Wednesday, November 29, 2006

National Square Dance Day -- November 29

Square dancing is as American as apple pie.

Well, maybe that's not exactly the case. Early settlers brought the dance style with them from France or England. America, and probably specifically the Old West, added the caller to keep the dancers synchronized. I learned it as an elementary school kid in Idaho. It was fun, although I went on to other dancing styles later.

There are many
benefits to square dancing, like it's fun and easy to learn. There are all kinds of clubs and organizations that teach and schedule events, such as Square Dance. There's probably a club near you.

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Monday, November 27, 2006


A friend I have not seen for more than a decade came to town last week. I invited some former co-workers to a "Get Together with Fran." There were only a few people so everyone had a chance to visit.

One friend brought picture albums of us many years ago, and pictures of many others who worked for the same company at one time or another. The pictures were great to start conversations among people who had not seen each other for so long.

Here's one with Garry behind the camera

and another with Sue behind the camera.

A good time was shared by all.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

How Can We Forget?

I was in the Lafayette High School schoolyard when I heard the news that President Kennedy had been shot. The school was stunned as was the entire country and indeed, much of the world. It was a memorable day.

My family spent Thanksgiving that year with my aunt's family, and those four days we were on the couch glued to the TV. It was a massive news event, and we saw the same stories and images and interviews over and over, presented by the three major networks (long before 24-hr cable news). It was the first time I watched news for such a long period.

Today, the Kennedy assassination is a regular news story, and just a history lesson to the kids and young adults. Now it is a news blurb. Then it was a shock to our system. How will we remember?

In September when Nellie Connally died, it was reported that the last survivor in the limousine died.
How can we forget?

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Thanksgiving -- Wrought with Tradition

Thanksgiving Day -- thanking God for the harvest, gathering with family and friends to enjoy a parade, a feast and football, getting ready for the year's biggest shopping day, but what other traditions does the week encourage?

Thanksgiving eve is more than the night before the big day. Workers look forward to a long weekend and college kids are back in their hometowns for the first time of the fall semester. This results in the somewhat dubious distinction of the busiest night of the year for bars and pubs in the northeast United States. There are web guides to pre-Thanksgiving parties that are a-night-on-the-town variety rather than the comfort and coziness of a visit home.

Friday after Thanksgiving finds much of the US population enjoying a day off of work and preparing for a big gift-giving season. The highest customer traffic day, generally known as Black Friday, also brings out another demographic. Protesters against gross consumerism and materialism refrain from purchasing anything for 24 hours on Buy Nothing Day.

So party and feast and go shopping (or not), but enjoy this vacation week by following your own traditions and maybe starting some new ones.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Today is World Peace Day

I could not find anything about World Peace Day 2006. There are plenty of sites addressing the International Day of Peace, but I'll talk about that then.

But let's look at World Peace Day as long as I brought it up.
  • Peaceguy has a non-profit called World Peace Day November 17, Inc. He offers his "pebble" to begin the avalanche of this grassroots peace movement.
  • The Wolakota Foundation gives advice about Facing the Winds of Time. Wolakota Foundation encourages "all nations, all faiths, one prayer."

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Stop it!

Smoking is a BAD habit. Everyone knows it, and most people agree -- even smokers.

So what can we do about it? Stop it.

It may not be so easy, but it's worth the effort. Can't stop? Well, try to stop for just one day -- today -- the Great American Smokeout.

It's easy to say, but many people have trouble quitting this habit. The American Cancer Society offers help at the Great American Smokeout. Save your good breath. Save your air freshener. Save your money. Save your life.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veterans Day - 11-11-11

The Germans signed the Armistice to end the war to end all wars the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Veterans Day, known internationally as Armistice or Remembrance Day, wreath-laying ceremonies are scheduled for monuments around the Washington area.

At 11AM on this eleventh day of the eleventh month, the ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery laying the wreath is at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Veterans Day honors the young men and women who have fought and are still fighting.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Chaos Never Dies Day

In the dark
of the night I come
and leave when the
dark is no more and
only the light stays

This little poem was written in a different life when I was 16. It was supposed to be a tanka.

A tanka is similar to a haiku in that its structure is dictated by the number of syllables. I was taught it was composed of five lines with syllable units:3-5-4-5-5. My friend Kathy, who is a poet and manages several regular poetry readings at Barnes & Noble locations in the Dallas area, told me the syllable structure is actually 5-7-5-7-7.

The poem reflects the end of chaos, but it needs additional syllables to be a true tanka. I always thought it was simple and clear, and I enjoyed writing within such a strict structure. Now I learn it is incomplete -- what am I to do? Where will nine more syllables go? Will it change or obscure the meaning? Wait -- it is about the end of chaos, but it is creating its own little chaotic wave, so I post it today: Chaos Never Dies Day

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006


You know what today is -- yes, it is election day, but it is also so much more than that! Today is National Bittersweet Chocolate without Almonds Day.

I don't know if there is a bittersweet chocolate WITH almonds day, or if almonds are just left out all together, but today is a celebration of bittersweet chocolate with no sign of almonds. Now, what should we do? I know -- let's make something!

Cookies are always a favorite, especially with me. In Spain, a popular after-school treat is bittersweet chocolate on toast. Add a couple of ingredients for a snack most adults like (I like the kids' version). Gourmet Magazine offers a hot chocolate recipe. What about the contrast of bittersweet chocolate with grapefruit in Chocolate Grapefruit Peel?

Today is National Bittersweet Chocolate without Almonds Day. Enjoy! And I won't tell if an almond accidentally slips in.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Today marks the first day of National Novel Writing Month.

No plot? No problem. The idea is to get people writing, so quality is up to you.
Start now and put down 50,000 words: any theme, any genre, any language. If you don't have an ending, that's okay -- yours is a novel that still needs work. Remember, the idea is to get people to start writing.

Submit your work beginning Nov. 25 for verification. If you have reached or exceeded 50,000 words, you are a winner. National Novel Finishing Month is December and National Novel Editing Month is March. But why stop there? Other spinoffs include blogging and comics.

Last year, over 700 million words were submitted by participants.

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