I survived Winter Storm Jonas! Long Island received more than two feet of snow on Saturday and the governor declared a state of emergency. The blizzard caused travel restrictions, 50 mph wind gusts, and a 2-hour power outage. Fortunately, despite this sign on the Long Island Expressway (photo credit unknown), we did not have to deal with any reptiles.
I must admit that I’ve never paid much attention to my family’s emergency provisions, which I consider to be in my husband’s realm of responsibility. Unfortunately he was out of town for the storm. I made my own emergency plans. If the power went off (which it did), I would use the flashlight app on my iPhone to locate my stash of Yankee candles, which would become our primary light source. This part of the plan went well, except that the mixture of scents was rather nauseating.
What I didn’t know was that the collection of flashlights by my back door were all broken and that our camping lanterns were hidden somewhere in our basement. Once the electricity was back on, I also learned that we needed a new extension cord for the snow blower. Thankfully my daughter was home, and we made jokes about our lack of survival skills. The reality was that our situation was not the least bit funny and we were lucky to have power restored quickly. In the future, I will be prepared for storms and not assume that my husband has things under control.
Today, write about a time when you were unprepared. As a result, what sort of changes did you make?
This was an unusual Christmas for many reasons. First of all, it was nearly 70 degrees on Long Island (about 30 degrees above normal) and we were out walking in T-shirts. Secondly, we received shocking news that a close friend had passed away. Finally, I did our Christmas shopping almost entirely online, so I completely avoided the retail hype that gets me in the Christmas spirit.
Our gifts this year were modest and, since my kids are now adults, there wasn’t any excitement as they waited for Santa to show up..
Growing up in Canada, our Christmas gifts were limited and practical, with stockings filled with socks and underwear. The best gift I received was the Anne of Green Gables book trilogy. I was the same age (11-years-old) as the fictional Anne and was captivated by the story of this young orphan being sent to a farm on Prince Edward Island. Always a bookworm, I remember retreating to my bedroom and blissfully devouring all three books.
National Candy Cane Day is celebrated on December 26.
Candy canes have a long history. In 1670, the choirmaster at Germany’s Cologne Cathedral gave children sticks of sugar candy, bent into the shape of a shepherd’s crook. This crook symbolized how Jesus, the Good Sheppard, watched over children like little lambs. This tradition spread throughout Europe and people realized that the upside-down crook looked like a “J” for Jesus.
In 1844, a recipe was created for a white candy cane with red stripes. Candy canes were used as tree decorations starting in the late 1800s. By then there were many explanations for how the candy cane represented Jesus – including that the white color represents his Virgin birth and the red represents God’s love. Today, more than 2 billion candy canes are sold in the four weeks preceding Christmas and Hanukkah. (Source)
Candy Maker: Describe how to make home-made candy canes.
Food blogger: Share your favorite recipes that use candy-canes.
Interior Designer: Show how to use candy canes to decorate your tree.
Engineer: Write about the technology involved in making candy canes. Describe the first candy cane making machine, which was created by the Bunte Brothers in Chicago in the 1920’s.
I’ve spent this week trying to write an uplifting holiday message. I didn’t succeed! My thoughts have been focused on people who are feeling little joy. I know of three families who lost their fathers last week and have this week burying a loved one. For these families, Christmas will never be the same again.
In my family, 2007 was one of the hardest Christmases. That was the year we moved to Long Island and we were used to hosting Christmas dinner for our friends. With family in Canada and friends in Arizona, It felt lonely cooking dinner for just my husband and children. We eventually developed new traditions, including hosting an annual Gingerbread House Building party for my son and his friends.
My parents faced similar challenges as their four children (including me) grew up and moved away. Rather than spending Christmas morning alone, they now go to a local Casino. They enjoy the slot machines, browse through the shops, and treat themselves to a nice lunch. It has become their new tradition and they look forward to it.
Today, write about a tradition that has enriched your life. Explain why you started the tradition and what it means to you now.