On a Break Time

A partial list of a blogger’s struggles:

  • Lack of writing time
  • Inability to keep up with reading others
  • Slow responding to comments
  • Throwing together a post

Yep … that’s me at the moment. I don’t need recharging time, I simply need to get take care of matters at hand. Therefore, I’m taking a break from regular posting … but hopefully not from visiting and keeping in touch. I don’t know how long, but I do know this is the right thing to do. Then again, I just may sneak something in.

I can’t leave you without some of the week’s best from The Onion.

  • Study finds “Blame” now fastest human reflex
  • Seventh grader only has two weeks left to acquire cool identity by first day of school
  • Sex toy discreetly shipped in plain dildo-shaped box
  • Date’s flaws coming at woman faster than she can rationalize them
  • Report:Average American spends 27% of lifetime in the way
  • Exxon-Mobil and Chevron locked in bidding war to acquire senator

I also know you want some reasons to celebrate this weekend.

  • (Weekend) Kool Aid Days, Hobo Days
  • (Fri) The Date to Create Day, Happiness Happens Day, Cat Day, Oldie Day, Sneak some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night, Art Day, Frozen Custard Day
  • (Sat) Bowling Day, Garage Sale Day, Veep Day, Indigenous People Day, Send an Email Day, Rice Pudding Day, Hold Hands Day
  • (Sun) Duran Duran Day, Skyscraper Appreciation Day, Smithsonian Day, S’Mores Day, Paul Bunyan Day, Lazy Day, Family Day, Spoil Your Dog Day, Lion Day

But let’s break with a sing-a-long song … and one that wasn’t part of the last Life: The Musical, but it is a classic. So, until next time, belly up to the bar and clean your pipes to sing along … plus, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Virginia and Santa Claus

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Yes, Virginia, when I was your age, I believed in Santa – then I questioned – and then I did not believe for a long time – but I was older when I realized Santa Claus is real.

Yes, Virginia, we link Santa Claus to a Christian holiday, but because of Santa, many celebrate Christmas who aren’t Christians.

Yes, Virginia, Santa is important because he is a spirit for all of humanity. He’s not White, Black, Hispanic, or Asian … He may be all of those or whoever someone wants him to be because Santa is for everyone.

Yes, Virginia, we link Santa Claus to St. Nicholas (a Christian saint), but the gift of giving and kindness is important to not just to Christians, but to Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, Agnostics, Secular Humanists, and all the religions of all the people throughout the big, wonderful world.

Yes, Virginia, some loudly complain about a war on Christmas, buy they do not give Santa much credit.

Yes, Virginia, in the spirit of Santa Claus, I want to give gifts to my readers and anyone who visits this post because I believe there are so many good people throughout the world – and kindness is something all of us have in common.

Yes, Virginia, I want anyone to take as many gifts under this tree as the they want – as long as they tell me in a comment – and they can return as often as they want for more! Yes Virginia, giving is important.

To my fellow Christian friends, Merry Christmas – and we also know what else we are celebrating – and that is important to us to remember.

To all, may the spirit kindness of the holiday season touch each of you … and thanks for all of your doses of Santa kindness that you deliver to my little corner of the world throughout the year and in the time to come.

Yes, Virginia, Santa is about Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All!

christmas-tree2
Many of us are grown up now, but Michael Buble shares a Grown Up Christmas List through clips of classic movies about the holidays.

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This Bing Crosby classic song is a wonderful tradition.

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Lights are one of the joys of the season, so here’s a house serving as a background to an acoustic guitar version of The First Noel by Trans Siberian Orchestra

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Several years ago, Lynn (Composer in the Garden) wrote Father Time, and this is a good opportunity to share her spirit of the season.

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To many, handbells are a sound of the season. Here is a fast-paced version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen with interesting techniques that our choir is playing Christmas Eve. (Start at 1:15 in the video)

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Here’s some Christmas flavor from a local legend. Like her famous nephew George, the late Rosemary Clooney’s roots are Cincinnati. Her Christmas Mem’ries will rekindle your memories.

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I find Where Are You Christmas? by The Piano Guys to be special music that is fitting for this post.

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… and their Carol of the Bells is outstanding.

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For the dancers in the crowd, a spin around the floor to the Christmas Waltz promises to deliver smiles.

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A post like this must include on piece of humor, thus so cheers to the Star Trek spin on a holiday favorite.

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A Fire for You (John Boswell) delivers beautiful music to for the Winter Solstice and the season.

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The universe is a spectacular place, and its wonders continue to amaze me. Enjoy a trip through the universe through the Hubble telescope accompanied by a piano version of Oh Holy Night.

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Manheim Steamroller’s version of Silent Night is not only one of my favorite joys of the season, it is also very calming and accompanied by beautiful images.

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For those wanting to celebrate the sounds of Christmas through voices, Andrea Bocelli and Katherine Jenkins are wonderful together … and yes Virginia, I believe.

On the AFA Holiday Gift Party

Welcome to my Christmas/Holiday Party for my friends, their guests, and whoever stops by the holiday gathering!

I’ve never done a post like this before, but it was fun to put together. Below the image are gifts for many of the faces here and bloggers I visit. These people come not only different parts of the world, but from different cultures and belief systems. They are Christians, Jews, Muslim, Atheists, Agnostics, and others, yet each of them is part of a global community of goodness – so peace and goodwill to all!

The elf below has the gifts. (Quite the helper wouldn’t you say?) There is an order in the listings, but you may have to look around.

If your name isn’t listed, I apologize – so open one of the Grab Bags at the end. Your choice!

Because others want to know what you got, please tell about your gift in the comments. You never know, someone may want to trade with you! After all, I don’t believe there are duplicates.

I encourage everyone to comment about the gift of others. After all, parties involve good conversations.

If you see someone who you know and they haven’t arrived, please notify them to drop by for their present because I didn’t use any ping-back methods as a reminder.

FYI: Different entertainment will appear in the comments throughout the day.

A reminder to stop by for annual Christmas Eve treats of wonder. After all, it will be the one-year anniversary of the 2012 edition that was Freshly Pressed.

Positive cheers to all in the spirit goodness for the season … and thanks for reinforcing my belief system that there are many good people in the world.

Don’t forget to get the T-shirt before you leave. It’s at the end of the post.

DogElf

Thanks to Russell Deasley for this

Al @ A Mixed Bag
Alex @ Things I Love
Alisha @ AbTwixt
Angela @ Mind Margins
Annie @ World According to Cuttlefish
Amy @ Bumble Files
Archon @ Archon’s Den
Audra @ Unfettered BS

Brenda @ Friendly Fairy Tales
BuddhaKat @ BuddhaKat
Bulldog @ The Photographic Journey of the Bulldog

Carrie @ The Write Transition
Catherine @ Always a Redhead
Cathy @ Large Self
Cayman @ Drinks Well with Others
Cindy @ Cindy Knoke Photography
Claudine @ Giovannoni Claudine
Colline @ Colline’s Blog

Debra @ Bagni di Lucca & Beyond
Debra @ Breathe Lighter
Deborah @ Airports Made Simple
Deborah Closet Monster
Don in Mass
D-Fae @ Among the Crystals, Dragons, and Fae

Eleanor @ How and the Hell did I End Up Here?
Elyse @ Fifty-Four and a Half

Fasab @ Fasab
Frank @ Trail Life Hike

Georgette @ Georgette Sullins
GFB at GingerFightBack … with special guest Oily George
Guapo @ Guapola
Gull @ The Magnifique Way

Hansi @ The Blithering Idiot
Hood @ White Lady in the Hood
Hudson @ Hudson Howl

Isadora @ Inside the Mind of Isadora

Jackie @ Breathing to Write
Java Girl @ Java Girl’s Life
Jeff @ Drunken Cyclist
Jim @ The JAR Blog
Jim W @ Still Skeptical After All These Years
Joe H @ London Survival
John in Athens @ The Daily Gaff
John E @ Commentality – Lotsa Comments
John H @ Fiction Favorites
John Phillips @ Is It Possible to See It All
Jules @ McCrabass

Kathy Sister-in-Law
Kathy @ Reinventing in Ecuador
Kayjai @ Kayjai
Kimberly @ Words 4JP

Lame @ Lame Adventures
Laurie @ Pride in Photos Photography
Le Clown @ Clown on Fire
Leo @ Doggy Style
Les @ Best Bathroom Books
Lizzy @ Lizzy Cracked
LouAnn @ On the Homefront
Lynn @ Composer in the Garden

Maddie @ Breezy Books
Madhu @ The Urge to Wander
Marina @ Art Towards a Happy Day
Mark @ Mark Armstrong Illustrations
Melanie @ Our View in Iowa
Mo in Mass
Moe @ Whatever Works
Mouse @ Philosopher Mouse

Nancy @ Conversations in Faith
Nia @ Photography by Nia
Noeleen @ Words Fall From My Eyes

Patti @ Learn Something Everyday

Rachael @ Yo-Yo Dyne
Raye @ Jots from a Small Apartment
Rebecca @ Clanmother
Renee @ Renee Johnson Writes
Resa @ Graffiti Lux and Murals
Rich @ Brainsnorts
RightAngle
Robin @ Breezes at Dawn
Robert @ Yelling Quietly
RoSy @ Sharing Me Myself and I

Shimon @ The Human Picture
Snoring Dog @ Snoring Dog Studios
Spiced Charlie @ Hotly Spiced
Sue @ Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary
Sun @ Simply Charming
Suzanne @ A Window in the Woods
Sylvia @ A Day in Paradise

TBM @ 50-Year Project
Tim: Mr. Marching Band
Tom M @ Within the Spheres

Val @ Tilted Tiara
Vanessa @ Vanessa Chapman
Vivika @ My Guilty Pleasures
Victoria @ Vix Views

Weebs @ Madame Weebles
Wine Wankers @ The Wine Wankers

Grab Bag 1
Grab Bag 2
Grab Bag 3
Grab Bag 4
Grab Bag 5
Grab Bag 6
Grab Bag 7
Grab Bag 8
Grab Bag 9
Grab Bag 10
Grab Bag 11
Grab Bag 12
Grab Bag 13
Grab Bag 14
Grab Bag 15

Thanks for attending. For those who don’t understand the T-shirt reference, click here.

Courtesy of Victoria @ Vic Views

Courtesy of Victoria @ VixViews

On Take 5 with Marina

Welcome to the inaugural post of Take 5, a new AFA occasional-theme-post. These series will feature one blogger answering five random questions about themselves. The video above displays my first guest’s watercolor art. She’s a talented woman from Greece who posts at Art Towards a Happy Day. An AFA welcome Marina Kanavaki. 

Which happens the most, painting influencing your music or music influencing your painting?
The latter, never the other way. Music inspires me when I paint and sometimes I use a loop of just one piece of music until the painting is done. With music, it’s very different as I swim in a sea of notes with no breath. No images, ‘just’ notes.
(AFA: I enjoy both her art and her music)

For anyone visiting Athens, do you have a storefront studio?
I live in a country going through a financial crisis. That means people are reducing ‘unnecessary’ extras and I’m no exception. A year ago, I closed my little studio/workshop to move it at home. From there I started my Imagekind art print shop. I have had offers for an exhibition, but not decided yet.
(AFA) Most of us outside of Greece probably didn’t realize the ranging effect of the financial crisis.

Greece is a land of many islands. Greece is a land of many islands. You have won a contest to visit one island for one week. You can pick any Greek island that you want, as long is you haven’t visited before. Where would be go?
As a true introvert, I’d choose to hire a yacht and harbor in secluded paradise beaches with my husband and our dog. With ample of those islands, traveling by yacht would allow us the advantage of visiting many islands. I’d avoid Mykonos and Santorini. I am aware of their rare beauty, but they are not places for quiet people [like us!] – Maybe in winter.
(AFA: Greece is a land I have yet to visit.)

If a blogger met you for the first time, what would surprise them the most?
I speak very little, honestly, ah, and one more: I wear glasses nowadays!
(AFA: Now this surprises me!)

If my wife and I came to Greece as your guest, what meal would you cook for us? Beware because my wife doesn’t like fish.
A very Mediterranean meal with a vegan twist – so I’ll let your imagination run wild. I cook as I paint – I improvise!
(AFA: Your culinary improv doesn’t surprise me.)

In closing, here are some extra points to note

Marina is a classically trained pianist and vocal soprano who stretches her creativity in her musical project known as MK-O, a collaboration of original music with her musical husband. With that in mind, enjoy these original works. For Android users like me, here’s the scoop on the free MK-O app.

Marina, thank you for being willing to be the premier feature on Take 5. We’ll leave you with a chance to enjoy her music.

On a Favor

Here’s one of my favorite  John Mellencamp songs to serve as background music during this short read … enjoy Paper in Fire.

Not sure I’ve ever requested anything from readers before, but heck, there’s always a first time.

Several of the reasons I changed themes were a wider use of space and the potential for adding subpages. For instance, I added a Schedule subpage to the About page (which you can see if you wish).

Now my favor request for the willing. I’m not an all about me type of person, nor a good self promoter, but I want to add another subpage to the About page labeled Testimonials for newcomers – so, I’m seeking submissions … and yes, selected ones will be linked. I say “selected” because I do have some editorial control.

It can be about anything pertinent to this blog. Some may prefer about a favorite topic as politics, religion & science, travel, life or whatever. Others may prefer to focus on regular features as Monday Morning Entertainment, Satire Bits, Opinions in the Shorts, or Saturday Morning Cartoon Classics.  And yes, you can even submit something about me … but the bottom line is that it’s coming from you and about whatever ….. and originality in your own style or quirky nature is a plus!

Writing them in the comments is fine with me, unless one prefers to use email. In advance, many thanks to my WordPress community.

On Satire Bits: Vol. 73

How’s your week going so far? The weather has deliver excellent days to Cincinnati, but change is due to happen any day.

Meanwhile, our handbell choir director has extended rehearsals so we can get more time preparing for all that is on our plate. The commissioned piece is a tough, but it’s starting to come together as the premier is just several weeks away. Then the normal avalanche of holiday music for November and December will drive us into a frenzy.

Given the stalemate in the US government, we in the USA need a special dose of midweek satire. In order to deliver a challenge, here is another special edition of identify the blogger – but these headliners are from all over the world.

Can you identify any? I’ll include the answers toward the end of my day.

1) Composer Stuck in Looping Coda

2) Aussie Super-Mom Won’t Leave Shower Until Water Runs Out

3) British-born South African in Florida Diagnosed with Identity Confusion

4) Homesick Aussie of Finnish descent spending too much time in Italy

5) Dog Owner Bets Switching Meals with Dogs on Running Time

6) Fashion Icon Wears Jacques Strapé Design at Exotic Polynesian Resort

7) Midnight Power Allows Photographer to Walk Across Bog

8) Ambidextrous Artist Challenged to Draw Hands with Her Feet

9) Artist Admits to Using Number to Paint and Play Piano

10) Cornfield Physicist Explains E = MC Hammer to Kevin Costner

11) Marching Band Director Would Rather Watch the Football Game

ANSWERS

1) Lynn at Composer in the Garden (Pennsylvania, USA)
2 Charlie at Hotly Spiced (Australia)
3 Sylvia at A Day in Paradise (South Africa)
4 Debra at Bagni di Lucca and Beyond (Australia, Finland, Italy)
5 Leo at Doggy’s Style (Spain)
6 Kay at Pure Complex (NYC, USA)
7 Robin at Beeze at Dawn
8 Raye at Jots from a Small Apartment (Oregon, USA)
9 Marina at Art Toward a Happy Day (Greece)
10 Jim at The JAR Blog (Iowa, USA)
11) Tim is a friend, commenter, and reader who has been with me from Day 1

Flashbacks: About Me

By having this blog for over five years, I’ve disclosed more than a few things about myself. Enjoy these flashbacks, visit as many as you want, and I hope you comment on the post you visited.