No June Gloom this year! It is the month that we celebrate Dad's and Grad's, and it starts to get really HOT in the San Fernando Valley. That being said, the June Muse has nothing to do with any of that. In fact the topic of the June Muse would have been much better suited to the Month of May, but that is not when the inspiration came. So I will share it this month, and perhaps in the month of July I will Muse on Dad's and Grad's. I'm runnng about a month behind with my thoughts these days. Par for the course.
So not so long ago, I was lunching with a dear friend, and we were discussing only God knows what, when she exclaimed, "That's a Bubbe Meise!" Now my dog's name is Bubba, but I had never heard this expression. I asked her what it meant, and she explained that it was a Yiddish word with a meaning close to "Old Wives' Tale". I loved it! I thought it woud be a fun topic to explore.
My friend shared that her father was very superstitious, holding on to a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation. In other words, he really took heart in the old tales told to him. Perhaps we need a term for "Old Husbands' Tales." She explained that he was a fearful man and enforced many silly rules such as no singing in the morning because of the saying, "Sing before seven, your will cry before eleven", based on the old belief that the morning is too early to be happy, happiness has to be earned each day, otherwise you are sure to have bad luck!
Of course I had to go home and do some online research, and I landed on an interesting site: My Jewish Learning
Here are a few of the more popular Bubbe Meises:
Spitting Three Times
Whether done literally or figuratively (by saying "pooh, pooh, pooh"), spitting three times (a mystical number) is a classic response to something exceptionally evil or good. For centuries, Jews have performed this ritual in response to seeing, hearing, or learning of something terrible and as a prophylactic measure to prevent such a tragedy from happening or recurring.
Chewing on Thread
Apopular bubbe meise (old wives' tale) is chewing on a piece of thread whenever one is wearing a garment upon which someone is actively sewing-such as attaching a button or repairing a seam. This practice may relate to the Yiddish phrase "mir zollen nit farnayen der saychel," meaning that one should not sew up the brains (or common sense). Another explanation is that burial shrouds are sewn around the remains of the deceased. Actively chewing while another is sewing on one's garments is a clear indication that one is quite alive and not yet a candidate for the grave.
Pulling or Tugging One's Ears When Sneezing
Especially common among Jews from Galicia and Lithuania, the practice of pulling on one's ears when sneezing has engendered heated arguments. Should one ear or both be pulled (or tugged) and should one pull up or down? The reason for this custom is unclear. Originally, it was performed if the sneeze occurred when speaking about one who was dead. However, tugging has long been extended to all sneezes and is usually accompanied by reciting the Yiddish phrase "tzu langehmazaldikker yohrn" (to long, lucky years).
Sneezing on the Truth
Midrashic legend maintains that a sneeze used to announce impending death: "The story is told that until the time of Jacob, a person, at the close of his life,sneezed and instantly died." Some ancient peoples believed that the"little explosion in the head" ensured approaching eternity.
Rather than a mere irritation of the nasal passages, a sneeze was deemed a grave omen. Indeed, this may be the underlying reason for the development of the custom of saying "long life" and "good health" to one who has sneezed.
A traditional belief is that when a person sneezes during a conversation, whatever has just been said will occur, based on the concept of "sneezing on the truth." While not as foolproof as direct prophecy, it is said to indicate that events that are rational and plausible will actually come to pass or that an event that has already occurred really happened just as the story related.
Closing Books That Have Been Left Open
Closing prayer books, Bibles, and talmudic tracts is a common practice in synagogues and study halls. The explanation appears to be related to the medieval fear of the evil power of devils and demons, who would take "holy knowledge" and somehow use it for their own nefarious purposes.
Knocking on Wood
Knocking on wood to protect from evil is a non-Jewish practice, even though many Jews do it. Many connect this action to Christian beliefs that relate wood to slivers of the cross, which were believed to bring good luck. However, this practice has a more universal, pantheistic origin. Long before the time of Jesus, some cultures regarded trees as gods; believers were convinced that touching (orknocking on) wood could produce magical results.
I shared my online treasure trove with her, and asked her which sperstitions resonated, and her prompt reply:
"Yes, my family has the spitting three times and the thread chewing when fixing a garment on a live person but the ear tugging is not familiar. Now Carol Burnett would tug her ear at the end of her show not when she sneezed but to send a message to the grandmother who raised her. Not leaving a hospital (when you are a patient) on a Friday is a Gypsy superstition as well as sing before noon and cry in the afternoon. Also, nose itching means you'll be mad. Right nostril, major anger while left nostril only pissed for a short time. Hand itching of right hand means you will meet someone whom you've not seen in a long while. Left hand means money from an unexpected source (could be just finding a coin on the floor).
So intriguing. I continued on my quest for the meanings of some of the more popular Old Wives' Tales which I was familiar with and found this excellent article on LifeScripts Healthy Living For Women:
Walking Under a Ladder Bad Luck
It's common sense to avoid walking under an open ladder for fear of something falling on you, but there are superstitious reasons for doing so as well.
Consider the shape of an open ladder; a triangle that signifies life to some.
When you walk though the triangle, you are tempting the fates. You may also awaken spirits that live within the triangle (including evil spirits who may not be happy with the disturbance).
If you do accidentally walk under a ladder, you can counter the bad luck by placing your thumb between your index and middle finger.
Another method is to cross the fingers on both hands to call upon the sign of the cross to protect you from evil.
Breaking a Mirror Bad Luck
Most will tell you that the agreed upon time span for bad luck is 7 years. Seven years is also how long it takes to fully rejuvenate the entire physical body.
Since a mirror was thought to be a reflection of the soul, breaking a mirror was harmful to the soul.
To counter the ill effects, you can take the mirror outside and bury it in the moonlight.
Finding a Horseshoe Good Luck
Some people believe that this is the luckiest of all symbols, especially if it is found with the open end pointing toward you.
If you find one of these gems, pick it up with your right hand, spit on one end, make a wish and toss it over your left shoulder, leaving it where it lands.
You can also place a horseshoe over the entrance of your home with the open end down to bring luck to the family living within.
Opening an Umbrella Inside Bad Luck
Umbrellas that shade us from the deified sun are considered magical.
When the umbrella is opened inside, and out of the way of sun's rays, it offends the sun god.
It may even signify impending death or ill fortune for both the person who opened it and the people who live within the home.
Knock Twice on Wood Reverses Bad Luck
The origin of this common superstition dates back to a time when some cultures believed that gods lived in trees. When one would ask for a favor from these gods, he would lightly touch the bark of the tree.
To say thank you after the favor had been granted, he would knock lightly one more time.
This custom may have also originated with Christians who were offering thanks for good fortune with this gesture to Jesus Christ who died on a cross made from wood.
Tossing Spilled Salt over your Shoulder Good Luck
Salt has always been considered a valuable substance capable of purifying and warding off evil spirits.
By tossing spilled salt over your left shoulder, you are driving away the evil spirits lurking with the intent to cause misfortune.
Black Cats Bad Luck
This is a tough one for cat lovers to swallow, but in the Middle Ages it was thought that witches kept black cats as companions. Some people even believed that these kitties could turn into witches or demons after 7 years.
Powerful men like Hitler and Napoleon Bonaparte were prepared to conquer nations, but terrified of a little black kitty.
Saying "God Bless You" Good Luck
In the 6th century, people were congratulated for sneezing because it was thought they were expelling evil spirits.
Early Romans believed that a good sneeze could release your soul into the world, and a "bless you" would keep it safe.
When the plague hit Europe in 1665, the pope mandated that everyone should be blessed when they sneezed since they were probably going to die.
The blessing was usually followed up with the sign of a cross for good measure.
And here are a few rhyming aphorsms just for fun. I borrowed these from Ask Meta Filter:
Red sky in morning, sailors take warning,
Red sky at night, sailor's delight.
For distinguishing between coral and california king snake:
Red touch yellow, watch out fellow,
Red touch black, OK jack.
For poison ivy and poison oak - not sure about poison sumac:
Leaflets three, let it be,
Berries white, a poisonous sight.
For faucets and such:
Lefty loosy, righty tighty.
Beer then liquor, never sicker.
Liquor then beer, never fear!
A dimple on the chin, the devil within.
Advice when most needed is least heeded.
There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip.
Find a penny, pick it up,
All day long you'll have good luck.
birds of a feather flock together
You can pick your friends.
You can pick your nose.
But you cannot pick your friend's nose.
Step on a crack, break your mother's back.
A whistling woman's like a crowing hen: both will come to a bad end.
Every time a bell rings, another angels gets its wings.
Make new friends but keep the old;
Some are silver, the rest are gold.
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
Now I would imagine that the Bubbe Meises and Old Wives' Tales were shaped by the cultures in which they originated- being somewhat influenced by the environment and language. For example, white is a color of mourning in China. And, I don't know if four leaf clovers grow in Egypt. What is interesting is that so many of these tales have been passed down for such a long time. And not just from the women folk. We are all looking for meaning in the random occurances of our lives. We'd love to be able to make some sense of it all, to be able to predict the outcome. And sometimes we come close just by sheer luck. I think a large part of our outcome is due to self fullfilling prophecies. If we believe something to be true, we will act in ways to confirm the correctness of our beliefs. Some of these little sayings are just catchy. We know they have no basis in reality, but they often come to mind when we least expect it.
So happy June. Congratulatoins to all of the graduates Much love and appreciation to all of the Fathers! Stay cool :-)
How to keep a woman happy.... Priceless!
It's not difficult to make a woman happy.
It doesn't take much !!
A man only needs to be:
1. A friend
2. A companion
3. A lover
4. A brother
5. A father
6. A master
7. A chef
8. An electrician
9. A carpenter
10. A plumber
11. A mechanic
12. A decorator
13. A stylist
14. A sexologist
15. A gynaecologist
16. A psychologist
17. A pest exterminator
18. A psychiatrist
19. A healer
20. A good listener
21. An organizer
22. A good father
23. Very clean
WITHOUT FORGETTING TO:
45. Give her compliments regularly
46. Love to go shopping
47. Be honest
48. Be relatively rich
49. Not stress her out
50. Not look at other women
AND AT THE SAME TIME, YOU MUST ALSO:
51. Give her lots of attention, but expect little yourself
52. Give her lots of time, especially time for herself
53. Give her lots of space, never worrying about where she goes or who she is with
BUT IT IS ALSO VERY IMPORTANT TO:
54. Never to forget:
* arrangements she makes
* her parents
HOW TO MAKE A MAN HAPPY
1. Leave him alone
Jalapeno Popper Dip
Preheat oven to 350
Combine and place in a 9 x 13 dish:
6 slices of bacon, diced and cooked crispy
2 8 oz packages of room temperature cream cheese
1 cup of mayonnaise ( I used the light )
2 jalpenos, chopped and deseeded
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup shredded mozzerella
1/4 cup diced green onions
Make the topping and place on top of the dip.
1 cup crushed Ritz crackers
1/2 cup parmesean
1/2 stick butter, melted
bake for 20-m30 minutes
Serve witht he rest of the Ritz crackers and enjoy!
More Bubbe Meises
If your nose itches
Your mouth is in danger.
You'll kiss a fool,
And meet a stranger.
Rub an itch to wood
It will come to good.
Ivy growing on a house protects the inhabitants from witchcraft and evil.
A knife as a gift from a lover means that the love will soon end.
A knife placed under the bed during childbirth will ease the pain of labor.
If a friend gives you a knife, you should give him a coin, or your friendship will soon be broken.
It will cause a quarrel if knives are crossed at the table.
It is bad luck to close a pocket knife unless you were the one who opened it.
Knife falls, gentleman calls;
Fork falls, lady calls;
Spoon falls, baby calls.
Don't knit a pair of socks for your boyfriend or he'll walk away from you.
If you knit one of your own hairs into a garment, it will bind the recipient to you.
It is bad luck to walk under a ladder.
If a young girl catches a ladybug and then releases it, the direction in which it flies away will be the direction from which her future husband will come.
It is bad luck to kill a ladybug.
Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home.
Your house is on fire,
Your children all roam.
If you catch a falling leaf on the first day of autumn you will not catch a cold all winter.
Lettuce is believed to have magical and healing properties, including the power to arouse love and counteract the effects of wine.
Lettuce promotes child bearing if eaten by young women, and certain types of salad can bring on labor in pregnant women.
Cross my heart and hope to die,
Cut my throat if I tell a lie.
To dream of a lizard is a sign that you have a secret enemy.
The first gift the bride opens should be the first gift she uses.
Everything the bride says as she opens her gifts will be repeated on her wedding night. Somone should be assigned to write down these comments during the shower.
The person who gives the third gift to be opened will soon have a baby.
Save the ribbons from the shower gifts to make a mock bouquet to be used at the wedding rehearsal.
Certain days of the week, and certain months of the year are better than others for a wedding.
Monday for health,
Tuesday for wealth,
Wednesday best of all,
Thursday for losses,
Friday for crosses,
Saturday for no luck at all
Married when the year is new, he'll be loving, kind & true,
When February birds do mate, You wed nor dread your fate.
If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you'll know.
Marry in April when you can, Joy for Maiden & for Man.
Marry in the month of May, and you'll surely rue the day.
Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you'll go.
Those who in July do wed, must labour for their daily bred.
Whoever wed in August be, many a change is sure to see
Marry in September's shrine, your living will be rich and fine.
If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry.
If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember.
When December snows fall fast, marry and true love will last.
And a lucky sixpence
In her shoe.
Married in White, you have chosen right
Married in Grey, you will go far away,
Married in Black, you will wish yourself back,
Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead,
Married in Green, ashamed to be seen,
Married in Blue, you will always be true,
Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl,
Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow,
Married in Brown, you will live in the town,
Married in Pink, you spirit will sink.
To break a mirror means 7 years bad luck.
It is unlucky to see your face in a mirror by candlelight.
A mirror should be covered during a thunderstorm because it attracts lightning.
Mistletoe in the house protects it from thunder and lightning. It also cures many diseases, is an antidote to poison and brings good luck and fertility
A girl standing under a mistletoe cannot refuse to be kissed by anyone who claims the privilege.
An onion cut in half and placed under the bed of a sick person will draw off fever and poisons.
A wish will come true if you make it while burning onions.
Unless you were born in October, it's unlucky to wear opals.
It is bad luck to see an owl in the sunlight.
If you use the same pencil to take a test that you used for studying for the test, the pencil will remember the answers.
If you spill pepper you will have a serious argument with your best friend.
A rabbit's foot will bring luck and protect the owner from evil spirits if carried in the pocket.
A rainbow in the Eastern sky,
The morrow will be fine and dry.
A rainbow in the West that gleams,
Rain tomorrow falls in streams.
A red ribbon should be placed on a child who has been sick to keep the illness from returning.
If you leave a rocking chair rocking when empty, it invites evil spirits to come into your house to sit in the rocking chair.
Salty soup is a sign that the cook is in love.
If you drop scissors, it means your lover is being unfaithful to you.
The seventh son of a seventh son has magic powers, according to Irish folklore, but is a vampire in Romanian legend.
It's bad luck to leave shoes upside down.
If you sing before seven, you will cry before eleven.
You sleep best with your head to the north and your feet to the south.
Place a hand in front of your mouth when sneezing. Your soul may escape otherwise.
The devil can enter your body when you sneeze. Having someone say, "God bless you," drives the devil away.
If you sneeze on a Monday, you sneeze for danger;
Sneeze on a Tuesday, kiss a stranger;
Sneeze on a Wednesday, sneeze for a letter;
Sneeze on a Thursday, something better;
Sneeze on a Friday, sneeze for sorrow;
Sneeze on a Saturday, see your sweetheart tomorrow.
Sneeze on a Sunday, and the devil will have domination over you all week.
One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a letter
Four for a boy.
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret, never to be told
check out today's front page all around the world!
Dad's and Grad's!!!
borrowed from www.corsinet.com
Monday's child is fair of face;
Tuesday's child is full of grace;
Wednesday's child is full of woe;
Thursday's child has far to go;
Friday's child is loving and giving;
Saturday's child works hard for a living.
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
is fair and wise, good and gay.
If you blow out all the candles on your birthday cake with the first puff you will get your wish.
If you say good-bye to a friend on a bridge, you will never see each other again.
Do not lean a broom against a bed. The evil spirits in the broom will cast a spell on the bed.
Never take a broom along when you move. Throw it out and buy a new one.
If the first butterfly you see in the year is white, you will have good luck all year.
Three butterflies together mean good luck.
An apple a day
Keeps the doctor away.
If you cut an apple in half and count how many seeds are inside, you will also know how many children you will have.
To predict the sex of a baby: Suspend a wedding band held by a piece of thread over the palm of the pregnant girl. If the ring swings in an oval or circular motion the baby will be a girl. If the ring swings in a straight line the baby will be a boy.
Spit on a new bat before using it for the first time to make it lucky
It's bad luck to put a hat on a bed.
If you make a bedspread, or a quilt, be sure to finish it or marriage will never come to you
You must get out of bed on the same side that you get in or you will have bad luck.
If a bee enters your home, it's a sign that you will soon have a visitor. If you kill the bee, you will have bad luck, or the visitor will be unpleasant.
When a bell rings, a new angel has received his wings
If a black cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it takes the good luck with it.
Keep cats away from babies because they "suck the breath" of the child.
If your cheeks suddenly feel on fire, someone is talking about you.
It is bad luck to light three cigarettes with the same match.
Evil spirits can't harm you when you stand inside a circle.
It's good luck to find a four-leaf clover.
Clover protects human beings and animals from the spell of magicians and the wiles of fairies, and brings good luck to those who keep it in the house.
It's bad luck to pick up a coin if it's tails side up. Good luck comes if it's heads up.
To drop a comb while you are combing your hair is a sign of a coming disappointment.
To cure a cough: take a hair from the coughing person's head, put it between two slices of buttered bread, feed it to a dog, and say, "Eat well you hound, may you be sick and I be sound.
Step on a crack
Break your mother's back.
Six is death.
If your right ear itches, someone is speaking well of you.
If your left ear itches, someone is speaking ill of you.
For good luck throughout the year, wear new clothes on Easter.
Pictures of an elephant bring luck, but only if they face a door.
If your right eye twitches there will soon be a birth in the family. If the left eye twitches there will soon be a death in the family.
To cure a sty, stand at a crossroads and recite
Sty, sty, leave my eye
Take the next one coming by.
If an eyelash falls out, put it on the back of the hand, make a wish and throw it over your shoulder. If it flies off the hand the wish will be granted.
It is bad luck to cut your fingernails on Friday or Sunday.
Fingernail cuttings should be saved, burned, or buried.
A fish should always be eaten from the head toward the tail.
If you count the number of fish you caught, you will catch no more that day.
First Flower of Spring: The day you find the first flower of the season can be used as an omen:
Monday means goodfortune,
Tuesday means greatest attempts will be successful,
Wednesday means marriage,
Thursday means warning of small profits,
Friday means wealth,
Saturday means misfortune,
Sunday means excellent luck for weeks.
If the bottom of your right foot itches, you are going to take a trip.
Never start to make a garment on Friday unless you can finish it the same day.
Numerologists consider 12 a "complete" number.
There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles of Jesus. In exceeding 12 by 1, 13's association with bad luck has to do with just being a little beyond completeness.
If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck . Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names.
Pulling out a gray or white hair will cause ten more to grow in its place.
If the palm of your right hand itches it means you will soon be getting money.
If the palm of your left hand itches it means you will soon be paying out money.
A horseshoe, hung above the doorway, will bring good luck to a home. In most of Europe protective horseshoes are placed in a downward facing position, but in some parts of Ireland and Britain people believe that the shoes must be turned upward or "the luck will run out."
A horseshoe hung in the bedroom will keep nightmares away.
Sparrows carry the souls of the dead, it's unlucky to kill one.
Seeing a spider run down a web in the afternoon means you'll take a trip.
A spider is a repellent against plague when worn around the neck in a walnut shell.
All wishes on shooting stars come true.
Star light, star bright
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might
Have the wish I wish tonight.
If you bite your tongue while eating, it is because you have recently told a lie.
It's bad luck to open an umbrella inside the house, especially if you put it over your head.
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