Celebrations – March 21, 2014

Time to celebrate the things that go unnoticed!  

VikLit had the idea for this Friday blog that celebrates the small things that often go unnoticed.  I often read the posts and reflect that I had never noticed the things  baing mentioned.  Once I see what they are, I find myself celebrating, too.

Join us!  Details are at the end of this post.

Today is the first full day of spring.  We all remember spring, don’t we?  Especially after such a dreadful winter as this has been?

The season of sprouting flowers, of flotillas of Canada geese and songbirds returning home…  I heard birds outside my window after the silence of winter, and I smiled.

Down south (in the US) the magnolias and azaleas are beginning to bloom.  I remember strolling beneath Spanish moss-festooned branches and filling my sight with magenta azaleas.

I am also celebrating morning tea.  Usually slightly sweetened and well-milked.  I drink two or three cups each morning.  It’s especially good when I remember to drink it while it is hot.

What else?  the cold is easing up, but I can still enjoy a fire.  There is something about watching flames that speaks of comfort and celebration.  It does help if you are not cursed with the ability to put out any fire you encounter, even if it is begun with gasoline and dry pitch pine.  I have several acquaintances with that ability.

And another celebration – all of you .  It is good to read what is posted and see smiles through your eyes.

Small Celebrations, October 4, 2013

Today is Friday, time to celebrate the small things or, if you like, to invite others to join us in celebrating our small things.  There’s a linky list at the bottom of this post: why don’t you look around, enjoy the celebrations and – maybe?  – sign up yourself. VikLit is a wonderful hostess and we have lots of fun.

I am currently enjoying and celebrating a nice, hot cup of tea with milk, my morning drink of choice.  It truly helps get the day going, and I like it strong:

Today I’m celebrating my favorite season – Autumn – and the various views I enjoy driving to work or just walking through my neighborhood.


On a more mundane front, I’m celebrating my new book cover (the old one was somewhat lacking) and the fact that I’m working on a story I’ve loved for years but had on the shelf for a long time:

Old cover:

New Cover: 


…And it’s a weekend, or will be, and I’ll be visiting my mother and helping her to shop for cars.  Something else to celebrate: she is a ladylike Holy Terror to car salesmen who think they can take advantage of elderly widows!




I try not to be negative.  Heaven knows, it’s difficult enough to do in the best of times.  Our lives are hard enough without having to deal with people lurking about just waiting to slam us.  I admit it is sometimes very satisfying to cut loose and give some nasty person what for, but the satisfaction in doing so is generally short-lived.  You hurt or offend someone, and there was no need.
But I can think of one or two times where it was merited and I enjoyed it.
One time that I recall, I was in Philadelphia, meeting some friends for tea at the Bellevue Hotel in their (Ethel) Barrymore room on the nineteenth floor:

The tea room is in the windowed, lit area on the front of the  photo.  A wonderful view!

     That was always a wonderful time – high tea (your choice of tea) perfect little sandwiches of egg salad, or smoked salmon, or date nut bread and cream cheese… Devonshire cream, jam and scones… All in a lovely atmosphere.

        You entered from the ground floor, off the street.  There were a couple elevators that rattled their way to the 19th floor…  On the day in question, I boarded the elevator first, saw that others were coming, and put my finger on the ‘open door’ button.  People got on, and one gentleman was holding the door (he thought) by leaning against it.  I smiled at him and said, “I have the button!”  He smiled, nodded, and boarded the elevator.
Apparently, three of the passengers (one, actually) found my comment offensive.  From the first floor to the twelfth, she spoke loudly of ‘the LADY who has the BUTTON’.  Very loudly.
I thought, “She’s going to say something when she leaves the elevator,”  and I started thinking.
Now, a bon mot is really only ‘bon’ if you come up with it on the spur of the moment.  Practice may make perfect, but it disqualifies a retort from being a bon mot.  But back to the elevator.

The Ethel Barrymore Room at the Bellevue Hotel
We reached the seventeenth floor.  The door opened.  The two girlfriends exited the elevator.  The loud talker left after them, turned, raised her head, bared her teeth in a saccharine smile and said, “I’m so GLAD you hit the BUTTON!”
I smiled and said, with equal sweetness.  “My dear.  They can do SO much to help Premenstrual Syndrome – do, please, consult your gynecologist!”  And I ‘hit the button’ one last time.  Her saccharine smile shifted to a horrified snarl, punctuated by the sudden smirks of her friends as the doors closed.
Now, that was cheating.  I never – except that one time – refer to feminine (or, come to that, masculine) issues in my repartee.  It is cheating and demeaning.  But that chick deserved it.  I’d do it again in a heartbeat. 
It WAS good tea that afternoon, though.

Small Celebrations – A Wonderful Invention

We’re celebrating the small things weekly. This week I’m celebrating a wonderful invention that has saved the world a lot of pain. What is is? Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

We have, here, a photo of tea cups, as the Chinese used them: They certainly are pretty – I love the color, but in one way you could say that they’re lacking. Still, this is the shape of teacups over the course of millennia. Even in eighteenth century England, when tea really took off. Here’s a depiction, by Hogarth, of a family in which two members are enjoying a cuppa. Looks just a little awkward, doesn’t it?
It is awkward. I’ve burned my fingers, slopped hot beverages on my lap, scowled at a high level of nearly boiling water and shaken my head.
Awkwardness doesn’t count for much if you are dealing with a fad, which Tea has always been, not that I’m complaining. I drink a cup or two in the morning. Strong, hot, laced with milk. I love the stuff.

But, you see, I am the beneficiary – along with most tea and coffee and hot beverage drinkers – of an invention that revolutionized the drinking of hot things. The Cup Handle. the invention that is this week’s small wonder. Here is a sample in all its European glory (though I did see samples produced by the Chinese):

Look at it. It’s elegant, balanced, decorative – and practical. You won’t be putting those burned fingers in your mouth and wincing. I never realized how wonderful this was until I thought about it (and went to a top-notch Vietnamese restaurant that had the old style cups, ending up with my fingers in my mouth, eyeing the elegant white porcelain cups with raised eyebrows). Yes, they’re a great invention, and they are this week’s small triumph.