No, it’s not the white man’s equivalent to Jumping the Broom. Not even close. Jumping the Broom is a uniquely African/African-American wedding tradition. It’s also a funny, heartwarming romantic comedy from writer, producer/director, Tyler Perry. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.
Standing the broom doesn’t have anything to do with weddings or cool wedding traditions. It’s an urban legend I hadn’t even heard of until my writer friend, Lori Keizer https://www.facebook.com/readLoriHayes mentioned it on Facebook. But once I saw her post, I had to find out more about this supposed scientific “phenomenon.”
Oddly enough, the information I found on the internet was written to debunk the urban legend. But from what I understand, a couple of weeks before and after the spring and fall equinox, March 20 and September 22, the planets and gravitational pull of the earth align in such a way that a broom can stand on its on when balanced facing south.
It sounded like a hoax to me and most experts agree.
According to Joe Ross, a professor at Texas A&M university, it’s just a balancing act. He claims anyone with patience and a broom can stand a broom on its bristles any time of the year. The broom he used is a straight broom, so I don’t know how he could tell if it was facing south or not, but he did stand the broom straight up. According to Ross, it had nothing to do with the equinox.http://verenettawarner.com/vernal-equinox-brooms-eggs-standing-alone-gravity/
It doesn’t have anything to do with gremlins, elves, or some funky phenomenon caused by a planetary alignment. It’s just a well-balanced broom.
Yeah, that’s kind of what I thought. Not that I sit around thinking much about brooms. I don’t even like to think about them when it’s time to sweep. I prefer my Swiffer. Or the vacuum. But Facebook and the internet have been abuzz with stories of standing brooms. And yet, in all my internet research, I found nothing to support the claims. All of the websites, blog posts, and such, declared the standing broom myth as nonsense. “If a broom stands alone today, it will stand alone tomorrow, next week, and next year.”
That’s what I thought too. But those who believe say it’s true, especially this year because of the recent alignment of Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter. Skeptics say it’s hogwash: “the bristles on a broom can be spread apart in such a way that all straight brooms will stand. Astronomers say neither planetary alignments or equinoxes have any physical impact on earthly objects.”
The broom I used wasn’t straight. It’s angled, not just the bristles, but the handle. And the only way I could get it to stand on its own was to point the handle south. Hey, my dog was impressed. She’s all but bowing down to the magic broom. lol!
My big sister is gone. She had been so close to death so many times, only to pull through and defeat it. So, when the call came Tuesday, February 28 that she’d simply stopped breathing and was no longer with us, it came as quite a shock. But she’s in a better place and no longer suffering from the limitations of her failing body.
Cindy was born in 1957 and seemed perfectly normal until she reached puberty. She began stumbling and had some difficulty with hand-eye coordination. Then my parents noticed a curvature of her spine. She was diagnosed with scoliosis. A visit to the neurosurgeon at Duke revealed a more devastating diagnosis. Cindy also had Fredericks Ataxia. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002384/. There is no cure and Cindy was told she’d never walk again after the surgery to straighten her spine.
|Cindy on right. I’m on the left.|
Cindy had the surgery at age 13 and she proved the doctors wrong. She did walk again. She walked unaided at first, then by holding on to walls and rails. She graduated from high school and completed one and half years of college before the disease progressed to the point where she needed assistance getting around. By age 22, she was confined to a wheelchair, although for a few more years, she was still able to stand and transfer in and out of the chair with assistance.
She lived at home and struggled for a normal life. Then about seven years ago, the disease’s progression accelerated. She could no longer bathe herself or hold a spoon and fork. So, she moved into a group home where she continued her fight. But in the last two years, she seemed to tire. The light faded from her eyes as her mind began to fail along with her body.
She’d lost total control her body. She could barely lift her chin and her speech deteriorated until she could no longer communicate with words. The loss of motor control made it impossible to communicate with her hands or via a computer. And finally,she started showing signs of dementia.
She gave up the fight this week and God called her home.
Now, Cindy no longer needs her wheelchair. She’s running with the Angels and talking God’s ear off. She was my big sister and I will miss her dearly.
My aunt wrote this beautiful tribute to her.
One of my favorite Dean Koontz’s books is Watchers. In the novel, a top secret government laboratory creates two genetically altered life forms. One is a golden retriever with the IQ of a human. The other is a vicious, hideous monster who hates humans for creating him and the dog, Einstein because his creators loved him. The book combines a man, a woman, and a dog with action, suspense, horror and romance. What could be better than that?
In the first movie version, the man is a sixteen year old boy and Nora is his mother. There is no romance, precious little suspense or action, and cheesy horror. So, Hollywood created Watchers II, a second version loosely based on Koontz’s novel. The second movie more closely resembles the first. There’s a man, a woman, and a dog but the horror isn’t scary, the suspense is poorly written, and the action is over-acted. Still, better than the first movie version.
Hollywood did a pretty good job with the movie version of John Grisham’s A Time to Kill. Although in the book, I don’t remember the lawyer’s law student getting so much “face time.” Then again, Sandra Bullock played the part so I guess that’s why the movie version gave her a stronger role than the character in the book had. Still, the movie was well done and IMHO, more closely followed the book than just about any I’ve ever seen.
The movie Cujo, based on Stephen King’s horror novel was good, but not nearly as good as the book. In the book, King gets into the dog’s head. That seems a bit hard to do on film, and the director of the movie didn’t even attempt it. But if you like horror movies, this one is a lot better than Pet Cemetery and no cute little children die and become blood thirsty zombies.
Jeffery Deaver’s The Bone Collector was an awesome book. In the movie, Denzel Washington portrays the paralyzed former detective, Lincoln Rhyme. In one scene, the killer comes into Rhyme’s home. Rhyme’s is lying in bed, paralyzed except for one twitching finger. Washington did such a good job portraying Rhyme’s character that for a moment, I actually believed Washington was paralyzed. IMHO, he deserved an Oscar for that role. And yet, he wins an Oscar for his role in Training Day.
Washington did a fine job portraying a dirty cop, but other actors have played similar roles just as well. And Denzel Washington has had much stronger performances in much better movies. In Malcolm X, Denzel Washington seemed to become his character. And his acting in A Man on Fire was phenomenal. That movie had me biting my nails and balling like a baby at the end.
Ken Follett’s Eye of the Needle made a pretty good movie. In my opinion, it was one of Donald Southerland’s best performances.
The movie version of Somewhere in Time, based on Richard Matheson’s novel was enjoyable as well. Then again, I love Jane Seymour and thought she was nicely paired with Christopher Reeve—may he rest in peace.
And I can’t compare books to movies without comparing Gone with the Wind. Both the book and the movie are classics. In the movie, however, Scarlet O’Hara has only one child and if I remember correctly, she had four or five in the book. I remember liking this movie when I watched it way back in the 70’s. I tried to watch again years later when my daughters were younger. They were bored and laughed at the special effects. I cringed at the bad accents and horrible acting. In my opinion, Clark Gable and Butterfly McQueen (who played Prissy,) were the only actors in that film who didn’t over act or do a horrible job faking a Southern accent.
Debbie Macomber’s This Matter of Marriage made a pretty good Lifetime movie. So have several of Nora Robert’s books. I didn’t like the ending of the book or the movie Message in a Bottle. I loved the movie version of The Notebook. The end was sad, but satisfying. I heard the book ends differently. I haven’t read it. My favorite Nicholas Sparks’ books are The Choice and The Guardian. Both end happily. So, I bet they’re never made into a movie.
The coast guard movie, The Guardian, is one of my favorite Kevin Costner movies. It was not based on Spark’s book.
Since my reading tastes run toward romance, thrillers, and suspense, there are many more books that have been made into movies that I haven’t seen. I’ve seen many movies based on books but haven’t read the book so I can’t really compare them. And I’ve read countless books that will never be made into a movie.
I enjoyed the movie Sense and Sensibility but I can’t for the life of me remember if I’ve read the book or Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. There are some books I’ve heard so much about, I can’t remember if I’ve actually read them or not.
Then there are the books/movies on my TBR (to be read) list and TBW (to be watched) list. I own a copy of The Secret Life of Bees. I’ve yet to read it or see the movie. Nor, have I read or watched The Help. I seldom go out to the movies anymore and my reading time is severely limited by everything else on my TDL (to do list.)
I can’t end this post without mentioning one of my favorite books: Alexander Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. The book ends with Dante’ finding a new life and love with Haydee, but I always wished Dumas’ had ended it differently. In the 2002 movie version, I got my wish. Dante’ and Mercedes live happily ever after, which is my favorite kind of ending and the main reason that in this instance, I prefer the movie to the book.
One should also avoid letting money leave the house on the first day of the year. I’m not sure what that means. I didn’t know it was possible to go an entire day without spending money. And since we went to the coast for New Year’s, we had to spend money on gas. Good thing I didn’t buy lunch. We at left overs.
Another superstition? Open all the doors and windows at midnight to allow the old year to escape unimpeded. I wonder if a person would want to do this if the old year was awesome? If I had a really awesome, prosperous year, I don’t think I’d want it to escape.
It is also believed that cupboards stockpiled with food and wallets filled with money on the first day of the year will bring prosperity throughout the New Year while empty pockets or empty cupboards on New Years Eve are portent of poverty for the coming year.
In some cultures, washing dishes and doing laundry on New Year’s day will lead to a death in the family during the year. Some people don’t even wash their hair on New Years day.
Doing a small amount of work New Year’s Day is said to ensure advancement in career, but beginning serious work project is unlucky—I hope washing dishes counts as work!
To dance in the open air, especially round a tree, on New Year’s Day ensures love, prosperity and health. I didn’t dance this year. But I did ride a bicycle with my husband so my feet were moving.
And lastly, by draining the last dregs from a bottle of drink on New Years Eve, you ensure good fortune. Hubby and I had a couple of beers sitting by the fire pit. I hope that means we’ll have good fortune in 2012.
The tree is up, the gifts are wrapped, and I’m finally ready for Christmas. Now, I sit here reflecting and thinking of past Christmases when traditions seemed so important.
When I was a child, my dad always cut down a fresh tree and we decorated a week before Christmas. When I got older, my younger sister and I trudged into the woods with him to help pick out a tree. Nowadays, I have an artificial tree and I decorate the Friday after Thanksgiving. Decorating is a lot of work and I put up quite a few. I’m just lazy enough to want to leave them up as long as possible before I have to go to all the trouble of un-decorating.
My artificial tree used to be fat and tall, like the trees from my childhood. Nowadays, my tree is still tall, but not so fat. I got a pencil tree so it’d take up less room–and I needed to make a space for all the presents. Now that Santa doesn’t visit my house any more, everything gets wrapped and shoved under the tree–another tradition bites the dust.
We used to go to my grandparent’s house for Christmas Eve supper too. My dad’s entire family would be there: Uncles, aunts, cousins, even some great aunts and uncles and cousins. The next morning, we’d go back for brunch. As my cousins married and started families of their own, fewer and fewer cousins were able to make it to my grandparent’s house. After my younger sister and I got married and had children of our own, we started having Christmas Eve supper at my parents’ house and going to my grandparent’s the next morning. Even that changed as my children got older. Then my grandparents died, and the family stopped gathering.
Grandparents have a way of holding a family together for the holidays–until the grandchildren start having children of their own. Then a new generation of grandparents begin new traditions. Or so it seems in my family. I don’t have grandchildren yet, but my oldest daughter lives in Germany.
Because of the six-hour time difference we now exchange gifts on Christmas Eve morning via SKYPE. After the gift exchange, my daughter runs off with her boyfriend to spend time with his family. My husband and I go to my cousin’s house, where I once again see those aunts, uncles and cousins. And we go to my parents’ house after lunch on Christmas Day. These days, I work a lot of Christmas mornings for half a day to allow those with children to be home for Santa Claus.
For years now, we’ve celebrated Christmas with my husband’s family the week before Christmas in an effort to eliminate the stress of so many families trying to divide Christmas day into rushed visits. But now that my sister in law lives in Utah, we seldom see her any more.
As I grow older, I find my life changing and those Christmas traditions I cherished as a child must change as well or the meaning of the holiday will get lost. My tree is no longer real, but I have the same ornaments. From the two turtle doves, now slightly mangled by a troublesome cat, to the first ornament I bought as a married woman and my daughters’ “My First Christmas” ornaments, the tree still holds some traditions. And while we we no longer rise at the crack of dawn to see what Santa brought, I still get up early on Christmas morning to go to work. And we still go to my parents’ house on Christmas Day. But these days, we have our traditional oyster stew for a late lunch or early supper rather than at brunch.
Life changes and it’s sometimes stressful. But Christmas isn’t about the gifts or the dinners. It’s about family and finding time to be with them and remember why we celebrate. So, no matter if your Christmas involves following time-honored traditions, creating new traditions of your own, or just trying to fit as many people into your plans as possible, take time to remember the reason we celebrate.
I have fellow HCRW and TWRP author Laura Browning with me today. Welcome to my blog, Laura and congrats on your new release, Santa’s Helper.
In the midst of edits on an upcoming release, trying to finish another WIP and promoting Santa’s Helper, catching the Christmas spirit has been a challenge this year.
The first Thanksgiving occurred in 1621 when the Pilgrims and Indians broke bread together to give thanks to the creator for a successful harvest. Most Americans are taught that this incident was the first Thanksgiving celebration. In reality, that one meal didn’t lead to a traditional holiday. It wasn’t a national celebration either because the colonies were still part of England at the time. No offense to our English ancestors, but most Brits didn’t much care what happened in the colonies.
As the years passed, however, more people celebrated Thanksgiving and remembered that first meal of Thanks between the Pilgrims and Indians. Still, no one celebrated an official Thanksgiving until America won its independence from England. In 1789, George Washington recommended and assigned Thursday, November 26th as a day to be devoted by the People “to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be…”
Despite the proclamation, Thanksgiving wasn’t a national holiday.
Thanksgiving didn’t become a national holiday until Abraham Lincoln took office prior to the Civil War. In an effort to pull the country together, in 1863, he declared the last Thursday of November Thanksgiving Day. The country gave thanks to those who gave their lives in the Noble cause. And it gave thanks to those who yet survived the war that threatened to divide America.
Since that day in 1863, every president since Lincoln recognized Thanksgiving. But recognizing a holiday doesn’t make it a national holiday.
In 1939, in an effort to extend the Christmas shopping season, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared the third Thursday in November as a day to give thanks. His declaration was met with controversy. Then in 1941 Congress set the national holiday of Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of every November. And it has been a holiday ever since.
It is a day celebrated as the kick off to the Christmas season. A day spent in celebration with friends and family. A day to give thanks to God for his many blessings. And a day to thank the men and women serving in our armed forces for their tireless dedication and sacrifice to this great nation.
Thank you God for all the good in my life. Thank you for my family, my life, my health, and my home. Keep my family safe and healthy. And please watch over the men and women of our military. Hold them in your loving arms. Protect them. And keep them safe until they can return to their families.
In the Bourne Identify, Jason Bourne has Marie St. Jacques. Jack Ryan “Clear and Present Danger” and “Patriot Games” has his wife.
|My husband with our youngest when she was7|
He’s not rich, powerful, or titled. He doesn’t own his own business and he’s not a CEO. But he’s a dedicated, hardworking, responsible man who puts his family first.
|Hubby with oldest when she
He’s a wonderful father and supportive husband.