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Elizabeth Woodworth: Time to unlace the shoes and take off the jingle bells

By Elizabeth Woodworth
Contributing writer
updated: 1/4/2019 11:26 AM

Do your winter pruning under this week's dark of the moon. With the new moon on the 5th, the weather of Deep Winter should definitely turn cruel. Epiphany, Three Kings Day, is usually celebrated on or near the 6th. Plough Monday, on the 7th, is a traditional day for the beginning of the farm and garden year.

Lunar apogee, the Moon's position farthest from Earth, on the 8th, should soften the Jan. 10 cold front, providing some relief from New Moon cold. In Ophiuchus, between Libra and Scorpio, Jupiter and Venus are the morning stars in January, rising before dawn from the West. Venus is the brighter of the two. Saturn follows close behind in Sagittarius. Mars begins the year as an evening star in the southwest with Pisces and Aries. At night when Orion lies in the center of the southern sky, the Milky Way stretches from the northwest through Perseus and into the southeast. From the far eastern horizon, the spring planting star, Regulus, is rising, and in the northwest, the pointers of the Big Dipper are aligned east-west.

In the west, October's Great Square is setting. January's shooting stars are in the Quadrantids; they appear early in the first week, most heavily on Jan. 4, at about 35 per hour. Look for them before midnight in the eastern sky near Arcturus. The Dark Moon will favor meteor watching, offering a benign context for the first of 2019's shooting stars. Perihelion, the point at which the Earth and the Sun are closest, occurs on Jan. 3. (Countryside)

Jan. 4: A.E. Somers was appointed as the first City Judge, 1910.

We fuss when Christmas stuff appears in the store almost before Halloween. On Dec. 19, I was buying the chocolates I needed to finish my shopping, and saw several half shelves of Valentine candy at the end of the Christmas display.

On one of those rare days of sun after lots of gloomy, rainy ones, a male cardinal took several baths. He seemed to be appreciative of the sun's warmth.

How does one get glitter/sparkles out of the house? Almost every thing Christmas glimmers. And it spreads, from room to room, from couch to chair, to clothing, to cellphones. I like sparkles, but I am getting tired of them. Glitter is worse than pine needles to get rid of.

Did you wear jingle bells on your shoes when you were young? Mom would unlace my shoes, put a bell in the middle of each, then put the shoes back together. Now that I think of it, they weren't really that loud, how could a little bell on a shoelace make much noise? But I always felt like it would be Christmas soon. I don't remember how soon she put them on, seemed to me to be several weeks, but may have been only a few days before school was out for the holiday.

I now wonder if my teachers were happy with them, because I remember moving my feet so I could hear them. But since many had daughters about my age, they probably did the same. I realized that young girls don't wear bells anymore. As I was wondering why, the answer came to me. You can't put a jingle bell on a Velcro strap.

No snow for Christmas. As an adult I was glad, but the child in me wanted at least enough to cover the lawn. Seems to me that when we got sidewalk skates, there was too much snow to use them. If we got sleds or ice skates, the weather was mild. Our family is small, with members living away and having Christmas in their own homes. Brother and his family share with me. I went out to open gifts, eat the traditional tea ring, then home to finish my part of Christmas dinner. It was good food, laughter and a comfortable time with those I love. Hope your day was as good an ending to the year as was mine.

Tart cherry juice can help calm hurting joints. Per one recent review of studies, scientists discovered that tart cherries and their juice help lower oxidative stress and inflammation, which in turn contributes to reducing the effects of arthritis. If you are prone to gout, this helps. It's a lot better than having to take a prescription drug, which once started has to be continued. It helps me, though that may be all in my mind. Whatever, it works.

"I hope there are days when your coffee taste like magic, your play list makes you dance, strangers make you smile and the night sky touches your soul. I hope there are day when you fall in love with being alive." (Brooke Hampton)