Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Again!?!

Lots to do today.

Angel Food Ministry pick up, a bit of shopping, pet adoption day, kittens to feed, places to go, things to do, people to see.

A child on Art Linkletter's show "House Party" was once asked what his mother wanted most. The boy very astutely replied, " To go back to bed!"

Here, here!

Today is

Always Live Better Than Yesterday Day

Cotton Candy Day

Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola -- Spain, Roman Catholic

Heroes' Day -- Malaysia

Jump for Jellybeans Day

Ka Hae Hawai'i Day -- Hawai'i (State Flag Day)

Lammas Eve a/k/a/ Lughnassad Eve

Loki and Sigyn's Day - Ancient Norse Calendar (aka Devoted Couples Day)

Mutt's Day

"Paddle for Perthes" Disease Awareness Day (to promote awareness of the children's condition called Legg-Calve-Perthes disease)

St. Ignatius of Loyola's Day

St. Germanus' Day

St. Giovanni Colombini's Day

St. Joseph of Arimathea's Day -- Eastern Church

Birthdays Today

Eric Lively, 1981
Dean Cain, 1966
J.K. Rowling, 1965
Jim Corr, 1964
Wesley Snipes, 1962
Bill Berry, 1958
Michael Biehn, 1956
Evonne Goolagong, 1951
Barry Van Dyke, 1951
Geraldine Chaplin, 1944
Ted Cassidy, 1932
Curt Gowdy, 1919
Milton Friedman, 1912

Today in History

Mark Antony achieves a minor victory over Octavian's forces, but most of his army subsequently deserts, leading to his suicide, BC30
The oldest recorded eruption of Mt. Fuji, 781
Thessalonica falls to the Arabs, who destroy the city, 904
The Jews are expelled from Spain when the Alhambra Decree takes effect, 1492
On his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus becomes the first European to discover the island of Trinidad, 1498
Aurangzeb is proclaimed Moghul emperor of India, 1658
The Treaty of Breda ends the Second Anglo-Dutch War, 1667
Daniel Defoe is placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet, but is pelted with flowers, 1703
The U.S. Second Continental Congress passes a resolution that the services of Marquis de Lafayette "be accepted, and that, in consideration of his zeal, illustrious family and connexions, he have the rank and commission of major-general of the United States," 1777
First U.S. patent is issued to inventor Samuel Hopkins for a potash process, 1790
Christchurch, New Zealand is chartered as a city, 1856
The first narrow gauge mainline railway in the world opens at Grandchester, Australia, 1865
The radio mystery program The Shadow is aired for the first time, 1930
Archaeologists discover engraved gold and silver plates from King Darius in Persepolis, 1938
First ascent of K2, by an Italian expedition led by Ardito Desio, 1954
At Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts, the first All-Star Game tie in major league baseball history occurs when the game is stopped in the 9th inning because of rain, 1961
The last day of the officially sanctioned rum ration in the Royal Navy, 1970
Apollo 15 astronauts become the first to ride in a lunar rover, 1971
NASA releases the famous Face on Mars photo, 1976
A rare, class F4 tornado rips through Edmonton, Alberta, killing 27 people and causing $330 million in damage, 1987
Georgia joins the United Nations, 1992
Fidel Castro hands over power temporarily to brother Raúl Castro, 2006
Operation Banner, the presence of the British Army in Northern Ireland, and the longest-running British Army operation ever, comes to an end, 2007

Friday, July 30, 2010

Shelter Stories

Another fun evening with the kitties, the cranky, the crazy, and the cozy.

In the past few days, Chewy, Willie, Bart, Sparky, and Mouse have all been adopted! Yippee!!!

We got there early this evening to find Miss W. there working in the office, so again Chyna was all business. She loves petting, but food is just a little higher on her list.

Miss W. had Grady, Nanette, and Billy from room two and Simba and Curly Sue from room seven all out running loose. That way, those rooms got cleaned easily, and then we played musical cats to get them back in their right rooms.

Nacho's neck is getting better from the vitamin E oil. Frieda is mellowing out some.

We now have 4 cats in colony room 8. Angel and Dusty were in there for quite a while, sweet and gentle girls who both have the eye problem where they get nasty, gunky eyes whenever they are confined to a cage, like at the adoption center. Then Corrie came down with the same and was put in there. Now ChiChi, another sweet girl, has been added.

I believe that room is now at capacity. Or maybe a bit more than. Someone had spilled water, and it had made a nice sludge on the floor with dust tracked from the litter boxes. Yes, four is definitely the limit.

Annie and JuJu, because we don't have colony room for them, are in the clinic. They have the run of the whole room, and Annie, loving girl, takes advantage of it and comes running for love as soon as she hears anyone come into the room. JuJu hides under a table and hisses at anyone who comes near her. We thought she was so fussy because she was in a cage. Nope.

Candy is in one of the cages, and I'm not sure what is going to happen to that cat. She seems sweet, but she thinks every part of every person is there for chewing and clawing. It took two of us to clean her cage because she just doesn't let you do anything! We even tried to sedate her with catnip. No go. She just got wilder and tried to turn over her litter box.

Bowie is just back from the vet, and very mellow. Ginny is on medication for her very "bad poops" as we refer to it, and all of the kittens have been moved to foster homes.

Rory also came back from the vet today. He was finally healed up enough to neuter and give him his rabies shot. He was still out of it, poor guy. He just laid in the litter box, mostly, and when we fed him (cats are notoriously hungry when they wake up from anesthesia), he fell asleep with his head in the bowl. He would wake up, nibble a bit, fall back asleep. It was hilarious to watch.

Our 3 foster kittens are getting bigger and cuter by the day.

Today is

Administrator Appreciation Day

Dodge City Days -- Dodge City, Kansas, through Aug. 8

Dog Day

Father-in-Law Day

Herbal Ballooning -- Fairy Calendar

Independence Day -- Vanuatu

Marseillaise Day -- France

Mutomboko Ceremony -- Zambia (through the 31st)

National Cheesecake Day

Somer's Day -- Bermuda

St. Abdon's Day

St. Silas' Day

Talk in an Elevator Day

Birthdays Today

Hilary Swank, 1974
Tom Green, 1971
Vivica A. Fox, 1964
Lisa Kudrow, 1963
Laurence Fishburne, 1961
Kate Bush, 1958
Delta Burke, 1956
Jean Reno, 1948
Arnold Schwarzenegger, 1947
Paul Anka, 1941
Peter Bogdanovich, 1939
Buddy Guy, 1936
Edd "Kookie" Byrnes, 1933
Thomas Sowell, 1930
Sid Krofft, 1929
Christine McGuire, 1926
Henry W. Bloch, 1922
Casey Stengel, 1891
Henry Ford, 1863
Georg Wilhelm von Siemens, 1855
Emily Bronte, 1818

Today in History

City of Baghdad is founded, 762
The First Defenestration of Prague, 1419
Christopher Columbus lands at Guanaja in the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras during his fourth voyage, 1502
At Ticonderoga (now Crown Point, New York), Samuel de Champlain shoots and kills two Iroquois chiefs, which set the tone for French-Iroquois relations for the next one hundred years, 1608
In Jamestown, Virginia, the first European style representative assembly in the Americas, the House of Burgesses, convenes for the first time, 1619
An earthquake in Naples, Italy kills 10,000 people, 1629
Baltimore, Maryland is founded, 1729
Bartolomeo Rastrelli presents the newly-built Catherine Palace to Empress Elizabeth and her courtiers, 1756
First ascent of Grand Combin, one of the highest summits in the Alps, 1859
Chief Pocatello of the Shoshone tribe signs the Treaty of Box Elder, agreeing to stop the harassment of emigrant trails in southern Idaho and northern Utah, 1863
In Montevideo, Uruguay wins the first Football World Cup, 1930
Premiere of Walt Disney's Flowers and Trees, the first cartoon short to use Technicolor and the first Academy Award winning cartoon short, 1932
A joint resolution of the U.S. Congress is signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, authorizing In God We Trust as the U.S. national motto, 1956
US President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Social Security Act of 1965
into law, establishing Medicare and Medicaid, 1965
David Scott and James Irwin on Apollo Lunar Module module, Falcon, land with first Lunar Rover on the moon, 1971
Six Royal Canadian Army Cadets killed and fifty-four injured in an accidental grenade blast at CFB Valcartier Cadet Camp, 1974
Jimmy Hoffa disappears, 1975
In Mexico, the last 'old style' Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the assembly line, 2003

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How to Get a Reputation

A reputation you might not want, that is.

#2 Son has come up with a new ambition. Last year, he got kicked out of co-op. Next year, he want to be the first person kicked off of the swim team at the aquatic club.

He says he want to join next year, go to practices, fake sick for all of the swim meets, not participate in city meet, and go to their awesome parties. That's what he really wants, is to get to go to the parties.

Then, at the last party, he wants to do something so bad he gets kicked out. He's not sure what it is, but I have already been the mean mom and told him no.

Especially since the same person who is the disciplinarian at co-op is also the parent coordinator for the swim team. She is a friend, and I can't do that to her.

It's bad enough the kid keeps me up at night, I don't want to do that to anyone else.

Today is

Cheese Sacrifice Purchase Day (Buy your cheese that will be sacrificed on Cheese Sacrifice Day, and all I can find is that supposedly, to get rid of mice, you sacrifice cheese -- perhaps by baiting a trap with it? -- and that any cheese to be so used is to be purchased today.)*

Emancipation Day -- Bermuda

Festival of the Polymorphously Perverse

National Anthem Day -- Romania

National Chili Dog Day

National Lasagna Day

National Thai Language Day -- Thailand

Norway Day -- Norwegian-Americans

Olavsoka -- Faroe Islands (opening of Logting, or Parliament)

Oslok Eve -- Norway

Prague Folklore Days -- through Aug. 1

Rain Day Festival -- Waynesburg, Pennsylvania (yes, it has rained at 111 out of the 135 observances of this festival; this year's Rain Day bet is with the Mayor of Houston, Texas)

St. Olaf's Day (patron carvers, difficult marriage, kings, Norway) -- sometimes associated with Thor's Day

*It gives me an excuse to use this quote, though: "A cheese may disappoint. It may be dull, it may be naive, it may be oversophisticated. Yet it remains cheese, milk's leap toward
immortality." Clifton Fadiman

Anniversaries Today

Mary, Queen of Scots, marries Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, 1565
Charles, Prince of Wales, marries Lady Diana Spencer, 1981

Birthdays Today

Wanya Morris, 1973
Julian McMahon, 1968
Martina McBride, 1966
Marilyn Quayle, 1949
Peter Jennings, 1938
Elizabeth Dole, 1936
Paul Taylor, 1930
Melvin Belli, 1907
Clara Bow, 1905
Dag Hammarskjold, 1905
Stanley Kunitz, 1905
Benito Mussolini, 1883
Alexis de Tocqueville, 1805

Today in History

King Olaf II fights and dies trying to regain his Norwegian throne from the Danes, 1030
James VI is crowned King of Scotland at Stirling, 1567
English naval forces under command of Lord Charles Howard and Sir Francis Drake defeat the Spanish Armada off the coast of Gravelines, France, 1588
John Graves Simcoe decides to build a fort and settlement at Toronto, having sailed into the bay there, 1793
Inauguration of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, 1836
In Tipperary, an unsuccessful nationalist revolt against British rule is put down by police, 1848
The First Hague Convention is signed, 1899
Sir Robert Baden Powell sets up the Brownsea Island Scout camp in Poole Harbour on the south coast of England; this is regarded as the foundation of the Scouting movement, 1907
The International Atomic Energy Agency is established, 1957
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President of France François Mitterrand sign the agreement to build a tunnel under the English Channel, 1987
The film Cry Freedom is seized by South African authorities, 1988
Astronomers announce the discovery of Eris, the largest dwarf planet in the solar system, 2005

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Babies

Not much going on today. Just 3 newborn kittens, brought here last night. Found at someone's work, they are feisty and beautiful -- going to be colorpoints of some sort, meaning Siamese looking.

They eat well, and we have high hopes.

Today is

Celebration of Our Lady of the Snows begins

Day of Commemoration of the Great Upheaval -- Canada

Hamburger Day

Imp-Handling Conference -- Fairy Calendar

Independence Day -- Peru

National Milk Chocolate Day

Olavsoka Eve -- Faroe Islands (night before the opening of Parliament)

Pythias' Day -- Ancient Greek Calendar

St. Innocent I's Day

St. Victor I's Day

Anniversaries Today

Henry VIII marries Catherine Howard, 1540

Birthdays Today

Sally Struthers, 1948
Jim Davis, 1945
Rick Wright, 1945
Bill Bradley, 1943
Phil Proctor, 1040
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, 1929
Earl Tupper, 1907
Rudy Vallee, 1901
Joe E. Brown, 1892
Beatrix Potter, 1866

Today in History

Thomas Cromwell is executed at the order of Henry VIII of England on charges of treason, 1540
Bermuda is first settled by Europeans, survivors of the English ship Sea Venture en route to Virginia, 1609
Maximilien Robespierre is executed by guillotine in Paris during the French Revolution, 1794
Welsh settlers arrive at Chubut in Argentina, 1865
First flight of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, 1935
The Metropolitan Police Flying Squad foils a bullion robbery in the "Battle of London Airport", 1948
The Tangshan earthquake measuring between 7.8 and 8.2 moment magnitude flattens Tangshan, the People's Republic of China, killing 242,769 and injuring 164,851, 1976
Andorra joins the United Nations, 1993
Australian Ian Thorpe becomes the first swimmer to win six gold medals at a single World Championships, 2001
The Provisional Irish Republican Army calls an end to its thirty year long armed campaign in Northern Ireland, 2005

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Several of my hairs are silver.

I've earned them.

From the kids, and from 25 years of marriage, as of today.

Happy Silver Anniversary to us.

Somehow it seems appropriate that Bugs Bunny made his debut on this date, too. Sometimes my life is like a Looney Tune, and I guess we have lived some Merrie Melodies.

May any and all who read have a blessed day.

Today is

Barbie-in-a-blender Day (I get why we do it to Barbie, but what did your blender do to deserve this?)

Day of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus -- Ancient Latvia

Iglesia Ni Cristo Day -- Philippines

Jose Celso Barbosa Day -- Puerto Rico

National Blunt Object Day

National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day

National Scotch Day

National Sleepy Head Day -- Finland

Over-The-Moon Night (Cows and Spoons) -- Fairy Calendar

St. Pantaleon's Day

Take Your (House) Plants For a Walk Day (some websites mistakenly call it take your pants for a walk day)

Victory Day -- North Korea

Walk on Stilts Day (at your own risk always!)

Birthdays Today

Ashlyn Sanchez, 1996
Cheyenne Kimball, 1990
Alex Rodriguez, 1975
Triple H, 1969
Maureen McGovern, 1949
Peggy Fleming, 1948
Betty Thomas, 1947
Bobbie Gentry, 1944
Gary Gygax, 1938
Jerry Van Dyke, 1931
Norman Lear, 1922
Alexandre Dumas, fils, 1824

Today in History

Siward, Earl of Northumbria invades Scotland to support Malcolm Canmore against Macbeth of Scotland, who usurped the Scottish throne from Malcolm's father, King Duncan; Macbeth is defeated at Dunsinane, 1054
Jesuit priest Francis Xavier's ship reaches Japan, 1549
The English Parliament passes the second Navigation Act requiring that all goods bound for the American colonies have to be sent in English ships from English ports, 1663
A Royal Charter is granted to the Bank of England, 1694
The Russian Navy defeats the Swedes atthe Battle of Grengam, 1720
The first U.S. federal government agency, the Department of Foreign Affairs, is established (later renamed Department of State), 1789
Robespierre is finally arrested, 1794
The Atlantic Cable is successfully completed, allowing transatlantic telegraph communication for the first time, 1866
Researchers at the University of Toronto led by biochemist Frederick Banting announce the discovery of the hormone insulin, 1921
The animated short A Wild Hare is released, introducing the character of Bugs Bunny, 1940
RMS Titanic, Inc. begins the first expedited salvaging of wreckage of the RMS Titanic, 1987

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cleaning Mode

I am in cleaning mode, sorting for a garage sale in the fall.

My apologies to Julia W. Howe, who wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Mine eyes have seen the beauty of a nice decluttered house;
There is not a nasty hiding place, not even for a mouse;
There are no cries of, "I can't find my..." from frustrated spouse;
That will be me someday!

Toss and toss and toss and toss more!
Toss and toss and toss and toss more!
Toss and toss and toss and toss more!
My dream will soon come true!

I can see it as I toss out all those old cracked plastic cups;
I have built another storage shelf, and will not fill it up;
Read the handwriting on the wall, my path don't interrupt;
This trash just will not stay!

Toss and toss and toss and toss more!
Toss and toss and toss and toss more!
Toss and toss and toss and toss more!
My dream will soon come true!

I have sounded out a war cry and I will not call retreat;
I am sorting out this junk and stuff from my own judgment seat;
Be swift to carry trash outside, there will be no defeat;
I will soon have my day!

Toss and toss and toss and toss more!
Toss and toss and toss and toss more!
Toss and toss and toss and toss more!
My dream will soon come true!

Today is

All or Nothing Day

Asalha Puja Day -- Buddhist (commemorates the Buddha’s first sermon in the Deer Park in Benares and the founding of the Buddhist sangha)

Aunt and Uncle Day

Curacao Day -- Curacao, Netherlands Antilles

Day of the National Rebellion -- Cuba

Full Buck Moon/Thunder Moon/Hay Moon (deer bucks begin to grow new antlers, thunderstorms are common, and hay is ripening)

Groovy Chicken Day

Independence Day -- Liberia; Maldives

Kargil Vijay Diwas -- India (Kargil Victory Day)

Lailat al Bara'ah -- Islam (also known as the Night of Repentance, Night of Forgiveness or Night of Absolution, Borak's Night or Shab-i-Barat, and commemorates when the Prophet Muhammad entered Mecca.)

National Coffee Milkshake Day

One Voice Day

St. Anne's Day (traditional name given to the mother of Mary; patron of Canada, grandmothers, housewives, miners and against infertility)

St. Joachim's Day (traditional name given to the father of Mary; patron of the town of Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, and of fathers and grandfathers)

Wonderful Drinks Day -- Fairy Calendar

Anniversaries Today

New York becomes the 11th US State, 1788
Signing of the American's With Disabilities Act, 1990

Birthdays Today

Kate Beckinsale, 1973
Sandra Bullock, 1964
Kevin Spacey, 1959
Angela Hewitt, 1958
Dorothy Hamill, 1956
Roger Taylor, 1949
Helen Mirren, 1945
Mick Jagger, 1943
Dobie Gray, 1940
Stanley Kubrick, 1928
Blake Edwards, 1922
Jason Robards, Jr., 1922
Vivian Vance, 1912
Gracie Allen, 1902
Aldous Huxley, 1894
Carl Jung, 1875
George Bernard Shaw, 1856

Today in History

The first recorded women's cricket match took place near Guildford, England, 1745
The birth of what would later become the United States Post Office Department is established by the Second Continental Congress, 1775
The Surrey Iron Railway, often considered the world's first public railway, opens in south London, 1803
In California, the poet and American West outlaw calling himself "Black Bart" makes his last clean getaway, 1878
Premiere of Richard Wagner's Parsifal at Bayreuth, 1882
Publication of the Unua Libro, founding the Esperanto movement, 1887
United States Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issues an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation), 1908*
King Edward VIII, in one of his few official duties before he abdicated the throne, officially unveiled the Canadian National Vimy Memoria, 1936
The Labour Party wins the United Kingdom general election of July 5 by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power, 1945
U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Act into United States law creating the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council, 1947
U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs Executive Order 9981 desegregating the military of the United States, 1948
Fidel Castro leads an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks, thus beginning the Cuban Revolution, 1953
Syncom 2, the world's first geosynchronous satellite, is launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster, 1963
A federal grand jury indicts Cornell University student Robert T. Morris, Jr. for releasing the Morris worm, thus becoming the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 1989
Mumbai, India receives 99.5cm of rain (39.17 inches) within 24 hours, bringing the city to a halt for over 2 days, 2005

*Yes, the grand-nephew of Napoleon I started the FBI -- I'm not sure why that seems so odd to me.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cat Tails

Cat Rescue Report

Neither Grady nor Prissy escaped tonight. For some reason they seemed very subdued.

Princess and Zeus were their usual selves, "abnormally loving," as Bigger Girl describes them.

She is not so nice about Mouse, the cat who had her first kittens before she was only 6 months old. Bigger Girl calls her a slut and a catnip head! Actually, she laughs when she says it, as Mouse is dainty and petite and was a good mama, and so very friendly and playful to everyone. Molly, her roomie, is the same, although thankfully she never had kittens.

Nacho still has that abrasion on his neck, but opening up a vitamin E capsule and putting the contents on it twice a day is working. It is healing well, and he and Kevynne are doing well.

We are concerned about Noonie and Sheba. Sheba is a nutcase, formerly in the room with Simba and Curly Sue, where none of them were happy. Sheba is still nutty, and she and Noonie had nothing in their litter box and showed no signs of having eaten. We will have to watch them, Noonie may need to be with a calmer cat, and Simba is way too high strung.

Let the bells ring out! Frieda purred for Little Girl! Maybe she is making progress, now that is two people she likes.

Dusty, on her shelf, was a love as usual. Corrie actually came out of hiding this week to be petted. She seems as sweet-natured as her two roomies, but Angel is taking some convincing. She doesn't attack or get physically aggressive, but she does hiss at Corrie on occasion. I think they will learn to get along -- probably just in time for one or more of them to be adopted.

Simba had his paws sticking out from under the door, trying so hard to get someone to come play with him. When Little Girl went in there to clean, he jumped on her back as she bent over to scoop the box. Amy says Simba is nuts, but I think he's no crazier than his roomie, Curly Sue. She is still messy. She loves shredding the cardboard from the cat claw sharpener and tossing litter everywhere, even spilling water if she can manage it. Maverick, who is new in that room, is more laid back. I hope he can calm things down a bit and not be driven to distraction by the other two.

JuJu was in her cage, hissing and mad as usual. We need to put her with Frieda, they could be (behaviorally) twins. My scratches that night were from JuJu.

Bart was in a cage, back from LuvAPet adoption center at the pet store for not eating. Some of them do not like strangers around all day long and react badly. His bowl was not overflowing, however, and he climbed into the empty litter box and scratched around after I finished cleaning his cage. While I cleaned, he didn't leave his regal cushion, and hissed at me for coming near him with the whisk broom as I swept out the bottom of his cage. Brooms are a real problem for some cats.

Ginny is also in a cage, back from LAP for "bad poop" as we euphemistically say. She was our only escapee for the evening, loving, playful, wanting to romp, and oh, my what is that in your litter box now? No, besides the stinky stuff. Ah, so that's where your toy went. She bats toys around her cage when she can't get people to play with her. Somebody please take her home and let her run.

Speaking of running, Phoenix is still not allowed to run or jump because of his broken leg. The poor little guy wants to so badly though, that it is hard not to give in and let him. He runs as much as the large carrier he is in lets him do, batting at toys, romping as much as he can, playing with people's hands whenever anyone touches him.

That is also going to be a problem. Kittens need other kittens to wrestle and bite and chew on, or they do it to the hands of the people handling them. This becomes a big deal once those teeth get big enough to hurt, especially as, by then, biting hands has become a habit. Yes, they can be trained out of it, but that can take time, and lots of adoptive families give up and return the kitten rather than go through all of that. This happens even when we explain, and instruct, and work with them.

He is also very lonely. It was heartbreaking to hear him crying for attention as we left.

Bonsai, Sudoku, Mulan, and Shogun are all overcoming their shyness, playing and having a ball with each other and anyone else who wants to join the fun. They are messy, because they play everywhere, including in the litter box. You can't blame them, the kitten cage is big and has multiple levels, but they need more space still.

Also, whoever had fed them that morning had taken their water bowl to rinse and refill, and must have gotten distracted because the bowl was still there by the sink. Those babies had gone all day with no water! When I put it back, they all took turns drinking continuously for several minutes. At least, instead of a cage card for each kitten separately, there was only one. It was labeled "Japanese babies," and so I only had to note the lack of water one time. Having to repeat the same condition on multiple cards gets to be a pill, although I do it when I have to.

Chyna had people in her office with her, so she was all business with me, just wanting her food now, thankyouverymuch. Once she has had her quota of attention, you better come through with the kibble.

Finally, my favorite, Rory. Last week I sneaked more food to him despite the "feed them only the amount listed" rule. Now, we may free feed him with abandon, and boy are we all! He is losing that gaunt look as he heals up and he will soon be scheduled for surgery and adoptable. That won't happen soon enough for me -- his litter box has that distinctive tom cat smell to it.

Amy was up there while we cleaned, and she let Rory out for exercise. It was beautiful to watch him walk a step or two, then stretch, then walk another couple of steps, and stretch the other way. Somebody is going to have a gorgeous guy when he gets adopted.

So, all shipshape, and no emergencies.

Today is

Act Like A Caveman Day

Commonwealth Constitution Day -- Puerto Rico

Culinarian's Day

Ebernoe Horn Festival -- Sussex, England

Festival of the Knee-Knockers -- Fairy Calendar

Furrinalia -- Ancient Etruscan Calendar (Furrina, goddess of the sacred grove and spring on Janniculum hill)

Guanacaste Day -- Costa Rica

Ilyap'a -- Ancient Inca Calendar (festival of the thunder god)

Independence Day -- Netherlands (declared this day in 1581)

Jekaba Diena -- Ancient Latvian Calendar (Jacob's Day, start of the hay harvest)

Loiza Aldea Fiesta -- Puerto Rico (associated with the feast day of St. James)

National Day -- Galicia

National Hot Fudge Sundae Day

Parent's Day (4th Sunday)

Procession of the Penitents -- Veurne, Belgium (passion play dating back to the 15th century) (last Sunday of July)

Republic Day -- Tunisia

St. Christopher's Day (patron of travel, motorists, bachelors, bus drivers, ferryboat men, police, soldiers, skiers, truck drivers; against nightmares, tempests)

St. James' Day (The Apostle, brother of St. John and son of Zebedee, the first martyr, patron of furriers, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Spain, veterinarians and against arthritis, sometimes called Jacob, the Latinized version of his name)

Threading the Needle Day -- China (Chinese version of Valentine's Day, also called Double Seven Day or Qi Xi Festival)

Wan Khao Pansa -- Buddhist (beginning of their "lent")

Birthdays Today

Brad Renfro, 1982
Louise Brown, 1978
Matt LeBlanc, 1967
Walter Payton, 1954
Barbara Harris, 1935
Estelle Getty, 1923
Walter Brennan, 1894
Maxfield Parrish, 1870

Today in History

Diocletian appoints Maximian as Caesar, co-ruler, 285
Constantine I is proclaimed Roman emperor by his troops, 306
The Edict of Pistres of Charles the Bald orders defensive measures against the Vikings, 864
Sebastián de Belalcázar, on his search for El Dorado, founds the city of Santiago de Cali, Colombia, 1536
Don Diego de Losada founds the city of Santiago de Leon de Caracas, modern-day Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela, 1567
Henry IV of France publicly converts from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism, 1593
James VI of Scotland is crowned James I of England, bringing the Kingdoms of England and Scotland into personal union; political union would occur in later, 1603
Ignacio de Maya founds the Real Santiago de las Sabinas, now known as Sabinas Hidalgo, Nuevo León, México, 1693
British governor Charles Lawrence and the Nova Scotia Council order the deportation of the Acadians; thousands of Acadians are sent to the British Colonies in America, France and England, and some later move to Louisiana, while others resettle in New Brunswick, 1755
Horatio Nelson loses more than 300 men and his right arm during the failed conquest attempt of Tenerife (Spain), 1797
Costa Rica annexes Guanacaste from Nicaragua, 1824
The first commercial use of an electric telegraph is successfully demonstrated by William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone between Euston and Camden Town in London, 1837
The Japanese daimyo begin returning their land holdings to the emperor as part of the Meiji Restoration reforms, 1869
Kikunae Ikeda of the Tokyo Imperial University discovers that a key ingredient in Konbu soup stock is monosodium glutamate (MSG), and patents a process for manufacturing it, 1908
Sir Thomas Whyte introduces the first income tax in Canada as a "temporary" measure, 1917
The first transatlantic two-way radio broadcast takes place, 1920
Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) is established, 1925
At Club 500 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis stage their first show as a comedy team, 1946
Italian ocean liner SS Andrea Doria collides with the MS Stockholm in heavy fog and sinks the next day, killing 51, 1956
The Republic of Tunisia proclaimed, 1957
Louise Brown, the world's first "test tube baby" is born, 1978
Israel and Jordan sign the Washington Declaration, which formally ends the state of war that had existed between the nations since 1948, 1994
K.R. Narayanan is sworn-in as India's 10th president and the first Dalit— formerly called "untouchable"— to hold this office, 1997
Air France Flight 4590, a Concorde supersonic passenger jet, F-BTSC, crashes just after takeoff from Paris killing all 109 aboard and 4 on the ground, 2000
Pratibha Patil is sworn in as India's first woman president, 2007

Saturday, July 24, 2010

You Never Know What That Baby Will Grow Up To Do

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!

Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promis’d good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below,
Will be forever mine.

Those are the original published words; the origin of the tune is unknown.

These were penned by a former slave trader, who remembered the few lessons on religion learned at his mother's knee as a small boy before her early death while steering his slave ship through a terrible storm.

A few years later, even though he tried to ensure all slaves he brought over were well treated, he could no longer stomach his work, and became a cleric.

This song was one of many he wrote over his years of teaching and preaching.

Happy Birthday, John Newton. Little did you know you had written one of the English languages most widely recognized songs.

I think your mama would have been proud.

Today is

Amelia Earhart Day

Bolivar Day -- Ecuador; Venezuela

Coffee Day

Cousins Day

Festival of St. Eloi, French Basque

Jilwalla Jinks' Jamboree -- Fairy Calendar

National Day of the Cowboy

National Drive Through Day

National Tequila Day

Pioneer Day -- Mormon Christian

Pop a Wheelie Day

Public Opinion Day

Simon Bolivar Day -- Ecuador

St. Boris' Day (patron of Moscow, Russia)

Stirling Settler Day -- Stirling, Alberta, Canada

Tell an Old Joke Day

World Congress of Esperanto -- Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba, through the 31st

Birthdays Today

Bindi Irwin, 1998
Dhani Lennevald, 1984
Anna Paquin, 1982
Summer Glau, 1981
Eric Szmanda, 1975
Jennifer Lopez, 1969
Barry Bonds, 1964
Linda Carter, 1951
Michael Richards, 1949
Ruth Buzzi, 1936
Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, 1900
Chief Dan George, 1899
Amelia Earhart, 1897
Oswald Chambers, 1874
Alexandre Dumas, pere, 1802
Simon Bolivar, 1783
John Newton, 1725

Today in History

Death in Kyoto, Japan, of Kamo no Chomei (b. 1155), Japanese author, poet (waka) and essayist, critic of Japanese vernacular poetry and major figure of Japanese poetics, 1216
Citizens of Leeuwarden, Netherlands strike against ban on foreign beer, 1487
Jacques Cartier plants a cross on the Gaspé Peninsula and takes possession of the territory in the name of Francis I of France, 1534
Mary, Queen of Scots, is forced to abdicate and replaced by her 1-year-old son James VI, 1567
Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founds the trading post at Fort Pontchartrain, which later becomes the city of Detroit, Michigan, 1701
A Spanish treasure fleet of 10 ships under Admiral Ubilla leaves Havana, Cuba for Spain; on the 31st, all ships will be lost and come to be known as the !715 Treasure Fleet, 1715
Slavery is abolished in Chile, 1823
The first opinion poll was carried out in Delaware, USA, 1824
Benjamin Bonneville leads the first wagon train across the Rocky Mountains by using Wyoming's South Pass, 1832
After 17 months of travel, Brigham Young leads 148 Mormon pioneers into Salt Lake Valley, resulting in the establishment of Salt Lake City, 1847
The first tramway opened in England, 1861
Tennessee becomes the first U.S. State to be readmitted to the Union following the American Civil War, 1866
Captain Matthew Webb, who was the first person to swim the English Channel, drowned while trying to swim the rapids above Niagara Falls, 1883
O. Henry is released from prison in Austin, Texas after serving three years for embezzlement from a bank, 1901
Hiram Bingham III re-discovers Machu Picchu, "the Lost City of the Incas", 1911
The first insulin treatment is carried out, on a six-year-old girl, at St Guy's Hospital, London, 1925
The Kellogg-Briand Pact, renouncing war as an instrument of foreign policy, goes into effect, 1929*
The dust bowl heat wave reaches its peak, sending temperatures to 109°F (44°C) in Chicago and 104°F (40°C) in Milwaukee, 1935
During an official state visit to Canada, French President Charles de Gaulle declares to a crowd of over 100,000 in Montreal: Vive le Québec libre! ("Long live free Quebec!"), 1967
Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the last Tsar of Bulgaria when he was a child, is sworn in as Prime Minister of Bulgaria, becoming the first monarch in history to regain political power through democratic election to a different office, 2001

*Nice try, fellas.

Friday, July 23, 2010


In the continuing saga of #2 Son's bicycle, I bought him yet another inner tube. No problem, he said, about getting it on.

Lots of problems. He borrowed the wrong wrench from the neighbor, who had to come over and get the stripped bolt off (Son stripped it himself using the wrong wrench, of course).

Then it was time to pack the bike back into the van and go to the filling station to air it up. Comedy of errors. First, he pulls the hose around, and puts in his quarters. At this point, he is trying to do it while leaving the bike in the vehicle. The nozzle wouldn't get onto the valve stem. The stem itself was so close to a wheel spoke that the nozzle just didn't fit without forcing.

So he pulls the bike out of the van to get more leverage to force it. He finally gets the nozzle on, puts in some air, checks it. Not enough. Force it back on.

Naturally, it starts raining. He moves the bike to get a better grip, with me trying to help hold it steady. Gets it on, a bit more air. Still not enough, and raining harder.

Gets the nozzle back on again, the machine quits. We ran out of time.

Home again, he realizes that not only did it not quite get enough air in, he also put the tire back on wrong. He will have to let all of the air out, reposition the tire, and try again.

Oh, and the rain shower was short. It was over by the time we got back in the van.

The day, however, is not over. I burned myself really, really well on the crock pot making chili. Nice, arcing second degree burn on my left forearm. So, imagine being mommy all day long, driving, cooking, cleaning, folding, etc., while holding ice packs on the forearm. No, don't imagine it. It isn't pretty.

Finally, Sweetie has been given a toy. It is an analog meter for reading how much electricity your outlets are actually giving you. It does lots of other neat stuff, too, but that is the main thing. He needs it so he can accurately use his Variac to lower the voltage so he can use his amplifiers, which are old and meant to work on lower volts. Too much voltage will fry their delicate innards, and it will be further thousands of dollars to repair them, after all we have put into them.

Problem is, the friend who gave him the toy found it in his attic. The guy was a tv repair person for years, and has tons of old stuff around. He did not, however, find the electric cord to make the thing work. So Sweetie has been on a quest for a cord, as he doesn't want the bother of taking the thing apart and putting in Nine 9v batteries, which would have to be replaced frequently.

The quest for a cord has been long and hard and he has had a couple of false leads, including a friend of this friend who has a cord, but wants close to $100 smackers for it. That is something we can ill afford.

Then, finally, a couple of weeks ago he found a place that has what might fit. It's only $7.50, but the guy has a minimum order of $15. Okay, we order two, and pay shipping.

A red letter day, a day for sagas, the cords arrive. Sweetie was asleep, and I told Bigger Girl to bring them up to him. She didn't know he had fallen asleep on the bed reading. She just opened our door and tossed the cords on the bed, where they landed square on Sweetie. I heard the yelp from all the way across the house. That man is loud when he is startled.

Anyway, the moment of truth. Yes, a saga that ends well. The cords work.

#2 Son's bike will go back to the shop soon.

Today is

32nd Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival -- Gilroy, California, through the 26th (always the last full weekend in July) Gilroy is where 90% of the country's garlic is grown. Someone, and I cannot find out who, once said that Gilroy is the only place in the world where you can marinate a steak by hanging it out on the clothesline!

Feast of Sulis -- Ancient Celtic Calendar, goddess of the springs at Bath

Gorgeous Grandma Day

Hot Enough For Ya Day

National Hot Dog Day

Neptunalia and Salcia -- Ancient Roman Calendar, god and goddess of the
ocean and wide seas

Private Eye Day

Remembrance Day -- Papua New Guinea

Revolution Day -- Egypt

St. Apollinaris' Feast

St. Bridget's Day (patron of scholars, Sweden)

UFO Days -- Elmwood, Wisconsin, through the 25th (Wisconsin's UFO capital, visit the petting zoo, shop at the community wide thrift sale, take part in the fun run, softball games, medallion
hunts, bed races, and dances; watch the crowning of Miss Elmwood, the tractorcade, the car and truck show, the nightly fireworks, and stage bands; let the kids have a ball in the greased pig race and kiddie water fight; enjoy the Knights of Columbus pancake breakfast and the bake
sale; and no need to miss church Sunday morning, bring a lawn chair for the ecumenical service so you don't miss a moment of the fun and excitement!)

Vanilla Ice Cream Day

Anniversaries Today

Prince Andrew, Duke of York marries Sarah Ferguson, 1986

Birthdays Today

Daniel Radcliffe, 1989
Michelle Williams, 1980
Nomar Garciapara, 1973
Marlon Wayans, 1972
Charisma Carpenter, 1970
Philip Seymour Hoffman, 1967
Woody Harrelson, 1961
Lamont "ShowBoat" Robinson, 1961
Don Imus, 1940
Don Drysdale, 1936
Bert Convy, 1933
Amalia Rodrigues, 1920
Harold "Pee Wee" Reese, 1918
Arthur Treacher, 1894
Haile Selassie I, 1892
Raymond Chandler, 1888

Today in History

William Austin Burt patents the Typographer, a precursor to the typewriter, 1829
The Province of Canada is created by the Act of Union, 1840
The Federation Internationale de Gymnastique, the world's oldest international sport federation, is founded, 1881
The Ford Motor Company sells its first car, 1903
Fox Film buys the patents of the Movietone sound system for recording sound onto film, 1926
Telstar relays the first publicly transmitted, live trans-Atlantic television program, featuring Walter Cronkite, 1962
The International Whaling Commission decides to end commercial whaling within 4 years, 1982 *
Air Canada Flight 143 runs out of fuel and makes a deadstick landing at Gimli, Manitoba, 1983
Comet Hale-Bopp is discovered, 1995
Cape Verde becomes the 153rd member of the World Trade Organization, 2008

*Don't I wish that had worked!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ratcachers, Spooners, Crippen, Roanoke

What really happened in the town of Hamelin?

Yes, we all know the story of the Pied Piper, and how he took away the rats, and then the children. We all grow up figuring it is just a story.

Something did happen to the children of Hamelin, sometime before the year 1200, something that so impressed itself upon the town's consciousness that a stained glass window commemorating it was in the city's church by 1300, verses were composed by that time, and the window itself was to be seen until around 1660, when it was replaced.

Did 130 of the town's children get drafted into a Children's Crusade? Was there a landslide that buried a large group of children out playing near the river? Perhaps several curious children went out to see the river, swollen over its banks with unseasonable rains, and got careless and silly as children do and were washed away.

It's a mystery, and like the mystery of what happened to the first of Roanoke Island's settlers, we will likely never really know.

It did however, take something amazing to happen to sear itself into the minds of a town so strongly.

Another curious coincidence tied to this date. In 1910, the captain of the SS Montrose, and Atlantic steamer, cabled that he believed a notorious murderer named Hawley Crippen and his lover were on board in disguise. He was correct, and when they reached port on July 31, the pair were arrested.

Then, in December of 1914, the SS Montrose was to be sunk at the entry to Dover harbor as a defense against U-boats. It broke from its mooring during a storm and a futile attempt was made to secure cables and rein her in. She was finally sunk in the channel where she can still be seen.

So, what is so curious about that? The last sailor to leave the ship after the attempt to secure her was named Crippen.

Today is

Cleveland Day

Dornach Commemoration Day -- Switzerland

Festival of Boredom and Reverie

Hammock Day

Independence Day -- India

International Childbirth Education Awareness Day

National Liberation Day -- Poland

National Penuche Fudge Day

Pi Approximation Day (22nd day of month 7; 22/7 is the approximation of Pi)

Preparedness Day

Ratcatcher's Day

Soma-Nomaoi -- Japan (wild horse chase), through the 25th

Spooners Day (Spoonerism -- Named for William Archibald Spooner, English cleric and scholar who once fussed at a student because "You hissed my mystery lesson," told a groom it was "kisstomery to cuss the bride," and once accidentally referred to Queen Victoria as "the queer old Dean.")

St. Mary Magdalene's Day

Birthdays Today

Madison Pettis, 1998
Selena Gomez, 1992
Daniel Jones, 1973
Rufus Wainwright, 1973
Shawn Michaels, 1965
David Spade, 1964
Willem Dafoe, 1955
Alan Menken, 1949
Albert Brooks, 1947
Don Henley, 1947
Danny Glover, 1946
Estelle Bennett, 1944
Bobby Sherman, 1943
Alex Trebek, 1940
Terrence Stamp, 1939
Louise Fletcher, 1934
Oscar De la Renta, 1932
Orson Bean, 1928
Bob Dole, 1923
Amy Vanderbilt, 1908
Alexander Calder, 1898
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1890
William Archibald Spooner, 1844

Today in History

A second group of English settlers arrive on Roanoke Island off North Carolina to re-establish the deserted colony, 1587
Alexander Mackenzie reaches the Pacific Ocean becoming the first Euro-American to complete a transcontinental crossing of Canada, 1793
Death of Josef Strauss, Austrian composer, 1870
First ever motorized racing event is held in France between the cities of Paris and Rouen. The race is won by comte Jules-Albert de Dion, 1894
Wiley Post becomes the first person to fly solo around the world traveling 15,596 miles in 7 days, 18 hours and 45 minutes, 1933
Dezik and Tzygan become the first of Russias Space Dogs, making a sub-orbital flight, which they both survived, 1951
The second Blue Water Bridge opens between Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario, 1997

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bits of News

#1 Son is now among the gainfully employed. He is a pizza delivery guy! Today I took him for an eye exam, as he is coming due for new driving glasses anyway, and I'd rather do it now to make sure he can get those pies there hot and on time and safely.

So much for kids never get outside any more. #2 Son has managed to wear out the tires on his 4-month-old bike. The tires were rated for 500 miles, and he wore the tread off of them that fast. For a few days he has walked around saying, "I want to...oh, wait, I can't. The bike is broken."

We went to get new tires. It took trips to 3 stores, and we finally got them put on -- for 1/3 the initial cost of the bike! He still had one good inner tube, or so we thought. That went about 5 hours after we got home with the bike. So, I will be going to MallMart for another inner tube. I'm glad that is the cheap part, and he can change that himself.

Bigger Girl is loving her job still. The other day she really made friends with one of the mares. It allowed itself to be led without a halter over a step that most of the mares shy at. Bigger Girl just put her hand on the side of the mare's neck and said, "Let's go, it's okay," and the animal followed, and a second followed behind.

Little Girl is very much enjoying her freedom from having therapy or slings or anything to do with arm trouble. Today she went out to the creek to play, no worries. It's nice to watch her heading out, so excited.

July 21

Today is

Bregenzer Festspiele (Bregenz Festival) -- Bregenz, Austria (performing arts festival, through August 22)

Feast of Damo (keeper of secrets of philosophy; daughter of Greek sages, Pythagoras and Theano)

Friendship Festival -- Missouri, through the 24th

Independence Day -- Belgium

Legal Drinking Age Day

Liberation Day -- Guam

National Creme Brulee Day

National Junk Food Day

National Tug-Of-War Tournament Day

Monkey Day (monkey around with your friends -- pull a joke and make a monkey of someone)

Racial Harmony Day -- Singapore

Schoelcher Day -- French West Indies; Martinique

St. Lawrence of Brindisi's Day

St. Praxedes' Day

Birthdays Today

Hatty Jones, 1988
Josh Hartnett, 1978
Jon Lovitz, 1957
Michael Connelly, 1956
Robin Williams, 1951
Cat Stevens, 1948
Kenneth Starr, 1946
Norman Jewison, 1926
Don Knotts, 1924
Kay Starr, 1922
Isaac Stern, 1920
Marshall McLuhan, 1911
Ernest Hemingway, 1899

Today in History

Herostratus sets fire to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, BCE 356
A tsunami devastates the city of Alexandria, Egypt, 365
The first landing of French troops on the coast of the Isle of Wight during the French invasion of the Isle of Wight occurs, 1545
Twenty-four-year-old Scottish physician and explorer Mungo Park became the first European to see the Niger River, the third longest river in Africa, 1796
In the market square of Springfield, Missouri, Wild Bill Hickok shoots and kills Davis Tutt in what is regarded as the first true western showdown, 1865
Louis Rigolly, a Frenchman, becomes the first man to break the 100 mph (161 km/h) barrier on land, driving a 15-liter Gobron-Brille in Ostend, Belgium, 1904
In Dayton, Tennessee, high school biology teacher John T. Scopes is found guilty of teaching evolution in class and fined $100, 1925
Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin become the first men to walk on the Moon, during the Apollo 11 mission, 1969
The world's lowest temperature is recorded at Vostok Station, Antarctica at -82.9*C (-129*F), 1983
The fully restored USS Constitution (aka "Old Ironsides") celebrates her 200th birthday by setting sail for the first time in 116 years, 1997

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Funny How Things Work Out Sometimes

When the electrician friend was here last week, I asked him about how much the whole house surge protector would be. He quoted me a quick price, but without checking for the exact cost of the protector itself. It sounded very reasonable to me.

I then mentioned it to my dad, and he offered to pay for it as my birthday present this year. I know that really he just wants to make sure his grandkids don't end up in a burning house,but it is still a nice thing. Only problem was he wanted to get a price quote from our electrician and from a guy who does nothing but install those surge protectors for a living.

The last thing I want is for someone who knows nothing about generators messing with the crazy wiring in this place. So I told my dad to get me the name of the other person, and I would get quotes and let him know. I was going to pay the difference if my friend was more expensive, and just not tell my dad.

Well, my dad called. He didn't get me the number, instead he got the quotes himself. The guy who does it for a living wanted over $1,000, and there is a wait, as he has a good bit of business.

My friend said $400 and he will have it in this week.

Funny how things work out just right sometimes, isn't it?

Today is

Chess Day

Fortune Cookie Day

Friend's Day -- Argentina

Independence Day -- Colombia

Moon Day

National Lollipop Day

St. Elijah's Day (patron against drought, earthquakes)

Saint Margaret of Antioch's Day (patron of childbirth)

St. Uncumber's Day (patron against men's lust)

Thgir-yaw-Dnuor Day -- Fairy Calendar

Tisha B'Av -- Jewish (fast commemorating the destruction of the first and Second Temples)

Ugly Truck Contest Day (must be a guy thing)

Birthdays Today

Gisele Bundchen, 1980
Chris Cornell, 1964
Billy Mays, 1958
Carlos Santana, 1947
Kim Carnes, 1946
Diana Rigg, 1938
Natalie Wood, 1938
Chuck Daly, 1933
Sir Edmund Hillary, 1919
Alberto Santos-Dumont, 1873
Gregor Mendel, 1822
Francesco Petrarch, 1304
Alexander the Great, BCE 356

Today in History

Titus, son of emperor Vespasian, storms the Fortress of Antonia north of the Temple Mount; the Roman army is drawn into street fights with the Zealots during the Siege of Jerusalem, 70
The Riot Act takes effect in Great Britain, 1712
French explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de la Vérendrye reaches the western shore of Lake Michigan, 1738
British Columbia joins the confederation of Canada, 1871
Sioux Chief Sitting Bull leads the last of his fugitive people in surrender to United States troops at Fort Buford, North Dakota, 1881
Ford Motor Company ships its first car, 1903
Congresswoman Alice Mary Robertson becomes the first woman to preside over the US House of Representatives, 1921
In London, 500,000 march against anti-Semitism, while in Nuremburg, Germany, 200 Jewish merchants are arrested and paraded through the streets, 1933
The Organization for European Economic Cooperation admits Spain, 1959
Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) elects Sirimavo Bandaranaike Prime Minister, the world's first elected female head of government, 1960
The Special Olympics is founded, 1968
Apollo 11 successfully lands on the Moon 3:39 a.m. GMT 21st July, 1969
India expels three reporters from The Times, The Daily Telegraph, and Newsweek because they refused to sign a pledge to abide by government censorship, 1975
The Viking 1 lander successfully lands on Mars, 1976
Hank Aaron hits his 755th home run, the final home run of his career, 1976
In Zimbabwe, Parliament opens its new session and seats opposition members for the first time in a decade, 2000

Monday, July 19, 2010

Propositions about Prepositions

Yes, it is okay to end a sentence with a preposition. Sometimes. Snotty, snooty people can say what they want, you will not find the rule "Do not end a sentence with a preposition" in any English grammar book.

"On what did you step?" sounds silly. No one talks that way. It is acceptable, according to grammar teachers, to say, "What did you step on?"

The rule is don't use a preposition when it is not needed. That is true whether at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence.

And remember the old joke:

A cattle buyer was seated next to an attractive woman on an airplane.

Trying to be friendly, the cattle buyer said, "Where are you from?"

With a withering look, the woman said, "From a place where we are sufficiently educated not to use a preposition at the end of a sentence."

The cattle buyer sat quietly for a few moments and then replied, "I apologize for my poor grammar. Let me rephrase my question... Where are you from, bitch?"

Today is

Adonia -- Ancient Greek Calendar

Back-to-Front Yad -- Fairy Calendar

Bloomer Day

Flitch Day (An old custom from yesteryear developed into the holiday of Flitch Day. A "flitch" of bacon was given to any married couple who could prove they had lived in harmony and fidelity for one year. Very few "took home the bacon".)

Liberation Day -- Nicaragua

Martyr's Day -- Burma

National Daiquiri Day

National Get Out of the Doghouse Day

National Hug Your Kid Day

National Raspberry Cake Day

Opet Festival -- Ancient Egyptian Festival (marriage festival)

Stick Out Your Tongue Day

St. Marcrina's Day

Anniversaries Today

Isis marries Osiris (year unknown, ask the ancient Egyptians!)
Adonis marries Aphrodite (year unknown, ask the ancient Greeks!)

Birthdays Today

Stephen Anthony Lawrence, 1990
Jared Padalecki, 1982
Angela Griffin, 1976
Anthony Edwards, 1962
Brian May, 1947
Vikki Carr, 1941
Arthur Rankin, Jr., 1924
George McGovern, 1922
Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, 1904 (last direct descendant of Abraham Lincoln)
Max Fleischer, 1883
Charles Horace Mayo, 1865
Lizzie Borden, 1860
Edgar Degas, 1834
Samuel Colt, 1814

Today in History

A dragon more than 100 metres long was found dead on Yehwang Mountain in Henan province and was seen as a bad omen for Emperor Huan, who ignored it and died at age 35 (three years later); Xiang Kai, who had warned him of the omen, was released from the prison the emperor had placed him in, and lionised as a hero, BCE164
Moslem forces under Tariq ibn Ziyad defeated the Visigoths led by their king Roderic, 711
A hailstorm brings down the ceilings of the Papal Palace, Rome, 1500
Lady Jane Grey is replaced by Mary I of England as Queen of England after having that title for just nine days, 1553
Five women are hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, 1692
Australia's first recorded use of gaslight was commenced in a Sydney shop, 1826
The British Medical Association was founded as the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association by Sir Charles Hastings at a meeting in the Board Room of the Worcester Infirmary, 1832
The two day Women's Rights Convention opens in Seneca Falls, New York; "bloomers," named after developer Amelia Bloomer, are worn at this very early feminist convention, 1848

Sunday, July 18, 2010


#2 Son slept.

He is 14.

He slept from 10am until 5:30am, only getting up twice to eat a small amount and use the restroom.

He says he is feeling much better now. He says he feels good enough to wrestle a bear.

I told him let's not and say we did.

Even #1 Son, a former champion sleeper, says he doesn't know how his brother does it. He relinquishes any claim to fame on this issue.

Today is

Anti-Bigot Day

Constitution Day -- Uruguay

Chrysanthemum Day

Dental Awareness Day

National Caviar Day

National Ice Cream Day

Railroad Day

St. Philastrius' Day

Weiner Day

Birthdays Today

Chace Crawford, 1985
Priyanka Chopra, 1982
Vin Diesel, 1967
Richard Branson, 1950
Martha Reeves, 1941
Joe Torre, 1940
Paul Verhoeven, 1938
Hunter S. Thompson, 1937
Dick Button, 1929
Screamin' Jay Hawkins, 1929
John Glenn, 1921
Nelson Mandela, 1918
Harriet Nelson, 1914
Richard "Red" Skelton, 1913
Hume Cronyn, 1911
George "Machine Gun" Kelly, 1895
Vidkun Quisling, 1887
Margaret "Unsinkable Molly" Brown, 1867
William Makepeace Thackeray, 1811
Robert Hooke, 1635

Today in History

A Roman army is defeated by raiding Gauls, leading to the subsequent sacking of Rome, BC390
The Great Fire of Rome begins in the merchant area of the city, 64
King Edward I of England issues the Edict of Expulsion, banishing all Jews (numbering about 16,000) from England; this was Tisha B'Av on the Hebrew calendar, a day that commemorates many Jewish calamities, 1290
Matthew Flinders leaves England to circumnavigate and map Australia; it was he who gave the continent its name, 1801
The First Vatican Council decrees the dogma of papal infallibility, 1870
Britain introduced voting by secret ballot, 1872
Marie and Pierre Curie announce the discovery of a new element and propose to call it polonium, 1898
Nadia Comaneci became the first person in Olympic Games history to score a perfect 10 in gymnastics at the 1976 Summer Olympics, 1976
Beverly Lynn Burns becomes first female Boeing 747 airline captain, 1984
On the Caribbean island of Montserrat, the Soufriere Hills volcano erupts; over the course of several years, it devastates the island, destroying the capital and forcing most of the population to flee, 1995
Storms provoke severe flooding on the Saguenay River, beginning one of Quebec's costliest natural disasters ever, 1996

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The well is dry today.

Hmm, actually, I should probably be more specific. The well of what to write here is dry. The "well", as I call the hole with a sump pump in the laundry dungeon, does have water in it, because the water table is high enough here that it is seldom completely empty.

The A/C people came back out, and couldn't find any reason for the unit to cause the wires in the house to burn up. Of course they couldn't. The sum of what they are saying is that if the unit is going bad, we have to wait for it to do so, in its own good time, to do anything about it.

Meanwhile, we will get the surge protector. It beats the house burning before we have moved everything out of it. Once we move, some sweet day, I will probably set the blaze myself.

Today is

67th Annual Chesapeake Turtle Derby

Birthday of Nepthys -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (sister of Isis)

Constitution Day -- South Korea

Crank Call Day

Feast of St. Kenelm

Feast of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne

Feast of the Clockless NowEver

La Festa del Redentore -- Venice, Italy (Feast of the Redeemer)

Munoz-Rivera Day -- Puerto Rico

National Peach Ice Cream Day

Petal-Hopping for Hopeless Cases -- Fairy Calendar

Prince Lot Hula Festival -- Moanalua Gardens, Hawai'i

Scillitan Martyrs' Day

St. Alexius Day

St. Marcellina's Day

Toss Away the "Could Haves" and "Should Haves" Day

Woodie Wagon Day

World Day for International Justice

Wrong Way Corrigan Day

Wrong Days in Wright, Minnesota -- through tomorrow

Yellow Pig Day -- mathematics festivals at various universities

Birthdays Today

Tash Hamilton, 1982
Mark Burnett, 1960
J. Michael Straczynski, 1954
David Hasselhoff, 1952
Phoebe Snow, 1952
Camilla Parker Bowles, 1947
Diahann Carroll, 1935
Donald Sutherland, 1934
Phyllis Diller, 1917
Art Linkletter, 1912
James Cagney, 1899
Erle Stanley Gardner, 1889
John Jacob Aster, 1763

Today in History

Twelve inhabitants of Scillium in North Africa are executed for being Christians, the earliest record of Christianity in that part of the world, 180
Zhu Di, better known by his era name as the Yongle Emperor, assumes the throne over the Ming Dynasty of China, 1402
Catherine II (the Great) becomes tsar of Russia upon the murder of Peter III of Russia, 1762
Londoner Thomas Saint patented the first sewing machine, 1790
The first issue of Punch magazine was published, England, 1841
The Harvard School of Dental Medicine is established in Boston as the first dental school in the U.S, 1867
On the orders of the Bolshevik Party carried out by Cheka, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his immediate family and retainers are murdered at the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, Russia, 1918
The RMS Carpathia, the ship that rescued the 705 survivors from the RMS Titanic, is sunk off Ireland by the German SM U-55; 5 lives are lost, 1918
An Armed Forces rebellion against the recently-elected leftist Popular Front government of Spain begins the Spanish Civil War, 1936
After being denied permission to make a transatlantic crossing, Douglas Corrigan takes off from Brooklyn to fly the "wrong way" to Ireland and becomes known as "Wrong Way" Corrigan, 1928
Disneyland televises its grand opening in Anaheim, California, 1955
A tsunami triggered by an undersea earthquake destroys 10 villages in Papua New Guinea killing an estimated 3,183, leaving 2,000 more unaccounted for and thousands more homeless, 1998

Friday, July 16, 2010

Weekly Shelter Report

The A/C is repaired at the shelter, for which all humans and animals are grateful.

Chyna, our resident FELV+ cat who lives in the office, is obviously going stir crazy. She was a huge cat when she came to us, and when we put her on the lite food, she ate it with disdain at first, but finally, upon realizing nothing else would be provided, treated it the way she had treated regular food. That meant she went nuts and ate her whole serving in one quick chunk, then begged for more.

Now, she ignores it, and begs for loving and petting. When a chow kitty wants love more than food, you know it is time to get her out of that office and adopted already.

When I cleaned Grady and Prissy's room, I tried my best to keep them both in. I was only partly successful. Grady, master escape artist, did get out. Most caretakers let him out and get it over with, clean the other rooms, and then attempt to corral the troublemaker. I didn't want any nonsense from him tonight, knowing how hard he is to return, so I didn't let him out. I couldn't let him get away with sneaking out, so I went straight for the gardening gloves and made a grab for him. He wasn't expecting a direct attack, and it was over quickly. He's a nice enough cat, but he doesn't like being put back in his room.

Princess and Zeus were their usual ultra-loving selves. Abnormally friendly is how Bigger Girl puts it.

Poor Nacho and Kevynn had a rough day this past week when the morning caretaker accidentally shoved their litter box back up against the wall with the opening facing the wall. The evening caretaker found them almost literally crossing their legs, and they both bolted for the box the moment it was turned. Today, they were doing well.

Frieda is an odd bird. Poor thing can't decide whether or not to be friendly. They are talking about renaming her, and are asking for suggestions. I wrote "Tallulah" on the list of possibilities, but I'm not sure anyone will take me seriously.

Molly was so shy she wouldn't come down from the top shelf in the room. Mouse was anything but a mouse. She is so gregarious, she needs a better name. Poor thing was about 4 months old when she had kittens, and is only a petite 8 month old now, and so friendly I wish we could bottle it and give some to Frieda.

Sparky, Simba, and Curly Sue had apparently broken their truce today. None of them like other cats much, and they usually barely tolerate each other. Today one must have gotten to the breaking point. Curly Sue is nuts anyway, and when she was in a cage was the messiest thing I had ever seen. Sparky and Simba were looking daggers at each other, the water was spilled, and the floor dirty because one of them had messed on it. We could move them back to cages, but it is policy to not leave a healthy animal in a cage more than their week at LuvAPet adoption center, unless we have no other choice. We might have to make an exception.

Angel and Dusty were their usual sweet selves, and now have Corrie, and equally sweet girl, in there with them. None of them are on eye meds right now, but all three have that "weepy eye" syndrome. Any time they are under stress, their calici virus acts up, and they can shed virus for months even after the eye clears up. So, no adoption center for them, being in a cage brings on a bout of virus and yucky looking eyes. They will have to be adopted through Petfinder on the net, or adoption days at the shelter itself.

ZuZu is our only regular cage resident right now, and only until space opens up to move her out. Bigger Girl says she is very unfriendly in the cage, so we are hoping she will turn cheerful when she gets more space. If not, we will have another Frieda on our hands.

Rory is the most gorgeous guy there. His wounds are almost totally healed up, thanks to the loving care and goldenseal wash to keep them clean. This is a bruiser sized guy who is, well, a pussycat. He purrs when you give him a shot. He purred through IVs. He loves petting and is absolutely ravenous most of the time. He was skinny, that is for sure, and has filled out nicely without getting fat at all. He makes that trilling noise when he wants you to quit petting and get on with serving his dinner.

The other day they let him get out of the cage and walk around for the first time. I was told he was beautiful and cute, stretching his legs out and practically moaning with pleasure as he roamed. In another week or so, he will be ready for neutering and put up for adoption.

In the clinic room we have 4 kittens named Bonsai, Shenzi, Mulan, and Shogun. They were dropped at the pet store. Not wild, but not friendly, except Bonsai. They were obviously indoors as they were clean and flea free, but were not played with and properly socialized. Most likely, the irresponsible owner who couldn't be bothered to spay the mama didn't want them handled by other family members so no one would grow attached. That means we have to try to help them learn to be friendly so they can be adoptable. Yes, I will rudely call the owner irresponsible, especially as his/her solution for not bothering with proper care for the mama was to dump the kittens on someone else to take care of. Well ... ah, don't get me started.

Our final current resident is a tiny, sweet, orange tabby and white boy who was found on the side of the highway today, with a broken hind leg. The leg cannot be splinted without the possibility of losing movement in the joint, so he has to be kept still and quiet. No running or jumping, and yes, if he is put on the floor, he runs, putting just the lightest pressure on the hurt foot. So, he is not hurting so badly, and purrs lots when petted, and is obviously just barely weaned. He will be in a large carrier until his leg heals.

So, that is the report from cat central for this week.

Today is

Atomic Bomb Day

Birthday of Isis -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar

Constitution Day -- South Korea

Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Hot Dog Night

Ice Cream Cone Day

International Juggling Day

LaPaz Day -- Bolivia

National Corn Fritters Day

Petal-Hopping for Non-Starters Day -- Fairy Calendar

St. Eustathius' Day

Talk to a Telemarketer Day

Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival -- Dorset, England; through the 18th

Twin-o-Rama -- Cassville, Wisconsin

Birthdays Today

Corey Feldman, 1971
Barry Sanders, 1968
Will Ferrell, 1967
Michael Flatley, 1958
Ginger Rogers, 1911
"Miss Frances" Horwich, 1907
Barbara Stanwyck, 1907
Orville Reddenbacker, 1907
Roald Amundsen, 1872
Mary Baker Eddy, 1821

Today in History

The Islamic Calendar begins, 622
East-West Schism between the Eastern and Western Christian churches begin, 1054
The first banknotes in Europe are issued by the Swedish bank Stockholms Banco, 1661
Manchu Qing Dynasty naval forces under traitorous commander Shi Lang defeat the Kingdom of Tungning in the Battle of Penghu near the Pescadores Islands, 1683
Father Junipero Serra founds California's first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcalá. Over the following decades, it evolves into the city of San Diego, 1769
First performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera The Abduction from the Seraglio, 1782
The city of La Paz, in what is today Bolivia, declares its independence from the Spanish Crown, 1809
Emily Stowe becomes the first female physician licensed to practice medicine in Canada, 1880
The world's first parking meter is installed in the Oklahoma capital, Oklahoma City, 1935
The world's first nuclear weapon, the "atom bomb," is detonated in New Mexico, 1945
The storming of the cockpit of the Miss Macao passenger seaplane, operated by a subsidiary of the Cathay Pacific Airways, marks the first aircraft hijacking of a commercial plane, 1948
J.D. Salinger novel The Catcher in the Rye published by Little, Brown and Company, 1951
USS George Washington (SSBN-598) a modified Skipjack class submarine successfully test fires the first Ballistic missile while submerged, 1960
The Mont Blanc Tunnel linking France and Italy opens, 1965
Apollo 11, the first manned space mission to land on the Moon is launched from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, 1969
Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collides with Jupiter (impacts continue until July 22), 1994
John F. Kennedy, Jr., piloting a Piper Saratoga aircraft, dies in a plane mishap over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, along with his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette, 1999

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Don't Think About What Else Your Food Looks Like

Bigger Girl works with cows. She has learned to love them, or at least most of them.

She has come to like watching the mama teach her calf how to lower his head and threaten anyone who comes by.

She talks to them, and she likes watching how they respond.

She has not made any progress at learning to like Kamikaze, the cow that she claims keeps trying to kill her. That is understandable.

The cows at the research center have a very easy life. Cows produce a fluid in the uterus that they use to incubate horse embryos that they are genetically researching. Twice a week, Monday and Thursday, some of the cows are herded in and the fluid drained. They make sure no one cow is drained more than twice a month.

The cows are considered contaminated because they have been at a research institution, so they cannot be sold for slaughter, so when they get too old, they are just put out to pasture.

Part of this procedure of getting the fluid the cows produce involves making sure the fluid doesn't become contaminated by what I will delicately call "cow pie ingredients." So they take care of that business end of the animal first.

Bigger Girl loves cows now, and she loves spinach soup. She no longer loves spinach soup on Mondays and Thursdays.

Today is

Birth of Setekh -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (god of dischord)

Cow Appreciation Day

Feast of Rowana -- Druid (rowan tree goddess)

Festival of Castor and Pullox -- Ancient Roman Calendar

Festival of Santa Rosalia -- Palermo; Sicily

Get To Know Your Customers Day (celebrated quarterly)

Gummi Worm Day

Ides of July -- Ancient Roman Calendar

I Love Horses Day

National Tapioca Pudding Day

No-Hitter Day

Petal-Hopping for Beginners Day -- Fairy Calendar

Respect Canada Day

Shark Awareness Day

St. Bonaventure's Day

St. Swithin's Day

St. Vladimir of Kiev's Day

Birthdays Today

Tanner Maguire, 1998
Emily Roeske, 1991
Brian Austin Green, 1973
Beth Stern, 1972
Forest Whitaker, 1961
Kim Alexis, 1960
Jesse Ventura, 1951
Linda Ronstadt, 1946
Jan-Michael Vincent, 1944
Alex Karras, 1935
Clive Cussler, 1931
Mother Cabrini, 1850
Thomas Bulfinch, 1796
Clement Clarke Moore, 1779
Rembrandt Van Rijn, 1606

Today in History

Christian soldiers take the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem after the final assault of a difficult siege, 1099
John Ball, a leader in the Peasants' Revolt, is hanged, 1381
Alexei Chirikov sights land and sends men ashore in a longboat, making them the first Europeans to visit Alaska, 1741
The Rosetta Stone is found in the Egyptian village of Rosetta by French Captain Pierre-François Bouchard during Napoleon's Egyptian Campaign, 1799
Zebulon Pike begins an expedition from Fort Belle Fountaine to explore the west, 1806
Napoléon Bonaparte surrenders aboard HMS Bellerophon, 1815
A fire destroys the ancient Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, 1823
Georgia becomes the last of the former Confederate states to be readmitted to the Union, 1870
The stratovolcano Mount Bandai, Japan, erupts killing approximately 500 people, 1888
In Seattle, Washington, William Boeing and George Conrad Westervelt incorporate Pacific Aero Products (later renamed Boeing), 1916
Eighteen Nobel laureates sign the Mainau Declaration against nuclear weapons, later co-signed by thirty-four others, 1955
AOL Time Warner disbands Netscape Communications Corporation; the Mozilla Foundation is established on the same day, 2003

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Good News, A Nut, and A Wait

Hallelujah! Let the Bells Ring! Three Cheers!

Little Girl is finished with rehab/physical therapy on her arm, and has full range of motion at the shoulder!

Only 9 sessions over 2 months, and they told her to continue to exercise daily for another couple of months, so she can maintain movement and regain strength.

Meanwhile, #2 Son has escalated his escapades, and now his bike ramps include the small BBQ pit, complete with fire.

I'm reminded of the lines in a book I used to have called Zoo Vet, which Sweetie insisted I lend someone and I have never seen since, so I cannot quote exactly. The essence of the conversation, upon the zoo vet insisting on continuing to drive in extremely severe conditions in order to save a sick chimpanzee, was "Some people are fools, they say." "Yes," came the response, "I hear some mothers do give birth to them."

The child is probably not so much a fool as just plain nuts. He is also a born con artist, and is one of those people who will always land on his feet somehow.

On the vehicle front, we are still waiting for parts to come in so they can work on the van. It's been over a week, and if it doesn't come in soon, I might accidentally spend the repair money on something else!

Today is

Bastille Day, France

Comedy Celebration Day

Feast of St. Nicholas of the Holy Mountain

National Grand Marnier Day

National Nude Day (Wednesday of the 2nd full week of July, National Nude Recreation Week)

Pandemonium Day

Pick Blueberries Day

Shark Awareness Day

St. Deusdedit's Day

St. Procopius' Day (patron of Czechoslovakia)

Birthdays Today

Tommy Mottola, 1949
Roosevelt Grier, 1932
Polly Bergen, 1930
John Chancellor, 1927
Harry Dean Stanton, 1926
Dale Robertson, 1923
Ingmar Bergman, 1918
Gerald R. Ford, 1913
Woodie Guthrie, 1912
William Hanna, 1910
James Abbot McNeill Whistler, 1834

Today in History

Foundation of the Mission San Antonio de Padua in modern California by the Franciscan friar Junípero Serra, 1771
Citizens of Paris storm the Bastille and free seven prisoners, 1789
First ascent of the Matterhorn, by Edward Whymper and party, four of whom die on the descent, 1865
The Campanile in St Mark's Square, Venice collapses, also demolishing the loggetta, 1902
The United States $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills are officially withdrawn from circulation, 1969
A powerful solar flare, later named the Bastille Day event, causes a geomagnetic storm on Earth, 2000
The United States Government admits to the existence of "Area 51", 2003

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How Does An A/C Do That?

Started my Monday with exercise, and that's when I heard the buzz.

It was coming from the breaker box where the wire had burned through a lug, and it scared the tar out of me.

I was out of the room like a shot, and, sure enough, the A/C had come on. I shut it down and went back to exercise.

Later in the morning I called Generator Guy and left him a message. He called me back and said he would be out after he finished the current job for the day.

The day went, as days go here, hot and sticky and made me wonder what it is about this state that makes me love it so much. In my case, love is not only blind, it is heat resistant!

Generator Guy came around 6pm. He had me turn on the unit, and sure enough he heard the buzz that meant a surge of electricity. It was short and sharp, and did not, curiously enough, cause any kind of unusual reading on the meter he was using. There is electricity coming back through that wire, somehow, but it is not much, not long, and shouldn't have been enough to burn through the lug the first time.

Not that it should happen at all, but considering this house, it is not surprising.

The lady who sold it to us used to do her own electrical work. And plumbing. The stories I could tell of what we have had to repair that she messed up are numerous, including sewer lines, water lines, and all of the wiring including new boxes indoors and out.

I am starting to wonder if she hasn't left us a problem we haven't identified yet.

Generator Guy, a certified electrician and good friend of the family since he hung around our house with my younger brother as a kid, explained a whole lot to me about wire ratings and lugs and taps that I couldn't repeat if my life depended on it, but the upshot of it is that I trust him and he says we are not overloading anything.

He called an A/C friend, who said that if the previous repair to the A/C, the capacitor, is bad or the wrong rating for a kick start capacitor, it might, maybe, perhaps cause that little buzz. It should not, considering how much amperage is going through the wires even when it buzzes, have burned out that properly rated lug.

So, now the A/C people will need to come back out and see if they can find something, anything at all.

If they do, great, it can be fixed. If not, well, the next step, which we will take whether they identify a problem with the unit or not, is to put a whole house surge protector at the main panel. That way, no matter what, the worst can happen -- overload, lightning strike, feedback loop, whatever -- and the house won't burn down.

I hate throwing even more money into this place, when it just can't be salvaged ultimately. We have to, though, because we have to keep the place habitable until the value of the land comes up to be enough to pay off the mortgage, so we can tear it down and sell the lot and come out even.

It also beats the heck out of a house fire.

Today is

Barbershop Music Appreciation Day

Beans and Franks Day

Birth of Osiris -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar

Embrace Your Geekness Day

Festival of the Three Cows -- Basque

Fool's Paradise Day

Go West Day

Gruntled Workers Day

International Puzzle Day

La Retraite Aux Flambeaux -- France (night watch, before Bastille Day)

National French Fries Day

St. Henry the Emperor's Day (patron of Finland)

St. Mildred's Day

Ulambana (Obon) - Buddhist (reunion of family ancestors with the living), through the 15th

Birthdays Today

Cheech Marin, 1946
Erno Rubik, 1944
Harrison Ford, 1942
Patrick Stewart, 1940
Jack Kemp, 1935
Bob Crane, 1928
Dave Garroway, 1913
Nathan Bedford Forrest, 1821
Julius Caesar, BC100

Today in History

Capt James Cook begins 2nd trip (Resolution) to South Seas, 1772
William Wordsworth, on a walking tour through the Wye Valley, visited the ruins of Tintern Abbey and a few miles further on composed a poem about them, 1798
Greek War of Independence: Greeks defeated Ottoman forces at Thermopylae, 1822
Henry R Schoolcraft discovers the source of the Mississippi River, 1832
After 9,957 unnumbered patents, the U.S. Patent Office issues Patent No. 1, for locomotive wheels, 1836
Queen Victoria becomes the first British monarch to live at Buckingham Palace in London, 1837
First day of the New York Draft Riots in response to President Abraham Lincoln's Enrolment Act of Conscription, 1863
Horace Greeley publishes his editorial advising young men to "Go West, young man, go west and grow up with the country," 1865
PT Barnum's American Museum was destroyed in one of the most spectacular fires in New York City's history, 1865
Gold was discovered near Cochrane, Ontario, Canada, 1909
The British airship R34 lands in Norfolk, England, completing the first airship return journey across the Atlantic in 182 hours of flight, 1919
Alexander Butterfield reveals the existence of the Nixon tapes to the special Senate committee investigating the Watergate break in, 1973
The Live Aid benefit concert, a telecast fundraising concert for famine relief in Ethiopia, was held in London and Philadelphia, as well as other venues such as Sydney and Moscow, 1985

Monday, July 12, 2010

She Would Be 16 Today

Warning: Sensitive topics, including death, medical stuff, and religion.

She would be 16 today.

Had she lived, we would have had cake, and ice cream, and dinner would have been whatever favorite dinner she requested.

It's all so amazing to think about, this many years later. She really wasn't supposed to have happened at all.

They told me I probably would never have children, and after 3 years of trying, and depression, and eating my way to my highest weight ever, it was a shock when I got pregnant with #1 Son.

The pregnancy went great, at least to me. I barfed for 4 months and lost 15 pounds, then, partly because I was exercising daily and partly because I watched what I ate religiously, I only gained 15. Yes, I ended at the same weight I started at, which pleased my OB mightily.

He was born on my birthday, after more than 8 hours of good strong contractions that took me from 1cm to 1 1/2cm. We gave up and did a c-section, which turned out to be a good thing, as by his head circumference I would never have delivered him anyway. That's what comes of stopping growing taller at age 12.

My doctor told me to go home and be happy I had a child. After all the surgery and other treatments, they never expected me to have one, and he sure didn't believe it would ever happen again.

Bigger Girl followed 20 months later. I had kept my weight down from the first pregnancy, and again lost 15 through morning, noon, and night sickness, watched what I ate and exercised, and gained 15.

I went into labor with her 2 days before my scheduled section, and by the time I got to the hospital and they started the surgery, I was very close to rupturing. They told me I had dodged a bullet, and to go home and be happy, as I now had a boy and a girl. Honestly, since neither of
my ovaries worked right, they didn't see how any more kids could be possible.

We found out I was pregnant again in the middle of moving. From the beginning I was tired, and something felt off. Morning sickness, but more than that.

At 28 weeks, we found out what the something more was. My OB had become almost complacent about me popping up with kids when I shouldn't, but then it hit the fan.

Chorioangioma. A big medical word that means the equivalent of a feedback loop in the placenta. Some of the blood pumped through the umbilical cord goes into a part of the placenta that loops back on itself, so that blood doesn't get to drop its load of waste and pick up oxygen and nutrients the way it should.

These happen about one in every 125 or so pregnancies. Usually they are so very small they are not even detected, or only noticed after delivery.

Once in every 10,000 or so chorioangiomas, they grow big enough to cause a major problem. All that blood that comes back without having properly exchanged waste for food and nutrients has to be pumped back again, forcing the baby's heart to work extra hard to get enough nutrition. Result: congestive heart failure in utero.

Then, there is the further complication called mirror syndrome. It's where whatever the baby is suffering, the mom gets it, too. So here we are, in the middle of moving, a not quite 3 year old and a 15 month old, and I'm going into heart failure and carrying a dying baby.

My choices at first were very limited. Continue the pregnancy as long as safely possible, and take the chance that we mistime everything and she dies before we can deliver. Or deliver right away, put her in the NICU, and hope that by taking the strain off of her heart, she can survive the premature birth.

At the church we attended then, the pastor's wife scolded me when I told her those were my two options and accused me of trying to abort her. Talk about getting kicked when you are down. I'm stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea and now, no matter what choice I make, I'm the bad guy.

At this point, my doctor called with another option. A doctor in Detroit, of all places, whose specialty was in utero microsurgery had agreed to see me. So, pack the kids to my parent's house, and Sweetie and I go to Detroit.

Flying sick, even with no checked bags to make it easier, is a bear. I was very limited in what I could bring, and we had no way of knowing how long we would be gone. Got there and had a taxi driver who couldn't even get us to our hotel. He dropped us a few blocks away, and I had to
walk, in agony every step. He claimed the front of the hotel was blocked by the construction, but when we got up there it wasn't -- he just didn't want to go around the block because he saw another fare possibility that he didn't want to lose.

Checked in and called the doctor, who wanted me up at the hospital right away. The 6 hour ultrasound left me dizzy and feeling sicker than ever. At least it showed him what he wanted to know, and he was amazed that I stood it as long as I did.

What he didn't know, and I didn't say, was that I was savoring every moment, every movement. I knew that this could be the only time I would see her alive, watch her suck her thumb, practice breathing (which they do before birth, believe it or not); she often would put her hands up to her face, as if she were shading her eyes. I asked for an ultrasound picture of her as she was doing that, and I cherish it.

We went back to the hotel, and spent 3 days while they tried to figure out just what to do with me. Back and forth to the hospital, over and over. I got more and more short of breath every time I had to walk a hall, my walking was little more than a mere shuffle, very, very slow.
Sweetie was so bored when we were waiting at the hotel that I agreed to go to a movie with him. Little Big League, believe it or not, would be the last movie I went to a theater to see until our church rented out a theater for all of us to see the first Chronicles of Narnia movie, over a dozen years later.

They insisted on genetic testing of the baby before they would do the surgery they eventually planned, and that was hard, too, waiting for those results. It was a sped up test because of the situation, only 48 hours, but I can only imagine how hard it must be for those who have
to wait the usual number of weeks to a month it can take.

The surgery he decided on was a gamble, the first of its kind. He and his team would go in and attempt to cut off the blood supply to the chorioangioma, so all of the baby's blood would go through the properly formed part of the placenta. They got the idea to use specialized clamps that are used in other gynecologic surgery, and had to get the medical supply place that makes them to modify them and ship them in special delivery.

She didn't want to cooperate, they told me after, while laughing. She kept grabbing the instruments, and they had to untangle the suture material from her fingers. Such curiosity, and even before birth. I like to think she would have continued to be a very curious minded
child, wanting to know everything.

Technically speaking, the surgery worked. By the next morning, although I was feeling sick as could be from the drugs to keep me from going into premature labor, the chorioangioma was shrinking. She was still trying to practice breathing, still putting her hands up to shade her eyes,
still sucking her thumb. Now it was a matter of waiting to see if her heart was strong enough, with all the damage it had already suffered, for her to make it a few more weeks. Every week would bring growth and strength and a greater likelihood of survival, even though she would be
a premie. The plan was to try to get us to 34 weeks at least.

The second night after surgery, it all broke loose. I began to bleed into the uterus, and was bleeding out through my IV, too. Repeated calls for a nurse to help me went unheeded for quite a while -- this was a charity hospital in the middle of downtown Detroit, lots of mix-ups over the course of the days I was there, lots of waiting for stuff to get done. Very overworked staff who tried to do the best they could with limited funding and old buildings and equipment.

By the time help came, it was too late. I felt her final kick as her tiny heart gave out. They took out the infiltrated IV and started a new one, and got a Doppler to try to check her heartbeat. Nothing.

They called in a chief resident to do an ultrasound. I could see that her heart had stopped, and I told him so. He hemmed and said "Er" and "Um" and seemed to be at a loss. I told him that I had known it was all a gamble and that he didn't need to be afraid he would have a hysterical
mom on his hands. That calmed him, and he agreed that they had done as much as they could.

The nurse came in and asked if I was a Christian and wanted prayer. I told her yes, and welcomed her joyful and loving spirit. She helped me to remain calm as I started retaining fluid and swelled up until I looked like I was full term, even though I was only around 29-30 weeks.

I was bleeding internally although they didn't know it, and slightly nauseated when they discharged me from the hospital and put me on a flight home. The journey back, with me using barf bags on every leg of the trip, was worse than the trip up there. I had to have a wheelchair,
I couldn't walk more than a step or two. I got to my parents house and was so dehydrated I barely had time to hug my babies and realize I was in labor.

They rushed me to the hospital for fluids and a transfusion. I was still in heart failure, and they were afraid I would die if I delivered naturally after two c-sections, even though she was so small.

That night, the doctor had moved the nurse call button away from the side of the bed as he discussed what they were going to do. He didn't mean to, but it left me, after they exited the room still deep in their talk, alone. Totally, starkly, excruciatingly alone.

With a dead child in me, possibly dying myself, lying in my own vomit because I couldn't call for help when I felt sick, I knew, more than ever, that only and always is G-d our help and our salvation. I felt the agony of the cry of Jesus, when He felt abandoned; He was alone, even more so than I was. It occurred to me more forcefully than it ever had before that our Heavenly Father knew what it was to lose a Child, and that His loss was infinitely more painful than mine could ever be.

So, they did a c-section on July 12. Very early in the morning. I begged to be allowed to see and hold her in the delivery room, but instead they tried to sedate me. I fought to stay awake no matter what they gave me, and managed to do so. When they finally brought her in to me, I was beyond spent.

We took pictures. Sweetie didn't want to hold her, but he stood next to me. My mother did hold her. My father couldn't even stay in the room. My parents are Catholic, and one of my mother's friends who makes special clothes for statues of the infant Jesus for her church gave us one of the tiny dresses she had made, so we wouldn't have to bury her in just a swaddling blanket.

My mother kept telling me it was time to let go, and insisted that the nurses take her away from me long before I was ready. The nurses then waited until my mom left, and brought the baby back to me, and said I could have her there as long as I needed. I sang lullabies to her, and
cried until I felt empty, then cried more.

Over the next couple of days in the hospital, I had all the usual symptoms of a woman who has just given birth. With a c-section, you end up having intestinal gas, or at least I always did. The gas moving through my system would almost feel like the her moving. I would wake up almost thinking I felt her, and then remember what had really happened. My breasts were painfully swollen with milk for no one, and took weeks to dry up.

I also thanked G-d for the whole thing. Over and over. As hard as the whole experience was, the doctor in Detroit had told me that they had learned so much from this surgery that from now on they would know what to do in these cases, and would be able to do it early enough to
possibly save these babies. I told him that if they learned enough to save even one child, then everything I had gone through was worth it. I still say that to this day.

They let me out of the hospital just in time for the funeral, on my birthday. Yes, we buried her on my birthday, which is also #1 Son's birthday. Had to, it was the only day the pastor of our church at that time, who was bi-vocational, could get away from his other job to preach a funeral, as it was a Saturday. It was a very simple service, in the visitation room of the funeral home, not the chapel. We sang a few hymns a Capella, and the pastor spoke for about 15 minutes. She is with my grandmother and aunt.

Ever since then, if a friend asks how my birthday was or is going, I am likely to say that if I didn't have to bury a child, it was a good birthday.

Several days later, I was still feeling horrible. I had cramps so bad one night that I thought I was dying again. I passed a piece of the placenta they had missed getting out. It was the reason I was still bleeding. I began to recover after that, slowly.

Boxes all over the house, two small children to care for, always short of breath, it was a bad several months. My doctor was afraid for me to get pregnant again, but I told him my body would cooperate and not get allow that to happen for one year. He thought I was nuts, but I was
right. I used no birth control, and my body waited a full year.

As soon as that year was up, although I was still not feeling as good as I had with my first child, I got pregnant again. I pulled my usual sick so bad that I lost weight trick, and #2 Son left me very anemic as well. Then I almost bled to death after delivery.

I had begged them not to sedate me this time, and they didn't, which probably saved my life. The blood clots that form when the placenta releases broke free, and I was literally bleeding out. I was so tired, and kept wondering why I couldn't fall asleep. If I had fallen asleep, or been sedated, they would have found me dead. For the first time ever in his practice, my OB insisted that one of his patients get an iron injection -- my hematocrit was 12% (normal is 37% to 48%) and my hemoglobin was 5 (normal is 12 to 16). The injection left a bruise and discoloration that took over a year to fade.

By the time I got pregnant with Little Girl, over a year later, my body was rebelling. The sickness lasted the whole pregnancy. I was having SVTs regularly. I was so weak I had to crawl on my hands and knees to get up and down the stairs. I was anemic, borderline gestational
diabetic, borderline preeclampsia.

My OB was fed up with me. I wasn't supposed to have kids, for Pete's sake. It was time to end it all. He insisted on a hysterectomy with my 5th c-section, and I didn't even try to fight it. He left the ovaries, of course, such as they were. He's still not sure how they ever worked at all, but now it is 12 years later and I'm not even in perimenopause. They are pumping out hormones better than ever, but I don't bleed every month, which is a plus.

After Little Girl, my weight continued to bounce up and down as it had since I was 12. I would diet and lose, gain it back. Lose it while pregnant or nursing, gain some back, lose it again with the next pregnancy. I had 5 pregnancies in 7 1/2 years, and for a full ten years I was always either pregnant, nursing, recovering from a pregnancy loss, or pregnant and nursing.

When I finally weaned Little Girl, I continued to yo yo diet until I got fed up with myself. I finally cleaned out my diet a few years ago, and now, at 5'0", I weigh around 92 lbs.

The aftermath of all of this -- well, hard to say.

Physically, I still have SVTs, as I have since I was a teen, but they are more frequent now, which doesn't do my mitral valve prolapse any good. Then, the time a year and a half ago when we were doing so badly financially that I got down to 84 lbs. from not having enough food in the house and I got pneumonia has left me with a permanent wheeze in one part of my lung whenever I overdo. My doctor heard it last time I was in, and believes me now when I tell him that I think the lung is scarred there. My thyroid, never strong, now needs regular supplementation, as well as the iodine. I don't let any of this stop me from exercising, and doing
whatever I need to do. My doctors say I am basically healthy, and to let how I feel guide me on when to slow down, or when to keep going.

Naturally, being stubborn, I don't slow down until I am wheezing and worn out.

The spiritual results are that I still go to church every Sunday, still teach Sunday School, still read my Bible and memorize scripture, still pray, still have faith that G-d is always good and never unkind, still believe that Jesus is my Savior. I still cling to Romans 8:28 -- "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

I am more convinced than ever of the great and infinite mercy of the Lord. When I was in the valley of the shadow, He was with me. I know it was for His good reason, and that we must go through valleys to stand on the mountains of His grace. I know His grace is ever sufficient, and infinite in depth and breadth. I know that His grace will be tried, and at the end He will still be there.

Is my faith or spiritual life perfect? No, and never will be on this side of heaven. I fight depression, struggle to understand why, and believe anyway. It is just a part of the fabric of who I am.

Sweetie and I have had our ups and downs, of course, through all of this. Yet here we are, 25 years this month, working things out, loving each other still.

We have 4 kids, and life is crazy, as it is for everyone. We muddle through.

I often wonder what she would have been like. Would she have had blue eyes like Sweetie and Bigger Girl? Or brown like the rest of us? Curly hair or straight? Would she have been tomboyish, or would I have had my frilly, pink loving, baby doll playing girl that I never got? A math nerd or bookworm? ADD and dyslexia like Bigger Girl? Artist or dreamer or very practical, straight line thinker? All the things I will never know haunt my dreams sometimes, and she was so swollen from the heart failure that it was hard to determine who she would have looked most like. Maybe she would have been like Little Girl, who doesn't look quite like anyone in the family.

I miss watching her grow and bloom and develop. Yes, I know, her days were determined from before the foundation of the world, and G-d knew everything about every one of her moments. He formed her for only that short time with me, to touch my heart and life and teach me lessons I would never have otherwise learned. He gave her life meaning, using her to teach a doctor how to work to save the next baby. I have the human failing of wanting to know what would have
happened, that's all. Something we never find out, that taunts and teases on the edge of the brain in those quiet moments.

So, she would have had her Sweet Sixteen today, if we had delivered her alive on this date all those years ago, and if she had survived. And sometimes I feel like my arms will break from the weight of the empty air they hold when they reach for her.

Today is

Different Colored Eyes Day

Independence Day -- Sao Tome & Principe; Kiribati

International Town Crier's Day

National Pecan Pie Day

Orangeman's Day (a/k/a Twelfth Day) -- Northern Ireland

Pet Photo Day

St. John Gualbert's Day

Anniversaries Today

Henry VIII marries Catherine Parr, 1543 (the one who outlived him)

Birthdays Today

Michelle Rodriguez, 1978
Brock Lesnar, 1977
Kristi Yamaguchi, 1971
Cheryl Ladd, 1951
Richard Simmons, 1948
Christine McVie, 1943
Bill Cosby, 1937
Van Cliburn, 1934
Andrew Wyeth, 1917
Milton Berle, 1908
Pablo Neruda, 1904
R. Buckminster Fuller, 1895
Oscar Hammerstein II, 1895
George Washington Carver, 1861
George Ohr, 1857
George Eastman, 1854
Henry David Thoreau, 1817

Today in History

Saladin's garrison surrenders to Conrad of Montferrat, ending the two-year siege of Acre, 1191
Fray Diego de Landa, acting Bishop of Yucatan, burns the sacred books of the Maya, 1562
Ostrog Bible, the first printed Bible in a Slavic language, is published, 1580
The United States invades Canada at Windsor, Ontario, 1812
Pune, India floods due to failure of Khadakvasala and Panshet dams; half of the city is submerged and the death toll exceeded 2000, 1961
A fire destroys the entire 6th floor of the National Personnel Records Center of the United States, 1973