Let There Be Friendship

Saturday, December 31, 2011

This year's theme for the Times Square crystal ball really struck a chord for me: 'Let There Be Friendship'. My parents are both deceased and what little family remains is scattered throughout the country.

However, over the years I have been blessed with circles of friends. Friends from writing, friends from practice of law and friends from playing trivia, etc. This Christmas I sat at the table along with ten others at a friend's house. We'd had a great meal and were simply talking when one person brought out a deck of Christmas trivia cards. Whenever a question pertained to a song, we would break out singing; for other questions we would shout out answers before the question was completed. At some point I looked around at the laughing, smiling faces and realized over the years I had built myself a family. Not one of blood but of love and fellowship.

So for 2012, my wish for everyone is friendship. I only hope your life is as enriched by friends as mine is.

Happy New Year! Love, Carol and Maddie

Xmas Traditions: Food Glorious Food

Monday, December 19, 2011

Food from the mundane to the unsual plays an important role in festivities across the world. Sit down for Xmas dinner in Norway and you may smell the aroma of old blue cheese. What you are actually getting a whiff of is Kiviak, a delicacy made from the raw meat of an auk in an advanced state of decomposition after the bird meat has been buried under a stone encased in a sealskin for a few months.

Belgians serve cougnou, also called bread of Jesus. A sweetbread molded in the form of baby Jesus, it is given to children on Xmas along with a cup of hot chocolate.

In Slovakia not all food ends up being eaten. Slopping the ceiling is a tradition at Xmas Eve dinner. The head of the family takes a spoon of Loksa (a dish made out of bread, poppy seed filling and water) and throws it up at the ceiling. The more mixture that remains glued on the ceiling the richer his/her crops will be the following year. 

Want your wish to come true? Then in Great Britain you would stir your Christmas pudding clockwise.

Expect a few surprise guests in Portugal where 'consoda' is a special feast served on Xmas morning. The table is set with extra seats for the souls of the dead and food is offered in the hopes the souls will bring the family good luck. 

In Japan come Christmas day fried chicken is the food of choice and lines form around Kentucky Fried Chicken. However, McDonald's is offering chicken specials . Hold the pickles...speaking of pickles...

:) Carol

Her Dark Protector cover is here!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

We interrupt our exploration of holiday traditions to bring you the just received cover for Her Dark Protector, my Marh 26, 2012 release. The Carina Press art department has done it again. I love this one!
:) Carol

Warding Off Evil-Another Xmas Tradition

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Santa Claus and his reindeer had better watch out for they're not the only ones out and about on Xmas Eve.

In Norway people hide their brooms for witches and evil spirits are bent on stealing brooms for a joy ride. Mops and brushes are also hidden. Men sneak out of the house to fire shotguns to scare off the witches...or just to make a lot of noise.

The Greeks may build a crackling fire or hang pig jaws inside chimneys to fend off evil spirits called Kallikantzaroi. Descriptions vary, but these half-human, half-animal pests live in the earth only to surface for the twelve days of Xmas to wreck havoc. Good thing. During the year they spend their time sawing the World Tree. The dawning of Xmas distracts them from sawing and they go to the surface. When the sun begins moving again on the Epiphany, the Kallikantzaroi return to their world only to discover the Tree has healed itself. Back to the sawing for these folklore goblins.


Christmas Traditions Across the World

Sunday, December 11, 2011

In the days leading up to December 25, I'll be exploring different Xmas traditions around the world.

If they followed tradition, girls in the Czech Republic are currently waiting to know their marital future as part of their Christmas celebrations.  On December 4, girls put cherry twigs in water. If the twig blossoms before Xmas Eve, they will marry sometime during the year.

Of course, children have been definitely behaving for St. Nicholas aka Svaty Mikalas climbs to earth down from heaven on a golden rope along with his two companions: an angel [Anděl] and a whip-carrying devil[Čert ]. For those kids who have been nice, they get presents from St. Nicholas; those on the naughty list they get visits from the devil with the switch. Talk about good cop/bad cop. 

However, the naughty or everyone else for that matter might really want to avoid Krampus Night. Krampus is Santa’s evil twin whose job is to beat and punish all the children who have misbehaved. On the eve of St. Nicholas Day (December 6th) party-goers masquerade as devils, wild-men and witches and drunkenly run around towns hitting people with sticks and switches. The Krampus legend originates in the Germanic alpine regions and is widespread throughout Hungary, Bavaria, Slovenia and in Austria.


More Pint-sized Libraries

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The British phone book library that I featured in the last post has caught on. As phone booths fall into disuse, other enterprising individuals have converted them into 'libraries'.  Clinton, New York uses a bright red British kiosk to house about 100 books.  The Book Booth even has a Twitter and Facebook following.

Think an American open-box style of a phone booth can't be used as a library? Think again. Several have popped up and the one in Highland Park, CA is labeled with a Book Crossing serial number.

Small-sized libraries are not limited to phone booths. This miniature book depository known as a corner library is located in Brooklyn, New York. About the size of a doghouse, it contains a small scale of resources one can find at a regular-size libraries from books to CD's.

Walking in a park and have an urge to sit and read a book? This book stand is located in a Korean park.

Laying claim to being the smallest freestanding library in America is Norman, AK's, which is the size of a small bedroom, about 177 square feet.

I love these gems of libraries.  :) Carol