Thursday, December 24, 2009

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas...

... My true love gave to me 11 Pipers Piping, 10 lords a-leaping, 9 ladies dancing, 8 maids a-milking, 7 swans a-swimming, 6 geese a-laying, 5 golden rings, 4 colly birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

As it turns out this song has been influenced by the Scots! Traditionally music would be provided at the twelfth night celebrations. As it turns out, the French had incorporated bagpipe music into their own Franco culture, even though we usually associate the bagpipe with Scotland. Also, after Queen Elizabeth I the Stuart Kings of Scotland took rule over the British Monarchy. AND ALSO, the French and English nobility commonly married. SO with all these links to bagpipe music, it is no wonder that bagpipes would be played as the celebratory music for all the Christmas festivities. I read about this here.

Merry Christmas Eve :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On the Tenth Day of Christmas...

... My true love gave to me 10 Lords a-leaping, 9 ladies dancing, 8 maids a-milking, 7 swans a-swimming, 6 geese a-laying, 5 golden rings, 4 colly birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

The last half of the song I find to be less interesting than the first. Dancing, leaping, piping, drumming, all seem straight forward, and less cryptic. All the birds in the first half of the song seem to be symbolic in some way, or carry some amount of significance to the song (in a secular sense and/or religious sense). It seems to me that the first half of the song refers to what may be served at the Twelfth night celebration, and the second half seems to be a description of the actual celebration. It does seem like quite a jolly party, if I do say so myself.

Religious people would say that the 10 lords a leaping represent the 10 commandments. I think it is a description of the noble males participating in the festivities. That's just me though.

On Wikipedia it says that one theory for the song is that each verse represents a month of the year, and either identifies a food that is common in that month or a sport. I guess October (the tenth month) must be a great month for leaping. I'm happy to hear that, since I'm an October baby myself, and I consistently find myself leaping around October-time each year ;)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On the Ninth day of Christmas...

... My true love gave to me 9 ladies dancing, 8 maids a-milking, 7 swans a-swimming, 6 geese a-laying, 5 golden rings, 4 colly birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

9 ladies dancing most likely refers to the celebration of the the 12 days. "Ladies," during the time period that the song originated, referred to woman of noble birth, and these nine ladies were not entertainment, but most likely guests enjoying themselves at the party.

KJ fact: Whenever I go out dancing I get a side-ache. The only other person in the world that I know this happens to is my bestest friend Mandy Mather Spencer :) When we go dancing we always have a moment where we look at each other, start laughing, and say I have a side-ache! It's funny :D

Monday, December 21, 2009

On the Eighth Day of Christmas...

... My true love gave to me 8 maids a-milking, 7 swans a-swimming, 6 geese-a-laying, 5 golden rings, 4 colly birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves, and partridge in a pear tree.

So I guess the 8 maids a-milking are representative of the 8 beatitudes of the Catholic faith. I'm not real sure what a beatitude is, but according to this, it is the 8 required times of the year that a Catholic must receive Holy Communion.

I have no idea why the original song would say "8 maids a-milking", if in fact it did. It seems likely that maybe once upon a time this verse was filled with some sort of bird, but I have no evidence of that, and only suspicions! Perhaps, milk is what was traditionally drank on the twelfth night, but once again I'm only guessing at this particular verse's significance.
KJ Fact: I use to only drink skim milk, now I only drink whole milk; it's so much better!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

On the Seventh Day of Christmas...

... My true love gave to me 7 swans a swimming, 6 geese-a-laying, 5 golden rings, 4 colly birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

In the medieval ages swans were domesticated, and commonly served at Christmas dinner. In England, around this time, swan breeders would mark their swans' beaks by carving a symbol. Any unmarked birds belonged to the British Monarchy. Swans were considered a generous gift from the British Monarchy for Christmas dinner, 7 swans as a gift could be considered much more than generous, maybe even graciously generous :)

For Catholics, the seven swans represent the Seven Sacraments. This interpretation of the song mostly likely developed in the 1700's.

I learned this here.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

On the Sixth Day of Christmas...

... My true love gave to me 6 geese-a-laying, 5 golden rings, 4 colly birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Geese were among some of the first domesticated birds, and a traditional Christmas meal in England. BUT I bet it is a traditional meal in France first (continuing with the theory that the song *probably* originated in France). I mean, hello, FOIE GRAS!?! Geese are totally a French food :)

Well, something interesting about Geese, they mate for life, BUT they are also polygamous! The males mate with multiple females -for life- So I guess it makes sense that in the song 6 female geese are given. (Male geese are called Ganders).

I learned some of this post's information here. Anything else that isn't cited, I just made up :D

Friday, December 18, 2009

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas...

... My true love gave to me 12 drummers drumming, 11 pipers piping, 10 lords a-leaping, 9 ladies dancing, 8 maids a-milking, 7 swans a-swimming, 6 geese a-laying, 5 golden rings, 4 colly birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree!!!!!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Some of you may think today is the twelfth day of Christmas, but actually it is the FIRST! Somewhere along the way we all thought the last day of Christmas should be Christmas itself, but originally it was the first day, with January 6th being the final day of Christmas, and twelfth night! So if you wanted to celebrate the twelve days, but thought you were too late to the game, well good news, you can start today! As for me, I'm signing off on this topic, of which I only skimmed the surface. I hope you all learned a little something along with me. Merry Christmas y'all


On the Fifth Day of Christmas...

... My true love gave to me 5 Golden Rings, 4 Colly Birds, 3 French Hens, 2 Turtle Doves, and a Partridge in a pear tree.

The piece of trivia I learned today is that originally the 5th day's "Golden Rings" referred to Golden-Ringed Neck Pheasants, but somewhere along the way was interpreted as 5 pieces of jewelry. And really, I can see why the meaning changed ;) After all, what girl doesn't love jewelry especially when she's already received 10 birds at this point! Wanna know for yourself?... Here's my sources: 1, 2.

Supposedly, these are really tasty birds, and were likely served as part of the the twelfth night feast long ago. I think I'd rather just look at them than eat them :)

Quite Frankly, I'd rather receive a ring like this, Chanel No. 5 Ring in Golden

Or maybe this Golden Ring, plus 4 additional others of course ;) They don't all have to be "golden".

Thursday, December 17, 2009

On the Fourth Day of Christmas...

...My true love gave to me 4 calling/colly birds, 3 french hens, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

In the brief research I just did on the fourth day of Christmas, I found out that the "4 calling birds," as I grew up singing, should actually be "4 colly birds," which is a type of black bird.

How did we go from colly birds to calling birds? Well, I don't really know, but one clue I found is in the intent of the song. It is believed that originally the 12 days of Christmas was a secular song that reflected the gifts a young woman was receiving from her true love (she must have loved birds!). Later on it is believed that the song was adapted as a catechism for young Catholics. The purpose of the song was to learn the surface meaning of the song in relation to a deeper religious meaning. I learned this HERE.

The 4 calling birds was adapted from colly birds to represent the 4 gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I'm sure 4 colly birds could represent the 4 gospels just as well as 4 calling birds, so there must be another reason for the change. All the same it's a pretty interesting evolution of the song, I think.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On the Third Day of Christmas...

My true love sent to me…3 French Hens, 2 Turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

As you all know I’m a big fan of all things French! So this may be my favorite part of the song ;)

Did you know that when this song was written there were three varieties of chickens associated with France? They were the Crevecoeur, the La Fleche, and the Houdans. Also, It is not known where the song originated from, but this may be a clue that it *probably* originated in France! I learned this HERE. And verified that here.

Here's another handmade card that would be cute to buy for Thank You cards for any gifts you get for Christmas. It belongs in the same collection as yesterday's post :) Both cards are by Olivia Bossy and found on I'm loving her style!

Monday, December 14, 2009

On the second day of Christmas...

...My true love gave to me 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.

The Turtle dove is a bird that in mythological texts, represents devoted love. To learn more about the turtle dove read here.

If the turtle doves represent devoted love, then they must personally represent this guy,

and this pup,

and this turtle!

I love them sooooooo much!

Aren't these handcrafted cards adorable? Two turtle doves in turtlenecks :) These would make great thank you cards for any Christmas presents you might receive this year. I might have to buy them!

On the First Day of Christmas...

These partridge pendants and earrings would make any vintage-loving, hip girl happy on the first day of Christmas.

That last one, the 1960's Children's Reader Illustration Pendant...Consider that added to my Christmas Wishlist :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Last week, I practiced my sewing skills by making Garbanzo some scarfs to wear. For Halloween I had made a scarf with skeletons on it, and for Thanksgiving one with turkeys. So I spent last Saturday morning sewing a Christmas scarf and two general use scarfs! They looks so cute on Garbanzo! Check it out:

Fashion Show:

"Blue Steel"

My friend Mabel makes clothes for her shih tzu, and has a fashion show posted here that makes me laugh so hard!

Hey, I can make these scarfs in different sizes...small, medium, or large if you want one email me. I charge $6 for small, $7 for medium, and $8 for large :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Hey y'all! I've been meaning to blog about ZumoDrive for a while now! Just today Walter S. Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal gave his review of ZumoDrive and I think you all should read it! It explains how ZumoDrive works via cloud storage. If you are looking for even more information on ZumoDrive you should check out Greg's blog.

My friends, I have personally used ZumoDrive and twice in the past month it saved my life! The first time being when I had to do a powerpoint presentation for school. I didn't need a flashdrive, I didn't need to wait through a long download, I didn't need to contact media services to hook up my macbook, I was able to access my powerpoint within seconds in front of the entire class! Man, that really helped calm my nerves! There is nothing worse than getting in front of a group of people just to have whatever technology malfunction at the point of no return.

The second lifesaving moment happened when I forgot to print out a document I needed for work and didn't remember until I was AT work! Thanks to ZumoDrive I was able to access the document while at work both on my iphone and the work computer! A total lifesaver!

As an MFT in training I'm planning on keeping all my logged hours (I need 3000 hours) saved on ZumoDrive so that I never lose them, and can have access to them at any time! I mean, what would I do if I lost those hours!?! I'd have to start all over, and we all know that could mean years of lost time and work!

There are lots of uses for ZumoDrive that you'll just have to check out for yourself. You can get up to 2GB for free :) I've actively used ZumoDrive to have access to my iTunes music collection wherever I am, and I do lots of photo sharing. The possibilities are endless. The days of hard drives are over, cloud storage is IN!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!

'Tis that time of year my friends! December is tomorrow, and you know what that means! The countdown is ON! 25 days 'til Christmas, and 19 days 'til I leave for Utah :) Woot Woot!

As is the tradition chez McCombs, the tree goes up on the Monday after Thanksgiving...I was so excited, I put ours up yesterday. I thought maybe Garbanzo would be scared or fascinated by the tree, but he doesn't even seem to notice it.

You know what I'm most excited for this holiday season? SNOW! You heard me, SNOW! I hate snow, but I have a feeling Garbanzo is going to LOVE it! I can just see him now, digging, jumping, rolling in and kicking up snow! He's never going to want to leave Utah and her snow.

Bird instead of much cuter than a star :)
Fiber Optic tree :)
Garbanzo and his best-lovebug Abbie posing in front of the tree. All smiles :D

Have a holly-jolly Christmas y'all! I hope you all bust out your Christmas music, movies, and sweaters this month! I know I will be.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Happy Belated Thanksgiving :)

I wanted to list what I'm thankful for like so many of you have already done on your own blogs, facebook, and twitter accounts. I am thankful for:

Greg, the love of my life
Garbanzo, the best dog in the world
Redji our tortoise
my education (and Greg's education, and his job)
my family (my family and Greg's family)
my friends, every single one of you!
for yummy food on turkey day!

I really am a very lucky lady to be blessed with so many friends and family that I love and love me back.

Some highlights from turkey day at the Nelson's house:

I made our traditional stuffing that has been passed down from multiple generations on Greg's side of the family:

Started by drying my own bread, just the way my mommy does it!

Finished product...oh so yummy-tasty!

I picked limes from right outside our apartment, straight off the tree, and made the freshest, most yummiest, lime pie I ever tasted! I used my mom's recipe :)

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup lime juice (freshly squeezed)
1 1/3 cup milk
4 heaping TBSP corn starch
3 unbeaten egg yolks
1 cup sour cream

Mix sugar and cornstarch, set aside. In pan melt butter, add lime juice, egg yolks, and milk~blend. Gradually add sugar and corn starch, cook over medium heat until thick. Mixture will be lumpy. Stir in sour cream. Pour into a pre-baked pie shell. (I used a pre-baked pie shell, but it is good with a graham cracker crust as well). Cool.

The turkey turned out perfectly :) It was so tender and moist.

I also made some of the other traditional items: like super yummy butter rolls, and Cranberry Apple Chutney, Brussel Sprouts & Leeks, and potatoes & gravy. YUMMY! The one thing I forgot: Sweet Potatoes...which I had all the ingredients for, I just forgot to make it~woops!

We had Nick and Maiko over. They were such fun guests. We played nintendo, Rage, Settlers of Catan, and went to see the newest version of A Christmas Carol in 3-D. I'm telling you, it was a good time!

One of the best parts of my day was taking Garbanzo for a 3 mile run. The moment I put on my running shoes he couldn't contain his excitement! I can't believe how great a running companion he is. I'm telling you people, Garbanzo is the best dog EVER! After the run he was soooooo pooped! check it out, this is how he spent most of the day:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It Happened AGAIN!

So, today I was driving home from work around 2:30 pm, I was exiting from CA-85 to the US 101-N when it happened AGAIN!

What happened again? Well, check out this old blog post of mine because the exact same thing happened today as it did on September 20, 2008: So weird! Why do cops on the 101 drive diagonally across the lanes so no one can pass causing a big traffic jam? I do not understand this behavior. There were no accidents, no cars stalled, no pedestrians in the roadway, nothing!

Well, referring back to my old post made me realize that I'd still like to go for a road trip across the country, maybe when I graduate in June I'll take that trip with my honey. What do you say honey?!

And as inspired by that blog post on September 20th, I picked up another of Jack Karouac's books Big Sur which featured another one of his roadtrips around the bay area. It was really fun to read since I live in this area, and love love love Big Sur!

Ta-Ta ya'll! You'll be hearing from me again soon and often since I'm done with school-work until January! Wahoo!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Passing on the CUTE

My blog was recently deemed "Super Cute" the other day by my bestest friend Missy :) on her Lovely Little Life Blog. Receiving this award put a big cheesy smile on my face :D What a great friend, right!?! Well she is. And now I get to pass on this swell award to 5 more cute blogs, whom I hope can pass it on to 5 more cute blogs, so that the cute just keeps on giving!

I officially award
Melanie at pPod's Kitchen
Emily at Emily's Blog

These blogs are not only very cute, but they are thoughtful and well-written :) Enjoy some good reads everyone and please remember to Pass on the CUTE!!!

My super cheesy smile :D

Friday, November 6, 2009


Garbanzo and Abbie are in L-O-V-E
First comes love
Then comes marriage
Then comes puppy in the puppy carriage!
But not really, Garb got snipped :(

Kisses! (French kisses, ooh-la-la!)

Ahhhh, young love.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mini food and my sea-sick-green thumb

I have a sea-sick-green thumb :) Really I do. But, at least it is green right? In the past I attempted to grow herbs like basil and lavender out on my patio. They didn't grown past baby sprouts before dying, sadly. I had a Bonsai tree once, that despite my watchful care, died. I've tried growing flowers and failed. I had cala lily bulbs that kept trying to grow, but continually died. Despite my failed attempts, I still have this unrealistic hope that I'll be a plant connoisseur and have a thriving apartment-garden.

So this summer I planted tomato seeds :) I thought my tomatoes would never arrive, given how many times I forgot to water my plant, let it partly die, and attempted at breathing life into it again. For an entire week in September I was out of town. When I arrived home my plant had been blown over on the patio. The pot broken. The plant mostly dead. But somehow I seemed to rescue it. I never imagined after that that actual fruit could grow on it, but they finally did, just recently in fact. So on Wednesday I picked them and put them in my lunch salad. They were so cute! They were about the size of the tip of my itsy-bitsy-adorable! I showed them off to all my coworkers, who happen to be fantastic real gardeners. I should have been embarrassed by the tomatoes' size, but I wasn't. I was so damn proud.

So after enjoying my home-grown tomatoes I was feeling pretty good about my food creating skills. So I cooked up a mini pumpkin squash for dinner. I decided that I would toast the pumpkin seeds (rather than throwing them out like usual). I've never even eaten pumpkin seeds. I was pleasantly surprised by how yummy mini-toasted pumpkin seeds are with a little salt...tastes like popcorn! Such a yummy-delicious snack! So great to eat while watching my favorite Curb Your Enthusiasm :) And so seasonal.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Life's little pleasures

I'm taking a break from writing a research paper right now. Here I am daydreaming about my weekend. Yesterday I hosted a brunch with a few friends. It was so enjoyable, just what I needed to forget all about work, school, and research papers! I was so happy with how the menu turned out. Here are some of the recipes: Pumpkin Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup, Spinach Quiche (which I adjusted significantly by adding a pie crust, 2 extra eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1 TBSP flour, 1 clove garlic-minced, fresh spinach--heated just until wilted, and some garlic salt).

Later in the evening we went to Mabel's for a Halloween dinner and movie. So nice. I wish I was there right now. I can't wait to be done with school! June can't come fast enough!

To cope I just have to focus on life's little pleasures.

isn't this picture pretty!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween :D

This year for Halloween Greg and I dressed up as a cowgirl and gorilla!

In years past we've both been much more adorable:

Well, Greg's stayed about the same ;)

He's always been adorable :D

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Sorry to flood you all with blog posts, I didn't want to shove everything on my mind into one long- disconnected post, so you get it this way :P

Today was a magical day.

Greg got me tickets to the Broadway musical Wicked, which we went to today. We started out by going to a Farmers Market in San Francisco where we got some yummy Gyros :)

Then we headed to the Orpheum theater to see Wicked! It was so good! It made me fall in love with live-performance musicals! It was so well done, I'm in awe at the singing, the instrumentals, the lighting, the stage, everything! I'm not kidding, you HAVE to see it!

After Wicked we went to dinner at Suppenküche, which is a German restaurant I read about on Yelp. It had over 1,000 reviews with a 4 star rating! And let me tell you, I give it a 4 1/2 star rating. The food is amazing! I got Jägerschnitzel in Champignonsoße mit Spätzle und grünem Salat~Sauteed Porkloin in Mushroom Sauce served with Spätzle & Green Salad. I ate the ENTIRE meal because it is just that good! So tasty delicious! Greg got the Kassler vom Grill mit Sauerkraut und Kartoffelbrei~Grilled Cured Pork Chop with Sauerkraut & Mashed Potatoes, and it was the tenderest, most beautiful, most tasty pork chop ever (I had to try it). The experience seriously makes me want to visit Germany. I don't give it 5 stars because if you have less than 6 people they will sit you with strangers, unless you choose to sit at the bar, which is what we did!

Farmers Market
Cute girls buying honey
Yummy Gyro
"The Wizard Will See You Now!"

delicious! but poor lighting for a camera without a flash.

Thank you Greg for a wonderful day and a wonderful birthday! I love you :)