Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A to Z Challenge: Z is for Zillions

Yes, i know that technically "zillions" is a made up word and not a real number.

Today, that doesn't matter.  Today, zillions describes what Little Girl means to me.

Today, she is Sweet Sixteen.  My baby is growing up.

Even as a teen, she is a sweet and special girl.  Yes, she has her "teen moments."  She also has moments i wouldn't trade for zillions of dollars.

About a month ago, when spring was first showing signs of having sprung, she saw some purple flowers.  Knowing how much i love purple, she picked them for me, and brought them home, just as she used to when she was much younger.

Small purple flowers, courtesy of Little Girl.
 Yes, at her age, she still picks wildflowers for her mother.

If you had her, you wouldn't trade her for zillions, either.


Today is

Armed Forces Day -- Georgia

Birthday of the King / Konungens födelsedag -- Sweden (HM King Carl XVI Gustav; an official flag day)

Bugs Bunny Day -- while some consider his debut to have been in "A Wild Hare," released in July two years later, other say that Bugs was the rabbit in "Porky's Hare Hunt," relased this date in 1938

Camarón Day -- French Foreign Legion

Carnival Day -- Sint Maarten

Consumer Protection Day -- Thailand

Díá De Los Niños/Díá De Los Libros -- American Library Association (Children Day/Book Day; a celebration that emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds)

Dia de Rincon -- Rincon, Bonaire

El Dia del Nino -- Mexico (Children's Day)

Fairy Queen's Birthday -- Fairy Calendar

Faeriae Latinae -- Ancient Roman Calendar (Feast of the Latin League, a festival to honor Jupiter)

International Guide Dog Day

International Jazz Day -- UNESCO (originated with the New Jersey Jazz Society and sanctioned by the United Nations Jazz Society, the American Federation of Jazz Societies, and the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society; this year's International Jazz Day Global Concert 2014 will be held in Osaka, Japan and streamed live, with info here)

La Frontera Tucson International Mariachi Conference -- Tuscon, AZ, US (festival showcasing the best of balle folklorico and mariachi; through Saturday)

Liberation/Reunification Day -- Vietnam

May Eve -- eve of the first day of summer in many traditions, including
     Beltane/Samhain Eve -- Pagan traditions
     Carodejnice -- Czech Republic; Slovakia
     Maitag Vorabend -- Switzerland
     Mange les Morts -- Haiti (festival of the dead)
     Salus -- Portugal; Spain (festival of the dead)
     Valborgsmässoafton -- Sweden
     Walpurgis Night -- Ancient Celtic/Nordic Calendars

Mr. Potato Head Day -- the classic toy went on sale this day in 1952, and you used your own potato

National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day -- US (can't find a sponsoring organization, but it's not a bad idea)

National Animal Advocacy Day -- in 2013, this was a specific day sponsored by the ASPCA; this year, they seem to be sponsoring separate lobbying days in each state

National Honesty Day -- including Honest Abe Awards (Abies) and dishonorable mentions for those who have been particularly publicly egregious; celebrated today because we began the month with April Fooling and lies, so today is to celebrate the opposite*

National Raisin Day

St. Adjutor of Vernon's Day (Patron of drowning victims, sailors, swimmers, yatchsmen; Vernon, France; against drowning)

St. James the Great's Day -- Orthodox Christian

Sunfest -- West Palm Beach, FL, US (Florida's largest music, art, and waterfront festival; through Sunday)

Teacher's Day -- Paraguay

Walk @ Lunch Day -- founded and encouraged by Blue Cross / Blue Shield

*to nominate someone for an Abie or a dishonorable mention, contact M. Hirsh Goldberg, founder and author of The Book of Lies,

Anniversaries Today:

Pele marries Assiria Seixas Lemos, 1994
The Organization of American States is founded, 1948
Louisiana becomes the 18th US state, 1812

Birthdays Today:

Dianna Agron, 1986
Kirsten Dunst, 1982
Johnny Galecki, 1975
Jeff Timmons, 1973
Carolyn Dawn Johnson, 1971
Adrian Pasdar, 1965
Michael Waltrip, 1963
Isiah Thomas, 1961
Stuart Mathis, 1960
Stephen Harper, 1959
Jane Campion, 1954
Perry King, 1948
Carl XVI Gustav, King of Sweden, 1946
Michael J. Smith, 1945
Jill Clayburgh, 1944
Burt Young, 1940
Gary Collins, 1938
Willie Nelson, 1933
Cloris Leachman, 1926
Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, 1909
Eve Arden, 1908
Ellis Wilson, 1899
Louise Dilworth Beatty Homer, 1871

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"Barnum"(Musical), 1980
"The Dresser"(Play), 1980
"Inside U.S.A."(Musical revue), 1948
"Arthur Godfrey Time"(Radio), 1945
"Pelleas et Melisande"(Opera), 1902
"Dmitri Donskoi"(Opera), 1852
"Love for Love"(Play), 1695

Today in History:

Supernova  SN 1006, the brightest supernova in recorded history, appears in the constellation  Lupus, 1006
Orbital calculations suggest that on this day, Pluto moved inside Neptune's orbit until July 23, 1503, 1483
Columbus is given a royal commission to equip his fleet, 1492
On the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York City, George Washington takes the oath of office to become the first elected President of the United States, 1789
The United States purchases the Louisiana Territory from France, 1803
Nicaragua  declares independence from the Central American Federation, 1838
Casey Jones dies in a train wreck in Vaughn, Mississippi, while trying to
make up time on the Cannonball Express, 1900
Honolulu, Hawaii becomes an independent city, 1907
Peru becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty, 1920
Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford become the first celebrities to leave their footprints in concrete at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, 1927
The animated cartoon short Porky's Hare Hunt debuts in movie theaters, introducing Happy Rabbit (a prototype of Bugs Bunny, 1938
In Bogotá, Colombia, the Organization of American States is established, 1948
The Bristol Bus Boycott is held in Bristol to protest the Bristol Omnibus Company's refusal to employ Black or Asian bus crews, drawing national attention to racial discrimination in the United Kingdom, 1963
Communist forces gain control of Saigon and the Vietnam War formally ends, 1975
Accession of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, 1980
CERN announces World Wide Web protocols will be free, 1993
Cambodia joins the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, 1999
Two skeletal remains found near Ekaterinburg, Russia are confirmed by Russian scientists to be the remains of Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia and one of his sisters, 2008
Chrysler automobile company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, 2009
Hailed as the largest World's Fair in history, Expo 2010 opens in Shanghai, China, 2010
Born without a trachea, a 2-year-old Korean-Canadian child is the youngest patient in history to receive a bioengineered organ made from stem cells; she received the transplanted organ at the Children's Hospital of Illinois, 2013

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A to Z Challenge: Y is for Yellow Teapot

So, you might be asking yourself, what's special about a yellow teapot?

Old yellow teapot.

Not much, but it starts with the letter Y, and Link, Little Girl's cat, is afraid of it.

Yes, he's afraid of the teapot.  He bats at it until he gets the top off, and as soon as the top, or the teapot, hits the floor,  he takes off running in terror.

No, i don't know why the crazy cat is afraid of an old yellow teapot that is just used for decorative purposes.  It's not like he's ever heard it whistle.

Link, in the midst of a battle -- he has the lid partly off.

It is entertaining to watch him, though, and it keeps him out of worse mischief, like shredding the furniture.  As far as i'm concerned, he may continue to battle the old yellow teapot as long as he thinks it a danger.


Today is

Ancestors' Day -- Russian Christians (Radunitsa, a Slavic tradition after Thomas Sunday)

Arita Ceramic Fair -- Arita, Japan (finest porcelain in Japan; during Golden Week until May 5)

Cheng Cheng Kung Landing Day -- Taiwan (352nd anniversary of the landing in Taiwan of Ming Dynasty loyalist Cheng Cheng Kung to oust the Dutch colonists)

Commemoration Day -- Transdniestria

Feast of the Secret Masters -- can't find any real info on this one, and why should i if it's such a secret, but it is fun to think about

Fish Cleaning Night -- sponsored by David Letterman (it's okay if you don't have an audience, or Mariel Hemingway)

Hocktide Festival/Tutti Day -- Hungerford, Berkshire, England (commemorates a battle in 1002 A.D. when Saxon women defeated the invading Danes; celebrated in the Middle Ages by women imprisoning their men and, after paying the church, retrieving them)

International Dance Day -- International Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), a UNESCO partner

Mata Tirtha Aushi -- Nepal (Mother's Day)

Milk-Curdling Day -- Fairy Calendar (Gremlins)

National Adult Public Skipping Day -- because somebody out there either wants you to feel like a kid again, or make a fool of you

National Shrimp Scampi Day

One Day Without Shoes -- sponsored by Toms Shoes, to raise global awareness for children's health and education, which can be compromised when they do not have shoes

"Peace" Rose Day -- an explanation of this name for the Rosa 'Madame A. Meilland variety

Radunitsa -- Belarus (Ancestors Veneration Day)

Remembrance of Victims of Chemical Weapons -- on the day chemical weapons were outlawed in 1997

Ridvan, Ninth Day -- Baha'i (one of the festival days on which work and school should be suspended)

Runic Half Month of Lagu (water) begins

Showa No Hi -- Japan (Showa Day, the birth anniversary of Emperor Showa, begins the Golden Week holiday period of four major national days, through May 5)

Solar Alignment at Teotihuacan, City of the Gods -- Teotihuacan, Mexico (the ritual cave opening aligns to the sunset on Aug. 12 and Apr. 29, the same horizon position of the setting of the Pleiades)

St. Catherine of Siena's Day (Patron of fire prevention, firefighter, nurses, nursing services, people ridiculed for piety, sick people; Europe; Italy; Theta Phi Alpha Sorority; Allentown, PA, US; Siena, Italy; Verazze, Italy; against bodily ills/sickness, fire, miscarriages, sexual temptation)

World Wish Day -- from the Make-A-Wish Foundation

Zipper Day -- while i can't confirm it, the modern zipper was supposedly patented on this day in 1913

Anniversaries Today:

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, marries Catherine "Kate" Middleton, 2011
Mike Nichols marries Diane Sawyer, 1988
Princess Irene marries Prince Carel Hugo de Bourbon Parma, 1964

Birthdays Today:

Andre Agassi, 1970
Uma Thurman, 1970
Carnie Wilson, 1968
Eve Plumb, 1958
Michelle Pfeiffer, 1958
Daniel Day-Lewis, 1957
Kate Mulgrew, 1955
Jerry Seinfeld, 1954
Nora Dunn, 1952
Dale Earnhardt, 1951
Johnny Miller, 1947
Zubin Mehta, 1936
Lane Smith, 1936
Rod McKuen, 1933
Robert Gottlieb, 1931
Celeste Holm, 1919
Tom Ewell, 1909
Hirohito, 1901
Duke Ellington, 1899
William Randolph Hearst, 1863
Oliver Ellsworth, 1745

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"Hair"(Musical), 1968
"ABC's Wide World of Sports"(TV), 1961
"Young Dr. Malone"(Radio), 1940
"There Shall be No Night"(Play), 1940
Roget's Thesaurus(Publication date), 1852
Violin Sonata No. 32 in B-flat major(Mozart K. 454), 1784

Today in History:

The Moors arrive at Gibraltar to begin their invasion of the Iberian Peninsula, 711
Joan of Arc arrives at Orleans to relieve the siege, 1492
Francis Drake leads a raid in the Bay of Cádiz, sinking at least 23 ships of the Spanish fleet, 1587
Eleven Dutch ships depart for the conquest of Peru, 1623
The Ming Dynasty occupies Taiwan, 1661
James Cook arrives at and names Botany Bay, Australia, 1770
The French Fleet prevents Britain from seizing the Cape of Good Hope, 1781
Peter Roget publishes the first edition of his Thesaurus, 1852
The "Elektromote" – forerunner of the trolleybus  – is tested by Ernst Werner von Siemens in Berlin, 1882
Gideon Sundbach of Hoboken, NJ, receives a patent for the zipper, 1913
The North Sea floodgate at Ijmuiden, the biggest in world, officially opens, 1930
The telephone connection of England-Australia goes into service, 1930
The first U.S. experimental 3D-TV broadcast airs, and episode of "Space Patrol" shown over ABC affiliate KECA in Los Angeles, 1953
The first military nuclear power plant opens, in Ft. Belvoir 1957
A cyclone strikes the Chittagong  district of southeastern Bangladesh with winds of around 155 mph, killing at least 138,000 people and leaving as many as 10 million homeless, 1991
Oldsmobile  builds its final car ending 107 years of production, 2004
Syria completes withdrawal from Lebanon, ending 29 years of occupation, 2005
Economic losses mount and class action lawsuits are filed as the U.S. Coast Guard plans a controlled burn to remove spilled oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, 2010

Monday, April 28, 2014

A to Z Challenge: X is for Xylotomy

It's amazing what you can learn when you go rummaging around trying to find something to write about that begins with the letter X.

My friend DiDreaming suggested Xerxes, which was a great idea, except that Chris' dog by that name is now re-homed and i didn't get a picture of him before he left.  So i just moodled around on the internet, looking at Scrabble words that start with X, and the word Xylotomy popped out.

It's the preparation of wood in cross sections for viewing under a microscope.  Yes, there is a specific term for that, and it doesn't surprise me.   After all, i remember studying wood in biology class and learning about the two types of tissue that transport water and nutrients up and down the trunks of trees, xylem and phloem. 

So now i can say i learned something new today, when you prepare xylem tissue from a tree for viewing under a microscope, that's called xylotomy.

Now, like so many other things i've learned over the years, i wonder if i'll ever have the chance to use this.  Maybe in a trivia game someday.

Microscopic cross section of wood, from Wikipedia, by Ed Uebel.

Today is:

Biological Clock Day -- the "biological clock gene" that governs the`circadian rhythm in mice was isolated on this day in 1994

Chicken-Tickling Day -- Fairy Calendar (Leprechauns)

Cubicle Day -- ??? again

Feast of Jamal(Beauty) -- Baha'i

Festival of Floralia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (three day festival to Flora, goddess of flowers and vegetation)

Great Poetry Reading Day -- make sure you read some great poetry today

Hidaka Hibuse Matsuri -- Mizusawa, Iwate Prefecture, Japan (through the 29th; floats, child musicians, traditional costumes, and fun)

International Guide Dog Day

James Monroe Birthday Celebration -- Charlottesville, VA, US (at his home, Ash Lawn-Highland)

Kiss Your Mate Day -- guys, do not forget this one, in case she reads it somewhere on the internet; kiss her, then read her a great poem

National Blueberry Pie Day

National Day of Mourning -- Canada (In conjunction with Workers' Memorial Day and World Day for Safety and Health at Work, honoring those injured or killed on the job)

National Heroes Day -- Barbados

Pastele Blajinilor -- Moldova (Memory/Parent's Day)

Rip Cord Day -- the first successful jump with a parachute that used a rip cord was this day in 1919 by Leslie Erwin of the U.S. Army Air Corps

Sa die de sa Sardinia -- Sardinia, Italy (Sardinia Day, celebrating the uprising of 1794)

Sense of Smell Day -- listed on different days on many websites; While celebrating, remember those with anosmia (diminished ability or total inability to smell)

St. Peter Chanel's Day (Patron of Oceania)
     Saint Pierre-Chanel Day -- Wallis and Fortuna

Sts. Vitalis and Valeria's Day (Patrons of Thibodeaux, Louisiana)

Victory Day -- Afghanistan

Workers Memorial Day / World Day for Safety and Health at Work -- International (remembering all who have lost their lives or been injured on the job)

Yom HaShoah -- Judaism (Holocaust Remembrance Day; began sunset yesterday, ends at sunset today)

Anniversary Today:

Maryland becomes the 7th US State, 1788

Birthdays Today:

Jenna Ushkowitz, 1986
Jessica Alba, 1981
Penelope Cruz, 1974
Jorge Garcia, 1973
Nicklas Lidstrom, 1970
John Daly, 1966
Elena Kagan, 1960
Ian Rankin, 1960
Nancy Lee Grahn, 1958
Mary McDonnell, 1952
Jay Leno, 1950
Marcia Strassman, 1948
Ann-Margaret, 1941
Harper Lee, 1926
Oscar Schindler, 1908
Erich Salomon, 1886
Lionel Barrymore, 1878
Mifflin Wister Gibbs, 1828
James Monroe, 1758

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"One Man's Family"(Radio), 1932

Today in History:

Nichiren Buddhism is founded, 1253
Captain William Bligh and 18 crewmen from the HMS Bounty are set adrift, 1789
Chinese and Irish laborers for the Central Pacific Railroad working on the First Transcontinental Railroad lay 10 miles of track in one day, a feat which has never been matched, 1869
Azerbaijan  is added to the Soviet Union., 1920
The first night game in organized baseball  history takes place in Independence, Kansas, 1930
A vaccine  for yellow fever is announced for use on humans, 1932
Thor Heyerdahl and five crew mates set out from Peru on the Kon-Tiki, 1947
The Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty (Treaty of Taipei) is signed in Taipei, Taiwan between Japan and the Republic of China to officially end the Second Sino-Japanese War, 1952
Charles de Gaulle resigns as President of France, 1969
The Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure is signed, 1977
Millionaire Dennis Tito becomes the world's first space tourist, 2001
According to the WHO, leading causes of death in the world include chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, 2011
In recognition of democratic reforms, the European Union opens an office in Burma, 2012

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Silly Sunday: Medical Emergency

Silly Sunday is hosted by Sandee at Comedy Plus.

"Mom, I can't find any allergy medicine!" Bigger Girl informed me almost as soon as i got back from my trip.

Really?  We are out already? i asked.

"Yes, and I really needed some while you were gone.  It was an allergy emergency, and all I could find was 27 bottles of ibuprofen and no allergy medicine!  I mean, I know I hurt during my time of the month, but that was ridiculous!" she laughed.

She also slapped her forehead when i walked right over to the first aid cabinet and grabbed a whole box of allergy medicine.

Her "medical emergency" reminded me of a joke.

Dr. Boudreaux used to come home very tired when he had a full day of seeing patients and doing surgeries.  He would flop down on the couch and turn on the TV and hope the phone wouldn't ring.

One night, as he flopped down, the phone did ring.  He picked it up and answered, "Dis be Dr. Boudreaux, and dis better be a big emergency!"

The voice on the other end was that of his colleague, Dr. Gauthier, who said, "Mais, it be an emergency!  We need us a fourth for poker!"

"I be right dere!" Dr. Boudreaux whispered.

"Oh, chere, don' tell me you gots to go out?  It's a emergency?" Clothile axed in a worried voice.

"It be a big emergency!" Dr. Boudreaux exclaim.  "Dey's already got t'ree doctors there!"

Today is

Abolition Day -- Mayotte

Domingo del Angel -- Palma de Mallorca, Spain (Angel Sunday, a fiesta dating back to the 15th century)

Babe Ruth Day -- anniversary of the day dedicated to him in 1947 by every ball field in the US and Japan

Drive It Day -- England (commemorates the 64 cars that left London on the first day of the Thousand Mile Trial on 23 April 1900)

Freedom Day -- South Africa

Furze-Hopping Event -- Fairy Calendar

Helena Railroad Fair -- Helena, MT, US (largest railroad hobby event in the area)

Independence Day -- Sierra Leone(1961); Togo(1960)

King's Birthday / Koninginnedag -- Kingdom of the Netherlands (Aruba, Curacao, Netherlands, and Sint Maartin); Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba

Landsgemeinde -- Appenzell, Inner Rhoden Canton, Switzerland (one of the last examples of direct democracy left; the final Sunday of each April all voters in the canton age 18 and older, wearing traditional swords, gather for a church service and then vote directly on all affairs of the canton for the year; no secret ballots, all raise their hands to vote yea or nay; festival follows.  This tradition dates back to the 14th century.)

Matanzas Mule Day -- remembering the only casualty of one of the first naval actions of the Spanish-American War, a mule in the village of Matanzas, Cuba

Morse Code Day -- birth anniversary of Samuel Morse

Mother, Father Deaf Day -- to honor deaf parents and recognize the gifts of culture and language they give to their hearing children; sponsored by CODA (Children of Deaf Adults International)

Nagasaki Tall Ships Festival -- Nagasaki, Japan (sailing festival, commemorating the 16th century opening of Nagasaki as Japan's sole foreign trade port; through May 1)

National Prime Rib Day

National War Veterans Day -- Finland

Pet Parent's Day -- honoring those who consider pets a part of the family

Resistance Day/Day of the Uprising Against the Occupying Forces -- Slovenia

Sechselauten -- Zurich, Switzerland (Six Ringing Festival, traditional driving out of winter through the symbolic destruction of the Boog - Old Man Winter - in the form of a snowman; through tomorrow)

St. Zita of Lucca's Day (Patron of butlers, domestic servants, homemakers, housemaids, lost keys, maids, manservants, people ridiculed for their piety, rape victims, servants, servers, single laywomen, waiters/waitpersons/waitresses; against losing keys)

Tell a Story Day -- US (no history of origin, although celebrated in many libraries)

The Ennead Sail Through the Land -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Togyu Taikai -- Tokunoshima Island, Japan (bull sumo, in which bulls push each other out of the ring)

Turkmen Racing Horse Festival -- Turkmenistan

World Graphic Design Day

World Tapir Day

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day -- anyone, anywhere in the world who makes a pinhole photograph today may upload it to the world wide online gallery

Write An Old Friend Today Day -- a real letter, in the mail, remember how exciting it is to get those?

Yom HaShoah -- Judaism (Holocaust Remembrance Day; begins at sunset)

Anniversaries Today:

Ringo Starr marries Barbara Bach, 1981
Cornell University is established as New York's land grant institution, 1865

Birthdays Today:

Patrick Stump, 1984
Sheena Easton, 1959
Ace Frehley, 1951
Cuba Gooding, Sr., 1944
Earl Anthony, 1938
Sandy Dennis, 1937
Anouk Aimee, 1932
Casey Kasem, 1932
Coretta Scott King, 1927
Jack Klugman, 1922
Walter Lantz, 1900
Sergei Prokofiev, 1891
Jessie Redmon Fauset, 1882
Ulysses S. Grant, 1822
Samuel Morse, 1791
Mary Wollstonecraft, 1759
Edward Gibbon, 1737
Suleiman the Magnificent, 1495

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"Chips with Everything"(Play), 1962
"Le roi de Lahore/The king of Lahore"(Opera), 1877
"Roméo et Juliette"(Opera), 1867
"L'africaine/The African Woman"(Meyerbeer Opera), 1865

Today in History:

Ferdinand Magellan is killed by natives in the Philippines led by chief Lapu-Lapu, 1521
Re-founding of the city of Bogotá, New Granada (now Colombia), by Nikolaus Federmann and Sebastián de Belalcázar, 1539
Cebu is established as the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines, 1565
The blind and impoverished John Milton sells the copyright of Paradise Lost for £10, 1667
The British Parliament passes the Tea Act, 1773
Beethoven composes Für Elise, 1810
US troops capture the capital of Upper Canada, York  (present day Toronto, Canada), 1813
The Foundation stone for new Palace of Westminster, London, is laid, 1840
The establishment of Jewish congregations in Lower Austria is prohibited, 1857
The steamboat Sultana, carrying 2,400 passengers, explodes and sinks in the Mississippi River, killing 1,700, most of whom are Union survivors of the Andersonville and Cahaba Prisons, 1865
In South Africa, the Group Areas Act is passed formally segregating races, 1950
Togo gains independence from French-administered UN trusteeship, 1960
Sierra Leone is granted its independence from the United Kingdom, 1961
Expo 67  officially opens in Montreal, Canada, 1967
Xerox PARC introduces the computer mouse, 1981
The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, comprising Serbia and Montenegro, is proclaimed, 1992
Betty Boothroyd becomes the first woman to be elected Speaker of the British House of Commons in its 700-year history, 1992
Russia and 12 other former Soviet republics become members of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, 1992
The first democratic general election in South Africa, in which black citizens could vote is held, 1994
The last successful telemetry from the NASA space probe Pioneer 10 is received, 2002
The superjumbo jet aircraft Airbus A380 makes its first flight from Toulouse, France, 2005
Construction begins on the Freedom Tower for the new World Trade Center in New York City, 2006
Estonian authorities remove the Bronze Soldier, a Soviet Red Army war memorial in Tallinn, amid political controversy with Russia, 2007
The wives and children of former Osama bin Laden are deported from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia, 2012

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A to Z Challenge: W is for Wine

While i don't imbibe often, Sweetie does drink a glass every night with his dinner, on doctor's order.

He and his brother are both rather clumsy, and i think i have finally found, thanks to my friend DiDreaming, the best glass for them.

The adult wine sippy cup!

Top view.

Amazing, isn't it?  Finally, a cup they cannot break, and if it spills, they lose a minimal amount and it doesn't end up all over the table, the floor, the walls...

The best part?  You get them at the dollar store!  The price is right!

Today is

Audubon Day -- birth anniversary of John James Audubon

Bob Wills Day -- Turkey, TX, US (celebrating Western Swing music and its king; through Sunday)

Bodega Bay Fish Festival -- Bodega Bay, CA, US (fun, fish, wine tastings, and more; through tomorrow)

Bulldogs Are Beautiful Day -- this one has its own Facebook page

California Poppy Festival -- Lancaster, CA, US (two fun days celebrating California's State Flower)

Day of Remembrance of the Chernobyl tragedy -- Belarus

Delphinia -- Ancient Greek Calendar (festival of Apollo; date approximate)

Eeyore's Birthday -- Austin, TX, US (Eeyore never need feel forgotten again; Austin celebrates his birthday as a fundraiser for local charities, with fun for all)

Fairy Laughter Convention -- Fairy Calendar

Festival of Individual Sovereignty -- an internet holiday that i think is a good idea!

Festival of Renenutet -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (as Lady of the Robes, who invented the bandages in which to wrap mummies; date approximate)

Foxfield Races -- Charlottesville, VA, US (annual steeplechase)

Healthy Kids Day® -- YMCA

Historic Garden Week in Virginia -- VA, US (enjoying some of Virginia's finest homes and gardens)

Hug an Australian Day -- sponsored by Wellcat Holidays

International Marconi Day -- a 24-hour amateur radio event annually near the birth anniversary of Marconi

Jouvert Jump-Up -- Sint Martin (Break of Dawn Parade and Festival)

"Just Pray No" Worldwide Weekend of Prayer and Fasting -- people around the world pray for healing for those who are addicted to drugs, through tomorrow

Mississippi River Valley Scenic Drive -- Mississippi River valley of southeast Missouri, US (several scenic small towns along the valley have homemade goodies, quilt shows, history tours, entertainment, and more; through tomorrow)

Mayan Rain Festival -- to honor the rain gods and welcome the fruitfulness of the earth; date approximate

National Day of Puppetry -- US (info here)

National Go Birding Day -- US (but feel free to participate wherever you are, birding is fun!)

National Help A Horse Day -- US (Join the ASPCA in several rescue events)

National Herb Day -- different from the HerbDay in May, and unsponsored

National Kids and Pets Day -- sponsored by the Animal Miracle Foundation & Network

National Pretzel Day

National Rebuilding Day -- US (270,000 volunteers help rebuild and repair homes for the elderly and disabled)

National Sense of Smell Day -- US (sponsored by the Sense of Smell Institute, encouraging museums and science centers to focus on how the sense of smell plays an important role in daily life and how it interacts with other senses)

Penguin Day -- different sponsor from World Penguin Day, but you can't have enough days dedicated to these cute guys, can you?

Redbud Trail Rendezvous -- Rochester, IN, US (living history along the Tippecanoe River; through tomorrow)

Remember Your First Kiss Day

Richter Scale Day -- birth anniversary of Charles Francis Richter

Sacrifice to Zeus Epacrios -- Ancient Greek Calendar (date approximate)

Save the Frogs Day -- Save The Frogs Day is the world's largest day of amphibian education and conservation action

Shuffleboard Day -- on the adopted birthday of the game (no exact date of origination can be pinned down, and fans want a day to celebrate, so here it is)

Southern Maryland Celtic Festival & Highland Games -- St. Leonard, MD, US (competitions in fiddling, bagpipe, Celtic harp, and dancing, heptathlon, Celtic marketplace and foods, parade of clans, and more)

St. Rafael Arnaiz' Day (Patron of diabetics and against diabetes)

St. Stephen of Perm's Day / Old Permic Alphabet Day -- Russian Orthodox Church (inventor of the alphabet used for Russian before the Cyrillic was developed)

Union Day -- Tanzania

Vallenato Legend Festival -- Valledupar, Colombia (one of Colombia’s most important music and folk festivals; through the 30th)

World Day for Animals in Laboratories -- WDAIL

World Healing Day / World Tai Chi and Qigong Day -- information here
World Intellectual Property Day -- UN

World Veterinary Day -- World Veterinary Association

Anniversaries Today:

Prince Albert (future George VI) marries Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, 1923
The Independent Order of Oddfellows, American branch, is established in Baltimore, MD, US, 1819
Moscow State University opens, 1755

Birthdays Today:

Jon Lee, 1982
Jason Earles, 1977
Tom Welling, 1977
Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, 1970
Kane, 1967
Kevin James, 1965
Jet Li, 1963
Joan Chen, 1961
Michael Damian, 1962
Giancarlo Esposito, 1958
Boyd Matson, 1947
Gary Wright, 1943
Bobby Rydell, 1942
Duane Eddy, 1938
Carol Burnett, 1933
I.M. Pei, 1917
Hans Detlef "Douglas" Sierck, 1897
Anita Loos, 1889
Gertrude Bridget "Ma" Rainey, 1886 (Some say April 3)
Frederick Law Olmsted, 1822
John James Audobon, 1785
Marcus Aurelius, 121

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"Jelly's Last Jam"(Musical), 1992
"Dinosaurs"(TV), 1991
"China Beach"(TV), 1988
"Company"(Musical), 1970
"Grand Polonaise Brillante"(Chopin Op. 20), 1835

Today in History:

Copernicus makes his first observations of Saturn, 1514
William Shakespeare is baptized, 1564
English  colonists of the Jamestown settlement  make landfall at Cape Henry, Virginia, 1607
Napoleon Bonaparte signs a general amnesty to allow all but about one thousand of the most notorious émigrés of the French Revolution to return to France, 1802
Paul von Hindenburg defeats Wilhelm Marx in the second round of the German presidential election  to become the first directly elected head of state of the Weimar Republic, 1925
In Libya, amendments to the constitution transform Libya (United Kingdom of Libya) into one national unity (Kingdom of Libya) and allows for female participation in elections, 1963
Tanganyika  and Zanzibar  merge to form Tanzania, 1964
A Rolling Stones concert in London, Ontario is shut down by police after 15 minutes due to rioting, 1965
The Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization enters into force, 1970
A nuclear reactor accident occurs at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Soviet Union (now Ukraine), creating the world's worst nuclear disaster, 1986
Physicists  announce first evidence of the top quark subatomic particle, 1994
Under international pressure, Syria withdraws the last of its 14,000 troop military garrison in Lebanon, ending its 29-year military domination of that country, 2005
During the second day of evidence at the Leveson Inquiry, Rupert Murdock reveals there was a 'cover-up' at 'News of the World' but that he had no knowledge of it, 2012

Friday, April 25, 2014

A to Z Challenge: V is for Visit and Victory

My reason for traveling to see my friend DiDreaming was twofold.  First, i love to visit.  Second, she needed help.

One thing i like about the help she needed is that i got to use tools.  Not just any tools, my friend lets me play with power tools!

Power tools are fun!

The whole visit was a victory.  We got pictures up, and we got the canopy up

One princess canopy, one happy princess.

We got the curtains up.

Yes, i had to climb on the furniture to do it.

Best of all, we didn't let the TV defeat us!  Victory was ours, we got it up, too!

We Did It!

Today is

Adonia -- Greece (women's festival mourning the death of Adonis; date approximate)

American Family Pet Expo -- Costa Mesa, CA, US (includes displays on any type of domesticated pet you can imagine; through Sunday)

ANZAC Day -- Australia; Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Cook Islands; New Zealand; Niue; Norfolk Island; Tonga

Arbor Day -- US

Army Day -- North Korea

Austin Food and Wine Festival -- Austin, TX, US (superstar chefs and sommeliers, over 40 cooking demos and wine seminars, private grand tastings and more; through Sunday)

Cape May Spring Festival -- Cape May, NJ, US (ten days of spring activities highlighting the Victorian lifestyle)

C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo) -- Chicago, IL, US (through Sunday)

Dandelion Day -- University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, US (annual celebration used as a respite to diffuse tension around exam time)

DNA Day -- structure of DNA first published this day in 1953; human genome project ended today in 2003
     DNA Day -- a day for teachers, students, and everyone to learn more about genetics and genomics
sponsored by and the Smithsonian

Duck Appreciation Society Day -- The Duck Appreciation Society (some sites say May 10; either way, go feed the ducks if you like them, but not stale white bread, it's no better for them than it is for us)

East Meets West Day -- Allies from the East and West finally met up this day in 1945 about 75 miles from Berlin

Festival of Robigalia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (to protect against corn blight; festival of Robiga and Rogibus, the brother and sister fertility gods)

Flag Day -- Faroe Islands; Swaziland

Hairball Awareness Day -- sponsored by Furminator (which product actually does work, by the way) and Hills Pet Nutrition

Hairstylist Appreciation Day -- if you have a good one, let him/her know (some sites put this on the 30th)

Hug A Plumber Day -- because when you are knee deep in it, you really need them around

Interstate Mullet Toss / The Gulf Coast's Greatest Beach Party -- FloraBama Bar, Gulf Shores, Alabama, US (fish flingers stand on the Alabama side of the property and toss them onto the Florida side, with proceeds going to charity; through Sunday)

Liberation Day -- Italy; Portugal

National Crayola Day -- no one claims starting this holiday, observe it with your children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews/kids down the street, and remember how fun it is to color pictures

National Dream Hotline® -- sponsored by the School of Metaphysics, any time from this evening until Sunday night, call in and get your, or someone else's for that matter, dream interpreted

National Pie Championships and Great American Pie Festival -- Orlando, FL, US and Celebration, FL, US (three days of celebrating the best pies anywhere)

National Zucchini Bread Day -- they hold this at a time when you are not yet sick of all that zucchini you grew in the garden

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival -- NOLA, US (the best music and food festival around! through May 5)

Panoply® -- Huntsville, AL, US (comprehensive arts festival, including music, theater, dance, and a juried art show; through Sunday)

Parental Alienation Awareness Day -- raising awareness of Parental Alienation or Hostile Aggressive Parenting

Plumber's Day/Hug a Plumber Day -- one of the original sites to list this is here

Red Hat Society Day -- first Red Hat Tea Party held this day in 1998

Sinai Liberation Day -- Egypt

St. Mark the Evangelist's Day (Patron of attorneys/barristers/lawyers/notaries, captives, glaziers, imprisoned people/prisoners, lions, stained glass workers, struma patients; Egypt; Boretto, Italy; Creazzo, Italy; Infanta, Philippines; Ionian Islands; Pordenone, Italy; Sonnino, Italy; Venice, Italy; against impenitence, insect bites, scrofulous diseases, struma)

Tag des Baumes -- Germany (Tree Day/Arbor Day)

Undiagnosed Children's Day -- sponsored by SWAN UK (Syndromes Without A Name), supporting families of children with undiagnosed genetic conditions; this year's theme is "It's A Mystery"

World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition and Art Festival -- Ocean City, MD, US (carvings and sculpture of all sizes, for competition and for sale; through Sunday)

World Malaria Day / Malaria Awareness Day -- WHO and the International Community

World Penguin Day -- because they begin migrating on or around this day

20-Something Service Day -- can't find who started this one, but it's a good idea, whomever it was, whether you are 20 or older to do some community service or volunteer work regularly

Anniversaries Today:

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is established, ND, US, 1947
The United Negro College Fund is founded, 1944

Birthdays Today:

Jacob Underwood, 1980
Emily Bergl, 1975
Jason Lee, 1970
Renee Zellweger, 1969
Hank Azaria, 1964
Jeffrey DeMunn, 1947
Talia Shire, 1946
Stu Cook, 1945
Bjorn Ulvaeus, 1945
Al Pacino, 1940
"Meadowlark" Lemon, 1932
Paul Mazursky, 1930
Albert King, 1923
Ella Fitzgerald, 1918
Edward R. Murrow, 1908
William Joseph Brennan, Jr., 1906
John Henry "Pop" Lloyd, 1884
Guglielmo Marconi, 1874

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"Little Murders"(Play), 1967
"Romulus the Great"(Play), 1949
"Another Language"(Play), 1932
"Turandot"(Opera), 1926
Robinson Crusoe(Publication date), 1719

Today in History:

Lysander's Spartan Armies defeated the Athenians and the Peloponnesian War ends, BC404
German geographer and mapmaker Martin Waldseemuller publishes his Cosmographiae Introductio map in which he gives the American continents their name, 1507
Highwayman Nicholas Pelletier becomes the first person executed by guillotine, 1792
Charles Fremantle arrives in the HMS Challenger off the coast of modern-day Western Australia prior to declaring the Swan River Colony for the United Kingdom, 1829
The last survivors of the Donner Party arrive back in civilization, 1847
The Governor General of Canada, Lord Elgin, signs the Rebellion Losses Bill, outraging Montreal's English population and triggering the Montreal Riots, 1849
British and French engineers break ground for the Suez Canal, 1859
New York State becomes the first US state to require automobiles to be licensed, 1901
First DC Comic with Batman is published, 1939
Fifty nations gather in San Francisco, California to begin the United Nations Conference on International Organizations, 1945
Francis Crick and James D. Watson publish Molecular structure of nucleic acids: a structure for deoxyribose nucleic acid describing the double helix structure of DNA, 1953
The St. Lawrence Seaway, linking the North American Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, officially opens to shipping, 1959
Robert Noyce is granted a patent for an integrated circuit, 1961
Israel completes its withdrawal from the Sinai peninsula per the Camp David Accords, 1982
American schoolgirl Samantha Smith is invited to visit the Soviet Union by its leader Yuri Andropov after he read her letter in which she expressed fears about nuclear war, 1983
Pioneer 10 travels beyond Pluto's orbit, 1983
The Hubble Telescope is deployed, 1990
The Human Genome Project comes to an end 2.5 years before first anticipated, 2003
The final piece of the Obelisk of Axum is returned to Ethiopia  after being stolen by the invading Italian army in 1937, 2005
Bulgaria and Romania sign accession treaties to join the European Union, 2005
The U.S. government 'condemns' international media outlets, including 'The New York Times' for publishing confidential files, 2011

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A to Z Challenge: U is for Ummmm

In this house, i often have conversations that leave me saying, ummm.

"Mom, don't we have any bigger band aids?" Little Girl asked, as she dug in the first aid bucket that we keep in the cabinet.

We have what we have, i noted.  Do you need for me to get bigger ones?

"Yes!  These are not big enough!"

What happened?

"Festus cut himself."

Is it really bad?

"He'll be okay, but we need bigger band aids."

How did he cut himself?

"With a golf club."

How do you cut yourself with a golf club?

"He just did, okay?  He's talented."

Ummm, yeah.  And i can assume the golf club is now broken?

"Mom, some things, you just don't even have to ask.  But it's okay, it was old and bent anyway.  He got it out of a garbage can."

Today is

Ambivalence Day -- a holiday to tell your friends about, or not

Concord Day -- Niger

Dogwood Festival -- Camdenton, MO, US (a rite of spring festival under the beautiful dogwood trees; through Sunday)

Feast of Eros -- Ancient Greek Calendar (date approximate)

Fiddlers' Frolics -- Hallettsville, TX, US (home of the Texas State Fiddler Championships; through Sunday)

Genocide Remembrance Day / Martyrs' Day-- Armenia

Happenstance and Coincidence Evening -- Fairy Calendar

Harpa Month Begins -- Traditional Icelandic Calendar (Harp, dedicated to young women as last month was dedicated to young men)
     Sumardagurinn Fyrsti -- first day of summer, a legal holiday

Harrogate Spring Flower Show -- Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England (Britain's premier spring flower show; through Sunday)

Kapyong Day -- Australia (Battle of Kapyong, 1951)

Loktantra Diwas -- Nepal (Democracy Day)

Pigs in a Blanket Day

Poem in Your Pocket Day -- carry your favorite with you to share with friends and family to celebrate National Poetry Month

Poetry & the Creative Mind Gala -- Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York, NY, US (an extraordinary evening celebrating the role of contemporary poetry in American culture sponsored by Academy of American Poets)

Sandburg Days -- Galesburg, IL, US (a festival for the mind, celebrating their two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning native son, Carl Sandburg; through Sunday)

Spring Cat Cleaning Day -- because someone, somewhere, thinks you need to bathe your cat; ask the cat, he will refuse, and if you become insistent, be careful

St. Ives' Day (Patron of St. Ives, Cambridgeshire, England)

St. Mark's Eve*

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work® Day -- US (begun by the Ms. Foundation for Women in 2003, the day is designed to expand opportunities for girls and boys, expose them to what adults do in their daily lives during work hours, show them the value of education, and teach them about the challenges of balancing work, family, community, and personal responsibilities; children are encouraged to return to school tomorrow and discuss what they have learned)

Washington State Apple Blossom Festival -- Wenatchee, WA, US (more than 40 fun events showcasing the greater Wenatchee Valley, it's people, products, and heritage; through the first Sunday in May)

World Meningitis Day --

*A young lady may eat a boiled dove's egg sprinkled with salt and place
a tulip, sacred to St. Mark, in a vase next to her bed, and so she will
dream of the man she will marry.

Anniversary Today:

Mary, Queen of Scots marries Dauphin of France, François, at Notre Dame de Paris, 1558

Birthdays Today:

Courtnee Draper, 1985
Kelly Clarkson, 1982
Eric Balfour, 1977
Chipper Jones, 1972
Cedric the Entertainer, 1964
Djimon Hounsou, 1964
Michael O’Keefe, 1955
Eric Bogosian, 1953
Jean-Paul Gaultier, 1952
Doug Clifford, 1945
Barbra Streisand, 1942
Richard M. Daley, 1942
Sue Grafton, 1940
Jill Ireland, 1936
Shirley MacLaine, 1934
Stanley J. Kauffmann, 1916
Robert Penn Warren, 1905
Michael J. Dady, 1850
George N. Bascom, 1836
Anthony Trollope, 1815
Robert Bailey Thomas, 1766
Edmund Cartwright, 1743

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"Dancing at Lughnasa"(Play), 1990
"Die Jahreszeiten/The Seasons"(Oratorio, Haydn H 21/3), 1801
The Boston News-Letter(Newspaper), 1704 (first successful newspaper in the British colonies)

Today in History:

Thutmose III ascends to the throne of Egypt, although power effectively shifts to Hatshepsut, BC1479
Traditional date for the Greeks entering Troy using the Trojan Horse, BC1184
The appearance of Halley's Comet causes monks in England to predict evil happenings, 1066
"La Marseillaise" is composed by Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle, 1792
The Boston "News-Letter" becomes the first successful newspaper in the colonies, 1704
The Library of Congress is established, 1800
A patent is granted for the first soda fountain, 1833
William Price of the Washington Star becomes the first reporter to be specifically assigned to the White House, 1897
The fathometer, which measures underwater depth, is patented, 1928
Winston Churchill is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, 1953
Cosmonaut  Vladimir Komarov dies in Soyuz 1, the first person to die during a space mission, 1967
Mauritius becomes a member state of the United Nations, 1968
The first Chinese satellite, Dong Fang Hong I, is launched, 1970
Gruinard Island, Scotland, is officially declared free of the anthrax disease after 48 years of quarantine, 1990
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is inaugurated as the 265th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church taking the name Pope Benedict XVI, 2005
Snuppy, the world's first cloned dog is born in South Korea, 2005
Iceland announces that Norway will shoulder the defense of Iceland during peacetime, 2007
Scientists in Kamchatka, Russia, report sighting the first adult white orca to be seen in the wild, 2012

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A to Z Challenge: T is for Travel

Yes, i promise not to sing, even if On The Road Again is running through my head.

A few weeks ago, my very good friend Di Dreaming hit a snag in some plans she had.  She doesn't have the stamina she used to, before the chemo, and before her asthma got so bad.  So i spoke to my Sweetie, and he agreed that i would travel to Alabama to visit her and give her a hand with that project.

She was thrilled, and got her project to the point where my being there could do her the most good.

Why travel down there right now?  Because this week is Spring Break for Little Girl and #2 Son.  Bigger Girl's was last week, but that's okay, she is around the house enough that the cat chores will be split pretty evenly.

The Jalopy probably couldn't make the trip, so i'm taking Sweetie's Honda.  As is usual, everything was a madhouse getting out of town, making sure there was plenty to eat in the house that they could easily fix for themselves, stocking up on kitten formula, running last minute errands.

In the middle of all of that, we had Sweetie's final retirement meetings.  It went well, but more on that later.

Right now, i've got to get on down the road.  Solo road trips have become my sanity savers in recent years, and i'm grinning from ear to ear. 

April 23 Public school day -- look up Boston Latin School

Today is

4#Administrative Professionals Day -- Wed. of last full week

^*Alfred G. "Alferd" Packer Day -- Colorado

4#American Quilter's Society Quilt Show -- Paducah, KY, US (auction, workshops, and prizes for the best quilts; through Saturday)

^*Book Day and Lover's Day -- Spain, especially Catalan (women give books to men, while men give flowers to the women. Celebrated in the Spanish city of Barcelona since 1714 to honor Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes [author of "Don Quixote"] and in observance of St. George's Day)

4#Buccaneer Days Festival -- Corpus Christi, TX, US (rodeo, festival, parade, and fun; through May 3)

^*Canada Book Day

^*Chance Day -- Fairy Calendar

^*Children's Day -- North Cyprus; Turkey

4%Community Day -- CL, Spain

4#Ebertfest/Roger Ebert's Film Festival -- Virginia Theatre, Champaign, IL (in the best show biz tradition, the show will go on; through Sunday)

^*English Language Day -- UN

^*Impossible Astronaut Day -- if you are a Dr. Who fan, you know, and if not, go here and find out

^*Independence Day -- Conch Republic, Key West, FL. US (a tongue-in-cheek micronation which seceeded from the Union in 1982; celebrated yearly with a week long festival)

^*International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day -- on St. George's Day, encouraging members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America to continue to be what Howard V. Hendrix derrogatorily termed "webscabs", posting their stories free on the internet

^*International Sing Out Day -- no one will claim responsibility for this one, but i promise not to observe it!

^*Jurgi Festival -- Ancient Latvian Calendar (day sacred to Usins; first day outdoor work began for the summer)

^*National Cherry Cheesecake Day

^*National Picnic Day -- US

^*National Sovereignty Day -- Turkey

4#Peppercorn Ceremony -- St. George, Bermuda (commemorates the renting of what is now the Old State House by the Masonic Lodge to the governor of Burmuda for the cost of one peppercorn per annum)

4#Polk County Ramp Tramp Festival -- Polk County, TN, US (come out and celebrate with the 4-H club the ramp, a local wild leek, and enjoy the Bluegrass music and games; through Saturday)

^*Sigurd the Dragon Slayer's Day -- because he was probably the inspiration for the legends about St. George

^*St. Adalbert's Day (Patron of Bohemia; Czech Republic; Poland; Prague, Czech Republic; Prussia)

^*St. George's Day (Patron of archers, armourers, Boy Scouts, butchers, cavalry, chivalry, Crusaders, equestrians, farmers, field hands, field workers, horsemen, horses, husbandmen, knights, lepers, Order of the Garter, Palestinian Christians, riders, Romanian Army, saddle makers, saddlers, sheep, shepherds, soldiers, Teutonic Knights; Canada; England; Ethiopia; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Lithuania; Malta; Portugal; Cappadocia; Catalonia; Palestine; over 20 cities and diocese around the world; against herpes, leprosy, plague, skin diseases, skin rashes, syphilis; by the middle ages, St. George was revered in much of Europe as the personification of chivalry)*

^*Take a Chance Day -- internet generated encouragement to try something different

^*Talk Like Shakespeare Day -- on The Bard's birth anniversary

4#USA Film Festival -- Dallas, TX, US (major showcase of new studio and indie films; through Sunday)

^*Vinalia Priora -- Ancient Roman Calendar (tasting the first wines of the year)

^*World Book & Copyright Day -- UN (this date chosen because of how parts of Spain celebrate St. George's Day, with books)
     World Book Night -- Germany; Ireland; UK; US (anniversary of the birth and death of Shakespeare, and the death of Miguel de Cervantes; over 20 book titles have been specially chosen for this year and special editions of those books printed so you can share books and your love of reading with those who don't read much

*To save a Maid, St. George the Dragon slew
A pretty tale, if all is told to be true
Most say, there are no Dragons, and tis said
There was no George: pray God there was a Maid.
-- John Aubrey, Remains of Gentilism (1688)

Birthdays Today:

Dev Patel, 1990
John Cena, 1977
Kal Penn, 1977
Scott Bairstow, 1970
Melina Kanakaredes, 1967
George Lopez, 1961
Valerie Bertinelli, 1960
Craig Sheffer, 1960
Jan Hooks, 1957
Judy Davis, 1955
Michael Moore, 1954
Joyce DeWitt, 1949
Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, 1947
Sandra Dee, 1942
David Birney, 1940
Lee Majors, 1940
Roy Orbison, 1936
Shirley Temple Black, 1928
Vladimire Nabokov, 1899
Lester Bowles "Mike" Pearson, 1897
Sergei Prokofiev, 1891
Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck, 1858
Granville T. Woods, 1856
James Buchanan, 1791
William Penn, 1621
William Shakespeare, 1564(attributed -- only the day of his baptism, April 26, is known for certain)

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"Baywatch"(TV), 1989
"No Man's Land"(Play), 1975
"She Loves Me"(Musical), 1963
"Patience; or, Bunthorne's Bride"(Opera), 1881
"Il re pastore/The Shepherd King"(Mozart opera, K 208)1775
"The Tender Husband"(Comedy), 1705

Today in History:

The founding of the Order of the Garter by King Edward III is announced on St George's Day, 1348
William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor is first performed, with Queen Elizabeth I in attendance, 1597
The first public school in the United States, Boston Latin School, is founded in Boston, Massachusetts, 1635
Connecticut is chartered as an English colony, 1662
Canada issues its first postage stamps, 1851
The Vitascope system of movie projection debuts the first motion picture at Koster & Bial's Music Hall in NYC, 1896
Namibia becomes the 160th member of the UN and the 50th member of the Commonwealth of Nations, 1990
Eritrians vote overwhelmingly for independence from Ethiopia, 1993
Beijing closes all schools for two weeks because of the SARS virus, 2003
The gamma ray burst GRB 090423 is observed for 10 seconds. The event signals the most distant object of any kind and also the oldest known object in the universe, 2009
Despite an initial ban on the film 'Borat,' Kazakhstan issues and official 'thank you' to actor Sacha Baron Cohen for his character, Borat Sagdiyev, 2012

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A to Z Challenge: S is for Still Got it

"Hey, mom, look!  I still got it!"

Bigger Girl had come into the kitchen and handed me a parrot balloon animal.  She hadn't made balloon animals in quite a while, at least not that i had seen.

Parrot on a swing.

Very good! i told her.

"Isn't it great?  I think I'm going to work up a few more animals and see if I can't occasionally do it for a party or two again.  It's so much fun!"

It is a good idea, and i'm glad she's still got it.  She has managed to work up to doing a few animals she never did before.  She made a horse, and it startled me, because i reached into one of the cat carriers to put a kitten in, and there was something already in there!

The horse, found two days later in a cat carrier, after one balloon had lost air.

She's still able to take me by surprise, as well as still able to make kids smile with her animals.

Today is

Chemists Celebrate The Earth Day -- promoting public awareness of the important contribution of chemists

Discovery Day -- Brazil (landing of Cabral in 1500)

Earth Day

Easter Tuesday -- TAS, Australia; Cyprus; Nauru

Festival of Jupiter and Juno -- Ancient Roman Calendar

Girl Scout Leader Appreciation Day -- Girl Scouts of the USA

Granary Offering to Renenutet -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (offering to the Lady of Granaries; date approximate)

International Mother Earth Day -- UN

Lela's Holiday -- Asatru/Slavic Pagan Calendar (honoring the goddess-daughter, Lela)

National Jelly Bean Day

Queen Isabella Day -- Spain and some US states (birth anniversary of Isabella I of Castille)

School Bus Driver's Day -- these longsuffering drivers put up with a lot, thank a school bus driver today!

Southland Provincial Anniversary Day -- Southland, NZ

St. Epipodius of Lyon's Day (Patron of bachelors, betrayal victims, torture victims)

Walpurgis celebrations begin -- through May 1, Norse, Scandinavian, and Germanic celebrations (remembering the sacrifice of Odin upon the World Tree Yggdrasil
     Yggdrasil Day -- Asatru/Slavic Pagan Calendar

Birthdays Today:

Amber Heard, 1986
Francis Capra, 1983
Daniel Johns, 1979
Kim Elizabeth, 1978
Eric Mabius, 1971
Chris Makepeace, 1964
Byron Allen, 1961
Ryan Stiles, 1959
Peter Frampton, 1950
John Waters, 1946
Jack Nicholson, 1937
Glen Campbell, 1936
Aaron Spelling, 1928
Charlotte Rae, 1926
Yehudi Menuhin, 1916
Eddie Albert, 1906
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev, 1891
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, 1870
Immanuel Kant, 1724
Queen Isabella, 1451

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"The Who's Tommy"(Rock musical), 1993
"Le Triomphe de Plutus/Money Makes the World Go Round"(Play), 1728

Today in History:

Portuguese navigator Pedro Cabral becomes the first European to sight Brazil, 1500
President George Washington attends a performance of Rickett's, the first circus in the US, 1793
Thomas Stevens sets out from San Francisco on the first round the world journey by bicycle, 1884
The Oklahoma land rush begins at noon; thousands rush to claim land, and the towns of Oklahoma City and Guthrie are formed within hours with populations of over 10,000 each, 1889
Pravda begins publication in St. Petersburg, 1912
The Germans begin using poison chlorine gas as a chemical weapon, 1915
British yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston completes the first solo non-stop circumnavigation of the world, 1969
The first Earth Day is celebrated, 1970
The Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. is dedicated, 1993
Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi apologizes for Japan's war record, 2005
Four Canadian soldiers are killed 75 kilometers north of Kandahar, Afghanistan by a roadside bomb planted by Taliban militants, the worst single day combat loss for the Canadian army since the Korean War, 2006
The Pope, Benedict XVI, becomes the first pontiff to participate in a televised interview session, 2011

Monday, April 21, 2014

A to Z Challenge: r is for rEcess

We had our second to last rEcess night for this school year at the beginning of April.

For anyone who wonders, rEcess is the night in which a group of volunteers get together to care for special needs children and their siblings so the parents can get a much needed night out without the children.  Ours is one chapter of a nationwide program.

It's such a blessing to be able to help care for these children.  Every one is so precious.

We had six kids this time around.

Katie was back, with her two little brothers.  She wasn't wearing her arm braces when she first came,  She's doing better with not leaving her hands in her mouth, and is getting better at feeding herself finger foods.  This week, she seemed not quite herself, and slept a lot as a volunteer carried her around.

Katie, later, with her arm braces on.

Gina and the crew -- her four siblings -- were there, having a ball.  There is finally a movie that will hold her interest long enough to get her through her tube feeding and medication time -- Disney's Frozen.  Our nurse, Cheryl, has never had such an easy time with her!

Gina loves piggyback rides.

Jack is one of my favorite kids in the world.  He has an indomitable spirit.  He may not be able to really walk without help, his limbs may be almost totally stiff and he may have no fine motor control of his fingers, but he never lets it stop him from finding a way to join the games and do the things he wants to do.  He is a part of every game, and if there's a bunch of kids getting a bit rowdy, he's in the middle, having fun.  He's even in a softball league that is tailored to kids with special needs, and he loves it.

Jack, challenging the decorative suits of armor to a joust -- they didn't stand a chance!

Lynn and her sisters and brother came, and now that she can crawl, she wants to do so all of the time.  The new schedule with her feeding tube, in which the pumps is on for 12 hours straight each night, is making a difference.  Her oldest sister loves to help her walk, which she only just began doing a few months ago.

Lynn, with her feeding tube, which she has attached for 12 hours a day.

Pete and his twin brothers were there.  Like most kids with Down's Syndrome, Pete is loving and goes along with whatever fun is at hand.  His younger brothers are mischievous, and i can see where, in years to come, his parents have to make sure he doesn't get led into things where he shouldn't be. 

Pete, trying to decide whether to chase a volunteer up the steps.

And last but not least, Gracie.  She has come such a long way that her mother doesn't think her delayed development will be enough to have her coming to rEcess next year.  She is catching up at an amazing rate, as i found when i went to her home to babysit her.  If her mother does take her out of the program, i'm going to continue to watch her at other times.  

Gracie's getting bigger, catching up, and is full of fun and energy.

We had so much fun that i'm sorry next month's meeting will be the last until September.

Today is

Administrative Professionals Day (original date)

Aggie Muster -- Texas A&M University

Birthday of Rome -- Rome, Italy (753 BCE)

Boston Marathon -- Boston, MA, US (118th running)

Easter Monday -- Christian; related observances
     Dyngus Day
     Egg Races -- Rural Northwestern Switzerland (traditional Easter Monday races with competitors carrying large numbers of eggs from village to village)
     Emaishen -- Luxembourg (traditional market)
     Family Day -- South Africa
     Hallaton Hare Pie Scramble & Bottle Kicking -- Hallaton, Leicestershire, England (traditional celebrations dating back at least 600 years)
     Memorial Day -- Republic of Georgia
     Seu Harvest Parade -- Curacao
     Sham el-Nessim -- Egypt (Smell the Breezes Day, a spring celebration for all religions; celebrated by getting outside, greeting neighbors, enjoying spring, and eating salty raw fish)

Feast of Wadjet (a/k/a Udjet or Buto) -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

First Day of Ridvan -- Baha'i (began sunset yesterday; through May 2)

Grounation Day -- Rastafari (one of the Rastafarian's most important festivals, in honor of Haile Selassie's 1966 visit to Jamaica)

Heroica Defensa de Veracruz -- Mexico (Heroic Defense of Veracruz)

Homecoming of the Elves -- Fairy Calendar (Singing Festival)

Iroquois Corn Planting Ceremony -- Iroquois Native Americans (three day celebration, always around this time of year)

Jose de Diego's Birthday -- Puerto Rico (Father of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement, a/k/a Dia de Reafirmacion del Idioma Espanol)

John Muir Day -- US (American conservationist)

Kartini Day -- Indonesia (honoring a leader who helped emancipate women)

Kindergarten Day -- Germany; US (birth anniversary of Friedrich Froebel, in 1782, who began the first Kindergarten in Germany in 1837)

Mesir Paste Festival -- Manisa, Turkey (mesir paste is a blend of 41 different spices and is intended as a general cure-all and tonic; lots of craft exhibitions, concerts and sporting tournaments, as well as traditional throwing of paste off minaret of the Sultan Mosque; through the 28th)

Mibu Dainembutsu Kyogen -- Mibu Temple, Kyoto, Japan (nine day festival of kyogen performances which dates back to 1299)

National Chocolate-Covered Cashew Truffle Day

National Tree Planting Day -- Kenya

Paralia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (shepherd's festival of Pares, goddess of herders)

Passover ends -- Judaism

Patriots' Day -- US (in observance of the first battles of the Revolutionary War; always the 3rd Monday, but this year many celebrations were at the beginning of the month or are next weekend because of Easter)

Queen's Birthday -- Falkland Islands; St. Helena(except Tristan da Cunha)

San Jacinto Day -- Texas, US

St. Anselm of Canturbury's Day

St. Bueno Gasulsych's Day (Patron of diseased cattle, sick animals, and sick children)

St. George's Day -- NL, Canada (obs.)

Tiradentes Day/Brasilia Day -- Brazil (honors Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, called "tooth puller", who fought for Brazilian independence)
     Inauguration of Brasilia, Distrito Federal -- Brazil (anniversary of the 1960 inauguration of the new federal capital)

World Creativity and Innovation Day -- final day of World Creativity and Innovation Week, which always begins on DaVinci's birth anniversary

Birthdays Today:

Robert Smith, 1959
Andie MacDowell, 1958
James Morrison, 1954
Tony Danza, 1951
Patti LuPone, 1949
Iggy Pop, 1947
Charles Grodin, 1935
Elaine May, 1932
Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, 1926
Anthony Quinn, 1915
John Muir, 1838
Charlotte Bronte, 1816
Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel, 1782
Catherine the Great, 1729
Jan van Riebeeck, 1619

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"Annie"(Musical), 1977
"Inherit the Wind"(Play), 1955
"Arms and the Man"(Play), 1894

Today in History:

Traditional date for the founding of Rome by Romulus and Remus, BC753
Marc Antony continues to battle the senators who assasinated Julius Caesar in the Battle of Mutina, which he loses, BC43
Henry VIII ascends the throne of England, 1509
Hernan Cortez lands in Veracruz, 1519
The Maryland Toleration Act is passed, granting religious freedom to all in that colony, 1649
Catherine the Great ends noble privileges in Russia, 1785
Tiradentes, leader of the independence movement in Brazil, is executed, 1792
Republic of Texas forces under Sam Houston defeat Mexican troops under Santa Ana, winning the Battle of San Jacinto and the independence of Texas, 1836
The first train crosses the first bridge over the Mississippi River, crossing from Rock Island, Illinois to Davenport, Iowa, 1855
Alexander Douglas patents the bustle, 1857
Baha'u'llah, the founder of the Baha'i' faith, declares his mission, 1863
The first firehouse pole is installed in a firehouse in NYC, 1878
The Red Baron (Manfred von Richthofen)is shot down, 1918
The first Aggie Muster is held, a remembrance of fellow Texas A&M graduates who had died in the previous year, 1922
Brasilia is officially inaugurated as the capital of Brazil, 1960
In Beijing, around 100,000 students gather in Tiananmen Square to commemorate Chinese reform leader Hu Yaobang, 1989
Alexander Wolszczan announces his the discovery of extrasolar planets, 1994
The ashes of Timothy Leary and Gene Roddenberry are launched into orbit, 1997
By order of an Egyptian court, the name of Egypt's former President, Hosni Mubarak, is stripped from public spaces, schools and streets, 2011

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Sunday Blessings

Today, we go to the early sunrise service, and then i'm in the church nursery until it's time to go meet up with Grandma and Grandpa, who are driving in to have Easter dinner with us.

A Blessed Easter to all!

Traditional Easter Day Prayer

Christ is Risen: The world below lies desolate

Christ is Risen: The spirits of evil are fallen
Christ is Risen: The angels of God are rejoicing
Christ is Risen: The tombs of the dead are empty
Christ is Risen indeed from the dead,
the first of the sleepers,

Glory and power are his forever and ever

St. Hippolytus (AD 190-236)

Today is

Anniversary of Something That Happened So Long Ago Everyone Has Forgotten Day -- Fairy Calendar

Chinese Language Day -- UN

Easter -- Christian (remembrance of the resurrection of Jesus)
     Paskar -- Iceland (Easter, the day trolls and evil beings sleep through the day, so an auspicious day to look for the wishing stone)

Go Around Humming "You Light Up My Life" Until Everybody Screams Day -- the person who thought this one up should be tied down and forced to listen to Barry Manilow songs for 12 hours straight!

Harvest Offering to Renenutet -- Ancient Egypitian Calendar (offering to the Lady of the Fertile Fields; date approximate)

Lima Bean Respect Day

National Baked Ham with Pineapple Day -- always on Easter Sunday

National Pet ID Week -- the third full week of April, you are reminded to make sure your pets are microchipped or have an ID tag, just in case

National Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day

National Take a Break to Reset Your Mind Day -- because everyone needs a day like this

Ridvan begins -- Baha'i (begins at sunset)

St. Caedwalla of Wales' Day (Patron of converts, repentant murderers)

Teach Your Daughter to Volunteer Day -- encouraging awareness of volunteerism, but the original sponsor of the day is no longer online

Birthdays Today:

Danny Granger, 1983
Joey Lawrence, 1976
Carmen Electra, 1972
Shemar Moore, 1970
Crispin Glover, 1964
Don Mattingly, 1961
Clint Howard, 1959
Luther Vandross, 1951
Jessica Lange, 1949
David Leland, 1947
Steve Spurrier, 1945
Ryan O'Neal, 1941
George Takei, 1937
Nina Foch, 1924
Ernesto Antonio "Tito" Puente, 1923
John Paul Stevens, 1920
Lionel Hampton, 1908
Harold Lloyd, 1893
Joan Miró i Ferrà, 1893
Holland McTyeire "Howlin' Mad" Smith, 1882
Daniel Chester French, 1850

Debuting/Premiering Today:

Annie Hall(Film), 1977
"Your Hit Parade"(Radio), 1935

Today in History:

The last naval battle in Byzantine history, 1453
Jews are expelled from Orange Burgundy, 1505
Jacques Cartier begins the voyage in which he will claim Canada and Labrador for France, 1534
Freedom of religion is granted to the Jews of New Amsterdam, 1657
Admiral Robert Blake destroys a Spanish silver fleet under heavy fire at Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1657
Captain Cook arrives in New South Wales, 1770
René Caillié becomes the first non-Muslim to enter Timbouctou, 1828
Edgar Allan Poe's Murder in the Rue Morgue becomes the first detective story ever published, 1841
Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard complete their first pasteurization tests, 1862
Pierre and Marie Curie refine radium chloride, 1902
Manfred von Richthofen, aka The Red Baron, shoots down his 79th and 80th victims marking his final victories before his death the next day, 1918
Western Electric and Warner Bros. announce Vitaphone, a process to add sound to film, 1926
Apollo 16, commanded by John Young, lands on the moon, 1972
Pianist Vladimir Horowitz performs in his native Russia for the first time in 61 years, 1986
Danica Patrick wins the Indy Japan 300 becoming the first female driver in history to win an Indy car race, 2008
The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion kills 11 and causes rig to sink, initiating a massive oil discharge in the Gulf of Mexico, 2010
Tens of thousands of people demonstrate in Tahrir Square against continuing military rule in Egypt, 2012