Monday, September 30, 2013

Leisure at the Lake Adventure: Falling Down on the Job

Gumbo night was followed by sausage and biscuit and scrambled egg and milk gravy morning, courtesy of FiveCat.  We had plans to go to Niagara Falls, all of us except Script, who has seen the falls more times than she cares to count, and Westie, who has a grudge against Buffalo (and no, i'm not going to dig for details on that one), so we needed to eat and run.

This brings me to a place where i must apologize to Ally.  On the previous morning, she had made some incredible home made cinnamon rolls for breakfast. She had even made them with whole wheat flour for those who couldn't use regular flour and made a vegan version.  She's incredible with baking, and i've been so overwhelmed by doing so many things that it's starting to blur.

Unfortunately, late nights do not make for early mornings, and of course we were much later than we expected leaving to head to the Falls.  Then, of course, getting 11 people coordinated in four cars to make an over 2 hour drive is like herding cats, and never goes as planned.

We did make it out of the house, and somehow stayed together until we met up with Peppermint, who was accompanied by both Hairy, Sr., and Hairy, Jr., at one of the service stops along the toll road.  In talking over the plan of attack, Grace said she wanted to make the lunch that day her treat, and she had the address of a Thai restaurant in the town of Niagara Falls.  Since it would be lunchtime by the time we got there, it was determined that we would eat first, and then go to the Falls.

Hairy, Sr., knows this area, as he has lived here all of his life, and gone to the falls many times.  So he led the way, stalwart man as he is, escorting all of these crazy women in their travels.

It proved harder to find the street with the Thai restaurant than we had thought, because while Hairy, Sr., knows his way to the falls, he expected the street to be in one spot but it was actually a couple of blocks over.  Thank heaven for GPS, we finally did find it, and a parking space nearby enough to walk to it.  It was a blast from the past, walking with Hairy, Jr., as i'm no longer used to having a small child to look after.  He is a very well behaved young man, and waited patiently with us to cross streets with the lights and sat nicely most of the time we waited to eat.

The food was luscious, and i was glad they had extra spice on the table.

By the time we reached the entrance to Niagara Falls, paid to park, and herded ourselves in we were really running much later than any of us had anticipated.  As i was to find out, to see this place fully you need to come the moment the gates open, buy a full day pass, and not leave until the sun sets.  Then, the next day, if you have a passport, you need to go over to the Canadian side and do the same thing again!

We began with Cave of the Winds, which is a misnomer on the American side of the Falls.  You buy your ticket and get in line to get your plastic bag, and then your shoes.  Yes, you take your shoes off, put them in the bag, and wear the Niagara Sandal equivalent of bowling shoes, so you won't slip.  Then you go outside in these and to the elevators.  Once there, you are given a yellow rain slicker, which you will need, and down to the "Cave."

It's actually an outdoor scaffolding you climb to stand almost under the portion of the falls called the Bridal Veil.  It's so beautiful with a fixed rainbow, the first i've ever seen at the edge of a falls..  The highest portion of this scaffolding is called the Hurricane Deck.  As we stood there under the Falls, the water from the river splashing over me, i couldn't do anything but smile and shed tears of joy.  It's an amazing feeling.  At one point, i reached in and touched the very hardy algae that actually grows with that water flowing right over it.

While i didn't want to leave the area, we did have to get a move on.  We walked past the containers where they recycle the shoes and the rain coats if you want (i kept the rain poncho, heaven knows i live in a swamp and can use one), and then some of us walked and some of us rode the tram to go on the Maid of the Mist.

The Maid from the American side starts in the observation tower, the only place from which you can see the whole falls on that side.  An elevator takes you down to get your blue rain poncho, and then you get on one of the boats.  You then sail straight up toward the Horseshoe Falls, the biggest and most beautiful part of the Niagara Falls.  The boat pitches and sways as the water roars in your ears and you can barely see because the mist rising surrounds you and drenches any part of you that you weren't smart enough to cover, and many parts that you were smart enough to cover.  It was again so beautiful to be in there as the boat turned and see the whole falls from that level.

Walking through the island, we saw two just married couples, and it's so beautiful i know why they chose the location.  As we were leaving, i also ran as fast as i could to stand at the top of the Bridal Veil Falls, because as i had seen it from the bottom, i wanted to see it from the top, too.

By the time we all managed to get back together (the walkers had done their Maid tour earlier than the tram riders as we got there first), it was more than time that we be heading back to the lake, as Script was going to have an Italian dinner ready for us.  That's when the long day got too long and things sort of fell apart.  The head of our caravan wanted to stop for coffee, some of the cars needed gas, it was already 6pm and it was a more than two hour drive back to the lake house even if we didn't stop.  Every stop takes forever with that many people, too.

Thus, Peppermint and Hairy, Sr., decided not to come back to the house for dinner with us, as Hairy, Jr., was already asleep.  When we all got home, well after dark, poor Script, who had put so much work into the meal, had been forced to throw some of it away as it's only good fresh, and she had gone to bed.  It was a quiet meal, as we were all quite upset over the way it turned out.  Her food was delicious, but None of us wanted to be gone that long, and yet it's so hard to get everyone to get up and get an early start.

Today is:

Agricultural Reform Day -- Sao Tome and Principe

Ask A Stupid Question Day -- teachers wanted to get students asking more questions, so they did, even if the questions were stupid; now, it's a holiday on the last school day of September each year!

Celtic Tree Month Gort begins (Ivy)

Day of Liberation of the Republic of Abkhazia -- Abkhazia (disputed territory on the Black Sea)

Do Something Wacky With A Grandparent Day -- just not the monkey bars, please; old bones don't knit fast enough

Eleusinian Mysteries -- Ancient Greek Calendar (the Greater Mystery Rites, date approximate; mystery rites of Demeter and Persephone at Eleusis, one of the most sacred times of their year)

Family and Community Day -- ACT, Australia

Independence Day -- Botswana

International Translation Day -- International Federation of Translators

Kokkeisetsu -- Chinatown, Yokohama, Japan (Chinese National Founding Day in the largest Chinatown in Japan; through tomorrow)

Medetrinalia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (festival fruits offer to the goddess of medicine)

Monkey Bars Day -- a day to go see if you can still do tricks on the monkey bars, because the internet wants to kill us and let the machines that would never do anything so silly take over

National Mud Pack Day -- give yourself a facial

National Hot Mulled Cider Day

Northeast Kingdom Fall Foliage Festival -- Walden, Cabot, Plainfield, Peacham, Barnet and Groton, VT, US (all 6 towns welcome visitors during the famous fall foliage season, with local food, music, culture, and more; through Saturday)

Queen's Birthday Holiday -- WA, Australia

St. Gregory the Enlightener (or Illuminator; Patron of Armenia)

St. Jerome's Day (Patron of archaeologists, archivists, Biblical scholars, librarians, libraries, school children, students, translators; Saint-Jerome, Quebec)
     also an Apache celebration of Geronimo, the Native American who was named after this saint

Birthdays Today:

Eric Stoltz, 1961
Fran Drescher, 1957
Marilyn McCoo, 1943
Z.Z. Hill, 1935
Johnny Mathis, 1935
Angie Dickinson, 1931
Truman Capote, 1924
Deborah Kerr, 1921
Buddy Rich, 1917
Rumi, 1207

Today in History:

Rambam (Maimonides) authorizes Samuel Ibn Tibbon to translate the Guide of the Perplexed from Arabic into Hebrew, 1199
Mozart's last opera, The Magic Flute, premiers, 1791
Anesthetic ether is used for the first time by Dr. William Morton, who extracted a tooth, 1846
German scientist Hermann von Meyer announces the discovery of the first fossil of an archaeopteryx, 1861
The first Portuguese immigrants arrive in Hawai'i, 1878
The world's first commercial hydroelectric power plant begins operation on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin, United States, 1882
Hubert Cecil Booth patents the vacuum cleaner, 1901
The first manned rocket plane flight, made by auto maker Fritz von Opel, 1929
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Yemen join the United Nations, 1947
The World Series, featuring the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, is televised for the first time, 1947
The U.S. Navy submarine USS Nautilus is commissioned as the world's first nuclear reactor powered vessel, 1954
James Dean is killed in a road accident, 1955
Mexican-American labor leader César Chávez founds the United Farm Workers, 1962
James Meredith enters the University of Mississippi, defying segregation, 1962
General Suharto rises to power in Indonesia after an alleged coup by communists, and massacres over a million Indonesian people suspected of belonging to the Communist Party, 1965
BBC Radio 1 is launched and Tony Blackburn presents its first show, 1967
Ethernet specifications are published by Xerox working with Intel and Digital Equipment Corporation, 1980
The Dalai Lama unveils the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights in Canada's capital city of Ottawa, 1990
The first images of a live giant squid in its natural habitat are taken 600 miles south of Tokyo, 2004
The controversial drawings of Muhammad are printed in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, 2005

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Leisure at the Lake Adventure: Lots to Do

The house to which we drove up (when we finally figured out the crazy road and got over the railroad tracks) was not the typical beach or lake house of my youth.  Those were clapboard or cinder block houses that were furnished like your first after college apartment, meant to be used and abused by a passel of kids who were going to be wet or covered in sand all of the time.

In the excitement of the moment, i'm not sure what overwhelmed me the most -- seeing this beautiful house, or getting to hug friends old and new.

Script was there and got a bear hug.  Grace, as beautiful as ever, smiling with those big, blue eyes.  Westie was sitting on a couch with a hot pack on her shoulder where the strain of travel was making itself felt, but she smiled and hugged with enthusiasm.  Farmer Pickles, whom i hadn't seen since San Antonio, had driven in from Maine with her smallest dog, Jackie.  She was the one who began our tradition of getting together each year, and i can never thank her enough.  Eagle, whose beautiful car, Ramblin' Rose, had been totaled by a distracted driver while she on the road trip to meet up with her husband before coming here.

The people i only knew from the website and hadn't yet met in person were there, too, as we were the last to the party.  Ally, who is very pretty and quiet, Peppermint, who had her almost four -year-old son, Hairy, Jr., with her, and FiveCat, who had cooked her specialty, Kentucky chili, for dinner.

Everything we do, when there are eight or more of us together, is a mass of confusion and fun.  Talking, with two or three conversations going on at once.  One is making plans to go back into town to get a few things.  There's cooking going on, while we empty the car and i try to unload my full cooler into the even fuller refrigerator.  Taking a tour of this big, rambling house, with the two kitchens, sleeping lofts, multi-level decks overlooking the water, dock and jacuzzi.

Grace and i share a beautiful bedroom

We all settled in and everyone got back from errands and FiveCat explained how the specialty chili is made in her area.  They put spaghetti in the chili; with so many there on different diets, she had put whole wheat corkscrew noodles instead.  Because there are some of us who are vegetarian, she had made it with beans and no meat.  Gathering for the meal, it was a joy to all finally sit together, as it's been a long road to set up and get to this place, and it was delicious, with a unique flavor.

Eagle, who is doing a raw food reset, had made some raw food, which she kindly shared with me, although i did eat a small serving of the chili.  Staying all raw vegan on the road is very expensive, and it's hard to do when stopping for meals with omnivores.  Vegan will be close enough for a few meals..

As late as it was, after dinner, Grace and i went to the grocery store so i could get a few things for the gumbo.  (Anyone who knows me, knows that i usually shop very, very early in the morning, but when on these trips, i'm up for a middle of the night run to the store, like we used to do back in college.  After all, i'm hyped on caffeine and adrenaline.)  We took Ninja's car and Grace's GPS, and followed Peppermint, who wasn't staying at the house, and who also needed to pick up a few things on the way to her home that is about a 45 minute drive from the lake house.

Once in town, i got my first look at a Wegman's grocery store.  Grace enjoyed getting one of the grocery carts that has a little kiddie car attached to the front and pushing Hairy, Jr., around in it.  When her kids were young, those weren't in use yet, and she is at that stage of life where she is nostalgic about children but not ready for grandchildren yet.  We picked up the things i didn't want to haul over a thousand miles, like onions and garlic and celery and bell pepper, which you can get anywhere.

Westie had been disappointed, at the Wegman's, when she was told the previous day that they did not carry Ezekiel bread, in spite of having an extensive section with gluten free and healthy foods and etc.  Then we found some -- apparently, the person she had asked didn't quite know what he was talking about.  Though i hadn't planned to, i got some to share with everyone.

Script had told me, before we came, that Wegman's was the best regular grocery type store she had been to in the States, and as i looked at the extensive "health food" area and the cheeses and meats and big selection, i was impressed.

Even more impressive was the fact that, since i had made a mistake and forgotten to bring file (pronounced fee-lay) for the gumbo, when i went looking for it, i actually found it, along with a couple of selections of Cajun style spices.  A touch of home far away, although i didn't need anything but the file, was nice to see.

Grace and i found our way back home quite easily, and after putting the groceries away, i reached for some grapes that were on the table and found a cloud of fruit flies.  Back home, that would be cause of bagging and packing food, moving everything that was out into an already overstuffed refrigerator, and a bit of a hullabaloo.  Instead, here in the North, where the nights are nice and cool, we just stuffed everything outdoors, some in my empty  cooler, so as to keep nothing inside the flies would be interested in.  The trash we would put in the outdoor cans at the road each day, and leave no food out within the house, and that would take care of it.

Then, at the end of this long day, Grace and i went to our shared room upstairs for showers and bed.

Five am comes early, but it was worth getting up and seeing the sunrise on the lake, and i called Sweetie as usual to make sure he was up (and yes, i remembered the time change).  Our plan for the day was to go to Seneca Falls to see the birthplace of the Women's Rights Movement back in the 1800's, and maybe another historic sight or museum.

Sunrise view from our balcony.

Seneca Falls was the inspiration, and i believe even made up part of the movie set, for Bedford Falls in the movie It's a Wonderful Life.  A pretty town with many homes that are part of the National Park System, beautiful local shops, and a view of the lake that used to be the waterfall that gives the town its name.

The Wesleyan Church which was host to the first Women's Right Convention is there, where the Declaration of Sentiments was first read by Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  We toured her house, and that's where we learned that there was previously a waterfall and a business district under the lake that is there now.  When the Erie Canal was expanded to accommodate barge traffic, back in 1917 (if i'm remembering what the guide said), the entire area ended up flooded.  So there's a historic business district under the lake.

It was fascinating and sad to see many of the exhibits in the museum associated with the area.  So many people have lived in such poverty and horror and oppression over the course of years -- slaves, child laborers, and women who had no rights under the law once they were married.  What saddens me is the number of people all over the world who still live under such things today.  It's sobering, and exciting to see the work begun  by courageous women all that time ago which is changing the world still today.

While wandering among the shops in the area, Script pointed out a health food type store, so i stopped for a minute to see what the sign on the door that announced a healthy coffee meant.  The nice young man named Tristan, about the age of one of my older children, explained to me that it was a particular mushroom extract that is added to the coffee which makes it easier on the stomach, balances the bodies pH level, and supposedly a lot of other cool stuff.  Since it's enormously expensive, of course, i treated myself to a single cup packet for $2 and received the surprise of my life when there was no sales tax.   What! i exclaimed.  After all, where i'm from, they tax everything at 10%, and keep yelling about wanting it higher because they can't afford to give themselves pay raises.

We returned to the house to have leftovers and sandwiches and whatever else we wanted for lunch, and then headed back out to tour a place called Rose Hill.  Eagle led the way, and talk about a crazy drive!  Following a GPS can make for some sudden turns you didn't know about, and at one point she veered across two lanes to turn and one of our three cars got left behind, and we had to wait for FiveCat to turn around and come back, as we had pulled off the road to wait.  When we got to Rose Hill, i told Eagle she better replace Ramblin' Rose with another Volvo, she needed it if she was going to drive like that!

Like so many of the plantation homes back where i'm from, Rose Hill was a Greek Revival home, with a history of slavery and right on the lake so crops could be shipped out.

Greek Revival

While strolling the garden, i noted and watched for quite a while as a beautiful specimen of a garden spider did what spiders do, which is catch bugs.  Also, i noticed a very pretty flower that i think is a tulip rose, but i could easily be wrong (everything i know about plants could be written in a one page book, with three pages left over).

A not so itsy, bitsy spider.

Might or might not be a tulip rose.

In speaking to one of the tour guides, i commiserated with her on the difficulties of dealing with the boards of historic sites, volunteer troubles, curation difficulties, and how board members who are business people just don't understand preservation.  We talked about the Model T Ford which had belonged to one of the last family members to own the house as a private individual, and how they wanted to get it fully running to use in the local parade once a year.  We discussed the dampness problems in that huge mansion, and how they can't repaint the exterior until they do the attic and basement work to keep moisture from destroying paint on the walls almost as soon as it's put on.  We talked about the business owners who run the board firing all of their paid professional curators to save money, which will cost them so much in the long run, as the volunteers just don't have the training to do it all and the business people don't get that.

We also talked about the damage woodpeckers were doing to the columns of the house.  She had personally purchased, from Cornell University's Ornithology Lab, something called WoodpeckerX, which emits the sounds of a downy woodpecker in distress, and a predator, to chase them away.  They can change the predator sound, and the sounds are random, and so far it is working.  She found out they use them on oil rigs to get rid of sea gulls, so they are perfectly okay to be outdoors in the weather.  Yes, the groundskeeper had been concerned about that.

After Rose Hill, it was time to go back to the lake house and cook gumbo.  Because i had premade the roux and chopped most of the veggies, and brought my home made chicken stock and some vegetable stock, it went together rather easily.  We got to listen to Script play her recorder (and no, not the dinky little plastic kind you used in school, a real, professional recorder, as she is a concert quality player) and it was fun to cook and mix and have a good time filling everyone with vegan gumbo and seafood gumbo and some nice andouille sausage i sauteed.

Bedtime always comes late, as we love to linger and talk and have a great time, and this evening was no exception, but it's always worth it.

Today is:

Battle of Boqueron Day -- Paraguay

Constitution Day -- Brunei

Festival of Tezcatzonctl -- Ancient Aztec Calendar (chief god of intoxication; date approximate)

Freyburg Fair -- Fryeburg, ME, US (a week-long celebration with aggricultural exposition, draft horse competition, a midway, nightly shows, Woodsmen's Day, Firemen's Muster, a juried crafts show, and more; through next Sunday)

Gold Star Mothers Day 2013 -- US (the day to honor mothers who have lost a child who was serving in the US Armed Forces)

Gwynn ap Nudd's Fest -- Celtic Calendar (god of the underworld; date approximate)

Inventors Day -- Argentina

Make a List of the Top Ten Happiest Days in Your Life Day -- must have been started by an optimist

National Attend Your Grandchild's Birth Day --; a day to remind grandparents to be active in their grandchildren's lives (and if you need a reminder, i wonder about you; if you aren't allowed by bitter parents, i feel badly for you)

National Coffee Day -- what!?!  this isn't every day!?

National Mocha Day

Quick Draw Day -- debut of Quick Draw McGraw and his side kick, Baba Looey, in 1959

Sts. Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and All Angels' Day  (Michaelmas)
     Archangel Gabriel, Patron of broadcasters, clergy, communication workers, diplomats, messengers, philatelists/stamp collectors, post offices and postal workers, radio and radio workers, secular clergy, telecommunication workers, telgraphers, telephones, television and television workers; Argentinian ambassadors; Seattle, Washington
     Archangel Michael, Patron of artists, bakers, bankers and banking, barrel makers/coopers, battle, boatmen/mariners/sailors/watermen, dying people, emergency medical technicians/paramedics/ambulance drivers, fencers and fencing, grocers and greengrocers, haberdashers and hatmakers, knights, milleners, paratroopers, police officers, radiologists and radiotherapists, security guards, sick people, soldiers, swordsmiths; for a holy death and safety at sea; England, Germany, and over 25 cities around the world; against danger at sea and temptation
     Archangel Raphael, Patron of apothecaries/druggists/pharmacists, blind people, doctors/physicians, guardian angels, happy meetings, love and lovers, mentally ill people, nurses, shepherdesses/shepherds, sick people, travelers, young people; Dubuque, Iowa; MacKenzie-Fort Smith, Northwest Territories; Seattle, Washington; against bodily ills, eye diseases/eye problems, insanity/mental illness, nightmares, sickness
     related observances:
     National Day of Remembrance for Policemen Killed -- Australia (St. Michael, Patron of police officers)
     Payment of Quit Rent by London Royal Courts of Justice -- Michaelmas is a traditional English "Quarter Day", when rents come due

VFW Day -- US (The Veterans of Foreign Wars was established on this day in 1899)

World Heart Day -- International (to raise awareness of the signs and dangers of cardiovascular disease)

World Rivers Day -- International

Birthdays Today:

Bryant Gumbel, 1948
Lech Walesa, 1943
Madeline, Kahn, 1942
Jerry Lee Lewis, 1935
Anita Ekberg, 1931
Lizabeth Scott, 1922
Stanley Kramer, 1913
Greer Garson, 1908
Gene Autry, 1907
Enrico Fermi, 1901
Horatio Nelson, 1758
Miguel de Cervantes, 1547
Pompey the Great, BC106

Today in History:

Darius I of Persia kills the Magian usurper Gaumata, securing his hold as king of the Persian Empire, BC522
Battle of Salamis, at which the Greek fleet under Themistocles defeats the Persian fleet under Xerxes I, BC480
Pompey the Great Celebrates ending the Mithridatic Wars on his 45th birthday, BC61
Saladin's army marches into Jerusalem, 1187
The First Congress of the US adjourns, 1789
"Scotland Yard", London's Metropolitan Police Force, goes on duty, 1829
The first practical public electric tramway ever opens in Blackpool, England, 1885
John D. Rockefeller becomes the first billionaire, 1916
The convention establishing CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) is signed, 1954
Alouette 1, the first Canadian satellite, is launched, 1962
WGPR in Detroit, Michigan, becomes the world's first black-owned-and-operated television station, 1975
Pope John Paul II becomes the first pope to set foot on Irish soil with his pastoral visit to the Republic of Ireland, 1979
The asteroid 4179 Toutatis passes within four lunar distances of Earth, 2004
The Dow Jones Industrial Average falls 777.68 points, the largest single-day point loss in its history, 2008
An 8.0 magnitude earthquake near the Samoan Islands causes a tsunami, 2009

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Leisure at the Lake Adventure: Arriving

When Ninja's alarm went off at 4:30 the next morning, i was tempted to turn it off for her and let us both sleep until my regular alarm went off at 5, as she showed no sign of waking.  But, "do unto others," and i wouldn't want that done to me, so i woke her and started writing my morning pages and reading my devotional and taking my thyroid meds and etc.  

Here in Florence was where i made a big booboo, also.  When my alarm went off at 5am, as it always does, i waited about 5 minutes and called Sweetie to see if he was up. He was, but he said his alarm hadn't worked that morning, so i told him to have Little Girl look at it later, she would be able to set it.  Then he called me back 20 minutes later to ask, "'Why did you call me just after 4am?"

Because by the time you get to Florence, Kentucky, you are in Eastern time, and they are back in Central time, and forgot, and my phone resets itself automatically.  Oops.  He went back to bed, and i called him around 6am, their time, to make sure everyone was up.

We had been so tired the night before we hadn't unpacked much, and we threw ourselves together and i went downstairs to search for a cup of coffee.  There wasn't any yet. but the wonderful front desk clerk told me the coffee pot and coffee in the room was included in the price (these days you never know), and she gave me an extra packet.  The coffee it made was what Sweetie would call "Yankee coffee," not very strong, but i drank it and we packed and headed out to pick up Cince.

Ninja had voiced her concerns about where we would stash another person and her stuff, but i told her not to worry.  My father, Dr. Born Organized Clean, is a master packer, and i think it's genetic., because i seem to be able to do it, too.  Fitting more in when something thinks something is full is one of my few talents.

On the way to get Cince in Cincinnati, Siri, our travel guide, finally hiccuped.  It really wasn't so much her fault, as there is more than one street by that name, but we couldn't get her to work at all after that for several miles.  Cince had to talk us to her place.

At Cince's house, we pulled our stuff out of the Cranberry, which i'd finally found out is a 1997 Toyota Rav 4, and folded down one of the back seats.  After all, there were only 3 of us.  Then i lifted and tusseled and plotted and we got everything in.  My plan had been to leave a few of my things behind if i had to (people are more important than things), but i didn't' have to.  Ninja and Cince fussed at me as i lifted stuff without waiting for their help, too, but i love a challenge and needed the weight workout, as i hadn't had one in a couple of days.

The Cranberry

The Cranberry, stuffed, inside view.

The Cranberry, stuffed, outside view.

Looking at that, i thought, we look like one of those clown cars, everyone else is going to wonder if we have more in there than can really fit!

The next stop was a Starbucks.  Yankee coffee wouldn't do it for me,  not if we were going to drive another 10-11 hours after a 14 hour drive the day before and only 4 hours of sleep.  Ninja wanted a sugary, frothy whatever, Cince got some juice, and i got some dried organic mango and a Red Eye.

It was good coffee, but that particular Starbucks had a non working soap dispenser in the women's room.  So, now i'm thinking, our GPS tour guide doesn't work, the coffee at hotels is weak, the soap dispenser here is broken so, now i can officially say, i've been to Cincinnati.  It doesn't work.  (Yes, that's a line from a sitcom that i can't remember the name of from many years ago, and i've been waiting forever to be able to use it.)

Siri was, in fact, still non responsive, but as i was driving i knew only one thing -- head toward Cleveland.  No matter what else, trucks cutting each other off, enough orange construction barrels to make me feel at home, whatever, just head to Cleveland.  That's what i did, and at one point, dodging cones and a particularly slow tanker truck, Cince told me i was a good driver.

What!?! i thought.  The person who learned in N'Awlins!?!  The compliment tickled me, though, and i appreciated it.

We headed down the highway, jamming to Motown and some 60's classics -- Ninja was in charge of the playlist, and she has great, eclectic taste.  Eventually she reprogrammed Siri, and the morning passed very quickly.

The one thing i did notice about the music, which as it was a new stereo system she was still learning the controls and what it can do, was that it was loud enough that i often didn't hear my phone go off.  That was another reason for some of the games of phone tag.  That was okay, i get enough calls anyway, despite it all.  Not being able to hear a few is a blessing.

As lunchtime neared, i really did want some veggies.  We got off at a likely looking exit, and went off the beaten track, hoping for something Oriental.   Ninja spotted it, a Thai restaurant, right in the middle of a small Ohio town.  We stopped and i got them to stir fry me some veggies in sesame oil and a bit of soy sauce.  While i should have asked for a bit of pepper, that's okay, it was good.  Ninja treated us to that lunch, which was very kind.  She said, since we had to liten to her music, and we weren't complaining, she owed us at least a meal.

Ninja drove after lunch, and i was more able to see the scenery.  When i'm driving, i'm too busy watching the road to see much.  Now i was able to see the leaves turning all the pretty colors they don't turn where i am.  Cince slept some, but when i'm on this trip each year, i'm too pumped on caffeine and adrenaline to sleep when there's something to do.  There was something to do, look at hills, look at rocks, look at gorges with wide rivers at the bottom.  Glimpses of Lake Erie and swallowing as we went down these hills so i could pop my ears.  And, when we could both hear it over the music, talk to Ninja.


Oh, then there was the fact that the weather was cool.  Gumbo weather, we would say back home.  Just the right temperature to make a pot.  Back home, i knew, it was still very hot.

All good things come to an end, including long treks to be with friends.  We finally arrived, weary and excited, to figure out that Siri's directions left a lot to be desired.  We did finally figure out that the wynnrock (at least, that's what we call it back home) road next to the railroad track lead through to it, and we pulled up weary but glad.

Today is:

Aloha Festivals Floral Parade -- Oahu, Hawai'i (part of the larger Aloha Festival celebrations this month and next on all the islands, celebrating native Hawai'ian culture)

Apple Saturday -- Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, New Gloucester, ME, US (tours of the Shaker orchard and exhibits, and bring your own apples to be pressed into cider with a hand press, or buy some grown there; also two Saturdays following)

Cabrillo Festival -- San Diego, CA, US (reenactment of Cabrillo's landing, a Spanish soldier and sailor encampment, Native Kumeyaay demonstrations, dances, crafts, and food; through tomorrow)

Czech Statehood Day -- Czech Republic

Davidson Fellowship Scholarship Award Reception -- Washington, D.C., US (students under 18 who have completed prodigious works in science, mathematics, technology, music, literature, philosophy, or "outside the box" are made Davidson Fellows and given large scholarships for college)

Drink Beer Day

Dyersville Festival of the Arts -- Dyersville, IA, US (the "Farm Toy Capital of the World" hosts a Quilt and Craft Show, entertainment, and food; through tomorrow)

Eldon Turkey Festival -- Eldon, MO, US (top producer of turkeys has the top turkey festival in the world)

Everybody's Day Festival -- Thomasville, NC, US (and they do mean there's fun for everybody)

Family Health and Fitness Day USA --

Feast of Hapi and Creation of the Nile -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Fish Amnesty Day

Frances Willard Day -- Minnesota

Fukuro Matsuri -- Ikebukuro, Tokyo, Japan (a fun-for-tourists way to learn about Japanese culture, through tomorrow, and next weekend)

Geneva Area Grape Jamboree -- Geneva, OH, US (grapes, wine tasting, entertainment, rides, and food; through tomorrow)

Gettysburg Fall Antique Show -- Gettysburg, PA, US

International Rabbit Day -- to promote responsible rabbit

Marion County Country Ham Days -- Marion, KY, US (for those who love ham, and a PIGasus parade, and a Pokey Pig 5k, among other events; through tomorrow)

Menkhet Festival -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Michaelmas Eve -- Celtic celebration, bake your bannock bread tonight for eating on St. Michael and All Angel's Day tomorrow; tonight, build a bonfire and dine on roast lamb, and make sure the menfolk protect the horses, for anyone is allowed to "borrow" one for the celebration tomorrow

National Day of Awareness and Unity against Child Pornography -- Philippines

National Good Neighbor Day -- US (begun when Mrs. Becky Mattson from Lakeside, Montana, began campaigning for this National Day in the 1970's; go greet the neighbors, and be a good neighbor yourself!)

National Hunting and Fishing Day -- US

National Public Lands Day -- US (Helping Hands for America's Lands -- a day to volunteer on America's Public Lands)

National Strawberry Cream Pie Day

Read a Child a Book You Like Day -- someone started this to get us to remember the books we loved as kids, and share them with children now

Runic Half Month Gyfu begins (gift)

St. Wenceslaus' Day (Patron of brewers; Bohemia; Czech Republic; Moravia; Prague, Czech Republic)

Tales of Kelp-Koli's Second Visit -- Fairy Calendar (through the 30th)

Taste of Morgan Hill -- Morgan Hill, CA, US (fine arts, entertainment, and plenty for the kids to do, too; through tomorrow)

Teacher's Day -- Taiwan (on the traditional Western date of Confucius' birthday, of course)

Tri-State Band Festival -- Luverne, MI, US (high school bands from Minnesota, South Dakota, and Iowa compete in four categories)

World Rabies Day --

Birthdays Today:

Hilary Duff, 1987
Naomi Watts, 1968
Mira Sorvino, 1967
Janeane Garofalo, 1964
Koko Taylor, 1935
Brigitte Bardot, 1934
Arnold Stang, 1925
Marcello Mastroianni, 1924
Al Capp, 1909
Ed Sullivan, 1901
Confucius, BC551

Today in History:

Pompey the Great, member of the Triumvirate, is assassinated by order of King Ptolemy of Egypt upon landing in that country, BC48
King/Saint Wenceslas murdered by his brother, 935
William the Conqueror invades England, 1066
Sinking of the Spanish fleet during a hurricane off the coast of Florida, 1528
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo becomes the first European to reach San Diego Bay, 1542
Publication of "Pilgrim's Progress", 1678
Divorce is legalized in Maryland, 1701
American and French forces begin the siege of Yorktown, 1781
Napoleon Bonaparte, age 16, graduates from the Military Academy of Paris -- 42nd in a class of 51, 1785
Donati's comet becomes the first to be photographed, 1858
Toronto becomes the capital of Ontario, 1867
Sir Alexander Fleming notices a bacteria-killing mould growing in his laboratory, discovering what later became known as penicillin, 1928
Indonesia joins the United Nations, 1950
Mali and Senegal join the United Nations, 1960
SpaceX launches the first ever private spacecraft, the Falcon 1 into orbit, 2008

Friday, September 27, 2013

Driving Us Buggy

We were a bit late getting going that first morning.  It was okay, though, we were at least getting there.

As we drove, the bug smears on the windshield were making Ninja buggy.  We stopped for gas, and she cleaned it all quite throughly.  Then she let me take over driving.

In less than half a mile, another bug smear was on the window, with many, many more to come.  It proved to be a futile quest, keeping them off.  We didn't give up, though, and faithfully cleaned everything at each gas stop.  It was actually quite funny.

One tradition Ninja taught me when riding with her is to say hello to every herd of cows as we pass them.  She says it brings good luck and she never gets a ticket, as long as she doesn't miss any.

As we drover through Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky, i received phone calls, of course.  The family can't go without calling me, and it's a good thing my friends think it's funny.  The first one, though, almost scared the tar out of me.

Sweetie called, and the connection was spotty so his first words were garbled. It sounded to me like he said, "I'm going to have to pay for a hotel," which, to me, means getting a room.  Immediately all sorts of terrible possibilities flooded my mind and adrenaline  surged.  "What!  What happened?" i asked.

"I'm going to have to pay for a lunch at the hotel," he said, at which point my heart rate began to go back toward normal.  "When they were packing the refrigerators for the event yesterday, they took my packed lunch out and set it aside, and whoever did it forgot to put it back in, so my lunch is ruined."

"Don't scare me like that!" i told him.  Buy a lunch, it's no big deal.
The rest of the drive was peppered with calls and texts.  "Where is my..." texts.  "The mail is here, what do you want me to do with...." calls.  That last one was easy.  Deposit the checks and set the rest aside, i'll deal with it.  If it's junk, throw it away.

Sweetie called to say that #2 Son took several of his favorite pot pies and absconded with them over to #1 Son's house.  Naturally, i told him to go buy more, they are only eighty-nine cents at the MegaSuperStore.

Bigger Girl called to thank me for texting her to open the mail, because it gave her an excuse to use her hunting knife to slit open the envelopes.  Glad to oblige, i told her, shaking my  head.

Phone calls to the guidance counselor at school were made, too.  Those proved mostly fruitless over the next couple of days as they wouldn't answer the phones, wouldn't return messages and said they would do things that didn't get done.  Oh, well, it's nothing that will end the world, but it would be nice if we could get it settled sooner rather than later.

At one stop, where we were trying to get something out of one case, we had our first (and i hope, only) casualty.  A bag dropped and my glass jar of laundry detergent bit the dust.  We tied it into a garbage bag, so i could clean the other stuff packed in there with it later, and stuffed it back in the car, we had mileage to make.

In fact, that first morning, as noted, our plan to get up around 3am and get going ended up being sabotaged by a late start the day before.  So we made plans to get almost to Cincinnati, and stop in Florence, Kentucky instead.
That way, we could go on into Cincinnati and pick up Cince the next morning very early.

We drove as fast and consistently as we could, stopping as little as possible, and Tennessee was beautiful.  So was what little i saw of Kentucky before the sun went down.  We stopped in Bowling Green for dinner, where i had, once again, salad and guacamole.  That had been my only options that day, at both lunch at a deli and dinner at a TexMex place.  Somehow, i was determined, we were going to find an oriental style restaurant at some point so that i could get some vegetables.  Meanwhile, bananas, cheap roasted cashews from BigBoxStore, and raw food bars bought on sale over month before would have to suffice, and they did.

We finally pulled into the motel in Florence at a bit after midnight, which was when i was able to log on and write up yesterday's very short, and probably a bit scattered, post.  We went to sleep a bit after, once a text from   one of our friends confirmed that the Eagle had landed.  It meant Eagle, Grace, Westie, FiveCat, and Script were at the house.  Pepper stopped in, too, i understand, but didn't stay the night.

Today is:

Ancestor Appreciation Day -- sponsored by the Ancestor Appreciation Day Association of Ann Arbor, MI, US

Baltimore Book Festival -- Baltimore, MD, US (the mid-Atlantic’s premier celebration of literary arts; through Sunday)

Buffalo Roundup and Arts Festival -- Custer, SD, US (buffalo round up, Western and Native American entertainment, arts and crafts; through tomorrow)

Celtic Classic Highland Games & Festival -- Bethlehem, PA, US (largest highland games and Celtic Festival in the US; through Sunday)

Chili Cook-Off and Fall Festival of the Arts And Crafts -- Washington, MO, US (chili fest and contest, juried art festival, beer, specialty foods, music, and fun; through Sunday)

Crush a Can Day -- internet generated, so have fun seeing how many (safe) ways you can crush a can, and how flat you can get it!

Fabulous 1890's Weekend -- Mansfield, PA, US (celebration of the first ever night football game in Mansfield in 1892; through tomorrow)

Feast of Mashíyyat (Will) -- Baha'i

Fun and Fancy Free Day -- go out and have a great day, in honor of the release on this day in 1947 of the Disney film Fun and Fancy Free

French Community Holiday -- French community of Belgium

Hug a Vegetarian Day -- i'm open!

Liberty Fall Festival -- Liberty, MO, US (right in the heart of the town square, among the historic buildings from the 1800s, lots for everyone to do; through Sunday)

Literally, A Haunted House -- Culbertson Mansion, New Albany, IN, US (each weekend through Hallowe'en; a haunted house in a literal haunted house with a history of some very weird stuff)

Love Note Day -- take pen and paper and send that special someone a love note today, the idea of Leona Hamel of QC, Canada

Manit Day -- Marshall Islands (Culture Day)

Meskel -- Ethiopian/Eritrian Orthodox Christian (True Cross Day)

Mount Pleasant Glass and Ethnic Festival -- Mount Pleasant, PA, US (a "front porch neighborhood" festival; through Sunday)

National Milk Chocolate Day

National Corned Beef Hash Day

National Youth Day -- Turks and Caicos Islands

Native American Day 2013 -- US (a day to honor all Native Americans, always celebrated the fourth Friday in September, and different from those celebrated next month, around Columbus Day)

Neptune Festival -- Virginia Beach, Virginia (a Boardwalk Weekend; through Sunday)

New York Film Festival -- NY, NY, US (51st Annual, through Oct. 13)

North American Sand Sculpting Championship -- Virginia Beach, Virginia, US (through Oct. 6)

Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show and Grand National Wedding Cake Competition -- Tulsa, OK, US (set up today, tomorrow and Sunday the judging with this year's theme as "Ballet 2013", it's fun for everyone, as the best of the best cake designers vie for the Grand National title; for astounding pictures of last year's competition, go here

Shut Up and Let Somebody Else Talk Day -- begun by someone with an overly verbose spouse, perhaps?

St. Vincent De Paul's Day (Patron of charitable societies/charitable workers, charities, horses, hospital workers, hospitals, lepers, prisoners, spiritual help, volunteers; Brothers of Charity; Saint Vincent de Paul Societies; Sisters of Charity; Vincentian Service Corps; Madagascar; Richmond, Virginia; for finding lost objects; against leprosy)

Taca Fall Craft Fair -- Nashville, TN, US (the state's premier outdoor showcase for American fine crafts; through Sunday)

Thanksgiving Day for Disappearance of Kelp-Koli Again -- Fairy Calendar

Warrens Cranberry Festival -- Warrens, WI, US (tour a cranberry bog, enjoy the festival and food; through Sunday)

Wild West Show and Bullwhacker Days -- Olathe, KS, US (celebrate the Santa Fe Trail; through Sunday)

World Tourism Day -- World Tourism Organization

Birthdays Today:

Avril Lavigne, 1984
Gwyneth Paltrow, 1972
Sophia Milos, 1965
Shaun Cassidy, 1958
Mike Schmidt, 1949
Wilford Brimley, 1934
Greg Morris, 1934
Arthur Penn, 1922
William Conrad, 1920
Jayne Meadows, 1920
Thomas Nast, 1840
George Muller, 1805
Samuel Adams, 1722

Today in History:

Severe earthquake in the Gulf of Chili, China; reports of 100,000 killed, 1290
Jesuits founded by Ignatius Loyola, 1540
John Adams negotiates peace terms with Britain, 1779
Constitution submitted to the states for ratification, 1787
Jean-Francois Champollion announces that he has deciphered the Rosetta Stone, 1822
The Stockton and Darlington Railway opens, and begins operation of the world's first service of locomotive-hauled passenger trains, 1825
The physics journal Annalen der Physik published Albert Einstein's paper "Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?", introducing the equation E=mc²,1905
The first production of a Ford Model T automobile rolls off the line at the Piquette Plant in Detroit, Michigan, 1908
First test of a twin engine airplane, in France, 1910
Native American Day is first celebrated, 1916
Democratic National Committee votes to allow female members, 1919
The first Santa Clause Training School opens in Albion, NY, 1937
The Balinese tiger is declared to be an extinct species, 1937
Sierra Leone joins the United Nations, 1961
Richard Stallman announces the GNU project to develop a free Unix-like operating system, 1983
Google is founded, 1998
East Timor joins the United Nations, 2002
CNSA astronaut Zhai Zhigang becomes the first Chinese person to perform a spacewalk while flying on Shenzhou 7, 2008

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Leisure at the Lake Adventure: Best Laid Plans

Ninja had every intention of being at my place by 7pm.  Unfortunately, something blew up at work, and she didn't get out of the office the night before until 9pm, so she didn't leave Dallas until close to noon the next day.

She had no trouble coaxing her SBK (Sweet Baby Kitty) to go to the kennel, and the ladies there oohed and aahed over him appropriately, and promised to play with him, so she left him and packed and headed for the swamps.

The parent meeting i had to attend went quickly, mostly because i ducked out expecting Ninja to be there not long after.  (Side note:  Little Girl's progress report shows all As and Bs, so she breathed a sigh of relief, one i remember breathing when that age and the reports came back good.)

It was almost 9pm when she called, as she checked into her hotel.  She was weary, so i said good-bye to Bigger Girl, who said, "Don't get into trouble with the Mounties, being that close to Canada, and remember, if you go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, I get the good silver and dad gets the outhouse and all its contents!" 

Yea, i love you, too, i told her.

Little Girl and Sweetie helped me pack up and drove me to the hotel.  At one point, Sweetie fussed at her for leaving the door open and "letting the good air out!"  Of course, he meant the air conditioning, and he was teasing, but she teased back with, "Who says it's good?  How do you know it's not bad air, and it's plotting against us?"

"You mean the atoms are fighting us?" he grinned back at her.

"You can't trust those mean hydrogen atoms!" she laughed, and we joined in.

 After we got to the hotel and i  unloaded my things, i told them good-bye, and Ninja and i went to find something to eat.

Chili's was close, so we took it.  Sweet potato fries and guacamole sufficed for me.  Next, it was time to search for a contact lens case for her, as she had forgotten hers and had to sterilize her contacts.

Walgreens was closed, Wal-Mart had only one check stand open and 20 people in line, and by the time we got through with Albertson's and got back to the hotel and in bed, it was midnight.

The original plan had been to get to bed around 9, get up and 3am and get on the road.  Instead, we got up at 5am and on the road just after 7.

That meant, of course, our plans were going to change.  Instead of making it to well past Cincinnati, we were  going to barely make it to Cincinnati.  This would help us in the end, as another friend from Cincinnati had decided by the time we realized all of this that yes, she could join us.

Today is:

Barnesville Pumpkin Festival -- Barnesville, OH, US (pumpkins are just the start of the fun; through Sunday)

Bureflux -- Discordian Calendar

Cobweb Pie Making Day -- Fairy Calendar

Dia de la Bandera Nacional -- Ecuador (Day of the National Flag)

Dominion Day -- New Zealand (trad.)

European Day of Languages -- European Union

Fairmount Museum Days/Remembering James Dean Festival -- Fairmont, IN, US (celebrating Dean and other famous people from Fairmont; through Sunday)

Festival of Venus Genetrix -- Ancient Roman Calendar

Haustmanuour -- Iceland (beginning of traditional Autumn Month, during which all the summer chores are finished, including livestock rounded up, before winter begins)

Imilchil Marriage Festival -- Imilchil, Morocco (Marriage Festival, among the Berber people, a whirlwind of speed dating, weddings, exotic music, traditional costumes, and romance; through the 29th)

International Tool Day -- internet generated, now gladly embraced by toolmakers

Johnny Appleseed Day -- birth anniversary of John Chapman

Mesothelioma Awareness Day -- bringing to light this cancer caused by asbestos exposure

National Pancake Day

Old Holy Rood Day -- OS calendar (the day blackberries become unsafe for picking) related observance
     Mid-Autumn Day -- Scottish Highlands (traditional; considered the day harts begin to mate and a weather prognostication day)

Preston County Buckwheat Festival -- Kingwood, WV, US (something for everyone at this fun annual event; through Sunday)

RAINN Day -- The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network encourages all of us to get involved in stopping sexual violence

Search for Your Baseball Cards Again Day -- on lots of trivia sites; recommended because you never know

September Revolution Day -- Yemen

Simchat Torah -- Judaism (day to celebrate the reading of the Law; begins at sunset, through sunset tomorrow)

Sts. Cosmas and Damian's Day (Patrons of apothecaries/druggists/pharmacists, barbers, blind people, chemical industry/manufacturers, doctors/physicians/surgeons, hairdressers, midwives, people with hernias; Alberobello, Italy; Ossimo, Italy; against blindness and pestilence) related observance:
     Begin now to lay in supplies for your Michaelmas supper on the 29th

United States Postal Service Day -- US (the first postmaster general under the current constitution, Samuel Osgood, was appointed this day in 1789)

Virginia Peanut Festival -- Emporia, VA, US (and you thought all peanuts came from Georgia! come enjoy peanuts and carnival, quilt show and fireworks, the Virgina way; through Sunday)

World Maritime Day -- UN (this year's theme is “Sustainable Development: IMO's contribution beyond Rio+20", chosen to focus on IMO's efforts to carry out commitments made during Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development)

Birthdays Today:

Lawrence Leritz, 1962
Linda Hamilton, 1956
Olivia Newton-John, 1948
Anne Robinson, 1944
Kent McCord, 1942
Julie London, 1926
Jack LaLanne, 1914
George Gershwin, 1898
T.S. Eliot, 1888
Edmund Gwenn, 1877
John "Johnny Appleseed" Chapman, 1774
St. Francis of Assisi, 1181

Today in History:

In keeping a vow he made at the Battle of Pharsalus, Julius Caesar dedicates a temple to his mythical ancestor Venus Genetrix, BC 46
Sir Francis Drake returns to England with Spanish treasure, 1580
In a battle between Venetians and Turks in Athens, the Parthenon and Acropolis are seriously damaged, 1687
New Jersey passes a bill requiring a license to practice medicine, 1772
Thomas Jefferson is appointed the first Secretary of State of the US, 1789
Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson proved tomatoes weren't poisonous by eating several on the steps of the courthouse in Salem, New Jersey, 1820
The Diamond Match Company patents book matches, 1892
New Zealand and Newfoundland each become dominions within the British Empire, 1907
Indonesia is admitted to the United Nations, 1950
Concorde makes its first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in record-breaking time, 1973
The United Kingdom agrees to the handover of Hong Kong, 1984
An earthquake strikes the Italian regions of Umbria and the Marche, causing part of the Basilica of St. Francis at Assisi to collapse, 1997
Swiss pilot and inventor Yves Rossy becomes first person to fly a jet engine-powered wing across the English Channel, 2008

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Leisure at the Lake Adventure: Preparing

Preparing to go anywhere means i have a lot to do ahead.  This includes leaving very explicit letters of instructions for everyone in the house.

These take the form of notes on the front of the fridge.  An example would be:

Every morning
     feed kittens (make sure tiny baby gets his special food)
     spray everyone with bleach water for ringworm (clean the sprayer after each use, if you need more bleach water it's 1 1/2c water to 1/4c bleach
     bail water from A/C area, spray bleach
     feed and water all cats
     school days, get Little Girl to school by 7am

Every day
     feed kittens (make sure tiny baby gets his special food)
     spray everyone for ringworm with water/grapefruit seed extract mix (1 1/2c water with 25 drops GSE)
     change kitten litter boxes
     scoop all other litter boxes, add litter as needed
     turn on small A/C in man cave before noon
     scrub all kitten bottles with soap

Every evening
     feed kittens (make sure tiny baby gets his special food)
     spray everyone for ringworm with half water / half apple cider vinegar 
     bail water from A/C area

As needed
     wash dishes
     trash out
     trash to curb on garbage night
     recycling to curb on recycling night
     do laundry, and that means everyone's laundry, and towels

If Mike-Next-Door wants to mow the lawn next week, tell him i'll pay him when i get back in town.

Little Girl has a youth group Fun Day on Saturday at 3:30pm, and regular youth group on Sunday evening

Sweetie has an ear doctor appointment on Friday afternoon

#1 Son and #2 Son may be out of town for a few days, too,

That is just a little of what i have to write out and post on the front of the refrigerator (which is normally totally empty, i post a few things on the side of the fridge, but it looks to cluttery to have anything on the front).

While i am gone, i know, from experience, that i will be getting calls from the family frequently.  (The first time i went, five years ago, it was about once an hour for the first two days.)  Right now, i am tempted to record a message for my voice mail and let it pick up every time they call.  It would say:

Thank you for calling, but the magic Blue Fairy is not available right now.  If you are noticing that things done by the magic of the Blue Fairy, such as clothes being washed and ironed, floors being mopped, meals being cooked and cleaned up after, bathrooms remaining clean, etc., are not currently being accomplished, and you wish to complain and demand the magic Blue Fairy come home early, you may refrain from leaving a message and go soak your head instead.  Thank you.

They will be just fine.  There's frozen pizza (which they don't get often) in the freezer.  And i am packing and getting out of here.

After the parent meeting at the school.  There's always one more thing to do.  

Today is:

Armed Forces Day -- Mozambique

Black Walnut Festival -- Stockton, MO, US (tours of the world's largest black walnut processing plant, plus parade, crafts, carnival and entertainment; through Saturday)

Join a Cabal of International Bankers Today Day -- internet generated, and only for people without a conscience

Kamarampaka Day -- Rwanda (Republic Day, marks the 1961 abolition of the monarchy)

National Comic Book Day -- internet generated, but go read one, they are fun

National Crabmeat Newberg Day

National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims -- US

National Food Service Employees Day -- because everyone wants to eat out once in a while 

National One-Hit Wonder Day -- US, remembering those who had only one hit on the rock charts

National Women's Health and Fitness Day --

National Youth Day -- Nauru

Old Holy Rood Eve -- OS calendar Holy Cross Eve, the last day to pick blackberries (after this, the devil poisons them because when he fell from heaven, he landed in a blackberry bush)

Petit Jean Fall Antique Auto Swap Meet -- Morrilton, AR, US (swap meet and the Museum of Automobiles; through Saturday)

Shemini Azteret -- Judaism (Jewish completion of the annual cycle of reading of the Torah; begins at sunset, through sunset tomorrow)

St. Cadoc's Day (Patron of the deaf; against cramps, deafness, glandular disorders, scrofula)

St. Finbarr's Day (Patron of Barra, Scotland; Cork, Ireland)

Toad Tempting Day -- Fairy Calendar

World Ataxia Awareness Day

Birthdays Today:

Catherine Zeta-Jones, 1969
Will Smith, 1968
Scottie Pippen, 1965
Aida Turturro, 1962
Heather Locklear, 1961
Christopher Reeve, 1952
Mark Hamill, 1951
Cheryl Tiegs, 1947
Michael Douglas, 1944
Juliet Prowse, 1936
Glenn Gould, 1932
Barbara Walters, 1931
Shel Silverstein, 1930
Phil Rizzuto, 1918
Dmitri Shostakovich, 1906
William Faulkner, 1897
Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, 1358 (Japanese Shogun)

Today in History:

St. Ferment is beheaded in Amiens, France, after voyaging there to preach the gospel, 303
The Battle of Stamford Bridge marks the end of the Anglo-Saxon era, 1066
Columbus begins his second voyage, with 17 ships, 1493
Vasco Nunez de Balboa becomes the first European to see the Pacific Ocean from the west coast of the Americas, 1513
The first printing press in the Americas begins operations, 1639
Old Style date; two very accurate clocks are set in motion at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, England, the start of Greenwich Mean Time, 1676
Ethan Allan, American Revolutionary War hero, is captured, 1775
Benedict Arnold joins the British, 1780
The first all-black university in the US, Howard University, is created by Congress, 1867
Yosemite National Park is established by Congress, 1890
Charles Follis becomes the first black to play professional American football, 1904
Birth of the remote control -- Leonardo Torres Quevedo successfully demonstrates the invention of the "Telekino" and guides a boat from the shore in the port of Bilbao, 1906
Jimmy Doolittle performs the first blind flight from Mitchel Field proving that full instrument flying from take off to landing is possible, 1929*
Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, is integrated by the use of United States Army troops, 1957
In a referendum, the people of Norway reject membership of the European Community, 1972
Belize joins the United Nations, 1981
The last of the Magdalene Asylums closes in Ireland, 1996
The Vitim event, a possible bolide (comet nucleus) impact in Siberia, Russia, 2002
China launches the spacecraft Shenzhou 7, 2008

*Personal family history:  He was a great man, and taught my brothers to hunt dove.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Leisure at the Lake Adventure

Just over 5 years ago, a wonderful friend named Farmer Pickles invited her internet friends to come and visit her.  Several of us did.

That began a tradition of a yearly gathering, what i call my sanity retreat.  It's the only time i get away  from home without kids, cats, and CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome -- remember, i'm not called a messy mimi for nothing, and yes, people come over anyway, they know not to expect the Taj Mahal and that my bathrooms and kitchen are sanitized daily, the rest can wait until i have time, and who ever has time with so many kids and kittens around, but i digress).

Anyway.  The first year was Albuquerque, which i had always wanted to visit, if only to find out why Bugs Bunny always missed his left turn there.  The next year, it was San Antonio.  Then up to a small town near the Quad Cities area.  Last year, my friends came here.  (See, i told you i have people over, i'm crazy that way.)

This year, Script has invited us to all gather at a rented lake home in the Finger Lakes area.

Today, i pack, including my cast iron.  It is a tradition, i go and i bring cast iron, and i cook a big Cajun meal.  Script will do an Italian meal.  FiveCat will make her famous chili.

There are plans afoot to perhaps visit Niagra Falls, as many of us from the South might not get a chance to be this close again any time soon.  There has been talk of nature trails and museums.  We have plans, but nothing in stone.

Ninja is driving here from Dallas.  She and i will head out very, very early tomorrow morning to drive as far as Ohio, where we will spend the night before driving the rest of the way.  We are taking her car, Cranberry.  Sweetie keeps asking me what kind of car it is.  What kind of question is that for me?  All i know is car, truck, SUV, minivan, sports car, and Beetle.  Cranberry is some kind of Toyota, a small SUV.  Very reliable, with A/C and a radio.  Nothing matters beyond that in transportation as far as i am concerned.

Another thing that matters to me is splitting the costs and goin cheap.  This is something i save up all year for, counting pennies.  It's worth it.

Today, i pack, as noted, and get all the last minute stuff done.  Make sure the family has food in the freezers.  Make sure Sweetie has clean clothes.  Make sure there's enough cat food and formula and everything else (80lbs. of cat litter, anyone?) here.  Make sure the bank knows i'm going so they don't cut off my debit card.

There's also, of course, a parent meeting at Little Girl's school tonight.  It would have to be tonight, when Ninja is here and we want to spend time together.  Oh, well, we will have time together on the road.

It's time, and i'm excited.  Grace will be there, and Eagle.  Ally, whom i haven't met yet.  Peppermint will be coming for a day trip, and so i get to meet her (and see the latest pictures of her husband, Hairy, and Little Hairy).   Blondie and Miss P might also be able to get away for a day and come visit, again, as they live only a short drive away.

Westie is flying in from the West Coast, and Farmer Pickles, who now lives in Maine (talk about a change from New Mexico!) might be able to come for a couple of days.

Ninja and i may also get to pick up another friend in Cincinnatti, if she can swing it.  It's never too late, i told her, until we have already passed the area.

Meanwhile, i can hardly wait.  Lists are being made, because i get excited, and forget stuff.  Can't forget the hot sauce, and the roux.  Or the charge cord for the computer.  My brain is all over the map.

it's okay, it's going to be a great time.


Today is:

Armed Forces Day -- Mozambique; Peru

Constitution Day/Recoronation of King Norodom Sihanouk -- Cambodia

Do Impressions of Famous People Around the Office Day -- again, i wonder about the intentions of those who start these things

Feast of Our Lady of Mercy -- Catholic Christian
     Lady of Mercedes Day -- Dominican Republic
     La Merce -- Barcelona, Spain

Festival of the Latest Novelties -- an internet generated holiday to celebrate everything from traditional whoopie cushions to some of the more modern and weird novelty gifts out there; a great day for practical jokers

Gallbladder Good Health Day -- seems unsponsored, but there's information about keeping your gallbladder healthy here

Going Forth of Isis -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Heritage Day -- South Africa

Independence Day/National Day -- Guinea-Bissau(1973)

Mahidol Day -- Thailand (commemorates the passing of Prince Father Mahidol Adulyadej, the "Father of Thai Modern Medicine")

Moose Day -- the day Bullwinkle J. Moose, from Frostbite Falls, MN, US, and his pal Rocky the Flying Squirrel debuted in 1959

National Bluebird of Happiness Day -- US (and no one knows why, but it's supposed to be a day to go spread some happiness)

National Cherries Jubilee Day

National Punctuation Day® -- make sure you are using those punctuation marks correctly! Jeff Rubin can help

New Caledonia Day -- New Caledonia

Republic Day -- Trinidad and Tobago

Santa Cruz Day -- Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia

Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving -- Pennsylvania Dutch followers of Silesian Reformation theology

St. Gerard's Day (Patron of Hungary)

St. Rupert's Day (Patron of Salzburg, Austria, where it is an official school and government holiday)

Transatlantic Telephone Day -- the first cable across the Atlantic was completed on this day in 1956

Birthdays Today:

Nia Vardalos, 1962
Phil Hartman, 1948
Linda McCartney, 1941
Jim Henson, 1936
Anthony Newley, 1931
Sheila MacRae, 1924
Jim McKay, 1921
F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1896
Horace Walpole, 1717

Today in History:

Prophet Muhammad completes his hijra from Mecca to Medina, 622
The last Emperor of the Komnenian restoration of the Byzantine Empire, Manuel I Komnenos, dies; the empire slips into terminal decline, 1180
The Dutch Republic surrenders New Amsterdam to England, 1664
The first autopsy and coroner's jury verdict is recorded in the state of Maryland, 1657
John Jay is appointed by George Washington as the first Chief Justice of the then six-person Supreme Court, which was instituted by the Federal Judiciary Act passed that same day, 1789
US Attorney General Office is created, 1789
The Northern Daily Times becomes the first provincial daily newspaper in London, 1853
Alexander Dey patents a dial time recorder, 1889
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially renounces polygamy, 1890
U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt proclaims Devils Tower in Wyoming as the nation's first National Monument, 1906
Cathay Pacific Airways is founded in Hong Kong, 1946
The Honda Motor Company is founded, 1948
Forest fires black out the sun over portions of Canada and New England, and a Blue moon (in the astronomical sense) is seen as far away as Europe, 1950
Camp Nou, the largest stadium in Europe, is opened in Barcelona, 1957
President Dwight D. Eisenhower sends 101st Airborne Division troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to enforce desegregation, 1957
The United States court of appeals orders the University of Mississippi to admit James Meredith, 1962
Swaziland joins the United Nations, 1968
Compu-Serve launches the first consumer internet service, which features the first public electronic mail service, 1979
Periodic Great White Spot observed on Saturn, 1990
Hurricane Rita devastates Beaumont, Texas, southwest Louisiana, and finishing off some of the parts of New Orleans and southeast Louisiana that Katrina missed, 2005
The G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, PA, US, marks the first use of LRAD for crowd control in the US, 2009

Monday, September 23, 2013

Why the Smile?

"Mom, haven't you seen the Mona Lisa?"  Bigger Girl asked.

Yes, years ago, in high school, i did a couple of summer trips to Europe.  The Louvre was one of our stops during one trip, i said.

"Well, mom, you know how people are always talking about her smile?  Well, what if it's not really so much that she's smiling, but that she's looking at something so tragic, so very, utterly tragic, that that's the only semblance of a normal face she can make at the time she's being painted?" she asked.

That's an interesting idea, i noted.

She went on, "In my history book, it says that women gathering food were probably the ones who invented agriculture, making society possible.  I like that idea.  Also that 40% of the preserved bodies they find in Mesopotamia that are female were buried with weapons.  They died a noble death, fighting, so were buried with weapons.  When I have to go, I hope I die a noble death."

Let's hope all of us do, i answered.

"Maybe I need to learn Judo or something," she said.

When i was a kid, i took Judo, i told her.  It's a good thing to learn.

"Well, someday, I need to learn a martial art.  Oh, and I finally got a dress for the big event for Grandpa.  It was funny.  I went in the store and started looking at nice dresses, and one of the ladies came up to me and said, 'Let me guess.  You are going to a formal event and have no clue what to do?' and I answered, Do I really look like that much of a lost puppy in a dress store? and she said, 'Yes,' and handed me three dresses to try.  The first one was the best, I liked it, so I got it."

Good, i'm glad you have that, i told her.  And i'll bet they are glad you are so easy to find a dress for, some women go to 10 stores and still can't decide.

"That's not me," she said with a laugh.  "Oh, and by the way, why do they tell you now that it's a bad idea, if you get bitten by a snake, to have someone suck out the poison?"

Probably because it doesn't help much, and endangers the person doing the sucking, i said, but you might want to go look that up.

"Okay, I will."  With that, she left to look it up.

Later, i found out she never did, she got too busy with doing homework.  That's okay, though, i'm just glad we can have these little chats, even if they are often a bit unusual.

Today is

Al-Yaom Al-Watany -- Saudi Arabia (National Day/Founding of the Kingdom)

Augustalia -- Roman Empire (birthday of Caesar Augustus, still the traditional New Year's Day in Constantinople and in the Eastern Orthodox Church)

Bunster Winding -- Fairy Calendar

Canterbury South Provincial Anniversary Day -- Canterbury South, New Zealand

Checkers Day/Dogs in Politics Day -- thanks to Mr. Nixon; and i'm tempted to further comment, but this one is too easy

Citua -- Ancient Inca Empire (feast to the Moon, and to banish disease, in the month of Coyaraimi, date approximate)

Dominion Day -- New Zealand (obs.)

El Grito de Lares -- Lares, Puerto Rico (anniversary of the first uprising against Spanish rule in 1868)

Family Day - A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children(TM) -- sponsored by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, encouraging everyone to have a meal with the family, because all the studies show it's good for you!

Innergize Day -- the day to take time for yourself! always on the day after the equinox

International Women's Ecommerce Days -- supporting women's online business endeavors and buying power; through Friday

Metropolitan Opera in NYC Opening Night

National White Chocolate Day

Neptune Day -- planet discovered this day in 1846 by Johann Galle of Germany

St. Adamnan's Day (Patron of Donegal, Ireland; Raphoe, Ireland)

St. Padre Pio's Day

Anniversaries Today:

The University of Alberta in Alberta, Canada, is founded, 1908

Birthdays Today:

Jason Alexander, 1959
Bruce Springsteen, 1949
Mary Kay Place, 1947
Paul Petersen, 1945
Julio Iglesias, 1943
Tom Lester, 1938
Ray Charles, 1930
John Coltrane, 1926
Mickey Rooney, 1920
Walter Pigeon, 1897
William H. McGuffey, 1800
Kublai Khan, 1215
Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus, BC63
Euripides, BC480

Today in History:

Concord of Worms, 1122
The first major battle of the Wars of the Roses, at Blore Heath in Staffordshire, 1459
First commencement exercises of Harvard College in Cambridge, Mass., 1642
Liechtenstein declares its independence from the German Empire, 1719
John Paul Jones' "Bon Homme Richard" defeats the HMS Serepis, 1779
Lewis and Clark arrive back in St. Louis from their explorations, 1806
The Knickerbockers Baseball Club, the first baseball team to play under the modern rules, is founded in New York, 1845
Neptune is discovered by French astronomer Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier and British astronomer John Couch Adams, 1846
Nintendo Koppai, later known as Nintendo Company, Limited, is founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi; it produces and markets the playing card game Hanafuda, 1889
The Phantom of the Opera (original title: Le Fantome de l'Opera), a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux, was first published, 1909
The MS Princess of Tasmania, Australia’s first passenger roll-on/roll-off diesel ferry, makes her maiden voyage across Bass Strait, 1959
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos announces over television and radio the implementation of martial law, 1972
Juan Perón returns to power in Argentina, 1973
Saint Kitts and Nevis joins the United Nations, 1983
Qantas Flight 1 overruns the runway in Bangkok during a storm; some passengers only receive minor injuries, it is still the worst crash in Qantas's history, 1991
The first public version of the web browser Mozilla Firefox ("Phoenix 0.1") is released, 2002
Hurricane Jeanne strikes Haiti and leaves at least 1,070 dead, 2004

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Weekend Snafus

We've had a few, and a couple of hiccups, too.

First, there was my trip to the MomAndPop Grocery Store nearby.  That's where i stop for basics, and when they have a good sale, i like to stock up on some things.  This time, among other things, they had ibuprofen on sale.

As Bigger Girl says, "Mom, at certain times of the month, there better be ibuprofen in the house, or blood will be shed!"

She means it, so i try very hard not to run out.

The MomAndPop store is a good one.  Literally begun by a local family, and many of the family, down to what is now the 4th generation, still work at one of the locations.  So i was surprised to find, on the morning of the first day of a two day special sale, that there was not a single bottle of the particular ibuprofen on sale on the shelves.

Some stores do that on purpose.  They tell you it's on sale, "while supplies last," and stock one of that item, and tell everyone else, "Sorry, we ran out."  This place doesn't do that, they aren't those kind of people.

When i asked, i was told the HBA (Health and Beauty Aids) rep hadn't come in yet, there should be some in soon.  Then, and this is one reason i love this store, Ms. Edith offered to put two bottles under her register for me to pick up later.  Yes, it's her register; if she's not there, that register is closed, and no one messes with it.

A second reason to love the place -- the manager, Mr. Daryl, went in the back and found two bottles (the HBA lady had them delivered, but hadn't come in to shelve them yet), and he handed them to Ms. Edith who came and found me at the back of the store to hand them to me.

Later, #1 Son noted that he was looking for a VCR.  When we were at the shelter, i saw two of them, only $5 each.  Thus i sent him a text, asking if he wanted me to pick one up.

He didn't answer until over 2 hours later, long after i was home.  So i called up to the shelter to ask that one be set aside, and i would come pick it up later.

Both had been sold.  You snooze, you lose.  Turn up your phone so you can get your mother's texts, son.

Then there was the matter of the weekend's American style football game at the university.  Little Girl has desperately wanted to take a special friend, so i decided to stay home and let her use my ticket.  Heavens, i've been to more of these games than i can count, so it's not that big of a deal to me, but it's still big for the kids and their friends.

The big deal is, on game days, Sweetie has to go to work.  (He usually has weekends off.)  Naturally that had to mean his sleep would be disturbed, and it was, by a 2am text from Miss Lizzie, panicking.    Next time i see that girl, i'm going to emphasize to her, again, that if it happens after hours, and it's not a 911 emergency, she better wait until morning.

We both slept poorly, then he had to drive in the pouring rain to work.  When he got home, after working an 8 hour day, he had just over an hour until it was time to turn around and drive the family back to the university.

They were about  to leave when his car wouldn't start.  He had driven through high water get to work, and his battery light had been on earlier, and, sure enough, it was the battery.  He had, of course, parked in such a way as to block in the car they were to take to the game.

One jump start later, i moved his car, everyone else got in the other, and they were gone.

Now, i get to figure out how to get him a battery, and cram that errand into the million and one others i already have on my plate so that i can leave town on Wednesday.  This may also eat into my trip money.

On the good side, it looks like we've ordered everything to get Bigger Girl's computer fixed, and my computer guru has worked with Ol' Bessy a bit.  He thinks a bit more RAM will help.  It's worth a try, as he has the RAM available at his house, sitting and doing nothing.

Please, though, no more snafus, or hiccups, or errands on my plate.  It's full, and i'm going to get indigestion if it piles up any more.

Today is:

Aizu Byakko Matsuri -- Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima, Japan (ceremonial recreation of a march to war in 1868; through the 24th)

American Business Women's Day -- US (anniversary of the founding of the American Business Women's Association)

Autumnal Equinox -- 20:44UTC related observances
     Mabon -- Wicca/Pagan Northern Hemisphere
     Ostara -- wicca/Pagan Southern Hemisphere
     Alban Elfed -- Celtic Winter Finding
     Chuseok -- Korean harvest festival (high point of the festival)
     Feast of Carpo -- Greek Horae, goddess of autumn
     Kukulcan Snake God Celebration -- Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico (the snake appears at the equinox, a time to honor this Mayan god)
     Festival of the Sea Goddess -- Eskimo
     Higan -- Japan
     Mabon/Fallfest -- Asatru/Norse Pagan (harvest festival, time to make wine and mead for the next winter)
     Oenach Carman -- Ancient Celtic Calendar
     Sendai Great Tug-of-War -- Sendai, Japan (festival on the equinox that dates back over 400 years)    
     Svarog's Holiday -- Slavic Pagan Calendar/Asatru (day to drink mead in honor of Svarog, god of fire and the sky)

Banned Books Week begins -- US (sponsored by the ALA; Defend the Freedom to Read, It's Everybody's Job; celebrate your right to read what you want!)

Boidromia -- Ancient Greek Calendar (date approximate; honor Apollon as god of rescue during war)

Breakfast, Snack, Elevenses, Snack, Lunch, Snack, Tea, Snack, Dinner, Snack, More Snacks, Supper, Snack, and Bilgewack Celebration Day -- Fairy Calendar (Borms; they are little known relatives of Goblins, given to being overweight and sedentary and lying around feeling ill; bilgewack is their term for having eaten too much and having to lie down.)

Car-Free Day -- this has spread to much of the world; try it for yourself!

Clypping the Church Ceremony -- Painswick, Gloucestershire, England (since 1321, surrounding the church hand in hand for the Clypping Hymn and an open air ceremony)

Coya Raymi -- Inca Native Americans (festival to honor Moon Goddess Quilla, with a focus on purging sickness and evil; through tomorrow, dates approximate)

Dear Diary Day -- sponsored by Wellcat Holidays; get it down on paper!

Elephant Appreciation Day -- sponsored by "Elefunteria" and WildHeart Productions

Feast of Mikeli -- Ancient Latvian Calendar (harvest celebration; through the 24th)

Hobbit Day -- Bilbo's and Frodo's Birthday

Ice Cream Cone Day -- Italo Marchiony applied for a patent for an ice cream cone mold on this day in 1903

Independence Day -- Bulgaria; Mali

International Day of Radiant Peace --

National Centenarians Day -- US

National White Chocolate Day


Princess Martha Louise's Birthday -- Norway (an official flag day)

Ritual of the Netjers of the Two Lands (Upper and Lower Egypt) -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

St. Maurice's Day (Patron of armies, cloth dyers, cloth makers, infantrymen, soldiers, swordsmiths, weavers; Austria; Manresa, Spain; Pianello Val Tidone, Italy; Piedmont, Italy; Sardinia; Stadtsulza, Germany; Pontifical Swiss Guards; against cramps and gout)

Tolkien Week begins (always the Sun - Sat that includes Hobbit Day)

UCI Road World Championships -- Toscana, Italy (Union Cycliste International sponsors these races, through the 29th)

XTERRA Trail Run Nationals -- Ogden/Snowbasin, UT, US (finale of the series of extreme runs held across the country through the year, featuring 21k of extreme, off-road trail runs)

Birthdays Today:

Bonnie Hunt, 1964
Scott Baio, 1961
Joan Jett, 1960
Andrea Bocelli, 1958
Debby Boone, 1956
Shari Belafonte, 1954
Tommy Lasorda, 1927
Michael Farriday, 1791
Lord Chesterfield, 1694

Today in History:

Legion I Italica is created by Emperor Nero, 66
Switzerland becomes an independent state, 1499
The General Provincial Court at Patuxent, MD, US, empanels the first all female jury in the colonies to try the case of a woman accused of murdering her child, 1656
A final 8 people are hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Mass., 1692
Nathan Hale is hanged for spying during American Revolution, 1776
Russia establishes a colony at Kodiak, Alaska, 1784
City of Des Moines, Iowa, is incorporated as Fort Des Moines, 1851
Abraham Lincoln, by executive proclamation, declares that the slaves in the rebelling states shall become free on Jan. 1 of the upcoming year, 1862
Richard Wagner's opera Das Rheingold premieres in Munich, 1869
The first issue of National Geographic Magazine is published, 1888
Queen Victoria surpasses her grandfather, King George III, as the longest reigning monarch in British history, 1895
Italo Marchiony granted a patent for an ice cream cone, 1903
The Duke of York's Picture House opens in Brighton, now the oldest continually operating cinema in Britain, 1910
Ralph J. Bunche becomes the first black winner of the Nobel Peace Price, 1950
The Dead Sea Scrolls are made available to the public for the first time by the Huntington Library, 1991
David Hempleman-Adams becomes the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an open-air, wicker-basket hot air balloon, 2003