Monday, December 30, 2019

Gauguin Nativity

Christmas Night: The Blessing of the Oxen (1902 - 03)
by Paul Gauguin (1848 - 1903)

Thanks to my friends Claude & Susanna for sharing the Gauguin Nativity in his Christmas greeting this year and letting me know that it is nearby! Not only was this lovely painting new to me; but, I must confess that, even though Gerry and I have been back in the area for 15 years now, we have yet to visit all the Indianapolis Museums. Maybe the Children's Museum once and the Historical Society once, but never The Eiteljorg or The IMA.

New Year's Resolution! Right?
Claude writes: "Do make a date, you and Gerry (& before Valentine's!), of going to IMA. The architecture and grounds are lovely, and collection impressive even 20 yrs ago, when I last saw; I'm sure even better now. If the museum cafe is still as nice as I remember it, you can make a whole winter's day of it. For decades, going to the IMA was one of Ginny and Rick's favorite outings together. Happy New Year to all there."

Friday, December 27, 2019

Merry Christmas Neighbor

Thanks to Our Neighbors . . .
for sharing these festive photos
of our gifts to them:

A Pioneer Woman
Christmas Plate for Beata


A Pair of Christmas Flamingos
for the Griffins!

For all my neighbors, friends and family, here are the
hard to find lyrics of a rarely played old favorite
featuring the beloved Cartwrights of Bonanza:

Merry Christmas Neighbor

Merry Christmas, Neighbor
Happy days to you
Merry Christmas, Neighbor
All the whole year through

Earth is friendly and happy and bright
May it always be
Just as neighborly
As it is tonight

Merry Christmas, Children
Santa rides above
Merry Christmas, Mother
Tender be your love

Peace, goodwill to all folks the world through
Merry Christmas, Neighbor, to you

Ben: Merry Christmas, Mothers
From your girls and boys

Hoss:Merry Christmas, Fathers
Many be your joys

Little Joe:
Peace, goodwill to all folks the world through
Merry Christmas, Neighbor, to you

found on the 1969 Special Release Album
Christmas with Colonel Sanders ~ Side 2, Track 2

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Village Pageant

A few pages from one of our favorite Christmas books:
Joe Carpenter & Son
Graham Clarke

Joe's Place

"In our English way we hope to tell
the story you all know so well . . .
The love of Mary for her son,
and the love of Joseph for his chosen one;
His task was not an easy one,
to be an earthly dad to a heavenly son . . .

He's such a sturdy little boy
he'll be a tradesman, like his dad. . . .
When his apprenticeship is done . . .
we'll be Joe Carpenter and Son . . .

Stable Lad

The shepherds were
Just Abiding

The wisemen proceed toward
The Royal Star

See also:
In the Holy Nativity of Our Lord God:
A Hymn Sung as by the Shepherds

[with speaking parts by two shepherds, Tityrus and Thyrsis]

Welcome, all wonders in one sight!
Eternity shut in a span;
Summer in winter; day in night;
Heaven in earth, and God in man.
Great little one, whose all-embracing birth
Lifts earth to heaven, stoops heav’n to earth.

by Richard Crashaw (c. 1613 – 1649)
English metaphysical poet, teacher, churchman

Monday, December 23, 2019

The Halcyon Days

The Halcyon Days of December, such a lovely concept!
Mild weather for 7 days before and 7 days after the
Winter Solstice. We don't enjoy such good fortune
every year, but this year -- yes!

Halcyon Days

Autumn ~ Winter

All three paintings by
William Stephen Coleman (1829–1904)


There's nothing quite like a nice day in December!
What a treat: The Last Nice Days of the Year!

Additional depictions of the Halcyon Days

Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Year is Dying

The Year is Dying ~ Happy Winter Solstice!

An Old Man's Winter Night

All out of doors looked darkly in at him
Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars,
That gathers on the pane in empty rooms.
What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze
Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand.
What kept him from remembering what it was
That brought him to that creaking room was age.
He stood with barrels round him—at a loss.
And having scared the cellar under him
In clomping there, he scared it once again
In clomping off;—and scared the outer night,
Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar
Of trees and crack of branches, common things,
But nothing so like beating on a box.
A light he was to no one but himself
Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what,
A quiet light, and then not even that.
He consigned to the moon,—such as she was,
So late-arising,—to the broken moon
As better than the sun in any case
For such a charge, his snow upon the roof,
His icicles along the wall to keep;
And slept. The log that shifted with a jolt
Once in the stove, disturbed him and he shifted,
And eased his heavy breathing, but still slept.
One aged man—one man—can't fill a house,
A farm, a countryside, or if he can,
It's thus he does it of a winter night.

Robert Frost, 1874-1963

First two ornaments on the tree this year.
New presents from friends —
sweater gnome and skiing Santa!
I think they look good together —
two elderly gentlemen!

More Winter Poems

And Winter Solstice Google Doodle
Misread by Funny Philly Friends as "Go Eagles!"
Hey, Why Not?! Makes sense to me!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Christmas Treats

Ben & Cathleen’s fabulous Buche de Noel!
Ben outdid himself on this one!

First time I've ever seen a wineglass cookie cutter!
Thanks to Steven for this clever present!

Old - fashioned peanut brittle in the mail
from my brother Aaron ~ the flavor of childhood!

Nature's Bounty & Cookies from Walmart.
If you like Girl Scout Thin Mints,
take my word, you will love these!

British Imports ~ fast becoming a holiday habit!
Gotta love my nephew Dan's thank you note:
"My lovely Anti - Kit [our little joke] has provided
me with this metric ton of Battenberg cakes. . . .
Be jelly, y'all, I got the hookup!


And from Auntie Tee & Uncle Al:
Additional Goodies from the Old Country!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Celine & Florine

Portrait of My Sister, Ettie Stettheimer, 1928
by Florine Stettheimer, 1871–1944
Victoria Reis: "Stettheimer’s portrait of her younger sister Ettie places her in a dark, starlit setting in front of a combination burning bush-Christmas tree, perhaps to signify the family’s cultural assimilation as Jews who celebrated Christmas. Like Florine, the subject also appears to be floating in space, lounging on a red fainting couch. An ornament on the tree, a red book inscribed with the name “Ettie,” represents Ettie’s role as the author and intellectual of the family."

Stettheimer's Christmas painting is the perfect accompaniment to this poem -- by my friend ~ Celine -- that I came across when looking through an old Christmas scrapbook from grad school days:

Presents wrapped in paper --
presents tied with bows!
Outward signs can help us
signal deeper things we know.

Can any gift be greater
than the persons in this place,
each given to the others
for beauty, joy, and grace?
will we stop today to stare
at each and every face?
Will we take the time to care,
or just hurry on and race
to open
presents wrapped in paper --
presents tied with bows?

Outward signs can help us
signal gifts we could forget
we know.

Merry Christmas and Blessings
Always ~ Sister Celine Carrigan
December 13, 1983

For more paintings by Florine Stettheimer,
see my current post:

Celine & Florine

@The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A literary blog of connection & coincidence;
custom & ceremony

Friday, December 13, 2019

Visions of Kafka

"While visions of gingerbread danced in his head"
. . . not to mention the crow!
Kafka Museum &
Pernikovy Panacek Gingerbread Shop

Recent Kafka Posts:

Where's Kafka?


Finding Kafka in Prague

@The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A literary blog of connection & coincidence;
custom & ceremony

Across town, another gingerbread shop . . .
. . . on a beautiful street in Prague

~ And for Holiday Viewing ~
Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life
The Oscar-Winning Film About Kafka Writing
The Metamorphosis

I wish I could say that all these tourists are
clamoring to see the boyhood home of Franz Kafka;
but no, they are waiting to see the clock strike three!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019


A few more favorite cartoons on the topic of normalcy,
following Monday's selections on insomnia

What's Normal?

What's Normalizing?

Monday, December 9, 2019

Friday, December 6, 2019

A Grim St. Nicholas

A Troubling St. Nick
Poster advertising The Museum of Communism
Prague, Czech Republic

Notice the helpful advice in the lower right corner -- "Above McDonald’s" -- yet another special feature of this already priceless poster, offering the perfect blend of ancient & popular cultures. I was immediately intrigued by the sight of this poster in the window, and visiting this totally eye - opening museum was one of the highlights of our visit, conveniently located right across the street from our hotel. However, we never did make it to the McDonald's.

One of the displays in the museum was an imitation corner store, showing how difficult it had been to buy household supplies. As part of the display, there were a lot of empty shelves behind the counter and a sign: "Maybe Next Month."

When I asked in the REAL (not imitation) gift shop if they had postcards of the St. Nick poster, the cashier said, "Maybe next month"! This was in October, and I was thinking in advance of buying a few dozen to send as Christmas cards when I got home; so at first I thought the answer implied that they might get more in stock in November, closer to the holidays.

Then Gerry McCartney said, "Remember the sign in the little store? Maybe it was a meta - answer!"

Previous Posts
on St. Nicholas

Wednesday, December 4, 2019


Mantel display, reflecting all fleeting seasons!
So many decorations from so many good friends: Lily of the Valley Egg from Susan Endress Blubaugh @Pysanky Spirit, Pumpkin Couple & Jane Austen Earrings from Katy Bunder, Sugar Skull Couple & Bronte Earrings from Victoria Amador, Pop - up Bats from Vicky McLaughlin, Witch - hat Candlesticks from Diane Cox, Shakespeare Not Stirred from Jonnie Guerra.

Across the top -- vintage Humpty - Dumpty Egg Cup from England, painted egg from Poland, Nativity (including elephant!) from Smithsonian. Far left on the wall: Gerry brought me the wall clock from the Sagrada Família, Barcelona; far right: the Castle of Love wall plaques are from Warwick Castle. Lower right, Sacagawea from T. J. Maxx. And, last but not least, the white pumpkins are from Walmart, early 21st Century!
Dia de los Muertos Bride & Groom
from Auntie Wickie

Lily of the Valley Plate from years ago,
belonging to my Grandmother Rovilla Lindsey

Other Seasons
Christmas 2016
(photo 2017 - 02 - 03 / see also 2017 - 01 - 11)

Valentine's Day 2018
(photo 2018 - 03 -21)

Easter 2018
(photo 2018 - 04 - 01)

Winter Dreams
January 2011

Monday, December 2, 2019

Current Events for Advent

Advent Calendar Cat

Pardon my sanity in a world insane.”
Emily Dickinson

Some articles for each week of Advent,
preparing our hearts to make the world
a better place in the New Year:

The First Week ~ Hope
"The short history of global living conditions
and why it matters that we know it"

~ Updated in 2019 ~
by Max Roser

The Second Week ~ Peace
"The Enemy Within:
Our grasp on what it takes
to sustain a democracy is slipping"

~ December 2019 ~
by James Mattis

The Third Week ~ Love
"Feeding the Hungry
is Our Moral and Social Responsibility"

~ March 29, 2019 ~
by Monica Brown Moss

The Fourth Week ~ Joy
"A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Is More Than a Feel-Good Movie"

~ November 21, 2019 ~
by David Sims


There is SO MUCH food in this country -- so much, in fact, that, for better or worse, we often throw away the excess without even flinching. Please GIVE IT AWAY and let people eat it -- not the trash food, but the good food. There's plenty of that too! This isn't about who "deserves" food -- there is no such thing. It is about distributing the bounty in a land of plenty.

As Richard Rohr says in Falling Upward: "There is no longer any question 'Does he or she deserve it [love, inclusion, acceptance, forgiveness, the loving gaze of God]?' What we received was totally undeserved itself" (160).

Yes, we are all connected:
"The World as 100 People"