Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve

We are ready.

We have a gumbo.

Gumbo in the cast iron pot.
We also have pulled pork, and a vegetarian gumbo for those of that persuasion.  If that doesn't hold the crew out through tonight, they will have to go get pizza or fried chicken!

We will have black-eyed peas and cole slaw tomorrow, after i get home from work.

Yes, today i am at work, cleaning and babysitting from 8 this morning until tomorrow when The Big Boss and Ms. P get back from whatever they are doing for New Year's Eve.  Knowing them, they have plans at some exclusive bash that includes dinner, dancing, champagne, hotel accommodations, and morning brunch when you finally drag yourself out of bed, so i don't expect to see them home until the crack of noon.

Middle Boy and Littlest Boy will be going to a birthday party this evening while Sweetie and i get out for a couple of hours to have an early dinner together.  Then when they and i get back they will probably want to stay up half the night, and i'll have to hog tie them into bed once the illegal fireworks die down.  At least i don't have to wake them in the morning.

No matter what you do for New Year's Eve, i hope you have a safe and happy one!

Today is:

Check Your Smoke Alarms Day

Fairy Eve's Year News -- Fairy Calendar

Feast of Sharaf (Honor) -- Baha'i

International Solidarity Day -- Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis worldwide

Kwanzaa, Day 6, Kuumba (Creativity)

Leap Second Adjustment Day -- if a second needs to be added or subtracted to coordinate the atomic and astronimical time, it will be done today, by the International Earth Rotation Service of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures at Paris, France

Make Up Your Mind Day/Procrastinator's Day -- you have to make up your mind

National Champagne Day

New Year's Eve -- a selection of related observances
     Allendale Tar Barrel Burning/Baal Fire Festival -- Allendale, England (locals burn out the old year by carrying burning tar barrels on their heads, then use them to light one huge bonfire)
     Feast of Father Time -- because he ultimately overcomes us all
     Festival of Yemaya -- Yoruba/Santeria (celebration of the mother of the sun and moon)
     Fire and Ice New Year's Eve Celebration -- Anchorage, AK (fire jugglers, ice carvers, fireworks, and more)
     First Night -- a non-alcoholic alternative to New Year's Eve
     Fravartigan -- Parsi Zoroastrian (celebration to honor the dead through the night)
     Gamlarskvold -- Icelandic traditions; cows gain human speech, seals take on human form, the dead rise, and Elves move house
                obtain gold from the Elves by sitting at a crossroads and waiting for them to pass
                Housewives greet the Elves by reciting the rhyme of protection
                        Let those who want to, arrive
                        Let those who want to, leave
                        Let those who want to, Stay
                        Without harm to me or mine
                Light a bonfire, and "blow out the year" with fireworks 
     Harvest Day Celebrations -- Benin (celebration of the end of harvest season at the turn of the year)
     Hogmanay Day -- Scotland (Auld Year's Night)
     Japanese Observances (a few, at least)
          Joya no Kane -- Japan (ringing out the old year with temple bells; Buddhists believe humans are born with 108 worldly desires which are removed when the bells are rung 108 times)
          Namahge -- Oga Peninsula, Japan (devil appearing holiday; young men dress as demons and run through the town warning children to behave during the coming year)
          Okera Matsuri -- Yasaka Shrine, Kyoto, Japan (Sacred Fire Rite)
          Omisoka Day -- Japan (the second most important day on the Japanese Calendar; tomorrow is the most important)
     Noche de Pedimento -- Oaxaca, Mexico (Night of the Petition)
     Ritual for Iemanja -- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (seaside rituals for the goddess of the sea and carnal pleasure, followed by a swinging party in the city and on the beaches overnight)
     Samoan Fire Dance -- Samoa
     Swinging the Fireballs -- Stonehaven, Kincardineshire, Scotland
     Universal Hour of Peace -- begins at 11:00 pm your local time, welcome the New Year with peace
     Watch Night -- Christian
     World Peace Meditation Day (International observance of one hour beginning 12:00 pm GMT, focusing thought and energy on peace.)

No Resolution Day / Ditch the Resolutions Day -- if you don't want to, you don't have to!

Restoration Day -- Geneva, Switzerland

Seventh Day of Christmas

St. Sylvester's Day (Patron of Feroleto Antico, Italy; Poggio Catino, Italy) related observances
     Saint Sylvester's Day Celebrations-- Belgium, Germany, France and Switzerland
     Silvesterklause -- Urnäsch, Switzerland

St. Zoticus of Constantinople's Day (Patron of the poor; often titled Feeder of Orphans)

You're All Done Day -- sponsored by something i haven't been able to pin down online called The Long Haul Committee (and it's more like "all done in" if you are like me!)

Birthdays Today:

Joe McIntyre, 1972
Nicholas Sparks, 1965
Val Kilmer, 1959
Bebe Neuwirth, 1958
James Remar, 1953
Donna Summer, 1948
Tim Matheson, 1947
Barbara Carrera, 1945
Diane Halfin von Furstenberg, 1945
John Denver, 1943
Ben Kingsley, 1943
Andy Summers, 1942
Sarah Miles, 1941
Anthony Hopkins, 1937
Odetta, 1930
Simon Wiesenthal, 1908
George C. Marshall, 1880
Henri Matisse, 1869

Debuting/Premiering Today:

The London Eye(World's Largest Ferris Wheel), 1999
"Lost in Yonkers"(Play), 1990
"The Match Game"(TV), 1962

"Pirates of Penzance"(Comic Opera), 1879

Today in History:

80,000 Vandals, Alans and Suebians attack the Rhine at Mainz, crossing into and beginning the invasion of Gallia, 406
Byzantine General Belisarius completes the conquest of Sicily, defeating the Ostrogothic garrison of Syracuse, and ending his consulship for the year, 535
Ch'an monk Ho-tse Shen-hui interred in a stupa built in China, 765
James I of Aragon the Conqueror enters Medina Mayurqa (now known as Palma, Spain) thus consummating the Christian conquest of the island of Majorca, 1229
100,000 Jews expelled from Sicily, 1492
The British East India Company chartered, 1600
The first Huguenots depart France to Cape of Good Hope, 1687
A window tax is imposed in England, causing many shopkeepers to brick up their windows to avoid the tax, 1695
Rhode Island establishes wage & price controls to curb inflation: Limit is 70 cents a day for carpenters, 42 cents for tailors, 1776
Queen Victoria chooses Ottawa as new capital of Canada, 1857
The cornerstone is laid for Honolulu, Hawai'i's Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the US, 1879
Edison gives 1st public demonstration of his incandescent lamp, 1879
Ellis Island (NYC) opens as a US immigration depot, 1890
Brooklyn's last day as a city, it incorporates into NYC (1/1/1898), 1897
Boers & British army sign peace treaty, 1902
The first New Year's Eve celebration is held in Times Square, then known as Longacre Square, in New York, New York, 1904
For the first time a ball drops at Times Square to signal the new year, 1907
The last San Francisco firehorses are retired, 1921
The chimes of Big Ben are broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC, 1923
Dr R N Harger's "drunkometer," the first breath test, is introduced in Indiana, 1938
The farthing coin ceases to be legal tender in the United Kingdom, 1960
The Central African Federation officially collapses and splits into Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia, 1963
The AT&T Bell System is broken up by the United States Government, 1983
All official Soviet Union institutions have ceased operations by this date and the Soviet Union is officially dissolved, 1991
Czechoslovakia is peacefully dissolved in what is dubbed by media as the Velvet Divorce, resulting in the creation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, 1992
This date is skipped altogether in Kiribati as the Phoenix Islands and Line Islands change time zones, 1994
The European Exchange Rate Mechanism freezes the values of the legacy currencies in the Eurozone, and establishes the value of the euro currency, 1998
The United States Government hands control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama, 1999
The official opening of Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper at that time in the world, 2004
Italy's ban of plastic bags goes into effect, 2010

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"The End is Near!"

It's one of my favorite Hagar the Horrible comic strips, but i can't find it online to get a copy of it to post here.

It shows Hagar and the crew in the Viking ship, and ahead is an elderly man holding up the sign that says, "The End is Near!"

Lucky Eddie reads the sign and the crew decide the guy is just some nut, but behind him is a waterfall.  The end is, indeed, near.

That's always how i feel this time of year, like some kind of end is rushing up to me.

Then the kids come in and my rumination turns back to practicality.   Bigger Girl comes in with a phone ringing and says, "I need to pick a new ring tone, the combo of classical music and running water sounds like Beethoven on the toilet!"  Or The Big Boss calls with an emergency assignment.  Yesterday it was two of them, a babysitting assignment and a "call me back and give me an excuse to get out of this meeting" assignment.

Speaking of The Big Boss, the other day one of Ms. P's kids said his tummy was hurting while i was babysitting.  He hadn't eaten in quite a while, so i told him it was just because it was empty, he needed to put something in it.

Later, The Big Boss mentioned having a headache.  It was all i could do to restrain myself from telling him it's because it's empty, he needs to put something in it!

Today is:

Araw ni Rizal -- Philippines (commemoration of the martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal in 1896, as well as all victims of the Spanish government during their rule of the Philippines)

Bacon Day -- for those tired of the same old winter holidays, see

Day of the Declaration of Slovakia as an Independent Eccliesiatic Province -- Slovakia

Fairy Frequent Fliers' Awards

Falling Needles Family Fest Day -- gather the family, watch the needles fall from the tree, and have a party; sponsored by Wellcat Holidays

Feast of the Holy Family -- Catholic Christian

Festival of Enormous Changes At the Last Minute -- internet generated, and i'm not sure i'm up to it

Kwanzaa, Day 5, Nia(Purpose)

Lhosar -- Gurung People of Nepal (sometimes called the Tamu People; Losar is celebrated by the rest of Nepal in February or March)

National Bicarbonate of Soda Day -- shouldn't this be on Jan. 1, to help us get over the indigestion from the night before?

No Interruptions Day -- let people finish up what needs to get done before the New Year at work, and silence the devices at home that keep us from spending uninterrupted time with family; begun at

Sixth Day of Christmas

St. Ruggero of Canne's Day (Barletta, Italy)

Anniversary Today:

The Arroyo Seco Parkway, California's first freeway, opens, 1940
Rutherford B. Hayes (19th US President) marries Lucy Ware Webb, 1852

Birthdays Today:

LeBron James, 1984
Kristin Kreuk, 1982
Eliza Dushku, 1980
Laila Ali, 1977
Tiger Woods, 1975
Sean Hannity, 1961
Tracey Ullman, 1959
Matt Lauer, 1957
Meredith Vieira, 1953
Patti Smith, 1946
Davy Jones, 1945
Concetta Tomei, 1945
Michael Nesmith, 1942
James Burrows, 1940
Del Shannon, 1939
Joseph Bologna, 1938
Noel Paul Stookey, 1937
Sandy Koufax, 1935
Russ Tamblyn, 1935
Bo Diddley, 1928
Jack Lord, 1920
Bert Parks, 1914
Stephen Leacock, 1869
Simon Guggenheim, 1867
Rudyard Kipling, 1865

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"Let's Make a Deal"(TV), 1963
"The Roy Rogers Show"(TV), 1951
"Kiss Me, Kate"(Musical), 1948

Today in History:

Hugh Capet, King of the Franks, crowns his son Robert the Pious king and co-ruler, 987
A Muslim mob storms the royal palace in Granada, crucifies Jewish vizier Joseph ibn Naghrela and massacres most of the Jewish population of the city, 1066
Tokyo is hit by an earthquake, about 37,000 die, 1703
The first coffee is planted in Hawaii (Kona), 1817
Gyula, Count Andrássy, of Hungary, issues the Andrassy Note, calling for Christian-Muslim religious freedoms, 1875
Gilbert & Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance," premieres, 1879
The American Political Science Association founded at New Orleans, 1903
Iran becomes a constitutional monarchy, 1906
The All India Muslim League is founded in Dacca, East Bengal, British India Empire, which later laid down the foundations of Pakistan, 1906
Lincoln's Inn in London admits its first female bar student, 1919
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is formed, 1922
Japan dedicates the first subway in the Orient (route under 2 miles long), 1927
The Cole Porter Broadway musical, Kiss Me, Kate (1,077 performances), opens at the New Century Theatre and becomes the first show to win the Best Musical Tony Award, 1948
In the 39th game of his 3rd NHL season Wayne Gretzky scores 5 goals giving him 50 on the year setting a new NHL record , 1981
Israel and the Vatican establish diplomatic relations, 1993
Tropical Storm Zeta forms in the open Atlantic Ocean, tying the record for the latest tropical cyclone ever to form in the North Atlantic basin, 2005
The last roll of Kodachrome film is developed by Dwayne's Photo, the only remaining Kodachrome processor at the time, concluding the film's 74-year run as a photography icon, 2009

Monday, December 29, 2014

Awww Monday: Please I Come With You?

Awww Monday is hosted by Sandee, of Comedy Plus.  It's easy to participate, just post a picture that makes everyone say, "Awww!" and link up!  After all, we can all use some cute at the beginning of the week.

As much as we love helping out at the shelter, it can be difficult to see all of those cute faces.  You want to take all of them home, and it's hard to resist some of them.

Little Girl's selfie with a shelter kitten.

It's one of the most wonderful things in the world when we get to send one of these precious cats or kittens to a new forever home!

Today is:

Constitution Day -- Ireland

Enjoying ESP Day -- internet generated, and it means eating, sleeping, and partying!

Fifth Day of Christmas

Illegal Pants Day -- commemorates Emma Snodgrass' arrest in Boston in 1852 for wearing pants

Kwanzaa, Day 4, Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)

National Chocolate Again Day -- because someone, somewhere, believes it can't be chocolate something-or-other day often enough

National Independence Day -- Mongolia(1911, from the Qing Dynasty)

Paternoster Row Day -- in memoriam of the famous area destroyed by the Blitz this date and tomorrow in 1940

Pepper Pot Day -- Pepper Pot Soup was invented today in 1777 at Valley Forge for the army to have something warm to eat

Sacrifice to Zeus Horios -- Ancient Greek Calendar (sacrifice in the deme of Erichia; date approximate)

St. Gabriel's Day -- Ethiopia

St. Thomas of Canterbury's Day (Thomas a Becket, Patron of clergy, secular clergy; Exeter College, Oxford, England; Portsmouth, England)

St. Trophimus of Arles' Day (Patron of children; Arles, France; against drought)

Tick Tock Day -- end of the year is getting closer, stop putting off your dreams! sponsored by Wellcat Holidays

Yodel in the Shower Day -- internet generated, and i promise not to tell if you do

Anniversaries Today:

J. Paul Getty, Jr., weds Victoria Holdsworth, 1994
Texas becomes the 28th US State, 1845

Birthdays Today:

Jude Law, 1972
Andy Wachowski, 1967
Bryan "Dexter" Holland, 1966
Patricia Clarkson, 1959
Paula Poundstone, 1959
Ed Autry, 1954
John Polito, 1950
Ted Danson, 1947
Marianne Faithfull, 1946
Jon Voight, 1938
Mary Tyler Moore, 1936
Thomas Edwin Jarriel, 1934
Klaus Fuchs, 1911
Billy Mitchell, 1879
Pablo Cassals, 1876
William Gladstone, 1809
Andrew Johnson, 1808
Charles Goodyear, 1800

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"My World is Empty Without You"(Single release), 1965
Thunderball(Film, UK release), 1965
"The Andersonville Trial"(Play), 1959
The Adventures of Kathlyn(Film, first movie serial), 1913

Today in History:

Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, is assassinated inside Canterbury Cathedral by followers of King Henry II; he subsequently becomes a saint and martyr in the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church, 1170
The first nautical almanac in US published by Samuel Stearns, Boston, 1782
Gas lights are installed at White House, during the Polk administration, 1848
The first Young Men's Christian Association chapter in the US opens, in Boston, 1851
Emma Snodgrass is arrested in Boston for wearing pants, 1852
The first telegraph ticker used by a brokerage house, Groesbeck & Co, NY, 1867
The Wounded Knee Massacre takes place, 1890
Edison patents "transmission of signals electrically" (radio), 1891
Mongolia gains independence from the Qing dynasty, 1911
The first movie serial, "Adventures of Kathlyn," premieres in Chicago, 1913
Fred P Newton completes longest swim ever (1826 miles), when he swam in the Mississippi River from Ford Dam, Minn, to New Orleans, 1930
Physicist Richard Feynman gives a speech entitled "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom", which is regarded as the birth of nanotechnology, 1959
Filming began on Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey in England, 1965
Riots break-out after Hong Kong decides to forcibly repatriate Vietnamese refugees, 1989
Guatemala and leaders of Guatemalan National Revolutionary Union sign a peace accord ending a 36-year civil war, 1996
Leaders of the Khmer Rouge apologize for the 1970s genocide in Cambodia that claimed over 1 million lives, 1998
The last known speaker of Akkala Sami dies, rendering the language extinct, 2003

Administrative officials claim that over 1.1 million Americans are now enrolled in Obamacare, 2013

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Silly Sunday

Silly Sunday is hosted by Sandee, of Comedy Plus.  It's the place to come for weekly laughs, which we could all use.  It's easy to participate, just Laugh and Link Up!

Christmas Day was good for a few laughs around here.  That morning, as i was rushing around to finish the cornbread dressing and remember to pack the pies, i walked over to the computer to look something up and got distracted.  When i asked, what did i come over here to do?  Little Girl responded with "You went over there to look up how to get a better memory!"

When the cousins came and brought their dogs, Grandma's dog went insane and had a blast with them, as did Dre.  He played with them and ran with them, and when it was time for dinner, he was told to go wash up.  Being 8 and still allergic to soap, he asked why he had to wash his hands and was told his hands were covered with germs from playing with the dogs.  His response was, "But they don't have germs, they only have fleas!"

After we got home that afternoon, Brother-in-Law, The Mouth, came over to enjoy leftovers.  He had only eaten a small handful of raisins the whole day, so he was very hungry, and instead of grabbing a regular dinner plate he grabbed a serving plate.

"There, that's big enough!" he said, to which Little Girl responded, "But that's a serving plate!  It's big enough for three people!"

"He is three people!" Sweetie chimed in, laughing.  Brother-in-Law, his identical twin, responded with, "Yeah, and your mother's ugly!" which is their standard insult to each other.

And finally, on the way out of town we went past a veterinary office where we saw this sign:

Dear Santa,

Don't listen to the Cat!

Signed, The Dog


Today is:

Bairns Day -- Scotland (Begins the runic half-month of Eoh, the yew tree, which signifies the dead, and is now associated with the Slaughter of the Innocents of Christian tradition, so today is considered by some the unluckiest day of the year, and no work should be undertaken today.)

Call a Friend Day -- just to catch up a bit

Card Playing Day -- internet generated, enjoy a fun game with friends and family; "Go fish!"

Childermas a/k/a Holy Innocents Day -- (Patrons of babies, children's choirs, foundlings)
     various Christian traditions celebrate under many names and in various ways
     Els Enfarinats -- Ibn, Valencia, Spain (flour fight, and if it's anything like the tomato throwing in other towns of Spain, it's probably lots of fun)
     French Childermas tradition interpreted what the Norse saw as evidence of the Wild Hunt of Odin as the spirits of the Holy Innocents running from King Herod
     Inocentes -- Mexico, and sometimes celebrated as Mexican December Fool's Day (Herod fooled himself into thinking he had gotten rid of his rival king born in Bethlehem.)

Dyzemas Day -- Northhamptonshire, UK (an unlucky day to begin any new undertaking, "what is begun on Dysemas Day will never be finished")
     origin unknown, but often translated as Tithe Day, being very close to the Portugese word for tithe

Eat A Vegetarian Day -- an internet generated joke; yes, the vegetarian in question can be a cow

Endangered Species Act Day -- US (act passed 1973; a day to mourn species already extinct)

Fairy Academy of Window-Frosting Winter Exhibition -- Fairy Calendar

Fourth Day of Christmas

Guru Govind Singh Jayanti -- CH, HR, & PB, India (birth anniversary of Guru Singh)

King Taksin Memorial Day -- Thailand

Kwanzaa, Day 3, Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)

National Chocolate Candy Day

Proclamation Day -- South Australia (trad.)

Return a Gift for the Cold Hard Cash Day -- and good luck, these days

Runic Half-month Eoh (yew) commences

Take a Drive and Enjoy the Christmas Lights Day -- before they are gone for another year

Unluckiest Day of the Year -- various traditions state no work should be started today, for whatever is started today will never be finished!  In Olde England, nothing of importance was ever undertaken on Childermas, because it would prove unlucky

Anniversaries Today:

Billy Ray Cyrus weds Leticia Finley, 1994
The US Pledge of Allegiance is formally adopted, 1945
Iowa becomes the 29th US State, 1846

Birthdays Today:

David Archuleta, 1990
Sienna Miller, 1981
John Legend, 1978
Joe Mangianello, 1976
Todd Richards, 1969
Malcolm Gets, 1964
Denzel Washington, 1954
Edgar Winter, 1946
Don Francisco, 1940
Maggie Smith, 1934
Nichelle Nichols, 1933
Martin Milner, 1931
Johnny Otis, 1921
Sam Levenson, 1911
Lew Ayres, 1908
Cliff Arquette, 1905
Earl "Fatha" Hines, 1905
Hendrik Meijer, 1883
Woodrow Wilson, 1856
John Molson, 1763

Debuting/Premiering Today:

The Gulag Archipelago(Publication date), 1973
"Last of the Red Hot Lovers"(Play), 1969
"Night of the Iguana"(Play), 1961
"On the Town"(Musical), 1944
"Tip-Toes"(Musical), 1925
"St. Joan"(Play), 1923
"Cyrano de Bergerac"(Play), 1897

Today in History:

The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, a/k/a Westminster Abbey, is consecrated, 1065
The reign of Emperor Hanazono of Japan begins, 1308
Galileo Galilei becomes the first astronomer to observe the planet Neptune, although he mistakenly catalogued it as a fixed star, 1612
King Taksin is crowned as king of Thailand and establishes Thonburi as a capital, 1768
Construction of Yonge Street, formerly recognized as the longest street in the world, begins in York, Upper Canada (present-day Toronto, Ontario), 1795
A magnitude 6.8 earthquake strikes Echigo, Japan, killing 30,000+, 1828
John Calhoun becomes the first US Vice President to resign (over differences with President Andrew Jackson), 1832
Spain recognizes independence of Mexico, 1836
South Australia and Adelaide are founded, 1836
Rangoon Burma, destroyed by fire, 1841
The United States claims Midway Island, the first territory annexed outside Continental limits, 1867
The Lumière brothers perform for their first paying audience at the Grand Cafe in Boulevard des Capucines, marking the debut of the cinema, 1895
The first municipally owned streetcars take to the streets in San Francisco, California, 1912
The Peak District becomes the United Kingdom's first National Park, 1950
Alexander Solzhenitsyn publishes "Gulag Archipelago", 1973
Winnie Mandela is banished from South Africa, 1976
The first American "test-tube baby", Elizabeth Jordan Carr, is born in Norfolk, Virginia, 1981
U.S. retail giant Montgomery Ward announces it is going out of business after 128 years, 2000
At 115 years old and 266 days, Jiroemon Kimura of Japan becomes the world's oldest living person, 2012

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Letter to Carol

After Little Girl and i did our usual Friday evening shift at the shelter, i sent the following letter by email.

Dear Carol,

We showed up for our usual Friday evening shift and found:

1. The people who do the cages had done a good job keeping up over the holiday.

2. The Thursday morning colony room caretaker had fed the cats, even though we only feed at the evening shift, but hadn't cleaned the litter boxes, as is supposed to be done each morning.

3. The Thursday evening colony room person didn't give the full measure of food.

4. The Friday morning colony room person didn't show up.

As a result of the mix-up and non-showing-up of the colony room people:

1. The colony rooms had no lights on all day Friday.

2. The colony rooms had no food and the cats were acting like starving beasts.

3. The colony rooms water bowls were so scummy we had to wipe them out rather than simply pour out and refill them.

4. The colony room litter boxes were so full that rooms 7 & 8 had solid mess on the floor, room 6 had hairball mess all over and boxes so full i couldn't scoop them and had to change them, and room 2 had solid mess on the top shelves, wet mess all over the floor, and stank so badly Little Girl couldn't even stay in the room.

Also, someone left the back door unlocked.

While i don't know about you, i'm ready for holidays to be over so we can go back to our regularly scheduled mayhem!

Today is:

Anniversary of Benazir Bhutto's Death -- Sindh, Pakistan

Calli (House) Day -- Aztec Calendar (a good day for all things hearth and home and family. a bad day to participate in public life; date approximate, but soon after the solstice)

Constitution Day -- Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea)

Festival of Nehebkau -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (Beginning of Eternity, celebrating the snake god and his role of binding the sun to the earth at the beginning of time; date approximate)

Kwanzaa, Day 2, Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)

Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day -- internet generated, with Christmas over, you need to do winter decorations

Modern Medicine Day -- birth anniversary of Louis Pasteur

National Fruitcake Day -- unless, of course, you are like me and have spent your last several days with fruitcake relatives, at which point you get a day off from fruitcakes! ;D 

St. Fabiola's Day (Patron of difficult marriages, divorced people, victims of abuse, victims of adultery, widows)

St. John the Divine's Day (Patron of art dealers, authors, bookbinders, booksellers, burn victims, compositors, editors, engravers, friendships, lithographers, painters, papermakers, printers, publishers, tanners, theologians, typesetters, writers; Asia Minor; Boise, Idaho, Borgo Santo Sepolcro, Italy; Cleveland, OH; Eger, Hungary; Milwaukee, WI; Morra, Netherlands; Saint-Jean – Longueuil, Québec; Sansepoicro, Italy; Sundern, Germany; Taos, NM; Umbria, Italy; Wroclaw, Poland; against burns, poisoning)

St. Stephen's Day -- Eastern Orthodox, a public holiday in Romania

Third Day of Christmas

Unfairies' Gathering -- Fairy Calendar

Visit the Zoo Day -- don't know who put this one in the middle of winter, but there it is

Watch the Children Day -- internet generated, a day to take a page from the book of the young and remember how to play like a child

Birthdays Today:

Heather O'Rourke, 1975
Masi Oka, 1974
Bill Goldberg, 1966
Tovah Feldshuh, 1952
Gerard Depardieu, 1948
Cokie Roberts, 1943
John Amos, 1939
Oscar Levant, 1906
Marlene Dietrich, 1901
Sydney Greenstreet, 1879
Louis Pasteur, 1822
George Cayley, 1773
Johannes Kepler, 1571

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"Knots Landing"(TV), 1979
"Howdy Doody"(TV), 1947 (first successful children's television show)
"Radio Roxyettes"(Now the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes), 1932

Today in History:

The Hagia Sofia of Constantinople is completed, 537
The Spanish Crown issues the Laws of Burgos, governing the conduct of settlers with regards to native Indians in the New World, 1512
The first public railroad using steam locomotive completed in England, 1825
Charles Darwin embarks on his journey aboard the HMS Beagle, 1831
Worst English avalanche kills 8 of 15 buried in Lewes Sussex, 1836
Ether is first used in childbirth in US, in Jefferson, Ga., 1845
The world's first cat show is held at the Crystal Palace, London, 1871
Carrie Nation's first public smashing of a bar, at the Carey Hotel, Wichita, Kansas, 1900
Unsuccessful attempt on prince-regent Hirohito of Japan, 1923
Stalin's faction wins All-Union Congress in USSR, Trotsky is expelled, 1927
Radio City Music Hall opened in New York City, 1932
The Shah of Persia declares Persia is now Iran, 1934
The World Bank was created with the signing of an agreement by 28 nations, 1945
Apollo 8 splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, ending the first orbital manned mission to the Moon, 1968
The People's Republic of China is granted permanent normal trade relations with the United States, 2001
Radiation from an explosion on the magnetar SGR 1806-20 reaches Earth. It is the brightest extrasolar event known to have been witnessed on the planet, 2004
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated, 2007
Toyota Motor Corporation agrees to pay $1 billion to settle over a dozen lawsuits related to sudden acceleration, 2012

Friday, December 26, 2014

Feline Friday: Christmas is Hard on All of Us

Feline Friday was started by Steve, The Burnt Food Dude, and i'm going to believe it's because he likes cats.  It's easy to participate, just post a picture of a cat -- your cat, a picture you find on the internet, a LOLcat, or even draw a picture -- and link up.

Christmas Day is loads of fun, but it's hard on us all.

Dansig and Mikey
Even the cats need to turn in early on Christmas night!  Yes, Mikey loves to sleep upside down like that.

Today is:

Awful Tie Day -- internet generated, go to the office and compare who got the worst tie as a gift

Blessing of the Wine -- Greiveldange, Luxembourg (winemakers parade to the church to have a barrel of wine blessed)

Boxing Day -- day on which boxes of goodies are given to the less fortunate or public servants, and sometimes servants and masters traded places for the day

Cuti Bersama 2014 -- Indonesia (a "joint holiday")

Coffee Percolator Day -- patented by James Mason on this day in 1865

Day of Goodwill -- Namibia; South Africa

Day of Our Theotokos /  Synaxis of the Most Holy Mother of God -- Byzantine/Eastern Orthodox Christian

Family Day -- Namibia; Vanuatu

Holiday Magic Days -- Mystic Seaport, CT, US (reduced admission to fun, entertainment, crafts, and the lore of the sea; through Jan. 1)

Independence and Unity Day -- Slovenia(1990)

J'Ouvert -- Saint Kitts and Nevis (carneval-style street party)

Junkanoo (Junkanoo Jonkanoo, Jankunu, John Canoe or Johnkankus) -- Carribean Islands, also on New Years Day (A special music and dance, mime and symbol that is an early traditional dance form of African descent.)

Kwanzaa, Day 1, Umoja (Unity)

Mauro Hamza Day -- Houston, TX, US (United States Fencing Association Foil Director)

Mummer's Day -- Padstow, Cornwall

National Candy Cane Day

National Thank-you Note Day

National Whiner's Day™ -- a day to encourage people to be happy with what they have; the previous year's worst whiners are announced (you don't want to be one!)

Proclamation Day -- South Australia (day South Australia was established as a Province in 1836 by royal Proclamation

Recyclable Packaging Day -- started by someone who wants to remind us to gather up the reusable bags, boxes, etc., left from the holiday, and recycle the rest

Second Day of Christmas

Sports Days -- Falkland Islands (through the 28th, with the Boxing Day race at Stanley being the most famous part of the celebration)

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

St. Stephen's Day (Patron of casket makers, deacons, horses, masons, stone masons; Patron of over 80 cities throughout Italy; Kessel, Germany; Metz, France; Owensboro, KY; Toulouse, France; against headaches)
     Public Holiday in Alsace, France; Andorra; Austria; Catalonia; Croatia; Czech Republic; Germany; Holy See; Hong Kong; Ireland; Italy; Liechtenstein; Luxembourg; Poland; San Marino; Slovakia; Spain (regional); Switzerland (regional)
     Celebrated as Father's Day -- Bulgaria
     Day of the Wren -- Ireland; Isle of Mann (costumed mayhem)

Tehuantepec Festivities -- Oaxaca, Mexico

Thanksgiving Day -- Solomon Islands

Zarathosht Diso (Death of Prophet Zarathushtra) - Zoroastrian

Anniversary Today:

Rodney Dangerfield weds Joan Child, 1993
Establishment of Shenandoah National Park, VA, US, 1935

Birthdays Today:

Chris Daughtry, 1979
Jared Leto, 1971
Lars Ulrich, 1963
David Sedaris, 1956
Ozzie Smith, 1954
Carlton Fisk, 1947
John Walsh, 1945
Phil Spector, 1940
Alan King, 1927
Steve Allen, 1921
Richard Widmark, 1914
Mao Tse-tung, 1893
Henry Miller, 1891
Charles Babbage, 1791
Laurent Clerc, 1785
Juan Lovera, 1778
Thomas Nelson, 1738
Thomas Gray, 1716

Debuting/Premiering Today:

The Exorcist(Film), 1973
"Do re mi"(Musical), 1960
"The Glass Menagerie"(Play), 1944
"Of Thee I Sing"(Musical), 1931
Judy Garland, as Baby Frances, makes her stage debut at age 2 1/2, singing Jingle Bells on the vaudeville stage, 1924
"Tragic Overture"(Brahms' Op. 81), 1880

Today in History:

Columbus founds the first Spanish settlement in the New World by leaving behind 36 men in what is now Haiti, 1492
The final trial of Louis XVI of France begins, 1792
A theater fire in Richmond, Virginia kills the Governor of Virginia George William Smith and the president of the First National Bank of Virginia Abraham B. Venable, 1811
The Erie Canal opens, 1825
Gilbert and Sullivan collaborate for the first time, on their lost opera, Thespis. It does modestly well, but the two would not collaborate again for four years, 1871
King Mwanga of Uganda signs a contract with the East Africa Company, 1890
Marie and Pierre Curie announce the isolation of radium, 1898
FM radio is patented, 1933
Time Magazine's Man of the Year is for the first time a non-human, the personal computer, 1982
The Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union meets and formally dissolves the USSR, 1991
A 9.3 magnitude earthquake creates a tsunami causing devastation in Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Maldives and many other areas around the rim of the Indian Ocean, killing over 250,000 people, 2004
Brazil overtakes the United Kingdom as the world's sixth largest economy, 2011
A law banning Americans from adopting Russian children is approved by Russia's parliament; the action is a respons to the U.S. Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, 2012

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Have a happy!

Happy Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Yule, Kwanzaa, or Thursday, take your pick!

We had our usual Christmas Eve service yesterday at church.  Sweetie was in the choir loft and i got to sit next to Anna and Charles, both of whom i have taken care of in different rooms in the nursery hallway.

They had fun with the candles through the whole service, leaving wax shavings everywhere, as a 2- and 4-year-old are wont to do.  When it came the part of the service to light the candles, though, they noticed they weren't being allowed to light theirs.

Good thing i had my mini flashlight, and the one on my utility knife!  Good substitutes, i assure you, peace reigned and a good time was had by all.

Today, to Grandma and Grandpa's house we go, with Red-headed Alec in tow (he doesn't have enough time off work to go to Texas with the rest of the family).

Whatever you celebrate today, even if your idea of a great December 25 is to thank the universe for Isaac Newton, i hope you enjoy it thoroughly!

Today is:

A'phabet Day -- a/k/a No "L" Day!  yes, go ahead and groan

Carol Day -- internet generated, listed as different dates, but this is the last day this year you should have to listen to Christmas songs, so enjoy

Children's Day -- Cameroon; Chad; Central African Republic; Congo; Congo DR; Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; Uruguay

Christmas Day/Feast of the Nativity -- Christian/Orthodox Christian

Constitution Day -- Taiwan

Dia de la Familia -- Uruguay

Dies Natalis Invicti Solis -- Ancient Roman Calendar (birthday of the invincible sun god)

Ennead Feast in the Houses of Ra, Horus, and Osiris -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Family Day -- Angola; Mozambique; Uruguay

Icelandic Traditional Calendar Month Morsugur "Fat Sucker" begins -- Iceland (refering to the daily fare becoming scant in deep winter and body fat is used up)

Malkh-Festival -- Nakh peoples of Chechenya and Ingushetia (a sun god festival)

National Pumpkin Pie Day

Quaid-e-Azam's Day -- Pakistan (birth anniversary of "Great Leader," the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Day -- introduced by Montgomery Ward Department Store this day in 1939

St. Anastasia of Sirmium's Day (Patron of martyrs, weavers, and widows)

Anniversaries Today:

Hirohito becomes Emperor of Japan, 1926
Washington crosses the Delaware, 1776

Birthdays Today

Dido, 1971
Rickey Henderson, 1958
Shane MacGowan, 1957
Annie Lennox, 1954
Karl Rove, 1950
Ron Foos, 1949
Sissy Spacek, 1949
Barbara Mandrell, 1948
Larry Csonka, 1946
Jimmy Buffett, 1946
Gary Sandy, 1945
Hanna Schygulla, 1943
Carlos Castaneda, 1925
Rod Serling, 1924
Anwar Sadat, 1918
Quentin Crisp, 1908
Cab Calloway, 1907
Humphrey Bogart, 1899
Cal Farley, 1895
Robert Ripley, 1893
Dame Rebecca West, 1892
Conrad Hilton, 1887
Evangeline Cory Booth, 1865
Clara Barton, 1821
Isaac Newton, 1642
Traditional Birthday of Mithras
Traditional Birthday of Sol

Debuting/Premiering Today:

The Sword in the Stone(Disney animated film), 1963
"The Steve Allen Show"(TV), 1950
"Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcasts", 1931
"Why Marry?"(Play, first to win a Pulitzer for Drama), 1917 
"Symphony Fantastique: Épisode de la vie d'un Artiste ... en cinq parties"(Berlioz Symphony), 1830

Today in History:

The first Christmas, according to calendar maker Dionysus Exiguus, 1
The earliest possible date that Christmas was celebrated on the 25th, 337
The first definite date that Christmas was celebrated on the 25th, 352
Coronation of Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor, in Rome, 800
William I, Conqueror, crowned king of England, 1066
Boudouin I of Boulogne crowned king of Jerusalem, 1100
Count Roger II of Sicily is crowned the first King of Sicily, 1130
St Francis of Assisi assembles the first Nativity scene, in Greccio, Italy, 1223
The city of Natal, Brazil is founded., 1599
Gov William Bradford of Plymouth forbids game playing on Christmas, 1621
The Massachusetts General Court ordered a fine of five shillings for "observing any such day as Christmas", 1651
The first performance of "Silent Night" takes place in the church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria, 1818
Louisiana & Arkansas are the first US states to observe Christmas as holiday, 1831
Despite bitter opposition, Pres Andrew Johnson grants unconditional pardon to all persons involved in Southern rebellion (a/k/a the Civil War, or, tongue planted firmly in cheek, that recent unpleasantness between the States), 1868
The legendary/unofficial "Christmas Truce" takes place between the British & Germans, 1914
Emperor Taisho of Japan dies; his son, Prince Hirohito succeeds him as Emperor Showa, 1926
Montgomery Ward introduces Rudolph the 9th reindeer, 1939
The first in Europe artificial, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was initiated within Soviet nuclear reactor F-1, 1946
The Stone of Scone, traditional coronation stone of British monarchs, is taken from Westminster Abbey by Scottish nationalist students, 1950
Richard Starkey gets his first drum set for Christmas, 1957
Apollo 8 performs the very first successful Trans Earth Injection (TEI) maneouver, sending the crew and spacecraft on a trajectory back to Earth from Lunar orbit, 1968
Cyclone Tracy devastates Darwin, Northern Territory Australia, 1974
Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin meets in Egypt with President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, 1977
The first successful trial run of the system which would become the World Wide Web, 1990
Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as president of the Soviet Union (the union itself is dissolved the next day), 1991
Cassini orbiter releases Huygens probe which would later successfully land on Saturn's moon Titan, 2004

The first snowfall in the last 128 years occurs in the U.S. city of Atlanta, Georgia; 500 flights are affected, 2010
The South Pole records its warmest temperature at -12.3 degrees Celsius at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, 2011

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Our Charlie Brown Tree... looking more festive!

It's much better looking with gifts around it.  Not many, but more than enough for us.

It makes me smile to look at it as i bake cornbread, and make dressing, and bake pies today with the help of the kids.

Today is:

Adam the Patriarch & Eve the Matriarch's Day -- Catholic Christian (Adam, Patron of gardeners and tailors; Eve, Patron of tailors)

Aofangadagskvold -- Iceland (arrival of the 13th and final Yule Lad)
     Icelandic Yuletide Lad of the Day, Kertasnikir -- Candle-beggar, who, as children did before light bulbs, wants the treat of a precious candle, and will steal one if he can

Arba'in-e Hosseini -- Iran (40th day after Ashura)

Bonfires on the Levee -- Louisiana, US (began among the Cajuns, now a big celebration for everyone, lighting the way for Papa Noel)

Calendas -- Oaxaca, Mexico

Celtic Tree Month Beth (Birch) commences

Christmas Eve

Constitution Day -- Transdniestra

Declaration of Christmas Peace -- Old Great Square of Turku, Finland's official Christmas City

Feast of the Seven Fishes (La Vigilia) -- Italy (traditional serving of seven kinds of seafood at dinner)

Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols -- King's College Chapel, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England (special Christmas Eve performance by the Choir of King's College held since 1918)

Independence Day -- Libya(1951)

Kolada -- Asatru/Slavic Pagan Calendar (various celebrations of the gods until Dec. 31)

Last Minute Shoppers Day

Mistletoe Time -- traditional day on which to hang the mistletoe

Modresnach -- Germanic/Scandinavian/Anglo-Saxon Odinist festival celebrating midwinter and motherhood (date approximate)

National Egg Nog Day

Noche Buena -- Spain and Spanish speaking countries

Remember to Read the Instructions First Night -- when assembling the kids' toys, of course

Silent Night, Holy Night Celebrations -- Austria (in honor of the hymn's composition in 1818)

St. Trasilla's Day (Patron of single laywomen)

Tolling the Devil's Knell -- All Saints Parish Church, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, England (the church bell tolls once for each year since the birth of Christ, signaling when the Devil's demise was heralded)

T'owd 'oss -- Richmond, North Yorkshire, England (A tradition of dressing in hunting clothes and blowing the hunting horns on Christmas Eve.)

Utter Day -- Fairy Calendar (Every word uttered by the fairy folk becomes a physical object he/she must wear for the rest of the day.)

Yap Constitution Day -- Micronesia (regional)

Zerowork Season begins -- seriously, unless you work in retail, how much work really gets done between now and New Year's Eve at your office?

Birthdays Today:

Ryan Seacrest, 1974
Stephanie Meyer, 1973
Ricky Martin, 1971
Diedrich Bader, 45, 1966
Anil Kapoor, 1959
Mary Higgins Clark, 1929
Ava Gardner, 1922
Howard Hughes, 1905
Johnny Gruelle, 1880
Matthew Arnold, 1822
James Prescott Joule, 1818
Kit Carson, 1809

Debuting/Premiering Today:

The Aristocats(Disney animated film), 1970
"Amahl and the Night Visitors"(Opera, first performance and the first opera ever televised), 1951
"The Perry Como Show"(TV), 1948
"Aida"(Opera), 1871

Today in History:

The Byzantine church Hagia Sophia in Constantinople is dedicated for the second time after being destroyed by earthquakes, 563
Thomas Wolsey is appointed English Lord Chancellor, 1515
Kiritimati, also called Christmas Island, is "discovered" by James Cook, 1777
"Silent Night" is composed by Franz Joseph Gruber; it is first sung the next day, 1818
The Eggnog Riot at the United States Military Academy begins that night, wrapping up the following morning, 1826
Fire devastates the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., destroys 35,000 volumes, 1851
Henry Ford completes his first useful gas motor, 1893
Irving Fisher patents an archiving system with index cards, 1912
The first radio transmission of NCRV in Netherlands, 1924
NORAD Tracks Santa for the first time in what will become an annual Christmas Eve tradition, 1955
Shooting begins on "The Cage" the pilot for the Star Trek series, 1964
The crew of Apollo 8 enters into orbit around the Moon, becoming the first humans to do so, 1968
Cyclone Tracy devastates Darwin, Australia, 1974
The first European Ariane rocket is launched, 1979
For the first time since the death f Lenin, the bells of St. Basil's Cathedral, on Red Square in Moscow, ring to celebrate Christmas, 1990
The Spanish police thwart an attempt by ETA to detonate 50 kg of explosives at 3:55 p.m.inside Madrid's busy Chamartín Station, 2003

A video of SpaceX's latest test of the company's Grasshopper rocket with vertical takeoff and vertical landing, from December 17, is released; the rocket rose 131 feet, hovered and landed safely on the landing pad, 2012

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Over the past few days, since Friday, in fact, i've been to three funerals.  (Yes, that in addition to getting ready for Christmas, Angel Tree, OneHarvest, and everything else.)

Yesterday, it was a lady i had never met, but i know her husband.  He is a maintenance worker at the local MallMart.  He and i stop to talk any time i see him, and sometimes we share Bible verses, or jokes.  He is quite a character.

Saturday when i was buying out the toy section, i saw him and walked over, telling him "Merry Christmas!"  He responded with, "My wife died."  As i hugged him and told him i was so sorry for his loss, he smiled and told me "She had a stroke 6 years ago, and was totally housebound since then.  It's a blessing, she got to see and hold our first granddaughter, and she was ready."

The service was small, as they don't have a big family.  Her husband, sister, and son and daughter were the only family present.  Daughter's husband and in-laws sat separately for some reason, and a few church members and friends showed up.  It was held at the Baptist church across the highway, where i used to work at the pre-kindergarden.  Brother Frank, who was the founding pastor back in the 1950's and is now pastor emeritus, preached a very good Baptist funeral, telling us all about our hope in Christ.  The only problem with it was that i had a coughing fit in the middle and had to hurry out so as not to disturb anyone.

Afterward everyone gathered in the gym for a typical feeding, like the Baptist ladies always put on at a funeral.  About the time they left to go to the cemetery, i said my good-byes and went on to the next errand.

On Saturday, after the shopping and before running other errands, i attended the funeral of an elderly member of our church.  She had been part of about 17 zillion different committees and societies around town and in our church.  She was the head of the committee that saw to it our pastor had a desk worthy the title of "desk of the head pastor."  When the finance officer argued with her over the desk, trust me, she got the best of it, the desk is still there!

She had had a few health setbacks in previous months, but seemed to be recovering.  Every time anyone went to visit her, no matter her condition, she was dressed to make-up and shoes with her hair done.  To the end, she would DVR as many ball games of every kind as she could, and when she would answer the phone she'd say, "Hello, and if you are watching the other game, don't tell me the score!"

She loved family, friends, her family farm, and was probably the only 80-something year old woman with a premium subscription to the New York Yankees Channel.

She will be sorely missed, as she was also a very gracious lady who knew how to make everyone around her feel comfortable.  She knew how to compose life well.

The day before that, it was Ms. D.  Hers is a story i know her husband would have preferred not to ever have to tell, but there you are.

Seven years ago, Ms. D was a 43-year-old wife and mother of two young teen boys when, out of the blue and with no symptoms, she had a heart attack.  EMS was called, they started CPR and got her to the hospital.  Once there, the doctors "brought her back." 

Only, they didn't.  Her heart was restarted (and they never figured out a reason for the heart attack to begin with), so her body was there.  She was in a persistent vegetative state in a rehab hospital/nursing facility ever after.

Her sons put a prayer card in for her every single week for seven years.  Her husband, ever hopeful for a miraculous awakening, remained faithful, seeing her as often as he could while he raised two boys alone.  Her mother went to see her often, sometimes bringing her horse to visit!  The horse never wanted to leave when he came, not understanding why she wouldn't get up.  Pastors and church members and friends visited every single week.  She was always on our prayer list, all of us wanting her to be back at the church she loved and that loved her.  She was especially missed by her Sunday School children.

A few months ago, her mother stated that she had changed her prayer.  Seeing her daughter that way had become too hard, and she had asked The Lord would either cure her or take her home.  Her husband said he couldn't yet pray that.  While he would be content to let her go if that was G-d's will, he couldn't pray that it would happen.  He was still holding out hope for her to come home someday.

Then Ms. D got ill with a lung infection, which is what usually happens in these cases.  They had already put in the order, from the beginning, not to treat beyond comfort care.  Oxygen with extra moisture to help her breathe better, yes.   Suctioning her lungs so she could breathe easily, yes.  Antibiotics, x-rays, and aggressive treatment, no.

Saturday the 13th, Ms. D's mother left to visit family out of state for a few days.  That evening, her breathing became worse, and by Monday, her husband called the pastors to come pray with her.  One pastor who visited her every week used to say that sometimes, when he would pray with her, she would cry.  No one else had seen that, until this time.  The senior pastor prayed with her and told her it was okay, she was loved, she could go if she needed to.  She cried, and her husband wiped away her tears.

He still couldn't get himself to pray that she would go home to heaven, though.  Monday night as he made his weekly visit to the prison to pray with some of the prisoners, they gathered around him and prayed for him, that he would be able to handle whatever came.

Tuesday, he finally did get to where he could pray for the end.  He read an email from a friend that convinced him, and he prayed that if she was not to be healed that her death would be at such a time as to bring G-d glory.  He also prayed that it would be peaceful, as her labored breathing from the infection was so difficult to watch.

Six hours later, a nurse went in and found Ms. D breathing normally.  The nurse held her hand and prayed, and Ms. D took her last, very peaceful, breath.  One minute later, one of the pastors of the church came in.  They called her husband, and he came over, then her mother arrived home from out of town and came over.

It was just the right time.  Her mother never had to see the difficulty of those last couple of days, her husband had finally come to be at peace with losing her for good, and in the end, it was not a labored, horrible gasping for air and choking.  It was peaceful.

On Friday, the church was packed with the people who had been praying and walking with the family through this ordeal for 7 years.  Ms. D's husband is a member of the choir, and every person i've ever seen sing in the choir was there.  How they all got off of work on a busy Friday before Christmas i have no clue, but there was no room in the choir loft for even one more person.

Ms. D and her husband had always loved the song Highland Cathedral, so after the benediction, a bagpiper and our organist played it.  Several choir members separately came up to her husband later and told him that, during the song, each had a vision of Ms. D riding her horse in a beautiful meadow!  None of them realized any other had seen the vision until they started talking about it to him.  He's convinced, he said on Sunday when he thanked the church for the years of love and care for their family. that she is, indeed, in that Highland Cathedral with her Savior and her horse, Rooster.

It's been an eventful several days, and it's got me in a contemplative, reflective mood this holiday season.  Yes, i count that a good thing.

Today is:

Birthday of the Queen Silvia -- Sweden (an official flag day)

Children's Day -- South Sudan; Sudan

Day of Acca Larentia -- Ancient Rome, Republic and Empire (earth goddess and protectress who raised Romulus and Remus)

Festivus -- For the Rest of Us!  (The holiday introduced on the episode of Seinfeld that aired 12/18/97; have some meatloaf, decorate with an unadorned aluminum pole, have a "Feats of Strength" contest and an "Airing of Grievances"!)

Humanlight Celebration -- celebration of tolerance, compassion, empathy, honesty, free inquiry, reason, and rationality, information at

Icelandic Yuletide Lad of the Day, Ketkrokur -- Meat-hook, who will lower a hook down the chimney and snatch a bit of meat if he can, especially if you are cooking lamb for St. Porlakur(Thorlac)

Igler Bergweihnacht -- Igls, Austria (charming nativity parade starring the children of this small town near Innsbruck)

Learn Metric Day -- US (passage of the Metric Conversion Act of 1875)

Mouse-Marketing Day -- Fairy Calendar

National Day -- Maldives

National Pfefferneusse Day -- don't forget the Puderzucker!

Noche de Rabanos (Night of the Radishes) -- Oaxaca, Mexico (part of the lead up to Christmas, bring out your best carved radish!)

Popcorn Popping Day -- so you can string it on the tree, of course

Porlaksmessa, Feast of St. Thorlaker/Thorlac -- Iceland (Patron saint, though never officially recognized by the Holy See)

Roots Day -- as you gather with family during the season, don't forget to sit with elder relatives and learn about your family's past

Secret of the Unhewn Stone -- Celtic Calendar (Only day on their calendar not governed by a tree month)

St. John of Kanti's Day (Patron of Lithuania, Poland)

St. Servulus' Day (Patron of the disabled/physically challenged; against paralysis)

St. Victoria's Day (Patron of Anticoli Corrado, Italy)

Tenno Tanjobi -- Japan (Birthday of Emperor Akihito, national holiday observed as a day of rest.)

Two Days To Go Day

Victory Day -- Egypt (a/k/a Suez Victory Day)

Anniversary Today:

Establishment of the US Federal Reserve System, 1913

Birthdays Today:

Corey Haim, 1971
Carla Bruni, 1967
Eddie Vedder, 1964
Carol Ann Duffy, 1955
Susan Lucci, 1946
Harry Shearer, 1943
Akihito, 1933
Robert Bly, 1926
Gerald O'Loughlin, 1921
Jose Greco, 1918
Madame C.J. Walker, 1867
Connie Mack, 1862
Harriet Monroe, 1860
Joseph Smith, Jr., 1805

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"Hansel und Gretel"(Opera), 1893
Hoffmeyer's Legacy(Film; 1st with Keystone Kops), 1912

Today in History:

Byzantine-Arab Wars: Under the future Emperor Nicephorus Phocas, Byzantine troops stormed the city of Aleppo, recovering the tattered tunic of John the Baptist, 962
St Philip of Moscow martyred by Ivan the Terrible, 1569
Giovanni Cassini discovers Rhea, a satellite of Saturn, 1672
John Flamsteed observes Uranus without realizing it's undiscovered, 1690
The Continental Congress negotiates a war loan of $181,500 from France, 1776
Benedict Arnold court-martialed for improper conduct, 1779
"A Visit from St Nicholas" by C. Clement Moore is published in the Troy (NY) Sentinel (Now usually titled " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas"), 1823
The opera Hänsel und Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck is first performed, 1893
The first all-steel passenger railroad coach completed, in Altoona, Pa, 1907
The first hospital ship built to move wounded naval personnel is launched, 1919
Alice H Parker patents gas heating furnace, 1919
Discovery of the first modern coelacanth in South Africa, 1938
The transistor is first demonstrated at Bell Laboratories, 1947
Dedication of Tokyo Tower, the world's highest self-supporting iron tower, 1958
The North Tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York City is topped out at 1,368 feet (417 m), making it the tallest building in the world, 1970
A 6.5 magnitude earthquake strikes the Nicaraguan capital of Managua killing more than 10,000, 1972
The 16 survivors of the Andes flight disaster are rescued after 73 days, having survived by cannibalism, 1972
Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California becoming the first aircraft to fly non-stop around the world without aerial or ground refueling, 1986
In a referendum, 88% of Slovenia's population vote for independence from Yugoslavia, 1990
An 8.1 magnitude earthquake hits Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean, 2004
Volcanic activity alerts are issued in Chile and Argentina, in areas near the Copahue volcano, after it started to spew ash, 2012

Monday, December 22, 2014

Awww Monday: Tree

Awww Monday is hosted by Sandee, of Comedy Plus.  As we start the work week, we can all use something to smile over, so post a picture that makes everyone say, "Awww!" and link up!

Tree with gifts.

Yes, i know that tree doesn't look like much to make you say, "Awww!" but maybe it is if you know the story.  This story wouldn't be complete unless i give the whole thing, too, so i hope everyone can be patient; and if it's too long for an Awww Monday, Sandee, just let me know.  Besides that, you know i can't do a doggone thing without it turning into a major production.

A few weeks ago, the Angel Tree arrived at our church.  Angel Tree Ministries allows men and women who are incarcerated to ask for gifts on behalf of their children.  When you pick kids from the Angel Tree, you aren't giving the gift, the incarcerated parent is, through you.  It's a way for the children to know their parents love them, even if they can't be there for the holidays.

As soon as i knew the names were there, i started buzzing around and irritating the lady at our church who handles them, reading and looking and picking just the right one.  Or in this case, ones.

The family, according to the information i had, was 3 boys, ages 6, 3, and 1 1/2.  It sounded like a group i could handle, after all, i've had boys that age.  The contact information showed an address not far from our church, in what i knew to be one of the "less fortunate" areas.

Then i started trying to get in touch with the family.  Every phone number on the page was wrong, and the address was misprinted, with one of the numbers not legible.  Calling the Angel Tree lady at our church, she said to bring the paper back and get another family.  Nothing doing, i don't give up that easy.

Next, Sweetie called the chaplain at the prison and got the whole address and different phone numbers.  All of those phone numbers were wrong, too!  At least i had an address to work with, i thought.

My bright idea was to try the nearest elementary school, see if the oldest child was registered.  No luck, the child wasn't even in the system.

Then i went and found the house.  Wrong house, the lady told me, but the name was familiar, she thought they lived next door.  The people next door weren't home.

When i had pulled into the house i thought was correct, i hadn't seen the hole in the drive, and now i had a flat tire on Sweetie's car -- this was while the Jalopy was still in the shop.  So i'm in what many people would think of as a dangerous neighborhood with a flat tire.  What did i do?  Pulled out and drove the block and a half to the main highway, and pulled into the parking lot of a closed business that at least had a visible address, so i could call for help.

That didn't work, though.  Calling the number on the back of the insurance card, i pushed all the buttons and got put on hold, then a recording told me their system was down and they couldn't help me at this time!  Great, i thought, and as i sat wondering what next, a car with two nice gentlemen pulled up next to me and they asked if i wanted them to change the tire!

Yes, i took them up on it.  It was G-d's provision, i was sure, as one of them worked with his uncle, a mechanic, whose shop was behind his house on the very street where my Angel Tree family was supposed to live!  He walked to his uncle's place and got the jack, as the dinky one that comes with the car failed, and put on the spare.

The spare was flat, so i drove to the uncle's house around the corner on a flat spare and they pulled out the air compressor and got it filled.  When i offered pay, the one whose uncle lives there told me to give something to his friend who had helped, as he was out of work, and i did.  Kevin and Lenny laughed at my story as i pulled in on the dinky spare and they got me a new tire and out in time to go get Sweetie from work.

My next step was to go back to that street very early in the morning, when i figured the kids wouldn't have left for school yet.  Yes, they were there, next door to the nice lady i had spoken to first.  No, it wasn't them, they thought it was the people across the street, who weren't home.

Foiled again, but not giving up, a few days later i got back and went to the house across the street.  Nope, not her, she said, try next to me, across the street from the very first house i had tried.

Success!  Finally!  And instead of 3 children, i found a shabby house with 6 children and the mom/stepmom of at least a couple of them, along with the teen mother of a couple of more, and some brothers/uncles of the kids.  The six children had 5 different last names, and i never got straight who went with whom, but that didn't matter.  It was a house with a bunch of little kids and scrawny tree and few resources.  This would take a bigger shopping trip than i had figured, but at least i had already ordered extra OneHarvest food boxes.

This past Saturday i went to MallMart at 6am and got started.  Angel Tree gifts for the three boys from their father.  Then gifts for all 6 kids "from Santa", including a few for all of the children to share.  Some nice bath things for the moms, gift cards for the older boys/uncles/whoever they were to go to Taco Bell and get themselves a meal -- i figured boys that age always want to eat, anyway.  Diapers and wipes and an extra MallMart gift card in case they needed anything else.  This is what i've been saving some of that money from cleaning houses for, after all.

When Little Girl saw it all, she asked if i had bought out the store!  She wrapped, and wrapped, and had a blast doing it.  She loves wrapping gifts.  That afternoon, i went to the OneHarvest pick up site and got the food for them and for my friend in the neighborhood who is always so hard up, and a box for our neighbor who is now out of work, and some for Bigger Girl's always on the edge college friends.

When i got back with the food, having dropped the rest of it where it belonged, Little Girl and i went to see our Angel Tree family.  Food, diapers, and toys had been crammed into the Jalopy, and they put the food away, then put all the toys under the tree for Christmas.

The room only had one bulb at the other end, which is why the picture is so dark.  Two or three small packages were under the tree when we got there for six kids and 4 adults, and when we left, it had boxes and bags all around it.  Everyone had something, as it should be when you celebrate Christmas.

There's a book i'm reading right now called, She Did What She Could.  It reminded me not to let all the things i can't do in the world stop me from doing the bit i can. 

Today is:

Beetle Banquet and Badger Ball -- Fairy Calendar

Chipmunks Day -- the date, in 1958, when Alvin, Simon, and Theodore hit #1 with "The Chipmunk Song"

Day Sacred to the Lares -- Ancient Roman Calendar (household gods)

Hari Ibu -- Indonesia (Mother's Day)

Icelandic Yuletide Lad of the Day, Gattapefur -- Sniffer, who uses his big nose on hlakkandi ("looking forward" day, when you begin to look forward to Christmas) to sniff out a cake or two to snatch

International Sahara Festival -- Douz, Tunisia (now a famous three-day festival, with camel racing, music and merrymaking, designed to help everyone understand the lives of traditional Bedouin tribes)

Khoiak Ceremony for Raising the Djed Pillar -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (Osiris festival, the pillar represented his spine, and so stability and strength; date approximate)

National Date Nut Bread Day

Santa Claus Flight Clearance Day -- US FAA (they make sure he's cleared to fly, with his de-icing system, Terrain Avoidance Warning System for low-altitude flight, and special seat belt extension in good working order)

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini's Day (Mother Cabrini, the first US citizen canonized; Patron saint of emigrants, hospital administrators, immigrants, orphans; against malaria)

Unity Day -- Zimbabwe

Birthdays Today:

Jordin Sparks, 1989
Ralph Fiennes, 1962
Maurice Gibb, 1949
Robin Gibb, 1949
Steve Garvey, 1948
Diane Sawyer, 1945
Steve Carlton, 1944
Hector Elizondo, 1936
Joe Pyne, 1925
Barbara Billingsley, 1922
Gene Rayburn, 1917
Claudia Taylor "Lady Bird" Johnson, 1912
Dame Edith Margaret Emily "Peggy" Ashcroft, 1907
Edwin Arlington Robinson, 1869
Giacomo Puccini, 1858
William Ellery, 1727
James Edward Oglethorpe, 1696

Debuting/Premiering Today:

The Graduate(Film), 1972

Dr. Zhivago(Film), 1965
"Ding Dong School"(TV), 1952

Today in History:

A serious earthquake strikes Innsbruck, 1689
The Turkish fortress of Izmail is stormed and captured by Suvorov and his Russian armies, 1790
The first freight train is operated in Roorkee, India, 1851
Jules Janssen flies in a balloon in order to study a solar eclipse, 1870
The first string of Christmas tree lights is created by Thomas Edison, 1882
Ito Hirobumi, a samurai, becomes the first Prime Minister of Japan, 1885
French officer Alfred Dreyfus court-martialed for treason, triggers worldwide charges of anti-Semitism (Dreyfus later vindicated), 1894
Colo is born, the first gorilla to be bred in captivity, 1956
Berlin's Brandenburg Gate re-opens after nearly 30 years, effectively ending the division of East and West Germany, 1989
Richard Reid attempts to destroy a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes aboard American Airlines Flight 63, 2001
An important peer-reviewed study of the spatial memory of bumblebees is published in the Biology Letters journal of the Royal Society by a class of 25 8- to 10-year-old children at Blackawton Primary School, 2010

A security news site reports that the credit and debit card account stolen from 40 million Target Corporation customers are up for sale on the black market; cards are being sold from around $20 to more than $100 each, 2013