Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Year Almost Gone

After getting off work today, an extremely cold day, by the way (30 degrees when I left the house and 42 degrees when I left work), I noticed that the day was beautiful. I mean, a sun-shining, icy-cold day kind of beautiful. I drove home, and my house sits on a hill, so when I arrived I was able to see the blue and purple mountains in the distance through brown barren trees. I love winter. There is just something cozy about piling a bunch of clothes on, and then still having to put a coat on over all that. Don't get me wrong, I love warm temperatures, too. I just believe there is a season for everything, and right now, it's the season for winter.

That's why I feel hestitant to let the New Year roll in (and that's beside the fact that I won't even be in the country for the first 10 days). I mean, yes, this year has been....different for me. It has been frustrating and disappointing in more ways than one. I have been impatient with school and my job, and not to mention worrying about minor health issues. Yet, I was still able to fall more in love with my boyfriend of more than three years. :)

However, I just feel like I didn't get enough of the Christmas holiday, and it was over and gone like a speeding train disappearing into the night. I love Christmas. I mean, I really, really love Christmas. I had a small tree up in my house in September, and I had to sneak it in while my mom was at work. I just feel like it came up on me too fast, and was gone before I could really enjoy it. This whole month has had its stresses, but overall, I really loved it. The funny thing is, I wish I would have enjoyed it more at the time instead of looking back into the haze of my memories and feeling a sinking feeling in my stomach because those times have passed.

As much as a love Christmas, I almost equally hate the days that follow. When the joy of Christmastime is over, it feels like a huge balloon has popped. It feels like a room where the heat has been turned off and all that is left it the biting cold.

But I can only look forward now with optimism toward the New Year. I hope next year is a great year. I plan to graduate college in May, and then a whole new life for me will begin. I hope to encounter other new beginnings in my life as well, and those I won't mention here, not yet.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Tree History....

"Even before the arrival of Christianity, Germans decorated evergreen trees to brighten the dark, gloomy days of the winter solstice. The first "Christmas trees" appeared in Strasbourg in the 17th century and spread to Pennsylvania in the 1820s with the arrival of German immigrants. When Queen Victoria married Germany's Prince Albert in 1840, he brought the tradition to England. Eight years later, the first American newspaper ran a picture of the royal Christmas tree and Americans outside of Pennsylvania quickly followed suit."
Read more:,28804,1868506_1868508_1868530,00.html#ixzz0apqDMqU4

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Last Song and Scandalgate

Recently I have read two books and I recommend them both.

Bradley Square Christmas Bear

Bradley Square Christmas Bear

This bear has been in the Bradley Square Mall during the holidays ever since I can remember.

The bear is probably as old as the mall itself.

I know it doesn't look like it now, but this bear used to be the focal point of Christmas decorations in our hometown mall.

It used to sit amongst giant-sized toy building blocks, the biggest rocking-horse I've ever seen, and many other welcomed decorations.

The bear was snow-white, and donned with his most special tinsel-gold bowtie. He sang to the passerby's as his mouth moved to the words, and turned his head to watch shoppers exitedly prance by, gift bags in tote.

Now the Bradley Square Christmas Bear is a dilapidated version of itself, a shade of dirty snow, and a mouth no longer capable of singing his favorite Christmas carols.

His head never moves to watch families go by, and his back looks as if it has been pried open many times for failed repairs.

Yet, still, when I see him, I remember all those years long ago when I saw Mr. Bradley Square Christmas Bear watching me hold my parents' hands, my dreams full of candy and presents evident in my eyes.

And when I see him on days like today, I am instantly a child again, with visions of Christmas day dancing in my head.

Clement C. Moore

I know this is really random, but I have learned a lot in the past few days about Clement C. Moore and the history of "The Night Before Christmas".
According to legend, Clement C. Moore wrote "A Visit from St. Nicholas", which is now known as "The Night Before Christmas", for his family on Christmas Eve of 1822. Moore did not even want the poem to be published, but a friend of the family found out about the poem from Moore's children and submited it to the editor of the Troy (New York) Sentinel, where it was published first on December 23, 1823.
Did you also know that the story of Santa entering through the chimney came soley from "The Night Before Christmas"? The main enterance we all know of today hadn't even been heard of before this poem.
Moore was the first to actually give names to Santa's reindeer. He is also credited with creating the modern image of Santa Claus as a jolly, fat man in a furry red suit.
I did not realize how essential this man is to our Christmas traditions.
Even now, almost two hundred years later, it is the most-published, most-read, most-memorized and most-collected book in all of Christmas literature.

Read House: Room 311

Ok, listen to this. I was doing some research the other day for an article and I was searching on websites concerning hauntings and the paranormal in Tennessee. Well, I happen to come upon some information about a certain well-known hotel in Chattanooga called the Read House.

Let's go over some history of this hotel, shall we?

Before burning down in 1867, the hotel was called the Old Crutchfield House, and it was a very grand hotel in its time period. It was used in the Civil War by the Union Army as a hospital before it burned down. Dr. John T. Read built the new hotel in its place and in 1926 it was demolished again and in its place, the ten story high Georgian style hotel was built and is the hotel that you see today.

Many famous people have stayed in this hotel such as Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, Al Capone, and Andrew Johnson.

The most famous story explaining the ghostly hauntings is that Civil War soldier had a prostitute in his room (Room 311), and after she completed her services, the soldier murdered her for no apparent reason. He was never punished for this crime since he was most likely a Union soldier because the Union occupied the hotel at the time.

Since the murder, and even after the hotel was burned down, many people have said they have heard noises and seen bizarre apparitions in the room. It has been said that some guests have even left in the middle of the night claiming to have seen a shadowy figure in the mirror and in the bed of Room 311.

One particular couple stayed in that room after specifically asking for in in August 2007 (they are far more risk-taking that I ever could be), and a number of instances happened to them, including a heavy wooden door shutting by itself at 3:30 am, a dark shadowly figure standing next to the husband while he was in bed, and the figure starting to bend down towards him in the bed as he is looking at it, him seeing two "gleaming eyes", the figure getting closer to its face until it ultimately fades into a mist and floats off the comforter. Just reading this man's account sends chills down my spine. He said he also saw a dark shadow pass between the foot of the bed and the chest of drawers, an orange glow above the TV, and small lights flickering about the room. (This guy even says he would go back just to see if more strange things would happen! For more details on his account, click on the second source link.)

Ok, now for the fun part. I've actually been to this hotel; that's why I clicked on the story to begin with! I was there in January visiting some of Sean's family, and while it was a very nice hotel, I did notice a kind of "Unsolved Mysteries" quality to it. :) Call me weird, but there definitely was a strange feeling while I was walking along the halls and in the elevator, almost like the hotel itself was holding back something very dark about its history that has bled over into the present time. Lol. I told you this was weird and creepy.

I took the liberty in calling the receptionist at the Read House and asking about Room 311. The receptionist, Linda, after a hesitant pause, said that there was, in fact, someone staying in that room at the moment, and that people stay in that room just as much as any other room. About the supposed hauntings, she said that they are all just rumors.

So, I guess one would just have to spend the night in that room themselves to see if they are "just rumors." All I can tell you is that I won't be one of them. :)


Final Countdown 2009 of Top 25 Favorite Things about Christmastime

This is the Final Countdown 2009 of my Favorite Things about Christmastime:

1. First and Foremost: Jesus's Birth
2. Starbuck's Peppermint White Mocha - Non-fat, of course. :)
3. Old-school Christmas lights, you know, the ones that aren't LED and were bought before global warming? lol
4. Mariah Carey's "Baby, Please Come Home!" (My fave Christmas song!)
5. Christmas trees. Every color, every size. I don't discriminate. :)
6. Giving present to my family and friends.
7. Sirius Radio = Christmas Classics 24/7
8. Baking Christmas Cheesecake for my co-workers.
9. Lays Ruffles and French Onion Dip - because my mammaw used to have it at her house every Christmas.

'Tis the Season

This makes me all warm inside. lol


Terminator 2: Judgment Day is still one of the best movies ever.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Myths of Motherhood

This excerpt is taken from The Myths of Motherhood by Shari Thurer in 1994. I think it's worth reading and thinking about:

"The psychological research to date continually looks for bad outcomes from maternal employment and other-than-mother care instead of looking for bad outcomes from the lack of societal supports to mothers. In other words, the way psychologists have been framing their research questions reflects the culture's idealized myth of motherhood. So while research had failed to demonstrate the deleterious effects of day care, it has also failed to demonstrate the deleterious effects of no day care - because it did not set out to find them. The unfortunate result is that our psychological research has inadvertently contributed to the maintenance of the status quo, instead of stimulating questions about social change and help for mothers."

While this excerpt is taken from Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety by Judith Warner:

"Instead of saying, 'I feel terrible. I feel guilty,' maybe [women] can take these results and advocate for [national] family-leave policies that create more options for mothers of babies," said researcher Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, the lead author of the 2002 day-care study, as she expressed her frustration with all the hand-wringling and guilt expressed in the study's wake by working mothers. "Every other industrialized nation had done it. Why can't we?"

Let me know what you think!

Commencement Speech

This was the speech Ted Koppel of Nightline gave at the commencement exercises at Duke University. This speech is also in the book Scandalgate:Exposing America's Moral Deficit Disorder by Kenneth J. Brown.
This speech took place more than a decade ago, and it shocked the audiences then, but I think the idea is very valid still today.

"In the place of truth we have discovered facts; for moral absolutes we have substitued moral ambiguity. We now communicate with everone and say absolutely nothing. We have reconstructed the Tower of Babel and it is a television antenna, a thousand voices producing a daily parody of democracy in which everyone's opinion is afforded equal weight regardless of substance or merit....

We have actually convinced ourselves that slogans will save us. Shoot up if you must, but use a clean needle. Enjoy sex whenever and with whomever you wish, but wear a condom. No! The answer is No! Not because it isn't cool or smart or because you might end up in jail or dying in an AIDS ward, but No! because it's wrong....

In its purest form, truth is not a polite tap on the shoulder. It is a howling reproach. What Moses brought down from Mount Sinai were not the Ten Suggestions. They are commandments. Are, not were. The sheer brilliance of the Ten Commandments is that they codify in a handful of words acceptable human behavior, not just for then or now, but for all time."

More on C.S. Lewis

Here are some more great C.S. Lewis quotes:

“Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.”

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”


This is one of the best quotes I have ever read.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

-C.S. Lewis

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Another Great Quote

Here is another great quote from Scandalgate:Exposing America's Moral Deficit Disorder by Kenneth J. Brown:

Alexis de Tocqueville was one of the most enthusiastic tourists to ever grace our shores. This perceptive French-man toured the United States in 1835, chronicling his stimulating discoveries. One of his most famous dictums appeared at first glance to be a wonderful compliment. In reality it embodied a colossal warning:

"I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and ample rivers, and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power....America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."


This is an excerpt from a book I just finished titled:
Scandalgate: Exposing America's Moral Deficit Disorder
by Kenneth J. Brown

This quote is discussing the practices of the Clinton Administration during the Monica Lewinsky scandal and I thought it is particulary true about politics in general, even still today.
"Bludgeon your opponent. Win at all costs. Truth doesn't matter. Survival does. Whatever it takes to outlast your opponent is all that matters. Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing.
Welcome to the postmodern world."