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Carol H Tucker

Passionate about knowledge management and organizational development, expert in loan servicing, virtual world denizen and community facilitator, and a DISNEY fan

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Be warned:in this very rich environment where you can immerse yourself so completely, your emotions will become engaged -- and not everyone is cognizant of that. Among the many excellent features of SL, there is no auto-return on hearts, so be wary of where your's wanders...

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Happy Holiday!

Today is the 3rd day of the 49th week, the 6th day of the 12th month, the 340th day of 2022, and if you have to worry about the number of shopping days left before Christmas, you’re on your own. 
December is the end of the calendar year, at least for those using the Gregorian calendar.  During this month there are many religious observances:
  • Christmas
  • Festivus [completely made up parody of a holiday]
  • Hanukkah
  • Kwanza
  • Pancha Ganapati [in honor of Ganesha]
  • Rohatsu or Bodhi Day
  • Sol Invictus – even the Satanists celebrate “being unconquered by superstition”
  • Yule
  • Winter Solstice
  • Zarathosht Diso or the death of the Prophet Zarathustra
On the whole, it is supposed to be a joyous time, a time to celebrate having made it through another year [and get ready to start another orbit around the sun.  Decorations are put up, stores are busy, families gather, dinners and treats are baked, folks go to worship, and gifs are exchanged.  With all that bustle, there are certain expectations that kick in.  Folks are supposed to feel kinder, more tolerant of everyone, and some sort of benevolent glow is supposed to permeate our lives.  And if you are out-of-step or out-of-tune with this general miasma of gingerbread and jollification, there are books and articles and online resources devoted to getting you in the proper holiday spirit
Lifetime movies notwithstanding, not everyone gets in the spirit.  Obviously, The weight of all that anticipation and expectations can drag a person down.  Some people get impatient with it, some get sad they aren’t “with it”, some just ignore it.  But it looms in the background, lurking….
Don’t beat yourself up if you are lacking in that holiday glow.  Don’t let this time of year be an additional burden of angst.     

Permalink | Tuesday, December 6, 2022

happy birthday, Mickey - I think

Today is the 18th day of the 11th month, the 6th day of the 46th week, the 322nd of 2022, and it is the 94th birthday of Micky Mouse.
I haven’t always been a Disney fan. 
Growing up, Disney consisted of some toys, altho I don’t remember having any, movies that seemed to come out every two years, and the Mickey Mouse Club on TV.  I was taken to all the animated movies, altho I don’t actually remember going.  
[Side note:  back then you didn’t go at any particular time.  We usually went to the local theater in Aero Acres, and simply walked in whenever we wanted to as the show was playing.  Most of the time you were around the middle, and you would watch to the end, then see the short, and watch the beginning, getting up and leaving when the movie reached the point at which you walked in.   If you wanted to, you could camp out in the theater for a couple of hours on a hot day since there was A/C, watching the movie over again.]
I do remember having the Disney movie 33 1/3  albums of the soundtracks for all the classic films with a book that outlined the story.    Then Disney started doing live-action films.  I remember seeing The Happiest Millionaire,  The Absent Minded Professor, The Parent Trap, and I actually enjoyed Mary Poppins - I’m sure there were others that I was dragged to.  By then I was in my teens and calling something “mickey mouse” was an insult that implied being cheesy – but I still went to see Bambi when it was re-released and cried like a baby..    When my kids were little, I took them to see the animated movies as they were re-released, but Mickey was not part of our lives.  Then came the Eisner era, and I fell in love with the magi after my first trip to WDW in 1986.  I can still remember the moment when it washed over me – the clouds rolled back and revealed the Dreamfinder and Figment singing during the Journey of Imagination dark ride.  The Lion King, The little Mermaid, Toy Story, Cars, Aladdin - the hits just kept rolling out.  We went back to the park again and again, and I even took a Disney cruise.  My bedroom is decorated ala Mickey, I have an entire wardrobe of Disney clothing [including several pairs of shoes], and we couldn’t wait to introduce my granddaughters to the pixie dust.  They too have outfits, and lots of toys…
Then COVID hit.  The parks closed.  Disney+ started up and that gave us all our fix, but the movies rolling out were live-action remakes of the animated films.  When the parks re-opened, the bad news started.  The Imagineers were summarily dismissed.  Benefits were cut for those staying on-site.  Prices skyrocketed.  And more and more there were complaints about quality.  Even the depiction  characters were downgraded

Right now, I am not feeling the pixie dust.  I am worried that Disney’s C-suite is more focused on maintaining Wall ST’s approbation, and their own out-sized salaries, than preserving the brand.  And for the first time in decades, I do not have actual plans to return to WDW
Permalink | Friday, November 18, 2022

world peace

Today is the 5th day of the 46th week, the 17th day of the 11th month, the 321st day of 2022 [with only 37 shopping days before Christmas], and there are 19 different national holidays and four international ones.  Three holidays seem to be related, if you go by their names: 
  • Use Less Stuff Day [always on the third Thursday of the month] which is less about simplifying your life and more about saving the environment by being mindful of your disposables
  • World Peace Day – apparently started by Don Morris of Miami Florida around 1997 to encourage folks to write to their country’s leaders and as for peace and harmony.  No relation to the International Day of Peace declared by the UN and celebrated every September 21st
  • World Philosophy Day [always on the third Thursday of the month] is all about “The Human of the Future” this year.  The thought process behind this holiday is that philosophy is the conduit towards tolerance of differences, and therefore the ability to live with our neighbors.
I thought the three coexistent celebrations were all pathways to peace.  It’s nice to take a breath, step back, and before getting onto the holiday merry-go-round, take stock   Not everyone finds minimalistic surroundings peaceful, but if you have a lot of stuff, maybe take a thought about how these things that surround you add to the cozy, home-like comfort you want/need.  Let your gaze wander over the items, and treasure the memories they generate.  Appreciate how they all mesh together, creating the backdrop of your life.  Is that thought process profound enough to be considered philosophizing?  I don’t know and I don’t particularly care – it’s reflection. 
This is not a problem, world peace is a problem.”
I’ve dismissed many a troubling occurrence with that rather flip comment.  I cannot dismiss the political turmoil in my own country or in the world so cavalierly  But I can try and build peace in my own life, in my own family, in my own workplace, in my own community.  I can try not to let the upset overwhelm me.  I can sing in the shower instead of stewing.  I can tip the baristas at my local Starbucks even though I had to wait almost 20 minutes with many other customers for my order.  I can take a moment to find a tension-reliever to share in the middle of a taut situation at work.  And I can cling to hope even when hoping seems to be a futile effort

There isn’t a lot I can do about the world, but there is a lot I can do about me.  As the saying by Johan Wolfgang Von Goethe goes:  “Let everyone sweep in front of his own door and the whole world will be clean.” 
Permalink | Thursday, November 17, 2022

bad dreams

I had nightmare Friday night that is haunting me
Context:  In Second Life, you can buy pets.  Some of them can be picked up and put back into your inventory, then taken out without any harm done.  Some will break [read die] if you pick them up once they are rezzed out.  In this dream?  I had my two granddaughters, their grandfather and my ex-husband [who they have never met], and his mother all interreacting with each other and me. 
The girls had wanted to give their grandfather a present for his birthday [which is coming up next month], so I took them shopping.  They decided to buy two little kittens, who were in a plastic container, apparently in stasis.  We got the kitties home, and then I opened the plastic and let them out to make sure they were okay.  They were adorable, of course, and the girls played with them for over an hour.  Then I picked them up one at a time, and put the two lively little pets back in their containers, where they immediately curled up and went to sleep.  I closed the containers on them, and helped the girls wrap them up.  Time passed.  It was the day of his birthday and time to find the presents.  At first I didn’t remember where I hid them, but then realized I had put the wrapped packages at the bottom of the wardrobe.  As I pulled them out, the rather badly wrapped presents started unraveling.  I asked the youngest granddaughter to bring me some tape, but got frustrated with her when she brought a bandage instead, so she was sulking that I wasn’t using what she brought.  My ex-mother-in-law came in with tape and gave it to me and the girls started excitedly chattering about how their grandfather would love his present….  But when I picked up the one package to tape it again, I realized it was wet underneath with what smelled like cat urine.  I checked the other one – the same.  And with a wave of horror, I looked at those two packages and knew those cute little helpless kittens had died alone and in the darkness when I put them back in their containers….  I looked up – the woman understood what was happening and sneered at me as I turned to the two girls, unable to think of what to say….

I woke up at that point, and all I could think about was those two innocent lives I had thoughtlessly taken out of carelessness, failure to read the instructions I guess.  .The image of the bottom of that soaked wrapped package and the wave of horror haunt me, and I mourn over the trauma those little kittens must’ve endured.  And now I ask myself, what does it mean?  Am I suffering pangs of guilt and/or regret for my past actions?  Is this my spirit crying out to me to make amends to the universe while I still can?  I’ve been cataloging my sins for two days now and it’s pretty depressing. I had always thought of myself as a good person….
Permalink | Monday, November 7, 2022

Back to Middle Earth

I have watched the entire season, including this week's finale,  of Amazon's "The Rings of Power".   

The show takes a lot of liberties with the time compression, throwing together events and characters that are out of sync with the Silmarillion, and that can be somewhat jarring.  Many complain the pacing is too slow, while perversely, it is the slow dwelling on details that the fans of the books hunger for and enjoy the most.   The sets and scenery are absolutely stunning and getting to know the dwarves and the halflings better is probably the best and most enjoyable parts.  And the story of how Mordor was created?  Awesome!

There are only two things I strongly object to:

~ the mithril creation story is just plain wrong.  It is a complete fabrication and violates the entire history of the Silmarils as well as the entire saga of Luthien and Beren The One-Handed.. 

~ the characterization of Gil-Galad and the role of high king in determining who should go back to the West and when,    

No Idea what all the bruhaha is about as far as the ethnicity of the actors playing the parts - the actors all did a good job.  I found the ancestors of the Hobbits endearing and I like what they did with the dwarves [altho I still would've liked dwarf women to have had beards].  The races of men as shown by the Southlanders and Numenoreans, as well as their interactions with others was good.  Meeting Adar, one of the original orcs created by Melkor was engrossing, and I thought that was handled very well, alltho I'm not sure those who haven't read the books realized just how vital that character detail was.  The reason for the implacable hatred of the Elves for the Orcs, and the hatred of the Orcs for the ones who twisted their lives and the Elves who who were all they were not is a powerful theme.

The series did a good job in keeping you guessing who was Sauron, altho in a nod to those who have read The Silmarillion, the final episode let you know who it was early on.

My recommendation?  Worth watching as long as you can separate bookverse from movieverse from TVverse and don't get your panties in a twist because they aren't in perfect sync  There are irreconcilable differences between the three, and only the books are actually canon
Permalink | Saturday, October 15, 2022

if you really want to know

So it has been 98 days since I updated this blog.- 26.89% of a year. 
There have been birthdays – my son-in-law, my son, both of my granddaughters, and I turned 72. 
I have had my car for over a year now.
Triscuit has been with me for five months now, but I still miss Panda, who has been gone almost six months. 
My daughter is still dealing with the ravaged battlefield of her successful fight against cancer and is all but an invalid after five years.  Her daughters were too young when she was diagnosed with stage 3C breast cancer and will never remember the vital, vibrant woman she was.  Her husband is suffering from long COVID from the bout he had in the early spring.  The girls have had a couple bouts, but were able to start school yesterday.  I still do not approve of starting school before Labor Day, not that anyone is asking me.
My son completed his chemo and radiation treatments for colon cancer.  It was a difficult time for him and yet he managed to work almost his regular schedule at the Nashville health clinic.  Yesterday, a cat scan showed spots on his lung, whether from the spread from his lymph nodes or another kind of cancer, we will have to see.  The entire family is reeling from this news.  They are going to do a biopsy and we are praying it isn’t cancer even tho the doctor thinks it is.  The VA caused this problem – Tom asked and asked for a colonoscopy because we have a family history of colon cancer and the VA doctors kept turning him down until last year.  If he had his screening earlier, they would’ve caught it before it metastasized.
I wanted to move.  I planned to move when my lease was up in September.  But rents are thru the roof right now and they offered to freeze mine for a year.  So despite the many issues, here I am.
I am recuperating from a severe allergic reaction to the Ozempic I started taking the end of March.  We finally figured out what was causing the ugly, itchy, festering rash on my arms, chest, and back at the beginning of August.  Took some pretty high doses of Prednisone for five days, as well as two weeks of oatmeal bath soaks,  to get on the way to healing the rash, but there are still a couple of lingering spots.  I was also diagnosed with inflammation of the lungs as a result of that allergic reaction, and am on a steroid inhaler to try and help with breathing as well as the fatigue.  I get so short-winded when I try to do anything, and I cough a lot – especially if I talk too much or try to sing.   I had to go to for a chest x-ray last Friday and we are waiting for the results of that
Sums it all up nicely
Permalink | Tuesday, August 30, 2022


Today is the 2nd day of the 21st week, the 23rd day of the 5th month, the 143rd day of 2022 [with only 215 shopping days left until Christmas], and: 
  • Declaration of the Bab Day
  • Drinking with Chickens Day – yes that is apparently a thing
  • International Day to End Obstetric Fistula
  • National Best Friend-in-Law Day
  • Lucky Penny Day
  • National Taffy Day
  • Victoria Day
  • World Crohn’s and Colitis Day
  • World Turtle Day

1568 - The Netherlands declares independence from Spain

1576 - Tycho Brahe gives Hveen Island to build Uraniborg Observatory

1785 - Benjamin Franklin announces his invention of bifocals

1788 - South Carolina becomes 8th state to ratify US constitution

1845 - New York City Police Department (NYPD) is formed, replacing an old night watch system

1863 - Organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Battle Creek, Michigan

1867 - Jesse James gang robs bank in Richmond, Missouri (2 die, $4,000 taken)

1873 - The first running of the second jewel of the Triple Crown Survivor wins Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, Maryland.  It is still run the weekend before Memorial Day each year

1873 - Postal cards sold in San Francisco for 1st time

1894 - William Love hosts groundbreaking ceremonies for Love Canal

1900 - Associated Press News Service forms in NY

1903 - 1st automobile trip across US leaves San Francisco for New York (arrives July 26)

1922 - Walt Disney incorporates his 1st film company Laugh-O-Gram Films

1934 - American outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow - Bonnie and Clyde - are killed by police in an ambush near Sailes, Louisiana

1939 - Submarine USS Squalus sinks in the Gulf of Maine, drowning 26, 33 remaining crew rescued from a depth of 243 ft (74 m) by divers using newly developed heliox air systems (divers later awarded the Medal of Honor)

1958 - Explorer 1 ceases transmission.

1962 - Scott Carpenter orbits Earth 3 times in US Aurora 7

1969 - The Who release rock opera "Tommy"

1970 - USSR performs nuclear test (underground)

1974 - Great Britain performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1982 - Pope John Paul II declares "Peerke" Donders a saint

1984 - "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom", 2nd in the film series, directed by Stephen Spielberg, produced by George Lucas, and starring Harrison Ford, opens in the US

1988 - Maryland stops sale of cheap pistols on Jan 1, 1990

1990  -Cost of rescuing savings & loan failures is put at up to $130 billion in the US

1991 - US Supreme Court bars subsidized clinics from discussing abortion

1994 - "Star Trek: The Next Generation" finale airs this week in syndication

2016 - Chinese archaeologists announce findings of earliest use of barley in China to make beer, Shaanxi province 3400-2900 BC

2021 - Belarus accused of “state-sponsored hijacking" after diverting commercial Ryanair flight to Minsk to arrest dissident journalist Roman Protasevich

2022 - NASA Voyager1 is 21 hrs 34 mins 00 secs of light-travel time from Earth

I hadn’t intended to stop writing, but here it is, almost two months from my last post.  Can’t say as I have been unusually busy or stressed, just haven’t felt like writing when you come right down to it.  Guess I lack the knack for turning absolutely mundane things into something to be read avidly?

So let’s see – three things to catch up with:

I’m apartment shopping as my lease is up at the end of the summer, and have become very discouraged.  Prices hereabouts are insane, and while I get that I need to shed stuff and downsize into a smaller place, it seriously irks me to be charged the same for a one bedroom 800 sq ft apartment as I am paying for a two bedroom, two bath 1150 sq ft place now.  Of course I could get a place cheaper if I gave up on an in-unit washer/dryer or covered parking, but I don’t want to.  To top it off?  I would more than double my commute to work! 

Speaking of work?  I’ve been with PBS LLC [the CUSO not the broadcaster] for 13 years now – the longest stretch with one employer in my entire work career. 


And Triscuit has been settling in.  She has decided that I’m okay, even if she does still bolt if I walk towards her or reach for her.  She’s fast too – no idea how I’m going to catch her when it’s time to take her to the vet! 

More updates about stuff later….
Permalink | Monday, May 23, 2022


Today is the 3rd day of the 13th week, the 19th day of the 3rd month, the 88th day of 2022, and:
  • Knights of Columbus Founder’s Day
  • National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day
  • National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day
  • National Vietnam War Veterans Day
  • Niagara Falls Runs Dry Day - in 1848 the ice blockages have caused the rivers to run dry and so was no water flow over the great cataract for about 30 or 40 hours
  • Smoke and Mirrors Day
  • Texas Love the Children Day
  • World Piano Day (( created in 2015 because there are 88 keys on the piano ))
 Quote of the day:
"There is no substitute for the comfort supplied by the utterly taken-for-granted relationship."
~ Iris Murdoch,  A Severed Head

One of the cats on Petfinder had a heartbreaking story:

Meet Baby
Baby is a 14 year-old beautiful Tortie Point Siamese mix who sadly had to be surrendered by her elderly owner after her husband died and her living conditions changed. Her owner loved Baby dearly and just wants her to go to a safe and loving home. Baby is very sweet, and was previously declawed

As the girls and I went through the available cats, carefully considering each one, all three of us were taken by the sad picture and story of Baby as she looks so utterly depressed and confused:  We talked about Grandmom adopting Baby, and I explained to the girls that cats like Baby usually only lived to be 15 or 16.  The 8 year old thoughtfully replied that she didn’t think Baby was a good fit because it was really sad when you had to say goodbye to a pet, and we moved on.  But Baby’s sad, hurt eyes keep haunting me. 

Her owner had to know that a 14 year old senior cat wouldn’t be adopted quickly and maybe not at all; she had to know Baby’s last years are going to be traumatic and full of adjustments.  Wouldn’t it have been kinder and more responsible to hold Baby in her arms and let her go knowing that she was loved, sparing her all this?

What an awful choice that woman had to make – there are no right answers I fear
Permalink | Tuesday, March 29, 2022

good-by Panda [redux]

Today is the 2nd day of the 12th week, the 21st day of the 3rd month, the 1st full day of Spring, the 80th day of 2022, and: 
  • Act Happy Day
  • Gallo Wine Day
  • Independence Day – Namibia from South Africa 1990
  • International Color Day
  • International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • International Day of Forests
  • Memory Day
  • National California Strawberry Day
  • National Common Courtesy Day
  • National Countdown Day
  • National Crunch Taco Day
  • National Day of Action on Syringe Exchange
  • National Flower Day
  • National Fragrance Day
  • National French Bread Day
  • National Healthy Fats Day
  • National Single Parents Day
  • National Teenager Day
  • National WELLderly Day
  • Naw-Ruz or Newroz – the Kurdish celebration of Spring and a New Year
  • Sytherin Pride Day
  • Twitter Day
  • World Down Syndrome Day
  • World Poetry Day
  • World Puppetry Day
Quote of the day:
"There are unheralded tipping points, a certain number of times that we will unlock the front door of an apartment. At some point you were closer to the last time than you were to the first time, and you didn’t even know it. You didn’t know that each time you passed the threshold you were saying good-bye."
~ Colson Whitehead, The Colossus of New York

It has been two weeks now since I left Panda’s limp little body at the vet’s, and I am still crying over her demise, still asking myself if we could’ve held on a little longer, if she could’ve gotten better.  Two weeks of reminding myself the vet didn’t know for certain it was the gall bladder, and even more importantly, didn’t know if the treatment would work if it was.  Two weeks of reminding myself how that last weekend she couldn’t even sleep and how relaxed she was once the pain was gone, from the shot they gave her before the final sleep was induced.  Two weeks of burning sage.

At first I started looking around for another cat, determined to assuage the hole in my heart, and then I realized I couldn’t possibly replace her.  Then I began to wonder about myself – I had to let Kula go after eight years, and altho I grieved, it wasn’t like this – was this deep grief symptom of some sort of deterioration or other issue?  My friend unknowingly answered that unspoken concern when she summed it up best, pointing out that during the pandemic, when I wasn’t leaving home at all, it was Panda who kept me company, kept me from being totally alone.  She wasn’t just a pet, she was my constant companion.

I will get another rescue cat, but will never replace Panda…
Permalink | Monday, March 21, 2022

good-by Panda

Today is the 2nd day of the 11th week, the 14th day of the 3rd month,  and the 73rd day of 2022 [with 285 shopping days until Christmas].  It is also:it is one week since Panda was put to sleep.
She’s been ill since July and went from 12+ lbs to 5 lbs 4 oz.  The vet thought it was because of the hyper thyroid tumor, something we had been treating for a couple of years.  We tried taking her off the y/d diet, and that seemed to help, so I got Panda the RadioCat treatment despite the high price tag.  It seemed to work – she had her treatment on Tuesday, came home Thursday, and was definitely feeling well on Sunday
 And then….
Monday she was listless.  Tuesday she stopped pooping.  Wednesday she stopped being able to do her business in the litter box.  Friday I took her back to the vet and they threw the “kitty cocktail” at her – antibiotics, appetite stimulant, steroids for inflammation, pain medication.  When it wore off Saturday evening, she was in misery.  She only got a couple of short naps the entire weekend.  She couldn’t go in the litter box, standing in it and spraying over the side.  And yet, Monday morning she ate and showed interest in her sunbeam, and watching the world outside.
We went back to the vet first thing Monday morning.  The vet thought perhaps it was her gall bladder.  Perhaps, if we did an ultrasound, we could put her on medication to thin the sludge and make her pass it.  Of course, it would cause cramping and would need pain management….
And I said no. 
The vet asked if that was my final decision
And as I looked at Panda, I repeated something I had read online and said I would rather leave her go a few weeks early than put her through another hour of pain. 
And one week ago today, as I held her in my arms, a small light went out of the world
Panda was a rescue cat, and lost her home when she was 9 when her owner couldn’t keep her any longer and they put her outside to fend for herself.  She was four-paw declawed,  so luckily a neighbor took her in and called Animal control.  She was a sweet and trusting little soul who never once, in the six years I lived with her, bit anyone even when she was terrified.  And she had the softest fur of any cat I’ve ever met – the vet said it was more like a pelt than hair.
My home is a colder, emptier place without her.
Permalink | Monday, March 14, 2022

the cone of silence

"you are quiet"

Those three words are some of the heaviest that I can utter or hear. 

I never understand when I am told that I am getting quiet -- but I have learned that apparently I am seen/heard as a chatty person.  I do know that if there is no one about to talk to, I used to talk to myself, or sing.   But through the years I have learned that when I fall silent, it is usually a bad sign.

And when I say it to another, it means that I am worried.  I thrive on the buzz and sound of others' thoughts.   I love asking questions and getting to know someone, delving into how they think and feel and understanding why they do the things that they do.  So the silence of others is something that can cut me to the quick.   Want to ensure that I will lose my temper completely?  Hang up on me.  Want to put distance between us?  Stop answering my questions, stop sharing, stop responding to emails/IM/text/hail.  When that buzz is gone, I feel as though I have gone deaf and the tigers flex their claws and begin to circle. 

One of my favorite books in The Chosen by Chaim Potok  I try to envision being raised in silence, being taught to listen to the buzzing of thoughts without words and I cannot.

The value of silence:

The value of silence in Quaker spirituality:

Trappist monks have been practicing the discipline of silence for centuries:

Here is a nice article on the theology of Silence:

And some articles on silence in prayer:

There is an assumption that a failure to be able to live in silence betokens an unrest with oneself.  I am not sure that I agree with this.  I just know that when I go quiet, it is a sign that all is not well with me and my ability to process what is happening around me has become overloaded

Permalink | Friday, March 4, 2022

17 years ago

On Thursday, December 16th, Frank was in a querulous mood as he got ready to go to work at Security Square Mall.  He couldn't seem to get himself together, muttering that it was time he retired from that security position, and piddle-fiddling around.  I lost my patience with him, as I was standing next to the door to see him off - I always kissed him good-bye and told him that I loved him as he left, but that morning?  I finally told him we would talk about it when I got home from work, then walked away to go and take my shower.    It was an ordinary day at work, and at 1:35 PM, I wasn't in my office, I was upstairs talking to my direct report in her office about Loan Operations when the switchboard operator paged me and asked me to call her.  I asked Janice if I could use her phone, and called the operator.  Seems like a police officer had tried to call my extension and got my voice mail.  I wrote down his number and called back immediately.  He didn't have much to say -- just gave me the number of a doctor and told me to call her about my husband.  I put the phone down and started dialing the number he giave me, and when Janice asked me if there was anything she could do, told her to "get Kevin" [my boss and friend].   When Kevin got up there, he sat down and just listened as I talked to the doctor, who was being strangely reticent about giving me any information, just kept repeating that I needed to come to the hospital.  Finally, rather exasperated, I asked "are you trying not to tell me on the phone that my husband is dead?"   I remember the cold chill as she fell silent.  I remember Kevin's eyebrows flying up.  I remember how quietly she answered.  I remember repeating in a disbelieving voice, "Frank's dead?"

He had been dead for hours.  Frank hadn't updated the contact information for me at his workplace and they didn't know how to reach me until finally his boss thought to break into his locker at work, retreived his cell phone, and found how to contact me.  That entire morning, while I had been going about mundane tasks, my entire life had changed and I didn't know it.

Kevin tried to stop me from driving to the hospital alone; I brushed him off.  I remember calling my daughter at work.   I remember she told me later that when she picked up the phone and heard my voice, her first thought was flippant "well who died?  your mother or Frank" and then being horrified as she realized that both was a possiblity.  She immediately left work to come to the hospital.  I remember calling Billy and Cheryl at their workplaces.  Billy was working at Ritz Camera and the person who answered the phone tried to tell me he was too busy to come - I told him it was an emergency.  Cheryl answered the phone.  I remember telling them that there was no good way to say that their father had died. 

That is why I don't try to work this week, why I travel on this day, to distract myself.  

The rest of the next couple of days are a blur, but dear God, I remember Thursday, December 16th, 1:35 PM, and I cry.  I cry because on the one day it counted, I didn't kiss him goodbye when he left and tell him that I loved him.  I cry because I miss him, yes even though it has been 17 years.  

Permalink | Thursday, December 16, 2021

snappy comeback needed

Today is the 3rd day of the 45th week, the 9th day of the 11th month, the 313th day of 2021, and:
  •  Carl Sagan Day
  • Go to an Art Museum Today Day
  • Independence Day – Cambodia from France in 1953
  • Kristallnacht
  • National Chaos Never Dies Day
  • National Microtia Awareness Day
  • National Scrapple Day
  • National Young Readers Day
  • World Freedom Day
Over the past six daily strips, the Least I Could Do comic is discussing baby boomers.  Rayne Summers, filthy rich and always over the top, has decided that old people should not vote.  Why?  Because old people don’t care about the future and are without compassion for the struggles of others, having lived their lives.  Today’s post:

By virtue of my birthdate, I am classified as a baby boomer, and the whole “OK Boomer” thing has left me seething.  We’re categorized as spoiled, ignorant, gullible, and selfish.  We’re blamed for all of society’s current ills, from climate change to income inequity to nationalism and populism.  It is our fault that the middle class has been eradicated, our fault that corporations only reward shareholders while taking advantage of employees, our fault that the environment is polluted, and it is our fault that partisan politics has become so ugly.  We are categorized as anti-immigrant, anti-tech [despite the fact that 78% of us are online and all the advances we fueled], and anti-progress.  Supposedly we ignore the well-being of our children and grandchildren to selfishly hold onto power and money, refusing to help anyone else and burdening the future with huge, unpayable debt as we demand to be taken care of in our old age.  And at the same time, we are considered the sandwich generation as we try to take care of aged parents while helping out our kids, but somehow that is our fault too.
Nothing  that I say seems to counter this perception and I get smugly told that I just cannot see that I am part of the problem.  So I just snarl at the yahoos and go on doing the best that I can, day by day, trying not to let the fact that some people said COVID was a good thing because it was a boomer remover get to meI seriously wish I had a snappy comeback when I hear “OK Boomer” though.

Permalink | Tuesday, November 9, 2021

the start of the ATM

Today is the 2nd day of the 45th week, the 8th day of the 11th month, the 312th day of 2021, and:
  • Abet and Aid Punsters Day
  • Cook Something Bold Day
  • Fill Our Staplers Day
  • Intersex Day of Solidarity
  • National Ample Time Day
  • National Cappuccino Day
  • National Dunce Day
  • National Harvey Wallbanger Day
  • National Parents as Teachers Day
  • National STEM Day
  • Shakespeare Authorship Mystery Day
  • Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the other Bodiless Powers of Heaven
  • World Orphans Day
  • World Pianist Day
  • World Town Planning Day
  • X-ray Day
Quote of the day:
"We think we know our own life, but what we know is only an edited version, colored by our emotions and narrow vision. How close can we come to the original draft?"
~ Gregg Krech, “Naikan Therapy” 

A Harvey Wallbanger is a mixed drink, but that is not what I think about when I hear about it.

Back in the late 1960’s, cash machines  [ATMs as we call them now] were introduced to the banking world so folks could have access to their money when bank branches were closed.  You see, back in those days, you had to have enough cash on hand and banks were only open during the week and branches closed at 2 PM every day with a brief opening on Friday nights from about 4 PM to 9 PM.  Not every bank nor every branch would be open on Saturday mornings but when they were, they closed at noon.  So getting to your money for unexpected expenditures could be difficult.  In addition, not many trusted direct deposit, so getting money into your account so you could pay bills was also an issue.

But people were reluctant to trust their deposits and withdrawals to a machine, hence banks embarked on a publicity barrage.  One bank I worked for had signs with arrows pointing to the branch stating “Full-sized tellers this way” and arrows pointing to the ATM stating “Tiny tellers this way”.  A bank in Canada called their machines “Johnny Cash” although I don’t know what the Country & Western singer thought about that.  In Maryland, we were introduced to “Harvey Wallbanker”   A very British butler image was painted around the ATMs, with the machine being his waistcoat and ads produced with Harvey offering to be of service to customers.  The last one was replaced after about two years



Did personalizing the machines assist in their adoption?  Who knows, but we never would’ve guessed back then just how ubiquitous the ATM would become
Permalink | Monday, November 8, 2021

babbling about buttons

Today is the 5th day of the 42nd week  the 21st day of the 10th month, the 294th day of 2021 [with only 64 shopping days until Christmas, which isn’t funny at all], and: 
  • Back to the Future Day
  • Celebration of the Mind Day
  • Apple Day ((the fruit not the company}}
  • Babbling Day
  • Check Your Meds Day
  • Conflict Resolution Day
  • Count Your Buttons Day
  • Garbanzo Bean Day
  • Get to Know Your Customers Day
  • Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders Prevention Day
  • International Credit Union Day
  • International Day of the Nacho
  • International ShakeOut Day
  • Latina Women’s Equal Pay Day
  • National Ge Smart About Credit Day
  • National Pets for Vets Day
  • National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day
  • National Witch Hazel Day
  • Reptile Awareness Day
  • Spirit Day
  • Thank Your Cleaner Day
  • Wear Purple for Domestic Violence Awareness Day
I don’t sew as much as I did at one point in my life.  For one thing, I spend most of my free time online these days and seldom watch TV.  You see, much of the sewing, knitting, embroidering, etc that I did was while sitting in front of the TV, especially since I didn’t have control over the remote.  For another thing, my sewing machine broke and I’ve never replaced it.  And lastly, my hands cramp these days if I try and hold the needle too long.
Be that as it may, I still have my sewing box.  And, like anyone who has sewn clothing, in that sewing box is a button box.  A rather LARGE button box.  Full of buttons that I bought because I liked them and would use them someday.  Buttons that I bought from a fabric store because they were unusual.  Buttons that I bought at a flea market.  Buttons that I cut off of garments before trashing them.  Buttons that come with clothing as spares.  Buttons from my grandmothers’ and my mother’s sewing boxes.    Big buttons, old buttons, glittery buttons, leather buttons -- some even have wisps of threads hanging from them….
Nope, never counted them
Permalink | Thursday, October 21, 2021

don't turn back the clock

Today is the 3rd day of the 38th week, the 21st day of the 9th month, the 264th day of 2021 [with only 94 shopping days left until Christmas], and: 
  • Escapology Day – in 1912, Houdini first publicly performed his Water Torture Cell escape
  • Get Ready Day – part of National Preparedness Month
  • Independence Day:  Malta from the United Kingdom in 1964, Belize from the United Kingdom in 1981, and Armenia from the Soviet Union in 1991
  • International Day of Peace
  • Miniature Golf Day
  • National Chai Day
  • National Farm Safety Day for Kids
  • National IT Professionals Day
  • National Dance Day
  • National Pecan Cookie Day
  • National Surgical Technologists Day
  • Pause the World Day
  • Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day
  • Sukkot [since sundown yesterday]
  • World Alzheimer’s Day
  • World Gratitude Day
Quote of the day:
"No wise man ever wished to be younger."
~  Jonathan Swift, an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, poet and Anglican cleric

I made Grandmom Hughes cry one day. 

In the midst of talking about the past,  I asked her if she would go back and do it all over again – and she averred that she would.  Now Grandmom hadn’t had an easy life.  The middle daughter of a Welsh immigrant coal miner, she was orphaned at 14, and had to work in a nylon factory to support herself.  She raised three kids during the Depression, had one son who ran away from home, lied about his age, and joined the Navy during WWII, and had a daughter who had to live with her while her husband fought in the Korean War.  At 50, she decided to become a pediatric nurse at City Hospital and saw much illness and  death there.  And she, without hesitation, said she would do it all over again.  And she was absolutely stunned that at 19 or so, I emphatically said that I would never want to go back.  The bullying, the angst, the family problems – none of that seemed worth repeating to the teen-aged me.  Grandmom couldn’t imagine that I was that cynical and hurt at such a young age, and she wept 

I am a decade older than Grandmom was when we had that chat, and as I look back on my life, I find myself asking myself that question again – and the answer hasn’t changed.  I mean, I didn’t really have a hard life after all is said and done, and there were definitely some high points to offset the bad times.  It isn’t that I feel tragic or forlorn or anything, I just don’t want a repeat or even a do-over



I still don’t want to go back and do it all over again.  I just don’t
Permalink | Tuesday, September 21, 2021

tipping point

Today is the 6th day of the 36th week, the 10th day of the 9th month, the 253rd day of 2021, and: 
  • Blame it on the Large Hadron Collider Day – the collider was first fired up in 2008 and probably has car keys, missing socks, and missed payments all sucked into a black hole
  • Hug Your Boss Day
  • International Creepy Boston Dynamics Robotic Horse Day – in 2012, the prototypes for the Legged Squad Support System was demonstrated
  • International Make-Up Day
  • National 401(k) Day
  • National Hot Dog Day
  • National Swap Ideas Day
  • Sew Be It Day – Elias Howe was granted a patent for the sewing machine in 1845
  • Stand Up to Cancer Day
  • TV Dinner Day
  • World suicide Prevention Day

Quote of the day:

There are unheralded tipping points, a certain number of times that we will unlock the front door of an apartment. At some point you were closer to the last time than you were to the first time, and you didn’t even know it."

~ Colson Whitehead, The Colossus of New York


I know a couple of people who joined me in the “over 70” club this week, and this quote, crystallized the feeling that has been drifting about in my head since my birthday in April.  In this time of fear and uncertainty, with the COVID-19 variants causing death and havoc, with the very foundations of the US democracy being shaken, with the winter just around the corner,  I look out from my balcony at the world, and reflect.  There are definitely fewer days ahead of me than lie behind me, even if I reach my childhood goal of living to be 100 years old.  I look down at me feet and remember reading a story about a very young girl who took huge steps because she believed the number of steps allotted to her was finite – she died in mid-story, leaving her young friend to wish he hadn’t asked her to come over and visit because that used up some of her steps.




The tipping point for me has come and gone, gone long ago
Permalink | Friday, September 10, 2021

I live a 2nd life

Today is the 4th day of the 36th week, the 8th day of the 9th month, the 251st day of 2021 [with 107 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Fast of Gedalya
  • Iguana Awareness Day
  • International Literacy Day
  • National Actors Day
  • National Ampersand Day
  • National Date Nut Bread Day
  • National Pledge of Allegiance Day
  • Native Women’s Equal Pay Day
  • Pardon Day
  • Pediatric Hematology / Oncology Nurses Day
  • Star Trek Day
  • Virgin Mary Day
  • World Orienteering Day
  • World Physical Therapy Day



1504 – Michelangelo's David is unveiled in Piazza della Signoria in Florence

1522 – Magellan–Elcano circumnavigation: Victoria arrives at Seville, technically completing the first circumnavigation.

1565 – St. Augustine, Florida is founded by Spanish admiral and Florida's first governor, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés.

1810 – The Tonquin sets sail from New York Harbor with 33 employees of John Jacob Astor's newly created Pacific Fur Company on board. After a six-month journey around the tip of South America, the ship arrives at the mouth of the Columbia River and Astor's men establish the fur-trading town of Astoria, Oregon.

1858 - Abraham Lincoln supposedly says in a speech "You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all the time"

1888 – Isaac Peral's submarine is first tested.

1892 – The Pledge of Allegiance is first recited.

1894 - Employed by Thomas Edison, William K.L. Dickson films first boxing match at West Orange, New Jersey, an exhibition between world heavyweight champion James J. Corbett and Peter Courtney

1916 – In a bid to prove that women were capable of serving as military dispatch riders, Augusta and Adeline Van Buren arrive in Los Angeles, completing a 60-day, 5,500 mile cross-country trip on motorcycles.

1930 - NYC public schools begin teaching Hebrew

1930 – 3M begins marketing Scotch transparent tape, created by American inventor Richard Gurley Drew

1952 – The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation makes its first televised broadcast on the second escape of the Boyd Gang.

1952 - Ernest Hemingway's novel "The Old Man & the Sea" published

1960 – In Huntsville, Alabama, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally dedicates the Marshall Space Flight Center (NASA had already activated the facility on July 1).

1962 – Last run of the famous Pines Express over the Somerset and Dorset Railway line (UK) fittingly using the last steam locomotive built by British Railways, BR Standard Class 9F 92220 Evening Star.

1962 - USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR

1965 - Small ads in Daily Variety and Hollywood Reporter attract 437 young men interested in forming the world’s first manufactured boy band, "The Monkees" - 3 are chosen with Davey Jones already having been cast

1966 – The landmark American science fiction television series Star Trek premieres with its first-aired episode, "The Man Trap" [AKA the Great Salt Monster]

1967 - Surveyor 5 launched; makes soft landing on Moon Sept 10

1973 - "Star Trek - Animated Series" premieres on TV

1979 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1983 - NASA launches RCA-6

1984 - Challenger moves to Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center (Florida) for mating of STS 41G mission

1985 - Shuttle Discovery flies back to Kennedy Space Center via Kelly AFB

1986 - "The Oprah Winfrey Show" is first broadcast nationally

1988 – Yellowstone National Park is closed for the first time due to ongoing fires.

2004 – NASA's unmanned spacecraft Genesis crash-lands when its parachute fails to open.

2008 - TV news show "The Rachel Maddow Show" hosted by Rachel Maddow" and based on her radio show premieres on MSNBC

2016 – NASA launches OSIRIS-REx, its first asteroid sample return mission. The probe will visit 101955 Bennu and is expected to return with samples in 2023.

2018 - Archaeologists uncover more than 300 gold coins from late imperial period from theatre in Como, Italy

2021 - NASA Voyager  is 21 hrs 19 mins 47 secs of light-travel time from Earth



Quote of the day:

What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel… is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become."

~  Ursula K. Le Guin, The Language of the Night


That’s what books, games, online worlds,  VR, movies, TV, and fandom do – they all let you live a 2nd life, enriching your own and expanding your horizons

Permalink | Wednesday, September 8, 2021

only in dreams

Today is the 5th day of the 34th week, the 26th day of the 8th month, the 238th day of 2021 [with only 120 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Make Your Own Luck Day
  • Musical Yoga Day
  • National Burger Day
  • National Cherry Popsicle Day
  • National Dog Day
  • National Toilet Paper Day: (Note: This is when it was first sold on a roll by Scott in 1871.  December 8, 1857 was when it was first sold 14 years earlier in the US by Joseph C. Gayetty and is Toilet Paper Appreciation Day.)
  • National WebMistress Day
  • Women's Equality Day - 101 years ago, women were finally allowed to vote
Quote of the day:

"Grief is like a stream running through our life, and it’s important to understand that it doesn’t go away. Our grief lasts a lifetime, but our relationship to it changes. Moving on is the period in which the knot of your grief is untied. It’s the time of renewal."

~  Martha Beck, “Elegy for Everything

I am not sleeping well these days and seldom get up feeling rested.  I am up and down two or three times during the night – potty calls and leg cramps – and sometimes have to lay listening to music or an audible book for what seems like a very long time before dozing back off.  But it’s the dreams that haunt me – the stories that play out, the music, and the number of times my “dearly departed” are coming back to interact with my dream self

My mother shows up now and then – usually I am very conscious of having failed at something and she is pretty judgmental about it, sometimes conveying her disapproval without a single word spoken.  No surprises there, just an ongoing sorrow that I never was able to connect with her on a very human level, and a concern of how my kids and granddaughters will remember me one day.  Frank shows up a lot, we do things together, but then it gets complicated, and I keep trying to explain things to him.  I always come away feeling vaguely guilty as he goes into “cop mode”.  No mystery there either, I have unresolved feelings even after 17 years about his waning days.  Once in a blue moon, my father strolls in and usually exits just as quickly.  Oddly enough, neither of my grandmothers have made an appearance yet, and I was very close to both of them.  Perhaps I don’t have any unconscious regrets about those relationships, or I have completed the grieving for them


I’ve always experienced vivid dreams even though I was never able to practice lucid dreaming.  Most of the people I interact with are unknown to me, but now I have the feeling that my dreams really are trying to tell me something, but what?
Permalink | Thursday, August 26, 2021

dancing with trolls

Today is the 2nd day of the 30th week, the 26th day of the 7th month, the 207th day of 2021.  We are in the middle of summer, and yet there is already a feeling of having turned a corner, hurtling towards the end of the year.  The sun is rising later and already my alarm goes off before actually sunrise, although it is very bright outside.  Sunset is also moving to an earlier time.

Quote of the day:
No longer dividing the world into good and bad, love and hate, we not only have more freedom and ease in daily life; we also gain access to the wisdom of our real nature.”
~ Anne C. Klein, “The Four Immeasurables

On Friday, as an obvious reaction to the change of the Cleveland baseball team’s name, Matt Walsh [columnist for The Daily Wire] made a flat statement on Twitter:  “”Indian” is not an offensive term or a slur and I will continue to use it.”   That one tweet garnered 12.9K likes, 1.2K retweets, and 929 replies – such is the reach of a well-known personality.  Somewhere in the morass of those replies, a bit annoyed by his statement of his opinion as a fact, I tweeted:  “It is not offensive TO YOU.  It may be offensive to others” and thus opened the floodgates.  My reply received 72 likes and 4 re-tweets, but most of the answers to what I had considered an innocuous comment were…  well startlingly hostile, and included some aspersions on everything to my appearance [via my profile picture], my intelligence, and my morals.  One person considered themselves a wit and riposted:  “The name “Carol” is offensive to me.  Please change it.  Thank you.”  That one got 155 likes and 2 retweets to date, and I’ll admit that I was slightly amused when I read it. 

As I declined to poke the trolls and didn’t respond to any of these comments, the active discussion pretty much died down after last night, although random comments are still surfacing.  The entire incident doesn’t fit the description of a flame war, just some piling on.  But there is one response that has me puzzled.  It came from an anonymous person with the unlikely name of Count of Monte Crypto [AKA @ShowMeYourBOOMS] in which they stated:  “It’s mostly offensive to woke white people who need to up their credit score.”  That one gathered 166 likes and 3 retweets to date.  I have been very tempted to ask for clarification because, for the life of me, after over 36 years in banking, I still cannot figure out what being “woke” has to do with one’s credit rating


Two takeaways from the entire incident:
  • People don’t mind if opinions are stated as facts as long as they agree with what is said
  • Next time Twitter offers to help me manage an influx of tweets, I am taking them up on it
Permalink | Monday, July 26, 2021

a whisper in the dark

Today is the 6th day of the 25th week, the 25th day of the 6th month, the 179th day of 2019 [with only 179 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Bourdain Day
  • Color TV Day – in 1951, at 4:35 PM EDT, CBS broadcast Premiere in color
  • Day of the Seafarer
  • Drive Your Corvette to Work DAy
  • Global Beatles Day
  • Global Smurfs Day
  • International Rose’ DAy
  • Leon Day
  • Mitch Lane Day
  • National Catfish Day
  • National Food Truck Day
  • National Police Community Cooperative Day
  • National Strawberry Parfait Day
  • School Prayer Banned Anniversary – SCOTUS Engel v Vitale decided in 1962
  • Take Your Dog to Work Day
  • World Vitiligo Day
Quote of the day:
"We are quicksilver, a fleeting shadow, a distant sound…our home has no boundaries beyond which we cannot pass. We live in music, in a flash of color…we live on the wind and in the sparkle of a star!"
~ Endora (Agnes Moorehead)

Do you believe in ghosts? Spirits?  I’m ambivalent.  If you believe in souls, and an afterlife, then why can’t someone try to reach out beyond the veil to the living?

This morning I was laying warm and comfortable in my bed, drowsily aware of the growing light in the room, thinking that I would just doze back off until the alarm went off, when suddenly an image washed over me that brought my brain to full awakening.  It was of a helpless and hopeless being, tired and despairing, like a dog that had been chained and forgotten, and they had just died. I got up and turned off the alarm, feeling as though the inside of my head had been doused with cold air, and then I began to cry.  Who had died?  Why had I felt them go?  Was it someone nearby who just happened to brush me in passing as they fled this mortal coil?  Was it someone that I had interacted in passing with during their life?  The spirit felt that there was no one who would mourn them or even notice they were gone, did they know that I would cry for them, mourning their death so well as their desolation?

Silly?  Fanciful imagining?  A dream?


And maybe not…. .   
Permalink | Friday, June 25, 2021

May 27, 2021


1679 - Habeaus Corpus Act (strengthening person's right to challenge unlawful arrest & imprisonment) passes in England

1703 – Tsar Peter the Great founds the city of Saint Petersburg.

1873 - Heinrich Schliemann discovers "Priam's Treasure" a cache of gold and other objects in Hisarlik (Troy) in Anatolia

1917 – Pope Benedict XV promulgates the 1917 Code of Canon Law, the first comprehensive codification of Catholic canon law in the legal history of the Catholic Church.

1919 – The NC-4 aircraft arrives in Lisbon after completing the first transatlantic flight.

1927 – The Ford Motor Company ceases manufacture of the Ford Model T and begins to retool plants to make the Ford Model A.

1930 – The 1,046 feet (319 m) Chrysler Building in New York City, the tallest man-made structure at the time, opens to the public.

1933 – The Walt Disney Company releases the cartoon Three Little Pigs, with its hit song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"

1937 – In California, the Golden Gate Bridge opens to pedestrian traffic, creating a vital link between San Francisco and Marin County, California.

1950 – The Linnanmäki amusement park was opened for the first time in Helsinki

1958 – First flight of the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II.

1958 - Vanguard SLV-1 launched for Earth orbit (failed)

1960 - Baltimore manager Paul Richards devises oversized catcher's mitt, used by Baltimore Oriole Clint Courtney

1961 - 1st black light is sold

1969 - Walt Disney World construction begins at Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, Florida

1970 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1981 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1984 – The Danube-Black Sea canal is opened, in a ceremony attended by the Ceaușescus. It had been under construction since the 1950s.

1985 - Britain agrees to return Hong Kong to China in 1997

1986 - France performs nuclear test at Mururoa atoll

1986 - Norway Showcase groundbreaking in EPCOT, WDW

1995 - Actor Christopher Reeve is paralyzed from the neck down after falling from his horse in a riding competition in Culpeper, Virginia

2013 - The largest flag ever made at 5 tons with 44 miles of thread is unveiled in Romania

2018 – Maryland Flood Event: A flood occurs throughout the Patapsco Valley causing one death and destroying the entire first floors of buildings on Main Street in Ellicott City and causing cars to overturn.

2020 - America's COVID-19 death toll passes 100,000 (Johns Hopkins figures) equal to number of US servicemen and women killed in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan put together.  Today?  That death toll is 606,179

2021 - NASA Voyager  is 21 hrs 04 mins 36 secs of light-travel time from Earth
Permalink | Thursday, May 27, 2021

just little ol' me

Today is the 5th day of the 21st week, the 27th day of the 5th month, the 147th day in 2021 [with only 211 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Cellophane Tape Day
  • Eat More Fruits & Vegetables Day
  • Joe Cool Day
  • National Grape Popsicle Day
  • National Gray Day
  • Nothing to Fear Day
  • Old-Time Player Piano Day – in 1796 James S McLean patents his piano
  • Red Nose Day
  • Sunscreen Protection Day
 Quote of the day:
"There are unheralded tipping points, a certain number of times that we will unlock the front door of an apartment. At some point you were closer to the last time than you were to the first time, and you didn’t even know it. You didn’t know that each time you passed the threshold you were saying good-bye."
~  Colson Whitehead, The Colossus of New York

As the days pass, I have become aware that there are more days behind me than in front of me, and I find myself trying to imagine the world without me.  I guess this is a function of age, or perhaps acknowledgement of accumulating weaknesses as I find myself physically unable to do things that just a few years ago I did routinely.  Back in December 2019, I was stunned to realize that I needed a wheelchair to navigate the theme parks – I had to use it like a walker, and a seat when in line.  The next time that I go, I think I’ll have to use a scooter as there seems to be a limit to the number of steps that I can take.  The enforced inactivity of the past year in isolation has made this worse, despite my attempts to exercise.  Can I reverse this trend?  One part of me is convinced I can do so, the other fatalistically accepts that this is the way it is now.

I’m beginning to look at my granddaughters and realize how old I look to them, and how little I comprehend of how their lives will move forward.  I worry about the world in which they will grow up, I worry about my son and my daughter as they deal with different challenges in their lives, even while I acknowledge that it has been a long time since I was present in their day-to-day lives.  Humbly I realize that when I am gone, there will be little impact.


Of course, even as a young kid I always said I was going to live to be 100.  71 years down and 29 to go!
Permalink | Thursday, May 27, 2021

I have a 2nd life

Today is the 2nd day of the 17th week, the 26th day of the 4th month, the 116th day of 2021, and: 
  • Alien Day
  • Audubon Day
  • Get Organized Day
  • Hug a Friend Day
  • Hug an Australian Day
  • International Chernobyl Disaster Reembrace Cay
  • Lesbian Visibility Day
  • National Dissertation Day
  • National Help a Horse Day
  • National Kids and Pets Day
  • National Pretzel Day
  • National Richter Scale Day
  • National Static Cling Day
  • Pesach Sheni
  • World Intellectual Property Day
The full moon at 11:33 PM EDT AKA the Pink Moon


1514 - Copernicus makes his first observations of Saturn

1564 – Playwright William Shakespeare is baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England (date of actual birth is unknown)

1803 – Thousands of meteor fragments fall from the skies of L'Aigle, France; the event convinces European scientists that meteors exist.

1859 - Dan Sickles is acquitted of murder on grounds of temporary insanity - first time this defense used successfully in the US

1954 - Mass trials of Jonas Salk's anti-polio vaccine begin; the first shot is delivered in Fairfax County, Virginia; more than 443,000 children receive shots over three months

1956 – SS Ideal X, the world's first successful container ship, leaves Port Newark, New Jersey, for Houston, Texas.

1962 – NASA's Ranger 4 spacecraft crashes into the Moon.

1962 - US and UK launch Ariel; first international payload

1968 - US underground nuclear test, "Boxcar," 1 megaton device

1970 – The Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization enters into force.

1973 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1978 - NASA launches space vehicle S-201

1980 - Great Britain performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1981 – Dr. Michael R. Harrison of the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center performs the world's first human open fetal surgery.

1986 – World's worst nuclear disaster: 4th reactor at Chernobyl nuclear power station in USSR explodes, 31 die, radioactive contamination reaches much of Western Europe

1986 - France performs nuclear test

1993 - STS-55 (Columbia) launches into orbit

2019 – Marvel Studios' blockbuster film, Avengers: Endgame, is released, becoming the highest-grossing film of all time, surpassing the previous box office record of Avatar

2019 - "No religion" tops survey of American religious identity for the first time at 23.1% edging out Catholics 23.0% and evangelicals 22.5%, in long-running General Social Survey

2021 - NASA Voyager is 21 hrs 03 mins 38 secs of light-travel time from Earth


Online, you can get rid of all the baggage of real life. You have no idea about someone’s background, what school they go to, what their face looks like. All you need to know is that they play games, they’re nice and they’re accepting of you.”
~ Hannah, 20, tells The Guardian about the role games played in helping her to come to terms with her real-world gender identity.

One of the things I would tell newbies back when I was mentoring for Linden Labs on Welcome Island was that living a 2nd life would be liberating, and that was both good and bad news.  In world you had no roles and expectations when you arrived.  In the real world we were daughters/sons, parents, teachers, workers, managers, volunteers, members of a church, part of a race.  In your 2nd life, you were what you wanted to be.   Those who fundamentally had good hearts and those who were trolls would reveal themselves by their actions.  It was all up to you

For the first time in my life, I was not prejudged.  Having been the class caricature for 12 years of public school, I found being beladona very relaxing
Permalink | Monday, April 26, 2021


Today is the 2nd day of the 16th week, the 20th day of the 4th month, the 110th day of 2021 [with only 103 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Chinese Language Day
  • International Cli-Fi DAy
  • Lima Bean Respect Day
  • National Cheddar Fries Day
  • National Look Alike Day
  • National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day
  • National Pot Smokers or National Weed Day
  • Volunteer Recognition day
  • The 1st quarter of the moon at 3 AM

  295 - 8th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet

1303 – The Sapienza University of Rome is instituted by a bull of Pope Boniface VIII.

1534 – Jacques Cartier begins his first voyage to what is today the east coast of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador.

1535 – The sun dog phenomenon is observed over Stockholm, as later depicted in the famous painting Vädersolstavlan.

1611 - First known performance of Shakespeare's tragedyMacbeth at the Globe Theatre, London, recorded by Simon Forman

1736 - French mathematician Pierre Louis Maupertuis begins Lapland expedition to measure latitude and shape of the earth, joined by fellow scientists Anders Celsius, Charles Etienne Louis Camus, Alexis Clairaut, and Pierre-Charles Le Monnier

1818 – The case of Ashford v Thornton ends, with Abraham Thornton allowed to go free rather than face a retrial for murder, after his demand for trial by battle is upheld.

1862 – Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard complete the experiment disproving the theory of spontaneous generation, completing the first pasteurization test

1865 – Astronomer Angelo Secchi demonstrates the Secchi disk, which measures water clarity, aboard Pope Pius IX's yacht, the L'Immaculata Concezion.

1879 - the first mobile home (horse drawn) used in a journey from London & Cyprus

1887 - Georges Bouton wins the world’s 1st motor race on a steam-powered quadricycle, a 'test' organized by French newspaperLe Velocipede

1902 – Pierre and Marie Curie refine radium chloride.

1926 - the first check sent by radio facsimile transmission across Atlantic

1940 - the firsst electron microscope demonstrated (RCA), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1946 – The League of Nations officially dissolves, giving most of its power to the United Nations.

1951 - US performs atmospheric nuclear test at Enwetak

1967 - US Surveyor 3 lands on Moon

1967 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1971 - Barbra Streisand records "We've Only Just Begun"

1972 – Apollo program: Apollo 16 lunar module, commanded by John Young and piloted by Charles Duke, lands on the moon.

1979 - President Jimmy Carter is attacked by a swamp rabbit which swam up to his fishing boat in Plains, Georgia

1983 - Soyuz T-8 launched; mission aborted when capsule fails to dock (lands 2 days later)

1986 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1993 - Uranus passes Neptune (once every 171 years)

2018 - Mexican court bars sales of controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll

2021 - NASA Voyager is 21 hrs 03 mins 38 secs of light-travel time from Earth


When I was in high school, there was a very popular guy who was so struck by Kahil Gribran that he gave out index cards to some people because he wanted to share the insights.  The card he gave me quoted was from On Talking


     “You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts;

     And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime.

     And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.”


And I was devastated.  I went home and cried.  Mind you, I was never good with small talk – what I always did was try to elicit responses by babbling about things that interest me and that didn’t work very well.   Ironically?  That is what I do online in social media [including this blog], I post stories and items that interest me and hope to generate a spark of interest in someone else.  Or I have gone to the other extreme and kept asking questions about the other person, which comes off as being nosey rather than involved even with members of my own family.  After 70 years, I still haven’t learned how to communicate




And so, for the most part,  I am alone inside my own head even when I am around others

Permalink | Tuesday, April 20, 2021

who are you?

Today is the 6th day of the 12th week, the 26th day of the 3rd month, the 85th day of 2021 [with only 273 shopping days left until Christmas], and: 
  • Independence day:  Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971
  • Legal Assistants Day
  • Live Long and Prosper Day – Leonard Nimoy’s birthday; he would’ve been 90 today
  • National Make Up Your Own Holiday Day
  • National Nougat Day
  • National Spinach Day
  • No Homework Day
  • Purple Day
  • Solitude Day
  • Spinach Festival Day

127 - Greek astronomer and mathematician Ptolemy begins his observations of the heavens (until 141 AD)

1484 – William Caxton prints his translation of Aesop's Fables.

1552 – Guru Amar Das becomes the Third Sikh guru.

1790 - US Congress passes Naturalization Act, requires 2-year residency

1812 – A political cartoon in the Boston Gazette coins the term "gerrymander" to describe oddly shaped electoral districts designed to help incumbents win reelection.

1820 - Future Mormon church leader Joseph Smith has his "First Vision" in a wooded area of New York, according to Mormon scholars

1845 - Patent awarded for adhesive medicated plaster, precursor of band-aid

1878 - Sabi Game Reserve opens in South Africa, the world's 1st officially designated game reserve

1885 - the first cremation held in England at Woking

1934 – The United Kingdom driving test is introduced.

1937 - Spinach growers of Crystal City, Texas, erect statue of Popeye

1953 - Dr. Jonas Salk announces that he has successfully tested a vaccine to prevent polio, clinical trials began the next year

1954 – Nuclear weapons testing: The Romeo shot of Operation Castle is detonated at Bikini Atoll. Yield: 11 megatons.

1955 - "Ballad of Davy Crockett" version recorded by Hill Hayes becomes the #1 record in US

1958 – The United States Army launches Explorer 3.

1967 - Pope Paul VI publishes encyclical Populorum progressio

1969 - Nuclear reactor Dodewaard Neth goes into use

1969 - Soviet weather satellite Meteor 1 launched

1970 - 500th nuclear explosion announced by the US since 1945

1976 - Queen Elizabeth II sent out the first royal email, from the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment

1983 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1987 - NASA launches Fltsatcom-6, it fails to reach orbit

1997 - Thirty-nine bodies found in the Heaven's Gate cult suicides

1999 - A jury in Michigan finds Dr. Jack Kevorkian guilty of second-degree murder for administering a lethal injection to a terminally ill man

1999 - The "Melissa worm" infects Microsoft word processing and e-mail systems around the world.

2005 - "Doctor Who" returns to BBC TV after 16 years with the debut of Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose

2015 - Richard III of England (1452-1485) is reburied at Leicester Cathedral in England, after being discovered under a carpark in Leicester in 2012

2018 - US soldier receives world's first penis and scrotum transplant at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland

2019 Stolen Pablo Picasso painting "Buste de Femme" (Dora Maar) (1938) recovered after 20 years by Dutch art detective

2020 - American cases of COVID-19 exceed all other countries on this date, with 81,578 cases and 1,180 deaths (New York Times)

2021 - NASA Voyager  is 21 hrs 04 mins 06 secs of light-travel time from Earth


Quote of the day:

"What would those around you say is your identity, if they only knew of you through your works?"

~  Bishop Robert Barron, Lenten Gospel Reflections (03/26/2021)


It doesn’t do any good to go to church every Sunday if you spend the other six days of the week judging and hating.  If you want to be seen as a good person, then you have to act like one.  How many phrases do we use highlighting the difference between words and deeds?  Don’t do aa I do, do as I say.  Do you walk the talk?  Put your money where your mouth is.  Actions speak louder than words.  Your actions speak so loudly I can’t hear what you are saying.  We can say anything, we can believe anything, we can intend anything, we can feel anything – but the only thing that counts is what we actually DO, the impact we have on other lives.  A lot of folks wouldn’t recognize themselves if confronted with that reality.



"What would those around you say is your identity, if they only knew of you through your works?"

It's a good question, neh?
Permalink | Friday, March 26, 2021

my shot

Today is the 6th day of the 9th week, the 5th day of the 3rd month, the 64th day of 2021 [with only 294 shopping days left until Christmas], and: 
  • Cinco de Marcho - the beginning of the season to train the liver for St. Patrick's Day, a drinking day for those who don't often drink, and want to be prepared
  • Dress in Blue Day
  • Employee Appreciation Day
  • Multiple Personality Day
  • National Absinthe Day
  • National Cheese Doodle Day
  • National Day of Unplugging
  • National Potty Dance Day
  • National Poutine Day
  • National Salesperson Day
  • National Speech and Debate Education Day
  • Reel Film Day
  • Saint Piran’s Day
  • World Day of Prayer
  • World Tennis Day

1496 – King Henry VII of England issues letters patent to John Cabot and his sons, authorising them to explore unknown lands.

1558 - Smoking tobacco introduced into Europe by Spanish physician Francisco Fernandes

1616 – Nicolaus Copernicus's book On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres is added to the Index of Forbidden Books 73 years after it was first published.

1807 - the first performance of Ludwig van Beethoven's 4th Symphony in B

1825 – Roberto Cofresí, one of the last successful Caribbean pirates, is defeated in combat and captured by authorities

1836 – Samuel Colt patents the first production-model revolver, the .34-caliber

1853 - Piano company Steinway & Sons founded by Heinrich Steinweg (later Henry Steinway) in New York City

1868 – Mefistofele, an opera by Arrigo Boito, receives its premiere performance at La Scala.

1868 - Stapler patented in England by C H Gould

1872 – George Westinghouse Jr patents triple air brake for trains

1904 - Nikola Tesla describes the process of the ball lightning formation in Electrical World and Engineer

1907 - the first radio broadcast of a musical composition aired

1924 - Computing-Tabulating-Recording Corp becomes IBM

1936 – First flight of K5054, the first prototype Supermarine Spitfire advanced monoplane fighter aircraft in the United Kingdom.

1936 - 8th Academy Awards: "Mutiny on the Bounty", Victor McLaglen & Bette Davis wins

1956 - "King Kong" is first aired on television

1958 - Explorer 2 fails to reach Earth orbit

1960 - The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis originates when Alister Hardy publicly announces his idea that ape-human divergence may have been due to a coastal phase.

1962 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1963 - Beatles record "From Me to You" and "Thank You Girl"

1963 - 20th Golden Globes: "Lawrence of Arabia", Gregory Peck, and Geraldine Page win

1968 - US launches Solar Explorer 2 to study the Sun

1970 - Nuclear non-proliferation treaty goes into effect

1970 - Dubnium atoms are first detected conclusively.

1970 - "Airport" based on the book by Arthur Hailey, directed by George Seaton and starring Burt Lancaster and Dean Martin is released

1978 - "Hello, Dolly!" opens at Lunt-Fontanne Theater NYC for 152 performances

1978 - Landsat 3 launched from Vandenberg AFB, California

1979 - Voyager I's closest approach to Jupiter (172,000 miles)

1994 - Largest milkshake made; 1,955 gallons of chocolate in Nelspruit, South Africa

2006 - Nature documentary "Planet Earth" narrated by David Attenborough premieres on the BBC

2014 - A survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights reports that about 1/3 of women in the European Union have experienced physical or sexual violence since the age of 15

2019 - Second-ever person "cured" of HIV after stem cell transplant treatment in London, England results published in "Nature"

2021 - NASA Voyager  is 21 hrs 04 mins 50 secs of light-travel time from Earth


After trying for a couple of months to get my vaccine shot, I now have TWO appointments!

One is at the Six Flags mass vaccination site, which is about an hour’s drive away for Wednesday, March 10th, that I made at the beginning of February.  The site is drive-thru and they are using the Pfizer vaccine
The second was offered to me this morning.  It is through Montgomery County and is at the White Oak Recreation Center, only 10 minutes away, and it is Friday, March 12th for the Moderna vaccine.  I went ahead and accepted the appointment after seeing there were dozens of appointments available for that day, thinking it was a good idea just in case there is an issue on Wednesday.  Once I get my shot on Wednesday, I’ll come home and cancel Friday’s appointment.


One way or another, I should be done with both vaccination shots by mid-April!
Permalink | Friday, March 5, 2021

March 3rd 2021

Today is the 4th day of the 9th week, the 3rd day of the 3rd month, the 62nd day of 2021 [with 303 days remaining], and: 
  • 33 Flavors Day - In 1945, Irvine "Irv" Robbins opened Snowbird Ice Cream in Glendale, California.
  • Canadian Bacon Day
  • I Want You to be Happy Day
  • International Ear Care Day
  • National Anthem Day
  • National Cold Cuts Day
  • National Breakfast Day
  • National Moscow Mule Day
  • National Mulled Wine Day
  • National Soup it Forward Day
  • Peach Blossom Day
  • Simplify Your Life Day
  • Stop Bad Service Day
  • Talk in Third Person Day
  • TB-303 Appreciation Day
  • What if Cats and Dogs had Opposable Thumbs Day
  • World Birth Defects Day
  • World Hearing Awareness Day
  • World Maths Day
  • World Wildlife Day
Quote of the day:
"I’d once been like that, so lonely that I craved further loneliness. Even after I’d made a few friends in college, I would still go out of my way to create whatever conditions I needed that might allow me to be alone."
~ Yaa Gyasi, Transcendent Kingdom

Much has been written about the impact of the pandemic on individuals and how we have come to redefine everyday life.  One year ago, our company went on a hybrid of work from home and work in the office.  No more than two of us would be in the office at the same time, and as Montgomery County started shutting things down, bossman gave us each a letter that stated unequivocally we were all essential personnel that had to have “physical access to loan operating systems” in order to serve our customers, and throughout the year, at least one person has been in the office every single day.  Not me, as at my age, with both diabetes and high blood pressure, I was the most vulnerable.  I haven’t been back since I walked out the door on March 31st.    In fact?  In the past year, I have been exactly five places:  my daughter’s [once we decided on a mutual bubble in the fall], to the vet’s 3X, to the pharmacy 5X for medication, to the eye doc 2X when I broke my glasses, and to get my hair done.  Now I am scheduled to get the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on the 10th, which means by my birthday in April, I should be able to be out and about again.

Altho I never thought of myself as an introvert, but after a year of being home alone and only interacting with people on a very limited basis, I find the thought of being around others intimidating and rather stressful.  So many folks refuse to even wear a mask or keep their distance!  I’ll wear one anyway of course –  just in case.  But how will I deal with strangers?  What will I say?  How will I cope with them talking to me, or touching surfaces I touch, with sharing my space and maybe even brushing up against me?  Imagining it makes me wince and flinch.  When will I feel comfortable again going into a store just to shop, or get in a plane to travel?  I’m over 70 now, what if this is my new reality?


Will I choose to remain isolated?
Permalink | Wednesday, March 3, 2021

the second Monday of February 2021

Today is the 2nd day of the 6th week, the 8th day of the 2nd month, the 39th day of 2021, and: 
  • Boy Scout Anniversary Day - The Boy Scouts of America were incorporated by William D. Boyce in 1910
  • Clean Out Your Computer Day
  • International Epilepsy Day
  • Laugh and Get Rich Day
  • National Football Hangover Day
  • National Kite Flying Day
  • National Molasses Bar Day
  • National Poop Day
  • Oatmeal Monday
  • Opera Day
  • Propose Day [the second day of Valentine’s week]

1575 – Leiden University is founded, and given the motto Praesidium Libertatis.

1627 - Gunpowder is used in a mining operation instead of mechanical tools in present-day Slovakia, reportedly the first time explosives had been used in mining

1672 - Isaac Newton reads his first optics paper before Royal Society in London

1693 – The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, America, is granted a charter by King William III and Queen Mary II

1735 - First opera in North American colonies "Flora" opens in Charleston, South Carolina

1743 - Comet C/1743 C1 approaches within 0.0390 AUs of Earth

1865 – Delaware refuses to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Slavery was outlawed in the United States, including Delaware, when the Amendment was ratified by the requisite number of states on December 6, 1865. Delaware ratified the Thirteenth Amendment on February 12, 1901, which was the ninety-second anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.

1879 – Sandford Fleming first proposes adoption of Universal Standard Time at a meeting of the Royal Canadian Institute.

1887 – The Dawes Act authorizes the President of the United States to survey Native American tribal land and divide it into individual allotments. Those who accepted allotments and lived separately from the tribe were granted United States citizenship.

1898 - John Ames Sherman patents 1st envelope folding & gumming mach (Mass)

1915 – D. W. Griffith's controversial film The Birth of a Nation, the first 12-reel film in America, directed by D. W. Griffith, starring Lillian Gish and Mae Marsh, opens at Clune's Auditorium in Los Angeles

1922 – United States President Warren G. Harding introduces the first radio set in the White House.

1924 – Capital punishment: The first state execution in the United States by gas chamber takes place in Nevada.

1926 - Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio becomes Walt Disney Studios

1930 - "Happy Days Are Here Again" by Benny Mereoff hits #1

1945 - Paul Brown agrees to coach the new American football expansion team in Cleveland, which would later be named the Cleveland Browns after their coach

1946 – The first portion of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, the first serious challenge to the popularity of the Authorized King James Version, is published.

1962 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1963 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1965 - The Supremes release "Stop In the Name of Love"

1967 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1968 - "Planet of the Apes" premieres in New York City

1969 - Last edition of Saturday Evening Post

1969 - Meteorite weighing over 1 ton falls in Chihuahua, Mexico

1971 – The NASDAQ stock market index opens for the first time with 50 companies and a starting value of 100.

1974 - 3 US astronauts return to Earth after a 85 days in the US space station, Skylab

1979 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1983 - Prize stallion and Derby winner Shergar kidnapped in Ireland, never to be found causing Lloyd's of London to payout $10.6 million insurance

1984 - Soyuz T-10 launches with crew of 3 to Salyut 7.  For the first time there are eight people in space

1988 - NASA launches DOD-2

1992 - Ulysses spacecraft passes Jupiter

1996 – The U.S. Congress passes the Communications Decency Act, attempt to regulate pornographic material on the Internet. In the 1997 landmark case Reno v. ACLU, the United States Supreme Court struck the act's anti-indecency provisions.

2018 - Twitter reports its first quarterly profit as a public company

2020 - NASA Voyager is 21 hrs 05 mins 38 secs of light-travel time from Earth

And it has been 40 days since my last blog post.

The hiatus wasn’t deliberate or planned.  Although I was very vocal in social media about the attempted putsch of January 6th, and the need for anti-vaxers and no-maskers to shut up and pay attention to the medical facts, words have failed me when it comes to sitting down and writing here.  I know it is never a good sign when I go quiet, and the cone of silence seems to have enveloped me.  When I do speak, it appears that my clumsy attempts at communication are far too subject to being misconstrued and even hurtful, and that ineptitude has added to my silence.   But then again?  this is always the time of year that I feel unloved and unlovable, getting all mopey and angst-ridden, so you would think that I would be able to handle it with more finesse, neh? And somehow 1/12th of the year is gone now and I’m not quite sure where it went.


This week we will be celebrating the landing of two probes on Mars, as well as Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day.

I’ll snap out of it.

Permalink | Monday, February 8, 2021

2020: the last Wednesday

Today is the 4th day of the 53rd week, the 30th day of the 12th month, the 365th day of 2020, and: 
  • Bacon Day ((naught to do with Kevin Bacon))
  • Falling Needles Family Fest Day
  • Festival of Enormous Changes at the Last Minute
  • National Bicarbonate of Soda Day
  • The fifth day of Kwanzaa. (United States)
  • The sixth of the Twelve Days of Christmas. (Western Christianity)

 534 – The second and final edition of the Code of Justinian comes into effect in the Byzantine Empire

1317 - Pontifical degree "Sancta Romania" against spiritualists

1731 - the first US music concert (Peter Pelham's great room in Boston)

1809 - Wearing masks at balls forbidden in Boston

1853 - A dinner party is held inside a life-size model of an Iguanodon (ornithopod dinosaur) created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and Sir Richard Owen in south London

1879 - Gilbert & Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance" premieres

1892 - Dr Miles V Lynk, physician, publishes the first Black medical journal

1918 - John E Hoover decides to be called J. Edgar Hoover

1924 - Astronomer Edwin Hubble formally announces existence of other galactic systems at meeting of the American Astronomical Society

1927 – The Ginza Line, the first subway line in Asia, opens in Tokyo, Japan.

1936 - Beginning of the "feud" between comedians Fred Allen and Jack Benny on Allen's "Town Hall Tonight" show

1939 - "Of Mice and Men", starring Burgess Meredith as George, Lon Chaney Jr. as Lennie, is released

1948 - "Kiss Me, Kate" opens at New Century Theater NYC for 1077 performances

1950 - "Sixty Minute Man" record single released by The Dominoes (Billboard Song of the Year 1951)

1953 - The first ever NTSC color television sets go on sale for about USD at $1,175 each from RCA.

1959 - George Washington, the first ballistic missile sub commissioned

1963 - "Let's Make A Deal," debuts on NBC-TV

1963 - Congress authorizes Kennedy half dollar

1967 - Beatles' "Hello Goodbye" single goes #1 & stays #1 for three weeks

1968 - Frank Sinatra first records "My Way" with lyrics were written by Paul Anka and based on the French song "Comme d'habitude"

1969 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1971 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1973 - the first picture of a comet from space (Comet Kohoutek-Skylab)

1974 - Beatles are legally disbanded (4 years after suit was brought)

1976 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1978 - "The King & I" closes at Uris Theater NYC after 719 performances

1980 - "Wonderful World of Disney" last performance on NBC-TV

1981 - "That Girl" single released by Stevie Wonder (Billboard Song of the Year 1982)

1985 - IBM-PC DOS Version 3.2 released

2016 - Last day Indians are able to deposit in banks 500 and 1,000 rupee notes which were scrapped only 50 days earlier in an anti-corruption measure

2020 - NASA Voyager is 21 hrs 05 mins 33 secs of light-travel time from Earth

Quote of the day:
"To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life."
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Familiar Studies of Men and Books

As 2020 winds down and 2021 looms over the horizon, there is no sense of “ending” or “beginning” as the quagmire of polarization in our society deepens.  We are divided economically with the 1% having become both rich and greedy while the 99% gets by or descends into abject poverty.  We are divided healthwise as the raging pandemic exposes the stresses and cracks in a for-profit healthcare system where only the rich and powerful have access to life-saving medications and procedures while the rest of us wait in line.  We are divided politically and the art of working together for the common good seems to be lost.

These fractures were a long time forming and a new year, a vaccine, a new administration, will not resolve them quickly or easily.  My hope is that 2021 will be the turning of the tide though…
Permalink | Wednesday, December 30, 2020

the last Monday of 2020

Today is the 2nd day of the 53rd week [apparently because 01.01.2020 was on a Wednesday – technically 52 weeks and a couple extra days] , the 28th day of the 12th month, the 363rd day of 2020, and:
  • Call a Friend Day
  • Endangered Species Act Day
  • Holy Innocents’ Day [AKA Childermas]:  in Spain and Latin American countries the festival is celebrated with pranks (inocentadas), similar to April Fools' Day
  • Independence Day:  Mexico from Spain in 1836, with the signing of the Santa Maria-Calatrava Treaty
  • National Card Playing Day
  • National Chocolate Candy Day
  • National Download Day
  • National Short Film Day
  • Pledge of Allegiance Day – recognized by Congress in 1945

1065 - Westminster Abbey in London consecrated

1612 - First observation of Neptune - Galileo observes and records a "fixed star" without realizing it is a planet

1795 – Construction of Yonge Street, formerly recognized as the longest street in the world, begins in York, Upper Canada (present-day Toronto)

1836 - Proclamation of South Australia as a British Province. Formal proclamation was read out in what is now the Adelaide suburb of Glenelg North by Captain (later Rear Admiral, Governor, Sir) John Hindmarsh

1860 - Harriet Tubman arrives in Auburn, New York, on her last mission to free slaves, having evaded capture for 8 years on the Underground Railroad

1895 – The Lumière brothers perform for their first paying audience at the Grand Cafe in Boulevard des Capucines.

1895 – Wilhelm Röntgen publishes a paper detailing his discovery of a new type of radiation, which later will be known as x-rays.

1902 - Trans-Pacific cable links Hawaii to US

1912 - 1st municipally owned streetcars take to the streets in San Francisco, California as SF Municipal Railway starts operation at Geary St (MUNI)

1928 - Last recording of Ma Rainey, "Mother of the Blues," made

1934 - Film "Bright Eyes" premieres starring Shirley Temple and featuring the song "On the Good Ship Lollipop"

1948 - US announced a study to launch an Earth satellite

1949 - 20th Century Fox announces it will produce TV programs

1957 - USSR performs atmospheric nuclear test

1958 – "Greatest Game Ever Played": Baltimore Colts defeat the New York Giants in the first ever National Football League sudden death overtime game at New York's Yankee Stadium.  17 future members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame were involved in the game.

1964 - Principal filming on film "Doctor Zhivago" begins

1966 - China performs nuclear test at Lop Nor, PRC

1969 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1972 - Martin Bormann's skeleton is found in Berlin (Hitlers deputy)

1973 - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn publishes "Gulag Archipelago" - a literary investigation of the police-state system in the Soviet Union

1976 - "Fiddler on the Roof" opens at Winter Garden Theater NYC for 167 performances

1976 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1981 - Warner-Elektra-Atlantic raises price of 45 records from $1.68 to $1.98

1981 - the first American test-tube baby, Elizabeth Jordan Carr is born in Norfolk, Virginia

1984 - TV soap "Edge of Night" ends 28 year run

1984 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh, Semipalitinsk USSR

1985 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1988 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1991 - Irene the Icon of Greek Orthodox church returns after being stolen

1997 - Sting beats Hollywood Hogan for WCW Championship

2000 - U.S. retail giant Montgomery Ward announces it is going out of business after 128 years.

2002 - LinkedIn is founded by Reid Hoffman and others in Mountain View, California

2013 - Early signs of Ebola epidemic: 2 year old child in Guinea dies of an unidentified hemorrhagic fever; mother, sister and grandmother soon follow

2020 - NASA Voyager is 21 hrs 05 mins 28 secs of light-travel time from Earth

We had such high hopes for the year when it started, but fate had other plans.  From nasty political issues to a pandemic, the year has felt much longer than simply adding a leap day and an extra week [more or less] would indicate!   And even worse, the problems of a divided country and COVID-19 will not go away, even though the inauguration of a new President and the distribution of vaccines are both hopeful signs. 


Meanwhile, I am counting my blessings.  I and my family have so far been able to remain healthy and employed, plus my granddaughters are enjoying their “unschooling”.  My friends are also weathering the upset.  I have much to be thankful for but I am not celebrating the new year, not yet….
Permalink | Monday, December 28, 2020

we didn't have a clue....

Today is the 3rd day of the 50th week ((I’ve never noticed that some years have 53 weeks in them before.)), the 8th day of the 12th month, the 343rd day of 2020, and: 
  • AFL-CIO Day - American Federation of Labor (AFL) formed by 26 craft unions in 1886
  • Bodhi Day - the day that Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha
  • National Brownie Day
  • National Christmas Tree Day
  • National Lard Day
  • Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day
  • Take it in the Ear Day
  • Toilet Paper Appreciation Day - first sold in the US by Joseph C. Gayetty in 1857

1660 – A woman (either Margaret Hughes or Anne Marshall) appears on an English public stage for the first time, in the role of Desdemona in a production of Shakespeare's play Othello.

1813 - Ludwig van Beethoven's 7th Symphony in A, premieres in Vienna with Beethoven conducting

1854 – In his Apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX proclaims the dogmatic definition of Immaculate Conception, which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived free of Original Sin.

1864 - Pope Pius IX promulgates the encyclical Quanta cura and its appendix, the Syllabus of Errors, outlining the authority of the Catholic Church and condemning various liberal ideas.

1864 - The Clifton Suspension Bridge, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, is finally opened in Bristol, England, 5 years after his death

1864 - James Clerk Maxwell's paper "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field" is first read by the Royal Society in London (published by the Royal Society 1865)

1915 - John McCrae's poem "In Flanders Fields" appears anonymously in "Punch" magazine

1931 - Coaxial cable patented

1938 - Highest temperature to date for December in US recorded in La Mesa California

1952 - for the first time, a TV show portrayed a pregnancy (I Love Lucy)

1953 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers his "Atoms for Peace" speech, which leads to an American program to supply equipment and information on nuclear power to schools, hospitals, and research institutions around the world.

1956 - first test firing of Vanguard satellite program, TV-0

1956 - Guy Mitchell's "Singing the Blues" single goes #1 for 10 weeks

1965 - Pope Paul VI signs 2nd Vatican council

1966 - US and USSR sign treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons in outer space

1967 - The Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour" album is released in UK

1976 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1980 - Annie Leibovitz has a photo-shoot with John Lennon, the last person to professionally photograph him before he is murdered on the same day

1981 - France performs nuclear test

1983 - 9th Space Shuttle Mission, Columbia 6, lands at Edwards AFB

1987 - US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sign a treaty eliminating medium range nuclear missiles

1989 - Great Britain performs nuclear test

1990 - Spacecraft Galileo flies by Earth at an altitude of 597 miles (960 km) to use the planet's gravity to build speed on its way to Jupiter

2010 - With the second launch of the SpaceX Dragon, SpaceX becomes the first privately held company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft.

2010 – The Japanese solar-sail spacecraft IKAROS passes the planet Venus at a distance of about 80,800 km.

2013 – Metallica performs a show in Antarctica, making them the first band to perform on all seven continents.

2019 – First confirmed case of COVID-19 in China

2019 - Polar explorers Mike Horn and Børge Ousland complete an 1,800 km (1,118 miles) journey on drifting ice in darkness in the Arctic

2020 - NASA Voyager is 21 hrs 04 mins 13 secs of light-travel time from Earth

Quote of the day:
"During this time of giving, we should not place too much importance on material gifts; it’s our thoughts, words, and deeds that count. Sincere expressions of appreciation, praise, thanks, and an unexpected helping hand can be the most treasured gifts of all."
~  Reverend Earl Ikeda, “O Bodhi Tree, O Bodhi Tree

I was going to write about gifts as both Hanukkah and Christmas are bearing down on us, but the fact that it was exactly a year ago when the virus was first reported brought me to a complete stop.  Few will remember where they were a year ago, but I was on vacation and enjoying myself, immersed in the world of Harry Potter, in Universal Studios, Florida.  The sun was bright, I was with my family, and we were all having a great deal of fun.  We celebrated vacation, we celebrated the holidays, we toasted the New Year – and we didn’t have an inkling of the tsunami of death that was about to engulf all of us. 


So many losses, so many families grieving ….

Wear a mask – and wear it properly

Wash your hands

Watch your distance
Permalink | Tuesday, December 8, 2020

you only live twice....

Today is the 6th day of the 49th week, the 4th day of the 12th month, the 339th day of 2020, and: 
  • Bartender Appreciation Day
  • Cabernet Franc Day
  • Extraordinary Work Team Recognition Day
  • Faux Fur Friday
  • International Cheetah Day
  • National Dystychiphobia Awareness Day
  • International Sweater Vestival
  • National Cookie Day
  • National Dice Day
  • National Sock Day
  • Santa’s List Day
  • Wear Brown Shoes Day
  • World Wildlife Conservation Day

1563 – The final session of the Council of Trent is held. (It had opened on December 13, 1545.)

1674 - Father Marquette builds first dwelling in what is now Chicago

1791 – The first edition of The Observer, the world's first Sunday newspaper, is published.

1829 – In the face of fierce local opposition, British Governor-General Lord William Bentinck issues a regulation declaring that anyone who abets suttee in Bengal is guilty of culpable homicide.

1861 – The 109 Electors of the several states of the Confederate States of America unanimously elect Jefferson Davis as President and Alexander H. Stephens as Vice President.

1872 – The crewless American brigantine Mary Celeste, drifting in the Atlantic, is discovered by the Canadian brig Dei Gratia. The ship has been abandoned for nine days but is only slightly damaged. Her master Benjamin Briggs and all nine others known to have been on board are never accounted for

1881 – The first edition of the Los Angeles Times is published.

1889 - Explorer Henery Morton Stanley's expedition reaches Bagamoyo in Indian Ocean

1918 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson sails for the World War I peace talks in Versailles, becoming the first US president to travel to Europe while in office.

1927 - Duke Ellington opens at the Cotton Club in Harlem

1930 - Vatican approves rhythm method for birth control

1952 - Killer fogs begin in London, England; the term "Smog" is coined

1954 - The first Burger King is opened in Miami, Florida, USA

1956 – The Million Dollar Quartet (Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash) get together at Sun Studio for the first and last time.

1961 - Museum of Modern Art hangs Matisse's Le Bateau upside down for 47 days

1962 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1964 - The Beatles release their "Beatles For Sale" album

1965 - Gemini 7 launched with Frank Borman and Jim Lovell

1978 - Pioneer Venus 1 goes into orbit around Venus

1985 - "Les Miserables" opens at Palace Theatre, London

1986 - US launches its Fleet Satellite Communications System (Fltsatcom-7)

1988 - USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR

1991 – Pan American World Airways ceases its operations after 64 years.

1996 - NASA's 1st Mars rover launched from Cape Canaveral

1998 – The Unity Module, the second module of the International Space Station, is launched.

2006 - An adult giant squid is caught on video by Kubodera near the Ogasawara Islands, 1,000 km (620 miles) south of Tokyo

2014 - The United Nations warns that the world is on course for the warmest year since records began

2018 - Scottish artist Charlotte Prodger wins the 2018 Turner Prize with film shot on her iPhone

2019 - North American migratory birds getting smaller, their wings wider due to climate change according to study by University of Michigan published in journal "Ecology Letters"

2020 - NASA Voyager is 21 hrs 03 mins 58 secs of light-travel time from Earth

beladona Memorial has spent 15 years in Second Life as of today. 

The first beladona was rezzed over a year earlier when Linden Labs first opened the grid.  I landed in the corral, and quickly found out that the dial-up I was using for my internet connection meant that I couldn’t move.  Disgusted, I left her caught in some bushes and logged out.  Prompted by the chance to attend a talk by someone I knew, and buoyed by a recently purchased DSL connection, I recreated the account, logged back in, and promptly ended up on the stage, sitting on the presenter’s head.  I quickly logged back out, but was intrigued enough to return and wander about exploring.


15 years, 13 avatars, 3 partners, 2 Masters,  and 2 marriages later, with my home permanently on the beach in Nowhereville, I am still wandering about living my 2nd life.
Permalink | Friday, December 4, 2020

it ain't over yet

Today is the 3rd day of the 48th week, the 24th day of the 11th month, the 329th day of 2020 [with only 30 shopping days left until Christmas], and: 
  • Brownielocks Day – date chosen because that was when the domain name was purchased
  • Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day – I would if I had one.  When I was younger, I could cross all my toes, but I do not know if that was an unique talent or just one that was seldom brought up in conversation, although a doctor commented on it once when testing my reflexes for I did it when commanded to “wiggle your toes”.  Nowadays, those digits are less flexible.
  • DB Cooper Day – 49 years later, his fate is still unknown.  $200K is equivalent to $1,285,866.67 today  
  • Evolution Day – Charles Darwin first published On the Origin of Species in 1859
  • Feast Day of the Vietnamese Martyrs
  • National Sardines Day
  • National Use Even if Seal is Broken Day

1105 Rabbi Nathan ben Yehiel of Rome completes Talmudic dictionary

1434 River Thames in London freezes over

1639 Frist observation of transit of Venus by Jeremiah Horrocks and William Crabtree - helped establish size of the Solar System

1642 Dutch explorer Abel Tasman discovers Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania)

1715 London's Thames River freezes over

1759 Destructive eruption of Vesuvius

1835 Texas Rangers, mounted police force authorized by Texas Provisional Government

1874 American inventor Joseph Glidden patents barbed wire

1896 First US absentee voting law enacted by Vermont

1926 Sri Aurobindo retires to lead life of seclusion, hands responsibility for followers to Mirra Alfassa (founding of Sri Aurobindo ashram)

1932 In Washington, D.C., the FBI Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory (better known as the FBI Crime Lab) officially opens.

1938 Clifford Odets' "Rocket to the Moon" premieres in NYC

1947 John Steinbeck's novel "Pearl" published

1947 The US House of Representatives Committee on Un-American Activities finds "Hollywood 10" in contempt because of their refusal to reveal whether they were communists

1950 "Guys & Dolls" opens at 46th St Theater NYC for 1200 performances

1954 Air Force One, 1st US Presidential airplane, christened

1956 "Pajama Game" closes at St James Theater NYC after 1063 performances

1958 Mali becomes an autonomous state within French Community

1966 1st TV station in Congo, Kinshasa (Zaire)

1966 The Beatles began recording sessions for their album "Sgt.Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"

1966 The cult classic "One Million Years B.C.", starring Raquel Welch, is released first in West Germany

1969 Apollo 12 returns to Earth

1972 USSR performs underground nuclear test

1974 Gerald Ford and Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT-2 treaty to reduce each side's number of nuclear weapons

1977 France performs nuclear test at Mururoa atoll

1981 the first air-launched cruise missile tested

1982 Orioles Cal Ripken is named AL Rookie of Year

1983 "The Colour of Magic" by Terry Pratchett published by Colin Smythe in the UK, 1st book in the Discworld series

1991 US 75th manned space mission "STS 44" Atlantis 10 launched

1993 End of world, according to Ukrainian sect White Brotherhood

2012 Gangnam Style becomes the most viewed Youtube video surpassing 808 million views

2020 NASA Voyager is 21 hrs 02 mins 59 secs of light-travel time from Earth

It would appear that the US election for President is finally over as, after 20 days, Trump finally instructed his loyal supporter in charge of the GSA to permit the winner to start making formal transition plans,  He did so without conceding, still claiming victory and still throwing doubt on the integrity of the election process.  Apparently his efforts, enabled and abetted by GOP senators, now are concentrated on salting the earth to make it as difficult as possible for his successor to govern effectively.  Much has been written about the damage done to the US democracy by this behavior, on top of the past four years of ignoring all norms of civility and even points of law, so I won’t belabor the obvious. 

At least 71 million [or about 19% of the total population and 30% of the eligible voters]  people are very unhappy and their angst fanned to a fever pitch by such propaganda sites as NewsMax and One America News [Fox News having committed the crime of actually reporting some facts] that woke elites are coming to alter the very fabric of their lives.   For them the pandemic is still a hoax, the election was rigged, and DJT the only person who cares about the common man and understands “the American Way.”


 I thought I would be relieved when the election was over, but instead I am deeply anxious about our ability to heal the divide.  What kind of country will my granddaughters grow up in?   
Permalink | Tuesday, November 24, 2020

know your place

I am in flat despair

I could accept that in 2016, Donald Trump appealed to those who were sick and tired of the way things were going.  He came out of nowhere and we really didn’t know what kind of administration he would run.  I didn’t like the man and refused to support him but I could understand the populist appeal.  In the past four years, he showed us what kind of leader he was and like so many others, I thought having displayed his real colors, he would be repudiated because Americans weren’t like that.

I was wrong. 
John Pavlovitz puts it quite succinctly: />

I was wrong. 
Over 68 million people agree with Trump and want him to continue doing what he is doing:

I was wrong.

The “coalition of restoration” is stronger than I ever dreamed it could be.  These people want me, want every kind of minority, to go back to an era when you were expected to  “know your place”, and that place is subservient,  subservient to white males, especially ones with money who make sure Wall Street is doing well.  And it isn’t just the boomers either, I could understand that to a point since we all grew up in that kind of society.   Anyone who believes in transformation and the future is dismissed as an “elitist” and a “libtard” to be derided as “woke” and taken down a peg or two until they know their place. 

I cannot wrap my head around how everything we campaigned for, marched against, voted for back in the 60’s is being repudiated. 

Tomorrow or next week, perhaps I will hope again and take up the cudgels in defense of what I believe

 But today?  I cannot function.  I am in shock that the America I thought I lived in, that I raised a family in, doesn’t actually exist….
Permalink | Thursday, November 5, 2020

The message for today is:

Permalink | Tuesday, November 3, 2020

preserve your gripe rights!

Quote of the day:

"Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting."

~  Franklin D. Roosevelt
Permalink | Thursday, October 22, 2020

a line in the sand.....

Today is the 3rd day of the 43rd week, the 20th day of the 10th month, the 294th day of 2020 [with only 65 shopping days left until Christmas], and: 
  • Birth of the Bab
  • Community Media Day
  • Information Overload Awareness Day
  • International Chefs Day
  • Miss America Rose Day
  • National Brandied Fruit Day
  • National Call-in Day for Health Reform
  • National Day on Writing
  • National Pharmacy Technician Day
  • National Suspenders Day
  • National Youth Confidence Day
  • Office Chocolate Day
  • Pay Back a Friend Day
  • Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity
  • World Osteoporosis Day
  • World Statistics Day
Quote of the day:
I had begun to see the past like this: there is a line; you can draw it yourself, or sometimes it gets drawn for you; either way, there it is, your past, a collection of people you used to be and things you used to do. Your past is the person you no longer are, the situations you are no longer in.”
~ Jamaica Kincaid,Lucy

There are lines in my past, events or markers, where I can look back and make “before/after” comparisons.  Some have to do with my personal life and usually are about choices that I have made [like fleeing my mother’s house and moving in with my first husband] , or the natural progression of life [like graduating from high school].  Some I have to ascribe to happenstance – like getting into knowledge management or becoming an avid fan [Baker Street Irregular, science fiction aficionado, confirmed believer in Middle Earth, Trekkie, Disney believer cosplay].  Some have more to do with the society in which I live or current events – like LBJ deciding not to seek reelection.   And some have to do with things happening – Grandmom Hughes’ death, Frank’s dementia then losing him, my daughter’s breast cancer diagnosis.   In each case, I can see how it changed me. 

Most recently, this year of 2020 has drawn a line for me, and I don’t think I am alone in that.

In the case of the DJT presidency, it isn’t so much that he won the 2016 election, it has been the turmoil and degradation of what I thought were hallowed and indestructible democratic institution, coupled with a complete inability to see him as his supporter see him.  People I know, and indeed both liked and respected, seem just fine with what I perceive as crass materialism, total callousness and the last gasp of the old rich white men declaring this country is their’s to do with what they would like.   These same folks, incidentally, are just as appalled that I have been hoodwinked by a leftist and liberal media into not comprehending what the real issues are and how DJT is applying a much needed course correction.  I do not know how to reconcile the schism that yawns before us no matter who wins the election.

In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, while many  other members of my family and friends seem to be more comfortable moving about outside their home, I find myself increasingly reluctant to do so.  How much of this is because I have to get on an elevator and travel 20 stories in the company of multiple individuals, who either don’t wear a mask at all or don’t have their mask covering both nose and mouth, to even start to go anywhere, I’m not sure.  I carefully limit the number of times I go downstairs to throw out recycling or get my mail.  I rely on Uber Eats for carryout, and Giant/Peapod for grocery deliveries.  I worry every time someone is in my apartment – maintenance workers, pest control, cleaning lady.  Since March 31st, I have seldom been anywhere –  to have my hair done twice, to the pharmacy three times, to the vet’s four times, and to my daughter’s home [the only place where once inside, I do not wear a mask as she is as vulnerable as I] several times.   In short?  For six months I have been a recluse, and that shows no sign of letting up anytime soon.   


Someday, I will look back on 2020, but right now?  I don’t know, and cannot imagine, what “after” looks like – and I don’t think I am alone in that either. 
Permalink | Tuesday, October 20, 2020

taxes, taxes, taxes....

Today is the 2nd day of the 40th week, the 28th day of the 9th month, the 272nd day of 2020 [with only 87 shopping days left until Christmas], and: 
  • Confucius Day
  • Family Day
  • Fish Tank Floorshow Night
  • Freedom from Hunger Day
  • Gold Lining Day
  • International Day for Unerversal Acess to Information
  • International Right to Know Day
  • National Drink Beer Day
  • National Good Neighbor Day
  • National North Carolina Day
  • National Strawberry Cream Pie Day
  • Read a Child a Book You Like Day
  • World Rabies Day
  • Yom Kippur
Quote of the day:
Mindfulness allows us to watch our thoughts, see how one thought leads to the next, decide if we’re heading toward an unhealthy path, and if so, let go and change directions.”
~  Sharon Salzberg, “Mindfulness and Difficult Emotions

When I started working in the Loan Department at Commercial & Farmers Bank, I became privy to many borrowers’ personal financial statements and federal tax returns.  For the first time, I realized that people who could buy and sell everything my family ever had owned without even blinking were paying less in income taxes than I was --  not just a lower percentage of their income, mind you, but actually less in cold, hard cash.  I quickly  realized that this was systemically true of all of the 1% -- someone who made in an hour what I make in a year was paying less than I in taxes.  Why?  Because they could afford to hire a team of tax lawyers and accountants to make sure they paid as little to the government as possible, utilizing every loophole in the tax code to reduce their obligations and I could not.  And don’t even get me started about the benefits enjoyed by large businesses!  My deep and bitter resentment at this inequity has only grown in the past 35 years of working in financial services. 

As a result?  I have become an advocate of the flat tax.  Everyone – individual and business -- who makes over $50K pays the same percentage [let’s say 20%] of their income to the government to fund the infrastructure that supports us all.  EVERYONE, including every business.  No deductions, no loopholes. 

Supposedly a flat tax system benefits the rich and penalizes the poor.  While I understand this still means the rich have more in the way of disposable income, a disparity that supposedly was being addressed by the graduated income tax tables, but given the fact that most of the 1% and the wealthiest corporations are skating by paying very little?  I think a flat tax will increase revenue markedly, while actually reducing the tax burden on most of us.  And it would be nice to know the rich were paying their fair share instead of blithely skipping off into the sunset.


((obviously finding out that DJT paid less in taxes for 15 years than I paid just last year really annoys me even though I am not the least bit surprised.))
Permalink | Monday, September 28, 2020

remembering the magic....

Today is the 6th day of the 37th week, the 11th day of the 9th month, and the 255th day of 2020.

I grew up on Disney movies and The Wonderful World of Color, but by the time I hit my teens, saying something was “mickey mouse” was definitely an insult. No one I knew personally had ever taken the time and money to go to WDW, and Disneyland was on the other side of the continent.  I had been to Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens, been to and then taken my kids to the Enchanted Forest, and I saw no reason to go to Florida to go to a theme park.

Then Frank came into my life, and he was insistent that we had to go to WDW.  He had been with his family when his kids were younger and really liked it, and so off we went in the summer 1986.  Why summer in Florida?  Because school was out and I firmly believe you do NOT take kids out of school to go on vacation.  My daughter was not allowed to go with us, but my son and I were looking forward to the trip, although neither of us were all that enthralled with Disney.   The drive down was easy as we did it in two stages, breaking for the night in Santee.  We stopped at Stucky’s along the way, went to see Pedro at South of the Border and spent a lot of time there meandering through the shops.  Of course we stopped at the Florida Welcome Center and had orange juice, then headed for ST Augustine and for the first time I saw the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche and lit candles.  Then we settled into a hotel on International Drive.  We had quite an itinerary worked out – Disney for , the Gatorland Zoo, Crystal Springs, Cape Kennedy.  Frank insisted we start our day early and go to Epcot first.   I remember walking around, listening to the music, sniffing the smells.  We visited the Seas and the Land, and then headed for Journey into Imagination.  I was impressed by the cleanliness of the place and told Frank it was a very nice theme park.  We got into the car for the ride, it happened to be the first one, and headed into the dark ride.  The car rotated and the painted clouds parted and there was Dreamfinder and Figment….

And I fell in love with Disney because suddenly I knew it was theater and I was totally immersed.  At that moment I realized it was not a theme park, but a stage, and I had been invited to play along with the cast and perform.   

I’ve lost count of how many times we went back to WDW.  Sometimes it was with one or both of my kids, once it was with Frank’s daughter and family, my mother came along a couple of times, it was just Frank and I, or I was there alone when business training took me to Orlando.  We bought Disney stock, but was not interested in getting into the time share of the Vacation Club, although we considered it.  After his strokes, Frank was comfortable in WDW despite the disorientation of dementia, and we went every year, staying on site in different moderate resorts – once getting upgraded to the Animal Kingdom Lodge when it first opened.  We paid for special tours and after hour parties.  We were there, in the Festival of the Lion KIng on 9.11 when the park was evacuated.  Frank's last hair cut was from the Main Street barber, who talked him into getting glitter in his hair just three weeks before he died.  After that, I went with co-workers, with my daughter and her family, with Cheryl, with Cheryl and Ricky, and many times alone.  Sometimes we made a long stay, sometimes it was just a long weekend, and once a cruise.  I even made it to Disneyland!  I bought t-shirts, clothing, jewelry, memorabilia, books, bed clothing – for myself, for the family – belong to D23, cosplay Merriweather, and subscribed to Disney+

And this morning, reading the speculation that the Magical Express changes were permanent after months of Disney scaling back perks for the hoi polloi, adding more fees, and making more events special additional tickets, then noting that only deluxe resorts are open as they get back to business, I realized that Disney is not interested in my history with them and doesn’t care if I or my family ever gets back to the parks. 


OTOH:  It is a business, and the purpose of a business is to make money.  The same resources and services the hoi polloi utilize cost as much as if they were provided to someone wealthier, who potentially will spend more money, so they want to maximize their profit at the point of sale

OTOH:  Without fans like me, Disney is nothing unique, just another entertainment merchant with theme parks.  I hope senior management wakes up sooner rather than later, and realizes it is not just about shareholders, but STAKEholders like me.  I could use a bit of pixie dust right now.  
Permalink | Friday, September 11, 2020

Today is the 2nd day of the 35th week, the 24th day of the 8th month, the 237th day of 2020, and:Can Opener Day
  • International Day Against Intolerance, Discrimination and Violence Based on Musical Preferences, Lifestyle and Dress Code
  • Independence Day – Ukraine from the Soviet Union in 1991
  • International Strange Music Day
  • National Knife Day
  • National Maryland Day – MD was the 7th state to join the Union
  • National Peach Pie Day
  • National Waffle Day
  • Pluto Demoted Day – the dastardly deed was done back in 2006, upsetting generations who had faithfully learned our Solar System had nine planets
  • Shooting Star Day
  • Vesuvius Day
  • Wayzgoose Day [AKA the Feast of St Bartholomew the Disciple] – a day celebrating the end of summer   
  • Weather Complaint Day
  • William Wilberforce Day – the British abolitionist, who was instrumental in getting Britain out of the slave trade, was born in 1759
I have always realized that tomorrow is promised to no one – it was brought home to me 42 years ago when I was diagnosed with a small cerebral aneurism.  I have shared how I failed to say “I love you” to Frank on the morning he died, and 16 years later a nagging sorrow and regret about that being one of the handful of days in 20 years that I failed to do so can still bring tears to my eyes.  Perhaps it is those two things that make me aware of the things I have not said to those that I am around, the words of appreciation, respect, affection that I have thought, but failed to say to friends and family or coworkers or even daily acquaintances.  I can only hope the kids know how proud I am of them and how much I love them.  I can only hope my friends know how honored and grateful I have been for the connection and joy they have brought into my life.  I can only hope coworkers and acquaintance understand the respect I have for their KSA and consideration.  And, it makes me careful what I say on social media, even when I am upset or angered by cruelty and pigheadedness.  Words matter
Would’ve, should’ve, could’ve – how many times have you played over conversations in your head and wish that you had said something you didn’t? 
Permalink | Monday, August 24, 2020

do you hear what I hear

Today is the 6th day of the 34th week, the 21st day of the 8th month, the 234th day of 2020, and: 
  • International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism
  • Internet Self-care Day
  • National Brazilian Blowout Day
  • National Men’s Grooming Day
  • National Senior Citizens Day
  • National Spumoni Day
  • Poet’s Day
On this day in 1911,the Mona Lisa was stolen right off the wall of the Louvre by three handymen, who rather ironically had been hired by the museum to make protective glass cases for historical paintings.  Back then the painting was just another work in the collection, and it took 24 hours for anyone to even notice that it was gone.  The head of the Paris police retired in shame as the investigation gained international attention as folks speculated how the thief was able to hide such a large item.  Over two years later, the ringleader of the heist, who wanted to return the lovely lady to her native home in Italy, was apprehended when he contacted the dealer and director of a gallery in Florence.  He had been interviewed by the police twice and dismissed as a suspect, and the painting had been hidden in a trunk in his apartment the entire time.   The notoriety the theft and unsuccessful manhunt generated made the painting the tourist attraction it is today.  And it has been assaulted several times – by acid, a rock, spray paint, and a coffee mug, not to mention all the ways the image has been altered or used.

Quote of the day:
Silence does good to the soul.”
~  St. Therese of Lisieux

Are you getting a massage?”  my co-worker inquired archly.  We are both working from home and he had called me, apparently amused by the ambient music playing in the background.  You see, I almost always have quiet, New Age instrumental music broadcasting these days.  I live alone, and even in an apartment building set on an intersection of two busy highways in an built-up suburb, it can get very still.  And when it gets that quiet, the ringing in my ears that never ceases suddenly becomes very loud and very annoying.  My  dreams have always had a soundtracks and in a way, now my waking life does too.

Music has always been a big part of my everyday life, although I never learned to read music and always sang by ear.  I used to sing while doing chores; my mother often rebuked me because she felt I was singing too loudly.  I sang in choruses and choirs.  I sang to my kids and they each had their own special favorites that they sang with me, especially at bath time and bedtime.  I sang in the car, sometimes with the radio, sometimes belting out songs all by myself. 


These days my voice doesn’t lift in song very often and when it does, it sounds thin, lacking the vibrancy and range I possessed for so many years.  The silence presses upon me, and I hold it at bay with the strands of gentle, calming music playing in the background. 
Permalink | Friday, August 21, 2020

be counted....

Today is the 4th day of the 34th week, the 19th day of the 8th month, the 232nd day of 2020 [with only 127 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • ‘Black Cow’ Root Beer Float Day
  • Coco Chanel Day
  • Independence Day – Afghanistan from Britain in 1919
  • International Bow Day
  • International Orangutan Day
  • Islamic New Year [AKA Hijri New Year or Arabic New Year] – starts at sundown
  • National Aviation Day
  • National Hot and Spicy Food Day
  • National Medical Dosimetrist’s Day
  • National Potato Day
  • National Sandcastle and Sculpture Day
  • National Soft Ice Cream Day
  • World Humanitarian Day
  • World Photo Day
 Quote of the day:
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”
~  John F Kennedy, 35th President of the United States

The Democratic National Convention is rolling towards its inevitable conclusion of anointing Joe Bidden as the candidate to oppose Trump this November.  Now don’t get me wrong, I feel very strongly about the importance of this election to the basic fabric of our democracy and I certainly do NOT want another four years like the past four years.  But these two articles highlight my basic concern that the Democrat party is tone-deaf and might not be able to deliver the desirable result:

First, the nominee is bland.  This is not a bad thing, especially given all the drama of the past four years!   But like Uncle Joe, he is moving kinda slow, and while he definitely seems to be a good person, he is the epitome of the old white male politician.  Having a controversial VP running mate who definitely has some zing to her will help the ticket among some – thank you for highlighting that, Randy – but there are already rumbles from others saying that blacks and Latinos do not have sufficient representation as well as those who cannot see a minority woman in such a high office.   It is going to be a bruising campaign, and I agree with the those who ask where the up and coming Democrats are?  It’s past time for the old guard to move aside!

AOC’s DNC speech was 60 seconds.  She made her point – but so did the establishment

Second, and this works hand-in-hand with the first, the Democrats have a problem defining what they are FOR because the progressives and the moderates don’t agree on very much.  As one who felt the Bern four years ago and who like Warren’s planning, Joe just feels too much like the status quo.  And I worry this will not be sufficient to get those voters who sat out 2016 back to the voting places, especially during the pandemic

They’re against Trump – but what are they for?

The bottom line is that everyone has to get out and be heard – we cannot let just 25.5 % of the voters decide the election this year, the Electoral College be damned.



And no, I am not going to tell you who to vote for, but let’s make this election a landslide both for the White House and the Congress so that there is no doubt of the message.
Permalink | Wednesday, August 19, 2020

defeating the bug

Today is the 5th day of the 31st week, the 30th day of the 7th month, the 212th day of 2020, and: 
  • Eid-Al-Adha ((begins at sunset))
  • Father-in-Law Day
  • Independence Day:  Vanuatu from the UK and France in 1980
  • International Day of Friendship
  • National Cheesecake Day
  • National Chicken and Waffle Day
  • National Chili Dog Day
  • National Intern Day
  • National Support Public Education Day
  • National Whistleblower Appreciation Day
  • Paperback Book Day
  • Share a Hug Day ((oh to be able to hug folks again without worrying about the virus))
  • Tisha B’Av
  • World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
  • World Snorkeling Day
Quote of the day:
“Liberty isn't liberalism, arbitrariness, but it's connected; it's conditioned by the great values of love and solidarity and in general by the good.”
~  Pope Benedict XVI

There are bugs in the walls where I live.   It’s just a fact of life when you live in apartment buildings, especially older ones, no matter how fancy or upscale they are.  Bugs just happen, whether they arrive on their own power or as hitchhikers.

About a year ago, I started experiencing an infestation, partly caused by the new owner’s scaling back the amount of treatments by pest control experts, which meant the bugs were able to colonize more aggressively.   The owners were forced by the county health department to ramp up preventive measures.   I complained loudly and often enough that my apartment finally got on the list for weekly treatments.

The problem is in my kitchen, even though I keep everything sealed in containers or in plastic.  I moved the cat food out of that room.  I moved and scrubbed every inch of the kitchen I could possible see or reach.  I emptied my cabinets and pest control treated them – in fact, under the sink has been empty since pest control started coming six weeks ago.  They have sprayed, used sticky traps, set out bait.  I still get lots of the little baby roaches, all of them running for the sink or the vent or the outlets.  Finally, yesterday, the guy told me that the problem is obviously not in my kitchen and that they would have to get management’s okay to treat the apartment next door.  They are now convinced that my infestation can be stopped by treating their place.

Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?  We have to work together to eradicate the problem, to keep the bugs from using their apartment as a safe haven before coming back.  Sound familiar?  *ponders*  Gee, what other kind of bug keeps surging back….

Want schools and businesses to start again?  WEAR A MASK.  If you don’t want to wear a mask for yourself, remember we are all connected and wear it for the folks around you.   



Oh, and if you really are worried about the infection being spread by disposable mask manufacturers?  Get washable, reusable ones.   
Permalink | Thursday, July 30, 2020


Today is the 2nd day of the 31st week, the 27th day of the 7th month, the 209th day of 2020 [with only 150 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Bagpipe Appreciation Day
  • Barbie-in-a-blender Day – celebrating a win against Mattel trying to sue artist Tom Forsythe for a series of photographs featuring the nude doll.  It is considered a celebration of artistic free speech and fair use
  • Cross Atlantic Communication Day
  • Gary Gygax Day – the creator of Dungeons & Dragons [1974] was born on this day in 1938. 
  • Love is Kind Day
  • National Chicken Finger Day
  • National Crème Brulee Day
  • National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day
  • National Scotch Day
  • Norfolk Day
  • Paddle for Perthes Disease Awareness Day – Perthes is a childhood condition that effects the hip joint
  • Take Your Houseplants for a Walk Day
  • Take Your Pants for a Walk Day
  • Walk on Stilts Day
  • And the first quarter of the moon at 8:32AM EDT
Quote of the day:
“[Time is] … like a predator.  It’s stalking you.  Oh, you can try and outrun it …, but in the end, time is going to hunt you down ….”
Dr Soran, Star Trek VII:  Generations

Do you know what day it is?

My boss recently complained that his days were all running together as our office is closed, but in his case, it is because he is a workaholic who does business on his days off as well as in the evenings.  The only others I hear asking what day it is are those friends who are retired.  For a time, the governor of New York was using his Twitter account to tell people what day of the week it was, the assumption being that with the closing of so many businesses and suspension of regular activities, folks were confusing the days.   Somehow the lockdown seemed to be a form of an extended vacation where all days blended together – at least for a lucky few who got paid while staying home or who had enough resources that they could weather the storm without pay. 


 For the rest, things have not been so ….  Pleasant?  Halcyon?  Easy?  Those of us fortunate enough to be able to work from home have found the traditional 9- 5 grind still grinds on, and as grateful as we are for being able to keep our jobs/pay/insurance, we are very aware of the difference between the work week and the weekend and time off.    Those who work with the land know a different rhythm of life without artificial time units or holidays – farms do not have holidays built in.  And of course, those without jobs were pitchforked into a nightmare miasma of fear and anxiety, including the hard choice between having to work and expose themselves to COVID-19, rely on ephemeral assistance, or go without the necessities of life.

As for me?  Yes I know today is Monday – and if you push me, I can probably figure out how many hours it is until 4 PM on Friday when I roll [or crawl or dance, all depending on what kind of week it is] into the weekend

Permalink | Monday, July 27, 2020

make it stop....

Today is the 5th day of the 30th week, the 23rd day of the 7th month, the 205th day of 2020 [with only 154 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Gorgeous Grandma Day
  • Hot Enough For Ya Day ((in these days of climate change, this has an ironic ring to it))
  • National Intern Day
  • National Refreshment Day
  • National Vanilla Ice Cream Day
  • Peanut Butter and Chocolate Day
  • Sprinkle Day
  • World Sjogren’s Day
  • Yada, Yada, Yada Day

1599 = Caravaggio's 1st public commission for paintings

1764 - James Otis publishes views on taxation without representation

1829 – In the United States, William Austin Burt patents the typographer, a precursor to the typewriter.

1872 - African American inventor Elijah McCoy is granted a patent for lubricators for steam-engines

1903 – The Ford Motor Company sells its first car.

1904 - Ice cream cone created during St Louis World Fair - the 1st cone reputedly by Charles E. Menches

1937- Isolation of pituitary hormone announced (Yale University)

1962 – Telstar relays the first publicly transmitted, live trans-Atlantic television program, featuring Walter Cronkite.

1965 - The Beatles' "Help" is released in UK

1966 - Napoleon XIV releases "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha! Ha!"

1966 - Frank Sinatra's album "Strangers In The Night" is No. 1 on the US charts, (Grammy for Record Of The Year and Best Male Vocal Performance)

1967 - First successful liver transplant, on 19 month old Julie Rodriguez by Dr Starzl at the University of Colorado

1969 - USSR performs nuclear Test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1972 – The United States launches Landsat 1, the first Earth-resources satellite

1972 - 1st Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS) is launched

1973 - USSR performs nuclear Test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1976 - France performs nuclear Test at Mururoa atoll

1976 - USSR performs nuclear Test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1980 - Soyuz 37 ferries 2 cosmonauts (1 Vietnamese) to Salyut 6

1994 - Space shuttle STS-65: Columbia 17, lands after record 14 days 55 mins

1995 – Comet Hale–Bopp is discovered; it becomes visible to the naked eye on Earth nearly a year later.

1999 – Space Shuttle Columbia launches on STS-93, with Eileen Collins becoming the first female space shuttle commander. The shuttle also carried and deployed the Chandra X-ray Observatory

2015 – NASA's Kepler mission announces discovery of the most Earth-like planet yet - Kepler-452b, 1,400 light years from Earth

2019 - Investigation launched after no girls born in three months in 132 villages in Uttarkashi district, India, with sex-selective abortions suspected as the reason

2020 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 41 mins 29 secs of light-travel time from Earth


Quote of the day:
The purpose of our human life is huge—to grow larger hearts and open minds—and we celebrate that we can do this in this moment.”
~  Judith Simmer-Brown, “Five Practices to Change Your Mind” 

2020 is 56% over and I am not sure that is good news or not. 

Thanks to COVID-19 I have become a recluse who can count on the my fingers the number of times in the past 113 days I have been outside my apartment except to go downstairs and get the mail or throw out the recycling.   In the past four months, I have been to the vet once, to the pharmacy once, and visited with my daughter and her family exactly four times.  I am afraid to go out because so few people are actually wearing masks, and I worry every single time I get in that elevator

I am worried sick about my country.  Federal officers – not military folks who have taken an oath to protect citizens -- but a group of folks answerable only to the president whacking, tear-gassing, abducting protestors.  A president who says on nationwide TV that he might not accept the results of an election and is already claiming it is rigged.   And constant pressure to reopen everything, dispense with masks, and force children to go back to school despite soaring infection and death rates


Like so many people, I’m tired.

Just, tired….

Permalink | Thursday, July 23, 2020

reflections on bedding....

Today is the 2nd day of the 27th week, the 29th day of the 6th month, the 181st day of 2020, and: 
  • Feasts of Saints Peter and Paul
  • Hug Holiday Day
  • Independence Day - Seychelles from the United Kingdom in 1976
  • International Day Of The Tropics
  • International Mud Day
  • National Almond Buttercrunch Day
  • National Camera Day
  • National Waffle Iron Day
  • Please Take My Children to Work Day
  • World Scleroderma Awareness Day

 512 - A solar eclipse is recorded by a monastic chronicler in Ireland.

1534 – Jacques Cartier is the first European to reach Prince Edward Island.

1613 – The Globe Theatre in London, built by William Shakespeare's playing company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, burns to the ground during a performance of "Henry VIII"

1888 – George Edward Gouraud records Handel's Israel in Egypt onto a phonograph cylinder, thought for many years to be the oldest known recording of music

1927 - the first flight from West Coast arrives in Hawaii

1956 – The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 is signed by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, officially creating the United States Interstate Highway System.

1961 - Launch of Transit 4a, with 1st nuclear power supply (SNAP-3)

1963 - Beatles' first song "From Me to You" hits UK charts

1964 - the first draft of Star Trek's pilot "Cage" released

1968 - "Tip-Toe Thru' The Tulips With Me" by Tiny Tim peaks at #17

1972 - USSR launches Prognoz 2 into earth orbit (549/200,000 km)

1974 – Mikhail Baryshnikov defects from the Soviet Union to Canada while on tour with the Kirov Ballet.

1975 – Steve Wozniak tested his first prototype of Apple I computer.

1985 - NASA launches Intelsat VA F-11

1987 – Vincent Van Gogh’s painting, theLe Pont de Trinquetaille, was bought for $20.4 million at an auction in London, England.

1995 – Space Shuttle program: STS-71 Mission (Atlantis) docks with the Russian space station Mir for the first time.

2007 – Apple Inc. releases its first mobile phone, the iPhone.

2008 - Thomas Beatie, the world's first pregnant man, gives birth to a daughter

2008 - Glastonbury music festival in England; Leonard Cohen the highlight singing ""Hallelujah"

 Sheets are very personal things, and it is hard to buy sets for other people.  Years and years ago – at least 11 actually – my daughter, who was horrified at the sheets I was using at the time, bought me a set of green pinstriped sheets.  When I packed up my apartment, it took me a couple of years to get through the Disaster Area and find the sheets, so I would wash and rewash that set and put them back on the bed.    Afterwards, I rotated them with the other sheets, but could never quite find ones that I liked so well.  I’ve tried cotton, bamboo, flannel, hemp, and some micro-slippery ones, but I keep coming back to these.  No idea what kind they are or where they come from, the much washed label just shows an almost illegible “100% cotton”.

Back in the day, Grandmom Hughes used to scoff at people who ironed their sheets, but admitted that she liked ironed pillow cases.  My aunt informed her she was not going to iron pillowcases, and my mother said that she would.  Of course then she got mad at the whole family after my father left town, and one of the last conversations I had with Grandmom in the hospice was about the fact her pillow cases weren’t ironed and my mother had promised….

I “hand iron” the warm cases out of the dryer, making sure they lie flat, and think about the past.  I can almost smell the wonderful smell of freshly laundered sheets as they are taken off the clothes line after drying outside….
Permalink | Monday, June 29, 2020

even little endings are poignant ....

Today is the 3rd day of the 26th week, the 23rd day of the 6th month, the 175th day of 2020, and: 
  • International Widows' Day
  • Let It Go Day
  • National Columnists Day
  • National Eat At A Food Truck Day
  • National Hydration Day
  • National Pecan Sandies Day
  • National Pink Day
  • Pink Flamingo Day (Lawn Ornaments)
  • Ratha Yatro or Ratha Yatra
  • Runner's Selfie Day
  • SAT Math Day
  • Typewriting Day
  • United Nations Public Service Day (International)
Incidentally, Mercury has been in retrograde since June 2nd and will remain that way until July 12th.
Today I used up my last bar of Disney soap.
Back in the day, every visit to WDW meant coming home with little containers of shampoo, conditioner, and lotion plus little bars of soap.  I quickly stopped collecting the bottles, but I always kept the soaps and used them when we were home.

Even when they changed to less themed soap bars, I still brought them home and used them. 

They sat next to my bathroom sink and every time I washed my hands I thought of all the fun we had in the parks and how much I wanted to go back.  It was just a little piece of magic in a workaday world.  Then, in August three years ago, WDW went to dispensers.  Why?  To reduce ecological impact, the company intoned, but really to reduce costs, both very valid reasons.  And yet….   I stare at that last remaining sliver of soap, knowing I have finally depleted the bag of souvenir soaps, and I am sad.  What was the value to Disney of stoking the dreams of their customers and fans, of keeping their brand front and center as part and parcel of the everyday routine?  Especially now, when so many of us don’t know when or if we will be able to return? 
I took that last sliver of soap and put it in the washcloth bag where joined with the other scraps, it will slowly wear away, and put another fresh bar of soap – generic soap – out on the soap dish.

Permalink | Tuesday, June 23, 2020

I am not okay....

Today is the 4th day of the 24th week, the 10th day of the 6th month, the 162nd day of 2020, and: 
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (Founders) Day
  • Ball Point Pen Day
  • National Black Cow Day
  • National Egg Roll Day
  • National Herb and Spice Day
  • National Iced Tea Day

323 BC - Alexander the Great, Macedonian king, dies from either fever or excessive wine at 32

 671 – Emperor Tenji of Japan introduces a water clock (clepsydra) called Rokoku. The instrument, which measures time and indicates hours, is placed in the capital of Ōtsu.

1190 = Frederick Barbarossa, King of Germany (1152-90) and Holy Roman Emperor (1155-90), drowns at 67 or 68

1596 – Willem Barents and Jacob van Heemskerk discover Bear Island. ((the one in the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, not the one in Westros))

1610 - the first Dutch settlers arrive (from NJ), to colonize Manhattan Island

1692 - The first victim of the Salem witch trials, Bridget Bishop, is hanged for witchcraft in the colony of Massachusetts

1752 - Benjamin Franklin tests the lightning conductor with his kite-flying experiment

1793 - the first public zoo opens in Paris

1829 – The first Boat Race between the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge takes place on the Thames in London.

1845 - Andrew Jackson's African Grey parrot "Poll" is removed from his funeral for swearing at The Hermitage, Tennessee. Funeral attendee William Menefee Norment recorded: "Before the sermon and while the crowd was gathering, a wicked parrot that was a household pet got excited and commenced swearing so loud and long as to disturb the people and had to be carried from the house”

1854 - Georg F B Reiman proposes that space is curved

1869 - 'Agnes' arrives in New Orleans with 1st ever shipment of frozen beef

1902 - Patent for window envelope granted to H F Callahan

1905 - the first forest fire lookout tower placed in operation, Greenville, Maine

1933 - John Dillinger robs his first bank, in New Carlisle, Ohio. He takes $10, 600

1935 – Dr. Robert Smith takes his last drink, and Alcoholics Anonymous is founded in Akron, Ohio, United States, by him and Bill Wilson.

1947 – Saab produces its first automobile.

1955 - the fisrst separation of a virus into component parts reported

1973 - NASA launches Radio Astronomy Explorer 49 into lunar orbit

1984 - US missile shoots down an incoming missile in space for first time

1987 - Discovery's SRBs and External Tank are mated

1992 - Satellite Intelsat K launched

1994 – China conducts a nuclear test for DF-31 warhead at Area C (Beishan), Lop Nur, its prominence being due to the Cox Report.

1996 - Intel releases 200 mhz pentium chip

2002 – The first direct electronic communication experiment between the nervous systems of two humans is carried out by Kevin Warwick in the United Kingdom.

2003 – The Spirit rover is launched, beginning NASA's Mars Exploration Rover mission.

2019 - New DNA research on grapes shows one French wine Savagnin Blanc has been grown for 900 years in Jura published in "Nature Plants"

2020 – NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 36 min 00 sec of light-travel time from Earth

Quote of the day:
“Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.”
~  Robert Louis Stevenson, An Inland Voyage

My mind is far from quiet, in fact, the blasted organ never seems to shut off these days, especially in the wee hours of the night.  I’m not the only one struggling with anxiety and angst – many of my friends and coworkers admit to troubled sleep and days when a heaviness of spirit seems to oppressively hover over everything.  Perhaps it is 2 ½ months hunkered down at home.  Perhaps it is the ever widening divide between political parties with the subsequent paralysis to act in anything like a coordinated fashion.  Perhaps it is the barrage of hate, of fear, of anger, of lies and conspiracy theories that seem to make up the news.  Whatever it is, I am tired – physically, mentally, spiritually


We are definitely living in interesting times….
Permalink | Wednesday, June 10, 2020


Quote of the day:

"Practicing mindful awareness of...our conditioning and habits of the mind helps us to know what we are up against within ourselves as we seek to make change in the world."

~  Rhonda Magee, “Making the Invisible Visible

Permalink | Friday, June 5, 2020

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