In the life of an individual and their family certain dates carry significance - births, marriages/partnerships, first jobs and deaths are some of the more obvious ones. Some of these dates are of our own making and choosing - for me December 20; July 12; September 3; August 2 carry importance. Others we have no control over - for me its June 12, January 3 & 7; November 16; May 3; August 14; and March 27 & 28. You will all have your own list: some that bring you joy and others sadness. I can now add January 25 because on this day a new member of my family arrived and I am instantly in love and know that it will last until my final breath.
Until January 24 2021, January 25 was just another day - but no ... no longer just another day. Now an auspicious day, I thought I should look back and see for what and who January 25 is equally important.
It's good to be in at the beginning as January 25 is the 25th day of the year(!) in the Gregorian calendar and 340 days remain until the end of the year (341 in leap years).
Maybe she will be lucky and shine brightly - at the Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa in 1905, a 3,106-carat diamond was discovered during a routine inspection by the mine’s superintendent. Weighing 1.33 pounds, and christened the “Cullinan,” it is the largest diamond ever found.
Maybe she will become a woman of letters as January 25 is famously the day the world remembers Scottish poet Robert Burns - born in 1759. Burns Night might be a time for her to show her gregarious face at the feast, featuring haggis (and if she's a vegetarian there's a version) and other Scottish delicacies, as well as enthusiastic drinking, toasting, and speechmaking. As an unworldly teenage boy I had to study To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (1882) the English novelist, essayist, short story writer, and critic. Her works befuddled me then but I have come to appreciate their complexities - and if she was alive today could make a living as a Katayoun look-a-like!
Maybe she will be a sporty outdoor girl and she can share her day with the Winter Olympics! It's 1924 and the first Winter Olympics take off in style at Chamonix in the French Alps. Or there's Tostão (1947), Brazilian footballer- one of the greats of the 1970 World Cup who re-invented himself as a journalist and doctor. It was said of him, whilst small in stature he played with mobility, intelligence, hard-work, technique, balance, skill, and creativity - all wonderful attributes.
Or what about becoming a great communicator. In 1915 Alexander Graham Bell inaugurated the U.S. transcontinental telephone service, speaking from New York to Thomas Watson in San Francisco - a major step on the way to how we communicate today.
1627 saw the birth of Robert Boyle, the father of modern chemistry. Will she follow a life in the sciences? Or will it be into the world of music (must be in her genes)? There are many who share the date, two of whom are Sleepy John Estes, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (1899) and the singer Etta James (1938).
She will be loved and in turn, no doubt, find love so with a little Welsh-ness tucked away in her bloodline to be born on Dydd Santes Dwynwen may auger well for her future.
A January 25th birth makes her an Aquarius so maybe she will be temperamental (good luck mum & dad) and curious and a hard to miss presence in any setting. I'm sure she will enjoy surprising people and often extract a lot of information from them, just by being the charmer that comes with being an Aquarius. Full of empathy, she will go the extra mile because she will like seeing people happy.
The name Aquarius comes from the Latin name for Water Bearer, in Greek the sign for January 25 zodiac sign is called Idroxoos, while in Spanish is Acuario and in French is Verseau. As an air sign she will bring balance and be connected to everything that is happening around her.
Tuesdays and the numbers 3, 9, 15, 17, 27 may bring her luck and according to the rhyme she'll be fair of face.
With the distracting focus that a new life brings I remember it was easy to not think of your own necessities so here is a healthy, easy, slightly fancy thing to do with a can of beans (or two!) and it was in the January 25 2021 copy of the New York Times.
Creamy Braised White Beans
1tbsp unsalted butter
1 bulb of garlic, halved
1 cup of milk
1 can chickpeas with their liquid
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed – other white beans are available
A sprig of thyme and 2 sage leaves (or a bay leaf)
⅛ tsp (a pinch?) of nutmeg
⅛ tsp (a pinch?) of allspice or garam masala
Salt & black pepper
4 slices of crusty bread or thick toast
Olive oil for serving
Parmesan for serving
Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes for serving
1. In a medium saucepan melt the butter over a medium high heat.
2. Add the garlic cut side down and cook until golden brown – 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Add the milk, chickpeas and their liquid, the cannellini beans, thyme & nutmeg and stir to mix. Season with salt and pepper.
4. When the mixture begins to bubble around the edges (don’t let it come to a full boil), reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened; about 15 minutes – taste for seasoning.
5. Use a fork to remove the garlic halves from the beans and set aside. When cool enough to handle use the fork to remove the cloves from their skins and spread the cloves over the bread or toast.
6. Serve the beans in bowls and garnish to your choice – one or all of Aleppo pepper, black pepper, parmesan, olive oil. Serve with the bread alongside for dipping.
You could mash some of the beans to make a more stew-like consistency.
from Ali Slagle – New York Times of January 25th 2021
The word of the Day is ...
adjective: delicately small and pretty
Delicate and graceful in build or movement
From Middle English “deinte" (regard, affection); from Anglo-French “deinte”; from Old French “deintie” (price, value delicacy, pleasure); from Latin “dignitatem” from “dignitas” (greatness, rank, worthiness, beauty) from “dignus” (worthy, proper, fitting)
ps: The name Charlotte is a girl's name of French origin meaning "free man". Charlotte is the feminine form of the male given name Charles. It derived from Charlot, a French diminutive of Charles meaning “little Charles,” and the name of Charlemagne’s son in French literature and legend. The name was popularized by England's Queen Charlotte Sophia, wife of King George III, and was the mother of fifteen children and a patron of Mozart and Bach.
pps: In the Prairies and northwestern Ontario in Canada a daint is a fancy cookie, pastry, or square served at a social event - hence the opening image!
pps: I tripped over this version of Here comes the Sun by Nina Simone that sums up my feelings at this very moment perfectly.
“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.” - E. B. White, from Charlotte's Web.