Legend of Jack O'lantern

According to the Pumpkin Nook: 

Jack O'Lantern legend goes back hundreds of years in Irish History. Many of the stories, center round Stingy Jack. 

Here's the most popular story:

Stingy Jack was a miserable, old drunk who took pleasure in playing tricks on just about everyone: family, friends, his mother and even the Devil himself. One day, he tricked the Devil into climbing up an apple tree. After the Devil climbed up the tree, Stingy Jack hurriedly placed crosses around the trunk of the tree. Unable to touch a cross, the Devil was stuck in the tree. Stingy Jack made the Devil promise him not to take his soul when he died. Once the devil promised not to take his soul, Stingy Jack removed the crosses, and the Devil climbed down out of the apple tree.

Many years later, Jack died, he went to the pearly gates of Heaven and was told by Saint Peter that he was mean and cruel, and had led a miserable, worthless life on earth. Stingy Jack was not allowed to enter heaven. He then went down to Hell and the Devil. The Devil kept his promise and would not allow him to enter Hell. Now Jack was scared . He had nowhere to go, but to wander about forever in the dark Netherworld between heaven and hell. He asked the Devil how he could leave, as there was no light. The Devil tossed him an ember from the flames of Hell, to help Stingy Jack light his way. Jack had a Turnip with him. It was one of his favorite foods, and he always carried one with him. Jack hollowed out the Turnip, and placed the ember the Devil had given him, inside the turnip. From that day onward, Stingy Jack roamed the earth without a resting place, lighting his way as he went with his "Jack O'Lantern".

On all Hallow's eve, the Irish hollowed out Turnips, rutabagas, gourds, potatoes and beets. They placed a light in them to ward off evil spirits and keep Stingy Jack away. These were the original Jack O'Lanterns. In the 1800's a couple of waves of Irish immigrants came to America. The Irish immigrants quickly discovered that Pumpkins were bigger and easier to carve out. So they used pumpkins for Jack O'Lanterns.

Another older post

I found a second list of 'first's that I made in my early Blogger days.

When I was looking at the first list of things I had never done and thinking about things I never thought I would ever do in my life, I realized that the list has updated a bit since that post. Welcome to my world.
  • get excited to see Pepsi on the grocery store shelf
  • take my phone everywhere
  • bake fun treats
  • play Skip-Bo on a regular basis
  • consider (and actually get) our version of TiVo
  • search for brand names that I recognize from the US
  • never shop at Wally World
  • search unsuccessfully for popcorn to pop on the stovetop
  • see deer, alpaca and llama farms along the main roads
  • pay $100 to fill up the gas tank
  • see sea anemones
  • ponder insulation
  • cheer out loud when I heard Doritos are coming to NZ
  • enter local photo contests
  • wonder how old the tv shows are and smile to find out when one is less than two years old
  • drive a big station wagon
  • see lighthouses
  • have a bridge built for me
  • get excited to find something that tastes like hot dogs (frankfurters) and polish sausage (kranskies)
  • ride a gondola up a mountain
  • take an interest in the Maori language to see what town names mean
  • rarely leave the house without my camera
  • see ads on tv that I think are tacky and tasteless
  • buy fresh veggies every payday
  • make bottle rockets with vinegar and baking soda
  • experiment with 'exotic' cheeses while looking for a substitute for Meunster
  • have a clothes dryer hung upside down over the washer
  • call orange road cones 'rabbits'
  • see geysers and boiling mud up close and personal
  • eat Vegemite
  • see black swans, wild pukekos, waxeyes, kiwis, wild goats, fantails, tuis
  • be aware when American tv shows are on--as opposed to BBC or cable stations that are mostly through Australia

I'm sure there are more, but they are a part of who I am now and the line between 'then' and 'now' is quickly blurring.

A blast from the past

Since I have a few more followers now, I thought I'd repeat a post from '09 that still holds true--mostly.

I was thinking the other day about things that I never  would  have done if I hadn't moved to a whole new life on the other side of the globe.  As I wrote them down, Hubby reminded me of more.

I'm sure it will lengthen as time goes by, but for now, here's the list of things I never thought I would do:
  • pull weeds
  • worry about balanced meals
  • buy brown eggs at the store
  • snuggle on the sofa (I didn't own one in KS)
  • be chased by waves
  • watch the Simpsons
  • dust
  • recycle
  • hang clothes out to dry
  • consider myself responsible for wild ducks
  • grow my own tomatoes
  • see dolphins swim alongside a boat
  • take a zillion pictures
  • grow flowers in an old work boot
  • do the 'titanic' pose on a ferry boat
  • do the 'titanic' pose on a charter boat after my wedding vows
  • hike through woods to see a waterfall
  • stand on the beach at midnight
  • wonder if flowers need moving for more sunlight
  • check homework
  • look 200 feet straight down while standing on a window 
  • compost
  • turn a plot of grass into a flower bed
  • watch BBC programs
  • search for John Deere tractors
  • buy furnishings from the internet
  • see sea anemones up close
  • read the back of a seed package
  • text proficiently
  • sit in a tennis-court size hot pool
  • chase trains
  • kick a soccer ball around
  • hear about--much less actually see--glowworms in a cave
  • ride a train for pleasure
  • learn some English history
  • buy Swan plants to attract caterpillars
  • drink instant coffee on a regular basis
  • have a pet cat
  • call the bush beside the pond 'George'
Looking back over this list, it seems I was saved from a life of boredom.

Whanganui rocks!

If you have seen my photoblog, you'll know we recently spent the day in Whanganui, about an hour and a half drive from the house.

When we got there, it seemed that two of the main reasons for going were not going to happen. We wanted to visit the Durie Hill tunnel and elevator, just for fun but it was closed. We found out later that it was a temporary thing but they could have done better with communication.

The other thing was to see St Paul's church and take pictures. We showed up at 2pm like the website said. As it turns out their website is rubbish and, if it weren't for other visitors who had gone to the information center to 'book' a tour, I wouldn't have gotten in.

This is part of their website with a CAMERA icon next to the words '1 hour'.  In my literal mind, it meant that you had an hour to take photos. I snapped one photo and then was informed that photos have never been allowed, so I paid $10 to hear an hour of Maori history.

We saw other things, so the trip wasn't a complete waste of time, but I was far from a happy camper about the church.

I didn't want to launch a public complaint, so the next day I wrote a message to the 'Visit Whanganui' Facebook page, explaining very calmly the problems we had.

A few hours later, I got a great response thanking me for 'fantastic feedback'. They seems genuinely glad that I let them know there were problems. They said to give them a bit of  time to talk amongst themselves and they will get back to me.

I am absolutely impressed.

Edit: About 3 weeks later, I heard from the 'Visit Whanganui' FB page. They told me that the site has been updated and those in charge of the public attractions will be providing the FB page information on closures. Nicely done, Whanganui.