Browsing All posts tagged under »Holidays«

Joan Larsen: Let’s Run Away – Three Beautiful Places to Get Lost

February 15, 2017

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By Joan Larsen Let’s be honest here. It’s February – hearts and flowers time – and a reminder that the familiar theme –telling us that “love is in the air” –may well be bypassing us big time. Sure. . . if we are lucky, we have LOVE in our lives. But again, let’s be honest […]

Lauriate Roly Remembers: A Kiss is Still a Kiss

February 14, 2017

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By Lauriate Roly Something that never excited me, was to kiss someone. In fact, I hated  it. What an uncomfortable and ridiculous custom having someone grab and crush themselves to you and plant a very uncomfortable and miserably juicy pressure on your comfortable and dry face. My aunt Katy was a horror and demon as […]

Joan Larsen’s Life Stories: The Child and the Robbers

January 25, 2017

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By Joan Larsen I have a story to tell, a tale that lies within me, waiting to come out… a seemingly improbable story that happened in my own family… a story that has marked me, marked my family.  Like it or not, TV and the media have made us voyeurs in the most horrific stories […]

Joan Larsen Presents: 2017 – Reflections From the Mountain

December 28, 2016

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As 2016 comes to a close, and as we perch a bit precariously on the edge of this New Year –  we are still filled with hope  as we always have been. But with a world in turmoil as it is, stirring our minds — a small family holiday getaway has done the trick,  once again bringing us back to the beauty […]

Joan Larsen Presents: The Most Magical Holiday Season

December 21, 2016

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by Joan Larsen The years spent in our lovely decorated home waiting for Santa to make his magical, glorious appearance are long past.  The close-knit family of our childhoods seem to have scattered in all directions now. Changes in tradition never seem to be easy.  But after more thought, more talk than you might believe, […]

Not Your Average Holiday Movie… “Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale”

December 19, 2016

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In the mood for some Christmas entertainment that isn’t all gooey-saccharine-sweet?  How about a Christmas horror movie? If you don’t mind subtitles and can take it as the silly comedy-horror show that it is, check out the Finnish movie, Rare Exports:  A Christmas Tale.  You don’t want this Santa coming down your chimney. There are […]

Joan Larsen’s Sleigh Full of Holiday Ideas: Turning Your Selection of Christmas Gifts into Lifelong Memories

December 14, 2016

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by Joan Larsen   Aren’t the feelings of warmth, of joy and laughter .  .  . but, most of all, of love – what the holidays truly are supposed to be?  Shouldn’t the element of togetherness be forefront in this season?  I think we are all nodding yes.  I am sure you are. But instead, […]

Joan Larsen Thinks Outside the Christmas Box: New Ways to Make the Holidays Last Year-Round

November 30, 2016

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By Joan Larsen   All right. . . I am going to be honest with you this Christmas season. I have been an inveterate gift giver all my life, almost racing – as the days get close to the holidays – to fulfill the dreams of all my friends and family. I am sure you […]

Joan Larsen Presents: Thanksgiving at the Lake House

November 23, 2016

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It’s Thanksgiving at the Lake House and the gathering of family is always equated to love overflowing and the feeling of closeness . . .   A warm welcome to our family Thanksgiving!!       The greatest fun is coming early and working together to make decorations for the house   As the children […]

Keeping the Elderly Relevant

November 21, 2016

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Every holiday season, and in some other seasons too, we will make the traditional pilgrimages to our relatives’ homes, and within a couple of days, we are reminded of why we moved out in the first place.  You know what they say:  fish and house guests stink after three days. On this year’s Thanksgiving odyssey […]

A Halloween Treat: Robbie Burns’ “Tam O’Shanter”

October 31, 2016

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Perhaps you are familiar with Cutty Sark Scotch Whiskey, with the ship on the label.  You may know that the liquor is named for the Cutty Sark, a clipper built in 1869 for the tea trade, and later used in the wool trade.  She was fast, holding the speed record from Australia to Britain for […]

So You’ve Never Heard of Steampunk?

October 24, 2016

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There was Lila, invited to a Halloween party at the last minute, and not a thing to wear. What to do, what to do… Aha! For Christmas a few years ago, some wonderfully strange friends had given Lila Ebola and Plague. No, no, not the actual diseases; these were somewhat cute, plush, giant microbe toys […]

In Honor of Columbus Day: That Yummy Columbian Exchange

October 10, 2016

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When I lived in Europe, I once had the chance to stay in one of the older homes in Zurich.  The keystone above the doorway was engraved with “1402.”  “Oh, was this house built in 1402?”  I asked, impressed with its age.  “No,” came the reply, “It was renovated in 1402.”  Wow!  As I lay […]

In Honor of Oktoberfest: Trachtenmoden!

October 3, 2016

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This weekend marks the final days of Oktoberfest 2016.  Who hasn’t heard of this annual German festival, with its beer and bratwurst, its oom-pah bands and fest tents, its dirndl-clad women and lederhosen-clad men performing traditional Bavarian dances? When we were in Germany, we never did go to the “big Oktoberfest” in Munich.  What many folks […]

When in the Course of Human Events, It Becomes Necessary…

July 4, 2016

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Happy Fourth, all!  Today marks the 240th  anniversary of the adoption of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. The Declaration really did not mark the start of the Revolutionary War; that had come more than a year earlier, in April 1775, with the “shot heard ’round the world” at the Battles of Lexington and Concord (Paul […]

Before There Was an Official Memorial Day…

May 30, 2016

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Before there was an official Memorial Day, people well knew how to mark it; few were untouched by the Civil War (or War Between the States, if you prefer).  A century and a half later… well. HEADQUARTERS GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868 The 30th day of May, […]

Alice Friedemann Goes South of the Border: Oaxaca, Part 2 – Day of the Dead and Other Adventures

May 24, 2016

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By Alice Friedemann Photos by Jeffery B. Kahn Alice Friedemann continues her travel adventures through the Mexican state of Oaxaca.  If you missed Part 1 last month, you can see it at The Magic of Oaxaca. San Francisco has a wild and colorful Day of the Dead parade and altars every year, but it can’t […]

Easter Pondering: I Don’t Understand God as Martyr

March 28, 2016

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I readily confess that I am agnostic in the true Greek sense of the word, “not knowing.”  Thus I shall remain, I suspect, because I just can’t get my head around many articles of faith.  This, despite a Catholic-school upbringing and scholarly study of the Bible. With Easter just past, my mind once again ponders […]

Easter Special: The Art of Ukrainian Pysanky

March 21, 2016

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Tired of the same old boring Easter Eggs?  Check out the art of Ukrainian Pysanky at Ann Morasch’s site, LearnPysanky.com.  This is the best website I have yet seen explaining how to make these elaborate decorations, with a great FAQ section for all of your questions. Pysanky are not like our boring, yet generally edible, […]

Joan Larsen Presents: 2016 – Reflections From the Mountain

December 30, 2015

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As 2015 comes to a close, and as we perch a bit precariously on the edge of this New Year –  we are still filled with hope  as we always have been. But with a world in turmoil as it is, stirring our minds — a small family holiday getaway has done the trick,  once again bringing us back to the beauty […]

‘Tis the Season to Rip the Phone Off the Wall

December 28, 2015

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Beware of the Self-Licking Ice Cream Cone, or Why There Should Be No Exemptions to the Do Not Call List. Now here we are in the Season of Giving. People’s hearts and wallets are open, so of course charities come a-calling. And this is where Lila gets really annoyed with the fact that the Do […]

Joan Larsen Presents: The Most Magical Holiday Season

December 23, 2015

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by Joan Larsen The years spent in our lovely decorated home waiting for Santa to make his magical, glorious appearance are long past.  The close-knit family of our childhoods seem to have scattered in all directions now. Changes in tradition never seem to be easy.  But after more thought, more talk than you might believe, […]

Lauriate Roly Remembers: Crèche – Mom, From Central Casting

December 21, 2015

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By Lauriate Roly The school I went to had a boy’s side and a girl’s side, “and never the twain shall meet.”  It was strictly forbidden for either side to mix with the other. Even in the big schoolyard we shared together, there was a heavy painted line that neither gender child would even think […]

Joan Larsen Presents: A True and Inspiring Holiday Tale to Remember – Sprinkling Stars on the Life of a Child

December 16, 2015

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By Joan Larsen Sometimes, a single story can change our lives. Though this personal tale takes place in the Christmas season, it is one that – once heard – is remembered forever.   The glories of nature in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana would be hard to match.  But in that wilderness live families whose […]

Joan Larsen’s Travel: Ready, Set, Snow! – The Old World Charms of Quebec City

December 9, 2015

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By Joan Larsen We’re dreaming of a white Christmas. Streets banked with that glistening white stuff, beautifully highlighted by festive holiday decorations, quaint little markets for that one-of-a-kind gift shopping that will make you the most remembered Santa on earth. Quebec exudes Old World charm, yet it is enticingly close to home. You are going […]

Joan Larsen, Out and About: Lighting Up the Holidays at the Biltmore Mansion

December 2, 2015

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by Joan Larsen To me, there is nothing like the feeling of a much loved family gathering filled with love – with so many hugs and so much joy – each and every Christmas. My spirits have lifted for the celebration. But I don’t want to spend the remaining days of the season stretched out […]

Wonderful Wool – and Other Old Things

November 30, 2015

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The holiday season is upon us!  May you stay safe in your forays into the shopping chaos. I’d like to make a suggestion for this year: buy old stuff. I started pondering this with the arrival of the cold weather last year. It happens that I have my parents’ wool blankets that they bought way […]

Joan Larsen Encore: Thanksgiving at the Lake House

November 25, 2015

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It’s Thanksgiving at the Lake House and the gathering of family is always equated to love overflowing and the feeling of closeness . . .   A warm welcome to our family Thanksgiving!!       The greatest fun is coming early and working together to make decorations for the house   As the children […]

The Obliteration of Thanksgiving, and Halloween is Next

November 23, 2015

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As we head into Thanksgiving week… everyone take a deep breath. Fall and winter used to have a certain stately holiday pace to them: first came Halloween, with its witches and goblins, skeletons and black cats.  The venerable pumpkin and the reds, yellows and oranges of Autumn rolled smoothly into Thanksgiving.  There used to be […]

Joan Larsen Thinks Outside the Christmas Box: New Ways to Make the Holidays Last Year-Round

November 18, 2015

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By Joan Larsen   All right. . . I am going to be honest with you this Christmas season. I have been an inveterate gift giver all my life, almost racing – as the days get close to the holidays – to fulfill the dreams of all my friends and family. I am sure you […]

The Annual Halloween Parade of the Offended: Give It a Rest!

October 26, 2015

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Dang, people, get a grip. If everyone who’s offended by some costume or other gets their way, there won’t be a Halloween at all anymore. Apparently, 1 November is not the Day of the Dead in the US, nor is it All Saints’ Day. No, it is the Day to Be Righteously Offended About Other […]