A baby’s First words January 7 ,2021

One of the joys of being a new mother and a speech Pathologist is anticipating baby’s first words.

I waited and listened as my daughter played with the open mouth sounds of B, M, D, guttural G and vowel ah paired with them.

Would the first words be the da da for her Daddy, or the calling of her Mom with a Ma Ma? Maybe a request for a favorite toy or food?

To my surprise, Ruth’s first word was a two syllable word, Ga Ma, Ga Ma, Ga Ma, paired with a open hand facing up and the fingers contracting as she gestured for her wanted person. She learned to call her

Grandma this way. The low guttural call would bring Grandma Helen running. Ruth and her Grandma developed a intimate relationship. They went everywhere together. In the evening, they would select matching nighties. Often, Ruth would get up and crawl into bed with her Grandma.

I watched but couldn’t be a part of this special relationship. Jealous at first, I learned to appreciate this special bond between generations.

**********

********

What’s in a name

“Her name will be Ruth”, he said.

I was thinking as a Speech therapist.

Ruth may have trouble with r’s and th sounds.

John countered with ,”those letters are in our last name”.

I agreed to the name.

As a toddler, when asked her name, Ruth would reply,

“my name is Woof, Woof Fa woof!”

She sounded like a dog barking.

Carolfarn@aol.com

copyright. 1-7-21

Epiphany January 5, 2021

The Holiday, Epiphany, is celebrated between the 12 days after Christmas. January 6th is the celebration of the Magi’s visit to the Christ child. They used a star for a guide to find the king of the Jews.

This year we are being treated to a rare astrological occurrence. The planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the south western sky and will appear as one brilliant star. The planets have not been so close for 800 years. The last time the planets were close to the earth to see the rings of Saturn and 4 of Jupiter’s moons was in the 1600’s.

The celestial display started on the winter solstice and will continue to be seen through Epiphany . The alignment of the planets is seen in the south western sky for 2 hours after sunset. The planets reflect a brilliant light, people call this sight the Christmas star.

I can not see this star but I can imagine people in the time of Christ noting the light in the western sky and predicting the birth of a great king.

After the year 2020, I can take joy and hope in a star that may have been seen and followed by the Magi. Whether we physically see the star or use our imagination , the light heralds a change. The change could be political. We are changing leaders. The change could be the vaccine and the final defeat of the corona virus. Maybe it signals a change in our attitude about global warming.

I prefer that it is a call for people to not take our world and ourselves for granted . As we make our resolutions, let us change our attitude and our relationship with our world and each other. Be kind to others and yourself. Global change can occur. One person at a time.

**********

********

What adorns my Christmas Tree?

a bisque doll

a teddy bear

a red apple

french horn pair

a jeweled candy cane

a striped sock

and two bells

a small toy block

lites and memories hang

on the tree

they’re put away

for next year

to surprise me.

Carol Farnsworth

carolfarn@aol.com

copyright 12/29/2020

New Year Celebrations in the past December 31, 2020

Unlike many couples, we didn’t go out for a holiday dinner and toast the new year with champagne. My husband worked for the post office and was scheduled to work on New year day to do maintenance on the sorting machines.

We went to bed early so John could get to work by 6:30. But there was a celebration in our home every New Year’s eve.

For many years, my daughter had a sleepover with several of her friends. They would bring snacks, games and movies to watch. They all wanted to stay up to watch the ball fall in New York City.

Ruth’s Grandma, Helen, was in charge of the festivities. She distributed sparkling non-alcoholic juice, noise-makers, silly string and confetti poppers. One year, toilet paper rolls were given to tepee the trees and shrubs around our yard.

The girls and Grandma got little sleep that night. As they had welcomed in the new year.

John and I woke to find the house and yard littered with the celebration . Grandma was asleep on the couch and the girls were nestled in their sleeping bags in the family room.

Before the girls were picked up by their parents, they willingly helped to clean up the litter.

The new year sleepover was a tradition for many years. Now this year, we will have a different celebration. We will talk by the fireplace and recall past New Year’s eves and recall people no longer in your lives. Memories and hope will be central to welcoming the new year this year.

Carol Farnsworth

carolfarn@aol.com

**********

********

A waining moon, heralds the end of the year.

Stars twinkle , their light reflected on the hanging toilet paper.

The celebrates sleep , exhausted from the night’s activities.

All is quiet as we sip our coffee in bed.

Smiling we kiss and wish each other a Happy New Year.

copyright 12/31/2020

December 29, 2020 A time to Put Away

Some people think that putting away Holiday decorations is a depressing activity. My task is to take the ornaments off the tree. I find that removing an ornament I can feel it and remember where and why it was purchased. This is a relaxing activity for me.

I fondle a group of tin toys. A sled, a scooter and a wagon, they remind me of the toys of my youth and toys we gave to our daughter. I recall that all the tin toys are bright red to go with the season.

Then my fingers find a ceramic bird in flight. This was given to me on my first married Christmas.

Another favorite ornament is a dove with two strings of pearls in it’s beak. This came from my co-worker before I married and it’s smooth white contours remind me of a shell.

The newest additions are dutch shoes and a glass dutch windmill. Given to me by my husband to remind me of the decorated trees at Meijer Gardens. The whole dutch tree was covered with these two decorations.

I find that the time to remember and time taken to recall the stories bring a smile to my day.

Each precious memory is tucked in tissue paper and placed in various small boxes to be unwrapped in the next year.

By New Year Day, the indoor decorations are put away. The first day of the new year is spent cleaning and reflecting on what old thoughts and habits to put away. I take time to reflect on the people from the last year that I am grateful for.

I resolve to give to others in sharing talents, time and treasure with them.

I hope you can find many reasons to be grateful for the year 2020. If you come across an ornament that you don’t recognize , don’t worry. Consider it a gift and form a story around it.

Make your own memory stories.

**********

********

What adorns my Christmas Tree?

a bisque doll

a teddy bear

a red apple

french horn pair

a jeweled candy cane

a striped sock

and two bells

a small toy block

lites and memories hang

on the tree

they’re put away

for next year

to surprise me.

Carol Farnsworth

carolfarn@aol.com

copyright 12/29/2020

The light in the world December 22, 2020

At this time of the year, especially this year, I thank God for the light. On the darkest and shortest day of the year, I am grateful for a glimmer of the light that I can see. My memory supplies the rest. The past year I have been thankful for the support of family, friends and medical people that have touched my life. We all need the love and support of each other to be part of the light. Even support for the people that are not as lovable, the cold prickly ones. Do we extend the light to them? The rude person that cuts us off. The therapist that doesn’t understand our disability. Or the people asking for money on the street corners. Do we see the light in them and extend our light to them. In this season of hope and light may we look for the light in all we see and touch. A Blessed Christmas to all my readers.

*********

*********

Spare Change
Dolly pulled her frayed black sweater close around her shoulders.Wind blew the falling snow into her face. Alternating the battered travel mug to keep one hand warm, she sat waiting. Holding out the mug with the spare change request to passerby’s. They neither heard nor saw her, as they mounted the steps to the cathedral.Copyright 12/22/20Carol Farnsworth

I will have a blog on the 24 for the Christmas break.

Let it Snow December 17, 2020

As we approach the Winter solstice ,our part of the country has not received any accumulation of snow. Normally, we would have a blanket of the white stuff by mid-November. It is odd to not see or feel snow underfoot. As kids, we started to sharpen our skates, wax our cross country skis and ready our sleds for the anticipation of a day outdoors. If the snow was the correct consistency, the boys would make a snow fort with several window holes where a barrage of snowballs could be launched at neighbor hood kids or a little sister. I amused myself falling backwards into the fresh snow to make snow angels. By moving my arms in an arch and moving my legs in and out. stepping out of the impression, a perfect angel emerged. I would make several snowballs of different sizes and wedge them together with great wet snow to make mini snowmen. I would decorate them with buttons and ribbons and place them in the freezer. I hoped to keep then until summer. Much to my dismay, they always disappeared. My mother told me that snowmen were not used to being coped up and they escaped in the night. With parts of the country dealing with more than their fair share of snow, it seems silly to long for the white stuff. The sound of crunching under boots, the feel of cold powder and the clean smell after a snowstorm keeps me longing and waiting. So let it snow!

**********

********

Billowing clouds gather, filled with moisture, they let go.

Snow drifts down to form piles.

Fills cracks on walls.

On roofs of bird feeders and in the squirrel dishes.

All is clean, bright and white.


Carol Farnsworth Copyright 12/17/20

Touching with a card December 15, 2020

The tradition of sending Christmas greetings in the form of cards has been a part of our family as long as i can remember. But where did this tradition start?

King James the 1 of England was given a card type correspondence in 1610. But the innovative mass mailing of an illustration was created by an educated and patron of the arts in 1843. Henry Cole was a busy man. But the Christmas letters, so popular in Victorian England were piling up. It was felt to be rude not to respond to a personal letter. He came up with a plan.

Cole contracted with an artist friend to produce a holiday portrait of a family at a dinner table with all members holding a glass of wine in a toast.

A banner on the top of the picture had the words Greetings with a blank space for personalizing the card. On the bottom of the picture the words Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year were printed.

Cole took the prototype to a printer where a 1000 cards were printed. He could respond to the many letters with a beautiful card.

In England, the postal office had invented a stamp for prepaying for letter sending. The new stamp helped increase the writing and sending of Christmas letters.

Printers in this country started to print and sell groups of holiday cards to send. Now the custom of sending Christmas cards generate nostalgia. The use of a special card along with a personal greeting or letter has continued.

My husband, John and I do the cards together. My job is to place the stamps and return address on the envelope. I write the Christmas letter and select the card to be sent.

John writes the addresses and the brief note inside the card. We take turns thinking what to write to each person.

We finish 10 to 12 cards a day until they are completed. This helps to keep the personal notes fresh.

This year, we have sent out more cards that normal. People that we don’t see for years are contacted to keep them in our loop. We hope to find that all are well and staying safe.

So take some time a send a card or two. Especially remember the disabled and elderly you know. They will appreciate hearing from you. They will use the card to decorate their home.

**********

********

To my readers who share the blog with me.

Merry Christmas,

Happy Hanukkah

Happy New Year,

Happy Kwanzaa

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Blog Dec.11,2020

I must apologize to my readers for this late post. On Tuesday morning, I tripped over an open dishwasher door. Landing on my left hip, I knew I did some damage.

My husband helped me into bed, where I stayed for several hours icing my hip. I made the decision to go to Urgent care.

X-rays revealing I had broken the ball off the hip bone.

I went to the emergency room and was scheduled for surgery the next day. I was out of the hospital the day after surgery.

Now I am self quarantined.

My daughter found this poem to cheer me up. The author is anonymous .

**********

********

T’was a month before Christmas and all through the town,

People wore masks that covered their frown.

The frown had begun way back in the Spring,

When a global pandemic changed everything.

They called it corona but unlike the beer,

It didn’t bring good times. It didn’t bring cheer.

Airplanes were grounded, travel was banned.

Borders were closed across air, sea and land.

As the world entered lock down to flatten the curve,

The economy halted, and folks lost their nerve.

From March to July, we rode the first wave,

People stayed home. They tried to behave.

When summer emerged, the lockdown was lifted.

But away from caution, many folks drifted.

Now in November and cases were spiking,

Wave two has arrived, much to our disliking.

It’s true that this year has had sadness a plenty,

We’ll never forget the year 2020.

And just ‘round the corner – the holiday season,

But why be merry? Is there even one reason?

To decorate the house and put up the tree.

Who will see it, no one but me.

But outside my window, the snow gently falls,

And I think to myself, let’s deck the halls!

So, I gather the ribbon, the garland and bows,

As I play those old carols, my happiness grows.

Christmas is not cancelled and neither is hope.

If we lean on each other, I know we can cope.

The smell of Baking December 8, 2020

The smell of baking December 8, 2020
My husband is a baker. He will make bread. The aroma of warmed bread from kneading, creates a yeast aroma through the house. .Creating a basel bread using fresh basil, he adds the scent of herbs to the yeast potpourri.
/But this time of year, the baking smell are all about Christmas Cookies. I am not talking about the frosted sugar cookies but the cookies from our youth. These include date\nut cookies, pfefernuse, nut balls and springerles. They are a Polish tradition.

The springerles cookies are a lemon\anise cookie. The fragrance of lemon wells up form the mixer. The subtle of anise combines in the dough . The mixture is cooled for an hour before caked. The cookies are rolled and cut into shapes with cutters. When the cookies are removed from the oven the anise taste and smell is prominent. This cookie gets better with aging. The flavors blend and the cookie becomes softer.

Pfefernuse cookies are made with strong coffee, brandy , cloves, all spice, cinnamon and black pepper. This group of ingredients combined to make a delightful ball shaped cookie. The cookie is dipped in powder sugar for a final touch of sweetness.
The original recipe for date\nut cookies was a a bread. Making individual cookies makes storage easier.
The nut balls are mostly ground walnuts, butter and flour.
They are dipped in powdered sugar after baking . The cookie melts in your mouth with an explosion of buttery nut flavor.
But the best scent is from making peanut brittle. Starting with raw peanuts or cashews, corn syrup and butter are brought to 240 degrees. The nuts are poured into the hot liquid. The syrup continues to heat cooking to 300 degrees. The last ingredient is a mixture of baking soda and water and vanilla. This changes the color and causes the mixture to develop bubbles. The mixture is poured over buttered cookie sheets and allowed to cool. The large piece of brittle can be picked up and broken into pieces.
You may ask, what do you do with all the goodies. That is where the fun begins. We package the treats and deliver to friends and neighbors . In this time of distancing , we hang the treats in bags on the doorknobs .Afterward, we text the recipient of the treat. This is our way to bring smiles and joy to others.
So what do you do well? Do you write poems? type one roll it up with a ribbon and delivery to your friends.
Are you able to draw? Make a small illustration to decorate a Christmas note and deliver or mail them.
Even if you think you have no special skills, you can call a friend or write to a distant friend to see how they are doing. The gift of yourself will be appreciated.
So what are you waiting for? Spread some good cheer, You and others will feel more connected to each other.

**********

********

Sharing Gifts

A crisp new snow set the mood
So little time, so much to do

Rising bread and brittle to make
I sip some coffee and take a break

A missing ingredient eludes, peace, love and kindness too
they are the reasons for what we do

Putting down my cup, I grab the phone
To call my daughter inviting her home

Together we knead the bread and pour warm brittle too
We laugh and talk til our work is through

packing it up, topped with a bow
We make deliveries, through gentle falling snow


Carol farnsworth
carolaspot
copyright 12/8/20

December 3, 2020 Deck the Halls. My husband and I have a tradition that we have kept for 24 years. It started when my Mother gave back two child size dolls from my youth. We added three additional large dolls from my Daughter’s collection. Several others were bought at a second-hand stores. They made quite a collection. Our intention was to dress and display them as children doing holiday activities. The dolls have been sledding, cross country skiing, ice skating, and making a snow man.On the front porch a store front display has shown a line up for Santa, lighting the advent wreath, elves making toys and loading Santa’s sled.Each year, I think of a theme and John makes the stage props to make it happen. We have had lighted fireplaces, desks, a real mailbox, a 7 foot lighthouse and a lit ice rink and a winter carousel .The magic of these tacky decorations come alive at night with lighting and seen from traveling cars. For this most unusual holiday, we chose the activity of making cookies. The child size stove is open with a light lighting the cookies being put in to bake. There is a decorated refrigerator next to the stove. four other children are in the process of rolling, decorating and eating cookies. They stand around a kitchen table. Each doll is clad in a bright colored chef apron and hat. Holiday decorations adorn the pink walls . All this in a five by 10 foot space. The idea of offering an activity that the family can enjoy from their cars and then go home to do the baking themselves. Many of our neighbors and friends have decked their homes to entertain the kids, old and young alike. This year with no Christmas parade, virtual visits with Santa and restricting crowds, This is a safe and fun activity.

Deck the hall with many dollies

Fa La La La La La La La La

Making smiles and be jolly

Fa La La La La La La La La

Piling in our cars, we travel

Fa La La Fa La La La La La

To see the lights, with no fear of virus.

Fa La La La La Fa La La La