Who Is Anastasia?

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New Castle, Indiana Zone 5, United States
When I was 55, I decided to embrace the things I love and hold precious and dear - regardless of anyone else's thoughts and opinion. I am a folk artist who loves flowers - my own flowers, grown by me. I love good, hearty, exotic foods, and I love to prepare them myself. I love the secret garden situated in my backyard, regardless of how junky it gets. No longer able to afford a vacation, this will have to be it for the time being. In the winter months, I still enjoy it. Anyway, here I am sharing my art, favorite recipes, cocktails, gardening tips, and just my usual vents and bantering. After all, I'm old enough to say whatever the heck I want to now ... Oh, the two pictures below are NOT of my garden, although the one with the pink French doors looks very much like the backyard I grew up with. I am searching for pictures of that wonderful place and will post soon.

JEWELS OF MY SOUL

JEWELS OF MY SOUL
My Book Available on AMAZON

Stacey Torres ART Prints

Stacey Torres ART Prints
A very limited selection of reproductions from my paintings can be found here

July 21, 2015

What Is It About The New Year?


New Years Eve memories for some, (if they can remember New Years Eve) may be a blur of drunken kissing at the stroke of midnight. For others, it's the peaceful, solemn observance of Watch Night Service at church.

But for many, if not all, there are some traditions — superstitions, if you will — that are observed every year in order to ensure good luck, fortune and, yes, ward off evil spirits. In researching such traditions, I found some old familiar ones, but I also uncovered some unusual tidbits:

KISSING the ones dearest to you, or standing closest to you, ensures that the affection and friendship will continue for 12 months. If not, don't be surprised if you get the cold shoulder for 12 months!

STOCK your cupboards. You simply cannot start the new year with empty cupboards or wallets, or else the remainder of the year will follow suit. Strike one for me, not to mention that kissing thing.

PAY all debts. If the household is in debt, bills must be paid/mailed before Jan. 1, but don't loan money on Jan. 1 because you will be paying out all year.

FIRST one in better be a guy. This is a new one for me, but the first person to come in your door after midnight determines the year you'll have. He must be tall, dark-haired, good looking and bearing gifts. They should not be blond, redhead, cross-eyed, have flat feet, a uni brow, or God-forbid, be female! Do not, I repeat, do not allow a
female in the door first. I won't even tell you what can happen. Also, the first visitor, called "Lucky Bird," has to knock, not use a key, and leave through a different door than he came in. If you're having a party, don't be afraid to cheat and get a tall, dark-haired guy to hang out by the front door with gifts in tow so he can be the
first through the door at 12:01.

Absolutely nothing precious or otherwise can LEAVE the home on the first day of the year; not even that spoiled turkey from Christmas or last night's empties. Anything leaving means your luck leaves too. Don't even shake a rug out the door. Here's where it gets confusing: You can remove things from the home on Jan. 1 only if something else was brought in first. And, if you live alone, leave your lucky charms in a basket outside the door, pull it
in with a string, and never reach out to pull it in.

FOOD: We like the traditional southern practice: black-eyed peas to attract coins in our purse; cabbage to ensure folded currency; and pork. Never eat chicken or turkey on the first day of the year, because they scratch for their food, and so will you for the rest of the year. Poultry scratches backwards, cows stand still, but pigs root
forward, thus by eating pork, you will move forward into the new year. 

Do something WORK-related that day; just a little bit. If you're idle on Jan. 1, you will remain so. However, do NOT do any laundry or wash dishes on Jan. 1 as a member of the family might get washed away (die) in the next 12 months.

You should wear something NEW on Jan. 1. Red helps with a bright future.

Don't BREAK anything at the first of the year, or you'll crack up. Do not cry on the first of the year, or you'll set the tone for the next 12 months.

Let the old year OUT at midnight. Open all doors and windows to let Father Time and his old year escape. He has to go before the New Year can come in. Shoo him out!

Go on and make all the NOISE you can at midnight. Loud celebrations scare away evil spirits. My neighbors are now familiar with my big brass bell. The devil hates noise, but don't cuss and wake him up on New Years Day.

On Jan 1, hopefully the WIND will blow from the south, bringing good luck for the coming year. From the north; a year of bad weather. Wind from the east brings famine and misfortune. And if it comes from the west, we'll have lots of milk and fish, but also, the death of a family member. How strange, almost all of our wind comes from the west around here. No wind? A good time will be had by all.

BABIES born on Jan. 1 are said to have luck throughout their life, and if you dance around a tree on New Years Day, you'll have luck. 

Make sure to drain the last drop from a bottle you drink on New Years Day for good fortune. I am not, I repeat, NOT responsible for the outcome of this one!

So, there you have it. I didn't make this stuff up. But, it gives us food for thought. And, hey, we didn't even discuss resolutions! Happy, Happy New Year!

First published 12/31/2008 by The Courier-Times, New Castle, IN

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I would love to hear from you regarding this post. Please feel free to leave your comments. All the best, Anastasia a/k/a Stacey

The Backyard --Today's Vacation Spot

The Backyard --Today's Vacation Spot
A simple garden meal in the shade. No, it's not my backyard, but it looks identical to the one I grew up with at our home in Queens. Looking for an original pic of it to post soon!

Old Fashioned Tips