Friday, December 31, 2010

Year End Shelter Report

Well, Maisie, the white cat, and Squirt, one of the triplets, got adopted this week. Heathcliff, another of the triplets, is spoken for by one of the volunteers. So there are 30 cats at the shelter right now.

We arrived to find the President of the organization leaving with the new Executive Administrator. He will be our first full time employee -- moving up in the world of non profits, aren't we? A pleasant hello, and they left us to our work.

Into the big room first, to look for all 8 (yes, eight) cats in there, three of whom are hiders. Zoe was under a table but came out. Candy decided she didn't want company, which was unusual. Ginny and Gidget both let me brush their long haired selves. Grady behaved -- he looked out the door, but didn't offer to run out for once. Prissy was herself, and swatted at me when i got too close to her with the brush. Clint was under a chair, and Baby took me forever to find, which is hard for a fat cat to do. She managed, however, to wedge herself into a tiny padded crevice, and growled when i looked at her.

Frieda talked up a storm as she usually does, and enjoyed her head scratching. Nanette is in the kitchen these days, because she is very people friendly but doesn't seem to get along with any other cats.

The cages had Manimal, a/k/a Manny, a very shy boy who hid behind his litter box. He accepted petting after a while. Isabelle, Bobby the Bobtail (yes, really), and Molly are waiting for vet work, and doing okay back there.

The rooms haven't changed much. Bebe seems to love roaming up and down the halls when she is let out, and likes her roomie Katy. JuJu continues to be very distrustful, and Bowie sweet and loving. Heathcliff and Peepers aren't eating much; they have never been separated from Squirt or Dora and so they seem a bit lonely since their adoption.

Lucky is still skinny as a stick, but his skin condition is better. We are "lucky" that he takes his pills so willingly if they are in a pill pocket. Harley still doesn't eat enough, and i honestly think Tiffany and Rosie are eating his portion.

Sophia and Roxanne are doing well, as are Devon and Corrie. My two favorites, Dustie and Angel, are well and happy.

Of course, while there, i forgot to pick up more kitten food for my own little tykes, so i will go back after work and get some. They are going through a 10lb. bag every week, and growing like weeds.

Our own Kida Cat is on and antibiotic for a sinus infection, along with Sweetie and Bigger Girl. The house is a sneeze zone right now.

So we will spend New Year's Eve cleaning the church, and cooking black-eyed peas (fresh! not canned!) and cabbage. The Mouth, formerly Grumpy Gus, will be there, making up for lost time in the grub devouring department.

However you choose to spend the day, Happy New Year, everyone!

Today is:

Baal Fire Festival -- Allendale, Northumberland

Check Your Smoke Alarms Day

Cowbellion de Rakin Revel -- Mobile, Alabama (One of the first "Mystik Krewes" founded in 1830 to celebrate Mardi Gras.)

Day of Sekhmet -- Ancient Egypt (Lucky Day of Sekhmet, the lion-headed goddess)

Fairy Eve's Year News -- Fairy Calendar

Feast day of Iemanja, Goddess of the Sea -- Brazil

Harvest Day -- Benin

Hogmanay Day -- Scotland (Auld Year's Night)

International Solidarity Day -- Azerbaijan

Kwanzaa, Day 6 -- Creativity

Make Up Your Mind Day

Namahge -- Japan (devil appearing holiday)

National Champagne Day

New Year's Eve

No Interruptions Day

No Resolution Day

Noche de Pedimento (wishing night)

Okera Matsuri, Sacred Fire Rite -- Yasaka Shrine, Kyoto, Japan

Omisoka Day -- Japan

Procrastinator's Day -- you have to make up your mind

Republic Day -- Congo

Revolution Day -- Ghana

Saint Sylvester's Day - Belgium, Germany, France and Switzerland

Samoan Fire Dance -- Samoa

Seventh Day of Christmas

Silvesterklause -- Urnäsch, Switzerland

Swinging the Fireballs -- Stonehaven, Kincardineshire, Scotland

Watch Night -- Christian

World Peace Meditation Day (International observance of one hour beginning 12:00 PM GMT, focusing thought and energy on peace.)

You're All Done Day (More like "all done in" if you are like me!)

Birthdays Today:

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

Today in History:

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

Thursday, December 30, 2010

What is the world was that?!

It was time for dinner, and what do you make for dinner when you just don't want to deal with it? That's simple, turkey salad. Yes, we are still pulling out some of the bird (from the freezer, now) and making dinners. That's why i like making a gumbo when i can. Uses the stuff faster.

So, what do you put in a turkey salad sandwich? Turkey, apple, celery, onion, salt and pepper, mayonnaise, walnuts if you like them, and some hard boiled egg. It's time to boil eggs, for which i have a cute little egg shaped boiler that goes in the microwave.

I've used the microwave egg boiler many times without incident. This time, i am busy chopping celery when i hear a nice boom from inside the microwave oven. The door stayed shut, the appliance kept running, but i knew the boom couldn't be anything good.

Luckily the egg cooker uses water, and there was lots of steam inside that aided in the clean up. I managed to salvage enough egg, and finished the salad.

While Sweetie and Bigger Girl were sitting at the table eating said salad and i was fixing my dinner, another unwelcome noise, this time a loud crack. I looked toward the kitchen table, which is next to the microwave stand, and the kitchen table itself had cracked down the middle and collapsed onto Sweetie's lap.

It was really funny. He was sitting there nonplussed, and Bigger Girl said, "Hmm, the table broke," and continued to eat.

We cleared the table, and hauled the pieces out of the house for garbage pick up tomorrow. How convenient that large pick up is tomorrow.

Please, no more surprising noises for a while.


Grumpy Gus is grumpy no more. He feels much better.

Dawnflower and Tiger were adopted! They went to the same home, a couple who lost their 23-year-old cat last summer, and had finally decided they were ready for another. They were looking for snugglers, which these two are. So only Mike, Fuzz, and Hummingbird, the three black kittens, will go to the adoption event this Saturday.

Today is:

Festival of Enormous Changes At the Last Minute

Kwanzaa, Day 5 -- Purpose

Miracle Day

National Bicarbonate of Soda Day

Rizal Day -- Philippines

Sixth Day of Christmas

St. Sabinus' Day

Year-End Fire Watch -- Japan (through tomorrow)

Anniversary Today:

Rutherford B. Hayes (19th US President) marries Lucy Ware Webb, 1852

Birthdays Today:

LeBron James, 1984
Kristin Kreuk, 1982
Eliza Dushku, 1980
Laila Ali, 1977
Tiger Woods, 1975
Sean Hannity, 1961
Tracey Ullman, 1959
Matt Lauer, 1957
Meredith Vieira, 1953
Patti Smith, 1946
Davy Jones, 1945
Michael Nesmith, 1942
Del Shannon, 1939
Noel Paul Stookey, 1937
Sandy Koufax, 1935
Russ Tamblyn, 1934
Bo Diddley, 1928
Jack Lord, 1920
Bert Parks, 1914
Rudyard Kipling, 1865

Today in History:

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

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Grumpy Gus Revisited, and Kittens (What Else?)

Well, Grumpy Gus. my new name for Brother-in-law, had not gotten better. He spoke to several people, including a friend of mine who knows tons about holistic medicine and herbs and healing and such like. From putting clues together, everyone finally realized why his back is in the shape it is in. To put it quite delicately, he is stopped up, and it is putting pressure on the nerve.

So the doctor gave him a huge purgative to take, and he went home to take it. He has to not eat for several hours before, and then eat no solids until well after. Let's hope it works, for everyone's sake.

If i had known that's what the problem was, i would have spiked the brownies with chocolate laxative and saved us several days of agony.

Meanwhile, i truly thought all the adoption events were over for the year. I was told so, quite firmly. Then Meg called.

"Can you bring your kittens on Wednesday evening again? There is a little 8-year-old girl who has saved up her money from this whole past year, and her mom told her if she could buy the food, litter, box, and pay the whole adoption fee by herself, she could get a kitten. She will be there looking to take somebody home."

Wow. How do you turn down an 8-year-old who saves all her allowances, birthday gifts, and Christmas gifts for a whole year to get herself a kitten? You don't. So the big 5, Dawnflower, Tiger, Hummingbird, Fuzz, and Mike will be there. Let's hope she finds one of them suitable. Who knows, other people might decide, now that the big holiday hoopla has died down, that it is a good time to get a kitten.

Oh, and finally, miraculously (in the case of Gladys, it really is a miracle!), the remaining kittens are almost weaned. They also went nuts over turkey neck meat. I've never seen Ashfur get like that, she snatched the bowl with her paw, pinned her sister Ferncloud's head to the floor with her other paw, and went at it. I had to pour it all on the floor so everyone could get a share.

Today is:

Bowling Day

Constitution Day -- Ireland

Enjoying ESP Day

Fifth Day of Christmas

Ice Skating Day

Kwanzaa, Day 4 -- Cooperative Economics

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

Pepper Pot Day

St. Gabriel - Ethiopia

St. Thomas of Canterbury's Day (patron of the blind)

St. Tropez's Day (patron of children; against gout)

St. Trophimus of Arles' Day

Tick Tock Day (end of the year is getting closer -- are you ready?)

Anniversaries Today:

Texas becomes the 28th US State, 1845

Birthdays Today:

Jude Law, 1972
Bryan "Dexter" Holland, 1966
Ed Autry, 1954
Ted Danson, 1947
Marianne Faithfull, 1946
Jon Voight, 1938
Mary Tyler Moore, 1936
Billy Mitchell, 1879
William Gladstone, 1809
Andrew Johnson, 1808
Charles Goodyear, 1800

Today in History:

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

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bye-Bye Boxes

We spent as much of the day as i could stand boxing and bagging stuff for donation yesterday.

It is all outside, waiting for the truck that will make a run through the neighborhood today.

The cats are confused, as their hiding places and the boxes they used to play in and around are disappearing.

Closets are getting nicely emptied of clothes no one wears any more.

Thirty-four boxes of stuff, including lots and lots of books. Yes, i of the 5,000 + volume library am actually getting rid of books.

Seven bags, clothes and outgrown toys.

Two other boxes are going specifically to the hospital children's ward -- a whole set of nice nature books about animals (a Disney publication), and every children's movie on DVD that my kids have outgrown and that still play perfectly.

Two computer monitors that are not in current use will be taken to the recycling center. They work just fine, and the center puts together computers from what is donated and gives them to underprivileged families.

Yes, we could even get rid of more.

Why not a garage sale? Some might ask, and i will say, been there, done that, didn't make a penny worth making. The whole thing is a break even proposition around here because people come to a garage sale to get extreme bargains. I've had people argue over paying fifty cents for a brand new item with a tag on it marked $15. Not worth the time and trouble.

So, donate. Keep track, write off on taxes.

Today is:

Bairns Day -- Scotland

Begins the runic half-month of Eoh, the yew tree, which signifies the dead, so today is considered by some the unluckiest day of the year, and no work should be undertaken today.

Call a Friend Day

Childermas a/k/a Holy Innocents Day, various Christian traditions, called Inocentes in Mexico, and sometimes celebrated as Mexican December Fool's Day (Herod fooled himself into thinking he had gotten rid of his rival king born in Bethlehem.)

Dyzemas Day a/k/a Tithe Day -- Portugal

Eat Vegetarian Day

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

Flour Fight -- Ibi, Valencia, Spain

Fourth Day of Christmas

King Taksin Memorial Day -- Thailand

Kwanzaa, Day 3, Collective Work and Responsibility

National Chocolate Day

Proclamation Day -- South Australia

Return a Gift for the Cold Hard Cash Day

Unluckiest Day of the Year, various traditions state no work should be started today, for whatever is started today will never be finished!

Anniversaries Today:

Iowa becomes the 29th US State, 1846

Birthdays Today:

Denzel Washington, 1954
Edgar Winter, 1946
Don Francisco, 1940
Maggie Smith, 1934
Nichelle Nichols, 1933
Martin Milner, 1931
Johnny Otis, 1921
Sam Levenson, 1911
Lew Ayres, 1908
Cliff Arquette, 1905
Earl "Fatha" Hines, 1905
Hendrik Meijer, 1883
Woodrow Wilson, 1856

Today in History:

The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, a/k/a Westminster Abbey, is consecrated, 1065
The reign of Emperor Hanazono of Japan begins, 1308
Galileo Galilei becomes the first astronomer to observe the planet Neptune, although he mistakenly cataloged it as a fixed star, 1612
King Taksin is crowned as king of Thailand and establishes Thonburi as a capital, 1768
Construction of Yonge Street, formerly recognized as the longest street in the world, begins in York, Upper Canada (present-day Toronto, Ontario), 1795
A magnitude 6.8 earthquake strikes Echigo, Japan, killing 30,000+, 1828
John Calhoun becomes the first US Vice President to resign (over differences with President Andrew Jackson), 1832
Spain recognizes independence of Mexico, 1836
South Australia and Adelaide are founded, 1836
Rangoon Burma, destroyed by fire, 1841
The United States claims Midway Island, the first territory annexed outside Continental limits, 1867
The Lumière brothers perform for their first paying audience at the Grand Cafe in Boulevard des Capucines, marking the debut of the cinema, 1895
The first municipally owned streetcars take to the streets in San Francisco, California, 1912
The Peak District becomes the United Kingdom's first National Park, 1950

Monday, December 27, 2010

Grumpy Gus

Brother-in-Law, The Mouth, ended up going to the emergency room in the middle of the night, or early in the morning, depending on how you want to look at it.

He threw his back out on Christmas Day, and called and begged, and got a chiropractor at his usual chiro's office to come in on an emergency basis and work on him. After over an hour, he felt better, and came to our place for leftovers. Then he went home to rest.

Next thing we know, it is after midnight and his next door neighbor is calling us to say an ambulance is taking him in. They did x-rays and found nothing of course -- sciatica and herniated disks usually don't show up on x-ray. He would need an MRI for them to really find anything. So they gave him something slightly stronger than the naproxen sodium he usually takes, and tried to give him a prescription for a muscle relaxer, the same one he already gets from his doctor.

Sweetie went and picked him up and took him home. He stayed home and rested all day Sunday, and it really takes an act of Congress to get him to stay home from church so that tells you something.

So he gets to spend his week off work for the holidays in pain. It has turned him into a real Grumpy Gus, and i don't blame him.

Today is:

Calli (House) Day -- Aztec Calendar (a good day for all things hearth and home and family. a bad day to participate in public life)

Constitution Day -- Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Kwanzaa Day 2 -- Self-Determination

Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day

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

St. Fabiola's Day

St. John the Divine's Day (patron of Turkey; writers; against poison)

Third Day of Christmas

Visit the Zoo Day

Birthdays Today:

Heather O'Rourke, 1975
Bill Goldberg, 1966
Gerard Depardieu, 1948
Cokie Roberts, 1943
John Amos, 1939
Oscar Levant, 1906
Marlene Dietrich, 1901
Sydney Greenstreet, 1879
Louis Pasteur, 1822
Johannes Kepler, 1571

Today in History:

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

Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Record

Well, i thought it couldn't be done, but it can. We actually managed to shave almost 20 minutes off our record time of our Thanksgiving visit to the folks. Not by choice, it just went that way.

We awoke to the sound of rain. Two weeks of nothing, and it rains on Christmas Day. Ha ha ha. Very funny. The whole day stayed gray and overcast, but at least the rain itself had stopped by the time we had to leave the house.

#1 Son woke up sick. Poor guy, looked like he had been hit by something unpleasant. He hacked and coughed and apologized and drank cough syrup, took his gift, and went back to bed.

Sweetie came down a bit after that and i made some good, strong coffee. We started waking the kids, one at a time, and i gave them their presents.

Then we drank coffee and laughed and joked and got ready to leave -- had to feed the kittens 3 times to get away, and i almost forgot the ingredients for the dressing. Oops, go back and make sure we have the ice chest and the gifts for the rest of the family.

We pulled out at 10:03am, and the drive down was funny. The kids challenged Sweetie to not say anything on the way. He is a stream of consciousness talker like Bigger Girl. Both of them are seldom quiet. It was hilarious watching him catch himself before beginning a comment, trying to pretend he was only clearing his throat.

My youngest brother and his children couldn't be there today, so we greeted Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle P and Sasha the dog. I started the dressing and gravy, and the rest of the dinner was warmed up.

Then it was gift time, mostly envelopes with green stuff in them for the kids, although Grandma got each child a small digital camera.

After gifts, we finished assembling dinner, and all of us fit around the huge dining room table. That is the first time that has ever happened.

Then clean up, and some talk, and some pie, and it was rather odd. I think if the cousins had been there we would have been longer, but it became obvious my parents were ready to rest and get their house back.

Home again, and we pulled in at 2;45pm. Unpack, put away, rest a bit, entertain Brother-in-law, who had not been invited anywhere for Christmas dinner (he does not like coming to my parent's place or we would have taken him as we have before), and who had put his back out again anyway.

A calm day in many ways, quietly celebratory, nothing over the top. Just enjoyable, and Sunday-like in feeling.

I liked it that way.

Today is:

Blessing of the Wine -- Luxembourg

Boxing Day (Day on which boxes of goodies are given to the less fortunate, and sometimes servants and masters traded places for the day.) *Those countries which take this as a bank holiday will observe it tomorrow.

Coffee Percolator Day

Day of the Wren -- Ireland; Isle of Mann (Celebration of St. Stephen)

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

Day of Goodwill -- Namibia; South Africa

Family Day -- Vanuatu

Feast of the Holy Family -- Catholic Christian

Independence and Unity Day -- Slovenia

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

Kwanzaa, Day 1, Unity

Mummer's Day -- Padstow, Cornwall

National Candy Cane Day

National Thank-you Note Day

National Whiner's Day

Recyclable Packaging Day

Second Day of Christmas

St. Stephan's Day (patron of stonecutters, bricklayers, builders, horses); in Austria, Luxembourg

Tehuantepec Festivities -- Oaxaca, Mexico

Thanksgiving -- Solomon Islands

Zarathosht Diso (Death of Prophet Zarathushtra) - Zoroastrian

Birthdays Today:

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

Today in History:

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

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Last Minute

The people who adopted Buster and Kaitlyn came on Christmas Eve to bring them home. It was a last minute thing, as the kittens are a secret. The mom told me she was going to hide them in her bathroom! I hope it all worked out, and they didn't find them before this morning.

Christmas Eve was spent making pastries for my dad, and cleaning the fridges for the leftovers the family will send home with us.

So, we are off (actually, i'm always a bit off) to see the family.

A blessed and beautiful Christmas to all who celebrate. May your day be full of joy.

Today is:

A'phabet Day (a/k/a No "L" Day!)

Blessed are the Peacemaker's Day

Carol Day

Christmas Day

Constitution Day -- Taiwan

La Feria de Cali -- Cali, Colombia, through the 30th

Malkh-Festival -- Nakh peoples of Chechenya and Ingushetia

National Pumpkin Pie Day

Quaid-e-Azam's Day -- Pakistan

St. Eugenia's Day

Birthdays Today

Dido, 1971
Rickey Henderson, 1958
Shane MacGowan, 1957
Annie Lennox, 1954
Ron Foos, 1949
Sissy Spacek, 1949
Barbara Mandrell, 1948
Jimmy Buffett, 1946
Gary Sandy, 1945
Carlos Castaneda, 1925
Rod Serling, 1924
Anwar Sadat, 1918
Cab Calloway, 1907
Humphrey Bogart, 1899
Robert Ripley, 1893
Conrad Hilton, 1887
Clara Barton, 1821
Isaac Newton, 1642
Traditional Birthday of Mithras
Traditional Birthday of Sol

Today in History:

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

Friday, December 24, 2010

Just Stuff

#2 Son's party did not quite turn out as he expected. He only ended up with about 15 people, not the 30 he was expecting. That is okay, though, they had a huge fire, ate a lot, and had a good time. That was the whole point anyway.

My fingers seem to be getting no worse, which is what happens when they are on the way to getting better, so i am grateful.

We cleaned the church a day early this week so that we wouldn't have to do it on Christmas Eve. That meant we had to also clean the shelter that evening.

There were only 3 adoptions at the Wednesday night event. Dolly, Bunny, and Belle went to great homes. The only people who were interested in kittens all had the attitude that of course they would let them outside, that's where cats belong! Not my babies, thankyouverymuch.

JuJu, Bowie, Katy, Bebe, Muffin, Lucky (who is doing a bit better now that he is back on his meds), Heathcliff, Squirt, Peepers, Tiffany, Rosie, Harley (who is not eating again), Sophia, Roxanne, Devon, Corrie, Angel, Dustie, Nanette, Frieda, Clint, Grady, Prissy, Candy, Ginny, Zoey, Gidget, and Baby will be spending their Christmas in the shelter. As much as i love them all, even the crazy ones, i hope they all get new places soon. The shelter is a great place of its kind, but not as great as a forever home.

Today is:

Adam & Eve Day

Aofangadagskvold -- Iceland (arrival of the 13th and final Yule Lad)

Calendas -- Oaxaca, Mexico

Celtic Tree Month Beth (Birch) commences

Christmas Eve

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

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

Global Accountability Day

Jul -- Denmark

Juvenalia -- Roman Empire (celebration of coming of age)

Modresnach -- Germanic/Scandinavian/Anglo-Saxon Odinist festival celebrating midwinter and motherhood

National Egg Nog Day

Noche Buena -- Spain and Spanish speaking countries

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

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

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

Zerowork Season begins

Birthdays Today:

Ryan Seacrest, 1974
Stephanie Meyer, 1973
Ricky Martin, 1971
Mary Higgins Clark, 1929
Ava Gardner, 1922
Howard Hughes, 1905
Johnny Gruelle, 1880
Kit Carson, 1809

Today in History:

The Byzantine church Hagia Sophia in Constantinople is dedicated for the second time after being destroyed by earthquakes, 563
Thomas Wolsey is appointed English Lord Chancellor, 1515
Kiritimati, also called Christmas Island, is "discovered" by James Cook, 1777
"Silent Night" is composed by Franz Joseph Gruber; it is first sung the next day, 1818
The Eggnog Riot at the United States Military Academy begins that night, wrapping up the following morning, 1826
Fire devastates the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., destroys 35,000 volumes, 1851
Henry Ford completes his first useful gas motor, 1893
Irving Fisher patents an archiving system with index cards, 1912
The first radio transmission of NCRV in Netherlands, 1924
NORAD Tracks Santa for the first time in what will become an annual Christmas Eve tradition, 1955
Shooting begins on "The Cage" the pilot for the Star Trek series, 1964
The crew of Apollo 8 enters into orbit around the Moon, becoming the first humans to do so, 1968

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Not a Total Failure

"Mom, you gotta come see what he's doing!" Little Girl is always excited when she thinks #2 Son is doing something particularly extraordinary or funny.

What is it this time?

"Just come see!"

Out we go, to the front yard, to find #2 Son with his bow and practice, dull tipped arrow, the broken reel from his fishing pole, and a big grin.

"Hey, mom, guess what I'm going to do!"

I couldn't begin to imagine.

"I'm going to go climb a tree in the woods! I'm going to shoot this arrow into the tree and climb using this 13 pound test line! This is so going to work!"

This is so going to fail, i told him.

"No, mom, really, it will work!"

He let the arrow, with test line trailing a broken reel, fly. It soared to about second floor height, then got pulled back down by the weight of the reel. It traveled about 10 feet.

I couldn't help laughing, it was hysterical.

"I need to let out more line!" His enthusiasm was not curbed at all, and he began unreeling more line. I went in to get the rest of the family.

"This is going to work!" He kept saying it, and i just kept laughing.

The next shot traveled up, again was jerked back by the weight of the reel, and went about 20 feet, to the edge of the property. Now all of us are laughing.

"The next one will get across the street!"

The others gave up after a final laugh, but i needed to smile so i kept watching as he repeated the performance, the reel pulling the arrow back, the let out of more line, over and over until he reached the stand of trees across the street.

Finally he reached the end of the reel, so he picked a tree, and let fly. It went about halfway up, hit, and bounced back. Exactly as i expected. Undaunted, he tried again, with the expected result.

Next he tried to get the arrow over a limb. Enter, again, the weight of the reel.

Finally, in disgust, he picked up the arrow, tossed it around a tree as high as he could get it, grabbed it and tucked the arrow under the line, pulling it tight.
"I'm going to climb that two feet of tree, this will work!"

The arrow fell off.

The whole time, i am laughing fit to be tied.

Finally he picked it all up in disgust, shaking his head. "Well, that was an epic fail."

It didn't fail to give me a laugh, son, so really it was a success.

Today is:

Birthday of the Queen Silvia, an official flag day -- Sweden

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

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

Mouse-Marketing Day -- Fairy Calendar

National Pfefferneusse Day

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

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

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

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

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

St. Servulus' Day (patron against paralysis)

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

Two Days To Go Day

Victory Day -- Egypt

Ziemassvetki -- Ancient Latvian Calendar (birth of Dievs, highest of the gods)

Birthdays Today:

Corey Haim, 1971
Carla Bruni, 1967
Eddie Vedder, 1964
Susan Lucci, 1946
Harry Shearer, 1943
Jose Greco, 1918
Madame C.J. Walker, 1867
Connie Mack, 1862

Today in History:

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

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Doctors and Vets and Adoptions

Woke up with the pinkie worse, and knew i had to get to the doctor. I had spoken to the nurse the evening before, and she told me if i showed up at 7:30am they would work me in. Since i also had to get a kitten to the vet for spay, bringing along a sample from the poopie kittens, it was a toss up whether to go or not. Ended up going, and i'm glad i did.

It has become obvious that the place i originally thought was a staph infection is actually a bug bite i don't remember getting that is destroying tissue under the skin. It did need an antibiotic, though, because these things are notorious for getting infected.

Upon starting the antibiotic, the fungal infection, which had obviously not every fully cleared out, came roaring back.

So now i am on both, which i needed to be anyway, and got a cortisone shot for the inflammation at the site of the bite. As long as it doesn't get any worse, i will just finish the course of meds and move on.

Speaking of cortisone shots, the nurse managed to hit right next to the sciatic nerve when she told me to bend over. Remember the little hammer trick that makes your knee jerk? When she popped that needle into my rump, my knee jerked up involuntarily, i could feel the electricity shooting down my leg. It is still sore, and i am limping.

When did i break down this badly? Don't answer that.

I also managed, somehow, to get back home in time to take Tiger for her spay surgery, and drop off the samples. Turns out one of the older ones has a tapeworm! I'm glad i took in the sample even though they eat some dry food and so their mess is just soft and not liquid. She had her first pill for it today, and left me with a nice bleeding souvenir of the process. On top of everything else.

The younger 4 are clean, and need more solid in their diet. We are now soaking kitten chow in formula until it is soft enough to go through the bottle. Next step is getting them to drink it themselves from a bowl.

Good news about adoption opportunities. There is an adoption event every Wednesday at the shelter, and usually kittens are not there because they want the adult cats to have an opportunity to shine. This time, they are begging us to bring the kittens, as lots of people are calling and saying they want to come if they can adopt a Christmas kitten. One more chance for Dawnflower, Tiger, Hummingbird, Fuzz, and Mike, as well as for Meg's kittens.

Today is:

Beetle Banquet and Badger Ball -- Fairy Calendar

Christmas Tree Light Day

Dongzhi Festival -- East Asia (solstice festival)

Festival of Demeter -- Ancient Greek Calendar

Mother's Day -- Indonesia

National Date Nut Bread Day

St. Chaeremon's Day

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini's Day (Mother Cabrini, patron saint of immigrants)

Unity Day -- Zimbabwe

Birthdays Today:

Jordin Sparks, 1989
Maurice Gibb, 1949
Robin Gibb, 1949
Steve Garvey, 1948
Diane Sawyer, 1945
Joe Pyne, 1925
Barbara Billingsley, 1922
Gene Rayburn, 1917
Lady Bird Johnson, 1912

Today in History:

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

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"This is the day Judah. It's between us now."

"Yes, this is the day, Messala. this is the day."

Judah Ben Hur and Messala, just before the chariot race.

Well, this is the day. #2 Son will be having his solstice bonfire tonight. He has invited scads of his friends, and convinced his father and sisters to leave the premises. I am the token adult.

He has laid in supplies. Every Sunday, before church, he has gone through the grounds gathering and cutting the deadfall wood, hauling it home until he now has a sizable stack. He has the makings for s'mores, sodas, and folding chairs and an electrical cord borrowed from Sweetie's work.

The other guests are also supposed to bring supplies, including some of the equipment they want to plug in out there. After all, what is a bonfire without music and your favorite video games? (Insert eye roll here.)

So, we will see what happens. As long as the police don't show up, and i don't have to call the fire department. I just don't need that right now.

Today is:

Alban Arthuan -- Druid Festival, 4th Station

Divalia -- Roman Empire (part of Saturnalia, feast of Angerona)

Festival of Isis -- Ancient Egypt

First Day of Winter / Winter Solstice / Solar New Year (Shortest daylight hours of the year)

Forefather's Day -- New England (Sometimes called Pilgrim's Day or Pilgrim Landing Anniversary)

Full Cold Moon or Full Long Nights Moon

Humbug Day

Look At the Bright Side Day (And why not? After all, each day after this will have more sun!)

Mumping Day a/k/a Gooding Day (Traditional day on which beggars beg for, or "mump", good things for Christmas, always on the former St. Thomas' Day)

National French Fried Shrimp Day

National Flashlight Day

National Haiku Poetry Day

Pancha Ganapati -- India (Through the 25th, Hindu honoring of Lord Ganesha.)

Phileas Fogg Wins A Wager Day

St. Peter Canisius' Day (patron of Germany)

St. Thomas' Day, the Doubting Thomas (old date, now celebrated on June 3, but many of the superstitions related to it are still observed at this time)

Soyal -- Hopi and Zuni Native American solstice ceremony

Yalda continues -- Iran (To celebrate the longest night of the year, many stay up for the fight against dark and evil.)

yule Festivals begin -- various calendars, religions, countries and observances

Birthdays Today:

Jack Noseworthy, 1969
Kiefer Sutherland, 1966
Andy Dick, 1965
Florence Griffith Joyner, 1959
Ray Romano, 1957
Jane Kaczmarek, 1955
Chris Evert, 1954
Samuel L. Jackson, 1948
Frank Zappa, 1940
Jane Fonda, 1937
Phil Donahue, 1935
Joe Paterno, 1926
Paul Winchell, 1922
Joseph Stalin, 1879

Today in History:

A hurricane hits Holland/Friesland, destroying villages with widespread flooding, 1163
The Battle of Curalaba: The revolting Mapuche Native Americans, led by cacique Pelentaru, inflict a major defeat on Spanish troops in southern Chile; all Spanish cities south of the Biobio river are eventually taken by the Mapuches, and all conquest of Mapuche territories by Europeans practically ceases, until the 1870s "Pacification of Araucania", 1598
William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims land on what is now known as Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1620
Hue Tay Son becomes emperor Quang Trung of Vietnam, 1788
The Rochdale Pioneers commence business at their cooperative in Rochdale, England, starting the Cooperative movement, 1844
The first Permanent Force cavalry and infantry regiments of the Canadian Army are formed: The Royal Canadian Dragoons and The Royal Canadian Regiment, 1883
The first Word-Cross puzzle, which the printer mislabeled as a Cross-Word (the name that stuck), is published in the New York World, 1913
The first feature length color and sound cartoon, Disney's Snow White, premiers, 1937
Rondane National Park is established as Norway's first national park, 1962
Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, is launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew performs the first ever manned Trans Lunar Injection and become the first humans to leave Earth's gravity, 1968
The United Nations adopts the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1969
Mexican volcano Popocatepetl, dormant for 47 years, erupts gases and ash, 1994
The city of Bethlehem passes from Israeli to Palestinian control, 1995

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's Back

If you hate not so good health news, read no further.

The fungal infection in my hand is back, and has spread. Right index finger, as before, but it started in the right pinkie, and not at the tip, like the other, but at the joint.

I felt it coming, which is strange. I saw just a tiny bit of red, felt a tiny twinge, nothing anyone would think about. Got to see the physician assistant at my doctor's office. She didn't think anything of it. I think she decided i was a hypochondriac, but was trying to be polite. This weekend, thank goodness my doc was on call and seeing patients at the office, and he has me back on meds.

Dang, i was on an antifungal for 6 months! This should have been taken care of. For it to come back, and flare up as fast as it did (the index finger was normal one day and horribly swollen when i woke the next morning), means a different antifungal and lots of prayer and watching. If this doesn't take care of it, the next step is the stronger stuff that costs a ton and can get you hospitalized because of side effects, or because it can only be administered in the hospital.

My doctor admits to being stumped. He has never seen a fungal infection come back like this in his 23 years of practice.

So, lots of prayer or good vibes or whatever you do, please. I would also join you in crossing my fingers, but it hurts too much.

Today is:

Feast of Winter Solstice -- China

Fete des Cafres -- Reunion (commemorates freeing of the slaves)

Go Caroling Day

International Human Solidarity Day -- UN

Mudd Day (Don't hang your head in shame if your name is Mudd! Today is your day.)

National Sangria Day (If you still aren't ready for Christmas, you might need it.)

Snowflake-Riding Championships -- Fairy Calendar (no Goblins allowed!)

St. Ignatius of Antioch's Day

Winter Solstice Eve

Yalda -- Iran (Persian winter solstice festival)

Birthdays Today:

David Cook, 1982
Billy Bragg, 1957
Uri Geller, 1946
Peter Criss, 1945
George Roy Hill, 1922
Irene Dunne, 1898
Harvey Firestone, 1868

Today in History:

Vespasian enters Rome to claim the title of Emperor, 69
Richard the Lionheart is captured in Vienna, 1192
Suleiman the Magnificent accepts the surrender of the surviving Knights of Rhodes, who are allowed to evacuate. They eventually settle on Malta and become known as the Knights of Malta, 1522
Peter the Great orders the Russian New Year changed from Sept 1 to Jan 1, 1699
The Louisiana Purchase is formally transferred from France to US for $27M, 1803
The international cantilever railway bridge opens at Niagara Falls, 1883
North America's longest railway, at 50,000km, the Canadian National Railways, is established, 1919
The first international dogsled mail leaves Minot, Maine for Montreal, Quebec, 1928
Cardiff is proclaimed the capital city of Wales, United Kingdom, 1955
Djibouti and Vietnam join the United Nations, 1977
NeXT merges with Apple Computer, starting the path to Mac OS X, 1996
US District Court Judge John E. Jones III rules against mandating the teaching of "intelligent design" in his ruling of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 2005
Queen Elizabeth II becomes the oldest ever monarch of the United Kingdom, surpassing Queen Victoria, who lived for 81 years, 7 months and 29 days, 2007

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Fun for a Girl and a Boy

The last adoption event before the end of the year was only of limited success. Meg brought her 15 kittens, i brought 7. All other kittens went to the other pet store.

We only had 3 adoptions, and all were of my kittens. Poor Meg. I wish at least one of them had been hers, in spite of the fact that we are both at capacity right now.

John went to a very nice mom, dad, and 3 kids. They are renaming him Ewie. No, i don't get it either. They wanted a young one that would get used to a dog.

Then there are Buster Davis and Kaitlyn. A nice lady came in wanting a boy kitten for her son and a girl kitten for her daughter. She chose them, but she isn't telling them. We will work out a way to get them to her on Christmas Eve as a surprise.

So, nice kitten Christmas fun all around.

Today is:

Build a Snowman Day

Chocolate Pizza Day (yes, really!)

Fiesta de Santo Tomas -- Guatemala (festivities last through Dec. 25)

Look for an Evergreen Day

National Oatmeal Muffin Day

Opiconsivia -- Roman Empire (feast of Opalia, 3rd day of the Saturnalia)

Riddle-Making Trials -- Fairy Calendar

Robinson Crusoe Rescue Day

St. William of Fenoli's Day

United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation

Birthdays Today:

Alyssa Milano, 1972
Tyson Beckford, 1971
Amy Locane, 1971
Criss Angel, 1967
Jessica Steen, 1965
Jennifer Beals, 1963
Robert Urich, 1946
Richard Leakey, 1944
Alvin Lee, 1944
Tim Reid, 1944
Al Kaline, 1934
Cicely Tyson, 1933
David Susskind, 1920
Ralph Richardson, 1902

Today in History:

Licinius abdicates his position as Roman Emperor, 324
The Seldjuken under Toghril Beg occupy Baghdad, 1055
The Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery depart England carrying settlers who found, at Jamestown, Virginia, the first of the thirteen colonies that became the United States, 1606
Benjamin Franklin, under the name Richard Saunders begins publication of "Poor Richard's Almanack", 1732
Thomas Paine publishes his first "American Crisis" essay, in which he wrote that "These are the times that try men's souls," 1776
Chinese troops occupy the capital Thang Long Vietnam, 1788
The US state of Kentucky becomes the first to appropriate money for road building, 1795
The US state of Georgia becomes the first to pass a birth registration law, 1823
Allen Wilson of Connecticut patents a sewing machine that can sew a curved seam, 1854
Albert L. Jones patents corrugated cardboard, 1871
The first black US Catholic priest, Charles Uncles, is ordained in Baltimore, 1891
The first city ordinance requiring separate neighborhoods for blacks and whites is passed, in Baltimore, 1910
Robert Ripley begins his "Believe It Or Not" column in the NY Globe, 1918
The British Broadcasting Corp begins transmitting overseas, 1932
The last manned lunar flight, Apollo 17, returns to earth, 1972
The Sino-British Joint Declaration, stating that the People's Republic of China, in 1997, would resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, is signed, 1984

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pulling up to the shelter we saw Clint waiting in the window. He didn't run this time.

Walking in it looked a bit better than last week. Someone had rearranged the decor again, and most of it matches now. The ugliest tree ever is still there. It's not the tree so much as it is the decorations. They are hideous, and be glad you don't have to see them. Bigger Girl claims she is scarred for life.

As i walked through to check on everyone, i found a note on the kitchen door saying that Grady was in there. It was a yellow sticky note and thumbtacked up on the door. No explanation, no food or water in there with him, a temporary cardboard litter box, unused, and no paperwork. So, what is the deal, i'm wondering. Did he get moved? Is he without food and water because he is being fasted before vet work of some sort? Did he escape, and the people there at the time didn't want to deal with it so left him in there with a note, assuming that we would put him back? If the latter, i could understand, as he is a bear to put back in the big room when he doesn't want to go.

So, as i am told to do, i tried to call Miss W., who is in charge of the actual cats and what happens to them in the shelter. As usual, she would not answer, nor did she call me back, even to this moment she has not called me back. I called Leigh, but she did not answer. Finally, poor Meg, who is in charge of kittens and really doesn't know what is always being done at the shelter got the call. She agreed with me that it was okay to put him back in the big room, since that's where i found the paperwork. We both agreed, he got out and couldn't be caught earlier.

Leigh did finally call later, she had been in her daughter's Christmas play, so i get why she didn't answer. I do appreciate that she called, and she agreed with putting him back. If i did wrong, i've covered my end of it, i did ask.

We decided not to put him back until all the work was done, and he appreciated it, wanting petting every time we went in the kitchen, and even following #2 Son into the office, where Frieda made it known she was not happy about that. Even he scooted out when she howled! He is a great cat, as long as you don't try to put him where he doesn't want to be.

When I finally got to go check the rooms, i popped into the first room and saw JuJu and...Tiger? Where is Bowie? Oh, the window was open between the two colony rooms, which is a way to get the cats used to each other before moving them all into one room. Okay, on to the next room to find Buddy and Bowie. Everyone was happy, and even JuJu didn't look so mad, although she still won't come down and be touched.

Tigerlily and Dolly, across the hall, were ensconced on their respective soft beds. For new residents they seemed quite happy and friendly, not scared like so many that come in.

The room next to that has an example of some formerly scared boys. Dora wasn't in the room, and wasn't on the list of those in the adoption center at the pet store, nor was she on the list of adopted, which has not been updated. So i can't say for sure, but her triplet brothers, Heathcliff, Squirt, and Peepers are doing well. Squirt and Peepers stay on the upper shelves as they have since they arrived, but come right down now as soon as your hand is on the doorknob.

Sophia and Roxanne, Maimie and Maisie, Angel and Dusty, Iggy and Francie -- all doing well. Iggy still won't come down, though, but they all look healthy and those that do want petting want lots of it.

The cages were full on this night. Belle is on meds for a UTI. Bebe has been vetted, and is waiting for a spot to open in the rooms. Harley is still depressed, so #2 Son plied him with catnip. It mellowed him out, but he still didn't eat while we were there. It did look like his bowl had been nibbled at, but he is eating very little for such a big cat.

Bunny is new, and is waiting to be vetted. She and Belle look to be about the same age, maybe 8 months, and very petite both of them. Lucky is back, and he looks like he is about to die. Literally. He is skin and bones, back on meds, and his skin is covered with sores. Whoever adopted him obviously didn't treat his overactive thyroid and let the poor guy just go to pieces. It infuriated me to see such a beautiful long haired tabby look like that.

The big room. I went in cautiously, and there was Prissy, as usual. She lives up to the name, a prim and proper girl who tolerates no nonsense from the other cats, and demands attention. I began to look for everyone else, and squatted to peek around for Baby first. She didn't hiss! I stayed squatted down and totally still while she got out from under the table and sniffed my left knee. Several sniffs, then started to walk off, hissed, turned and sniffed the right knee, hiss, and walked behind me where she rubbed against me! Progress.

Clint didn't run when i peeked behind the curtain in front of the window to say hello. He is getting better, too. Gidget has gone from being vocal and demanding attention to hiding and not wanting to be petted. I couldn't figure that one out. Candy was her usual "I'm going to play with your hand" self. "No petting, let me eat your hand it is my toy!"

Frieda talked long and loud when i went in the office, and, as noted before, voiced her displeasure with Grady in no uncertain terms and very unladylike language. Grady also, when he found he was going to be put back in the big room, left off being friendly and dove for cover, to be dragged out hissing and also using ungentlemanly words. I'm glad, sometimes, that i don't know the actual words of Cat as they would translate into our understanding.

So with only a couple of exceptions, everyone is doing well. As there are only a few more adoption events before Christmas break, it seems the house will stay full. At least, they have a place. The ones i am sorriest for are those which will remain outdoors during the coming cold.

Today is:

Bake Cookies Day

Be a Friend Day

Eponalia -- Roman Empire (feast of Epona, during the Saturnalia)

Flake Appreciation Day (snow or human, your choice!)

Independence Day -- Qatar

International Migrants Day

Mother Goose Day

National Roast Suckling Pig Day

Nuestra Senora de la Soledad -- Oaxaca, Mexico (Our Lady of Solitude, Patron of the lonely, of Oaxaca, and of sailors who bring her pearls)

Republic Day -- Niger

St. Flanan's Day

Wear a Plunger On Your Head Today Day (Observe at your own risk!)

Anniversaries Today:

New Jersey becomes the 3rd US State, 1787

Birthdays Today:

Christina Aguilera, 1980
Katie Holmes, 1978
Earl "DMX" Simmons, 1970
Rob Van Dam, 1970
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin, 1964
Brad Pitt, 1963
Leonard Maltin, 1950
Steven Spielberg, 1946
Keith Richards, 1943
Ossie Davis, 1917
Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, 1917
Douglas Fraser, 1916
Betty Grable, 1916
Ty Cobb, 1886

Today in History:

Second Punic War: Battle of the Trebia - Hannibal's Carthaginian forces defeat those of the Roman Republic, BC218
Kublai Khan renames his empire "Yuan", officially marking the start of the Yuan Dynasty of China, 1271
The Mayflower lands in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts with 102 Pilgrims on board, 1620
Abel Tasman becomes first European to land in New Zealand, 1642
Thomas Fleet publishes "Mother Goose's Melodies For Children", 1719
Empress Maria Theresa expels Jews from Prague, Bohemia & Moravia, 1774
The first celestial photograph (of the Moon) is made in US, by John Draper, NYC, 1839
William Bond obtains the first photograph of Moon through a telescope, 1849
Richard Wetherill and his brother in-law discover the ancient Indian ruins of Mesa Verde, 1888
The Upper Ferntree Gully to Gembrook Narrow-gauge (2 ft 6 in or 762 mm) Railway (now the Puffing Billy Railway) in Victoria, Australia is opened for traffic, 1900
The Piltdown Man, later discovered to be a hoax, is supposedly found in the Piltdown Gravel Pit, by Charles Dawson, 1912
Japan joins the United Nations, 1956
Saturn's moon Epimetheus is discovered by Richard L. Walker, 1966
Dominica joins the United Nations, 1978
HTML 4.0 is published by the World Wide Web Consortium, 1997

Friday, December 17, 2010

Okay, This One Is Sad

On the "What ever happened to common sense" front: there is a woman in California who is suing the McDonald's Corporation because she claims it is too much trouble for her to continue to say no to her children when they want to eat there and get the toys.

Apparently, because they advertise the toys, her kids want to eat there often.

She and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (not a publicly funded company, by the way) claim it is a threat to society. The advertising toys to kids apparently "
exploits a child's developmental vulnerability."

There has also been some talk about how because McDonald's has franchises in poor areas it is a threat.

They talk about how "ubiquitous" the restaurant is, and say that it makes it too hard to say no. Also, she says that McDonald's is getting in her kids heads without her permission.

Lets turn our brains on for a moment, please.

First, "No" is a complete sentence. Use it once in a while, and if the kid keeps whining, other consequences should apply.

Second, are we saying poor people aren't smart enough to choose when and how much fast food to consume? I think they are smart enough. I believe they do know what foods are good for them and which ones are not, and are able to make those decisions.

Third, streets are ubiquitous, too. Are you going to let your kids play in them? Or are you going to say no, over and over, no matter how long it takes to get the message through? Would you prefer to sue the government for having something as dangerous as a street where your kids can get to it?

Toys are ubiquitous in the grocery store, too, as are candy bars and other fun things, usually right next to the registers. That's there for a reason, so the kids will ask for them while waiting to check out. Should we be suing the stores for smart marketing? Or should we use that one word answer in the first point?

Fourth, all advertisers are trying to get inside our heads. That is the whole point of advertising. It is our responsibility to decide what advertising to believe, what to ignore, and what to tell our kids about how advertisers mess with our minds.

Fifth, what ever happened to personal responsibility? Lady, educate your children. Show them how that food is not good for them, at least not in large quantity. Tell them you have enough to eat fast food only once every 6 weeks, or whatever you decide. Mark it on the calendar where they can see it, and make it something special, a treat. If they whine before that, it gets moved back a week. Learn to say no. Learn to tell them "We are eating at home because it is healthier and cheaper."

One person, commenting on this, said that she is a child abuser who doesn't need to have kids, because she can't raise them. I'm not sure i would go that far, but i do think she needs to use more common sense.

Today is:

Cookie Cutter Day

Feast of the Fairy Godmother -- Fairy Calendar

National Day -- Bhutan

National Maple Syrup Day

National Regifting Day

O Sapientia -- Roman Catholic Church

Saturnalia begins (through Dec. 23) -- Ancient Roman Calendar (festival for Saturn, the planter god)

Sow Day -- Orkney Islands, Scotland (ritual slaughter of a sow for the Yule feast)

St. Lazarus' Day

Wright Brother's Day -- US

Birthdays Today:

Milla Jovovich, 1975
Duff Goldman, 1974
Mike Mills, 1958
Bill Pullman, 1953
Wes Studi, 1947
Eugene Levy, 1946
Chris Matthews, 1945
Bob Guccione, 1930
William Safire, 1929
Arthur Fiedler, 1894
John Greenleaf Whittier, 1807

Today in History:

The Ostrogoths of King Totila conquer Rome by bribing the Byzantine garrison, 546
Sultan Nasir-u Din Mehmud's armies in Delhi are defeated by Timur, 1398
Pope Paul III excommunicates England's King Henry VIII, 1538
Go-Yozei becomes Emperor of Japan, 1586
Shimabara Rebellion: Japanese peasants led by Amakusa Shiro rise against daimyo Matsukura Shigeharu, 1637
Congregation Shearith Israel of NY purchases a lot on Mill Street in lower Manhattan, to build NY's first synagogue, 1728
France recognizes independence of English colonies in America, 1777
Aztec calendar stone discovered in Mexico City, 1790
NYC traffic regulation creates first 1-way street, 1791
Opening of the first legislative assembly of Lower Canada in Quebec city, 1792
The US state of Kentucky abolishes debtors prisons, 1821
General Ulysses S. Grant issues General Order No. 11, expelling Jews from Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky, 1862
First performance of the Unfinished Symphony by Franz Schubert, 1865
Violent riots in Montreal, as workers demand work or bread,1875
France declares Madagascar a protectorate, 1885
George Brownell patents a machine to make paper twine, 1895
A first prize of 100,00 francs offered for communications with extraterrestrials, but Martians are excluded - considered too easy, 1900
The Wright Brothers make their first successful flights, 1903
First flight of the Douglas DC-3 airplane, 1935
Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and dummy Charlie McCarthy first appear on TV, 1936
The SALT I talks begin, 1969

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The tiniest kittens are not getting better. My kitchen floor is atrocious no matter how much i clean it. Most of the time i just don't look down. They will have to go to the vet, although i know what she will say. Give them reglan and an antibiotic and fortiflora. I'm already doing all that, so i hope she has something else in her arsenal.

Brother-in-Law has agreed, for the time being, to come pick Sweetie up for work each day, and bring him home, too. They work in the same general area, but he does not live that close so it makes it a bit of a trip. We will pay him for gas as we try to work out how to replace the van, if we can do that at all.

As typical for us, we will not be putting up a tree this year. Have you ever tried to have a tree with 14 kittens in the house? 'Nuff said.

Bigger Girl is trying to convince Sweetie to dress up as Santa for the cat rescue. He won't, as those fake beards make him break out, or so he says. I think he just has a deathly fear of anyone thinking he is fat.

Oh, and Happy Beethoven's Birthday! Remember Schroeder from Peanuts and his love of Beethoven? He would celebrate every year, except for the times Charles Schultz mixed it up and had him forget. Those were funny ones. One person went to visit Germany, and saw a statue of Beethoven with a tiny toy figure of Schroeder at the base. The thought of that makes me smile.

Today is:

Barbie and Barney Backlash Day

Beethoven Day

Day of Reconciliation -- Afrikaners of South Africa

Day of the Republic -- Kazakhstan (Independence from the USSR)

Eat What You Want Day

Festival of Sophia / Sapinetia -- Celtic Calendar (goddess of wisdom)

Independence Day -- Bahrain, Nepal

Man Will Never Fly Memorial Society Annual Meeting

National Chocolate Covered Anything Day

National Day -- Bahrain

National Sports Day -- Thailand

Posadas Navidenas (Fiesta of the Virgin of the Lonely), Mexico -- celebrated through the 25th, "pilgrims" go house to house seeking shelter to commemorate the search of Mary and Joseph for shelter in Bethlehem

Simbang Gabi, Philippines (Christmas festivals that last until Three Kings Day.)

St. Adelaide's Day

Underdog Day

Victory Day -- Bangladesh; India

Birthdays Today:

Michael McCary, 1971
Benjamin Bratt, 1963
William "Refrigerator" Perry, 1962
Billy Gibbons, 1949
Benny Andersson, 1946
Steven Bochco, 1943
Lesley Stahl, 1941
Liv Ullmann, 1939
Arthur C. Clarke, 1917
Margaret Mead, 1901
Noel Coward, 1899
Wassily Kandinsky, 1866
George Santayana, 1863
Jane Austen, 1775
Ludwig von Beethoven, 1770
Catherine of Aragon, 1536

Today in History:

An Lushan revolts against Chancellor Yang Guozhong at Fanyang, initiating the An Shi Rebellion during the Tang Dynasty of China, 755
Mount Vesuvious, Italy erupts, destroys 6 villages & kills 4,000, 1631
Oliver Cromwell sworn in as English Lord Protector, 1653
The last recorded eruption of Mount Fuji in Japan, 1707
A big tea party in Boston harbor -- Indians welcome -- is "celebrated" (Boston Tea Party), 1773
Fire burns over 600 buildings in NYC, 1835
In New Zealand, the Charlotte-Jane and the Randolph bring the first of the Canterbury Pilgrims to Lyttelton, 1850
The Kingdom of Nepal accepts its constitution, 1862
Antonín Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, From The New World is given its world premiere performance at Carnegie Hall, 1893
The first submarine with an internal combustion engine is demonstrated, 1897
The "Great White Fleet" sails from Hampton Downs on its round the world tour, 1907
The first credit union in the US is formed, in Manchester, New Hampshire, 1908
The first US postage stamp picturing an airplane, a 20 cent parcel post, is issued, 1912
Albert Einstein publishes his "General Theory of Relativity", 1915
The Haiyuan earthquake, magnitude 8.5, rocks the Gansu province in China, killing an estimated 200,000, 1920
Theodore Cole and Ralph Roe attempt to escape from the American federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay; neither is ever seen again, 1937
Thailand joins the United Nations, 1945
William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain build the first practical point-contact transistor, 1947

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The News You Never Want to Hear

It was the news we never wanted to hear, in regard to a vehicle.

This one especially, as it has a place in my heart.

The Fan Van. Many years ago, in its glory, it was in team colors, with a beautiful interior, a TV and VCR in it when few vehicles had them, nicely decked out. After the wreck -- the other person's fault -- it had a salvage title, but was still dear to me. Sweetie has been driving it just to work and back for the past few years.

It looks much worse for the wear. Lately, each year was a test of whether or not we could get it to pass inspection. More recently, squeals from the pulling tire and a serious leak of power steering fluid let us know it was time to take her in to be looked at.

Thank heaven for an honest mechanic. He is someone i know i can trust, especially now. He told us what it would cost to repair, which, since we have much more month than money right now, is totally out of reach. Then he said that, in all honesty, if it were up to him, he wouldn't sink another dime into it. After 23 years and 99,700 miles, it really has no value except sentimental.

Any mechanic who could make a bunch of money off of a vehicle, and tells you not to bother to repair it instead, is an honest guy. He said that even if we did this work, there is no telling what would go next, or how much more it would be then.

So, the news you don't want, about a vehicle you like.

For the time being, we will share. It will mean that in addition to driving the kids to school and back each day, i will have to drive Sweetie to work and back each day as well. He will have to ride with me to get the kids in the afternoons, in fact.

Meanwhile, until we figure out what to do, it will sit, and we will start it and back it out of the drive once in a while, just so we can say it runs, and not be accused of having a junked car on the property, which is a no no around here.

So, a moment of silence for a workhorse vehicle that went the distance.

Today is:

Alcyone -- Ancient Greek Calendar (kingfisher goddess)

Bill of Rights Day -- US

Cat Herders Day (good luck!)

Centipede Boot-Making and Shoe-Repair Season begins -- Fairy Calendar

Consualia -- Roman Empiracal Calendar (Feast of Consus)

Homecoming Day -- Alderney

Koninkrijksdag -- Netherlands, Netherland Antilles (Kingdom Day)

National Lemon Cupcake Day

Navidades begin, Puerto Rico (traditional Christmas celebrations that last through Three Kings Day)

St. Eusebius' Day

Zamenhof Day -- International Esperanto Community

Birthdays Today:

Nick Beggs, 1961
Don Johnson, 1949
Dave Clark, 1942
Tim Conway, 1933
Friedensreich Hundertwasser, 1928
Jeff Chandler, 1918
Stan Kenton, 1911
J. Paul Getty, 1892

Today in History:

Byzantine general Belisarius defeats the Vandals, commanded by King Gelimer, at the Battle of Ticameron, 533
Hulagu Khan captures and destroys the Hashshashin stronghold at Alamut in present-day Iran as part of the Mongol offensive on Islamic southwest Asia, 1265
Bartholomeus Diaz returns to Portugal after sailing round Cape of Good Hope, 1488
The State of Holland grants patent on a windmill with crankshaft, 1593
The first US law school is established at University of Pennsylvania, 1791
The first Irish magazine in US, Shamrock, is published, 1810
The first street-cleaning machine in US is used in Philadelphia, 1854
The King of Hawaii becomes the first reigning king to visit the Us, and is received by President Grant, 1874
The London Underground's Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway opens, 1906
Bandleader, Major Glenn Miller, is lost over English Channel, 1944
Gemini 6A, crewed by Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford, is launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida; four orbits later, it achieves the first space rendezvous, with Gemini 7, 1965
Samoa becomes a member of the United Nations, 1976
U.S. President Jimmy Carter announces that the United States will recognize the People's Republic of China and cut off all relations with Taiwan, 1978
The 3rd reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is shut down, 2000
The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after 11 years and $27,000,000 to fortify it, without fixing its famous lean, 2001

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Dealing with hard freezes around here. It's time to really pull out the heating pads and wrap the outdoor pipes.

This kind of weather is hard on pets and plants that are adapted to a sub-tropical climate. Our kittens, all 14 of them, snuggle down into the same box at night. It is quite a sight, a patchwork quilt of kittens.

As for the little squirts, 4 of them get fixed this week -- Buster Davis, Dawnflower, Kaitlyn, and Hummingbird. Because i also had an appointment for 5, one of Meg's boys will tag along for the ride.

All the tiny babies still have the runs, and i can't seem to get them totally over it. Mike decided to get himself locked in Sweetie's workroom, and spent a miserable hour or so (at least that's what we figure) howling to be let out. Our adult cat Little Girlie decided she is upset about the kittens and pooped on our bed.

Ah, such is life with this many critters.

Today is:

Halcyon Days begin -- a time of calm and tranquility (beginning seven days before the winter solstice, lasting until December 28, seven days after the solstice; named for an ancient fabled kingfisher bird, or halcyon, which hatches and raise her young during this time)

Monkey Day -- unofficial, by animal groups, to draw attention to the plights of simians

National Bouillabaisse Day

St. Spyridon's Day

Unreturned Library Book Sale, by the Imps -- Fairy Calendar

Anniversaries Today:

Princess Mary Stuart is crowned Mary, Queen of Scots, 1542
Alabama becomes the 22nd US State, 1819

Birthdays Today:

Paul "Beakman" Zaloom, 1951
Patty Duke, 1946
Lee Remick, 1935
Charlie Rich, 1932
Don Hewitt, 1922
Shirley Jackson, 1919
Morey Amsterdam, 1914
Spike Jones, 1911

Today in History:

Osman ibn Affan is appointed the third kalief of Islam, 644
The Zuider Zee seawall collapses, 50,000 lives are lost in the floods that follow, 1287
The first artificial pearls, made of gypsum pellets covered with fish scales, are manufactured by M Jacquin in Paris, 1656
The Montgolfier brothers' first balloon lifts off on its first test flight, 1782
David Wilkinson of Rhode Island patents a machine that cuts nuts and bolts, 1798
The American Academy of Political and Social Science is organized in Philadelphia, 1889
The Commercial Pacific Cable Company lays the first Pacific telegraph cable, from Ocean Beach, San Francisco to Honolulu, Hawaii, 1902
Norwegian Roald Amundsen becomes the first to reach the South Pole, 1911
Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Laos, Libya, Nepal, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sri Lanka join the United Nations, 1955
The United Republic of Tanzania joins the United Nations. 1961
NASA's Mariner 2 becomes the first spacecraft to fly by Venus, 1962
Kiribati, Nauru and Tonga join the United Nations, 1999
The Millau viaduct, the tallest bridge in the world, near Millau, France is officially opened, 2004

Monday, December 13, 2010


There is something strikingly clear about a sunny winter day.

Summer days have a haze. a sheen about them. I'm not sure if it is the humidity or the waves of heat rising up from the blistering ground, but there is something there. It makes the edges blur, if that makes any sense.

In winter, that haze is gone. Not just each tree stands out against the blue, but each branch, and if you are close enough, each leaf seems cut by a diamond edged blade. Everything is sharp, fully in focus.

Everything is more strikingly beautiful or ugly in that clarity.

It is one of the few things i love about winter, that definition and exactness. If i could get it without the cold, i would. Beats the summer haze all hollow.

Today is:

Acadian Remembrance Day

Acatl Day -- Ancient Aztec Calendar (Honoring of the sceptre of authority, a day for justice)

Festival of Tellus -- Ancient Roman Calendar

Ice Cream and Violins Day (Another of those silly made up holidays that no one can trace, but would be fun to celebrate. Get yourself a bowl of buttered pecan or rum raisin -- if you are going to celebrate, do it in style -- and put in a Mozart or Bach CD, and enjoy!)

Kasuga Wakamiya on-Matsuri -- Nara Prefecture, Japan (through the 18th)

Little Yule a/k/a Luciadagen (Festival of Lights in many parts of Scandinavia, honoring St. Lucia.)

Most Boring Celebrities of the Year Awards -- Boring Institute

National Cocoa Day

Republic Day -- Malta

Runic Half-month Jara commences (fruition)

St. Jose's Day (patron of harvests, ships; against fire, fever, storms)

Saint Lucy's Day (patron of writers, lights, people with eye trouble, glass workers, lamplighters; against dysentery, throat disease, blindness, hemorrhage)

Birthdays Today:

Taylor Swift, 1989
Amy Lee, 1981
Tom DeLonge, 1975
Christie Clark, 1973
Jamie Foxx, 1967
Ted Nugent, 1948
John Davidson, 1941
Aga Khan IV, 1936
Christopher Plummer, 1927
Dick Van Dyke, 1925
Archie Moore, 1913
Kenneth Patchen, 1911

Today in History:

The Council of Trent opens, 1545
Sir Francis Drake sets sail from England to circumnavigate the globe, 1577
Emperor Ferdinand II delegates the first Anti-Reformation decree, 1621
The Massachusetts Bay Colony organizes 3 militias which are today seen as the founding of the United States National Guard, 1636
Dutch navigator Abel Tasman becomes the first European to land in New Zealand, 1642
Dartmouth College in New Hampshire is chartered, 1769
Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" is published, sells 6,000 copies, 1843
Italo Marcioni patents an ice cream cone, 1903
The Relay 1 communication satellite is launched, 1962
Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt begin the third and final Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) or "Moonwalk" of Apollo 17, 1972
The European Union announces that Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia will become members from May 1, 2004, 2002
Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is captured, 2003
The Baiji, or Chinese River Dolphin, is announced as extinct, 2006

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Not a single adoption at the events this weekend. So far, in December, Nacho and T-Boy have gone, but even the kittens are getting overlooked at the pet store.

Heading into the shelter, I stopped for gas a couple of blocks away and #2 Son and Little Girl decided to run the rest of the way to see if they could beat me there. They did, by about 15 seconds. Just about long enough to compliment Leigh on her car, and we were pulling in. Leigh is our "shelter caretaker coordinator," the person I answer to when cleaning up each week. She had stopped to drop some things off.

While there, she noted that the Christmas decor has suffered a bit. Some things that were there last week are gone, some really ugly things have replaced them. Her words were that it looks like Christmas threw up in the main room. I must admit, I'm no decorator, but it doesn't look as nice as it did last week. Probably too many spoons in the pot.

She also admitted to being afraid of Frieda! I mean, I know the cat has problems, but she isn't scary, just loud and opinionated. I showed her how to pet Frieda, head and neck only, and that both quiets her and makes her happy. Scratching anywhere else is a no no. I don't think I convinced her that Frieda can be friendly if you handle her right.

Popping into the storage room, I started listening for Baby's growling, and didn't hear a peep. Worried, I stepped in and found no food or box for her, either. I went on through to the big room, and there she was. She is still growling, but yet seems to want to be petted, too. Not much, but a little. Grady behaved in there and didn't try to run away, Prissy was her usual, beautiful self, and Clint stuck his nose out and tolerated me scratching his ears! I was astonished. I think he needs lots of one on one attention, and he will be a sweet heart. It might also be that fewer cats in the room means he doesn't feel the need to hide as much.

Gidget is in a cage, howling away wanting attention, and suffering from an eye infection. Little Girl and I dosed her, and she didn't really fight it, but she cannot stand being caged. She is so friendly, she wants to be out and with you all of the time.

Belle is in a cage for a possible upper respiratory, but Leigh got her out to play with anyway. What a snuggler! She could double for a Russian Blue, and is a love. Somebody is going to have a lap cat there.

Harley is hiding in the back of a cage, acting like a scaredy cat. Poor guy, I hope he calms down soon.

BEBE is new and in a cage awaiting the works treatment from the vet. Cream colored and shy, she accepts petting and seems to just be awaiting her fate.

Dora, Heathcliff, Squirt, and Peepers are also battling a bit of an eye problem. They have calmed, and are eating, and now this. I hope it goes away fast.

Everyone else, Francie, Iggy, Angel, Dustie, Mamie, Maisie (a pure white that I am shocked hasn't adopted), Roxanne, Sophia, Tiger, Buddy, Bowie, JuJu, and Candy are holding steady.

As for mine, still 14 of them. Kaitlyn, Hummingbird, Buster Davis, and Dawnflower will be vetted this week. Poor little Tiger is still 4 ounces too small, and we are hoping for next week. Never try to have surgery on a kitten that is under two pounds, unless it is a life threatening situation. Too much risk of over anesthetizing, even with a great vet.

All I Want For Christmas Is My Fosters To Get Adopted. My new song.

Today is:

Advent Fast Begins -- Orthodox Christian Churches

Bonza Bottler Day

Fiesta del Virgin de Guadalupe -- Mexico

Independence Day -- Kenya (Jamhuri)

Miracle of the Roses -- Catholic Christian

National Ambrosia Day

National Ding-A-Ling Day (A day on which to honor all the ding-a-lings you know, and even act like one yourself.)

Neutrality Day and Student Youth Day -- Turkmenistan

Poinsettia Day

St. Cury's Day (patron against blindness, deafness, demonic possession)

St. Lucy's Eve -- Austria (night of the shining that some use to predict the future)

Unmentionable Thoughts Festival -- Fairy Calendar (imps, goblins, and naughty fairies)

Yuletide Lads begin arriving -- Iceland (Jolasveinar trolls, bring gifts and mischief from now until Christmas)

Anniversaries Today:

Pennsylvania becomes the 2nd US State, 1787

Birthdays Today:

Mayim Bialik, 1975
Rey Mysterio, Jr., 1974
Madchen Amick, 1970
Jennifer Connelly, 1970
Tracy Austin, 1962
Sheila E. 1957
Cathy Rigby, 1952
Emerson Fittipaldi, 1946
Dionne Warwick, 1941
Connie Francis, 1938
Bob Barker, 1923
Bob Dorough, 1923
Joe Williams, 1918
Frank Sinatra, 1915
Edward G. Robinson, 1893
Edvard Munch, 1863
Erasmus Darwin, 1731

Today in History:

The Battle at Ninevah: Byzantine emperor Heraclius defeats Perzen, 627
The Order of the Dragon is created by Sigismund, King of Hungary, and his wife Queen Barbara of Celje, following the battle for possession of Bosnia, 1408
Isabella crowns herself Queen of Castile and Aragon, 1474
Jews are expelled from Schlettstadt Alsace by Emperor Frederick III, 1479
In Vienna, Ludwig von Beethoven receives his first lesson in music composition from Franz Joseph Haydn, 1792
Mexico is officially recognized as an independent nation by the US, 1822
The first Canadian coins are circulated (1 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent and 20 cent), 1858
Rudolph Dirks' first Katzenjammer cartoon strip appears in the NY Journal, 1897
Belo Horizonte, the first planned city of Brazil, is founded, 1897
George F Bryant of Boston patents the wooden golf tee, 1899
Guglielmo Marconi receives the first transatlantic radio signal at Signal Hill in St John's, Newfoundland, 1901
Delhi replaces Calcutta as the capital of India, 1911
Oscar Straus becomes US Secretary of Commerce, the first Jew to be a US Cabinet member, 1906
The first all metal aircraft, the Junkers J-1, is test flown in Dessau, Germany, 1915
In Nebraska, Father Edward J. Flanagan founds Boys Town as a farm village for wayward boys, 1917
The first prototype of a hovercraft is patented by British engineer Christopher Cockerell, 1955
Guinea joins the United Nations, 1958
The Russian Federation gains independence from the USSR, 1991