Isn’t it time you get Stressless

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The snow and sleet that fall outside my window are curiously beautiful. That is, if a bitter wind keeps the birds away, can be called beautiful. Yesterday, was a spring-like day, so I shed my jacket then walked about to admire the sprouting leaves of daffodils and tulips. Concerned about the lack of leaves upon the trees, knowing that the worms had yet to hatch from the frozen ground, I took a handful of birdseed to invite the sparrows to feed. Nature’s stark contrast reminds me of a short piece by Ruth Hanna, written in 1906.

 

“Yesterday was dark and cold and dreary. The sky was gray, the snow was white; the trees black against the gray and white. The wind came around the corners with an angry cry, and whipped the dry bushes, and swept the snow across the path. The world was angry, it knew not why. It was tired of the ceaseless tossing and motion; tired of being the same old world forever.”

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“Today is different. There is the same white snow, the same sky, and the same trees. But today is not yesterday; for the wind swirls the snow in a circling dance; it draws the bushes and twigs out from their hiding places. It bends the trees in rollicking laughter at the very joy of living, – of being the same old world, in the same old way.”

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“Today is not yesterday, but why is today, today?”

Written by Ruth Hanna in 1906 at Mount Holyoke College.

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Put a Little Color in Your Life

A polar vortex descends across the middle of the United States. Temperatures plunge, the skies turn gray, dumping snow and ice in amounts rarely seen. One does not dare to let the dog and cat venture out.

The weather reminds me of a short piece of writing that dates to 1906.1906. Teddy Roosevelt is president. He makes a trip to Panama to inspect the canal. Thus, the palindrome, a man a plan, Panama. The Dow stock market tops 100 for the very first time. Football allows the forward pass. Mount Vesuvius erupts and devastates Naples. The 10th Boston Marathon is won by Tim Ford of Mass in 2:45:45. Alfred Dreyfus is found innocent in France, proving the power of the pen and Emile Zola’s letter, “J’Accuse.”1st airplane flight in Europe.

Susan Hanna writes a short article for her college magazine, The Mount Holyoke.

It was a different time, it is the same. We are all creatures on God’s planet, living, loving, enjoying life, though it be at different times. It is still “the same old world.”

There are no other traces I can find of Susan Hanna, her life or her writing other than one snippet on the weather and her position at the magazine as business manager. Mount Holyoke College, where Susan necessarily went, was founded in 1837 in South Hadley, Massachusetts. It proudly calls itself the oldest of the Seven Sisters, the female equivalent of the Ivy League. It counts Emily Dickinson among its alumni.  *

The following excerpt written by Susan Hanna captures for me the melancholy and the beauty of winter. And how quickly the human attitude to life changes.

Yesterday was dark and cold and dreary. The sky was gray, the snow was white; the trees black against the gray and white. The wind came around the corners with an angry cry, and whipped the dry bushes, and swept the snow across the path. The world was angry, it knew not why. It was tired of the ceaseless tossing and motion; tired of being the same old world forever.

Today is different. There is the same white snow, the same sky, and the same trees. But today is not yesterday; for the wind swirls the snow in a circling dance; it draws the bushes and twigs out from their hiding places. It bends the trees in rollicking laughter at the very joy of living, – of being the same old world, in the same old way.

Today is not yesterday, but why is today, today?

Put a little color in your life to chase the gray away.

The Norwegians know a lot about cold gray winters.

They also know a lot about Stressless recliners. They have been making them in Norway for over 70 years, constantly improving the patented mechanisms to make the sitting experience more comfortable.

*Emily Dickinson, like Susan, was a weather watcher, and wrote about its affect on the human condition. Here is one to stir the soul with mysteries from above.

The Lightning is a yellow Fork

The Lightning is a yellow Fork
From Tables in the sky
By inadvertent fingers dropt
The awful Cutlery

Of mansions never quite disclosed
And never quite concealed
The Apparatus of the Dark
To ignorance revealed.

All of this leads me to say, Put a little color in your life. Get Stressless. Read more poetry from a Stressless chair.

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In Praise of the Birch Tree

Let us sing the praises of the birch tree, the Lady of the Northern Forest.

 

It’s white peeling bark that children remember most. And now grown who cannot bring to mind the image of an Indian’s birch canoe gently making its way down a river or across a lake. What child does not remember Hiawatha’s Sailing, “Give me your bark, oh Birch tree, growing by the rushing river, tall and stately in the valley, I a canoe will build me, that will float upon the river.”

birch bak canoe red horse signs
birch bark canoe

The tree of the North in among the oak, the yellow larch, and the green spruce. Home to the Siberian wolf and cover to the tundra. Its sturdy roots cling to the steep terrain of cliffs and mountain slopes. To the Siberian  shamans it is the cosmic tree, the tree of life. In Roman times, in May, the boys would display their love to the girls of the village with birch branches just bloomed, placing in front of the doors of their homes the white branches with their tender leaves of green.

In Scotland, the Birch is the traditional Yule log. “Birch into the fire goes, a sign of what the Lady knows.” Betulaceae, The Lady of the Woods. Beliefs surround the Birch. The branches and wood are believed to ward off evil, banish fears and build courage. On the morning after Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, use a Birch Broom to brush out the old year. Add cut bark to your cloak to protection spells, drink birch beer to fight spirits.

In the 13th century Red Book of Hergest this warning is written to Lug son of Ethliu, Celtic warrior king and savior, to wit, “Thy wife will be seven times carried away from you into fairyland or elsewhere, unless birch be her overseer.”

Knowing this the Lady says, “Birch into the fire goes, a sign of what the Lady knows.”

the woods are calling red horse signs
woods are calling

Mockado, NOT Mikado

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Not to be confused with the comic opera Mikado, by Gilbert and Sulivan, the carpet and fabric named Mockado was a 16th century invention of woolen pile yarn and ends made in imitation of silk velvet. Mockadoes were introduced into England from Flanders by Dutch and Walloon weavers fleeing Spanish rule.

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Mockado Rug

Karastan’s Mockado Area Rug is the perfect solution for those seeking a solid color rug. Karastan’s offering comes in six colors and 39 sizes, combining luxurious New Zealand Wool and Karastan’s exclusive SmartStrand Silk. The Mockado Collection comes in both standard and custom sizes, creating endless possibilities for every home and every space.

See it Now

 

Why New Zealand Wool and SmartStrand Silk

New Zealand wool is considered superior to other wools because it is a blend of of Merino and Downs breeds selected for comfort, strength and performance. Karastan SmartStrand Silk rug fibers are strengthened for durability and softness to provide easy care and lasting beauty for years of use.

Tatami Mat

The Mockado rug may appear visually similar to the traditional Japanese Tatami mat, but that is deceiving. The Tatami is made of rush and cloth.

The New Year has Begun

A New Year has begun

It is the first of the year. The kids have gone home and I am sitting here all alone listening to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s “Sweet Judy Blue Eyes”. The words mesmerize.

Mindful is the saying, wherever you go, you are there.

The trees are bare and the dog and the cat are prowling about the yard with nowhere to hide. How can one catch a sparrow? Looking out the back window at the sun rising, a new day is dawning. It is snowing somewhere north of here.

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What will the New Year bring?

A fresh start, a moment of hope and great expectation, new friends, old friends come home, good health, surprises, wishes come true.

May you begin this year with boundless joy, joyful spirit and abundance of God’s favor. You are blessed!

Get Stressless

 

A Day Before Christmas

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As a child, I heard a voice unlike the ones in my house or at school. It was my voice, an inner voice that spoke only to me, a voice that I felt more than I heard. I did not try and discover where the voice came from. I just listened and the voice came.

When I was a tiny tot, one of my favorite parts of Christmas Eve was having my mom read Christmas stories to us. Magical stories that transported us to faraway places, stories that told of the true meaning of Christmas. When I close my eyes at night, I still hear her voice soft and sweet as an angel, while I drift off to sleep.

Now that I’m older, I have done the same with my children. They are grown now and as I await grandchildren, I look forward to another round. One’s voice is a wonderful thing to share.

Here are my favorite Christmas stories in reverse order:

5.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer of course.

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

had a very shiny nose

and if you ever saw him

you would even say it glows.

All of the other reindeer

used to laugh and call him names.

They never let poor Rudolph

join in any reindeer games.” -Johnny Marks, songwriter

4.
Drummer Boy, more of a song, but within its lyrics is a simple story of the meaning of gifts.

“Little baby

Pa rum pum pum-pum

I am a poor boy too

Pa rum pum pum-pum

I have no gift to bring

Pa rum pum pum-pum

That’s fit to give our King

Pa rum pum pum-pum

Rum pum pum-pum

Rum pum pum-pum

Shall I play for you

Pa rum pum pum-pum

On my drum.”

3.

O’Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi,” a short story for grown ups who know that starting out is not always easy, and togetherness and tenderness is all that matters.

2.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Let’s frighten the bejeezus out of the kids with Dr. Seuss’ story of what it would be like without Christmas. For good measure, throw in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Story.

1.

The first Christmas story, The Birth of Jesus, Luke 2:1-12

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
2 This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and
she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and
placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for
them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

 

I see London, I see France

A naughty Childhood

Get Stressless by sitting in a London low back recliner, gazing out the window at nothing in particular, and reminiscing about silly chants we used to say as schoolchildren. It is a few days before Christmas and this post goes in the naughty not nice category.

Stressless London low back recliner

I see London, I see France, I see someone’s underpants.

London, England & Paris, France

In academic circles, there is considerable disagreement about this – this being the childhood chant:

“I see London, I see France, I see someone’s underpants.”

This ditty took place in loud voices on the playground, in muffled voices in class when the teacher excused herself from class, and in scribbled handwritten messages when she turned her back.

Woe to those who were caught saying this or passing the note.

Call in the Grammarians

The disagreement comes from the pairing of London and France. Grammar nitwits would argue that parallelism required England and France, or London and England.

Thusly, “I see London, I see Paris,” but Paris doesn’t rhyme with many words, and certainly not “underpants.” If you like parallelism, “I see England, I see France” is preferable, but where in England, and why not London, it swings.

And it was most often on the swing set that underpants were seen.

Then and Now

Back then, this was not a gender thing. It could be Johnnie as well as Susie. Underpants were equally titillating for both sexes. The sight of an undies set the entire classroom tittering with amusement. Contrast that with today’s hot fashion – Sagging, where pants are intentionally worn low to reveal acres of cotton underwear.

“Yuck!”

Stressless London high back recliner
Stressless London high back recliner