Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Faerie Day!

We had a visitor this evening! (I think it may be a faerie!)

Fairy Day is a day for fairies, magic, and wishes to come true. For one day, put aside the cycnicism of the modern world and embrace the possibilities of the unknown, and believe in fairies…June 24 is International Fairy Day. It’s a holiday for fairies and the humans who want to celebrate them. June 24 falls during the holiday of Midsummer, which is associated with the summer solstice (or winter solstice in the southern hemisphere). Although the solstice actually falls on June 21, the Midsummer celebration extends a few days before and after the actual day.
According to Cicely Mary Barker (1895-1973) artist, poet, and author of several fairy books, “Summer is a very busy time of year for the fairies. However they do make time to have fun at Midsummer to thank the sun for shining its light and warmth on their flowers, helping them grow.”
Midsummer is one of the most magical times of the year, and it is an important holiday for the fairies. Fairy lore says that Midsummer is a time of year when the veil between the human world and Faerie (Fairyland) thins, allowing the worlds to mingle. People were warned not to fall asleep outside at Midsummer because they might be carried off by the fairies.
One of William Shakespeare’s most popular plays is “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” which takes place at Midsummer. Unwitting humans in the forest realm of Queen Titania and King Oberon get caught up in the middle of the couple’s argument, and become the victims of Puck’s magical fairy pranks.
The creation of International Fairy Day is attributed to renowned fairy artist Jessica Galbraith. There is a Fairy Day event page on Facebook for those who would like to celebrate.
There are lots of great ways to celebrate International Fairy Day with friends and family. Many people like to rise early on the day and go outside to greet the sunrise. Plan a party, fairy tea, or a bonfire. Remember to leave out gifts and treats for the fairies, such as crystals, sweet cakes, honey, nuts, or fruit. The fairies will imbibe the energies of the treats, and the local wildlife can enjoy them after that. Set up a Maypole, sing songs, play music, recite fairy poetry, or even give a performance or reading of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Remember at least to keep the fairies in mind on Fairy Day, and be on the lookout to catch a glimpse of a fairy.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Reading List: Review Time!

 I've read this before, though I do not own a copy...yet. While my finances are not, and thankfully have never been in as dire a situation as Sarah's were at the writing of this book, I , like so many other people all over the world, do live under the shadow of debt, and quite often my family is living paycheck to paycheck. Sarah's tips and advice for sorting out debt, rearranging and re-managing spending, and tucking away 'pin money' are interspersed with beautifully written essays of real-life living, sparkling wit, and good humor even in the face of debt collectors. I highly recommend it, whether you actually need it or not. :)

Scathing. Witty. Amusing. Enlightening. Alice James' diary is everything you expect a diary to be, and more. Her entries near the end, dictated to Katharine Peabody Loring because James could no longer write them are especially noteworthy. She knew she was dying, and she took that much more time to closely observe the world around her, as though to carry the memories into the next world.

  I found this book to be slow-going, but I am SO glad I stuck with it. It is absolutely charming. Written by a Victorian-era spinster, the language is delicate, but she very readily alluded to certain details, but in such a way that it comes across as amusing rather than stuffy. Kingsley wrote very conversationally: you can imagine yourself seated in her parlor, Wedgewood tea service set before you, spellbound as you listen to her adventures. Later you follow her into the library to view her albums of plant and flower pressing taken from West Africa. Really, simply charming.

(For some reason the image of The Captain's Lady Cookbook-Personal Journal won't copy. See the entry from June 1st)

I am not entirely sure this is not a work of fiction. If so, it is a well-researched fiction, but the language, written at nearly the same time as Mary Kingsley's book, is too.....fluffy. I have no doubt the recipes are authentic, but the actual diary entries seem to candied and overblown to be an actual diary, especially as I am currently working on the diary of Mary Chipman Lawrence (The Captain's Best Mate: the Journal of Mary Chipman Lawrence on the Whaler 'Addison', 1856-1860) and her writing and language is very much like Kingsley's.
And to continue on with Mary Lawrence, I find that her book was not one that I listed on the reading list, but oh well. Let's call it an Easter Egg bonus: I am near the end of the journey, Mrs. Captain and her little family are near home, and what a thrilling adventure it has been. We have been all over the Pacific ocean on our search for whales, have stopped in at the islands of Hawaii for several rests and re-fittings, and now we are on our way back to New Bedford.

That's it for now, my friends. After I finish Mrs. Lawrence's diary, I will embark upon world travels with Ladies on the Loose!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Summer Reading List 2015, 2nd edition...

It's 9:30 PM, I'm tired and just this side of grumpy, but I promised at least part of the List, and here it is!

Peace and Plenty by Sarah Ban Breathnach

I love all of Sarah's books; her essays are beautiful, thought-provoking, and inspirational.

Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady by Kate Summerscale

'The story of a true-life Madame Bovary and the scandalous trial that rocked Victorian England by the bestselling author Kate Summerscale.' Well, that got my attention.

The Diary of Alice James

Having read her biography, I'm interested to read the thoughts she recorded for posterity.

Hypatia's Heritage: A History of Women in Science from Antiquity Through the Nineteenth Century by Margaret Alic

To quote my son Henry "Because SCIENCE!" but really, because women in history...and science.

Travels in West Africa by Mary Kingsley

Victorian lady traveler? I'll be travelling to West Africa from the sandy comfort of my beach chair.

Farm to Factory: Women's Letters 1830-1860 edited by Thomas Dublin

I seem to be on a Victorian trend this summer....

Ladies on the Loose: Women Travellers of the 18th and 19th Centuries edited by Leo Hamalian

More beach chair travelling for me.

The Captain's Lady Cookbook-Personal Journal edited by Barbara Dalia Jasmin

This looks like what I call a commonplace book: a collection of just about anything that one wants to record, the only real difference being I don't have recipes in mine. I'm looking forward to exploring this one.


Prayer: A History by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski

History, traditions, and cultures; language and intent, controversy and faith.

Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain by Maria Rosa Menocal

One day I will visit Spain, and when I do I shall see Alhambra.

The Shape of a Year by Jean Hersey

A month-by-month chronicle of events in one woman's life in her home in Connecticut.

Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon
As reviewed by Faerie Magazine, it looks like a beautiful fantastical tale. (Bad pun, I know.)

The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston
Historical magical fiction? Yes please.

The Silver Witch 

She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth
Fairly self-explanatory.

Sisters of Fortune : America's Caton sisters at Home and Abroad by Jehanne Wake
I'm not sure just who the Canton sisters were, but I expect I will find out this summer. Thank you Goodreads for recommendations.

Aristocrats : Caroline, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox, 1740-1832 by Stella Tillyard. 

I saw the miniseries on PBS ages ago....I think the book will be even more interesting, though if you love historical costumes, watch this.

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