Sunday, March 31, 2013

"Easter is the only time

of the year when it is perfectly safe to put all your eggs in one basket."  ~Anonymous
I certainly need to hop to it in my shop, but life has a way of detouring one!  Anyway, I got to thinking about how bunnies became the symbol of Easter, and, of course, I had to look it up.  So, for your Easter dinner, some trivia for those moments when conversation lags.

As with many of our religious holidays, there is a pagan connection.  The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with an uproarious festival commemorating their goddess of offspring and of springtime, Eastre or Eostre. When the second-century Christian missionaries encountered the tribes of the north with their pagan celebrations, they attempted to convert them to Christianity.

The consort of Eastre was none other than a hare, that great animal symbol of fertility. According to some traditions, Eastre cast the hare into the Heavens, creating the constellation we know today as Lepus the Hare. Some stories also say that Eastre gave Lepus the ability to lay eggs once a year, eggs also being an ancient symbol of fertility.
The Easter Bunny has been around since the 1500's in the writings of the Germans. The first edible Easter bunny was made out of pastry and sugar in the early 1800's, and the bunny was said to lay colorful eggs in the nests that children made out of bonnets.

 Germans who traveled to the Pennsylvania Dutch country brought the German Easter Bunny traditions with them to America in the 1700's.  Slowly the hats that the children piled into hidden nests for the bunnies turned into baskets. These baskets are still hidden around the house and are now used to collect the colored eggs of children as they go on their Easter egg hunts.
So, as spring returns, I leave you with some lines from e.e. cummings...
"sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love"

Sunday, March 24, 2013

"With an evening coat and a white tie,

 anybody, even a stock broker can gain a reputation for being civilized."  

 ~Oscar Wilde  

In my mission to revamp the shop, I am finding some amazing treasures that I tucked away.  One of the bags uncovered contained a stash of tie clips.

 Now, we all have heard the expression "tie one on", and we all relate that to the drink, but research calls me.  The OED compares "tie one on" to the British slang phrase "tie a bun on," also meaning "to get drunk." 

A fascinating tidbit came from someone who studied Native Americans.  It seems there was a custom of lashing a hand-woven basket to a tree.  The basket was filled with a mash of grains...think beer brewing...and the grains would ferment over time as they mixed with rain to create a wine.  After a couple months, the men would return to the tree, take the tub of liquor down, and return to the village having "tied one on".  The men would lie to the women (you know, time marches on, humanity crawls along), but they would say they were hunting and bring back small game.  The "bun" refers to the alibi of stringing a hare or wild rabbit to a tree to drain its blood.
Anyway, I found tie tacks/bars/clips!  And so...more research!  The tie dates to the 19th century in Europe where is was worn with detachable collars and was merely a long strip of cloth.  Ties tended to be unruly, and so a tie pin or tie tack was designed to help the tie lay flat.  Over time, it evolved into a tie bar, tie chain, tie clip.  All forms kept the tie under control...or prevented it from "draping in the food" as one site proclaimed.
GQ even had an instructional video posted last year on using the tie bar!
 "We see guys wearing their tie bar too high or too low all the time. The rule is simple: It goes between the third and fourth buttons of your dress shirt."
"It may sound obvious, but a tie bar doesn't just clip the front end of your tie to the back end. It fastens both ends to the placket of your shirt."
 "Finally, never wear a tie bar that's wider than your tie. That's the worst! Keep things narrow."
Now, the key point...who does wear these man-baubles?  Based on a quick look at some pictures in some magazines and online, I am not seeing any, so what to do?  Well, we women can "lean in" with a new accent...clip on a hat...on a lapel...or go all Annie Hall and wear a tie!  There is one that is actually a pencil...

a screw...

then the little tie tacs are  varied...and the rings are intriguing...and there is a gun for the 2nd Amendment follower...

But perhaps Chinese writer Lin Yutang has it right (and maybe we should ban neckties especially among certain professions!):
"I have a hankering to go back to the Orient and discard my necktie.  Neckties strangle clear thinking."

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Irish diplomacy...

is the ability to tell a man to go to hell so that he looks forward to making the trip!
A little trivia today to celebrate the green!  I am from Irish mother was a St. Patrick's Day has a personal green tint for me!  When I was little my grandfather always planted peas and potatoes today, and he taught me to scan the grass for the four leaf clover.
The shamrock, which was also called the "seamroy" by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring. By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism. As the English began to seize Irish land and make laws against the use of the Irish language and the practice of Catholicism, many Irish began to wear the shamrock as a symbol of their pride in their heritage and their displeasure with English rule.
Another Irish tradition is the corned beef and cabbage.  I am not a good Irish girl since I do not eat the 'tater though!  Each year, thousands of Irish Americans gather with their loved ones on to share a "traditional" meal of corned beef and cabbage.  Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only began to be associated with St. Patrick's Day at the turn of the century.
Irish immigrants living on New York City's Lower East Side substituted corned beef for their traditional dish of Irish bacon to save money. They learned about the cheaper alternative from their Jewish neighbors.
The leprechaun's original Irish name for these figures of folklore is "lobaircin," meaning "small-bodied fellow."
Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil.   In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies. Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure.

Leprechauns had nothing to do with St. Patrick or the celebration of St. Patrick's Day, a Catholic holy day. In 1959, Walt Disney released a film called Darby O'Gill & the Little People, which introduced America to a very different sort of leprechaun than the cantankerous little man of Irish folklore. This cheerful, friendly leprechaun is a purely American invention, but has quickly evolved into an easily recognizable symbol of both St. Patrick's Day and Ireland in general.

I leave you with a lesser known Irish blessing...

"May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks. May your heart be as light as a song. May each day bring you bright, happy hours. That stay with you all the year long."

Sunday, March 10, 2013

"Most of us don't need a psychiatric therapist

as much as a friend to be silly with."~Robert Brault

Yesterday was a mental health day for my friend Ruthie and me!  We had a girls' day out, and our big adventure was going to Ocean City.  We stopped at Captain Scrap's Attic to tidy up our "pop-up" shop there...and add some treasures...
Then, we made a stop at a nearby thrift shop to check for some baskets for our customers to use to carry their treasures while shopping in the Dutch Rose.  But, a really fun thrift shop was discovered in Ocean City at 1034 Asbury Ave.  They had to rebuild after Sandy, but they have recovered well thanks to amazing volunteers! 

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love cats...I have a large tribe myself, and, whenever I see the cats in these adoption rooms, I just want to take them all!  And, Ruthie is also a cat lady so you know we had to go there! Anyway, we just took some wonderful purchases out of this neat little thrift shop.  I had found them through Facebook Mew to You.   You have to love the name of the shop!
I took some random shots...if you are in the area, they have wonderful new Easter creatures...I could have easily brought a few of these fluffy guys home!  I know we will be back!  And, the money goes to the much better than giving it to corporations!

Then, after a stroll along the avenue, we had to head for the Boardwalk.  It was 60 out...the sun was shining...the sky was blue!  We do live ~ we are not just visitors here ~ at the beach, and we tend to forget how wonderful it is to be able to hop in the car and be on the Boardwalk or gazing out on the ocean.

Anyway, people were out and about...
 surfers on the sea...

And, for those who think our area was washed out to sea in last fall's storm...not true...the rides are not ready yet, but they are not out to sea!
...we are alive and well--the boardwalk is not shattered...the beaches are still here!
And so, with a day packed with friendship, fun, and frivolity, we loaded the back of the van...and had to bring home some Johnson's caramel corn to munch on also! 
Above all, the day provided something money cannot buy...friendship...and the joy of a day out to revel in that!
"The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach - waiting for a gift from the sea."~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Sunday, March 3, 2013

"Indoors or out, no one relaxes in March,

that month of wind and taxes, the wind will presently disappear, the taxes last us all the year."
   ~Ogden Nash

If we had lived before 1752, we would have been recovering from our New Year's celebration!

March...from the Roman martius was named after Mars, the god of war.  I guess that is appropriate because we are fighting with the weather, the wind, the winter.  The Anglo-Saxons called the month Hlyd monath which means stormy month.   Until the Gregorian calendar was accepted in 1752, the year began in March.  In a way, it makes sense.  Those of us who live in the colder climates, do come to life this time of year as things come back into bloom, and we plan for planting and new growth.
Speaking of new growth, finally modern conveniences coming to the shop...our new heating and air conditioning system is being installed...finally...these are the inside units that provide heat and air...modern technology...
This is the outdoor unit...

Once the work is completed, we will be open on weekends.  It is difficult to gauge the new season since people still think the area has not recovered from Sandy; however, we did not suffer as much as those north of us, but it has created for us a theme for the summer...Jersey Proud.  Some sophisticated decor from the shore is being accumulated for your buying pleasure.  I found a woman who takes her photos and translates into wonderful pillows reminiscent of Boardwalk fun...
Another lives on a boat  turns maps and sea charts into jewelry...
Also coming are whales made from recycled metal...
So, we are indeed finally looking at a "new" year!

"March is a tomboy with tousled hair, a mischievous smile, mud on her shoes and a laugh in her voice."                - Hal Borland