Monday, December 30, 2013

"Take a Taxi"

 Tom sent me the following from someone
who wrote from a recent experience:

With the holidays upon us, I would like to share a personal experience with my family and friends about drinking and driving.  As you may know, some of us have been known to have brushes with the authorities from time to time on the way home after a “social session” out with friends.

Well, three days ago, I was out for an evening with friends and had several cocktails, followed by some rather nice red wine.  Feeling jolly, I still had the sense to know that I may be over the limit.  That's when I did something that I've never done before...I took a cab home!  Sure enough, on the way home, there was a police road block, but since it was a cab, they waved it past.  I arrived home safely without incident.  This was a real relief and surprise because I had never driven a cab before.  I don't even know where I got it...and now that it's in my garage, I don't know what to do with it!!!

Ten Facts about Drinking and Driving

Impairment is not reliant upon the type of alcohol you consume ~ rather, the number of drinks over a certain amount of time.

On average, a drunk driver will drive 80 times “under the influence” before his/her first arrest.

Every 53 minutes in America, a life is lost in a drunk driving crash...that equates to 27 people a day.

For drivers  under 21, the U.S. has a “No Tolerance” policy which does not allow any alcohol to be in the blood system while behind the wheel driving.

Every 90 seconds, someone is injured from a drunk driving incident.

In 2011 ~  9,878 people were victims of drunk drivers.

Between 50 and 75% of the people who have had their licences revoked due to DUI drive illegally without their licences.

Traffic accidents are the leading causes in deaths of teens and roughly one-third of these accidents are due to alcohol or other substance.

211 children were killed in drunk driving crashes...62% were riding in the car of the impaired driver.

Kids and teens who get involved at a young age, are more likely to be involved with alcohol-related accidents.

Common Driving Behaviours:  Road Rage...Racing...Tailgating...Failure to observe signs and regulations...Seeking confrontations with other drivers...Speeding often a factor in fatal crashes!
Aggressive drivers are an extremely serious risk
that jeopardizes their safety and that of others.

Drinking and Driving
There are stupider things, but it's a very short list.
(Author Unknown)

Baseball is like Driving
It's the one who gets home safely...that counts!
(Tommy Lasorda)

It takes 8,460 bolts to assemble an automobile;
it takes one nut to scatter it all over the road.
(Seen on a bumper sticker)

Honk if you love Jesus!
Text while driving...if you want to meet Him.
(Seen on a church sign)

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr...December 29, 2013
Comments welcome...e-mail to

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Scottish Scheme

Family Dinners ~ were always significant to me! During the week our hours were filled with work, school studies and related activities, sport events and other personal interests.  Sunday evenings was the scheduled time for us meet together for dinner and be engaged in  conversation around the table. 

I enjoyed the d├ęcor that I created for special events with family and friends: Valentine's Day, Easter, Canada Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas...from lacy hearts to Easter bunnies, from flags to harvest filled cornucopias, to wreaths and garlands. An attending person was responsible for a table prayer for each of these dinner gatherings...and thanks given for the honoured event.

When  my son had a September wedding, at first, Thanksgiving seemed to me like a great loss of the “family homecoming” when his new family arranged their First Family celebration together.  This I accepted as a new “Stage in Life!”

A few days ago, Sherrie forwarded the following story to me about a Scottish couple
who manoevered a Christmas homecoming for their son and daughter.

A man in Scotland calls his son in London the day before Christmas Eve and says, “I  hate to ruin your day but I have to tell  you that your mother and I are divorcing;  forty-five years of misery is enough!”

“Dad, what are you talking about?” the son screams.

“We can't stand the sight of each other any longer,” the father says.  “We're sick of each other and I'm sick about talking about you call your sister in Leeds  and tell her.”

Frantically, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone, “Like hell, they're getting divorced,” she shouts.  “I'll take care of this!”

She calls Scotland and immediately screams at her father, ”You are NOT getting divorced.  Don't do a single thing until I get there.  I'm calling my brother back and we'll both be there tomorrow.  Until then,  don't do a thing.  DO YOU HEAR ME?”  and hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. 
“Done!  They're coming for Christmas ~
and they're paying their own way!”

Words of Wisdom

“When one door closes, another door opens;
But, we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door
That we do not see the ones that open for us”.
(Alexander Graham Bell)

Merle Baird-Kerr…written December 21, 2013
Comments always welcome…e-mail

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Soldier's Christmas

(Thank You, Carolyn for this “Different Christmas Poem”)

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep...her head on my chest;
My daughter beside me...angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell...a blanket of white
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights on the tree I believe
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep.
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep
In perfect contentment...or so it would seem.
So slumbered I...perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud...and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough...I didn't quite know;
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble...I struggled to hear
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night
A lone figure stood...his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old...
Perhaps a Trooper...huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me and my wife and my child.

“What are you doing?” I asked without fear.
“Come in this moment.  It's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve.
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve.”
For barely a moment, I saw his eyes shift
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.

To the window that danced with a warm fire's light,
He sighed and he said, “It's really all right;
I'm out here by choice.  I'm here every night.
It's my duty to stand at the front of the line
That separates you from the darkest of times.

“No one had to ask or beg or implore me;
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died in Europe on a day in December.”
Then he said,
“That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures.  He's sure got her smile.”

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag
The red, white and blue...American Flag.

“I can live through the cold and the being alone
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet;
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat;
I can carry the weight of killing another
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother
Who stand at the front against any and all
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.

“So, go back inside,” he said, “harbour no fright;
Your family is waiting and I'll be alright.”

“But, isn't there something I can do at the least?
Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done...
For being away from your wife and your son.”
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret...
“Just tell us you love us...and never forget!

“To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone ~
To stand your own watch, no matter how long ~
For when we come home, either standing or dead
To know you remember we fought and we bled ~
Is payment enough...and with that we will trust
That we mattered to  you mattered to us.”

Christmas will be coming soon...
and some credit is due to our service men and women
for our being able to celebrate these festivities.
Stop and Think...of our heroes (living and dead)
who sacrifice(d) themselves for us.”

Merle Baird-Kerr...documented December 15, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013


 “I must give these Amtrak Conductors credit.  Railway conducting could become a “lost art” when you think of the conductors of old with their pocket watches in vest pockets  and the related fashion thereof.

“These modern Amtrak conductors were out on the wintry platform in Utica, sweeping with brooms to place their yellow foot stools at train steps and personally escorting passengers and their baggage. The vestibule of the train car was caked with snow on the inside  (outer door didn't quite seal) and here was this conductor diligently sweeping out his vestibule  as the train was departing. While there is no real steward service on-board, these men look after their train.”

The above e-mail was sent to me by my son on his return home for Christmas
from Newark, New Jersey...a scenic journey along the Hudson River
until near Albany…where engines are exchanged...
for its destination to Niagara Falls, New York.

Amazing How Service Differs From Station to Station!

I drove in a horrific snowstorm to Niagara Falls, NY to meet his evening arrival.  The QEW was slow, yet traffic was cautious...lanes often snow-covered...and windswept blizzard conditions obliterating one's visibility at times.  No line-up at Customs!  At a nearby Burger King, relaxed with hot coffee I  enjoyed their 2 for $5 beef burgers. Nearing 5 pm I proceeded to the Amtrak Train Station along Lockport Street.  Due to darkness and lack of clear visibility (blowing snow), I missed the location for the entry street.  A friendly black man gave me directions that were not quite I clarified these with gas-filler-uppers at a local petrol station. 

Arriving at the Amtrak parking lot (where I had been three previous times), with my cane, I walked to the several wide steps leading to the entry doors of ..WAITING ROOM and OFFICE. Doors Locked!
No lights on except the second floor!  No response when many times I banged on the door windows! So returned to my cold car!  At 6:30 I tried again!   No response!

I saw a couple vehicles drive through the parking lot...going around the end of the building.  I assumed they must be employees arriving on duty to open the WAITING ROOM doors.

By 7 pm I was certain the doors would be open...yet no lights on inside.  At 7:15, at the entry doors again, I noticed through the windows a woman standing in front of  what seemed a counter.  I banged on the doored-windows to get her attention without result.  After several minutes, 2 uniformed employees (stationmasters?) came from behind the building...advising me,  “The Office and Waiting Room closed at 4 pm.”  NO KIDDING!  They told me the “Waiting Train Room” was at the rear of the building. To them I asked a few questions:  Why is there  no sign to indicate the WAITING ROOM & OFFICE was closed?  Why was no notice posted to state that the WAITING ROOM was changed?  How was I to know this?  They reluctantly agreed that , “Yes, a sign should have been posted.” 

Without apology, they told me to park at the back to await the 7:50 arrival.  There I parked and noticed a long snow-covered winding ramp leading to this small hall-like waiting room. These same two men exiting from a small adjunct shed-like building with shovels...looking at me and the ramp about which I inquired, they proceeded to  remove the deep snow from the ramp!  They told me I could wait in my car near the train tracks or wait inside.  I told them I was cold...being in my car since 6 pm.  (There were already two elderly people inside...and the men had not even shovelled the snowy ramp  for them?????)  Unbelievable! 

Inside was a Senior couple awaiting their son's arrival from Syracuse.  They (not even the employees) told me the train was delayed one hour in arriving.  This was the woman I had seen from the front side of the station ~  due to some noisy generator producing heat for this room, the  woman and her husband would not have been able to hear me at the front doors!  There was no washroom access in this area!

The train arrived beside our “waiting room” (One hour and 10 minutes late)
 and happy were the passengers as they disembarked!
(The delay, westward from Syracuse, was due to frozen switches.)

Of Interest:  “Stationmaster” was the person in charge of railways stations  before the modern age.  Now called a “Station Manager” he manages the other employees and would have responsibility for the safety and efficient running of the station.

Pearls of Wisdom

Adversity tests us from time to time...
and it is inevitable that this testing continues through life.
(Walter Annenberg, a publisher, philanthropist and diplomat
who died in 2012.

Our prime purpose in life is to help others.
And if  you can't help them...don't hurt them.
(Dalai Lama)

Merle Baird-Kerr...written December 22, 2013
Comments are welcome...e-mail to

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Little Shopping Trip

Hello Mom,

I  had a little shopping trip in New York today. (ahh went “shopping in New York.”)

Taking the subway up to Juilliard, I caught the Julliard Store before it closed. I promised my daughter a pullover jacket from Julliard School, but I could not find anything suitable in the store today.  I did pick up a music score that I had always wanted.

Across the street at Bed, Bath and Beyond, I found something I've always wanted: a little coffee percolator.  A real percolator.  I've been using a drip coffee maker for over twenty years...and I miss the old-fashioned percolator. Plus, many percolators you see, especially bigger ones are made of aluminum.  I wanted one with a thermal carafe and no aluminum.  This seems almost impossible ~ as the internal parts are typically aluminum.  I wanted a “copper coffee pot”.  How else can you  have a proper cup of coffee made in a proper copper coffee pot?  At any rate, I found a nice one that would do.

They had nice everything there:  nice toasters, nice blenders, nice whozits and whatnots.  They even had a nice watsamakalitz.  I was not in the market for a watsamakalitz, but I did see a hot air popcorn maker.  I much prefer stove-top oil-popped popcorn, as it is far more flavourful than air-popped popcorn.  But, air-popped popcorn beats microwaved.

They also had some nice little electric stove burners which use a normal outlet.  I thought of getting one so that I had something to call 'stove'.  They had a really cheap one for about $25...a very nice one for about $60...and a very nice double one for about $80...and a drop-dead gorgeous one for about $100.  The drop-dead gorgeous one was induction-based, but this requires induction cookware.

From there, I walked back toward Penn Station.  This is a walk from 66th Street to 34th Street ~ distance  of well, 32 streets. 

Along 9th Avenue, I saw a little Indian stepped in there and had some Lamb Biryani.  It was delicious.

Down by Port Authority Bus Terminal, 42nd St. shows its very innocent looking street sign.  I had no battery left in my phone...or else I would have taken a picture of the street sign at 9th Ave, and 42nd St.  You do know where 42nd St. is, don't you?  It's one street north of 41st St..  And it's also one street south of 43rd St,. Nevertheless, if you walk east on 42nd Street, you will come to...Toiumes Squahe!

I didn't bother much with the bus terminal and continued down to Penn Station.  I bought a ticket there to Newark...and then took a bus up to Kearny.

Written a few days later:  You would like the coffee from my little percolator.  I bought some Costa Rican coffee in Hoboken on Friday because I was anxious to try my new percolator.  It works very well, in fact!  A full pot makes about 3 cups’ worth…and it takes about 3 or 4 minutes to brew.  The resultant coffee is pouring steam out of the pot…and is scalding hot!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Choice is a Beautiful Thing”
(seen recently in a computer shop in Mississauga)

Merle Baird-Kerr … crafted November 8, 2013
Comments are welcome...e-mail to:  or

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Rapture

Stop...Look...Listen...orders us to “Take Time to Smell the Roses”
...along Life's pathway! Often, being busy, we miss
the Beauty, the spiritual arousing and the experience of inner serenity! 

It is true that following September's Labour Day and first day of Autumn...October's Thanksgiving Day  and Hallowe'en...November's Remembrance Day and America's Thanksgiving...we approach the apex of the year ~ Christmas and New Year's Eve. 

Awaiting my physio-therapy appointment yesterday,
I mused about the Rapture of Christmas:

Colourful decorations of wreaths, lanterns, stars and cedar boughs along the streets...Christmas music within the stores...and brilliantly lit evergreens on residential lawns.

Concerts to attend at elementary and high schools...choir voices presenting The Messiah...performances on stage of The Nutcracker.

Craft shows at bazaars, churches, and charity events...all venues displaying “gift items” for Christmas and family presentations...many uniquely crafted and often “one-of-a-kind.”

Bell-ringing by Salvation Army personnel standing hours in the cold outside mall stores...with invitations to contribute to their worthwhile causes.  (this is the Best of Charities to which one can invest...with the  bulk of the $$$ going to the designated needs).

Christmas parties for Business Associates; then the preparation for Family Dinner Celebrations with shopping and hanging of the mistletoe...the garlanded Christmas tree with baubles and tinsel.

On my apartment door hangs a silvery wreath tied fancifully with a  big blue ribbon.  It also serves as my wintery love and acceptance of frosts, icicles and the blankets of snow on properties in cities, towns and the windswept countrysides.  Often there are horse-drawn wagon or sleigh rides to enjoy  the cold winter’s day.

My miniature evergreen is dressed with pink-ribbon-tied bows...a burgundy satin ribbon twirls from from the top to bottom...tiny ornaments of gold adorn a few branches...and a necklace of pearls winds itself through the branches among several pine cones.  Perching on a branch near the top of the tree is a gorgeous blue peacock with long wide-spread flowing tail…also a glittery white dove ~ the symbol of peace.  What more could I ask?

My personal gift contribution to family and friends this year is something I craft while watching TV or listening to inspiring CD music.  It's a kit of 30 miniature stocking-shaped ornaments cross-stitch needled with 2 strands of embroidery floss.  Each when completed, measuring 3 inches by 2 ½  inches  backed on red felt...with a narrow ribbon loop at the top, each can be hung on Christmas tree, door knob or wall picture.  These “vignettes” vary with patterns of ...cardinal, teddy bears, candy-cane-house, ice skates, reindeer, a sleighing child, poinsettias, an evergreen angel, snowmen and Santa...others with stars and Christmas Greetings.

A high-light this season on December 2 was an organ recital in The Great Hall at Casa Loma in Toronto by renowned Dave Wickerham from Crystal Falls, Michigan.  A brilliant musician, he fully mastered the 1925-built ivory Wurlitzer organ and bench seat  (previously in Maple Leaf Gardens).  His music was personally and uniquely arranged paying great tribute to Christmas, Father Winter and even some ragtime.  Invited by my friend, Rita, the concert truly uplifted my spirits to an exhilarating high!

My Christmas Angel…was a casual meeting in late November of a woman (unknown) outside a small shopping area.  Randomly, I stopped…Hellos exchanged and she enquired about “my walking cane embellished with colourful butterflies.”  I told her of my inflicted osteo-arthritic back…she concurred indicating that she too had such problems  that were now considerably relieved.  Due to costs for physiotherapy  sessions (which I badly needed)..she then advised me of Brant Physiotherapy at Mount Royal Plaza…and that all her sessions were covered by OHIP.  Amazing News!!!  I contacted this facility…had a “No Obligation” appointment.  With a referral from my doctor, I was accepted for a series of 12 sessions.  Presents given, at whatever season, need not be costly or materialistic.  This unknown Angel gave me a treasured gift!

Our Christmas Flowering Plant ~ The Poinsettia

Poinsettias originally grew in Mexico...where they were known as the Flower of the Holy Night.  As a shrub or small tree,  poinsettias also grow in a few countries of Central America.  It derives its common English name from Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico who introduced the plant to United States in 1825.  Today, there are over 100 cultured varieties of Poinsettias!

Legend of the Poinsettia
(from Mexico)

In the story, there is a brother and sister known as Pablo and Maria.  They were very poor but loved the Christmas festival that came around each year.  Before entering the church, they stopped and picked up some weeds from the ground to offer to the baby Jesus...even though they knew they would be made fun of.  When presenting “their flowers”, they immediately bloomed into bright red leafy flowers.
       “Poinsettia Paradise"
 (in The Hamilton Spectator today) stated that more than 200 people came to the third annual poinsettia open house at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre last week.  Poinsettias are Ontario’s top flowering pot crop.  The flower is actually the centre called a cyathia.  “We grow five million poinsettias a year for Christmas.  Four million for us and one million for U.S.  At Vineland this year we are testing 109 varieties including 34 new ones.”  The Open House votes praised “Glace as the best White…Charon Red as the best red…Mars Pink as the best pink.  People voted Ice Punch as the best novelty. 

Merle Baird-Kerr … written December 5, 2013
Comments welcome...e-mail to…

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The All Canadian 12 Days of Christmas

A Moose in a Maple Tree
(Compliments of Tom)

On the FIRST day of Christmas...a Canuck sent to me...A Moose in a Maple Tree.

On the SECOND day of Christmas...a Canuck sent to me 2 Polar Bears and a Moose in a Maple Tree.

On the THIRD day of Christmas...a Canuck sent to me...3 Snow Men, 2 Polar Bears and a Moose in a Maple Tree.

On the FOURTH day of Christmas...a Canuck sent to me...4 Totem Poles, 3 Snow Men, 2 Polar Bears and a Moose in Maple Tree.

On the FIFTH day of Christmas...a Canuck sent to me...5 Hockey sticks, 4 Totem Poles, 3 Snow Men, 2 Polar Bears and a Moose in a Maple Tree.

On the SIXTH day of Christmas…a Canuck sent to me…6 Whales breaching, 5 Hockey sticks, 4 Totem Poles, 3 Snow Men, 2 Polar Bears and a Moose in a Maple Tree.

On the SEVENTH day of Christmas…a Canuck sent to me…7 Beavers building, 6 Whales breaching, 5 Hockey sticks, 4 Totem Poles, 3 Snow Men, 2 Polar Bears and a Moose in a Maple Tree.

On the EIGHTH day of Christmas…a Canuck sent to me…8 Lobsters nipping, 7 Beavers building, 6 Whales breaching, 5 Hockey sticks, 4 Totem Poles, 3 Snow Men, 2 Polar Bears and a Moose in a Maple Tree.

On the NINTH day of Christmas…a Canuck sent to me…9 Mounties riding, 8 Lobsters nipping, 7 Beavers building, 6 Whales breaching, 5 Hockey sticks, 4 Totem Poles, 3 Snow Men and a Moose in a Maple Tree.

On the TENTH day of Christmas…a Canuck sent to me…10 Salmon leaping, 9 Mounties riding, 8 Lobsters nipping, 7 Beavers building, 5 Hockey sticks, 4 Totem Poles, 3 Snow Men, 2 Polar Bears and a Moose in a Maple Tree.

On the ELEVENTH day of Christmas…a Canuck sent to me...11 Sled Dogs mushing, 10 Salmon leaping, 9 Mounties riding, 8 Lobsters nipping, 7 Beavers building, 5 Hockey sticks, 4 Totem Poles, 3 Snow Men, 2 Polar Bears and a Moose in a Maple Tree.

On the TWELFTH day of Christmas…a Canuck sent to me…12 Skiers skiing, 11 Sled Dogs mushing, 10 Salmon Leaping, 9 Mounties riding, 8 Lobsters nipping, 7 Beavers building, 5 Hockey sticks, 4 Totem Poles, 3 Snow Men, 2 Polar Bears and a Moose in a Maple Tree.

Merry Christmas…Everyone!

Merle Baird-Kerr…December 6, 2013
To comment…e-mail…

Friday, December 6, 2013

Nature's Whites

As the winter months approach, we realize that snow tires are a consideration and that  “weather duds” will soon be needed.  For most women, clothes are a big issue!  What is it we do?  Relocate all the white summer frocks and frills and sandals to a separate create space for the wools and sweaters and boots!  For me, the clothes, which I wear year-round, hang according to colour.

Many accept that long tradition ~ Never wear white when that chilly weather imminently arrives! 
But fashion icons tell us that “winter whites” are a plus to our wardrobes.
“Nature White” is now my coined acceptance!
Mother Nature's creations are  predictors of whites
(and other colours) in each season of the year.

Consider Her Flowers:  White calla lilies and borders of phlox and hanging  baskets with trailing lobelia...delicate orchids and hibiscus...carnations and poinsettias (in ivory/white)...her morning  glories and tulips...and white trilliums awakening our woodlands in early spring.

Consider Her Scenery: Billowing white clouds scudding our skies...white seashells on sandy shores...the silvery frost and lacy-like snowflakes...white caps on ocean waters...even “white water” the challenge of kayakers and canoeists...white birch trees, elms and white pines.

Consider Her Birds:  The snowy owl perched high (nightly) in trees awaiting his next meal...the white egrets and ibis stalking fish in the quiet ponds...peace doves all feathered in whites...graceful swans upon rivers and bays...white-breasted chickadees braving the cold and frequenting our feeders.

Consider Her Animals:  The polar bears of Hudson Bay and the Arctic...the great white sharks of oceans deep...white fish delivered for dinner menus...white rabbits and hares inhabiting countrysides... white horses for pleasure and trained equestrian.

Consider Her Geography:  The “White cliffs of Dover” reach up to 350 feet facing the English Channel and the coastline of France.

The “White Nile River” in Africa is one of 72 main tributaries of the Nile from Egypt. Draining from Lake Victoria, it is approximately 3700 km (2300 miles) in length.

The “White Sea” (extension of the Barents Sea) is located off the northwestern coast of Russia.

The “White Mountains” cover about a quarter of the state of New Hampshire and a small portion of western Maine in United States.  They are the most rugged mountains in New England.

The “White House” in Washington, D.C. is home to America's First Families and a meeting place for world leaders It was built of sandstone between 1792 and 1800.  After it was burned in 1812 by the British, it was painted white to cover the burn marks (which today are still under the paint.)

“Whitehorse, Yukon” incorporated 1950, is Kilometre 1,426...on the Alaska Highway. It is the capital and largest city of Yukon.

Symbolisms:  White Cane is the international symbol of blindness.

White, adopted by the Christian Church, represents purity, sacrifice and virtue.  It became the colour worn by priests and other clergy.

White is associated with hospitals and with especially most medical practitioners.

White Elephant Sales is a collection of used items , organized by non-profit organizations (schools and charities) to raise money for charitable causes.

Angels and Brides are typically depicted as wearing...white.

White Christmas is undoubtedly the most famous and popular of all Christmas songs.  The music and lyrics were written by Irving Berlin in 1942.  We all dream of a “white Christmas” with snow on the evergreens and roof-hanging-icicles. Early December brings merriment and joy...celebrations of Birthdays...a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens' seasonal flair...the magic of Christmas...and the excitement of New Year's Eve.

If the North Wind blizzards our community,
I'll don my raccoon fur and matching furry boots!

Mother Nature embodies more knowledge and strength than humans who think they know better.        Believe I'll check my closet for...Nature wear and accessorize! 
According to Mother Nature...Whites are in vogue...every season of the year!

Mother Nature has so much to teach us
if we are ready and willing to listen.

The Effortless Faze of Mother Nature
Grass doesn't try to just grows.
Flowers don't try to bloom...they just bloom.
Birds don't try to fly...they just fly.

Merle Baird-Kerr … written November 18, 2013
To comment...scroll down...may sign in as “anonymous”

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Motivations & Smiles for December

(gleaned from my collection of Calendar Quotes)
Hope you have enjoyed these wise philosophies sent monthly to you!

Without a Shepherd...Sheep are not a Flock!
(Russian Proverb)

Attitude:  It's not the's your reaction to the situation.  (Bob Conklin)

Positive Thinking:  A misty morning does not signify a cloudy day.  (Anonymous)

Cooperation:  It is through cooperation rather than conflict that your greatest successes will be derived.  (Ralph Charell) the place where...when you have to go there, they have to take you in.  (Robert Frost)

Never Doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world indeed.  It is the only thing that ever has!  (Anonymous)

Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things...but just look what they can do when they stick together.  (Vesta M. Kelly)

Do what you can...with what you have and where you are.  (Theodore Roosevelt)

The speed of the leader...determines the rate of the pack. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

People who say they sleep like a baby...never had one!  (Anonymous)

From Marie's Motivational Calendar with Invitation to “Compete”
(illustrated by a team of red suited and helmeted bobsledders
pushing their highly engineered vehicle into starting position)
The important thing in not to triumph, but to compete!
(Pierre de Coubertin)

Special Event Days

December 5 (Thursday) ~ Last day of Hanukkah in Canada.  Also known as the Festival of Light, it is an 8-day Jewish observance to remember the Jewish people's struggle for religious freedom.

December 7 (Saturday) ~ Pearl Harbour Remembrance Day.  United States commemorates the attack on Pearl Harbour in Hawaii during WWII.  Many American service men and women lost their lives or were injured  on December7, 1941.

December 17 (Tuesday) ~ Full Moon: is the lunar phase that occurs when the moon is completely illuminated as seen from Earth appearing round (while the far side is almost completely un-illuminated)
The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite.

December 21 (Saturday) ~ The December Solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination.  It occurs annually on a day between December 20 and 23.  It is the time when the sun appears at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon.

December 24 (Tuesday) ~ Christmas Eve is the evening or entire day before Christmas Day  It is a busy shopping day and some families gather with friends...often exchanging gifts in the evening.

December 25 (Wednesday) ~ Christmas Day (meaning Christ's Mass) is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ and a widely observed holiday by millions of people around the world.  **

December 26 (Thursday) ~ Boxing Day (Canada and UK) is traditionally the day following Christmas Day when originally, service and tradesmen would receive gifts from their bosses or employers known as a “Christmas Box”.  Today, it is better known as a Bank or public holiday...where store sales abound!

New Year's Eve (Wednesday) ~ Also known as “Old Year's Day” the last day of the year.  It is celebrated at evening social gatherings where many people lavishly...drink alcohol beverages...perhaps watch or light mark the “New Year”.  Some people attend a “watch night service”...others attend large civic gala celebrations e.g. New York City, Niagara Falls, Ontario and other major cities around the world.  It is also a day of reflection of the past year's events and now a time to prepare for the New Year!

** Three Wise Women
would have asked directions,
would have arrived on time,
would have helped deliver the baby,
would have cleaned the stable,
would have made a casserole,
would have brought practical gifts
and there would be...Peace on Earth!

(the foregoing was a framed scrolled plaque
given me several years ago by a Hamilton bridge-playing friend)

Today it hangs in my washroom...daily I read it!

Did You Know?
Many birds overwinter in Canada, including chickadees, blue jays, cardinals and many species of woodpeckers and will frequent backyard feeders.

December's Bird
(as selected by the Canadian Wildlife Federation)

Common Redpolls are named for their red foreheads, but because this is not always obvious, they can also be recognized by distinctive black patches under their beaks.  Redpolls are a member of the winter finches, a group of finches which breed in northern Canada and so are generally only seen in southern more populated areas during the winter. the body of knowledge whereby customs are transmitted down through generations.
In “modern day” many new ideas are implemented...and the past is forgotten.  Perhaps we can re-light a few of “the oldies” to gain a better holiday insight...and develop appreciation for these December days.

In ancient times, both Druids and Romans bring sprigs of mistletoe
in their houses and places of celebration...
to bring Good Fortune, Peace and Love!

Solstice Present...Solstice Past.  This is the legacy of Saturnalia...
a week-long Pagan Winter Solstice Festival of ancient Rome!

Carry a sprig of holly...
it will protect you against fierce winter storms
and it will bestow upon you …
the focus, direction  and courage you need
to succeed in your own spiritual quest.

“Just hear those sleigh bells
Ringing and jing, ting, ting-along-too;
Come's lovely weather for
A sleigh ride together with you.”

Compiled by Merle Baird-Kerr … December 1, 2013
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