Friday, January 20, 2017

"Can You Hear My Voice This Time?"

I've been thinking a lot about the song "Fight Song". It's performed by Rachel Platten and written by Rachel Platten and David Bassett. It's not in my head because of the inauguration today. It's because of what's going to happen tomorrow. Across the country thousands of women will be marching.




Can you hear my voice this time?


If you haven't yet, you're about to. About to hear too many voices to ignore. Too many voices saying the same things.




"Don't take my healthcare!"


"My body, my business not yours"




And various anti sexual violence chants. Men will be there too. Because there are a lot of men who agree with all of those things.


What to say to the men against birth control? No birth control no sex. Because that's what "abstinence" means. Nope, can't touch me either.


These words are our fight song.


This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me

We are finding our voice tomorrow. Kitchens across the country will be empty. It's going to be great for restaurants. But, the new lawmakers are about to see what happens when you push this many women too far!


Didn't hear our voices before? You will now!!! Because we matter. All minorities need to raise their voices now. Be heard. FIGHT! You matter. We all matter. Remember this metaphor:




I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion



Tomorrow is that metaphorical explosion:












BOOM!










https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo1VInw-SKc 








 
Fight Song
 


 

Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

 

And all those things I didn't say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?

 

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me

 

Losing friends and I'm chasing sleep
Everybody's worried about me
In too deep
Say I'm in too deep (in too deep)
And it's been two years I miss my home
But there's a fire burning in my bones
Still believe
Yeah, I still believe

 

And all…

And all those things I didn't say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?

 

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me

A lot of fight left in me

 

Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion

 

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong (I'll be strong)
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me

 

Know I've still got a lot of fight left in me

 

Songwriters: Dave Bassett / Rachel Platten

 

Fight Song lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 


Monday, January 16, 2017

Making Sense of Social Privilege

White, male, Christian, privilege. Zach has it. There are road blocks he won't encounter because he is a white, male, Christian in America. The only real things that might hold him back is being raised in the lower middle class, possibly being gay (since we don't know about his sexual orientation yet) and when he's a senior citizen.



People of color have to deal with prejudice
Women have to deal with prejudice
Non-Christians have to deal with prejudice
GLBTQ people have to deal with prejudice (cisgender means strait by the way)
Poor and lower middle class people have to deal with prejudice
Senior citizens have to deal with prejudice




MAN we have a lot of social prejudice in this country. I just want to ask the haters why they hate these people. Here are a couple of examples. But, there are follow-ups based on the answers. Basically, explain yourself.


"What does their (color/gender/religion/sexual orientation/income status/age) have to do with their ability to do that?"


"It sounds like you want a maid/sex slave/nanny, not a wife. What did your Mom or sister ever do to you to make you think so little of women?"




It's up to parents to teach their kids how to treat other people. Starting in infancy really. That's why we can't shake these prejudices. It's what you were taught to think. Each individual person won't question their prejudices until dealing with them personally. Like when their gay child is getting married.


Zach and I were talking today about Martin Luther King Jr. So I told him about segregation. I used a friend of his as an example.


Me: "In MLK's time, black kids had to go to a different school and use different water fountains, for example. Can you image if your friend, ______ had to do that?"


Zach: "That doesn't make any sense"


Me: "I agree. _________, is just like you. You like the same things and are both great kids. There is no reason at all to separate you."


In other posts I've mentioned my theories on where these prejudices come from. But, it boils down to this. If you don't like hate, you don't hate. Bullies like hate. Picking on someone makes them feel better about their own insecurities. Until this point, we have yet to find a solution to end the prejudice too many face.


So I have an idea. A different approach. Show prejudice to those who are prejudice of others. Being on the receiving end of it from a lot of angles almost all the time isn't fun. A lot of lessons aren't learned until the person in question experiences it themselves. So, force them to experience it.


But, telling the greedy bully he's a greedy bully just makes him laugh at you. Calling him a government leech doesn't work either. Because, that's what makes them richer. What hurts is their ego.


"Your parents weren't around much when you were growing up, I can tell"


As for the middle class hater? His weakness will be revealed in the words he's using when showing prejudice. If he's joking about sexually assaulting a woman, there probably aren't many women willing to sleep with him.


"I take it that's the only way you can touch a woman, if you force yourself on her."


Yes, I am vindictive. That's why we are raising Zach to be respectful. To treat others as equals. To not be prejudice. Because that empathy he has in strong supply, will serve him well.


There is no making sense of social privilege. There isn't a way to make it stop completely.......at least not a legal way. But, experience and exposure can work miracles.


Most people have at least one social privilege but experience prejudice for other things. I think we all have a prejudice. But, our prejudice is never a positive thing. Love might trump hate, but to end hate we might need to return hate.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The GOP Attack Begins


1. Make minimum wage $1
2. Defund anything to do with women's reproductive health
3. Less money to seniors through reduced social security
4. Dismantle Medicare and Medicaid so seniors and the poor die of curable diseases
5. Ban abortions and birth control but not raise funds for group homes and foster families.
6. With liberty and unsafe water for all!
7. Christianity only!
8. Get rid of the immigrants. Because even though I won't clean toilets for $1 an hour they are stealing my job.
9. I don't like seeing gay people so I want them all back in the closet and married to someone of the opposite gender.
10. Stop people from being a different gender then how they were born.
11. Starve the poor
12. Eliminate unemployment pay since, you know, jobs magically appear if you loose one.
13. We can rule the country forever if we can prevent democrats from voting!
14. I love oil and gas!




This is how the GOP thinks. These are the things they really want to do. There are a lot of poor people that rely on social security, food stamps, and Medicaid to help make ends meet. They won't be able to do that in the next couple of years. But, their anti-gay stance was more important to them then being able to afford food or electricity or gas for the car.


Republicans only care about making their rich donors richer. But, then how do you get the votes to do it? How do you get the people you are about to screw over to vote for you? Give them people to hate. They hate anyone who does or is something they don't understand.


I finally figured out why they are so anti-birth control. That always confused me. Birth control stops pregnancies. So that means it lowers abortion rates. If you're anti-abortion, wouldn't you support something that decreases abortions?


But, it's about masculinity. Being able to get a woman pregnant makes some men feel like more of a man. It's emasculating when pregnancy won't be an option. Can't have women being in charge of their own bodies can we.


Why are they attacking the poor from all angles? Because to help the poor their rich buddies need to pay their fair share. Greed pure and simple. Now they have the power to undo almost any law the poor can rely on to fight back. It helps that poor people can't afford a lawyer.


They are bullies. Picking on the weaker for laughs. They will never take petitions seriously. They don't care. And their non-rich voters are enablers. Democrats want to help those who need it and accept those who are different. Those are basics. Why don't more people want those things? Everyone should want those things.


Dear Republicans..............you lost too. You just don't know it yet. But, this time, you can't blame Democrats for all of your problems. It's time to see your party for with it really is. Is that who you really are?



Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Verizon's Secret

Verizon has been hacked. At least their website. They won't announce it publically for 4 - 8 months. But, it's happened. So, how do I know this?


1. In December I couldn't get to my email. In fact, in a facebook group I am in there were a bunch of people with the same problem. Signing in was an issue. I'd put in my username. On the password page I entered my password. Then it looped around to the username page again.


2. At the end of December data was used on Josh's phone. Problem, Josh locked the data on his cell. One time for the data use he was eating dinner. Another he was sitting next to me as it charged. The third time we were sleeping.


3. Someone ordered 3 iPhone 7s on my mom's account and deactivated our cell phone numbers. When my mom called to reactivate, the customer service guy didn't seem surprised and knew what to do.


I caught all of these right away. We don't have a landline. My cell phone is the home phone. When it didn't work just a couple of hours after it had been working, I knew something was wrong.


I check the wireless account daily. This was less then a 24 hour period for the data usage. All of it so small it would have been missed by a frequent data user. But, we never use data. So when there wasn't 100% data left right after the bill was paid, a red flag went up.


As for the email. I check email several times a day. This happened multiple times over two days. Each time it was fixed. But, started again. Verizon has since fixed that problem.


As isolated incidences, this could just be basic system issues. But, combined, it's clearly the work of at least one hacker. These are all things that can be done behind a computer screen. We are also not the only ones effected.


But, why hack Verizon? Some people save banking or credit card info on the website. That's what the hackers are looking for in some cases. In the case of the purchased cell phones, they were probably trying to figure out how long they could get away with the free iPhones. They work like prepaid phones but this way they don't have to pay for them.


We're hard to hack. The data hack could have been looking for a banking app. You know how some banks have that "picture of check to deposit" feature? If you have that on your phone, your bank information can be accessed by a good hacker. Josh doesn't have that app so they found nothing from him. We also pay through a check sent. Bill pay through our bank.


All have been reported to the fraud department. I suspect Verizon is trying to figure out how much damage was done. They are also likely solving the problem and searching for how it happened. Basically, what all companies like to do.

It's going to be a PR nightmare. So they won't announce it until after it's been resolved. Trying to avoid customer panic. Look like you have it all under control. It's a trust thing.


But, I wanted to bring awareness to these issues. Because Verizon is a large company and customers need to know what's happening. So we can all monitor the accounts more closely and change some things to avoid being victimized by the hackers.


Like all big companies when they are hacked...........................Verizon has a secret.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Twisted Self Motivation

Lost in the sea of Labor Day to New Year's craziness and the painting project is Josh's blanket. It's more then halfway done. But, I still have 10 squares to make. Back in July, I was making a square a day. Then we went on the vacation that started the painting project.






For five months I have been slowly working on it. One square a day became two rows. I would look at the project on the couch, an not be up to working on it. I would try it anyway. But, it wasn't worth it. I needed to be motivated. But, how?


I turns out, to be motivated to work on one project I needed to be working on three. The ripple blanket I had been working on for myself was put aside. I had planned to work on it when Josh's blanket was done. But, with yesterday's snow I found myself looking at the couch again.







I missed knitting. I needed some variety to the crochet stitches too. So I did a little bit of all three projects. One long row on my ripple blanket, One row in knitting the mouse pad for my dad, and a bunch of rows of Josh's blanket. It's been a long time since I did that much.


Today I looked forward to going back to these projects. A little bit of a few things. Seven rows later, the square I started in December was complete. Including being sewn on to the blanket. My goal is St. Patrick's Day.


What do you do to motivate yourself? In school, kids are motivated by a reward. A favorite of Zach's is a "no homework" pass. I really can't go the "special food" route either. What about shopping? I love to shop! True, but only for things we need. I couldn't think of anything I wanted that would have been budget friendly.


I always say, "work around your habits". After all, you are more likely to be motivated to hit the gym if you literally drive by it on the way home from work. I used to work for at least on hour a day four days a week on my crochet and knitting projects. I even have old posts with updates on the status of all of them. Back when I was making the hats and cowls for my hats and wraps project. How was I motivated then?


By having different projects going at once. The variety meant I could do something different. I was looking at different yarn. Different colors. Doing different stitches. I got more done in two days since adding those two projects then I did in the month of December!!!


Sometimes we have to get creative about motivation. Example, diabetics can't reward themselves with chocolates. A cute new top is great motivation. If the accomplishment is a big one. I work better with small rewards for small accomplishments. I treat each square like it's a separate project. Like I said in a previous post, it's about doing the project, not completing it.


Why the road block? Because when they are done I don't know what project will be next. I still don't. But, I have learned something about myself. Stick with small things. Hats are a good idea. The block isn't about working on the current project. It's about what the next project will be.


It turns out, for me, that's not just a crochet and knitting road block. Motivation and inspiration come from unusual places sometimes. I have also learned to pace myself. I burned out from all those hours in a short period of time. I needed to spend less time on it to get more done.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Dear Woman At BK,

Dear Woman at BK,
You were standing next to me when I asked the Asst. Manager if mayo has dairy in it. I thought you were being helpful when you said "no".


So I explained to you what was happening. I didn't have to, but I did. My throat has been closing up a lot lately. So I am trying to go Dairy free. Seeing if it's a dairy allergy. I also said "I'm still figuring out what has dairy in it."


You told me to get to a doctor quickly and not to mess with that. There is so much I didn't tell you. You didn't ask for more information first. You just decided you knew me better then me. I don't even know what your job is. It's unlikely you are an expert in allergies though.


You forget it's an observed holiday. The allergist I called isn't open today and hasn't been all weekend. I had planned to see an allergist for days. But, it's not an option today. I also might need a referral. It's not as easy as show up and they take you any time.


You just assumed I never planned to see a doctor about this. You know nothing about me. Why was that your assumption?


You see, I also have some complicating factors. I have a shellfish allergy and a fear of medications. So finding out what I actually am allergic to is important.


I have a severe anxiety disorder and OCD. I had developed depression in November and am still fighting it. The throat thing might be in my mind. Or the one finger of sour cream closing my throat could be proof of something else.


You don't know I take a claritin every morning. You probably thought I am exaggerating. After all, if my throat closed up why didn't I go to the ER? Because my albuteral worked mostly every time. Combined with the Claritin, no ambulance has been required.


Is it possible you have a food allergy too and don't like when people who don't have one think they do? I get that with the GAD and OCD a lot. But, it sounded more like you just like telling people what to do.


So now I am telling you what to do. Stop telling people what to do. It's something bullies do to cover up their own insecurities. You were with a man yet neither of you saved a table and you insisted on carrying the tray. Control issues. You should really see a doctor about that.


Sincerly,


Mom in BK trying to figure out her body's issues.




note: I know nothing about this woman. Part of me knows she was just trying to be helpful. Was that concern in her voice? Or authority? She has no authority over me.


I wasn't gasping for breath. I mentioned the allergy when ordering and asked that they change their gloves before making my order. No cross contamination that way. I don't use mayo in many things so I haven't needed to check it yet.


It's a rough allergy to have. I hope I am wrong. Hence my plan to go to the allergy doctor. I know some people like soy but I haven't liked anything with soy in it yet! I truly hope this is all in my head! But, my throat spent most of December closed. I assumed it was stress. If it's not an allergy, I have to see a different doctor.


Her comment was uninformed,  useless, unhelpful, bossy, and unnecessary. A professional would have asked a few questions first. I guess she wouldn't believe me unless I was clutching my throat gasping for air in front of my 7 year old saying "call 911". Her opinion doesn't matter. Because she isn't an expert and she didn't have all the facts.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Gallery Tour Time!!!





I was reluctant to do this post now. The final painting has arrived. But, AC Moore doesn't have a framing sale going yet. So it hangs unframed until they do. Without that frame, it's not complete. Not to my OCD mind. But, I am trying to fight that OCD. After all, it's not about the frames.







But, there is coordination to the frames too. Silver/pewter, gold, burl, and burgundy in each room. How they hang are a certain way too. I'll give you the titles of the paintings. Some might have a small comment. But, I'm not going to tell you what to see. That's what I see. What do you see?








One thing will be obvious, I'm short. Sorry for the imperfect pictures. I had to work around furniture and lighting in that space, and even a stool didn't help with some!






I left out one painting. Josh's sister had one made with ornaments spelling out our last name. For safety I am not showing that picture. I also left out the bathroom and Zach's room. The bathroom are all favorite Zach pictures. Zach has a lot in his room. I might do that in a different post later.








Most are from Thomas Kinkade. The "Painter of Light". Four of them are photographs behind glass. Due to glare, I just included copies from the internet. He died in April of 2012. I have a lot of cottages. He spent time traveling and most cottages were inspired in England.




https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Kinkade


Some of the paintings are from Van Eyke. Ordered on Amazon. It's a Chinese company. HD Prints on canvas. Making them a lot cheaper then the real things. But a few are the real deal. Brushworks from the Thomas Kinkade galleries.


Van Eyke Painting Search


https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_p_89_2?fst=as%3Aoff&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Athomas+kinkade%2Cp_89%3AVan+Eyck&keywords=thomas+kinkade&ie=UTF8&qid=1483247901&rnid=2528832011




https://thomaskinkade.com/





"Sunrise"


"Clock Tower Cottage"


"Bridge of Faith"


From Zach's first vacation. He was 2.

What I looked like when I was small. I talked about this in a previous post. by C. Manuel

This is the picture in the "Picture Deep" blog post.

"Beauty and the Beast Falling in Love"

"Sunday Evening Sleigh Ride"

"Cobblestone Bridge"

Conference Championship before they won SB 42. Before they beat the Patriots the first time :)! We got it at a cart at the local mall shortly after the win. I wish that cart was still there.

"Yankee Stadium"

A couple of paintings came from Wall26 on Amazon. A California company. Photographs printed on canvas. This one is the NYC skyline from the Hudson river, NJ's view. I'm not big on cityscapes but I like this one.

"Stillwater Cottage"




"Make A Wish Cottage"

"Emerald Isle Cottage"


 
"Victorian Autumn"




"End of a Perfect Day"



 "Beginning of a Perfect Day"










A landscape photograph taken by a friend.





"A Quiet Evening"




A different landscape photograph taken by a different friend.




"Evening Glow" note: odd place for lighting at the moment.




"Conquering the Storms" note: featured in the "Election Aftershock" post.




We painted for fun yesterday. Zach made me this rabbit.




"Autumn Lane"




I painted this. The ones we made are on doors in the hallway. Zach loves Christmas trees So I wanted to make him one.




"Home is Where the Heart is II"




The sunflower I painted.




Zach's school picture




The pumpkin Zach painted in October.




"The Garden of Prayer"




My mom painted this. I like the reminder that she has an artistic side




The vacation painting that started this all. I did a blog post on it. by H. Gailey




Degas I think it's called "Blue Dancers"




Our wedding picture. 12 years ago.




"Almost Heaven"




"Twilight Cottage" I purposely took it without the frame. It's the hold up.









"Living Waters" The first Kinkade I saw. Waiting for the interview. It's when I connected with Thomas Kinkade.





"Pathway to Paradise"




"Stairway to Paradise"




Bonus. It's the other Wall26 painting. It's in the hall we share with the neighbors. It's also the inspiration for the "Safe Topics" blog post.









Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Still Celebrating

It's still Hanukkah


It's still Kwanzaa


New Year's Day is in five days.


We are all still celebrating something. That's why I say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". Because this year Christmas Day was also the first day of Hanukkah. Kwanzaa started yesterday. 8 days of Hanukkah, 7 days of Kwanzaa. And we all celebrate the New Year.


We are still celebrating. For Christians, we are still celebrating too. The Epiphany isn't until January 6th. That's the 12th day after Christmas. No, not the "five golden rings" 12 days. The 12 days it took the wise men to get to Jesus. They got there on the 6th.


Across the world we are reflecting on 2016. We are thinking about what is ahead in 2017. Some people are thinking about a resolution. Others make fun of those who have resolutions.


I don't know how the new year is celebrated in other countries. In America we eat a lot, some drink a lot, and we count down from ten while watching the most expensive ball ever slowly slide down a pole. Cheers!!!


I don't know about you, but the week between Christmas Day and New Year's Day has always felt awkward to me. The celebrating isn't over, but it's dormant. Routine sort of goes back to normal. But, it's the second week in a row when grocery stores are packed for party preparation. What do you do with the kids?


That last one gets really hard for families with all parents working long hours. Usually, these are the kids in after school care. But, if all parents really have to work, what do you do with the kids?!?!?! I know most parents try to take that week off. But, it's not always possible.


Are you a "tree at the curb or packed away on the 26th" kind of person? We used to leave the tree up for the 12 days. But, now we put it away on New Year's Day. New Year's Eve this year since Josh is working normal hours on New Year's Day. I left our wreath plain. That will stay up through the 12 days. I count that as more a garden thing since we got it at the nursery and it's spruce.




Happy Hanukkah


Happy Kwanzaa


Happy New Year


Happy Epiphany


Martin Luther King Jr. Day isn't far behind. If you want, we can include that too. But, I usually keep that one separate!





Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Apparently, December 16th was National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. Research says they are based on the "Cosby Sweaters" worn by Bill Cosby on "The Cosby Show" and Chevy Chase in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation".










http://www.nationaluglychristmassweaterday.org/


http://www.uglychristmassweater.com/ucs/ugly-christmas-sweater/












I hate the sweaters. I've never understood the draw. But, this year they seem to be featured in stores more then in the past. I can't explain why that is. If someone from another country asked me about why they are so popular, I'd have to ask someone else. Uglychristmassweater.com suggests it's:






1. Nostalgia
2. Our (United States) insane obsession with fashion/aesthetics






Personally, I think it's basically out of a desire to be silly. We Americans like to be merry at this time of year. For most of us, it's the only time we use the word "merry". Dressing silly is a way to have a little extra fun.








I'm not one of those people. My mother in law is hosting an "ugly sweater" competition at her Christmas Eve party. She's family so I have to wear one too. I chose the simplest one I can find. Blue with a single large snowflake on it. Thanks Kohl's (Croft and Borrow).















Ugly Christmas sweaters are a literal visualization of one of my biggest anxiety causers. Confusing chaos. I wanted to choose something I could wear and not feel silly. Wearing things like that makes me feel extremely uncomfortable. Rattled. To most people, it's a sweater. Especially when a contest is involved, you won't look sillier then anyone else. If you do,  you win something.








I didn't want to participate. But, it clearly is very important to my mother in law. So I am. For her and for my father in law. Because I love them both. They might not consider something so basic participating, but it's the closest I can get comfortably.








It's a physical thing. I hold one in my size in my hand and shake. I get nauseous and blurry. That's right, I get a panic attack just holding one in my size. It's technically a harmless sweater, but I already will be panic stricken by all the cramped chaos and the several conversations around me. Each year I take a lot of steps to minimize the anxiety I will feel. That simple snowflake sweater is the only compromise I can find. It doesn't cause a panic attack but is still clearly a holiday sweater.








But, a lot of people enjoy being silly. A lot of people like the craziness of it. The more Christmas symbols the better! Because those are the things full of fun childhood Christmas memories. For a lot of people it represents the holiday spirit. If that's why you like the ugly sweaters, I can understand that.







Imagine an "ugly hat" Easter trend. With "ugly hat" competitions. The winner gets a special Easter egg with a prize inside. Stores can start featuring all sorts of odd hats. Odd things sticking out in unexpected places and in mismatching colors.






I'll wear that sweater. I'll find a corner near someone I like talking to, and try to focus only on those I am with at that time. It will help control the anxiety. But, it's going to be very hard to compliment these sweaters. I'll probably be saying "you look festive" a lot.






Maybe I should wear an ugly Easter hat to go along with my sweater. Once you know how to make rabbit ears that one gets easier. It might require a lot of explaining though. But, if the point is to be silly, an Easter hat with bunny ears and an ugly Christmas sweater will do it!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Genealogy and Traditions

3 of my grandparents were 100% Irish. My 4th grandparent was 100% Italian.

Guess which grandparent was in charge of passing down traditions.

Most traditions are passed down through the mother's side of the family. There might be a few from the father's side. But the one running the household is the one deciding how things are done. If you come from a close family, you are more likely to cherish most traditions.

Growing up, my mom lived with her Italian grandparents. Her Italian grandfather came from Italy when he was 17. His sponsor was his wife's father. My poor Irish grandfather was outnumbered when it came to how to do things.

There is only one Christmas tradition from my Irish grandfather, that I know of. The Christmas cookie recipe. The same cookies we made on Sunday. The Italian Christmas tradition that stands out to me is the meatless Christmas Eve dinner.

Apparently, it's an Italian thing. The main course of Christmas Eve dinner was fish and/or pasta. My mom still insists on it! We won't celebrate with them until Christmas Day at my brother's house. But, my Mom is holding her own Christmas Eve celebration on Saturday.

It's a tradition she was raised with that is very important to her. As a kid, it was torture! She makes a pretty good alfredo sauce. Unfortunately, there wasn't much else we could eat. This year is going to be hard too. I can't eat shellfish because of the allergy. I also don't like much seafood to begin with. At least I can eat more now then as a kid.

It's like that for a lot of things. The Italian parent was the one to teach my mom to cook. So most of the things she makes have an Italian background. They are delicious. But, her cooking repertoire clearly came from an Italian heritage.

I wonder what would be different if my mom's Irish parent was her mother instead. If she lived with her Irish grandparents instead of her Italian ones. Which heavily Irish traditions would we be following? What would be the main course on Christmas Eve? A turkey, chicken, a roast, what? Probably something you can hunt that goes good with potatoes.

Ironically, my Mom was always a Daddy's girl. No one in her family was surprised when she fell in love with an Irish dude. In her dining room are photographs of her Irish grandparents. I can't take my eyes off of her grandmother. Mary Daly. I look just like her. I apparently am like her in many ways. I feel the family history flowing through my veins when I look into her eyes, literally. It's energy that makes me physically shake. It doesn't happen when I look into her husband's eyes. Only her. It's always been that way.

My Mom taught me how to cook. So I learned the Italian recipes my Mom learned from her mother and grandmother. Zach is learning them from me too. One more generation where the Italian traditions are the dominate ones. We might get more out of it if Zach marries someone who doesn't cook!

Traditions do change over time and through the generations. But, there are some basics that don't. A lot of traditions are based in where your ancestors are from. We all have traditions like that.

The ones that stick are the ones that are flexible. The Christmas Eve dinner is a good example of that. One rule, no meat. That's easy to work with no matter where you are or what the date is. So that is likely to stick.

I never feel more connected to my ancestors then when celebrating these traditions. Genealogy is a strong interest of mine. My mom talks a lot about her Italian family. Because she lived with them. So I ask a lot about my Irish family. Because I want to know them as well as I know my Italian family. Even though I'll never meet them. I ask a lot about Mary Daly. Do you have an ancestor that draws you deeper then the others too?

No matter what you are celebrating in the next few weeks I hope you connect to your ancestors through the traditions passed down. There is no better way to find your own identity then through where you came from. Just like when I make Mary Daly's cookies each year.