10:30 am and I’ve yet to move from my bed.  The better-half and I have been playing a vicious game of "Words With  Friends" which I hate to admit I just lost by one effing point. Starting my day without kicking her butt may be a bad omen for the rest of my Easter Sunday. I know I’ll be hearing about this win all day.

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‘Religious & Badass??’

It’s another chilling and gray day that’ll keep me from getting anything done outside. I refuse to be cold and miserable while doing all of those boring little chores  that need to be completed.  When the sun finally decides to come out then so will I.  I was forbidden by my better-half from saying that “When the sun has risen . . then so will I”. She felt that would be rude to all of you religious folks out there.  I disagree somewhat because almost all of the religious people I know are permitted a sense-of-humor.  Hers has yet to be fully developed but “I pray” it will someday. 

We celebrated Easter yesterday along with the one year birthday of our grandson.  It was a fun party with lots of cake and presents but it also allowed us to have a quiet day today. We’re looking forward to a couple of steaks cooked on the grill tonight along with a bottle of blueberry Mead I’ve been saving for a special occasion. 

Easter for me has no religious connotation but I know it does for my better-half. As with most things having a good stiff drink always helps me feel a little more religious (she won’t think that’s too funny either).

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‘Religious & Intergalactic’

I’ll get this posted in the next few minutes and then spend the remainder of the day working on a pencil sketch that’s captured my interest this week. I hope all of you are enjoying your holiday with your families. Religious or not. 

SORRY I CAN’T FIND ANYTHING RELIGIOUS ABOUT AN EASTER BUNNY

JUST SAYING LOVEY!

09-01-2014 Journal Entry – Labor Day Safari!   Leave a comment

Happy Labor Day for what it’s worth.  It’s one of those holidays that has slowly morphed into something it was never meant to be.  It currently is the day to celebrate the end of Summer instead of a celebration of the citizens that made this country great. I understand that everything is destined to change at some future point but sometimes it’s not all that great.

My better-half had the day off which is always something to celebrate so we decided to do a little cruising around southern Maine to enjoy the sunny and warm weather. Cameras in hand we made our way south along Rt. 202 towards the city of Sanford.  I enjoy returning to Sanford because I lived there as a single parent to my cat for nine years.  It was fun to cruise around and see all of the changes that have taken place in a town that really needed a lot of change.

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In the small village of Alfred, ME we made a quick stop at the Notre Dame Monastery. This is a religious group of Brothers who maintain and work a  large farm as well as a bakery and a small gift shop.  Much of the money raised by the sales of baked goods helps to fund the York County Community Shelter. It’s home to some homeless folks, victims of domestic violence, and a variety of court ordered individuals.

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We love stopping to get pictures of their large sunflower patch and to visit the bakery.  We picked up an incredibly delicious loaf of wheat bread, a cookie for her, and a raspberry crisp for me.  Everyone needs a little sweetness once in a while.

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We decided we should stop in some small out of the way place to enjoy a good hearty breakfast.  Years ago we occasionally lunched at a little hole-in-the-wall located just outside of Sanford that unfortunately went out of business shortly thereafter. It’s since been reopened with a new owner and a really nice face lift.  It’s now called Mel’s Raspberry Patch.

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The place is small with maybe ten small tables and six stools along a counter. We plopped at the counter, ordered coffee, and then our meal.  Some things haven’t changed.  The food is still great, the people are still friendly, and the morning newspaper is still free and readily available for reading.  I had my standard breakfast: Two eggs sunny side up, two sausage patties, crispy home fries, toast coffee and jam.  The better-half ordered the same meal with bacon and the food was delicious.  The conversation with the waitresses was light and fun and it was a nice start to our day.  The total bill with tip was less than $20.00.

From there we headed south through Sanford with the intention of cruising east along the border with NH to visit some old haunts and see the sights. We visited the towns of North Berwick and Berwick before ending up in Somersworth, NH.  Actually Somersworth is the other half of Berwick which straddles the state border.  We’ve always enjoy riding through this somewhat rural farming community which offers lots of opportunities for picture taking.

We cut cross-country and made our way slowly northeast to Rochester, NH where the better-half had an attack of shopper’s withdrawal.  I was forced to stop at the local K-Mart so the better-half could run free for an hour.  I just have to let her loose occasionally or she gets testy just sitting in the car.  I don’t totally understand her need to run since I always leave the car window cracked just a little.

I think her whole point of cruising today was to finally end up in Lebanon, ME that as a town has little to be proud of except for a longstanding flea market.  It was located approximately  ten minutes away from Rochester but on the way we ran into another flea market (junk sale) in the parking lot of a small strip mall.  I was once again strong-armed into pulling over to spend twenty minutes handling  a lot of junk that was cheap, dirty and more than a little disgusting.  I think the better-half feels she’s required to make a purchase of at least one item no matter where we stop.  She threw her questionable purchases into the trunk and we moved on down the road.

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We made a really short visit at the flea market in Lebanon but was once again disappointed.  It was Labor Day and we expected a large crowd.  We were the crowd.  We made a quick stop, one minor purchase (required) and headed home.  All in all a pretty nice day.

12-22-2012   Leave a comment

Three shopping days left.  Are you finished with your preparations yet? This posting was my valiant attempt to find a culture that celebrates Christmas in the most traditional fashion. That being said you should also be aware that my better-half was born Ohhhh so may years ago in Corpus Christy, TX and is extremely proud of her Texas upbringing.  Corpus Christi is just a stones throw from Mexico so the Mexican influences are deeply ingrained in her. One of the things I initially loved about her was her passion for all things Mexican since I love hot food and many of their traditions.  Since we’ve been together I’ve eaten more Mexican food than most actual Mexicans.  Years ago my favorite snack was potato chips but that has long since changed.   It’s now tortilla chips covered in cheese and slices of jalapenos. My repertoire of Mexican dishes has been greatly expanded and there are times when I’m begging for a traditional American home cooked meal.

I’ve always been a huge fan of hot peppers and extra super hot salsa but she’s taken me to whole new level.  I go for weeks at a time where my mouth never stops burning and I won’t even mention the other things that burn regularly as well.  I hear reports that people who regularly eat hot and spicy food are healthier and have less of a chance of heart attack.  That might be BS but if it’s true I should live to be two hundred.

It’s time for a visit to Mexico and a look at their Christmas traditions. The Mexican people seem to have a rich religious tradition for their Christmas celebrations which is something that been lost in many parts of this country. The Nine Days of Posadas is a perfect example.

The celebrations begin nine days before Christmas and include a reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging in Bethlehem. Neighborhood families take turns hosting a night at their home. At each home, visitors will chant asking for lodging as they carry an image of Mary and Joseph with candles. After three such stops, a family will be let in to join that household in saying the Rosary, singing holiday songs, and a nightly party for the children complete with a piñata that will be filled with fruit and other treats. Nine days of visiting and fun especially for the kids.

Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) most families attend a midnight mass, followed by a dinner at home which makes for a very late meal. They then place an image of the baby Jesus into the Nativity.

In most Mexican families, Christmas itself is celebrated not with gifts as in other cultures. Instead, Christmas in Mexico is more about being with family and eating, eating, eating, than with gift giving.

Gifts are exchanged in Mexico on January 6th, which is called Día de los reyes, or Kings’ Day. And they’re delivered by none other than the Three Wise Men themselves.  Children place their shoes near a window so the Magi can leave a gift and many children actually receive new shoes. Some Mexican families also have a Christmas tree but that is an individual families preference.

The Poinsettia is a common Christmas decoration. This beautiful plant is native to Mexico and unlike in most of the world, in Mexico the poinsettia is not simply decorative, it has been used for thousands of years in Mexican folk remedies.

Many Mexican families will have an egg bread wreath, called a rosca de reyes. Usually, this bread wreath also features a small, baked-in representation of the Baby Jesus. This wreath is also then used in the celebration of Candlemas on February 2nd and whoever gets the piece of bread bearing the image of Baby Jesus must care for it the whole year until the next Christmas celebration.

On February 2nd the family puts the Nativity scene carefully back into its holding and then enjoys a meal of tamales which marks the official end of the Nativity season.

All in all I think the Mexican approach to Christmas is rich and meaningful and something we can all learn from. I understand that the food is to die for and includes such traditional dishes as Mexican Spiked Cider served with tamales on the side.  It is sometimes called "Ponche con Piquete" (punch with sting), which can be as simple as a big simmering pot of cider to which rum and spices are added.

My other favorite would be Sweet Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche).  It’s simple to make and very, very tasty.

There you have it.  An old style Christmas approach with a large religious component.  While I’m not all that religious myself their approach takes me back to my early years when my family’s approach to Christmas was of a similar nature.

Maybe next year we can take some of the Mexican traditions and mix them with our own.  We’ve already collected a number of strings of red chili pepper Christmas lights.  It could get interesting and I’m sure I’ll let you know how it goes.