The Month of June

jANINA-DSC01010-1June is the month that brings the first step of change in many ways. Filled with events ranging from weddings to showers, from Preschool to University Graduations, these events truly represent major steps in life.

The month derived its name from the Goddess of Marriage, Juno, or luniores, the young people, appropriate names for the events many experience during this very busy month.

 June is the month with the longest daylight hours in the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest days in the Southern Hemisphere. Birthstones are the pearl, moonstone and AlexandritelFlowers are the rose and honeysuckle. Zodiac signs are Gemini and Cancer. Strangely, no other month begins on the same day of the year as June

To date, this has not been an easy month for most areas of our country, events ranging from floods to a water crisis on the west coast. Our priorities change when we experience these types of events but we are also a strong, determined group of people in this country and we will be okay in the end.

As for me, I believe I am finally turning the corner and getting back to my old routine of working to help artisans and small businesses. I hope that those of you that read my Newsletter will find the products I offer interesting, and something that is just what you were looking for as a gift or something special yourself.

Store-2Over the years, especially when I operated my small gift shop, I purchased a variety of items from the artisans in Nepal. I kept the unsold items neatly packed in boxes at my home hoping I could return to selling items once my health problems passed. The events last month brought the small country of Nepal a great deal of hardship, so I unpacked the items; handmade note cards, beaded and silver jewelry, handbags and Pashmina and silk shawls, to name a few, and will be posting them on my store at carolespecialties.com, as well as the social media sites, (Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter), in the hope that you will not only purchase something but also refer me to others.

There are other products those sites and everything I sell is acquired from small businesses, in the United States, Nepal and sometimes other areas of the world. My goal is to help small businesses and, of course myself, but I would also like make enough income to share the profits with those in need in Nepal and my very pet project, The Wounded Warrior Project. I hope that you will help me in these endeavors. Just donate money on your own if you do not find products you want to purchase from me.

Till next time, Carolee

 

Advertisements

About Memorial Day

thF1NSCSVJI have wonderful childhood memories of Memorial Day celebrations at my grandparents’ home. Never one to allow us to sleep late, on Memorial Day Grandma awakened us particularly early. She wanted to make sure we were all sitting on the front porch by the time the very first person came past our house.  She loved living on the main street of town because she never had to leave home to enjoy the celebrations.

Although the entire family was and remains very patriotic, it was Grandma that put the celebrations together. She prepared the food and organized the work to ensure everything was done correctly and on time, and did a better job than then any corporate executive.

Although Grandma did not complete Fifth Grade, she was a talented pianist and avid reader. Although trained in classical music, her love for John Philips Sousa enabled her to learn just about every single patriotic song written in this country which she played often. She also made a point to learn details of the history of this country and actually taught me more than I learned in school.

After the parades, store sales, the large picnics and family gatherings, the family would gather around the dining room table and talk about their own experiences and the many events in this country. Now that is the best way to educate your children. Sit them down, make them be quiet and listen to the elders of the family as they reminisce and debate past and current events. And believe me; our children need such an experience. I am abhorred by the misinformation published on the Web and worst of all what people who are believed to be accredited write for popular publications that are void of facts.

On this day, one day after the celebrations and four days before the actual date, I decided to write a little about the history of Memorial Day.

About Memorial Day

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day.  People all over the country started honoring the more than 600,000 fallen soldiers that had fallen on both sides during the War Between the States in a variety of different ways. In l868 Major General John A. Logan, the 3rd Commander-in-Chief of the settled on May 30 as the official day of remembrance to decorate the graves of those who lost their lives in defense of their country during the war.

The North and the South had different days of remembrance for their fallen soldiers and this generated a tension between both sides even after the Civil War was over. Between this and the passing of many Civil War veterans, Memorial Day became a less and less observed holiday. However, World War I and World War II reignited the national support for the holiday. It finally became an official holiday in 1968 and it’s been going strong ever since.

In 1966, Congress passed a unanimous resolution recognizing Waterloo, New York, as the birthplace of the holiday where an 1866 ceremony honored local Civil War vets.

During the Vietnam War, a White House Special Projects Aide, Carmella LaSpada, organized a USO tour to Southeast Asia with her friend, the journalist and humorist, Art Buchwald. Visiting a military hospital, she met a battle-injured medic who had seen 35 men in his unit die before he himself was mortally wounded. The young man asked that she promise to do something so that his comrades and their grieving families would be remembered. She agreed, accepting from him a black scarf, a symbol of his unit, to seal her promise.

No Greater Love (NGL) is an American humanitarian, non-profit organization founded in 1971 by Carmella LaSpada and is dedicated to providing programs such as wreath-layings, remembrance tributes, and memorial dedications, for those who have lost a loved one in the service to the country or by an act of terrorism. To date, NGL has dedicated 11 memorials located in Arlington National Cemetery and sponsors numerous other programs. The name is derived from the verse John 15:13 from the Bible.

As Executive Director of the Commission on Remembrance, Ms. LaSpada and Congress created a national moment of silence at 3pm; local time, across the country in 1997. It’s a time when the country stops baseball games and parades, and during that time the National Grocers Association and Food Marketing Institute asks shoppers to pause for a moment of silence in stores around the U.S.

If you are one of those who did not realize how important it is to honor those who gave the most to the country and their families who also gave as much, perhaps on the actually date, May 30, you can pause for a moment at 3 p.m. and say a silent prayer or thank you in gratitude for the freedoms and opportunities you have in this great country their sacrifice provided you.

Till next time —–


The History of Nepal

The history of Nepal has been influenced by its position in the Himalayas and its two neighbors, modern day India and China. This beautiful and diverse country has fascinated travelers and explorers for centuries.

Due to the arrival of disparate settler groups from outside through the ages, Nepal is now a multiethnic, multicultural, multi-religious, and multilingual country. The national and most spoken language of Nepal is Nepali.

Nepal experienced a struggle for democracy in the 20th century. During the 1990s and until 2008, the country was in civil strike. A peace treaty was signed in 2008 and elections were held in the same year. In a historical vote for the election of the constituent assembly, Nepalese parliament voted to oust the monarchy. In June 2008, Nepal was formally renamed the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal when it became a federal republic.

43085221_oNepal is primarily a Hindu country, with more than 80% of the population adhering to that faith. However, Buddhism (at about 11%) also exerts a lot of influence. The Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, was born at Lumbini, in southern Nepal. In fact, many Nepalese people combine Hindu and Buddhist practices; many temples and shrines are shared between the two faiths, and some deities are worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists.

Smaller minority religions include Islam, with about 4%; the syncretic religion called Kirat Mundhum, which is a blend of animism, Buddhism, and Saivite Hinduism, at about 3.5%; and Christianity (0.5%).

Nepal is associated with the Himalayan Range including the world’s tallest mountain, Mt. Everest. Standing at 8,848 meters (29,028 feet) Everest is called Saragmatha or Chomolungma in Nepali and Tibetan.

Southern Nepal, however, is a tropical; monsoonal lowland, called the Tarai Plain. The lowest point is Kanchan Kalan, at just 70 meters (679 feet).

Most people live in the temperate hilly midlands of climate zones than those places. The southern Tarai Plain is tropical/subtropical, with hot summers and warm winters. Temperatures reach 40°C in April and May. Monsoon rains drench the region from June to September, with 75-150 cm (30-60 inches) of rain.

The central hill-lands, including the Kathmandu and Pokhara valleys, have a temperate climate, and are also influenced by the monsoons. In the north, the high Himalayas are extremely cold and increasingly dry as the altitude rises.

Despite its tourism and energy-production potential, Nepal remains one of the world’s poorest countries. The majority of commercial activity takes place at small, family-owned shops or in the stalls of sidewalk vendors. With the exception of locally grown fruits and vegetables, many products are imported from India and, to a lesser extent, China and the West. Jute, sugar, cigarettes, beer, matches, shoes, chemicals, cement, and bricks are produced locally. Carpet and garment manufacturing has increased significantly, providing foreign exchange.

Since the late 1950s, tourism has increased rapidly; trekking, mountaineering, white-water rafting, and canoeing have drawn tourists from the West and other parts of Asia. The tourism industry has sparked the commercial production of crafts and souvenirs and created a number of service positions, such as trekking guides and porters. Tourism also has fueled the black market, where drugs are sold and foreign currency is exchanged.

Nepal is heavily dependent on trade from India and China. The large majority of imported goods pass through India. Transportation of goods is limited by the terrain. Although roads connect many major commercial centers, in much of the country goods are transported by porters and pack animals. The few roads are difficult to maintain and subject to landslides and flooding. Railroads in the southern flatlands connect many Terai cities to commercial centers in India but do not extend into the hills.

Visit my website, Carolee Specialties.com to see some of the crafts from Kathmandu, Nepal.

multiethnic, multicultural, multi-religious, and multilingual country. The national and most spoken language of Nepal is Nepali.

Nepal experienced a struggle for democracy in the 20th century. During the 1990s and until 2008, the country was in civil strike. A peace treaty was signed in 2008 and elections were held in the same year. In a historical vote for the election of the constituent assembly, Nepalese parliament voted to oust the monarchy. In June 2008, Nepal was formally renamed the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal when it became a federal republic.


How I Fell In Love With Nepal

I majored in Commercial Art, but ended up supporting myself working in the mortgage, finance business during most of my life. Fortunately my Grandfather urged me to minor in business administration and those courses provided me the skills.  My creative needs were delegated to home and school projects for my children.

However, once my home computer was hooked up onto the Internet, I created a Community Page and invited crafters and small business owners to join. Within a year those working with me urged me to represent them so I created a website and eventually opened a small gift shop in a local strip mall. Sadly, a couple of years ago the mall renovated and many of the original stores, including mine, were eliminated. But that is a story for another day.

43085196_oOne of the people I connected with on my community was a young man in Nepal, Prakash. I saw his note cards on the Internet and sent him a message admiring his work. He told me that he was taught Batik painting as a child by a European woman who was living in Nepal at the time. He sent me samples and they are not only beautiful but very special and extremely different from anything we have in the USA.

We developed the habit of talking frequently, very early in the morning, before I left the house for my full time day job, due to the time difference. He told me that his goal was to form a business that would enable him to provide his country people with much needed employment. I soon learned that the people in Nepal had many talents and truly wanted to work to support their needs. During the next few years, Prakash provided me with pashima, silk and cotton scarves and shawls, beaded jewelry, silver jewelry, silver and beaded trinket boxes, cotton and beaded handbags and he was always able to locate someone who could supply any product I suggested I wanted to sell.

After my store closed, personal and health issues caused me to take time off from work. I have not been in touch with Prakash as often as in the past. Needless to say I was very concerned for his welfare as well as the safety of his family and friends when learning of the earthquakes. I was able to get a message to Nepal on FaceBook and have been told by a friend that he is safe. Pictures such posted on Facebook explain how busy they are in Nepal.

Now that I am starting to feel better and feel strongly that we have to so what we can to help the people of Nepal put their lives in order I am starting to post some of the inventory I carefully packed and stored at my home when my store closed and will sell these products over the Internet and through networking with my friends. I hope that I can accumulate some cash to send to Nepal from the proceeds

I learned a lot about Nepal and the wonderful, creative and hard working people in that country. If you are interested in learning about Nepal Follow us for my article About Nepal.


HAPPY ST. PAT’S DAY- ERIN GO BRAGH

Green Rose March 17-St Patrick’s Day is The Feast of St Patrick. It does not matter where you actually come from, where you live or who you are, on this day each and every one of us is IRISH. It is a day to celebrate with parades, lots of food and drink, music, friends and just good fun.

Who is St Patrick? St. Patrick is the Patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. It is said that he was born in Britain around 385AD of Roman parents. At age 14 he was captured and taken to Ireland where he spent 6 years in slavery herding sheep. He returned to Ireland at age 30 as a missionary among the Celtic pagans.  He is known to have driven the snakes out of Ireland. It was common for Pagans to use the snake as a symbol or even worship snakes When Pagans converted to Christianity this practice disappeared. ‘

Erin Go Bragh-IRELAND FOREVER

Want to know why the Shamrock, Who are the Leprechauns? A few facts here:

CloverThe Shamrock is the national flower of Ireland. It is believed that St. Patrick used the Shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity.

st patricks dayWatch out for the Leprechaun, a tiny old man often with a cocked hat and leather apron. Solitary by nature, he is said to live in remote places and to make shoes and brogues. The sound of his hammering betrays his presence. He possesses a hidden crock of gold; if captured and threatened with bodily violence, he might, if his captor keeps his eyes on him, reveal its hiding place. But usually the captor is tricked into glancing away, and the Leprechaun flees.

St Patrick’s Day, traditionally a Catholic Holy Day, was originally celebrated in Ireland, solely as a religious holiday. People prayed at home or at church services. Parades and the current celebrations originated in the United State.

The first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade was held not in Ireland but in New York City in 1762, and with the dramatic increase of Irish immigrants to the United States in the mid-19th century, the March 17th celebration became widespread.

 

the United State.

The first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade was held not in Ireland but in New York City in 1762, and with the dramatic increase of Irish immigrants to the United States in the mid-19th century, the March 17th celebration became widespread.

 


Will Spring Ever Arrive?

It may be difficult to believe but yesterday was FINALLY March 1 which is also, by the way, the metrological first day of spring. So we experienced frigid temperatures, snow and ice. I awoke in the early hours of this morning to the all too familiar hums and scraping sounds of snow plows working their way down my streets.

But have no fear everyone, this too shall pass and soon we will be enjoying the morning chirping of birds, bright warm sun and the arrival of green spouts and buds that will soon turn to burst of bright colored flowers. As proof that March celebrates spring the delicate, yellow flower, the Daffodil, is the month’s flower and the birthstones are Aquamarine and Bloodstone.

March, the third month of the year, was named after Mars the Roman God of war. March was originally the first month of the year in the Roman calendar because of its association with the first day of spring. The vernal or March equinox falls during this month between the 19th and 21st. This year, the first day of spring is March 20. Also known as the vernal equinox (equinox is derived from the Latin words meaning equal night) because day and night are each approximately 12 hours long on this day.

March is a very busy month. Several organizations have chosen to name it the month to celebrate their particular cause. I will therefore attempt to write often this month telling you about the various causes we take time from our busy days to remember and consider supporting.

Of course, my favorite holiday this month is St. Patrick’s Day when we celebrate the pride of the Irish. But soon I will be writing about the many other days and many special causes that are noted during this month. However, tomorrow I will be experiencing the fourth and final surgery on my eyes in the past 18 months or so. I set aside most of my work until this is resolved and I can finally spread my wings and be available on an “as need” basis to my friends and business associates. \In addition to writing about March and all the many events it brings to us, I hope to provide you with ideas for making your life and the lives around you a little brighter.

Till next time,  Carolee


February, Mardi Gras Etc.

Monday is President’s Day. Originally celebrated on Feb. 22 to coincide with the birthday of the country’s first head of state, George Washington, Presidents Day was later shifted to the third Monday in February. Presidents Day is a time to reflect on the many achievements of the U.S.’ greatest leaders, thinkers and architects of democracy.

This federal holiday is often associated with days off from work and school, retail sales and travel deals, but it is actually about patriotism and remembrance.

This coming Tuesday, February 17 is Fat Tuesday, also known as Shrove Tuesday. (Shrove comes from Shrive which mean to confess. People confess their sins so they are forgiven before Lent begin).  It is the the last day of Mardi Gras also known as Carnival (Carnival comes from the Latin Carne vale meaning farewell to flesh) when people get all  the partying out of their system before starting the 40 day period of fasting and penance of Lent

Carnival starts shortly after Epiphany, the twelfth night after Christmas, which recognizes when the wise men came to see the baby Jesus bringing gifts. In the 18th and19th century, the celebration of Mardi Gras in New Orleans centered around the King Cake. It turned into a tradition where the presentation and serving of a cake accompanied parties and balls. The king cake’s religious meaning is not only by the shape, a circle representing the wise men’s journey, but also through the colors; Purple represents justice, yellow equates to power and green stands for faith.

The tradition developed putting a bean and, eventually, a small baby figurine inside the cake, whoever found the baby in the cake would be declared king of the ball and that, of course, left the baby as a tradition of bringing the next king cake.”

Mardi Gras was introduced in Louisiana when the French established their first permanent settlement and brought the festivities with them. Carnival was not designed as a tourist attraction. There is a huge degree of resident participation in Carnival and a huge range of traditional practices, many of which have never been discovered by tourists.

Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.. Catholics around the world attend church to receive ashes on their forehead to signify an inner repentance..

Want to know more about the month of February?

The month of February was named after the Latin Februm meaning Purification. The purification ritual was held on February 15, (full moon) on the old Roman Lunar Calendar, February is the shortest month of the year, the only month with fewer than 30 days. The month has 28 days in common year and 29 days in leap years. The birth stone is amethyst which symbolizes piety, humility, spiritual wisdom and sincerity. The birth flower is viola .However, we can always count on that fact that nothing is permanent and be assured that soon the climate will change and we will soon be celebrating milder temperatures, the return of the birds and spring flower.-

This has been a particularly difficult February with heavy rains out west, bitter cold temperatures ranging from the Midwest to the East Coast. Boston is experiencing a record snowfall, the winds and bitterly cold temperatures makes cleaning it off the streets next to impossible. Luckily for most of us the schools and many businesses are closed this Monday which will keep us bundled up in our warm homes. But February is far from finished at least for us on the east coast as snow is predicted for two days this week along with the zero and below temperatures.

However, we can always count on that fact that nothing is permanent and be assured that soon, as always,  the climate will change and we will soon be celebrating milder temperatures, the return of the birds and spring flowers.

Stay warm, stay safe until next time—