Coronavirus · Holidays · My Thoughts · Thanksgiving

How About Pizza for Thanksgiving?

Photo by Ponyo Sakana from Pexels

Yes, it was pizza for Thanksgiving! We knew it would be a different holiday because of Covid-19 restrictions, but I had an eye procedure on Monday of Thanksgiving week, and my recovery didn’t go well, complicating the food preparation.

I had the same eye procedure two years ago, so I dreaded it, but I didn’t think anything about doing it on Monday before Thanksgiving. Last time, I recovered quicker. They drastically changed the procedure on my second eye which made it more painful and invasive. So, I spent much of the week in bed. I took serious pain medication, so I also had the effect of that to deal with, but I stopped it on Wednesday.

So, no cooking happened. I’ve baked homemade pumpkin pies for the last ten years, so that’s what I missed the most, but we enjoyed our pizza dinner and store-bought pie!

For most of my life, Thanksgiving has been a family-filled holiday with delicious food, lots of people and games. Gradually, it’s changed over the years as family members pass away and people moved away. After Mom died, it’s been mostly Lin and me.

Last year, my brother joined us, and we had a festive celebration. He loves football too, so we spent our day eating a traditional turkey dinner and watching non-stop football. On Friday, we ventured out to the new Cabela’s in Albuquerque to witness a massive amount of hunting enthusiasts out ready for the sales. We didn’t stay long.

This year, we started Thanksgiving morning with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and punctuated the day with eye drops for Lin and me. Lin is recovering from his second cataract surgery and had a great experience with both but still needs eye drops.

Lin & Larada wish you a Happy Thanksgiving after pizza
Lin & Larada with her sore eye!

After our pizza—really cheese breadsticks shaped like a pizza—I snuggled down on the sofa in my favorite handmade afghan—a rainbow-colored creation from my Mom’s nibble fingers. A content time of relaxation with Jesse curled around my feet!

Larada Relaxing on the Sofa with Jesse Warming Her Feet!

We watched the two football games, cheering on our teams we’d picked in a football pool Lin runs. It felt really strange not to have the third game in the evening, but we survived!

After a light dinner, Lin called me out to see the Christmas lights he’d put up a couple weeks ago on the garage—the Christmas season officially started at the Miller’s house. We also began another holiday tradition we love: we started watching Christmas movies on Amazon Prime. We both enjoy the predictable plots and the celebrations of regional traditions.

As I look back over the day, it truly was a blessed Thanksgiving Day! Yes, we didn’t have all the trimmings we normally have, but we enjoyed each other and our crazy traditions.

Jesse helping me Type!
Jesse Helping Me Type This!

As I worked on this blog post, my cat, Jesse, sat partially on my lap as I typed this out on my laptop. I didn’t think I would be able to do this post this morning. I had a horrible setback with my eye. When I got up and walked into the bathroom, the sunlight hit my eye, and I recoiled with the pain, but I couldn’t get away from it quickly enough because of the wide window and the location of the sun. By the time I grabbed a Kleenex, I had some blood in my tears—not good! I have had major pain in my eye all day.

So after this mishap, I spent the morning very low-keyed and with limited technology, but I couldn’t miss communicating with you.

I’ve thought a lot about how much the coronavirus changed this holiday for so many—the sacrifice many people made for the safety of others and themselves. My family followed suit and celebrated separately. Yes, it was different—pizza and lots of eye drops, but it’s onward to Christmas!

How did you spend your Thanksgiving this year? Was it different? The same? Let me know!


~Visit my blog post from last week:

Merry Christmas from Flippo

~HAVE YOU ORDERED A PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY FOR A CHRISTMAS PRESENT FOR A LOVED ONE OR YOURSELF?   AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website and pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo and Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

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Holidays · Life Lessons · My Thoughts · Thanksgiving

What’s Your Favorite Thanksgiving Memory?

Pictures of Thanksgiving
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Restrictions, stay-at-home suggestions, don’t travel! This year continues to alter our reality with the danger of a traditional large family gathering at Thanksgiving becoming a super-spreader!

I have a possible remedy for what we face this year for Thanksgiving! How about a trip down memory lane to happier times? I’ve had so many wonderful ones, it’s hard to identify my favorite.

During my childhood in my country town, family surrounded me on Thanksgiving Day. We enjoyed the traditional fare of turkey and all the trimmings at noon time. Dad and other sports enthusiast watched whatever football game that came on. Usually the Dallas Cowboy played on this holiday. Dad hated them and rooted for Dallas’ opponent, no matter who they were!

Thanksgiving at this table often
Our Round Table in Branson, Colorado Has Seen Lots of Games!

The rest of us gathered around the round table in my parents’ home for an afternoon and evening of unending games, laughter and fellowship! At times, three to four generations gathered there for some of my favorite holiday memories. My family has always taken pictures, anytime we were together, so that was a part of the ritual, too!

As a young married, I offered to cook my first Thanksgiving dinner in Denver, Colorado with both of our parents in attendance. My parents came up early and stayed with us. I woke Thanksgiving morning sick as a dog, so Mom stepped in and finished the preparations! I wonder if it was nerves? My mom and mother-in-law were cooking giants!

Waiting for Thanksgiving guests

A few years later, my first husband and I moved to Loveland, Colorado and again we invited both parents for the big holiday. A massive snowstorm hit, starting on Monday of Thanksgiving week, and it came down for days. We had feet of snow, and my parents canceled because of the four-hour drive north. My in-laws and sister-in-law braved the hour and half drive from Denver, and we celebrated the holiday with no game playing but an enjoyable time. It was my first Thanksgiving without my parents, so it was hard for me!

After I divorced and while I was going to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, I spent all of my Thanksgivings with Mom and Dad, at my home. We started a new tradition. Dad and Mom drove to Loveland or Fort Collins, Colorado (I moved to Fort Collins later), and we had our holiday meal at different restaurants in the area. “The Old Farmhouse” became our favorite with seating in the various rooms of an actual old farmhouse. Then the Saturday night after Thanksgiving, we drove to Boulder to attend the Boulder Dinner Theater. My dad was this old cowboy who lit up with live music and performances! We did this for the four years I attended the university.

After graduation, I taught in Denver, Colorado my first year, then I moved to Raton, New Mexico, and another tradition began for my four years there. Dad, Mom and I drove to Alamogordo, New Mexico to share Thanksgiving with my half-sister and her family. We had memorable times of good food, laughter and lots of games.

When I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, I returned home for Thanksgiving yearly, but the gatherings were smaller. We still enjoyed delicious food and fun game time around Mom’s round table with my aunt and my cousin’s family. The weekend after Thanksgiving, we would go out to our ranch and cut down Christmas trees for Mom, my classroom or friends and me. Our fresh cut trees lasted so well throughout the holiday season. We also cut fresh cedar boughs—I love their delicious smell!

Dad’s last Thanksgiving was memorable yet sad. My nephew, Andy, had come to help Mom with Dad’s care after his recent hospitalization. On the Friday after Thanksgiving and a snowstorm, we drove out to our ranch to cut down trees as usual. As we faced a sizable drift to get to the trees, I told a young Andy, “See where you need to get. Punch it and drive like hell!”

His eyes twinkled with my permission to speed and with a giggled, we plowed through the drift easily, cut down our trees and created a memory we reference often!

When Ted and I got together, he had a Thanksgiving tradition I adopted, with a heavy heart at first. He regularly attended a round dance festival in Dallas, Texas that began the Monday of Thanksgiving week with the local round dance cuers cuing each night and workshopping during the day. The official festival began on Friday and lasted through Sunday. On Thanksgiving night, Ted and I would dance with a square dance club we both loved instead of round dancing.

No family, my Mom alone—the first one I felt horrible, but she consoled me and said you have to live your life! I grew to love the festival but hated missing time with Mom.

After Ted and I broke up, it was Mom and me. We shared the holiday with my cousin and her family. On Friday morning after Thanksgiving, Mom and I drove fifty miles to Trinidad, Colorado early in the morning to take advantage of the Black Friday sales. She absolutely loved the crowds and the craziness!

Then Lin and I married, and the three of us started a delightful tradition: Thanksgiving dinner out at the High Noon Restaurant and Saloon in Old Town Albuquerque. We booked our reservation for dinner around Lin’s tradition of watching football games all day. This restaurant provided a complete meal at our table for our size party then sent us home with all the leftovers! Mom loved this special place.

After Mom passed away, Lin and I continued that tradition for a couple years, but then I decided to cook our meal the last couple years. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and football dominated the day.

As, I stood at the counter to prepare the crust for my pumpkin pies, Mom joined me in my heart because I used her remarkable pie crust recipe given to her by our family’s doctor in 1953! Instead of grieving the loss of so many of my family as I moved around the kitchen, I remembered them all and the great times we’ve had.

Last year, my brother joined us for Thanksgiving, and we had a delightful time, our first Thanksgiving together in a long time.

This year, it’s Lin and me with the restrictions in place. So, yes, I’ve wondered about Thanksgiving 2020, but as I’ve remembered my previous celebrations, I am grateful for my family and the memories I will have forever!

So, my suggestion to you is take the time these next couple days before Thanksgiving, to walk back in time and remember those special celebrations and especially the people who made them so.  Then share them with me!


~Visit my two blog posts from last week:

Cover of Just Another Square Dance Caller

~HAVE YOU ORDERED A PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY?   AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website and pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me and my books:  https://www.laradasbooks.com

~ Visit my Etsy Shop for 25% off individual paperback titles. Good until December 20, 2020. Here’s the coupon link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft?coupon=25OFFSANDIA1220INDIV

Albuquerque · Holidays · My Thoughts

Día De Los Muertos, A Celebration of the Dead!

Women dressed for Día De Los Muertos,

Have you heard of Día De Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead? Right now, today and tomorrow, this celebration features skulls, painted skeleton faces, candles, food and cemeteries. It’s a popular Mexican holiday that has migrated into the southwestern states of the United States. So many mysteries reside in the Southwest: gorgeous sunsets over purple mesas, delicious Mexican cuisine, red or green chili and the Día De Los Muertos observance.

The traditional American culture avoids talking about death and grief, much less celebrate it. I wrote a grief memoir a few years ago about the loss of my parents and my growth in the process, and many who supported my other books have shunned it—too serious, too sad!

This Mexican tradition is a fresh approach uniting the living and the dead, celebrating the departed in a visceral way. They share a meal with their deceased loved ones as if they were here!

Before I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1991, I had never heard of this celebration. I grew up in southeastern Colorado. I had studied Spanish at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado and received a minor in Spanish—never heard of it. When I arrived in Albuquerque, I worked at a school with mostly Hispanic students and soon learned about the importance of Día De Los Muertos to my students. They spoke of calaveras (skulls in Spanish) which is

“an ornately decorated representation of a skull, often featuring flowers, animals, and other decorations. During the holiday, this imagery is seen everywhere, from Ofrendas, to paper crafts, and even to cartoons on newspapers. In a way, the Calavera has become an embodiment of the holiday itself.”

https://dayofthedead.holiday/sugar-skull/

My students quickly identified another definition of calaveras with this celebration. When my students first mentioned calaveras, I only knew them to mean skulls in Spanish and they talked of eating them, so I knew I had something to learn. My students’ eyes lit up as they described this festive occasion, so I listened and learned first-hand. Calaveras are sugary candies eaten at this time. Obviously, as families and a community, they honored their dead in a much different way than I had ever seen.

After their introduction, I did my own research and became knowledgeable about this important event. As an Episcopalian, I knew about All Saints or All Souls Day, November 1, but this holiday took it a step further. Here’s some interesting information about this delightful holiday:

Día De Los Muertos skeleton statutes
Image by dat7 from Pixabay

“Families create ofrendas (Offerings) to honor their departed family members that have passed. These altars are decorated with bright yellow marigold flowers, photos of the departed, and the favorite foods and drinks of the one being honored. The offerings are believed to encourage visits from the land of the dead as the departed souls hear their prayers, smell their foods and join in the celebrations!”

https://dayofthedead.holiday/

Día De Los Muertos Traditions

“Day of the Dead is a unique tradition celebrated every year across Mexico. It is a festival aimed at honoring one’s dead ancestors on the date when their souls are believed to return to Earth.”

https://dayofthedead.holiday/traditions/

Día De Los Muertos skeleton singer

When is the Día De Los Muertos?

 “Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. It is sometimes confused with Halloween because of the symbolic skulls but is not related at all.

It is said that on November 1st the children who have passed come back to visit and celebrate as angelitos and on the following day, November 2nd, it’s the adults (Difuntos) return to show up for the festivities.

Family members prepare for several weeks in advance for the tradition by creating altars, decorating burial sites, and cooking specific Day of the Dead food.”

https://dayofthedead.holiday/history/

5 Movies You Need to See about the Día De Los Muertos

  1. Coco
  2. James Bond’s Spectre
  3. The Book of Life
  4. Macario
  5. Día de los Muertos/ Day of the Dead

https://dayofthedead.holiday/traditions/5-day-of-the-dead-movies-you-need-to-see

10 facts to know about Día De Los Muertos?

1.     Day of the Dead is NOT Mexican Halloween

2.     The holiday has a rich and ancient history, dating back over 2000 years.

3.     Mexican families place Ofrendas to honor their deceased relatives

4.     Day of the Dead isn’t somber, it is a celebration

5.     Humor has played an important role in the holiday

6.     It is customary to visit cemeteries

7.     Marigolds are a key component

8.     Pastries and sweets are central to the holiday

9.     Different traditions exist in different parts of the country

10.  The Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City is a very recent addition

https://dayofthedead.holiday/traditions/10-facts-to-know-about-day-of-the-dead

La Catrina of Día De Los Muertos
La Catrina Image by Jae Rue from Pixabay

Día De Los Muertos has become so popular where I live! Stop in at many souvenir shops in Old Town Albuquerque and multi-colored skeletons in a variety of forms fill the shelves. One character I see repeatedly: a tall slender woman topped with a hat with feathers. Her name is La Catrina and she has been given credit for the skeleton-like makeup so associated with Día De Los Muertos. Learn more about her at:

https://dayofthedead.holiday/traditions/who-is-la-catrina

Día De Los Muertos pickup
Image by Please Don’t sell My Artwork AS IS from Pixabay

So, if you’re driving through a southwest city on November 1st or 2nd in the evening, look for a cemetery, lit up with candles placed around a grave and families gathered together to celebrate the lives of their departed. Think about how you remember your deceased love ones. Maybe, next year, don some bright skeleton makeup and join in this age-old tradition!

This morning, I went to the App store on my iPad, and it featured six Día De Los Muertos sticker sets!

Larada celebrating Día De Los Muertos!
Larada celebrating Día De Los Muertos!

A special thank you to Day of the Dead website for valuable information. Visit to learn about delicious recipes of food shared at this holiday and more about the Mexican culture.

https://dayofthedead.holiday/

Have you ever heard of the Día De Los Muertos? Have you ever participated in the Día De Los Muertos celebrations? How do you view death?


Just Another Square Dance Caller Cover

~HAVE YOU ORDERED A PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY?   AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website and pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me and my books:  https://www.laradasbooks.com

~ Visit my Etsy Shop for 25% off individual paperback titles. Good until December 20, 2020. Here’s the coupon link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft?coupon=25OFFSANDIA1220INDIV

~Visit my last week’s blog about my Siamese Silver Tip cat, Jesse: https://laradasbooks.com/2020/10/25/how-about-a-cat-for-a-pet/

Holidays · My Thoughts

2020 is Larada’s Year!

Happy New Year! 2020 is here and I’m ready! 2019 was a hard year for me health-wise, so I’m ready for a change, and Lin, my husband, and I have dubbed 2020 as my year!

Yesterday, I started the new year off with a Cribbage game with Lin during breakfast, and he won. We jumped into the Rose Bowl parade—a tradition Lin and I both enjoy.

Since I have been in recovery, I try to attend a meeting on New Year’s Day, and I did yesterday. It was a glorious celebration of life, and exactly what I needed. Afterwards, I bought some black-eyed peas to serve for our lunch for good measure to start the year off right, southern style.

After our late lunch and between football games, we played two more Cribbage games, and I won. I started off the year ahead 2 -1. For years, LIn and I have started each morning off with a couple Cribbage games during breakfast, and he has beat me over the last two years like crazy. Three years ago, after losing a lot, I told him, “You win more than I do.”

He denied it, saying, “No, you win as much as I do!”

So, to prove my point, I created a spreadsheet of wins and losses, and he has been relentless: in 2018, he beat me by 43 games, and 2019 wasn’t much better. He beat me by 44 games.

We played this morning, and in 2020, I’m already ahead—I’ve won 4 games and he’s won 2! Yahoo! So I’m keeping track again this year!

Yesterday, after my wins, my wonderful day continued with cleaning out the refrigerator and freezer. Because I was sick a lot of last year, I kept bypassing this chore. But I felt it was a good way to bring in the New Year, and metaphorically it felt right—cleaning out the old to make room for the new!

After some relaxation time, I worked on my current project, the Marshall Flippo biography and assigned ISBN numbers to the different versions I will publish. I also investigated Ingram Sparks, a self-publishing company I’m using to publish the books and e-books.

My biggest goal of the year is publishing this biography. I’ve been working on it for two years, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The manuscript is with the editor right now. I’m busy doing behind the scene work because I self-publish my books, so I design the cover, adjust the pictures and lay the book out, so I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but I see that it is going to get done. The release date is April 6, 2020 at the annual CALLERLAB Convetion in Reno, NV.

Here’s my favorite Facebook cartoon as we face this new year! Yes, I plan to take advantage of all 365 opportunities ahead of me–how about you?

Yes, I started 2020 in a fulfilling way, and it promises to be fantastic. I hope your start to this new year was as a great as mine!


NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~40% OFF END OF THE YEAR SALE–All Digital Copies of my books are yours at a reduced price. PRICE GOOD UNTIL JANUARY 5, 2020. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~30% OFF END OF THE YEAR SALE-All Paper Copies discounted until January 6, 2020. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Albuquerque · Christmas · Holidays · My Thoughts

Why Celebrate Twelve Days of Christmas?

You hear this song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” every holiday season many times, and it’s a mystery what it means. Let’s look at a possible explanation.

The Christmas song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas, has strong liturgical ties to the Catholic and the Anglican church which is my church, the Episcopal church. I cherish the celebratory nature of stretching the Christmas season out for twelve days instead of one day only. I mean, we work so hard preparing for it, it should be more than twenty-four hours!

“The 12 days of Christmas is the period that in Christian theology marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men. It begins on December 25 (Christmas) and runs through January 6 (the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings’ Day).”

https://www.vox.com/2015/12/25/10661878/12-days-of-christmas-explained

Another explanation for this song is based in the Catholic church: “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written in England as one of the “catechism songs” to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith – a memory aid, when to be caught with anything in *writing* indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, it could get you hanged, or shortened by a head – or hanged, drawn and quartered, a rather peculiar and ghastly punishment I’m not aware was ever practiced anywhere else. ” https://www.catholic.org/advent/advent.php?id=2

I love this song and idea that Christmas lasts for twelve days, so when the rest of the world takes down their decorations and folds away their favorite Christmas leggings, I continue enjoying my decorations twinkling and wearing my colorful Christmas outfits.

Here’s the traditional words of this favorite song:

The 12 Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, 
My true love gave to me:
A partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas, 
My true love gave to me:
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas, 
My true love gave to me:
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas, 
My true love gave to me: 
Nine ladies dancing, 
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing, 
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing, 
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing, 
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree. 

http://www.chiff.com/home_life/holiday/christmas/12-days-lyrics.htm

Listen to the traditional song for a moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Fe11OlMiz8

I live in New Mexico, so here’s a regional humorous take on this familiar song:

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS LYRICS (NEW MEXICO STYLE)

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me….
A roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
Red and Green chiles
And roadrunner in a piñon tree.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
Four hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
9 margaritas
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the 10th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
10 pork tamales
9 margaritas
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
11 biscochitos
10 pork tamales
9 margaritas
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
Five turquoise rings!
Four hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
12 farolitos
11 bisochitos
10 pork tamales
9 margaritas
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree…

https://www.newmexico.org/nmmagazine/articles/post/12dayschristmas-79060/

Take this information to heart and keep celebrating Christmas until January 6 this year, and you will be in the real spirit of Christmas, then next year when you first hear this Christmas carol, remember my blog and plan on twelve days of celebrations.


NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~40% OFF END OF THE YEAR SALE–All Digital Copies of my books are yours at a reduced price. PRICE GOOD UNTIL JANUARY 5, 2020. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~30% OFF END OF THE YEAR SALE-All Paper Copies discounted until January 6, 2020. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

family · Holidays · My Thoughts · Ranching · square dance

Why Celebrate Father’s Day?

The Last Time I Danced With Dad!

Having just returned from the Colorado State Square Dance Convention in Pueblo, Colorado, I choked back a tear or two and felt a little nostalgic about the influence my Dad had on my life. Father’s Day is a day to celebrate our dad’s, so I wanted to share some of my fond memories.

My cowboy Dad loved his wife, his children, his ranch and friends. My brother and I inherited the ranch my grandfather put together—the place my Dad worked his whole life. I just returned from a drive around the ranch with my brother in the early evening looking for wildlife. I feel a special connection to Dad any time I’m standing on a ridge overlooking the canyon or eyeing a windmill he put in many years ago. Dad is everywhere on that ranch for me, and it happened again tonight.

Dad left a small souvenir all over the ranch—wrapped up baling wire for hay bales that he tied in a certain way and pitched out the truck window. We have tried to gather them up over the years, but a stray one appears, and I smile.

Yes, Dad loved this ranch, but another couple of his passions were dancing and storytelling, and I inherited both of them!

Dad and Mom met dancing, and it continued to be their main hobby until he couldn’t dance anymore. They danced to many of the big bands in Raton, New Mexico—a Catholic priest brought these famous bands to town, and the folks were on the dance floor—the cowboy donned a suit and boots and danced the night away. They glided across the floor as smooth as any other couple. During this time, they danced to the bands of Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and Glen Miller for sure, but I bet there were others.

It wasn’t until I took round dance lesson after Dad died, I learned that he did the Foxtrot instead of Country two step—that was so surprising to me, but he loved big band music, and he danced many a mile to them, so they influenced his dance style.

He had a special step he did in his jitterbug repertoire; he said he stumbled one night when he was drunk and liked it so much, he kept it. Mom and I tried to reconstruct it after he died, but we couldn’t, so that dance move died with him.

When I was growing up, Dad was our 4-H club square dance caller, and he loved to teach people how to square dance. For a couple years we took two squares to Fort Collins, Colorado for the state competition. We never won, but we had a lot of fun.

He also liked teaching folk dances. Dad and I did the Jessica Polka to any polka played at a local dance. He taught us “Put Your Little Foot” or the “Varsouvianna,” the “Lily Marlane,”  the “Schottische,” and many others.

In this video, Cal Campbell explains the origin of the “Varsouvianna.”

This is the music I grew up to doing the Schottische:

Because of my family’s interest in dancing, I learned to country swing in the 80’s. One time, I came home with my newest move—the snake. Dad and I moved to the kitchen, I grabbed his hands and whipped him around, and his old shoulders shouted at him and then he at me! He couldn’t move like that anymore, but he wanted to, more than ever.

My Dad’s other passion was storytelling and he was an expert. Many guests sat around the round table in our dining room at gatherings and listened to his tales. He told stories of growing up in a small country town in the 1920’s, the depression with the lack of tires and life as a rancher during the World War II. He had asthma, so he couldn’t go to war, but he told about working on ranches around the area for cattlemen whose sons did go. Dad got to know the parents of his buddies during this time by working with them–what stories!

Dad told stories of a time and an era long gone—helping Mose Russell drive a herd of horses from southeastern Colorado to Cimarron, New Mexico. He often talked of horses; he had two horse accidents to share. The life of a rancher never has a dull moment, so he spoke of cattle incidences and the wonders of his life—mother nature was his God, and he told of glorious sunsets and miracles with a hard birth for one of his favorite cows.

Dad’s health declined, and death came quickly—in August 1995 things changed, and by January 1996 he died.

“. . . he progressed to the point of not being able to talk—his lips moved to form words but they just wouldn’t come out, and his left hand curled up in a ball.
His intense, frustrated glaze locked in on me. His frightened eyes searched mine for the words. Sometimes I finished his sentences; other times I had no idea what he wanted to say. He struck the table with his clenched fist, more desperate each time it happened.”

A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memoir

Yes, he could no longer speak, and his stories ended; the last time he danced at our school gym to celebrate his 75th birthday, he gasped for air and couldn’t finish a complete circle around the floor. Every once in a while still, when the music is right, I can almost do his favorite move, but I haven’t yet!

When I come face-to-face with Dad in the hereafter, I’m sure the first thing we do after shedding a few tears and a bear hug is a glide around the celestial dance floor, doing his move once more and laughing and enjoying the beat of the music! And then he will tell me his favorite story once more, starting with “remember when . . .”

Check out my web site at https://www.laradasbooks.com

FATHER’S DAY SPECIALS GOOD UNTIL JUNE 24, 2019: 25% off of 2 BOOK BUNDLE: This Tumbleweed Landed & When Will Papa Get Home? paper copies. The men in your life would love these two books. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft, to purchase my books.

Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read snteresting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

Do you want to pre-order the Marshall Flippo biography? Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways! https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

family · Holidays · My Thoughts

Memorial Day or Decoration Day?

            As a child, we went to the cemetery in Des Moines, New Mexico and met my Mom’s parents on Decoration Day many times. The adults decorated the graves of family members, and we raced around dodging headstones and graves playing with friends. Many families brought picnic lunches and this allowed more play time for the children and more visiting time for the adults. This trip to a familiar cemetery meant the beginning of summer because school was over, and we headed to Amarillo, Texas to spend a week with my grandparents.

            Fast forward to my adult life. I watched my Mom and Dad religiously decorate family graves in Trinidad, Colorado and back to Des Moines. It was a family tradition, and their commitment to caring for deceased family members and their graves spoke deeply to me.

            When my Mom died six years ago, my cousin said she’d take care of the graves in Des Moines and I would do the ones in Trinidad, so faithfully I followed my family’s tradition for the last five years. I decorated my parents’ grave, my grandparents’ grave, and my Aunt’s all in Trinidad. I also decorated my sister-in-law’s in the beautiful quaint cemetery outside of my hometown of Branson, Colorado.

            This year I failed. I have been sick for the last three months and haven’t visited Colorado yet to decorate the graves. I will, but it will be late. This made me think about this tradition, its importance and the history behind it.

            What is Memorial Day anyway?

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/memorial-day-history

This is what I remember as Decoration Day! But it changed.

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2019 occurs on Monday, May 27. 

https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/memorial-day-history

            I celebrate both of these commemorations: my family and friends that have passed and anyone in the military who has given their life so we can keep our democracy safe and sound.

Some of the soldiers I have known who have passed:

  • Uncle Tanky Doherty
  • Marshall Flippo
  • Leroy Ellis
  • Excel Smith
  • Donald Berg
  • Fred Buhr
Mom and Dad’s Headstone

Those major family and friends I have lost over my 65 years:

  • Harold and Elva Horner – Dad and Mom
  • Laurence and Pearle Horner – paternal grandparents
  • Virgil and Tresia Dickerson – maternal grandparents
  • Hughie and Willa Urbanoski – Uncle and Aunt
  • Gay and Helen Waldroup – Uncle and Aunt
  • Fred Horner – Half-brother
  • Jason Talley – nephew
  • Reu and Helen Waldroup – parents’ best friends
  • Millard Warner – Dad’s best friend
  • Millie Sheldon – childhood babysitter
  • Kathi Raver – best girlfriend in the square dance world
  • Lela Kaye Horner – sister-in-law
  • Candy Vargas – lifelong best friend
  • Gene and Carol Champion – square dance friends
  • Joel Walton – Square Dance Friend

Whew! That’s a lot of losses! I just heard today if you grieve many losses, that means you’ve loved a lot! What a comforting thought!

How do you celebrate Decoration Day/Memorial Day? What are your traditions? Make it more than just another day off. How can you make it memorable? Please share your ideas in the Comments!


Check out my web site at https://www.laradasbooks.com

FATHER’S DAY SPECIALS: 25% off of 2 BOOK BUNDLE: This Tumbleweed Landed & When Will Papa Get Home? paper copies. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft, to purchase my books.

Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

Do you want to pre-order the Marshall Flippo biography? Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways! https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Holidays · My Thoughts · poetry

How Can You Make This Valentine’s Day Special?

For years when I was single, Valentine’s Day was the worst day of the year, magnifying the fact I had no one to share this romantic holiday with—I felt ugly, lonely and alone. I avoided any semblance of celebration of the day, but my Mom always sent me a card and tried to make it special.

Who was Saint Valentine’s anyway? Why all the hoopla?

Officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, St. Valentine is known to be a real person who died around A.D. 270. However, his true identity was questioned as early as A.D. 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who referred to the martyr and his acts as “being known only to God.” One account from the 1400s describes Valentine as a temple priest who was beheaded near Rome by the emperor Claudius II for helping Christian couples wed. A different account claims Valentine was the Bishop of Terni, also martyred by Claudius II on the outskirts of Rome. Because of the similarities of these accounts, it’s thought they may refer to the same person. Enough confusion surrounds the true identity of St. Valentine that the Catholic Church discontinued liturgical veneration of him in 1969, though his name remains on its list of officially recognized saints.


https://www.history.com/news/6-surprising-facts-about-st-valentine

Who helped create this popular holiday?

The medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer often took liberties with history, placing his poetic characters into fictitious historical contexts that he represented as real. No record exists of romantic celebrations on Valentine’s Day prior to a poem Chaucer wrote around 1375. In his work “Parliament of Foules,” he links a tradition of courtly love with the celebration of St. Valentine’s feast day–an association that didn’t exist until after his poem received widespread attention. The poem refers to February 14 as the day birds (and humans) come together to find a mate. When Chaucer wrote, “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate,” he may have invented the holiday we know today.


https://www.history.com/news/6-surprising-facts-about-st-valentine

Since I have been married to Lin, we have had some fantastic Valentine’s. Tonight, I wrote him a poem, and I did it because I heard Jenna Bush Hager on the Today show this week talk about writing a love letter to your spouse this Valentine’s Day.

Here’s her story about the love letter she wrote to her husband this year. https://www.today.com/news/jenna-bush-hager-shares-touching-love-letter-husband-henry-t148549

I know it’s late—I was traveling today and have been thinking about this for a couple days. You can still do it! So, do it later tonight or tomorrow—write a letter, a poem, a song. Take a chance and in writing, share your heart with your someone special. There’s no better gift in the world than word from the heart.

Let me know what you think about this: have you ever written a poem for your spouse or significant other? If so, how did it go?

Check out my web site at https://www.laradasbooks.com

50% Discount of A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memoir–both paperback and e-book versions–at my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft.