A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.
Visit her at phylissmiranda.com
I selected my blog title, For Everything There’s a Season, for a reason. It’s so true and I believe the majority of us know that the pandemic changed our lives … some for better but some not as good. I think due to Covid we’ve all had to make changes. Being quarantined didn’t help a dern bit.
To begin with, my big publishing house closed my line; but, I’m fortunate to have been picked up by Prairie Rose Publishing, who I’ve done several single title releases and anthologies with. My first new book, tentatively named Santa and the Texan, should be out for Christmas. I’m very excited to be working with these awesome authors and their house.
During the beginning of the pandemic, I broke my tailbone. Yelp, it hurt a lot and I spent most of my days medicated and laying on my side watching TV.
Then if things couldn’t get worse, I ended up tripping over my husband’s dog who typically isn’t in the house. That put me back on the couch with my leg extended, a walker to get around, and a wheelchair. I’m getting much better. That’s good news, but I can’t walk long distances, squat, or lift anything heavy.
Over the last five or six months, I’ve had to depend on precious Sister Fillies, Pam and Linda, to format and post most of my blogs, as I can’t sit in a chair for any length of time. Thanks to the love and caring of all of the Fillies, I think I’m getting better, but not there yet.
Now for the good news, no knee replacement just continue with shots in my knee and pain meds, which I don’t take anymore than is necessary, and keeping my knee resting on pillows. I’ve never conquered using my laptop on my lap: so, I’m therefore resorting to my iPad to keep up with things.
This is all leading up to there’s definitely a time for everything. After 12 years and 221 blogs as a Filly, I’m leaving the corral. I’m not leaving Petticoats and Pistols, just going out to pasture, so I can get better; and, help my husband who has macular degeneration. He’s very close to having to stop driving. Family first! That’s my moto.
The good news, I’ll still do periodic guest blogs, as well as being able to help any of the other Fillies who needs a fill in. That’ll take a little pressure off of everyone. You’ll love the new Filly who is taking my regular blog spot. Watch for her announcement…you’ll be as excited to have her as we are.
Oh by the way, the Fillies found me a blanket, so I won’t get cold in winter and a computer, so I can keep up on the news while out in the pasture.
My blessings and much love to each of our readers. And, as they’d say in the Old West “Happy Trails to you until we meet again.”
To three lucky winners, I’m giving away your choice of any of my books.
One of the things Jodi Thomas, sister-filly Linda Broday, and I like to do when traveling is visiting cemeteries. My son-in-law and I also love cemetery visits. What stories tombstones of all ages can tell.
With the help of the Old Farmer’s Almanac, founded in 1792, I learned a lot about the meaning of grave symbols. Our encounters have told us that a walk through a cemetery can be a beautiful experience cyphering the names, dates, and symbols on tombstones.
My favorite is the old cemetery in Menard, Texas. In Texas, the grave of a deceased Texas Ranger is designated with sturdy metal Ranger markers and are set on a cross symbolic of a Texas Ranger badge.
One thing I learned, the majestic, weather worn stone carvings you see from the cipher-loving Victorians from 1839 to 1920, are more than plain Jane decorations. They mean something; a virtue the person exemplified, a value they held dear, or a nod to how they earned their living.
I found numerous sites explaining symbols online, but of course for this blog had to limit the ones I selected, so here goes my choices from back many centuries.
Anchor – a symbol of hope, or the deceased was a seaman or mariner.
Angel – a guide to Heaven
Acorn – Prosperity; power; triumph
Anvil and Hammer – Blacksmith
Bell – a symbol of religious faith or religion
Bird – Flight of the soul
Candle – Life
Column/Pillar (broken) – Life cut short; sudden death
Evergreen – Faithfulness; remembrance
Fruit – Eternal plenty
Key – Knowledge; entrance into Heaven
Lily – Innocence, purity
Olive Tree – Peace
Palm – Life conquering death
Plow; Hoe; Rack; Stalk of Corn or Wheat – Farmer; modern day is a symbol of old age, a fruitful life
Rose – Love, beauty strong bond; Rosebud, youthful death
Sphinx – Courage and Power
Tree-Shaped – Possible member of the Modern Woodmen of American or member of the Woodmen of the World fraternal organization order.
Do you ever go to old cemeteries and wonder about the lives of the people with certain symbols on their stones?
To one lucky reader, I will send you a copy of Texas High Plains Writers 2021 Anthology With Words We Weave … Challenges. Both Linda Broday and I have short stories in the book. Mine is the first story I wrote as an assignment in my first Writing Class two decades ago.
I love cats and have always had one or two. Right now I only have one and she’s my writing assistant.
Here are some things I learned about cats from the Old Farmer’s Almanac. I thought it’d be fun to share.
Cat ancestors were solitary hunters. To the contrary, dogs evolved from pack-hunting wolves. Even today, domestic cats are seen as more “independent” than dogs. This is among the reasons many people find cats appealing as pets.
A cat’s purr is created by the muscles that control the opening and closing of the vocal cords. Kittens purr to remind their mama to keep nursing them. Later in life, domestic cats purr to encourage you to pet them. Not only does a purring cat in your lap reduce stress, but also it is believed, by cat specialists, to have therapeutic healing effects on human muscle and bone tissue. House cats also “meow” in order to get your attention.
Now this is strictly my theory, but I believe cats can tell time. I don’t know how to explain it, but Miss Chili knows exactly when 3:00 p.m. arrives because she gets a half a small can of wet cat food. She eats dry food during the day. At about 10:00, she goes to my husband, and has a special meow to alert him to her need for a late-night cat snack. If I go to sleep in my chair while watching television, which is common now days with the pandemic, she has a shrill three meow cry to wake me up to go to bed. Now, remember this isn’t scientific, just my observations.
Here’s a few pro’s and con’s on having a furry friend as a pet.
Pros: Cats make awesome YouTube videos. They rule the Internet.
Cats are arguably less work than dogs; they can stay inside and be happy. I have to agree with that because when we’re gonna be gone for a few days, we can leave food, water, and two cat boxes out for Miss Chili. While our three dogs costs us at least $200.00 a day to board.
Cats chase flashlight or laser on the wall. This is entertaining for you and the cat.
If a cat does purr or meow or rub against you, you know that it is expressing affection. Miss Chili can lay up in my arms under a blanket and purr for a long time, as long as I’m petting her.
Cons: Liter boxes, enough said!
You never really liked hose floor-length curtains, anyway, did you. Miss Chili like to lay on the back of the sofa, separate the curtains and watch for things moving outside; thus, more regularly requiring cleaning than a dog.
Cats don’t fetch.
Kitties can be passive-aggressive … that broken lamp was no accident. And if cats could text, they wouldn’t. They’re a tad too stubborn.
My question today is whether you prefer cats or dogs? I like both for difference reasons. In my household I don’t have to do “Yard Duty” for the dogs but do have to do “Liter Box Duty.”
To one lucky reader, I will send you a copy of my most current
Today is Groundhog Day. This day traditionally marks the midpoint between the winter solstice and spring equinox. Will the groundhog see his shadow this year? What is the meaning of Groundhog Day … and why do we celebrate weather predictions from a plump marmot? I’m gonna tell you what The Old Farmer’s 2021 Almanac founded in 1792 has to say about it.
According to legend, if a groundhog sees its shadow on this day, there will be 6 more weeks of winter; if it doesn’t, then spring is right around the corner. I don’t know about you, but our weather has been so fickled that I don’t know if I’ll even trust Punxsutawney Phil of Philadelphia to decide whether we’re gonna have winter or spring this year.
This tradition began when the farmers needed to determine when to plant their crops, so they tried to forecast whether there would be an early spring or a lingering winter. Thus, the beginning of Candlemas (February 2nd.).
It wasn’t held as a good omen if the day itself was bright and sunny, for that betokened snow and frost to continue until the hiring of the laborers six week later. If it was cloudy and dark, warmth and rain would thaw out the fields and have them ready for planting.
Our Groundhog Day, as we know it, is a remote survivor of that belief.
For centuries farmers in France and England looked to a bear, while in Germany, they kept their eye on the badger. In the 1800’s, German immigrants in Pennsylvania brought the tradition with them. Finding no badgers there, they adopted the groundhog to fit the lore … thus, Punxsutawney Phil has announced spring’s arrival since 1887. Other groundhogs also have carrier on the tradition, including Ontario’s Wiarton Willie.
Though we recognize that animal behavior isn’t the only way to judge planting dates, the tradition continues, often with a wink and a smile.
So, will the groundhog in your neck of the woods see his shadow?
To one lucky winner, I will send them their choice of an eBook or trade size paperback of my third book in the Kasota Spring Series Out of a Texas Night.
I hope 2021 has started off with a bang! Mine has. I found some things in the Old Farmer’s Almanac I want to share with you.
Some New Year Traditions I found interesting are:
Let’s Make Some Noise
In the early American colonies, the sounds of pistol shots range through the air.
Today, Italians let their church bells peal, the Swiss beat drums, and North Americans sound sirens and part horns to bid the old year farewell.
Eat Something Special
In the Southern United States, black-eyed peas and pork foretell good fortune. I thought we had some for New Years Day but didn’t; and, of course, no grocery stores were open, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ve eaten enough black-eyed peas in my life to have good fortune in 2021.
Apples dipped in honey are a Rosh Hashanah tradition.
Drink a Beverage
Wassail, the Gaelic term for “good health”, is served in some parts of England.
In Holland, toasts are made with hot, spiced wine.
Give a Gift
New Year’s Day was once the time to swap presents.
In Scotland, coal, shortbread, and silverware were traditionally exchanged for good luck.
Now, I ask you all, do you have a traditional you follow each year?
I waited until the end to add more to my part of yesterday’s Yee-Haw Day. I’m so excited to share some personal news with you all.
Oh, I have so much good news and things to be thankful for that I can hardly restraint myself.
First, the holiday weather was pretty. I didn’t get to join the family for Christmas in Dallas because of the virus but I got zoomed in, while everyone opened their presents. I received my traditional Tootsie Rolls from my youngest grandson, and a pink fitbit from one of my other grandsons. What a wonderful day. Hubby watched football and after holiday gift exchange I watched Hallmark movies. I’m so thankful for my family.
I’m so proud of my two oldest granddaughters who are essential workers, both in hospitals here and in Dallas. They are called our “trailblazers” since they got the pandemic shots first out of the box with no adverse reactions.
My oldest granddaughter became engaged to a wonderful man right before Christmas. They knew one another when she was in school and he was stationed at the airbase. Now Daddy was in the Army Air Corp, as it was called at the time, here in Amarillo. He met and married Mother, so he was called our “Flyboy” since he was in the Air Force. I call Dylin that. July here we come!
Since my middle Grandson was an Eagle Scout, he was sworn into the Navy just before the schools were closed down due to the Pandemic. He left for Chicago in April and then to begin his submarine training in Connecticut. He’ll be graduating with Honors! I’m so proud of him. He doesn’t know where he’ll be stationed next, but it’ll happen pretty soon. We are extremely proud of our Sailor.
I’m so proud of my family that I can hardly breath because of the excitement.
Since love is in the air, answer my question to be in the drawing
to win an autographed copy of one of our favorite anthologies,
Be My Texas Valentine.
I ask you all, do you have a traditional you follow each year?