Monday, January 29, 2007

Puzzles and Corn Chips

Today is National Puzzle Day and National Corn Chip Day. I could not find the origins of either day -- who declared these as special days -- but these two are kind of fun. Let's see.

Frito-Lay Fritos Corn Chips were first distributed in 1961, but Elmer Doolin started the Frito brand years before. When he first started selling the home-cooked snack in the early 30's, he took home a daily profit of $2. Today the many flavors make up a $100 million brand.

Now, to puzzles. Although crosswords are the most popular, there are all kinds of puzzles: jigsaws, logic puzzles, sudoku, and more. There are educational puzzles for various school levels. You could order a custom-made wooden jigsaw.

I used to use jigsaws to relax. Maybe I should celebrate this day with a jigsaw and a bag of Fritos.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Looking for Beth

Beth and Vicki

In Beth's House
Beth O'Dell and I were close friends for years. We met in the apartment laundry room in the late 70's. We started chatting and learned we were both single mothers of two boys, and they were about the same ages. It turned out the boys knew each other from school. We became family friends, and were never too far apart for too long while the boys grew up, going on family outings, double dating, and sharing adventures. And then I lost her.
Vicki and Beth

On the train from Dallas to Ft. Worth
Beth met someone special and began spending more time with him. It made sense. She was more than smitten, and they did all kinds of fun things including hot air ballooning. When I met him, I thought they made a good match. Things were good.

The night of her wedding, I was ill. I thought I was not sick enough to keep me from my friend's "happiest day," but I was wrong. I was driving across the Grapevine dam when I got sick, not once, but twice. I couldn't go on, and I had to go home. I missed Beth's wedding, and I lost contact with her.

Unfortunately, I couldn't remember her husband's last name, and phone numbers had changed. Mine hadn't changed, but I figured she was probably hurt that I ignored her on that important day. I'm sorry, Beth. I miss you.

If anyone knows my friend Beth, please ask her to call me. Thanks!

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Fight or flight? Women Tend and Befriend

Women don’t spend enough time with friends. We’re all so busy at work, and family matters come up, and the kids have activities after school, and friends understand when you can’t drop by, and simetimes plans change at the last minute because something else comes up.

Of course our friends understand, we understand when we don't see our friends for awhile, but women may be cheating themselves. A new UCLA study on friendship among women tells us how very important women's friends are to their daily lives and even their health and happiness.

We have all heard of the “flight or fight” response to stress, but stress research is based on males -- until now.

Women have this response, too, but there is more.
Women also have a “tend and befriend” response, meaning we take care of the children and gather with other women when under stress. And these responses are chemically based! Estrogen enhances the hormone that allows us to be soothed and strengthened during high stress conditions, resulting in such physical benefits as lower blood pressure and the chance for a more joyful life.

This behavior is a natural response for women. The study doesn't say it, but I think men can learn these behaviors and benefit, too. More men today are actively involved in their children's lives than when I was growing up.

What are you doing today? Eating lunch? Call a friend to join you , and know it is time and effort well-spent.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

I Appreciate Squirrels

Today is Squirrel Appreciation Day. I like squirrels.

When I was in 8th grade, I wrote a report on squirrels. I don't remember much about it except I illustrated the articles by drawing pictures of squirrels with bushy tails. It was my first year in a new town and new school and I didn't know what was expected. I thought I did okay, but they didn't expect pictures. Oh, well.

In 2001, Christy Hargrove, a wildlife rehabilitator from North Carolina, started Squirrel Appreciation Day. Christy suggests we celebrate by putting out a little extra food, or just learn something about squirrels. Sorry I didn't save my report to pass on, but here are answers to commonly asked questions and photos of squirrels local to the North Carolina Nature Center.

Now we have a squirrel living with us. Well, not exactly with us, but sneaking around in the attic. We have a device that makes sounds designed to scare off varmits and other creatures that might try to chew up wires, but this squirrel hasn't taken the hint. Garry thinks he must be deaf.

We purchased a trap so we could relocate him, but so far he has stayed away fro
m the cage. Garry thinks he must have impaired olifactory senses, too. But he can certainly scurry and entertain us with the patter of little squirrel feet.

Post script: 1/23 Garry caught him on his daily outing and provided this evidence and comment before the squirrel jumped back into his attic sanctuary.

This guy has been living with us upstairs. He is taking a short hippity-hop outside. Garry

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thesaurus Day

Today is Thesaurus Day, recognizing Peter Roget (1779-1869) who developed the valuable reference that keeps many of us from becoming redundant and repeating ourselves and saying the same thing over and over.

My favorite upright and fellow blogger, Garry, found a Visual Thesaurus that presents synonyms in a mindmap format. I have often heard a picture is worth a thousand words, so a picture organizing a collection of words might be priceless.

Thank you Mr. Roget for adding spice to our literary lives.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Don't Ditch It -- At Least Not Yet

Today is Ditch New Years Resolution Day.

Even though today is ditching day, 63% of resolvers keep theirs for at least two months, but only 15% keep them for over a year.
It takes 21 days to make something a habit and six weeks to actually make it part of your personality.

Okay, here is my status report. I announced my resolutions January 2.

1. Make more productive use of my time -- This is a bit too vague to measure. So far, I have been resting quite a bit. I will write down a list of short-term goals and try harder.

2. Procrastinate less -- Again, hard to measure. I will schedule my short-term goals which I haven't written yet, and it's already January 17. I will try harder.

Give your resolutions a chance. Don't ditch them. Here are 10 tips to help.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Nothing Day

Reading a diary I kept as a child, I found one entry appropriate for today.
"Today I have nothing to remember."
January 16 is National Nothing Day.

Nothing is not just a void. It may be a day of rest, a day NOT to plan anything important, or maybe not to plan at alll, a day to "hang out" wherever any path may lead. But there is no evidence that Congress passed any vote about nothing (giggle, giggle), so is it really National Nothing Day?

Regardless of its national status, some people had a lot to say about nothing.
"Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught." Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
"I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about." Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
"Nothing can come from nothing: Speak again." Shakespeare from King Lear
"Is whispering nothing?" Shakespeare from The Winter's Tale
Shakespeare wrote a whole play on the topic, Much Ado About Nothing

And let's not forget, Seinfeld had a long-running TV series about nothing.

Happy Nothing Day. Or, Peaceful Nothing Day. Maybe Merry Nothing Day. Anyway, Enjoy Nothing Day.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Work Hard Day

Today is Work Hard Day.

You don't have to be Hindi to work hard, but apparently it is very important in the Hindu religion. The President of Hindu, Swami Chinmaya (1916-1993) was a great advocate of the hard work ethic. Others among the results of my Hard Work Day research were Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. It's an interesting story.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Do You Have A Secret Pal?

Today is Secret Pal Day. I have not found any official-looking history telling the origin of this special day. There were references to Rumela's Web and I did find several sites willing to help you celebrate.

If there is a person in your life -- or not quite in your life yet -- that you would like to approach, but you're a little embarrassed because you don't know how that person may react, you might want to send an anonymous email. Visit this Secret Admirer Site and you find how to send a message from "" If you don't know the email, there is help for that, too.

The recipient is given instructions to respond without saying your name. If there is no response, you are not embarrassed. If there is a response, then you have a match and lucky you!
All for FREE!

If you want to send something a bit more flamboyant, try a greeting card.

Coincidentally, today is also Step In A Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day. Cards are available for this mischievous day, too. Still for FREE!

Combine these two special day celebrations as you see fit. Be kind, and be ready to offer to pay for dry cleaning. Have fun.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Picture Is Worth . . .

There's nothing like a picture of a cute animal, especially a cute baby animal -- even a baby hippo, to make you say 'aww' and bring a smile to your face.
These are too cute!
Cute Overload collects the cutest pictures of animals of all kinds in interesting situations, and they are straight forward about their cuteness. They even go so far as highlighting the 'cute factor.' The site name is, after all, Cute Overload.

If, however, you have had your fill of cuteness, go on to a site with a broad collection on interesting pictures.

Trouble deciphering the traffic signs?

Look through this collection found by Dark Roasted Blend. The highway department was being creative or just mischievous, or maybe they were trying to add a little levity to a tedious rush hour. While you are there, look around. There are many categories of pictures -- humor, vintage, gadgets, nature, and more -- that are worth your browsing time. And if you are ready for more cuteness, they have those, too.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Who Writes These Things Called Blogs?

When I first started blogging, I did more reading than writing; I admit it, I was a lurker. Now, I do more writing, but I still find time to surf and enjoy some of the fun and interesting sites. When I find a good one, I usually read the profile.

The Profile Directory of Bloggers
offers a new way to surf through blogs. This is a new blog that links to profile pages. Just like the blogs themselves, the profiles show something about each blogger by the way they are completed.

Some have minimal information, some have a little more, then there are some with long descriptions and long lists jam-packed with favorites followed by links to blogs. Read the profile and check out the blogs.

Then add your profile to the list.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007


Well, not exactly, but here is a blog focused on numbers. With a claim that 'numbers don't lie,' it is a numeric life collects statistics and presents the results in a fun-to-read style.

Almost everything can be counted one way or another, and we are not disappointed in the variety of post topics.
Look at New Year's resolutions written for bosses and links to her top posts in 2006. Don't stop there. Go into her archives for statistics about commuting times or gender preferences for teachers, the origins of entrepreneurs or forgetfulness of alcohol drinkers. You get the idea -- be prepared to take some time because there's lots to see.

She has links to some other interesting blogs as well. Happy surfing!

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

58 Years Ago Today

Here I was at the home of my Aunt Effie Lee and Uncle Ralph when he was President of Louisiana Tech in Ruston. This house was where I learned to walk , where I began to learn some social graces, and where I began to understand the importance of education.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A New Beginning

Did you return any borrowed farm equipment?

New Year's Resolutions are an age-old tradition related to the New Year holiday around the world. Long ago, that is very, very long ago, around 2000 BC, when the new year was in the beginning of spring, The Babylonians most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment.

Now, that makes sense because the farmers needed their equipment to begin the farm chores in the spring. They might have been good about keeping their resolutions, but I wonder. Did the Babylonian farmers who had to borrow farm equipment one year, have to borrow the same equipment the next year? And what did the lending farmers use to plant, cultivate, and harvest their own crops?

Today's popular resolutions
are often centered around the resolver -- lose weight, quit smoking, exercise, but if you borrowed a tractor last year (or maybe a lawn mower), now is a good time to return it.

I didn't borrow anything, but I like to make lists and check off the items, so I must have a resolution or two. Let's see. I want to make more productive use of my time and to procrastinate less. That's a good beginning for this new year.

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Monday, January 01, 2007