Pet Parables

While my husband and I visited with another married couple, we concluded that we have pet tales galore. As we are fairly recently married (them and us) and we are taking our time in starting a family, our dogs become the center of attention, which parents around us don’t seem to find interesting or important in light of their children’s stories.

Pets, however, have long taken part in people’s lives, guided, loved and inspired the human kind. I just discovered that the musical “Cats” was based on the T.S. Eliot’s collection “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.” The author wrote the poems provoked by his cat Jellylorum, who is also a character in the stage performance.

Another beloved writer of mine, Charles Dickens, apparently owned a pet raven named Grip. He included the bird as a character in “Barnaby Rudge” and some say Edgar Allan Poe based “The Raven” on Dickens’ pet.

Grip, the raven, mounted after his death in 1841. (Courtesy of ushistory.org)

I can only hope that one day when we have children, we will never forget what large role pets play in people’s lives and will respect that.

News Without Borders

Eye-opening classifies today.

I consistently complain that American news does not measure up to Bulgarian or any other European’s country’s broadcast. When you turn on the evening telecast in the Old Continent, you get about 10-15 minutes of local and country news and the rest of the programming concerns the globe. Real world news. Not regarding our nationals handling another place but about other people, far away, managing issues. Unless it’s a major disaster, your U.S. 7 p.m. broadcasters won’t mention a word about it. Tornadoes swept through the Dallas-Fort Worth area on April 3. I made sure to email my parents when getting off work that my husband and I are okay, because even though there were no victims, the news spread over Europe and sure enough my family knew about the calamity early on April 4.

Today, I discovered how much in a bubble we seem to live and I dislike it. I believe that the American people want to know and learn and see more than with what they are presented. Apparently, toward the end of March commotion began, largely in Russia and Eastern Europe, because someone stated that the World Health Organization (WHO) classified vegetarianism as a mental illness and added it to the F63.8, a collection concerning habit and impulse disorders. The WHO rejected the statement. After hearing the rumor, I tried to obtain more information about it. The search took at least 45 minutes and included exploring German and Russian sites, as well as social media outlets. With all the information tools  presented today, news should be readily available. Not that any hoax should be discussed, but news from the WHO ought to hold more importance than Reese Witherspoon’s baby bump or Claire Danes’s sloppy dress.

Feelings Palette

Nature affects us. Colors are part of it. Today, my sister enlightened me to how the palette influences moods and behaviors.

Apparently, you should not wear red if you feel angry or upset, but it can aid if you notice your energy waning. Similarly with pink – never put it on if you feel hesitant. On the contrary, green increases your confidence.

Yellow apparel brings happiness and increased attention to detail and orange boosts creativity. Lastly, if you need a change dress in purple.

Yellow for today then.

Pick Your Own

When I was a little girl, my family and I used to go to a large orchard in the summer (when my grandparents’ trees did not give enough fruit) to pick cherries. Today, I discovered that pick-your-own farms exist in America as well. A nearby location I shall visit this summer is Hoffstede Farm. You can pick tons of varied fruits and veggies, picnic and see different animals. For similar places in your area check out this site.

While learning about local farms, I also discovered that Texas happens to have some of the capital cities of fruits and vegetables.

Crystal City, for example, boasts as the spinach capital of the world. The residents erected a statue of Popeye the Sailor Man in 1937.

Popeye the Sailor Man statue in Crystal City, Texas

Madisonville is recognized as the mushroom capital of Texas. The city holds a yearly festival, in 2012 on October 27, with multiple activities such as cooking, art and even a 5K run.

Mushroom art from the 2010 Texas Mushroom Festival in Madisonville

As the red grapefruit is the official Texas fruit, the Legislature recognized Weslaco as the citrus capital of the state in 1998. If you are curious like me, you can find more official Texas capital designations here.

Positively Peaceful

It always seems to take two days to hit home for me. When the fire behind my old rental home destroyed my garage and the back of the house, the event did not sink in until the following evening. Same happened today. Many heard about the tornadoes that came through the Dallas-Fort Worth area on April 4. Many, myself included, were there.

During the storm, I happened to stand in a larger bathroom with about 20 children, two parents and 12 teachers. While holding a three-year-old precious young man and singing songs nothing seemed to upset the happy mood in the room. The damaging winds, hail and downpour outside couldn’t break the laughter elicited from singing and signing “The Green Grass Grows” among other tunes.

Luckily, neither our staff’s nor client’s property got truly damaged and everyone in the area survived the storm according to reports. I, however, learned to stay calm. Our children, while used to severe weather drills, performed amazingly during both real tornado warnings and when all sharing  the innermost classroom for the afternoon. Those tranquil actions did not happen without a reason. Children can read us, our feelings, wants, pet peeves. During any emergency, remain calm. A child, chances are, has never seen a tornado, they base their fear or panic on you and your behavior. It does not always have to end badly – all I had to do is hold my little friend, tell him everything will be OK and give him some tickles.

Laughter Through Time

It’s April First. Besides rent being due, today has become special since about the 1500s as April Fool’s Day. This year, I happened to learn some of the most famous pranks ever done.

Back in 1957, BBC aired its traditional serious Panorama program, reporting that Switzerland has seen an unusually large spaghetti (a delicacy at the time) harvest, with the broadcast showing a woman picking the pasta from a tree and laying it to dry. Many believed the telecast and called trying to find a way to buy a spaghetti plant.

Snapshot of the BBC spaghetti harvest program. (Courtesy of BBC.co.uk)

The Swedish channel Sveriges Television, the only one in the country at the time, reported in 1962 that if you put a nylon sock over your device’s screen and sit a certain distance away, you can watch TV in color. Many rushed to find socks and try out the method, so well scientifically described in the broadcast.

Snapshot of the technical expert showing how to change the TV broadcast to color.

The chain Burger King announced its Left-Handed Wooper in 1998. Thousands showed up in stores on April 1 trying to buy it and many asked specifically for a right-handed burger.

The Left-Handed Wooper (Courtesy of Time.com)

 

Lastly, the most recent hoax I learned was The Guardian’s prank stating it will only publish on Twitter. You can read the original April 1 story here.

All these made me laugh and I hope April Fool’s brings you nothing short of roaring giggles.