Oh, Christmas Tree!

December 9, 2016

Happy Friday!  We are a little more than two weeks away from Christmas, so you still have plenty of time to work on this festive holiday creation (origami Christmas tree)!  I’ve included a couple of verions (straight points versus “curved” points).   Happy folding!

The “Day of Finnish Music!”

December 8, 2016

Today marks the birthday of Jean Julius Christian Sibelius, Finland’s greatest composer.  Finland has actually celebrated this day as “Flag Day” since 2011 in honor of Sibelius whose music is credited with helping Finland establish its national identity when seeking its independence from Russia (Declaration of Independence was adopted on December 6, 1917).   My first exposure to Sibelius was in band class (during Junior High and High School) where we often performed his work “Finlandia.”    For your listening enjoyment, here is Opus 26, Sibelius’ symphonic poem which was a covert protest against Russian censorship!

“Pay no attention to what the critics say.  A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic.”  (Jean Sibelius)

Stones as Projectiles!

December 7, 2016

When I ran across this quotation today, it got me thinking about “throwing stones” and the other quotable sayings involving stones as projectiles.  Quotations to ponder!

“In this world, some people will always throw stones in your path. It depend on you what you make from those stones… A wall or a bridge!”  — Author Unknown

He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”  (Jesus Christ, John 8:7, King James Bible)

“People who live in glass houses, shouldn’t throw stones.”  (Proverb)

“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”  (Winston Churchill)

Halt Aging in its Tracks!

December 6, 2016

Depending on who you listen (or what you want to believe) there are more strategies for “staying fit” and living a healthy lifestyle than you can shake a stick at (aerobic exercise, strength training, high-intensity interval training, CrossFit, walking, etc.).  But Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge have broken it down to seven (7) rules you need to follow to stay young (at heart) and put aging on the back burner.  These rules will allow you to live a longer, stronger, healthier, and sharper life.

  • Exercise six days a week for the rest of your life.
  • Do serious aerobic exercise four days a week for the rest of your life.
  • Do serious strength training, with weights, two days a week for the rest of your life.
  • Spend less than you make (duh).
  • Quit eating crap!
  • Care.
  • Connect and commit.

Source: AARP: The Magazine, October/November issue; Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D.

Amazing Adjectives, Number Nine!

December 5, 2016

I remember first encountering this word while reading a book (unfortunately, I don’t remember which book).  And while I should have been able to figure out the meaning just from context, I looked it up nonetheless.  “About all he remembered of the lovely woman were her dark amygdaline eyes . . . ”


uhmig-duh-lin, -lahyn \, adjective;

 1.  of, relating to, or resembling an almond.

This word is from the Latin amygdalinus  and the Greek amygdálinos, menaing “of almonds.”

Some related adjectives include: amygdaloid, amygdalate, amygdaliform, and amygdalaceous.

Source: http://www.dictionary.com and The Highly Selective Dictionary of Golden Adjectives for the Extraordinarily Literate by Eugene Ehrlich.

College Football 2016, Week Fourteen!

December 4, 2016

The Big Ten Conference crowned its conference champion yesterday!  Congratulations to the Nittany Lions of Penn State!

There are only two unbeaten teams remaining (Alabama and Western Michigan) and the Big Ten Conference has five teams in the CFP rankings (four in the top-10):   Ohio State [#2], Michigan [#5], Wisconsin [#6],  Penn State [#7], and Nebraska [#16].  Now we just have to wait until later today to see what the final College Football Playoff rankings will be!  Next on the schedule . . . bowl season!

The upsets during Conference Championship Week included:
Wisconsin (#6) losing to Penn State (#7) by seven (7) points.
Navy (#19) losing to unranked Temple.

The close calls this week (games that were won by a touchdown or less) included:
West Virginia (#16) defeating unranked Baylor by three (3) points.
Western Michigan (#17) defeating unranked Ohio by six (6) points.

Top-25 match-ups won by the higher-ranked team included:
Alabama (#1) defeating Florida (#15).
Clemson (#3) defeating Virginia Tech (#23) by seven (7) points.
Washington (#4) defeating Colorado (#8).
Oklahoma (#9) defeating Oklahoma State (#10).

International Holidays for December!

December 3, 2016

Here is a listing of various holidays that occur in December from around the world.  Enjoy!

December 5 – King’s Birthday (Thailand)
December 6 – Constitution Day (Spain)
December 8 – Immaculate Conception (Argentina, Italy, Spain, )
December 9 – Public Holiday (Argentina)
December 10 – Constitution Day (Thailand)
December 12 – Milad un-Nabi (India)
December 12 – Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexico)
December 12 – Constitution Day  Holiday (Thailand)
December 16 – Reconciliation Day (South Africa)
December 23 – Emperor’s Birthday (Japan)
December 24 – Christmas Eve (Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Sweden, )
December 25 – Christmas (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States)
December 26 – Christmas Holiday (Germany, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, United States)
December 26 – St. Stephen’s Day (Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, )
December 26 – Boxing Day/Proclamation Day (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, )
December 26 – Day of Good Will (South Africa, )
December 27 – Christmas Holiday (Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, )
December 27 – Bank Holiday (Ireland)
December 28 – Bank Holiday (Ireland)
December 29 – New Year’s Holiday (Japan)
December 30 – New Year’s Holiday (Japan)
December 31 – New Year’s Eve (Argentina, Brazil, Sweden, Thailand)

Source: http://www.qppstudio.net

Necktie of the Month – December 2016!

December 2, 2016

pink-gray-necktieLiving life can be a serendipitous adventure at times.  For example, on a recent vacation I had no intention of purchasing clothing and found myself buying an entire suit complete with two shirts and a couple of neckties.  Artwork is a totally separate story, I always seem to be somewhat prepared to run with my heart and make impulse buys that I rationalize I can afford to make.  But I digress.  Here I was strolling down Front Street (Traverse City, Michigan) a couple of months ago when lo and behold a suit caught my eye.  Granted, it was a color and style suit that I had previously had and was needing to replace, but I really had no intention of replacing it until the first of the year.  But alas, I walked in, they had my size, and after a few measurements and adjustments, I was the proud owner of a new suit.  During the course of this serendipitous shopping, I also espied this pink and gray paisley necktie!  Woe is me!  It beautifully compliments my dark pink shirt and will look equally stunning with my light pink shirt, my gray shirt, and even my black shirt and red my shirt (though probably not as “killer”).  I now no longer need to be looking to replace this suit at the first of the year . . . but you just never know what else will jump in front of me that I will just have to own.  So, since the shopping/holiday season is upon us, happy shopping, one and all!   Go forth and find those bargains that you can’t live without!

Can You Say Prodigy?!

December 1, 2016

Here is an amazing performance (Beethoven) by a three-year-old prodigy!  Wow.

Shoreline Reflections!

November 30, 2016

LakeReflectionHere is another original painting (acrylic) that I acquired last summer while vacationing in the Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties of Michigan.  I found this piece at the 56th Annual Outdoor Art Fair  (sponsored by the Crooked Tree Arts Center) on the campus of the Northwestern Michigan College on the last Saturday of July.  I have already collected a couple of other paintings by this particular artist (Deborah Hoover).  The title of this one: “Shoreline Reflections.” The colors and the brush strokes drew my eye to this one (as well as the size and the landscape orientation).