Friday, April 27, 2007

Trees - Why Do We Need Trees?

Our granddaughter lived with us when she was in first grade. She had an assignment to write about trees, explaining why trees are important to us.

We talked about trees all week, and it was surprising how many things she came up with for her paper. Garry was teaching her about mind maps, so we drew a mind map of her tree project.

Did you know 25 million trees are chopped down each year to make 45 billion Chinese chop sticks?
Today is Arbor Day, a day dedicated to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. Join the National Arbor Day Foundation and get 10 free trees! Shop for trees online, learn the care of trees, or visit Carly's Kids Corner for fun and games, kid style.

If you don't already know, find out about your state tree through the U.S. National Arboretum. The Texas State Tree is the Pecan Tree, and I celebrate pecan trees whenever I can.

Happy Arbor Day!

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Chocolate, Coasters, and Lions

What could be more fun than chocolate? What about chocolate at an amusement park?

100 years ago today, Hershey Park opened in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Opening day was celebrated with a baseball game, vaudeville acts, canoeing and more in a beautifully landscaped park for use by the Hershey employees. New attractions were added and the park was opened to the public as Hersheypark. Even though the park opened April 24 for the first time, today the park is scheduled to open for the season on May 26.

The grounds are not limited to the park. Hershey's Chocolate World is where you can learn how Hershey's does its thing, and you can do your own thing, too, creating a personalized chocolate bar wrapper.

And then there's ZooAmerica which began as private animal collections, grew into an accredited zoo, and became today's zoological park. National Geographic Kids sponsors Ranger Scratch Kid's Club.

What more could anyone want? -- chocolate, rides, shows, animals, clubs, more chocolate

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Where We Live - Earth

The Blue Marble
Earth taken by Apollo 17
Today is Earth Day. The concern seems to be global warming. This is a long video. There are many others available on the Internet -- some even longer. But Earth Day, celebrated on two different days, is more. It is everything earthly -- economy, education, lifestyle, and yes, environment.

As always, Kaboose has activities for the kids!

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Today We Are All Hokies

I recently met a new Internet friend, a young girl from Amsterdam, who sent this message to me after receiving it from her friend who was on the Virginia Tech campus Monday morning. These are her words.

Hi All,

This is from my friend Sandy who was just here visiting last month. She was on campus on Monday during the shootings. It is a small way to be supportive … but it means a lot. She is physically safe … but it has been a hard week for her emotionally … as it has been for everyone who witnessed it.


I know these are not always the prettiest colors together, but in lieu of the tragedy on our campus this week, we hope you will help us begin to heal across the nation.
Virginia Tech family members across the country have united to declare this Friday, April 20th, an “Orange and Maroon Effect” day to honor those killed in the tragic events on campus Monday, and to show support for Virginia Tech students, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni and friends. “Orange and Maroon Effect” was born several years ago as an invitation to Tech fans to wear orange and maroon to Virginia Tech athletic events. We invite everyone from all over the country to be a part of the Virginia Tech family this Friday, to wear orange and maroon to support the families of those who were lost, and to support the school and community we all love so much.


Sandy Wirt

Student Programs Director
YMCA at Virginia Tech

312 Squires Student
Center (0546)
, VA 24061
Office (540)231-3734

Fax (540)231-9625

"Building community through learning, leadership and service."

In August, I wrote a post honoring the victims of the shooting at the University of Texas (UT), my school, forty years ago. Charles Whitman gunned down 30 people from the tower, killing 14. UT understands.

The tower was darkened for two nights this week in remembrance of the Virginia Tech students. A vigil is scheduled for Monday, and the tower will again be darkened. Orange and maroon will probably be plentiful on campus today. UT understands.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I Like Clean Clothes

On this day in 1934, the first laundromat opened in Ft. Worth, Texas. Now people who did not have their own could take advantage of community washing sites. What a good idea.

In the olden days - the really olden days - all the village women met their neighbors at the local stream to rinse clothes in the moving water and achieve the natural version of the popular stone washed look. That was the first laundromat, a place people gathered to wash.

As civilization progressed, I suppose people used wash tubs and sinks until the washer was invented. I don't know the first washer, but I do remember our old ringer washer when we lived in the Philippines.

What a hassle laundry was in those days!
Laundry has been a social activity, even when washing machines are available in or near the home. At one time clotheslines were strung between buildings in many cities so the neighborhood could keep up with new births, children growing up, illnesses and even company, all based on what was hanging on the line for all to see.

It is also subject to socioeconomic trends, We can save money when doing our l
aundry at home. A method of energy conservation -- Clotheslines -- are becoming extinct, no longer providing a public view of private households. Now, they are subject to community restrictions. Vermont's attempt at 'Right to Dry' legislation died in the state Senate Natural Resource & Energy Committee.

I remember going to the laundry room in apartments and the
laundromat before I bought my very own washer. Most of the time it was okay . I read a lot of books, met my neighbors, and spent a ton of quarters. Sometimes it was hot, it was usually loud, and it was extra expensive when I ran an errand and returned to three empty washers. Bummer.

Even with the risks, I'm glad the 1934 laundromat in Ft. Worth, Texas started the booming industry of coin-operated laundromats. And I'm especially glad I do not have to find a local stream to ensure my family can have clean clothes.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I Scream for Ice Cream

And today may be my lucky day.

April 17, between 12 and 8pm, participating Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops are hosting Ben & Jerry's Annual Free Cone Day. Click to find a participating scoop shop near you.

Look around the web site, look at the new flavors, read information about Ben & Jerry programs, tell the FDA if you have a problem with food from cloned animals, be aware that the Peach Cobbler flavor is being recalled for undeclared wheat! Who would have thought there was so much going on with ice cream?

Stay awhile and play some games.

I am going to the dentist today. Maybe I will drop by Ben & Jerry's on the way home.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Books, Books, and More

Today is the first day of National Library Week, time designated to celebrate libraries, library workers, and to promote library use. During the week, there are special days that highlight groups of library workers and consumers.

April 16 is National Librarian Day honoring librarians. There was a time when librarians were thought to be the shy, retiring girl just waiting for a handsome prince to sweep her off her feet, or at least that's the librarian the movies portrayed. Those days are over. Librarians are knowledgeable and helpful men and women lost in the stacks, true, but they are also administrators, educators, and corporate researchers.

April 17 is National Library Workers Day recognizing library staff, administrators, and friends groups. Maddie, a 4 1/2 yr. old Pennsylvania girl nominated Amos as a library star because he makes her laugh. Look to see who has been 'starred' in your state, or nominate your favorite library worker.

April 19 is Teen Literature Day for the first time ever supporting young adult literature as a vibrant genre and showcasing young adult genre authors. This day will be the launch of Teen Read Week with a theme of 'LOL @ Your Library' scheduled in October.

Online, The Library Thing lets book owners catalog their own libraries -- over 12 million books have been cataloged here so far in personal and non-personal accounts. Members can choose to share their libraries or keep them private, recommend books or chat with members with similar libraries.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Good Day for Laughing and Natural Beauty.

Today is International Moment of Laughter Day. Izzy Gesell created this day to encourage laughing. While you are on the computer, check out Smile of the Day and see if you can laugh a little. Why is it a day for only a moment of laughter? I think it is okay for a moment here and another moment there. Put together many laughing moments and you will have a good day.

Today is also Look Up at the Sky Day. Look up. What do you see? Maybe just a beautiful azure sunny sky, or maybe playful clouds in familiar shapes, or powerful black storm clouds, or a rainbow promising the end of the rain, or a multi-colored canvas which is Nature's way of saying night is falling and the stars will soon decorate the vast blackness. It really is beautiful, that sky. But if you look at the sky too long, people around you may begin laughing at you. Hmmm . . . you must be confusing this with International Moment of Laughter Day.

And as long as you are looking to the sky, reach up. Today is also Reach as High as You Can Day. Want a new job? Apply today. If you want a job beyond your current credentials, make a plan to get the credentials. Want to go out with a really cute guy? Take a risk and ask him. Want to be more fit? Reach as high as you can, then stretch two more inches, then just a bit more. Hold it. Stretch higher than you thought you could, and do it on a regular basis, and you will be more fit than you are right now. If you cannot reach your goal, you can get started toward your goal. You may surprise yourself. Reach as high as you can.

This is a good day.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Choose the Right Word

Trivial Pursuit. Spelling bees -- where school children compete to be the best speller. Now there is a vocabulary bee.

Television's Game Show Network (GSN) is making a game of learning words. Maybe not really a game, but a contest with a $40,000 prize.

It began with a written exam, citywide and regional contests, and now the first National Vocabulary Championship is scheduled Sunday. Leading up to the broadcast, GSN is celebrating Win with Words Week. Game shows Lingo and Chain Reaction are featuring teacher and student contestants, and GSN is airing public service announcements pro
moting vocabulary skills. See the clips and meet the finalists here.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I Have a Brother

Claudia Evert had a brother and sister who died tragically. She initiated National Sibling Day, celebrated April 10, today. This is a day to appreciate your mothers and sisters.

Evert also founded Siblings Day Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to having this day proclaimed by Congress as National Sibling Day. See a list of states that already recognize this day, events to raise money for the cause, articles, and more. There is a list of famous siblings, including fictional siblings, and access to ecards you can send to your own brother or sister.

Call your brother or take your sister to lunch today.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

What is a Dyngus Anyway?

Today is Dyngus Day.

Okay, I admit I never heard of Dyngus Day, even when it is spelled Dingus Day. However, it's a big day for the Poles and Polish Americans. The origins of this day are traced way back to 966 A.D. when Polish Prince Mieszko was baptized.

Somehow, celebration has evolved from baptizing princes to splashing water on girls to start a romantic relationship. They can accompany the water sprinkling with light taping using pussy willows. Amorous boys better keep the sprinkling and pussy willow tapping light, because the girls retaliate on Tuesday with dishes!

The Dingus Day Capital of the World is -- can you guess? -- Buffalo, NY, where they stretch the festivities over a week with music, dancing, and a parade. Be sure to read the sidebar links to see successful love matches and a picture of the largest squirt gun!

Have a happy Wet Easter Monday!

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Invest in Health, Build a Safer Future

April 7 is the anniversary of the founding of the United Nations World Health Organization. WHO is sponsoring today's special day, World Health Day. The theme differs each year.

2007 theme: International Health Security

The focus is to increase awareness, provide education, and raise funds. When a disease shows up in one country, the Global Outbreak Alert & Response Network ensures information gets to other countries that may be at risk. For example, bird flu or avian influenza has affected many regions around the globe.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Happy Birthday, Jim

I had a friend and coworker who was gay. We went shopping, to plays, movies, parties, dinner, clubs -- the gay clubs had the best dancing.

We had a pact: If I was not married by the time I was 45, and I wanted to be married, we would marry each other. I don't know if he was serious. I don't know if I was either. Probably not. **

**#47 in my "100 Things" list

He died in the 80's. I still miss him sometimes. It would have been his birthday today.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

April - National Month of Humor and Poetry

Read any funny poems lately?

April is
National Humor Month, founded in 1976 by Larry Wilde, Director of the Carmel Institute of Humor. This month is designated to heighten public awareness of the benefits of humor.
The Academy of American Poets named April National Poetry Month to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture.

Celebrate these months together by enjoying humorous poetry. Try Giggle Poetry or Funny Poets. Or write a little ditty yourself!

Garry contributed the shortest funny poem in the world:

I countered with a shorter (not funny, but definitely shorter) poem:

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