Birthday, presents, and another year…


Did you catch that thing in the last post about the Epiphany celebrations in Ireland?  Where they honor today as “Women’s Christmas” and all the women party all day while the good gents take over all duties of home and family?  I completely and totally subscribe to that tradition as my Official Birthday Tradition from now on.  Paul willingly and thoughtful fulfilled all that he could to free me up today, but unfortunately work was not quite so forgiving.  Next year I’ll plan ahead.


Alejna and I are introducing THE BEST OF JUST POSTS 2009 — we (with other readers, hopefully you, too!) are looking for THE BEST Just Posts from last year.  Nominations for the year’s best posts are currently being accepted.  In roughly two weeks (stay tuned!) we will open up a space for online voting and give awards (presents! whee!) to the winner in each category.  (You’re perfectly welcome to start practicing your fabulous acceptance speech; you’ll find no judgment here.)

You can view all the Just Posts from last year by going here and read more about the Just Posts here.

Just Post entries are encouraged from anyone at anytime!


I participated in Holidailies again this year and enjoyed the challenge.  My humble thanks go out to the two who host the event.  The community they create is warm and friendly; I’ve found other interesting and kind bloggers through the site.  They also chose a ‘best of’ that is selective enough to be manageable to read, which is a great way to find other interesting blogs (and thank you, mystery readers for my own additions to this list!)



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Epiphany 101

Borrowing from the incomparable list-making of Alejna, this is a list related to EPIPHANY.

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Epiphany: In name and title

Epiphany: Sudden flashes of realization

  • Epiphany, the sudden discovery of some meaning.
  • Epiphany is also used to describe religious visions, such as Theophany, Hierophany, and Darsana.

Epiphany: A holiday around the world

  • According to the Gospel of Matthew, the three Kings (Magi) followed a Star in the heavens to the Baby Jesus, arriving with gifts for him on the day now celebrated as Epiphany.  Melchior represented Europe, arrived on horseback and brought gold.  Gaspar represented Arabia, arrived in camel, and brought frankincense.  Balthazar represented Africa, arrived on elephant, and brought myrrh.  Most Christian calendars recognize this date as January 6th.
  • Some branches of Christianity celebrate the coming of Epiphany by honoring it as the Twelfth Night.  These Christians Twelve Holy Days from December 26th to January 6th is considered the spiritual heart of the year to follow, with January 6th as “Holy of the Holiest.”
  • In England, “Twelfth Night” is traditionally the last opportunity to party before the resumption of post-holiday work.  The “Yule Log” is kept lit until Twelfth Night to bring good fortune in the new year.
  • Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate the Baptism of Jesus with the Feast of Theophany (literally, “manifestation of God”) on January 6th.  They also perform the “Great Blessing of the Waters.”  In Greek Orthodox tradition, during the “Blessing of the Waters” celebration, young men dive into the water to retrieve a cross that was thrown in by a priest after being blessed.  The first man to find it is believed to have good luck for a year.
  • In Ireland, Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th under the name Little Christmas (Nollaig Bheag) , or Women’s Christmas.  This is the first time I’ve heard of Women’s Christmas (Nollaig na mBan), but the general idea is that men take up all duties related to house, home, and family, and women party all day.
  • Italian children hang their socks on the eve of January 6th for Befana to visit to fill them with candy or coal, behavior dependent.  This is similar to Russia’s Baboushka,  who also provides presents on the eve of Epiphany.
  • In Spanish tradition, on the even of the Day of the Kings (El Dia de los Reyes), children polish and leave their shoes ready to accept presents from the Kings.  Roscon, a special type of bread decorated with candy fruit, is made.
  • In Mexico, children may leave shoes near the family nativity season or under a tree, with notes with toy requests for the Kings, sometimes with offerings of hay for the Kings’ animals.  A bread called Rosca de Reyes is made in the shape of a King’s crown and holds a small doll inside.  The person who finds the doll in their bit of Rosca is responsible for throwing a party on February 2nd, “Candelaria Day”.
  • Similarly, in Puerto Rico, children traditionally fill a box with hay and put it under their beds.  They eat Rosca de Reyes in the evening, with a small doll inside representing the baby Jesus.
  • The Christmas season ends on January 6th in the Philippines for Tatlong Hari (“Three Kings”).  Children here also leave shoes out, so that candy or money may be placed inside.  Others greet one another with the phrase “Happy Three Kings!”
  • The gâteau des Rois is eaten in France on Epiphany.  This is a kind of king cake, with a trinket (usually a porcelain figurine of a king) or a bean hidden inside.  The person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket becomes “king” for a day.  King cakes are eaten in other areas of Europe, including Belgium and Portugal.
  • King Cake is also available in Louisiana starting on January 6th, as Epiphany marks the start of the Carnival Season, which lasts to Mardi Gras Day.  (Side note: I’m all about blasphemy, but eating King Cake before January 6th is seriously messed up.)

Epiphany: The day that comes tomorrow

  • Epiphany = January 6th = tomorrow.
  • It is the last day of the yearly daily blogging event, Holidailies.
  • King cakes will go on sale in New Orleans; Paul will have jury duty; and Kate will go to the Aquarium on a field trip.
  • My age will change from age 21 to age 22.  In hex.
  • Tomorrow, January 6th, is My Birthday.



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Words to Ring in the New Year…


… “Eat Yer GUMBO!” — Kate.

Happy New Year!

Family Life in NOLA
Mi Familia

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Joyeux Noel

Hail the holiday school party!


The report:

Girl child remained preciously cute and worked the tables for multiple brownies.  Papa Noel brought her a little snow globe, which is protectively located three inches from her face, lest it become stolen in the night.

Boy child remained the kid on stage who, while 20 others stand calmly and sing, proceeds to pick his nose, scratch himself, swing around, randomly throw in extra-loud lines of song, and even — oh yes, even this — lick his finger and stick it into the ear of his friend beside him.


I suspected tar and feathering were in the works, and though I did take pause for a moment, decided a getaway was better.  We snuck quietly out the backdoor, where a friend picked us up for the escape.

Life in New Orleans
Mi Familia

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Move over teenagers. Moody first grade boys are the new source of angst.

In 6 days my darling son, my first born child, the one who draws me love notes and writes indiscernible sentences on random notebooks, will make 6 years.

Apparently, this is also the same age that boys go through THE CHANGE.  As I was once a teenage girl, I understand the stress.  The confusion.  The embarrassment.  The sneaking pads around in little purses, secretly wondering who has switched to tampons (shhhh! don’t say it so loud!) and wondering when to be so bold as to try.  The world just doesn’t UNDERSTAND!  And it’s SO UNFAIR!!!

I am counting on re-living those wonder years with my daughter (woo-hoo!) but it was a bit of a surprise to find them in my darling first-grade sweetheart boy.  Since when is every piece of music known to humanity BORING?  Why is it that the trial of bathing, eating, walking, dressing, and forheavenssake BREATHING, so totally and completely impossible?  Do you know how UNFAIR his life is?

Okay, I confess.  We ask him to make his bed in the morning, which can be a challenge considering the incredible athletic feats he conducts each night within it, but we figure it’s a good stepping stone to the roofing work and diamond mining he’ll start next month.

We’re taking it all in stride.  The mood swings, the sullen appearance, the sudden outbursts of tears.  We’re here for him, even if our being in the room makes it IMPOSSIBLE for him to CONCENTRATE.

If nothing else, it helps us appreciate those bright moments of beauty.  The sloppy kisses, the shared reading, the begs for nighttime cuddles.  He’ll grow out of this moody phase, yes.  But I’d take it a hundred times over if I could keep those sweet moments with it.


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Birthdays, Anniversaries… and NOLA-love surprises.

Cold Spaghetti is now five years old. My first post was written August 26th, 2004 — then on another site — and would move twice before ending up here in its own special domain.  I’m blushing as I admit this, but there is a lot of unfinished business on this site. One of my post-dissertation project-dreams is to re-vamp it, clean up old posts, set tags and labels, and properly archive everything in a cool kind of way (after all, it’s the closest I’m going get to cool).  That is how I’m getting through, you know… making all sorts of PLANS for what I’m allowed to do AFTER the dissertation.  Those AFTER plans?  They are BIG PLANS, let me tell you!  Life changing, earth-shaking plans!  In fact, I love to talk about the PLANS so much, that all the other stuff, like getting to AFTER, can fall to the wayside.  Oof.  If I’m going to make November, it may be time to raise the bar.  What do people do to finish a book, I wonder?  What drastic measure or extra-cool incentive helps others?  Should I deny myself chocolate or wear a chastity belt or something?   (Suggestions welcome.)

This week also marks the date of my inaugural post (granted, a cross-post, but a post nonetheless!) to NOLAFemmes — a website written by New Orleans women about New Orleans issues important to women. It’s a great site for information about local artists, events, and politics — and a good way to get an idea how the women of our city are healing our collective wounds, raising our future citizens, and carrying on life in this difficult, but beautiful place.

Most importantly, this week holds another anniversary in these parts. That of Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood. I don’t want to wax on about those pivotal events, only to say that we’re still here. The real work of recovery, of looking at our past and future and determining how to heal our inequalities, is just beginning. There is so much opportunity and hope; it is a really exciting time to be in New Orleans.

In honor of both events, I want to share the NOLA love. I’m hoping for comments from folks that read but haven’t commented before… just a lil’ shout out. I confess that since moving to (two!) years ago, I haven’t been tracking traffic and I have no idea who is visiting or from where. (See, I wasn’t kidding about not being on top of the website.)

Make a comment here between now and September 1st — particularly if you’re new to coldspaghetti or never commented before — and I’ll send a NOLA-themed gift from a NOLA-based artist to one repeat commenter and one new commenter.  Selections will be made via random number and I’ll announce names on September 2nd.

Glasses raised to joie de vivre — no matter where you are!

Recovery and Rebirth

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“Mommy, you’re like my pillow.”

Will seemed perky this morning and asked to go to school. We brought him, with pillow to keep his arm up. An hour later, the school called, he was uncomfortable and out of it, and he was ready to go home. (FAIL.)

After dropping Will off at school, I went to Rouse’s to get snacks for my workshop today. I felt very on top of things, running early, getting food for everyone, and having somewhat of an idea of what I was going to do. Until I was out in Kenner, almost to the meeting site, when I realized my wallet was missing. (FAIL.)

After a panicked stop at a coffee shop for a phone book and a call to Rouse’s, who had my wallet, (WIN!), the truck clutch gave out in a major intersection. (FAIL.)

Thankfully, no one hit me, I survived near collision, and managed to figure out how to drive it the rest of the way. (WIN!)

At the advice of Paul, I managed to drive the car home. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “I almost died.”

Paul: “I think the problem is due to engine heat.  You should be able to drive it home.”

Me: “What, to the morgue?”

Paul: “Really. It’s happened to me a bunch of times. It should be fine after sitting for a few hours, as long as you don’t drive it for too long.”

Me: (Silence.) “Well, okay. But how long is too long?”

Paul: “I dunno. Just don’t drive it long enough for the clutch to start to stick again.”

Me: (Silence. Pondering if I should write a quick will?)

Things perked up big-time when Emmy and kids brought treats for Will.  Will had just woken up from a 5 hour nap (hello, drugs!)  I’m not sure if he even remembers there was candy involved, but he hasn’t put down the card Ana made for him for one second.

One may think that this video is showing Will on drugs, but in truth, the meds had worn off.  (He trips even heavier when heavily medicated.) This is just Will being Will.  He’s telling me about teeth, why the fall out, and what holds them in until they fall out… with a surprise at the end.

Mi Familia

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Hello? Tooth Fairy?

Remember this guy?

And the whole loose tooth thing?

Uh-oh. What’s this?

What happened at school today?

Uh-ho. I thought I’d have one more day!?

Roughly twelve hours until he wakes up tomorrow morning… anyone got advice? What does/did the tooth fairy do in YOUR house??


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Note to Fairy: Get Ready.

The most amazing part, to me, is that it happened without the influence of blunt force trauma.  That darn tooth just came loose.  The natural procession of things. One tooth moving out, making room for that adult tooth coming in behind it.

Which tooth?

The one on the left.

Remember that kid?  Yeah, well, he has a loose tooth.

And while I don’t necessarily feel old over the fact that my baby has his first loose tooth, I do suspect that in the same moment that little tooth started to wiggle, a dozen gray hairs sprouted on my head and my boobs sagged another inch.  The natural procession of things.


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Happy Birthday, Paul!





What could say ‘I love you’ more than that?

(holding for smart-ass answers)

Happy Birthday, Paul!

Mi Familia

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