Thursday, February 26, 2009

I do love Lenore, the Hound of Love

Current animal count at Bedlam Farm for those who are confused:

Dogs: Lenore, Rose, Izzy.
Donkeys: Lulu, Fanny (Jeannette and Jesus gone to Vermont)
Poultry: Three hens. Winston died two months ago.
Sheep: 23 ewes, three weathers (Rumsfeld went today to Merck Forest, Vt.)
Cats: Two barn cats, Mother, Minnie.
Steers and cows: None. Elvis and Harold went to market, proceeds to a homeless shelter, Luna is pregnant and living in Poultney, Vt.

Coming this summer: lambs

40 Ways to Improve your Lent

from Parents in Prayer 
40 Ways to Improve Your Lent
By Brian T. Olszewski - Catholic Herald Staff
During Lent, the church instructs its members to make prayer, fasting and almsgiving integral parts of their
lives. For you who wish to supplement your spiritual diet, the Catholic Herald presents the following 40 options
in no particular order, as ways to help you experience a grace-filled Lent.
1. Learn about your patron saint.
2. Pray for — by name — people you don’t like and for people that don’t like you.
3. Participate in a healing service.
4. Read a Catholic magazine every time you visit the library.
5. March 19, in honor of St. Joseph, patron saint of carpenters and fathers, build or build upon a relationship
with one of your children.
6. Buy two of everything on your grocery list, and give the duplicates to the local food pantry.
7. Find out why you should have fun on Laetare Sunday, and then do so.
8. Start a “cuss bowl.” For every unkind word you utter, put in a dollar — two dollars during Holy Week. After
Easter, give the money to an English as a second language program.
9. Bring a “Baltimore Catechism” to a gathering of Catholic friends, and start asking each other questions.
10. Give away a material item you really value.
11. Pray for those, e.g., children, parents, spouse, siblings, who have left the church.
12. Talk to a neighbor you rarely or never talk to.
13. Keep a dish of ashes in a prominent place as a constant reminder of the season.
14. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
15. Test your knowledge of Scripture.
16. Read a biography about Archbishop Oscar Romero and/or watch the video “Romero.”
17. Open a Christmas Club account with the intention of giving the money to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
18. Visit a church when you don’t have to.
19. Reserve a button on your car stereo for the Relevant Radio station in your area.
20. Pray the news — for the people whose stories of hardship are reported daily and weekly.
21. Read an entry from a Catholic encyclopedia.
22. Attend Mass at a parish other than your own
23. Tithe your tax return.
24. If Catholic schools get NCAA tournament bids, learn for whom those schools were named.
25. Observe five minutes of silence every day.
26. Instead of watching “The Office”, watch “The Passion of the Christ.”
27. Use a Lenten theme in decorating part of a room.
28. Memorize a Proverb.
29. Participate in a faith formation presentation.
30. Tell someone your story(ies) of faith, how God has made a difference in your life.
31. Disconnect the TV and/or the computer.
32. Identify your God-given gifts, how you use them, and how you could use them better.
33. Fast from gossip.
34. Pull the rosary out of your drawer and say it. Too boring? Say the Scriptural rosary.
35. Remove your watch before leaving for church on Palm Sunday.
36. Develop a prayer list.
37. Read a history of the papacy.
38. Find out who Raamah, Putiel, and Uzzah are.
39. Sacrifice your time in order to help others.
40. In the words of St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words

A Light Hearted Artful Response to Breast Cancer

Thank you, Rita, my survivor hero, for sharing this with me!
Here's the introductory poem:

Breast Cancer Ode

by Marge Moruska

I received an e-mail the other day

Go to this site, please, right away
Artful Bras

As I looked on the screen to my surprise

Oodles of bras flashed before my eyes.

Now, try to picture this if you can

The weird expressions on the face of a man

All were decorated and titled beyond belief

The only one missing was, ”Where’s The Beef?”

“Boobs In Bloom” compliments “The Butterfly”

“Where The Wild Things Are” caught “Rhinestone Cowgirl’s eye

“One Pink Feather” tickled “Mother Nature’s” quest

By showing a bird in its nest on the breast.

“Look At Them Melons”, wow, “The Girls Measure Up”

“Fall Leaves” fell covering “Still In Bloom” up

With a “Mardi Gras” of color you could “Tie One On”

Like sequins and shells or feathers and ribbon.

“For Those Who Served” “For Love And Peace”, I say

Start a “New Life” “Look On The Bright Side”, today

With “An Angel To Watch Over Us” as well

“Thelma And Louise” dump that “Bra From Hell”.

Hung on a hanger these “Support” Bras say

We’re displaying our love in a fun-filled way

Unique, humorous, hand made with flare

Memorializing the lost and showing survivors we care.

Well I must say this has been quite a day

Hanging with people who have nothing to say

But can show where their hearts and their thoughts really are

Through their hands and their love; NO, that’s not bizarre.

So thanks to the Quilters who worked like a bee

Cutting and sewing their ideas to see

Greater efforts or causes I cannot “find-a”

Then from the Quilters Club in South Carolina.

These are the BREAST BRAS made.

Click on the link to see the rest - inspiring all!

Monday, February 23, 2009


I got a facebook invitation from one of my beloved former students, who is studying to be a priest, to join the group Lent Ideas.
I'm not a big proponent of 'giving up' for Lent, prefer the positive approach, but that's probably just my lack of self discipline for the things I love, wine being at the top of the list.
Anyway the list on Facebook gave me pause for thought, and I came up with the idea of decluttering something everyday, quite a challenge for me. Then I remembered Joe's Goals so I revisited my page and thought, why not work on all the stuff I need to do.
I've edited it a bit and would like to remove the past history since I haven't been on it in 526 days, but can't figure out how to do that without starting completely over. I know Davi's would include "do something creative everyday", but I pretty much do that anyway so don't need that. I'm going to really work on pile reduction.

Just realized I need to keep my goals to myself, lest I be like the Scribes.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

See how lucky I am!

Not only do I have the most gorgeous granddaughter in the world, but I have a son-in-law who takes the most divine pictures of her and adds such creative captions.
You can see the whole glorious, laugh-out-loud slideshow here: pinkhat.
warning - one graphic image!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Derek!
I think he even reads my blog:-)

Another plug

The newest issue of my favorite magazine, Cloth Paper Scissors arrived and in it is the work of two artists I very much admire, Jane LaFazio and Diana Taylor.

I owe my blogging life to Jane atJaneville, who was the first one to suggest I blog.

Here's a picture of the article featuring one of the techniques she teaches in her mixed media class.

Can't wait to see Davi's finished project.

These are examples of Diana Taylor's Ficklesticks.
Some of you have seen my ficklestick necklace that I love wearing, partly because it's so unique and partly because it goes with everything.

I'm awfully tempted to start making my own ficklesticks.

Congratulations to both Jane and Diana!

What a difference a year makes

Back on January 7, 2008, I challenged myself to knit some socks.
After taking a class from Nancy at CommonThreads and many false starts and many months of not finishing them, because they were so much fun to make, I finally bound them off and here they are.

I chose to make them toe up, on two circular needles, both feet at the same time. In retrospect I probably wouldn't do them that way again, though I did like the toe up so I could continually try them on. I still could've made them a bit longer, but with my usual impatience I just wanted to wear them, so stopped short.
I loved the colors of the yarn so much, but they're a bit heavy, so not sure I'll ever actually wear them with shoes. I am proud of myself though; I learned a lot, which is always a good thing.

I urge any of you who are even remotely thinking of knitting to take yourself to Common Threads in Encinitas and revel in all the glorious yarns. I'd be happy to teach you whatever you need to know to get started. Knitting is the best!

Friday, February 20, 2009

What a charming little book!

Daddy-Long-Legs, written by Jean Webster, published in 1912.
This was recommended to me by Annie Barrows, co-author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, because it's also written in the form of letters.
The main character, Jerusha Abbot, aka Judy Abbot, has spent a dreary life in an orphanage. One of the trustees decides that she deserves better and chooses to pay all expenses for her to attend a girl's college, the only stipulation being that she write him monthly, apprising him of her progress. Judy, despite the fact that all she's ever known is orphanage life, blossoms in her new environment. She's rather cheeky and takes great liberty with her correspondence. There are missteps along the way, but the reader cheers her every accomplishment. I was astonished that something written almost one hundred years ago could have such relevance even now. Judy is a woman's libber far ahead of her time!
I'm sure I must've seen the 1955 movie with Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron, but would give anything to see it again.
Any ideas where I could get it, other than spending $20 on Amazon?

Welcome to the world, A's!

Here's a picture of Wyanne's mom, Breezey, and Wyanne's 7 half sisters.
They'll have names that begin with A.

The suspense is killing me!

Here's a picture of Breezey with her first three newborn pups, all girls.
Cath's server is down, so don't know the rest of the story, other than she must've had to use the mobile whelping van, always at the ready, because they had to do a C-section for the last pup.
All together there are 6 girls and 1 boy, but waiting to hear details.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Loved this article in TIME magazine

FACEBOOK is for Old Fogies

here's the link: FACEBOOK

And I can't wait to see what the newest generation comes up just for themselves, so that we can hack it.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Walking without a dog

gave me much more time to concentrate this morning.
here are two finds, joined by the beautiful one Janet brought on her last visit.

This one is actually embedded in the street. I wonder what the story is behind it and how many times have I walked over it crossing the street?


Growing up in the 1950's, we didn't have the plethora of stuffed animals that children have now. Snoopy is actually the first one I remember getting, and one of the few that graced my undecorated bedroom. I'm not sure how or when Snoopy recently surfaced, but he's been sitting in a pile waiting to be discarded. His resewn neck has a gaping hole, his nose is nearly scratched off and his left ear is hanging by a thread. So why am I having such a hard time parting with him???? I actually got him as far as the wastebasket this morning, but the thought of going all the way to the trash is more than I can bear. I actually think maybe he should adorn my bathroom trash for a while. No, no that's silly! What shall I do with Snoopy?
I put a little poll on the side just to see what you think. I can't guarantee I'll follow your advice, but I am curious.

Annie Barrows and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society revisited

I know many of you have read Guernsey already, some because you discovered it by yourself and some because of my recommendation.
Because it's such a good story on so many levels, I suggested it to my book club. Little did I know that if accepted, that meant I would be the presenter. It's been a while since my teaching days, but because I loved it so much I delved into it's history as if I were going to be teaching my class. I've since read several books on the time period, location and subject (see past posts) and done my Wikipedia homework, but nowhere could I find a recipe for the potato peel pie that plays a part in the story.
I decided perhaps the publisher could help me. My research led me to Annie Barrows herself, who was kind enough to share this version, along with her comments:

" I will give you a potato peel pie recipe, but don't say I didn't warn you: It tastes like paste. The more authentic it is, the nastier.

These ingredients will make a very small pie (expand at will):

1 potato

1 beet

1 Tablespoon milk

Peel the potato and put the peelings in a pie pan. Don't cook the peels, because you're in the middle of an Occupation and you don't have any fuel. Boil the potato and the beet together in salty water, but not for very long, due to the fuel problem. Just until you can stick a fork in the potato. Take them out and mash them up with the milk. Pour the glop in the pie pan. Bake at 375 for as short a time as is consonant with digestion (fuel again), say, fifteen minutes.

The finished product will look quite attractive and pink. If you squint, you can almost imagine raspberries. Don't be fooled. It looks a lot better than it is. However, if you forgot that you were in the middle of WWII and added a bunch of butter and milk and salt, it could be quite tasty."

Thank you, Annie!

Here are links to several children's books by Annie Barrow.
Such a gracious lady and talented writer!

How did I miss Maira Kalman????

In all those teaching first grade years, spending hours reading children's books, how on earth did I miss Maira Kalman?

Thanks to a link about her work that Patti Digh posted on facebook, I ordered The Principles of Uncertainty, and LOVED it.
It defies description. She writes the way I like to, like a streaming waterfall, she illustrates with glorious whimsy and color, and drops names like a pro.

Am looking forward now to delving into her children's works.


Another turn in...

CCI requires that all female pups, when they are in heat, stay in the confines of CCI's kennels.
Deidre and I were attending a workshop at CCI yesterday, when I noticed suspicious red spots on the floor.
Alas, her time had come and my time with her was ended.
Parting was such sorrow, not a bit sweet!
Now I'm back to being puppyless and not only missing Wyanne, but Deirdre too!
Will spend my time on Breezey watch, hoping for more happy, healthy, working pups - Cath - did you say 10?????

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Deidre, aka Deedsee, aka Dietzie, CCI pup extraordinaire

Volunteers for CanineCompanionsforIndependence wear many different hats, puppy raisers, puppy sitters, puppy bathers, puppy shuttlers, just to name a few. This week, as a CCI volunteer, it's been my privilege to foster a special puppy.

Deidre is being raised by the inmates at Miramar Brig.
It's been proven that puppies raised by prisoners make excellent service dogs. That's a good thing for those of us on the outside, but it's also been proven that puppies raised within prison can change the morale of the prison as a whole and give the inmates, as individuals, a life altering experience. We all know the unconditional love a pup gives. Picture that unconditional love smothering someone who might have nothing to live for. As I said, life altering!

CCI has been working with the Miramar Brig for several years and the graduation rate of these puppies far exceeds that of puppy raisers on the outside. However one of the drawbacks is that these pups need socialization beyond the confines of the prison environment. That's where people like me come in. The pups are furloughed for two weeks every few months so that they can experience normal everyday things that we take for granted, but that they have not seen or heard, traffic noises, cars honking, taking a walk in the neighborhood, leaves falling, children running up for a pet.
Because the pups are so well trained in their commands they're very easy to be with and what fun I'm having letting Deidre run up the stairs, explore the backyard, go to a restaurant, accompany me to church.
Thank you, CCI, and especially Stu and Cath, for giving me this opportunity.
It's also a wonderful way to get over the sorrow of turning in Wyanne.

Friday, February 13, 2009

RUN, don't walk

If you've ever read even just one book that I recommended and liked it, I hope you'll trust my judgment in telling you to RUN, don't walk to your nearest bookstore to buy, Life is a Verb, 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally (or click on the link below and have it delivered, as I did). You won't be sorry.

Those of you who know me well know how much I love quotes.
Those of you who know me well know how much I love modern art, not the real modern art, but the journal, altered, worded art that artists are doing.
Those of you who know me well know that I'm working very hard on making this very moment be the very best it can be.
Those of you who know me well know that I treasure the process of writing, be it from a first grader or a senior or anywhere in between.
This book contain elements which touch every one of those things.
I hope you'll join me in my 37 Days journey!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wyanne's Turn In

Thank you, wonderful friends, for giving Wyanne such a loving send off. Missing in the photos are Mary and Marty, Pam, Julie, Teresa, Janelle, Sarah, Virginia, Marilyn. Your presence is deeply appreciated!!!

Here's a letter from the Puppy Program Manager:
It's hard to believe, but another Team Training has come and gone and with it Canine Companions for Independence has added nine more assistance teams to the family and matriculated 36 dogs to begin the next stage of their lives in Advanced Training. In addition, three dogs were selected to be added to our breeding colony with high hopes of continuing the tradition of producing excellent dogs. With each new Graduating Class we hear stories of how CCI assistance dogs enhance the lives of people in ways that we never thought possible. It adds new meaning to the term, "EXCEPTIONAL DOGS ...FOR EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE !!!". None of this would be possible without the continued commitment of people like you who give of yourselves, your time and your love to raise young puppies into their "teenage years".

2009 promises to be a challenging year for all of us in many ways. Here in the Southwestern Region of CCI we have set yet another year of ambitious objectives. Regardless of what happens around us, the need for what we do continues and that requires the continuous commitment of you, our loyal Puppy Raisers. If you have taken a break, maybe now is a good time to start again. If you have a relative or a friend that has expressed an interest in raising a puppy for a worthwhile cause, have them give us a call and we can start the process to put them on the road to CCI Puppy Raising. As a CCI Puppy Raiser myself I can testify that for me, there is no better way to re-focus from the challenges of a day than with the puppy I am raising for such a great cause.

Stu Wahrenbrock
Puppy Program Manager - Southwest Region

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We Shall Overcome

I do apologize to all of you, but I just can't part with Woody yet.  He really gives my inspiration.
Please hit your mute button (on my computer that's F3) if it bugs you.

Death and Dying

Death has been on my mind of much lately. Parents of two close friends passed away last week. Two of my closest friends are lurking in the wings. Another is winning the battle and two have already won. I'm so grateful for my faith and strong belief that heaven will be way better than earth, however I can't stop thinking about it.
I'm been following Patti Digh's blog, 37 Days with joy. I'll let you read the reason for the title yourself. I've been trying not to buy so many books lately, but broke down and actually drove to Barnes and Noble to buy her book: because I know I'll love it.
After all that energy spent, they didn't have it. Bless Amazon - of, course they do!

Anyway back to today, I was walking home from church this morning thinking about my heroes, Cath Phillips is a living one, and Erma Bombeck is a heavenly one.

Then I had to check my email, just one more time, before doing what I really should be doing. There was a forward from a long-lost friend in AZ, recently found through Google, Bless the internet, once again. I'm really quite over most forwards, as is Davi, but it didn't have a subject, and I was curious. I'm glad I opened it, and instead of forwarding it to all of you I'm putting it here.

(written after she found out she was dying from cancer).

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth
would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it
melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was
stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried
much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day
because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more
while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical,
wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished
every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the
only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, 'Later. Now
go get washed up for dinner.' There would have been more 'I love you's'
More 'I'm sorry's.'

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute.look
at it and really see it . . live it and never give it back. STOP

Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing
Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love

You can find more of her poignant humor here:

I do cherish all of you!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Happy thoughts from the Deinhammers

Katie, Derek, Lila, Chamois and Murphy sent this as a happy send off to Wyanne and a cheer up to mom!

Last play day with Liberty and the dire consequences

Two dirty, tired dogs

The consequences

Rose takes charge

A Happy Ending

Wyanne's last visit to the doc

What a good man is Dr. Stonebreaker Wyanne'svet!
He's also a great vet and gives a generous discount to CCI pups.

He's pretty sure her lump is just a bruise and no cause for concern.

A fabulous visual journey

This is the first illustration of Maira Kalman's New York Times blog, describing her inauguration journey.
I urge you to see the rest here: theinauguration.atlast
She's a fabulous illustrator and has done many children's books.

Thanks to Patti Digh of 37Days fame for posting this on facebook.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wyanne's turn in photos

There's a lotta hoopla on facebook lately: "25 things about me".
I had no interest, but it did start me thinking about Wyanne. I wish I'd done this for all four dogs:
Here are 25 things about her all should know:

25 things about Wyanne

1.She’s an ‘old soul’
2.She’s beautiful.
3.Her favorite friends are Crista, Kodi, Prado, Liberty, Shammy and Garden.
4.She’s the color of vanilla ice cream with a tiny stripe of caramel topping down her back.
5.Her eyes look deep into yours.
6.She’s smart.
7.She changed how Jane, Sophie and Charlotte feel about dogs.
8.She’s given joy and tail wagging to lots of disabled kids.
9.She gets up in the morning with her eye-liner already applied.
10.She’ll try and tease you to play a game of tug-o-war.
11.She doesn’t like pedicures.
12.She’s been to church more times than a lot of people.
13.She snores – really loud.
14.After every meal, she has one loud burp.
15.She prances.
16.She looks like her daddy, Korbel, but she acts like her mommy Breezey.
17.People always say she looks like a polar bear.
18.She thinks she’s fooling me when she tries to lick kids’ hands right after they’ve eaten.
19. She likes the back door open at all times, in all weather, much to Rod’s annoyance.
20. She likes to hold hands at Mass.
21.She’s a great shopper.
22. She is an extraordinary ambassador for CCI.
23. She is beloved by all she meets.
24. Her ears are like velvet.
25. She’s Laurie’s favorite.

Godspeed, my darling dog. I will only cry if you come back, but will know you have done your very best!

For those of you unfamiliar with the CCI turn in process, about a month before the date, puppy raisers are asked to submit their favorite photos of their pup. Only about two for each pup are chosen, but when you see all the puppy pics of matriculating pups, usually around 30, you can't help but laugh and cry and everything in between. Here are the ones I sent.
There are a few very significant people in Wyanne's journey missing in photos, namely Rod, Jane, Sophie, Charlotte and Cath, but I wanted to include some photos of people and places where she's touched hearts.

Lying with the Enemy

Lying With the Enemy Lying With the Enemy by Tim Binding

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read this as a supplement to Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society, which totally sparked my interest in Guernsey and the German occupation of Guernsey during World War II. There definitely is more to Guernsey than cows!
The book started slow, but I got very engaged after the murder.

View all my reviews.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A man of many talents

We all know how gifted Rod is in the engineering, problem solving, handyman, singing areas, but here's the product of his newest endeavor, breadmaking. YUM!

Knitting Class

Two new knitters, Cindy and Paige

The real origin

The feast of the Presentation, also know as Candlemas Day

The event is described in the Gospel of Luke 2:22–40. According to the gospel, Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth to complete Mary's ritual purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the firstborn, in obedience to the Law of Moses (Leviticus 12, Exodus 13:12-15, etc.).
Upon bringing Jesus into the temple, the Holy Family encountered Simeon the Righteous. The Gospel records that Simeon had been promised that "he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord." (Luke 2:26) Simeon prayed the prayer that would become known as the Nunc Dimittis, or Canticle of Simeon, which prophesied the redemption of the world by Jesus:
"Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to enlighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel." (Luke 2:29-32).
Simeon then prophesied to Mary: "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against—yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also—that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" (Luke 2:34-35).
The elderly prophetess Anna was also in the Temple, and offered prayers and praise to God for Jesus, and spoke to everyone there about Jesus and his role in the redemption of Israel (Luke 2:36-38).
[edit]Name of the celebration

In addition to being known as the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, other traditional names include Candlemas, the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, and the Meeting of the Lord.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Greek-Catholic Churches (Eastern Catholic Churches which use the Byzantine rite), it is known as the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord and Savior in the Temple or as The Meeting of Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is known as the Presentation of the Lord in the Roman Catholic Church.
Traditionally, Candlemas had been the last feast day in the Christian year that was dated by reference to Christmas. Subsequent moveable feasts are calculated with reference to Easter. Prior to the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, Candlemas in the Roman Catholic Church marked the end of the Christmas and Epiphany season. The present Roman calendar substitutes the Saturday before the Baptism of the Lord as the final day of the Christmas liturgical season. If Easter falls early enough, 2 February can occur during the Lenten season (causing the omission of "Alleluia" in the Roman liturgy or Anglican lituriges).
Traditionally the Western term "Candlemas" (or Candle Mass) referred to the practice whereby a priest on 2 February blessed beeswax candles with an aspergilium for use throughout the year, some of which were distributed to the faithful for use in the home. In Poland the feast is called Matka Boska Gromniczna (Matka Boska, "Mother of God" + Gromnica, "beeswax candle").
Within the Roman Catholic Church, since the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, this feast has been referred to as the Feast of Presentation of the Lord, with references to candles and the purification of Mary de-emphasised in favor of the Prophecy of Simeon the Righteous. Pope John Paul II connected the feast day with the renewal of religious vows.

The holy day is celebrated with an all-night vigil on the eve of the feast, and a celebration of the Divine Liturgy the next morning, at which beeswax candles are blessed. This blessing traditionally takes place after the Little Hours and before the beginning of the Divine Liturgy (though in some places it is done after). The priest reads four prayers, and then a fifth one during which all present bow their heads before God. He then censes the candles and blesses them with holy water. The candles are then distributed to the people and the Liturgy begins.
Some Christians observe the practice of leaving Christmas decorations up until Candlemas.

In the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar the Presentation of the Lord falls on 2 February, forty days after Christmas. In the Church of England it may be celebrated on this day, or on the Sunday between 28 January and 3 February. The Eastern Orthodox Church also celebrates the feast on 2 February.
The date of Candlemas is established by the date set for the Nativity of Jesus, for it comes forty days afterwards. Under Mosaic law as found in the Torah, a mother who had given birth to a man-child was considered unclean for seven days; moreover she was to remain for three and thirty days "in the blood of her purification." Candlemas therefore corresponds to the day on which Mary, according to Jewish law, should have attended a ceremony of ritual purification (Leviticus 12:2-8). The Gospel of Luke 2:22–39 relates that Mary was purified according to the religious law, followed by Jesus' presentation in the Jerusalem temple, and this explains the formal names given to the festival, as well as its falling 40 days after the Nativity.
In the West, the date of Christmas is fixed on 25 December, and Candlemas therefore falls the following 2 February. The dating is identical among Orthodox Christians, except that the ecclesiastical 25 December of most Orthodox Christians falls on 7 January of the civil calendar due to a theological dispute related to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, meaning that most Orthodox Christians celebrate the feast on 15 February.
In the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Feast, called "The Coming of the Son of God into the Temple" (Tiarn’ndaraj, from Tyarn-, "the Lord", and -undarach "going forward"), is celebrated on 14 February. The Armenians do not celebrate the Nativity on December 25, but on January 6, and thus their date of the feast is 40 days after that: 14 February. The night before the feast, Armenians traditionally light candles during an evening church service, carrying the flame out into the darkness (symbolically bringing light into the void) and either take it home to light lamps or light a bonfire in the church courtyard.

The Feast of the Presentation is among the most ancient feasts of the Christian Church.
The earliest reference to specific liturgical rites surrounding the feast are by the intrepid nun Egeria, during her pilgrimage to the Holy Land (381–384). She reported that 14 February was a day solemnly kept in Jerusalem with a procession to Constantine I's Basilica of the Resurrection, with a homily preached on Luke 2:22 (which makes the occasion perfectly clear), and a Divine Liturgy. This so-called Itinerarium Peregrinatio ("Pilgrimage Itinerary") of Egeria does not, however, offer a specific name for the Feast. The date of 14 February indicates that in Jerusalem at that time, Christ's birth was celebrated on 6 January, Epiphany. Egeria writes for her beloved fellow nuns at home:
XXVI. "The fortieth day after the Epiphany is undoubtedly celebrated here with the very highest honor, for on that day there is a procession, in which all take part, in the Anastasis, and all things are done in their order with the greatest joy, just as at Easter. All the priests, and after them the bishop, preach, always taking for their subject that part of the Gospel where Joseph and Mary brought the Lord into the Temple on the fortieth day, and Symeon and Anna the prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, saw Him, treating of the words which they spake when they saw the Lord, and of that offering which His parents made. And when everything that is customary has been done in order, the sacrament is celebrated, and the dismissal takes place."

Originally, the feast was a minor celebration. But then in 542 the feast was established throughout the Eastern Empire by Justinian I. In 541 a terrible plague broke out in Constantinople, killing thousands. The Emperor, in consultation with the Patriarch of Constantinople, ordered a period of fasting and prayer throughout the entire Empire. And, on the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord, arranged great processions throughout the towns and villages and a solemn prayer service (Litia) to ask for deliverance from evils, and the plague ceased. In thanksgiving, the feast was elevated to a more solemn celebration.
In Rome, the feast appears in the Gelasian Sacramentary, a manuscript collection of the seventh and eighth centuries associated with Pope Gelasius I, but with many interpolations and some forgeries. There it carries for the first time the new title of the feast of Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Late in time though it may be, Candlemas is still the most ancient of all the festivals in honor of the Virgin Mary. The date of the feast in Rome was moved forward to 2 February, since during the late fourth century the Roman feast of Christ's nativity been introduced as December 25.

Traditions and superstitions

"Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and mistletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress'd the Christmas Hall"
— Robert Herrick (1591–1674), "Ceremony upon Candlemas Eve"
As the poem by Robert Herrick records, the eve of Candlemas was the day on which Christmas decorations of greenery were removed from people's homes; for traces of berries, holly and so forth will bring death among the congregation before another year is out.[citation needed] Another tradition holds that anyone who hears funeral bells tolling on Candlemas will soon hear of the death of a close friend or relative; each toll of the bell represents a day that will pass before the unfortunate news is learned.[citation needed]
In Scotland, until a change in the law in 1991, and in much of northern England until the 18th century, Candlemas was one of the traditional quarter days when quarterly rents were due for payment, as well as the day or term for various other business transactions, including the hiring of servants.
In the United Kingdom, good weather at Candlemas is taken to indicate severe winter weather later: "If Candlemas Day is clear and bright, / winter will have another bite. / If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain, / winter is gone and will not come again."[9]. It is also alleged to be the date that bears emerge from hibernation to inspect the weather as well as wolves, who if they choose to return to their lairs on this day is interpreted as meaning severe weather will continue for another forty days at least.[citation needed] In the United States and Canada, Candlemas evolved into Groundhog Day celebrated on the same date.
The Carmina Gadelica, a seminal collection of Scottish folklore, refers to a serpent coming out of the mound on Latha Fheill Bride, as the Scots call Candlemas. This rhyme is still used in the West Highlands and Hebrides.
Moch maduinn Bhride, Thig an nimhir as an toll; Cha bhoin mise ris an nimhir, Cha bhoin an nimhir rium.
(Early on Bride's morn, the serpent will come from the hollow I will not molest the serpent, nor will the serpent molest me)
Thig an nathair as an toll, la donn Bride Ged robh tri traighean dh' an t-sneachd air leachd an lair.
(The serpent will come from the hollow on the brown day of Bride Though there should be three feet of snow on the flat surface of the ground)
The earliest American reference to Groundhog Day can be found at the Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center at Franklin and Marshall College:
4 February 1841 — from Morgantown, Berks County (Pennsylvania) storekeeper James Morris' diary …"Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate." [1]
In France, Candlemas (French: La Chandeleur) is celebrated with crêpes, which must be eaten only after eight p.m. If the cook can flip a crêpe while holding a coin in the other hand, the family is assured of prosperity throughout the coming year.
In Southern and Central Mexico, Candlemas (Spanish: Día de La Candelaria) is celebrated with Tamales. Tradition indicates that on January 5, the night before Three Kings Day (the Epiphany), whoever gets one or more of the few plastic or metal dolls (originally coins) buried within the Rosca de Reyes must throw a party on Candlemas.[citation needed] In certain regions of Mexico, this is the day in which the baby Jesus of each household is taken up from the nativity scene and dressed up in various colorful, whimsical outfits.[citation needed]
Sailors are often reluctant to set sail on Candlemas Day, believing that any voyage begun then will end in disaster — given the frequency of severe storms in February, this is not entirely without sense.

Just in case you were wondering...

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. – The world's most famous groundhog saw his shadow Monday morning, predicting this already long winter will last for six more weeks.
Punxsutawney Phil emerged just after dawn in front of an estimated 13,000 witnesses, many dressed in black-and-gold to celebrate the Pittsburgh Steelers' Super Bowl victory the night before.
"There's significant buzz from the Steelers win and quite a few Terrible Towels floating from the crowd," said Mickey Rowley, deputy secretary for tourism in Pennsylvania.
The annual ritual takes place on Gobbler's Knob, a tiny hill in Punxsutawney, a borough of about 6,100 residents some 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club announced the forecast in a short proclamation, in which Phil acknowledged the Steelers' 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
According to German superstition, if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on Feb. 2 — the Christian holiday of Candlemas — winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow was seen, legend said spring would come early.

If you're really wondering
here's some history

In 1723, the Delaware Indians settled Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania as a campsite halfway between the Allegheny and the Susquehanna Rivers. The town is 90 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, at the intersection of Route 36 and Route 119. The Delawares considered groundhogs honorable ancestors. According to the original creation beliefs of the Delaware Indians, their forebears began life as animals in "Mother Earth" and emerged centuries later to hunt and live as men.
The name Punxsutawney comes from the Indian name for the location
"ponksad-uteney" which means "the town of the sandflies."
The name woodchuck comes from the Indian legend of "Wojak,
the groundhog" considered by them to be their ancestral grandfather.
When German settlers arrived in the 1700s, they brought a tradition known as Candlemas Day, which has an early origin in the pagan celebration of Imbolc. It came at the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Superstition held that if the weather was fair, the second half of Winter would be stormy and cold. For the early Christians in Europe, it was the custom on Candlemas Day for clergy to bless candles and distribute them to the people in the dark of Winter. A lighted candle was placed in each window of the home. The day's weather continued to be important. If the sun came out February 2, halfway between Winter and Spring, it meant six more weeks of wintry weather.

The earliest American reference to Groundhog Day can be found at the Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center at Franklin and Marshall College:

February 4, 1841 - from Morgantown, Berks County (Pennsylvania) storekeeper James Morris' diary..."Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate."
According to the old English saying:
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.

From Scotland:
If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
There'll be two winters in the year.

From Germany:
For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until May.
For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day,
So far will the sun shine before May.

And from America:
If the sun shines on Groundhog Day;
Half the fuel and half the hay.

If the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, an animal would cast a shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of Winter. Germans watched a badger for the shadow. In Pennsylvania, the groundhog, upon waking from mid-Winter hibernation, was selected as the replacement.
Pennsylvania's official celebration of Groundhog Day began on February 2nd, 1886 with a proclamation in The Punxsutawney Spirit by the newspaper's editor, Clymer Freas: "Today is groundhog day and up to the time of going to press the beast has not seen its shadow." The groundhog was given the name "Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary'' and his hometown thus called the "Weather Capital of the World.'' His debut performance: no shadow - early Spring.

The legendary first trip to Gobbler's Knob was made the following year.

Since the 1993 release of the film Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray as a TV weatherman (who wakes up and it's Groundhog Day over and over again!) and Andie MacDowell as his puzzled producer, attendance at the real event has expanded. In 1997, there were 35,000 visitors in Punxsutawney, five times the Jefferson County town's 6,700 population.

The Groundhog Day festivities on February 2, 1992 were joined by Bill Murray studying for his role in the movie. Then, Columbia Pictures set out to recreate the Punxsutawney Groundhog Day down to the smallest detail. There were, however, many changes made.

Columbia Pictures decided to film the movie in a location more accessible to a major metropolitan center. The highways in and around Punxsutawney were few, so Woodstock, Illinois was chosen as the site. Unfortunately, Woodstock's landscape doesn't have Pennsylvania's scenic rolling hills. Nevertheless, adjustments were made for the production. The actual Gobbler's Knob is a wooded hill with a beautiful view; the Gobbler's Knob in the movie is moved to the town square. The Punxsutawney Gobbler's Knob was recreated to scale in Woodstock's town square based on detailed notes and videos the crew made on it's visit to Punxsutawney. [Photo: © Columbia Pictures]

The movie's script was changed to include the elaborate ceremony of the Inner Circle on Groundhog Day. The original groundhog cast for the movie was considered to be too small.

Some of the store names in Punxsutawney were used in the movie, such as The Smart Shop and Stewart's Drug Store. Punxsutawney's police cars were also recreated for the movie. The groundhog-head trash cans and Groundhog Festival flags that line the streets of Punxsutawney were displayed. Folks traveling to Punxsutawney to see the "Punxsutawney" they saw in the movie wonder why it looks "so different, yet seems so similar."

he groundhog, also known as a woodchuck (Marmota monax), is a member of the squirrel family. Groundhogs in the wild eat succulent green plants, such as dandelion, clover, and grasses.

According to handlers John Griffiths and Ben Hughes, Phil weighs 15 pounds and thrives on dog food and ice cream in his climate-controlled home at the Punxsutawney Library.

Up on Gobbler's Knob, Phil is placed in a heated burrow underneath a simulated tree stump on stage before being pulled out at 7:25 a.m. to make his prediction.

© Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce

The groundhog's seasonal forecasting accuracy is somewhat low.
Phil's Winter prognostications have been correct only 39% of the time.
1887 Shadow; first official trip to Gobbler's Knob.
1888 Shadow (Six more weeks of Winter!)
1889 no record
1890 NO Shadow (early Spring!)
[Birthdate: Charles Correll ("Andy" on radio's Amos & Andy)]
1891 no record
1892 no record
1893 no record
1894 no record
1895 no record
1896 no record
1897 no record
1898 Shadow
1899 no record
1900 Shadow
1901 Shadow [Birthdate: Jascha Heifetz, violinist]
1902 NO Shadow
1903 Shadow
1904 Shadow
1905 Shadow [Birthdate: Ayn Rand, novelist-philosopher]
1906 Shadow [Birthdate: Gale Gordon, actor]
1907 Shadow
1908 Shadow
1909 Shadow
1910 Shadow
1911 Shadow
1912 Shadow [Birthdate: Burton Lane, Broadway composer]
1913 Shadow at 8:08 AM; first newspaper photo of Groundhog Day by John Frampton.
1914 Shadow at 9:34 AM
1915 Shadow at 11:45 AM; named Wiley William Woodchuck!
1916 Shadow at 9:07 AM; first films of Groundhog Day ceremony.
1917 Shadow
1918 Shadow; 18 degrees below zero.
1919 Shadow [Birthdate: Forrest Tucker, actor]
1920 Shadow
1921 Shadow at 7:17 AM
1922 Shadow at 7:11 AM; Groundhog Holiday Dance.
1923 Shadow [Birthdate: Liz Smith, gossip columnist]
1924 Shadow at 7:13 AM
1925 Shadow at 8:13 AM; [Birthdate: Elaine Stritch, actress]
1926 Shadow at 9:17 AM
1927 Shadow at 8:35 AM; [Birthdate: Stan Getz, jazz saxophonist]
1928 Shadow at 10:00 AM; program with Punx'y Rotary Club on KDKA Radio.
1929 Shadow
1930 Shadow at 7:11 AM
1931 Shadow at 12:27 PM
1932 Shadow at 9:11 AM
1933 Shadow
1934 NO Shadow.
1935 Shadow at 9:11 AM
1936 Shadow at 10:27 AM
1937 Shadow at 9:09 AM; early morning encounter with a skunk!
[Birthdate: Tom Smothers, comedian]
1938 Shadow at 9:05 AM; "darkest shadow in history"
(The Spirit, Feb. 2, 1938)
1939 Shadow at 9:10 AM
1940 Shadow at 9:00 AM
1941 Shadow at 4:25 PM
1942 Partial Shadow at 7:40 AM; "War clouds have blacked out parts of the shadow."
(The Spirit, Feb. 2, 1942) [Birthdate: Graham Nash, guitarist, singer]
1943 Groundhog did not appear; relied on Quarryville's prediction - NO Shadow
1944 Shadow at 9:10 AM
1945 Shadow at 9:00 AM
1946 Shadow at 7:52 AM
1947 Shadow at 7:37 AM; first newspaper photo of Groundhog Club at Gobbler's Knob
[Birthdate: Farrah Fawcett, actress, model]
1948 Shadow at 8:46 AM
1949 Shadow at 7:32 AM
1950 NO Shadow
1951 Shadow at 8:41 AM
1952 Shadow at 7:52 AM; on NBC's Today Show on Monday, February 4
1953 Shadow at 7:38 AM; [Birthdate: Christie Brinkley, Cover Girl model]
1954 Shadow at 8:03 AM
1955 Shadow at 8:51 AM; 4" of snow on Groundhog Day;
[Birthdate: Kim Zimmer, actress]
1956 Shadow at 8:33 AM
1957 Shadow at 7:47 AM; [Birthdate: Brent Spiner, actor]
1958 Shadow at 8:27 AM; [Birthdate: Holly Hunter, actress]
1959 Shadow at 8:23 AM
1960 Shadow at 7:33 AM; forecasts extremely bad weather on the Today show.
1961 Shadow at 7:41 AM; 25 below zero.
1962 Shadow at 7:29 AM; [Birthdate: Garth Brooks, singer]
1963 Shadow at 7:41 AM
1964 Shadow at 7:35 AM
1965 Shadow at 7:58 AM
1966 Shadow at 7:21 AM
1967 Shadow at 7:25 AM
1968 Shadow at 7:29 AM
1969 Shadow at 7:29 AM
1970 NO Shadow
1971 Shadow at 7:29 AM; 14 below zero.
1972 Shadow at 7:30 AM
1973 Shadow at 7:29 AM
1974 Shadow at 7:28 AM
1975 NO Shadow
1976 Shadow at 7:29 AM
1977 Shadow at 7:27; in midst of the energy crisis.
1978 Shadow at 7:28 AM
1979 Shadow at 7:28 AM
1980 Shadow at 7:29 AM
1981 Shadow at 7:27 AM
1982 Shadow at 7:26 AM; coldest January this Century.
1983 NO Shadow; predicted an early Spring after a mild El Nino Winter.
1984 Shadow at 7:04 AM
1985 Shadow at 7:28 AM
1986 NO Shadow; visited President Reagan at the White House in March.
1987 Shadow at 7:29 AM
1988 NO Shadow
1989 Shadow
1990 NO Shadow
1991 Shadow
1992 Shadow
1993 Shadow; the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray is released.
1994 Shadow at 7:28 AM
1995 NO Shadow; afternoon guest on the "Oprah Winfrey" TV Show.
1996 Shadow at 7:21 AM
1997 NO Shadow; 35,000 watched at Gobbler's Knob
1998 Shadow at 7:20 AM; predicting six more weeks of a mild El Nino Winter!
1999 NO Shadow at 7:23 AM; 37º rain
2000 Shadow at 7:28 AM; 12º overcast skies with flurries
2001 Shadow at 7:27 AM; 28º cloudy skies with light snow
2002 Shadow at 7:25 AM; 19º mist with a record 38,000 visitors driven to Gobbler's Knob by bus for security.
2003 Shadow at 7:27 AM; 30º overcast skies with PA Governor Ed Rendell attending the ceremony.
2004 Shadow at 7:27 AM; 17º clear skies with snow on the ground, crowd boos the forecast!
2005 Shadow at 7:31 AM; 14º clear skies with a wind chill of 3ºF.
2006 Shadow at 7:23 AM; 36º overcast skies with the crowd cheering the Steelers in Super Bowl XL.
2007 NO Shadow at 7:28 AM; 26º overcast skies with light snow and mist under a Full Moon.
2008 Shadow at 7:27 AM; 28º fog and mist with the crowd booing six more weeks of Winter.
2009 Shadow at 7:30 AM; 29º overcast skies with the crowd celebrating the Steelers' Super Bowl XLIII victory.

NO Shadow
no record

STORMFAX and the STORMFAX logos are registered trademarks in the United States and Canada.
Please read our Legal Notice and our Privacy Statement.
Copyright ©1996-2009 STORMFAX, INC.