Previous month:
November 2006
Next month:
January 2007

Posts from December 2006

Mir i Dobro


To the Cinema / Opatija, Croatia / May 2005

To the New Year and wherever it may lead us.

Mir i dobro ("peace and all good") to you in the New Year.

I Saw Three Ships


English ships of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries / From The discoverers, pioneers, and settlers of North and South America : from the earliest period (982) to present time. (New York : American Subscription Publishing House, 1859.) Brownell, Henry Howard (1820-1872), author / NPYL Digital Collection, Image 814708

A nod to my seafaring ancestors:

"Medieval imagery is the source for the 17th-century carol "I Saw Three Ships". The legend of three ships arriving in Bethlehem -- which was not even close to a seaport -- was a popular theme among peoples of seafaring regions of the world. Theirs was a world of imagination, allowing them to bring the story of the birth of Christ into their hearts and homes by using images that were part of their everyday existence. Three ships, perhaps representing the three Magi, carry the precious cargo or Mary and her newborn Child. The carol bids us join with the bells, the angels and all souls on earth . . . "On Christmas Day in the morning." (From the back of a Printery House christmas card)

The Christmas Ship


Elsie Schuenemann at the wheel of the Christmas Ship, near the Clark Street Bridge on the Chicago River; the boat carried Christmas trees to Chicago from Michigan; her father, Captain H. Schuenemann, died when the Rouse Simmons, ship carrying Christmas trees, sank in 1912 / December 1916 / Chicago Daily News negatives collection, DN-0003451. Courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society

"In the early 1900s, Herman Schuenemann was a known vendor in the Marine Christmas tree trade. Capt. Schuenemann had a crew who would cut trees from the northern woods of Michigan, strap them down upon his ship and then set sail for Chicago. Once in port, he would sell the trees off the deck of the sailing vessel Rouse Simmons. Every year, families and their children would gather at the pier and anxiously await the arrival of the "Christmas Ship". On November 23rd, 1912, during a fierce winter storm with his ship covered with ice  Capt. Schuenemann and his crew of seventeen with approximately 5000 fresh-cut trees sank, not far from the shores of Two Rivers Wisconsin." (from The Christmas Ship Story)

Today an organization called Chicago's Christmas Ship, raises money to buy trees and deliver them -- via the Christmas Ship (the US Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw) -- to poor children in Chicago.

Pageant of Peace, 1975


Pageant of Peace Ceremony (President and Mrs. Gerald R. Ford with two young people at the lighting of the Christmas Tree, December 1975) / Claire C. Ralston, Photographer / National Park Service Historic Photograph Collection

Each year the National Park Service holds a Christmas Pageant of Peace in Washington, DC that lasts for three weeks. It includes the lighting of the national Christmas Tree and nightly outdoor musical and dance performances.

". . . let us restore the golden rule to our political process and let brotherly love purge our hearts of suspicion and hate."

-- Gerald R. Ford (1913-2006; with condolences to his family), Remarks on Taking the Oath of Office as President

Art is what you can get away with


The Tomato-Cage Christmas Tree / Dec. 06

The ladder christmas tree (via Apartment Therapy) struck a chord with me -- a common-place item taking the form of something special like a christmas tree and, in addition, an anti-consumerism tree. When I took out the trash, I saw some recently trash-picked Tomato cages and found the inspiration for my Christmas tree. The lights were easily strung around the cage wire. Shiny green fabric was tucked into the base. The ornaments are made from Barneys newspaper ads using their "Andy Warhol-idays" theme. See more pictures after the jump. (Barneys worked with the Andy Warhol Foundation to create its ads.)

Art is what you can get away with

    -- Andy Warhol (on

Continue reading "Art is what you can get away with" »

Round the Table


Happy Andy Warhol-idays; Christmas tree ornaments made from a newspaper advertisement featuring Warhol's drawings (for a great Andy Warhol resource see his page at / December '06

Two thoughts (sparked by things I have read recently, but don't remember where) have been swirling around my head the past few days.

  • Since the beginning of time people have always had celebrations. We, as human beings, have a capacity for joy.
  • A little extravagance at Christmas-time is like the explosion of growth and beauty in spring-time.

Round the table
Peace and joy prevail.
May all who share
this season's delight
enjoy countless more.

-- Chinese blessing

I send Merry Christmas greetings to all my family and friends.
May peace and joy prevail.

House of Peace & Campfires


The Gingerbread House of Peace on Earth and Sing-a-longs at the Campfire to All / Dec. 20th '06

This year for our extended-family Christmas Eve celebration Mitza sent out the word: no gifts. Instead each person was requested to bring a dollar to buy books for children in Botswana. A local woman, 23-year-old Kate Zanoni, has been collecting for her "Books for Botswana" program. The books are for children infected with, or orphaned by, HIV/AIDS who are treated at the Botswana-Baylor College of Medicine Children's Clinical Center of Excellence.

Hold on to my Hand


A visit to Holy Sepulchre cemetery / December '06

Hold on to my hand
    even when I have gone away from you.

     (from a Pueblo verse)



Light a candle against the darkness of our world / December '06

And so, at this time, I greet you.
Not quite as the world sends greetings,
but with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you
now and forever,
the day breaks,
and the shadows flee away.

-- In a letter written by Fra Giovanni Giocondo to his friend Countess Allagia Aldobrandeschi in 1513

Faithfulness, Authenticity, Empowerment, Experimentation


The Family Songbook that I put together for Christmas '04

Recently a bubbly 12-year-old asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I was taken aback, as it had been years since I've even thought of such a thing. But I recovered quickly and told her, "world peace." Then I asked her what she wanted (speakers for her ipod).

The "buy nothing christmas" web site (via Inspire Me Thursday) is "dedicated to reviving the original meaning of Christmas giving" and has suggestions for creative gift-giving. Their answer to queries about why "buy nothing" is made up of four beautiful words: faithfulness, authenticity, empowerment, and experimentation.

Continue reading "Faithfulness, Authenticity, Empowerment, Experimentation" »