Thanksgiving 2019

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Alternatively, Happy Turkey Coma Day. Or even Happy Parade Day.

Possibly even Happy semi-official start of the Xmas Season.

Last year, Galen posted a reading list along with a picture of tiny, bitey Miss Hecate, who was thankful for her timely rescue the month before. So I’ll leave you this year with a picture of the full-grown Miss Hecate, still grateful for that timely rescue, just as we are grateful for her playful advent into our lives. And as you can see from her picture below, she’s expecting someone to be grateful that she brought him a mousie.

 

Labor Day 2019

Hurricane Dorian on 8/30/19 by NOAA – https://www.star.nesdis.noaa.gov/GOES/index.php, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81729040

Today is Labor Day in the U.S., making this a three-day holiday weekend for those of us who either get paid for the holiday or receive time off to be taken later in exchange for working the holiday, or who get time-and-a-half or overtime pay for working the holiday. And for any of the above, thank the Labor Unions that this holiday was originally created to celebrate.

But when I looked back at my previous Labor Day posts, I noticed a second theme that I hadn’t expected, but is in full force – literally – this weekend as well.

Labor Day, in addition to marking the unofficial end of summer, seems to be Prime Time for Atlantic hurricanes. Hence the picture at the top of this post, Hurricane Dorian, which now looks like it’s going to head up the Atlantic coast. It could change course again, but it’s definitely going to do some folks a whole lot of damage along its way.

If you’re in the path of the Hurricane, take care and take shelter as needed. If you’re not, while you’re celebrating the holiday, spare a thought and a prayer or two for those who are spending this weekend battening down the hatches.

Again.

Independence Day 2019

1776 (l-r) Jefferson, Franklin, Adams
Alexander Hamilton

Today is probably a good day to re-watch the movie 1776 – or listen to the original cast recording of Hamilton. More likely both. Both are stories about the beginning of what was sometimes called the “American Experiment” – as in the experiment of democracy. It was kind of a new thing in the late 1700s.

If you are wondering whether that experiment may have run its course this Independence Day, you’re not alone.

Once upon a time, it was glorious. Flawed, often extremely so, but glorious all the same. I think we’re all going to miss it if it’s gone.

July 4 Fireworks, Duluth GA

Memorial Day 2019

1870 Decoration Day parade in St. Paul MN by Charles Alfred Zimmerman

Today is Memorial Day in the United States. Based on the Wikipedia article, the exact history of this holiday is still up for debate. But then, isn’t everything these days.

It seems to have begun as Decoration Day, a day to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers. And it seems to have “officially” been set to May 30 after the U.S. Civil War. Needless to say, that was observed differently between the North and South in the late 19th century.

In the (not quite) end, all of the various Decoration Day and Memorial Day observances coalesced into one day, May 30, to become Memorial Day, to honor the sacrifice of all soldiers who fell in uniform regardless of which war (or not) they fell in.

And things stayed that way until the whole “Monday Holiday” thing, otherwise known as the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968, moved four holidays from their traditional dates of observance to their nearest convenient Monday in order to create 3-day weekends and boost tourism. So here we are, many, but not all of us able to celebrate the unofficial start of summer.

But that’s not how this all began, and not how it should be remembered. Today is Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor the fallen. And so we should.

Graves at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day
Gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day weekend

 

Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop, hosted by Bookhounds!

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, so people are thinking romance. Having it, losing it, keeping it and especially reading about it! Or at least especially so for this blog hop, which is all about romance books.

Speaking of reading about romance, I have a few (dozen) on my TBR pile right now. What about you? The two I’m most looking forward to in the coming months are Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev and The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai. But I’m sure there will be plenty more as the year goes by.

But speaking of years going by, if you’re looking for something that’s already out, take a look at the SFR Galaxy Awards, just announced on January 31. The judges (full disclosure, including moi) have selected yet another terrific list of science fiction romance that would make a perfect Valentine’s Day read – or a perfect read any day of the year when you want to put a little rocket fuel in your romance read!

My book for tomorrow is a surefire winner, as has been everything by this particular author that I’ve read. And that’s mostly everything. Who are your “go-to” romance authors? Answer in the rafflecopter for your chance at either a $10 Amazon Gift Card or a book up to $10 in value from the Book Depository.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more fabulous bookish prizes, be sure to visit the other stops on the hop!

Xmas 2018

Today is a day of mixed feelings for me. It always is, but this year especially.

My mother passed away one year ago today. So last year at this time we were with her in Cincinnati, at her bedside in hospice, waiting for what had become inevitable. She was 89 years old, the last person of her generation on either side of the family, had been a widow for over 25 years and was basically just done. In the end, the COPD was what got her. Unlike Spock, she never did quit smoking.

Some of you are probably wondering if her death on Xmas will spoil my future holidays. It can’t. This is not my holiday, and never has been. I’m Jewish – not always a convenient thing but certainly it is in this case.

There was an op-ed piece posted recently on Facebook, from someone else who is Jewish, attempting to explain how the ubiquity of Xmas and its aggressive foisting upon the entire U.S. for at least an entire month feels from the perspective of someone who does not participate in the holiday. (I can’t find it now, and wish I could – if you have a link, please leave it in the comments!)

She echoed many of my own feelings over the years. And the comments she received echoed many of the responses I’ve gotten over those same years. For those for whom Xmas is not their holiday, the constant “pushing” of it is very “othering” for lack of a better word. It is a continuous reminder that we are member of a minority. An entire month of that gets very, very old. We don’t want anyone to stop celebrating their own holiday, we would just love it if the atmosphere didn’t shove it down our throats 24/7 every day from Black Friday to Boxing Day.

Entirely too many commenters on the post entirely missed the point. They exhorted her to “get a life” or a sense of humor or just let it slide. We all let it slide, all the time, every day for an entire month. It’s ironic that for a post where one woman talked about how she felt, most posters felt obligated to deny her feelings and tell her how she should feel. And doesn’t that happen to women entirely too often as it is?

I also have my own personal pet peeve about Xmas programming – it’s beginning to sound a lot like Halloween – or at least the Day of the Dead. In order to fill 24/7 Xmas programming, too many carols by many too many dead people get played way too often. Xmas is starting to feel like the season when the dead come back to life.

I’ve been fairly assertive this year about saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Xmas”. After all, I don’t know what holiday the other person celebrates unless they tell me. And I don’t need to know. In that spirit, I’ll leave you with this one final thought:

 

Labor Day 2018

Labor Day Parade, float of Women’s Trade Union League, New York, 1908

If you have today off as a paid holiday – or if you are working today but get a paid day later to make up for it, or if you get time and a half or doubletime for working today, it’s thanks to the labor movement that is celebrated today.

And if you don’t, that might be thanks to the way that the labor movement has been beaten back in recent years.

Today also marks the unofficial end of summer in the United States, even though the lines between seasons have gotten much blurrier over the years. School used to start after Labor Day and now it starts before. Football season still officially begins, but baseball season used to be winding down towards the playoffs about this point. Now the regular season has another month to run before the playoffs, and the World Series doesn’t begin until the end of October.

But still, no matter what else is happening, or what the weather is doing, Labor Day still marks the beginning of the end. The year always feels like its winding down from this point.

If you have a three-day weekend, be sure to enjoy the last gasp of summer. After all, it’s only 58 days to Halloween!

Fourth of July 2018

Fireworks in San Jose California 2007 07 04 by Ian Kluft img 9618

To those in the United States, Happy Fourth of July. So as not to be completely remiss, to those in Canada, a belated Happy Canada Day.

Now that I’ve lured you in with a picture of Independence Day fireworks, I’m going to share a different picture. This has been going around on Facebook for a few days, and I think we all need the reminder.

I check the box for immigrants. All four of my grandparents came to the United States from Eastern Europe in the early 20th century. I only exist because they fled to the this country before the Holocaust. All of my family who did not leave died in the concentration camps.

My husband’s family has been here a bit longer. On one side, he has ancestors who fought in the American Revolution. On the other, Scots-Irish who came to the U.S. just after the Civil War. But he is still the descendant of immigrants.

And whether or not you are also able to tick off some of the other boxes on that short list, so are you.

 

Memorial Day 2018

On the one hand, for most of us, today is a happy day. Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. marks the unofficial start of summer. And it’s a three-day weekend, and for those of us who get to take the whole thing off, three-day weekends are always excellent.

On that oh-so-infamous other hand, the holiday we are celebrating is not technically happy. Memorial Day was set aside to honor all those who served our country, and who fell while wearing its uniform.