Posted in Blogging, Humor, nonfiction, postaday, strange holidays, writing

It’s New Year’s Eve, Baby! ~~ Dec 31

In my small part of the world the old year is fading fast with the new year nipping on its heels. This past year was a hard one for me, lots of bad things went down. But I also made some great friends here in this blogging world. For that I am thankful. The friendships mean the world to me. You know who you are!

Today is my day for reflecting back on the past year. I will be glad to see it go. A new year approaches all shiny, bright and empty. I intend to fill it up with lots of good things, so next year at this time I can say I’m sorry to see it leave. That’s my plan. Only time will tell if my plan works, but I will try damn hard to make it work.

I won’t bore you with a list of bad things. I just want to put them behind me and move on. I’m an optimist that way.

Yesterday I saw a great idea which I plan on doing. Take a nice jar and fill it full of the great things that have happened to you throughout the year. Then open that jar on December 31 and review all the good. I love that idea! Every day this coming year I want to put a slip of paper in that jar.  I want it so full that it overflows with those small brightly colored pieces of happiness.  I also thought that it doesn’t have to be big things, I need to remember the small things that make me happy.

Would winning the lottery be great? Sure it would and that would definitely go into my jar! But so would a slip of paper saying, “Sam, my crazy dog buddy made me laugh today.” Or, “I read this outstanding book today!”, even, “I got an email from a friend that made me feel good.” Like I said it doesn’t have to be earth shattering to be good. I think I will find by the end of the year that jar will be filled so full, because my life will have been filled with lots of small happy things. And that dear people, is what makes us smile and feel loved, all the small happy things, as they turn into a big happy life.

Now on with the celebrations!

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New Year’s Eve ~~ I think we all know this holiday! From one end of the world to the other, New Year’s Eve is celebrated! (Via Wikipedia)  In the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Eve (also Old Year’s Day or Saint Sylvester’s Day in many countries), the last day of the year, is on December 31. In many countries, New Year’s Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat, drink alcoholic beverages, and watch or light fireworks to mark the new year. Some people attend a watchnight service. The celebrations generally go on past midnight into January 1 (New Year’s Day). The island nations of Kiribati and Samoa are the first to welcome the New Year while Honolulu, Hawaii is among the last.

    • Superstitions concerning food or visitors to bring luck
    • This especially includes circle-shaped foods, which symbolize cycles. The reasoning behind superstitions is that the first day of the year sets precedent for the following days. A common superstition specific to New Year’s Day concerns a household’s first visitor of the year—tradition states that if a tall, dark-haired stranger is the first to walk through your door, called the First Footer or Lucky Bird, you’ll have good luck all year. Also, if you want to subscribe to superstition, don’t let anything leave the house on New Year’s, except for people. Tradition say’s: don’t take out the trash and leave anything you want to take out of the house on New Year’s outside the night before. If you must remove something, make sure to replace it by bringing an item into the house. These policies of balance apply in other areas as well—avoiding paying bills, breaking anything, or shedding tears.

Well, darn it! I don’t know any tall, dark-haired stranger. Well I wouldn’t, would I? Otherwise they wouldn’t be strangers! As for the trash, I plan on taking that out today, not tomorrow. Circles? I have grapes, does that count? As for paying the bills, well that isn’t going to happen, as I’m broke! hahaha! I’ll try not to break anything and I won’t be crying in my beer either. Oh wait, I don’t drink beer!

Make Up Your Mind Day ~~ Today is not a day to procrastinate. All year you have been putting off making decisions. Today should be the day to start the new year with a clean slate and make up your mind on any decisions that you need to make. So stop sitting there and being all indecisive! Make up your mind to do something, stop something, go somewhere and just do it!

World Peace Meditation Day ~~  This holiday started in 1986 and is a day when everyone on planet earth should take advantage of the calmness and serenity of meditation with the intention for world peace. The hope is that this positive energy will take us into the new year. We also should celebrate the diversity and unity of our global community. The day was created in order to unite people under the common bond of love and peace.

Now this one I could get behind! Isn’t it a wonderful sounding day? Let’s all meditate and wish for world peace, there is nothing wrong with wishing for something.

Well that does it for the month. I’m almost sorry to see this end. I’ve enjoyed researching and posting all the reasons to celebrate in December. Maybe I’ll do it again for some random month!

I am wishing you all a great New Year, filled with all the light and love you can handle. May this coming year be the best, warmest, brightest year for you. See you next year people and thank you for reading and commenting all this past year. You are the reason I keep coming back, well that and I don’t know how to shut up!

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Posted in Blogging, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, Uncategorized, writing

2013 in review ~~ Let’s s See How I’ve Done

Well according to WordPress I didn’t do too bad this past year.

To Breathe is to Write was viewed about 13,000 times this past year. Not too shabby for not knowing what the heck I was doing.

I was busy anyway! I wrote 222 posts to make it up to 360 total posts for the blog. No wonder my fingers hurt sometimes!

My most popular post was this month’s post on Christmas eve. I received 178 views on that one! Was everyone snowed in that day??

I’ve had visitors from 111 countries! Wow, that is great! Keep on visiting people!

As for commenters, I have such great readers and friends!

Maddie  was #1, she and I are great friends and talk a lot! As you can tell. Maddie commented 136 times! Thanks Maddie, love you lady!

Lois is next, with 104 comments. Thank you Lois for visiting so often!

Tiny was next, she is on this list twice! Which is sort of strange. She’s #3 and #5! Tiny had a total of 161 comments. Thank you my friend! We forged a great friendship this year!

Um, guys?? You can comment too you know! I don’t bite. Unless I’m invited. hahaha!

So how was your year?

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Blogging, Humor, postaday, strange holidays, writing

Two Days Left of Celebrations in December! ~~ Dec 30

Yeah, not much  of a title I know. I was going with another one, but thought it would have been too misleading, so went with boring instead. Oh well. I’m tired as I have been running around town like crazy today. I wanted to get everything done that I needed to do so I can bunker down inside and let the crazies have the roads for the next couple of days. 

So now I’m tired and I just ate, so I want a nap. hahaha! As I never take naps that would be a new thing. I just don’t want to get in the habit of taking naps, I have way too much to do to sleep. As I’m running late all ready, I’ll bypass the rest of the small talk and get right to the celebrations of the day!

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Festival of Enormous Changes at the Last Minute Day ~~ Wow, what a mouthful! A festival? Really? New Year’s Day is just two days away. Do you have your resolutions ready? If not, then the Festival Of Enormous Changes At The Last Minute could be the perfect holiday. How many years have we made our New Year’s resolutions on the spot during the heat of the New Year’s Eve moment while under the spell of the bubbly? Or, the next morning while recovering from its spell? This is the holiday that encourages us to plan ahead. To review the past year(s) unrushed with a clear mind to think about the life changes we’d like to make with the clean start of the coming year.

It’s curious that this holiday refers to itself as a festival. Does this imply that we should invite a few friends and family to help us in our brainstorming of the enormous changes that we should make? Might be a little too much honesty going on for that to work out well. Perhaps, the festival meaning is that many of us will be simultaneously performing this activity on our own. I think I’ll go with the latter interpretation.

Falling Needles Family Fest Day ~~ This one was created by Wellcat.com. Now that the Yuletide tree’s been up for weeks and hasn’t been watered since a couple of days before Christmas, gather the gang around and watch the needles gently fall one by one. Live it up! Dance barefoot. 

Now I’m not sure about the dancing barefoot part. Have you ever stepped on a dead pine needle! They don’t call them ‘needles’ for nothing! How about instead the family dances that dead tree right out the door and to a recycling center? Sounds better don’t it? Oh and don’t forget your shoes!

No Interruptions Day ~~ Hang up your “Do Not Disturb” sign on No Interruptions Day. Minimize distractions at work by letting calls go to voice mail, taking breaks from your email and turning your phone on vibrate, ignoring the constant stream of texts. Finish your work projects, cross that last item off your to do list and leave the office with a sense of accomplishment.

At home you can silence and shut down all devices that interrupt you so you can devote yourselves to your families or to yourselves. This is a day for quiet and/or focus. It is a day to renew your energies to prepare yourselves for the new calendar year ahead.

Well I all ready screwed this one up! Oh well, I’ll remember it for next year.

Bacon Day ~~ This day should not be confused with International Bacon Day which is held in the US the Saturday before Labor Day. This day is to celebrate bacon in all its fried, crispy glory.  Eating pork that’s been cured, smoked and salted dates back to ancient times according to Food Timeline (and we’re all still here!). Unless it’s against your religious or ethical beliefs, indulging in a few slices of bacon on a rare occasion isn’t the end of the world.

If you didn’t have enough ideas on how to use bacon, here’s 7 more for you. ( 7 ways to enjoy bacon)

National Bicarbonate of Soda Day ~~Today is the day we celebrate baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda (same thing). Sodium bicarbonate (commonly known as baking soda) is used in baking, cooking, de-odorizing, cleaning, polishing, and countless other applications.

(Via Wikipedia) The ancient Egyptians used natural deposits of Natron, a mixture consisting mostly of sodium carbonate decahydrate, and sodium bicarbonate. The natron was used as a cleansing agent like soap. In 1791, a French chemist, Nicolas Leblanc, produced sodium carbonate, also known as soda ash. In 1846, two New York bakers, John Dwight and Austin Church, established the first factory to develop baking soda from sodium carbonate and carbon dioxide. This compound, referred to as saleratus, is mentioned in the famous novel Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling as being used extensively in the 1800s in commercial fishing to prevent freshly caught fish from spoiling.

On this link I found a place that tells you 75 ways of using baking soda, I think some of them will surprise you! 

 

That’s all for today folks, come back tomorrow for the final day of December celebrations! 

 

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Posted in Blogging, nonfiction, postaday, strange holidays, writing

Tick Tock Day ~~ Time is Running Out of This Year! ~~ Dec 29

Hello once again people! Only a few days left in this year and this month. Wow, where did the year go? For me it went fast, yet in some ways it was terribly slow. I’ve had better years and I’ve had worse.

For today I could only find a few celebrations, I suppose it’s all leading up to the big one again. New Years! Does anyone have any New Year’s traditions that they try to keep? Something you’ve been doing for years, maybe even something you’ve been doing because your parents did it?

I try to make black-eyed peas for New Years. Something I picked up when I was living in Texas. I also love them, but it’s nice and comforting to have a tradition, even though it’s a small one. When I first moved to Canada I was looking for black-eyed peas at the grocery store my first New Years here. I couldn’t find them, so I asked a clerk and she had no idea what I was talking about! She had never heard of them before! Well I explained to her what they were and we went on a treasure hunt.

I finally found them that day, but in a different (and bigger) grocery store. Here they call them Black Eyed Beans, not peas, which is technically correct, but I was so used to calling them peas that it was strange to me. Now I’m used to it and just about every store carries them.

My parents did two things every New Years day. My father (he was German) used to eat raw hamburger. Yeah, yuck! He would make a hamburger patty out of really top-notch hamburger and place it on a bun with raw onion and eat it. None of us could ever do that without retching. Ha-ha! He is also the one that used to eat his steak while still on the hoof. Joking! Almost. He cooked his own steak always. This is how he did it. Get a cast iron fry pan smoking hot, take the steak and season it well, then toss it in the hot pan, let it cook for 15 seconds and flip it. Another 15- 20 seconds and it was done. I kid you not! I used to joke with him that when he stuck his fork in it, it mooed.

My mother (Native American) liked to eat pickled herring on New Years. I think she got it from my dad, because it’s more of a German thing. We would eat pickled herring on saltine crackers. I loved it when I was young. I haven’t eaten pickled herring in years though. The last time I did was many years ago in Texas. I ate one piece out of the jar and could tell they had spoiled. I threw the rest away and a few hours later came down with the worst case of food poisoning I have ever had. I spent a week on the couch wishing I would die. Haven’t touched pickled herring since.

Well those are my traditions, such as they are. Now on with the celebrations!

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Pepper Pot Day ~~ Pepper Pot Day celebrates the soup that was served in the Continental Army during the war in 1777-1778. The legend is that George Washington asked the army chef to make a meal that would keep the troops warm and boost their morale. It’s said that a West Indies recipe that was brought to Philadelphia was modified to include tripe and Washington’s Pepper Pot Soup was created and is credited with being “the soup that won the war.”

I don’t like tripe so I don’t use it when I make this soup. Tripe can be substituted for most any other meat. If you would like to see how it’s made or even try to make some yourself, here’s a link to a recipe I found.

 

Tick Tock Day ~~ Time runs out! All those dreams you’ve had, all those fantasies? It’s time, friend. Do it! Annually, Dec 29. (©2006 by Wellcats.com) My guess is that it means you only have a few more days of making those dreams, resolutions, whatever that you made at the start of the year a reality. Go for it!

Now for some miscellaneous information about today:

  • 1851 – The first American YMCA opens in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • 1890 – Wounded Knee Massacre on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, 300 Lakota killed by the US Army
  • 1914 – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the first novel by James Joyce, is serialized in The Egoist
  • 1934 – Japan renounces the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930
  • 1937 – The Irish Free State is replaced by a new state called Ireland with the adoption of a new constitution
  • 1940 – World War II: In the Second Great Fire of London, the Luftwaffe firebombs London, England, UK, killing almost 200 civilians
  • 1949 – KC2XAK of Bridgeport, Connecticut becomes the first Ultra high frequency (UHF) television station to operate a daily schedule
  • 1959 – Physicist Richard Feynman gives a speech entitled “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom”, which is regarded as the birth of nanotechnology
  • 1997 – Hong Kong begins to kill all the nation’s 1.25 million chickens to stop the spread of a potentially deadly influenza strain

 

So that’s it for today people. See you tomorrow! Stay safe!

 

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Posted in Blogging, Humor, nonfiction, postaday, strange holidays, writing

Another Day for Celebrations! ~~ Dec 28

I’ve been busy today! This will be my third post today. I think for me that’s a record! My other two posts were for flash fiction, which I love to do. Go check them out if you have a minute.

The year is fading fast. Only a few more days left. I’ve all ready been reading posts on New Year resolutions. I usually don’t make any myself. I would be bound to break them. I mean, my life is always changing, always evolving into something different and new. So should I stifle myself with resolutions? I don’t think so. The number one resolution people make is to lose weight. Number two is to stop smoking.

Do I need to lose weight? Hell yes, but if I make it a resolution to do so, I will be sure to break it and then I will feel bad. Why put myself through that? Losing weight is an everyday thing with me and that’s enough pressure. As for smoking, well I don’t do that so it’s a moot point.

But wait Jackie, you think, there are other things you could make resolutions about. How about that novel you want to finish (actually 2 now)? Or how about your blog? Are you happy with the way it’s going? Do you want to change anything? Yes, and no would be my answer to that.

I’m thinking of changing things just a bit on here. More original stories, more reader participation, more personal, maybe. Just a few things I’m thinking about. We’ll see what decisions I come up with by January 1. I know I would like to see my blog grow more. I’ve been sitting stagnant for 6 months now, things need to be changed I think. Just not sure how. Any suggestions would be more than welcome!

So then, let’s get on with today’s celebrations!

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National Chocolate Candy Day ~~ Now this one makes sense doesn’t it? How many people still have Christmas candy sitting around the house? Plenty I’m betting. Today is the day to devour some of that! Go ahead, eat a piece for me. And with New Year’s eve just around the corner and that pesky resolution to lose weight closing in fast, today is a day to celebrate and eat some chocolate candy without guilt!

Card Playing Day ~~ Another good idea for you or the kids to do while on Christmas vacation! Play a good game of cards. I have always enjoyed card games. My dad was a master Cribbage player and taught me what he knew. I even beat him once or twice. Maybe. He really was good at it. Here’s a list of some card games you and your family might enjoy while eating those chocolate candies and sipping that leftover eggnog.

War, Rummy, Crazy 8’s, Gin, Euchre, Sheepshead, Cribbage, Bridge, Go Fish, Poker, Texas Hold’em, Black Jack, Solitaire and I’m sure there are lots more out there.

Gone To Pot Day ~~ The creators of this holiday decided to make a ‘gone-ta-pott’ day to celebrate all the things that had gone wrong with them during the month.

Gone-ta-Pott or “gone to pot” is an “idiom.”
If something has gone to pot, it has gone wrong and doesn’t work any more. A day where nothing has gone right. A day full of mis-haps. A day where everything you tried to do ended up with no success. A day where one thing right after the other went astray. A day when trying to meet a deadline and everything got in the way. A day that should of been a day of success turned out to be a day of turmoil. 
This Holiday is set aside for people around the world to appreciate and get a good laugh out of a bad day or a bad week. It’s time to get past the stress. This day is set aside so friends can come together over a few drinks, a pot of stew and get a big laugh over stories being told about who had the worst day for the month. Invite all your friends and family over to share in the laughter. We all love to hear a good story and we all jump to attention when someone says….. Let me tell you what happened to…! So on this day everybody needs to tell their best gone-ta-pott stories so everyone can get a big laugh out of it.
Bairns’ Day, or The Feast of the Holy Innocents ~~ On this date today it’s said,  King Herod ordered the slaughter of all infant boys under the age of two. It’s considered the Unluckiest Day of the Year.
No new work should be started this day! Instead finish up some old odds and ends:  sort out that stack of mail which may have accumulated during the holidays.Summon up your courage and examine your bank account and bills!

Get rid of that pile of laundry. No! Not out the window or hidden in some closet. Wash, dry it and put it away. Ha-ha!

Well that’s it for today people. Tomorrow is another day, see you then!

 

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Posted in Blog challenge, Blogging, Fiction, writing

A New Kind of Flash Fiction ~~ Chain Writing Game

So Kerrie Ann Salsac has started a new kind of flash fiction game called Chain Writing Game. I have been asked to contribute, so here I am. It’s an ongoing story, Kerrie starts us off with her 100 word story and we are to add onto it with our 100 word story, in a chain like effect. Each person gets a turn to add-on to the story. It’s going to get interesting.  Go on over to Kerrie’s blog and see what it’s all about. Please. Thank you. (just click on picture below)

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Cindy stopped struggling to move and a calm came over her. She had to think fast. Who knew what this Charles had in store for her?

Cindy always prided herself on her ability to take care of herself in any situation. She just had to stay calm.

“Why are doing this?” She asked a grim Charles.

“Because I can.”

Charles glanced over at Cindy and saw how beautiful she looked. She was calm now and he was quietly grateful he didn’t have to contend with a hysterical woman. For his plan to work he needed to stay focused and not succumb to her beauty.

Posted in Blog challenge, Blogging, Fiction, Friday Fictioneers, writing

Friday Fictioneers ~~ Dec 27

I’m late, I know. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been late in the year I have been doing Friday Fictioneers. Yesterday just got away from me and before I knew it, it was gone. So here I am on Saturday doing what I should have done Friday. Eh, such is life.

You all know the drill by now. Our kind hostess Rochelle Wisoff-Fields posts a picture sent in by some kind person and we all have to write a 100 word story based on that picture. About 100 of us every week do this and its great reading how different the stories can be. Go give it a read will you? Thanks

THE CHALLENGE:

Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and an end. (No one will be ostracized for going a few words over the count.)

THE KEY:

Make every word count.

Copyright – Douglas M MacIlroy
Copyright – Douglas M MacIlroy

 

 

Genre: Literary Fiction (102 words)

The lights were stunning, lighting up the tower. Susan gazed at it out her hotel window. Her mind drifted back over the last year. It had been a difficult time, with hard choices made. She made them and didn’t regret any.

Her eyes glistened with drops that refused to fall. Turning she picked up the wine glass sitting on a small table. Susan sipped her wine and tasted forgiveness.   It was a new year beginning with new adventures awaiting.

Raising her glass towards the glowing tower, she whispered,  “Today starts a new beginning, may my light shine as brightly as your’s does tonight.”

Posted in Blogging, Humor, nonfiction, postaday, strange holidays, writing

The December Celebrations are Still Happening! ~~ Dec 27

Buon giorno people! Hola,  god dag, helo, sholem aleikhem, konnichi ha, shalom, tansi, and in Potowatomie (My American Indian heritage) bozho. They all mean simply, hello! So hello people!

Christmas may be over but there are still some days left in the month, so I will be continuing to celebrate the days of December. Hope you’ll join me!

Are you glad Christmas is over? Or are you all ready looking forward to next Christmas? What are your plans for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s? Staying in? Going out? Come on people give up your plans!

Well I for one am staying in as usual. I’ll have me a nice Chinese dinner with some good tea or coffee. It’s kind of tradition with me, to have Chinese food on New Year’s eve. Either I cook it or I order it in. We’ll see what happens this year.

So after all that rambling, let’s get to the celebrations!

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Fruitcake Day ~~ Well the much despised Fruitcake gets its day! Yes, it’s Fruitcake day! (Via Wikipedia)  The earliest recipe from ancient Rome lists pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins that were mixed into barley mash. In the Middle Ages, honey, spices, and preserved fruits were added.

Fruit cakes soon proliferated all over Europe. Recipes varied greatly in different countries throughout the ages, depending on the available ingredients as well as (in some instances) church regulations forbidding the use of butter, regarding the observance of fast. Pope Innocent VIII (1432–1492) finally granted the use of butter, in a written permission known as the ‘Butter Letter’ or Butterbrief in 1490, giving permission to Saxony to use milk and butter in the North German Stollen fruit cakes. Starting in the 16th century, Sugar from the American Colonies (and the discovery that high concentrations of sugar could preserve fruits) created an excess of candied fruit, thus making fruit cakes more affordable and popular.

If a fruit cake contains alcohol, it could remain edible for many years. For example, a fruit cake baked in 1878 is kept as an heirloom by a family (Morgan L. Ford) in Tecumseh, Michigan.  In 2003 it was sampled by Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.  Wrapping the cake in an alcohol-soaked linen before storing is one method of lengthening its shelf life.

Celebrate Fruitcake Day by either eating some of the fruitcake you received for Christmas or by giving someone a fruitcake.

Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day ~~  If you have kids, Make Cut Out Snowflake Day comes at the perfect time. Likely they’ve been on holiday break for a few days now and if they are starting to have nothing to do or getting rambunctious, having them make 50-100 snowflakes to decorate the house could be a fun activity for them and a sanity saver for you. If you don’t have kids, why not regress to your childhood for a couple of hours?

Now doesn’t this take you back to your school days? Remember cutting out those snowflakes and taking them home to hang? I do. Sounds like fun! I will even give a link to a snowflake cutting guide to get you started!

Or go make virtual snowflakes, here!

Visit the Zoo Day ~~ The first zoo dates back to 1500 BC in ancient Egypt! The tradition was passed down, all the way to the 1400s AD, when Columbus discovered “The New World.” A new world meant new creatures, and his discoveries renewed interest in zoos all across Europe. Today, there are over 2,800 zoos in the world, and over 6 million people visit them each year!  So what if it’s too cold to go out to the zoo? Well, why not stay in with a good book about the zoo?

The oldest running zoo in the world is Vienna Zoo in Schonbrunn which dates from 1752.

The largest zoo in the US is Red McCombs Wildlife with over 5.000 hectares (12.500 acres).

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) has over 200 members.  Its strategy “provides a common philosophy for zoos and aquariums across the globe and defines the standards and policies that are necessary to achieve their goals in conservation.”  WAZA’s mission is “to guide, encourage and support the zoos, aquariums, and like-minded organizations of the world in animal care and welfare, environmental education and global conservation”. They are at the forefront of environmental campaigning and ran a petition in the run up to the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit (December 2009) calling on governments to set targets of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels below 350 parts per million in order to prevent a mass extinction of animals.

That’s all for now people. See you tomorrow!

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Posted in Blogging, strange holidays

It’s Boxing Day! ~~ Dec 26

Hello again people! Hope everyone’s Christmas was super fabulous!

My Christmas was quiet, but full of good food and good friends online. I made roast chicken, stuffing, mashed taters, gravy, fresh green beans and brussels sprouts with bacon. For desert was Ambrosia, yeah we ate good.

In between time I was online and over at C4C and we had a blast! Lots of good music and good chat. C4C was a total success once again this year! There were lots of friends and lots of good cheer to be had, we had almost 1600 comments made (last year I think was something like 360). I’m sure we’ll be doing it again next year! I know I’ll be there if they’ll have me.

Once again I want to toot my own horn a bit and mention that my short story “Grandpa and the TV” is published over at Canada Writes website, Facebook and twitter. It’s a true story about my grandfather and what he thought of his first TV.

Now on with the show!

Happy Boxing Day 2013 Wishes Quotes Funny Greetings Sale USA UK NYC

 

Boxing Day ~~ (Via Wikipedia) This holiday is traditionally the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts, known as a “Christmas box”, from their bosses or employers. Today, Boxing Day is the bank holiday that generally takes place on 26 December. It is observed in the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and some other Commonwealth nations. In South Africa, Boxing Day was renamed Day of Goodwill in 1994. In Ireland and Italy, the day is known as St. Stephen’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Stiofáin) or the Day of the Wren (Irish: Lá an Dreoilín). In many European countries, including  Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and those in Scandinavia, 26 December is celebrated as the Second Christmas Day.

In Britain, Canada, and some states of Australia, Boxing Day is primarily known as a shopping holiday, much like Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) in the US. It is a time where shops have sales, often with dramatic price reductions. For many merchants, Boxing Day has become the day of the year with the greatest amount of returns.  And that my friends is why I stay safely at home and laze around today. I hate shopping, but today is extra crazy out there.

Kwanzaa ~~ Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration held in the United States and also celebrated in the Western African Diaspora in other nations of the Americas. The celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture, and is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving. Kwanzaa has seven core principles (Nguzo Saba). It was created by Maulana Karenga, and was first celebrated in 1966–67.

(Via Wikipedia) Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder called the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba—the seven principles of African Heritage), which Karenga said “is a communitarian African philosophy,” consisting of what Karenga called “the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world.” These seven principles comprise *Kawaida, a Swahili term for tradition and reason. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles, as follows:

  • Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  • Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  • Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  • Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Kwanzaa symbols include a decorative mat (Mkeka) on which other symbols are placed, corn (Muhindi) and other crops, a candle holder Kinara with seven candles (Mishumaa Saba), a communal cup for pouring libation (Kikimbe cha Umoja), gifts (Zawadi), a poster of the seven principles, and a black, red, and green flag. The symbols were designed to convey the seven principles

National Candy Cane Day ~~ Now you know candy canes had to be celebrated at some point this month. So here it is! This day celebrates the sweet sugary treat that has become a traditional holiday candy. Candy Canes started as just all white sticks and it wasn’t until the turn of the century that the red stripe and the peppermint flavor was added. Many decorate their Christmas Trees with Candy Canes.

A recipe for straight peppermint candy sticks, white with colored stripes, was published in 1844. The candy cane has been mentioned in literature since 1866, was first mentioned in association with Christmas in 1874, And as early as 1882 was hung on Christmas trees.  Chicago confectioners the Bunte Brothers filed the earliest patents for candy cane making machines in the early 1920s.

There are several stories about how the candy cane came about, most of them with a religious bent. Some (like Snopes.com) have some convincing arguments against these stories. As for me, I’m just glad they are around to decorate trees with and to eat. Whichever way they came about, enjoy a candy cane today!

National Whiners Day ~~ When I found this holiday I laughed out loud. So fitting don’t you think, to have Whiners day on the day after Christmas? Today is the day you can whine about the bad gifts you received, or the gifts you wanted but didn’t get!   National Whiners Day was founded in 1986 and is dedicated to those who like to whine. Especially, those who are returning or exchanging Christmas gifts. Actually, this day is to encourage everyone to appreciate what they have.

Rev. Kevin Zabor­ney, in 1986, des­ig­nated Decem­ber 26 as National Whiner’s Day. Rev. Zabor­ney founded the hol­i­day in hopes of encour­ag­ing peo­ple to be thank­ful for what they have, rather than unhappy about what they don’t have.

Sug­ges­tions for Cel­e­brat­ing National Whiner’s Day

*Visit a shop­ping mall or retail store and watch peo­ple “whine” as they return and exchange their hol­i­day gifts (remem­ber, it’s not only the cus­tomers who whine).

*Invite friends over, or plan a party, and call it a “Whine and Geeze” party! Serve non-alcoholic wine and cheese!

*Again, invite friends to a National Whiner’s Day party. In order to get in, your friends need to bring one unwanted gift, wrapped, for a white ele­phant exchange.

*Hold a whin­ing con­test at home or with friends, and invite a radio or tele­vi­sion sta­tion to broad­cast the event. Award the win­ner with a funny cer­tifi­cate or tro­phy. Make it more fun by scor­ing not only the whine qual­ity, but on the whin­ing itself. For exam­ple, “Ohh­hhh, mooomm. Do I havvvvve to cleeeeean my roooomm?”

Either way you celebrate the day, have fun!

Well that’s it for today people, but there are still some days left in December, so I will be back tomorrow with more celebrations!

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Posted in Blogging, Humor, nonfiction, postaday, strange holidays, writing

Merry Christmas! ~~ Dec 25

Merry Christmas people! We finally made it to the big day. Hope your Christmas went great and you find peace and happiness.

A few things to announce before I get to the celebrations for today. If you haven’t seen the blogs or posts about C4C yet, well I’m here to inform you what it’s all about. C4C (Company for Christmas) is a wonderful thing that was started last year by rulesofstupid. Now this kind man knew that a lot of bloggers were alone on Christmas and he wanted to do something about it. So he started the blog C4C that just runs during the holidays. It’s a place run by volunteers for people to go to if they get lonely and want to chat.

I am one of those volunteers. I did it last year and I’m doing it again this year. The only thing different is now we have the wonderful and kind-hearted rara from rarasuar manning the helm. My sparkly friend and I and all the other volunteers would like you to know that you can come over anytime and find someone to talk to. It doesn’t have to be serious stuff, in fact it’s usually not. It’s loads of fun, filled with music and laughter. I’ll be there between 2 and 4 pm, but I’ll also be stopping by off and on throughout the day and night.

My room is called JackieP’s Joint. I hope you’ll pop over later this afternoon and say hi!

Second piece of news is more personal. Last month I sent in a short story, “Grandpa and his TV” (500 words) to Canada Writes for a contest called “Bloodlines”.  I didn’t win the main prize unfortunately, but they did enjoy my story. So on December 26, they are publishing it on their website, Canada Writes, their twitter account and their Facebook page! That means my story, which is a true story by the way, will be plastered all over the internet tomorrow! Lots and lots of exposure! Yay me! For me that’s a win!

Now let’s get to those celebrations shall we?

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Christmas ~~ Well I think we all know this one! Hope everyone’s Christmas was wonderful! The history of Christmas goes back at least 4000 years. Although a Christian holiday, many of the traditions associated with Christmas actually have pagan roots. Christians in the Middle East and Europe began to adapt many of these traditions as a way of reducing the impact pagans had on society.

In addition to “Christmas”, the holiday has been known by various other names throughout its history. The Anglo-Saxons referred to the feast as “midwinter”, Or, more rarely, as Nātiuiteð (from Latin nātīvitās below). “Nativity”, meaning “birth”, is from Latin nātīvitās. In Old English, Gēola (“Yule”) referred to the period corresponding to January and December, which was eventually equated with Christian Christmas.  “Noel” (or “Nowell”) entered English in the late 14th century and is from the Old French noël or naël, itself ultimately from the Latin nātālis (diēs), “(day) of birth”.

National Pumpkin Pie Day ~~ Pumpkin Pie Day is honors this festive pie that is enjoyed in mass quantities from Thanksgiving Day until today. Today celebrate by eating an entire pie and mounds of whipped topping (yummy!). Get to baking and make plenty to go around, because you know there is always room for pie.

No “L” Day ~~ Now this one is a tongue in cheek kind of holiday. It seems it was invented by a Bob Birch from the Puns Corp. Say, No “L” Day fast, what do you come up with? haha! A’phabet Day or No “L” Day is for anyone who wants to send written messages, but not Christmas cards via snail mail to their friends. The card should list  all of the letters of the alphabet except the “L.” It’s silly yet fun. Have a go and see what you can do.

And once again I found a silly, funny poem for you to enjoy!

Up On the Desktop, Click, Click, Click!

I’m going to Google Santa Claus.
I’m going to Google him because
He does a lot of kinky stuff
that common sense forbids.
The hat, the sleigh, the biker beard
All strike me as a little weird.
I want to check him out before
I let him near the kids.

I’m going to Google Santa Claus.
His gay apparel gives me pause.
I’ll find out what he smokes
and if he used to be a dame.
I want to know what kind of guy
Goes mushing reindeer through the sky.
I want to know what Vixen did
to earn that kind of name!

And so I’ll Google old Saint Nick
And find out just what makes him tick.
I’ll search his background thoroughly
and learn his every vice.
Old Santa’s in the hot seat now.
He’s had it coming anyhow.
It’s time we knew for certain
If he’s naughty or he’s nice! 

Copyright; Scott Emmons

 

 

Posted in Blogging, Humor, nonfiction, postaday, strange holidays, writing

It’s Christmas Eve! ~~ Celebrate! ~~ Dec 24

Merry Christmas Eve, people! Hope you have loads of fun today! If you are still shopping for presents, I hope you find tons of sales! Either way have a wonderful day and evening!

We here in Canada will be having three days of merriment? Ok, maybe two, because the 26th is Boxing Day here and that means commercialism craziness! It’s our version of ‘Black Friday’. It means stores will be running big sales and there will be line ups and tents in front of stores. Me? You’ll find me safely ensconced at home with a nice cup of coffee and slippers on my feet doing what I do best, writing on the old computer.

I’ll be having a relatively quiet Christmas. And it’s not going to be white! Darn it! The one day I want snow it won’t. It’s actually warmed up enough the past two days to melt what snow we had. Then after Christmas and for New Years we’ll probably get a damn blizzard! Eh, it’s all good I don’t go anywhere for New Year’s either. Too many crazies out there.

So let’s get to it shall we? Celebrate!

Maxine-Merry-Christmas

Christmas Eve ~~ We all know it’s Christmas Eve. Some parts of the world it may even be Christmas Day all ready. Merry Christmas! Some families have Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve and some attend church services. Traditionally, the last white candle in the center of the Advent wreath is lit on Christmas Eve to symbolize the coming of Christ. Traditions are a big part of the holidays and Christmas Eve is no exception. Every country has their own customs that make this a special holiday.

Enhance a cozy atmosphere with Christmas music and light some candles to welcome your guests. If you have a Scrooge in your family, bribe him with some good food and shower him with love. He’ll be sure to lighten up. Whatever your traditions are, embrace them. They are part of your heritage!

Old family customs are nostalgic but sometimes not practical in this day and age. Try mixing some old traditions with new ones. If you want to be out and about on Christmas Eve, going out to see a holiday movie or a play will serve that purpose and add some holiday cheer. Check in with the personnel at a local nursing home to get an idea of what residents will not have family in town. Pay them a visit and give them a small, useful gift, all in the spirit of Christmas.

National Egg Nog Day ~~ Now you all knew this day had to happen at some point in December, as Egg Nog is the drink of the month. The traditional recipe for eggnog is milk, cream, sugar, beaten eggs, spices, and sometimes alcohol. The type of alcohol depends on the country where it is made. In Europe, eggnog is traditionally made with white wine. Americans drink it with bourbon or rum while Peruvians use pomace brandy and Germans use beer.

And because I’m the good egg (pun intended) that I am I went and found you a decadent egg nog recipe. It has chocolate in it people, white chocolate. Go here for the recipe and enjoy!

Today is another very short list, so I thought I would include this poem from Maxine (of Hallmark fame) in the way of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’. I thought it was funny, hope you do too.

'Twas the night before Christmas
 And all through the house...
 Not a creature was stirring
 since the cat ate the mouse.

 My support hose were hung
 By the chimney with care.
 (I hung them last Christmas
 And just left them there.)

 My dog, Floyd, was nestled
 All snug in his bed,
 After watching the cat rip
 The presents to shreds.

 And I in my long johns
 And ratty night cap
 Had just settled my butt
 For a long winter's nap.

 When out on the lawn
 There arose such a clatter,
 I swore at the window,
 "What the (blank) is the matter?"

 I tore open the window,
 Not a second to tarry,
 All ready to throw
 The noisemaker a berry.

 A bright moon was lighting
 The new-fallen snow...
 And I had a moon of my own
 Set to show.

 Floyd was beside me,
 Paw pointing the way
 Toward eight tiny reindeer
 Hitched up to a sleigh...

 And a little old driver
 So cheery and quick,
 I thought for a moment
 That I would be sick.

 Like a bat out of...you know,
 His reindeer they came,
 And I whistled and shouted
 And called them some names--

 "Hey, Hornhead! Hey, Furface!
 Hey, Weiner and Turkey!
 Yo, Klutzy and Mangy
 And Venison  Jerky!

 Stay off  of my porch!
 Get away from my wall!
 Now hit the road, hit the road,
 Hit the road, all!

 But as pedestrians before
 My old Buick , they fly
 And head for high ground
 With great fear in their eyes,

 So up to my rooftop
 The fleabags they flew,
 With a sleigh full of toys
 And old Fruitcake - Breath too.

 And then, in a twinkling,
 I heard on the roof
 Holes in my new shingles
 Made by each tiny hoof.

 As I reached for my slingshot
 And a marble as well,
 Down the chimney St. Nicholas
 Tumbled and fell.

 He had a huge sack of
 Cheap junk on his back
 And I whispered to Floyd,
    "Be prepared to attack."

 His eyes they were squinting,
 His toy bag was draggin',
 And I felt for a moment
 Like I'd soon be gaggin'.

 He was dressed all in red.
 With a bell on his hat.
 And a belt of black leather
 To hold back the fat.

 A billowing pipe
 He clenched tight in his smile,
 And the smell was like something
 Had been dead for awhile.

 He had a broad face
 And a little round belly
 That shook when I nailed him
 With a handful of jelly.

 He was chubby and plump,
 Well, actually porky,
 And I laughed when I tripped him
 (He looked pretty dorky).

 He was like a beached whale
 Unable to budge.
 And he tasted good , too,
 If the dog was a judge.

 I spoke not a word
 But went straight to my work--
 A noogie, a wedgie,
 A cry of "You jerk!"

 Until laying a finger
 Aside of his nose,
 With a loud cry of "Uncle!"
 Up the chimney he rose.

 He sprang to the sleigh
 And dragged in the toys,
 Then he cried to the reindeer,
 "Get me out of here, Boys!"

 And I had to exclaim
 As a slushball I tossed,
 "Happy Christmas to all,
 And to all a Get Lost!"

 But then, as I turned,
 I saw 'neath the tree
 Two gaily wrapped presents--
 One for Floyd, one for me.

 A big bag of jerky
 Turned Floyd mighty chipper,
 While for me was a pair
 Of brand-new bunny slippers.

 I looked out the window,
 And hovering there,
 Old Santa was winking
 From his sleigh in midair...

 "Merry Christmas, Maxine!"
 He cried, full of cheer,
 "Same to you, Pal!" I answered,
 ("I'll get you next year!")         THE END