Wednesday, April 23, 2014

After much thought and research...

I was talking about traditions on Monday and the comments were very interesting. I observed that many traditions are based on superstitions and I'm going to get to that in a bit.

The big question was, what makes something a tradition.  After reading far too many dictionary definitions, as well as other source material,  I see the concepts of tradition/custom/ritual getting all mashed up together and one being used to define another.

I wanted to talk about something more fun tho - traditions as superstitions, or is it the other way round? Superstitions are certainly passed down from generation to generation - does that make some of them traditions? I say yes because they play out as behavior done in the same way, under the same circumstances or at the same times.

From my own family/culture, superstitions which are traditions:

Faith, Hope and Charity charms are sewn on a red ribbon and pinned to a baby's blanket, carriage, clothes. Why? So the child won't be 'overlooked' ie: to protect the child from the evil eye. These ribbons with charms are traditional baby gifts. They are also based on superstition that pre-dates the religious symbols used.

Bread, Salt and honey are traditional housewarming gifts. Bread so you will never be hungry; salt so your life will have flavor and honey so your life will be sweet. A tradition, definitely. Not so much a superstition but believe me, if these gifts are not given and something goes wrong, blame will be assigned.  Same with throwing pennies the first time you enter a person's new home - failure to do so and, well, blame will be assigned.

I no longer practice any of my cultural/family traditions but I remember them. They had meaning. They were family, culture, roots. They were connections to the past; to who I am in a very deep sense - the who I am that I instinctively fall back on; gravitate to and identify with; the who I am that shows up unawares. They are in my blood and bone.

The thought I can't get out of my head at this moment - And the gypsy violins played on.

(I had originally planned this as part 'scholarly' and part fun but as I wrote it became more personal so I deleted the informational bits.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

If it's tuesday then it must be

Harris Teeter grocery store shopping day. Which means it was riding in the car-car day. Which means it was listening to music day.  First song up was Rehab by Amy Winehouse, followed by Any Day Now by Chuck Jackson and then some godawful song by I have no idea who. I said to my husband "Who is that, and what key are they trying to sing in?" He said "It's one of the songs Chrissy sent me - it's one of her favorites" My response "Yeah, well they're singing in the key of WHAT THE HELL?

It's a 3-store grocery week - Tuesday, HT, Wednesday a delivery from Giant/Peapod and Thursday a trip to Trader Joe's - so it's a $300 grocery bill week.  At HT there were mucho sales that I didn't know about so we now have a year's supply of this, a three month supply of that - oy - but we saved over $40 dollars. Which doesn't really mean much because we would never have bought that much of any of those things if they weren't on sale.

Remember me mentioning my new faucets? And did you ever see that commercial where a woman plunks a faucet down on a desk and says "Design a house around this"; that's how I feel about my faucets - aside from from the finish. I prefer brushed nickel and these are in chrome.  So this is my design/decor sensibility (but picture it in brushed nickel and it only applies to the faucets - not to the ugly granite counter top - bleech)...

(Click to biggify if you like).

And last, but hardly least - It is a gorgeous, warm Spring day - in the 70's. Miss Frankie is at the window yelling at birds, and BB? Well I guess it's not quite warm enough because he wrapped himself in the bed covers and has been there for hours...It's almost time for my husband's post-lunch nap and the Bees is gonna get evicted.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Traditions - I have none.

"A tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past."

Italians have a lot of food traditions, once I left home I never replicated any of them. I remember them fondly - hey, food! - but I never bothered with them. There are no cultural/family traditions that I maintain.

There are all the religious/secular holiday traditions, like Christmas. I don't do Christmas tho it is a perfect excuse to give people gifts. I'm for any excuse to give someone a gift. "Oh, hey - you got up this morning - here's a present". I surely do love giving gifts. One of the great pleasures of my life, but hardly a tradition.

Easter baskets were not a part of my childhood but I made them a part of my younger brother's. I saved my allowance and bought all the stuff to make him a basket every year.  He's 60, I still send him an Easter basket every year, so I guess that is a tradition. It's just that I never got one.

I've been trying my darndest to think of any traditions or traditional things (aside from you know,  like paying the bills) that are a part of my life and I am at a total loss.

The only thing that comes to mind, in the nature of family/cultural traditions, is a superstition. And that is: Never put shoes on the table.  I have no idea where that comes from but I remember when I was a kid, you come home from a shopping trip, unpack all your purchases, including your new shoes, and start to lay everything out on the table -"STOP! Do not put shoes on the table."  I never asked why. I could google it but I don't want to know.

Come to think of it now, all of my traditions are superstitions. Maybe all traditions ARE superstitions. Or maybe I have used the word so many times now it has ceased to have any meaning at all.

How long do you have to do a specific thing, at a specific time, for it to become a tradition? I make my husband a chocolate cake for his birthday every year. Is that a tradition? I've only been doing it for 2 or 3 years, and it's not my tradition, it's his. I just bake the cake because he likes it. Doesn't really mean jack-all (except that I'm a nice person, a-hem).

So what is it you do just because it has been done, traditionally?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Caturday Art

Just a little fun - though it was harder to do than you might think...

Hop on over to Athena, Cat Goddess to join up or enjoy some Caturday Art.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Name brand vs. store brand

In most cases I'm taking the store brand.  Except when it comes to paper towels or toilet paper. Store brands suck for those products.

This is on my mind because, while I have a dishwasher, which is crap to go along with the crap stove and crap refrigerator which came with this place (all brand new, all low-end crap Whirlpool - don't get me started...) I haven't been using it much because I was forced to buy Cascade dishwasher stuff. 

Up until a few months ago I was using the Harris Teeter house brand - Your Home. Really good products, love their scrubber sponges.  Then all of sudden the HT brand of dishwasher soap was gone from the shelves. Bummer. So I had to buy Cascade - also - Bummer. If I wanted my dishes clean I needed to handwash 'cause the Cascade is worthless.

But - Yay - the HT brand of soap is back on the shelves and I can use the dishwasher again Yay!

You see how simple I am - dishwasher soap makes me happy.

And tomorrow the man is coming to put in my new bathroom faucets - I'm so excited!