Today is National Chocolate Day

If you are a choco-holic like I am, this is one day you can get into (or preferably get into you.)

National Chocolate Day, on October 28th, recognizes one of the world’s favorite tastes. While many specific chocolate related holidays exist throughout the year, National Chocolate Day celebrates all things chocolate.

From the National Chocolate Day website:
Chocolate comes from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia and grows in Mexico, Central America, and Northern South America. The earliest known documentation of using cacao seeds is from around 1100 BC.

Since cacao tree seeds have a very intense, bitter taste, they must be fermented to develop the flavor.

“Chocolate, when eaten moderation, can lower blood pressure.”   Rhetorical question, what is moderation: one section or piece, one candy bar, or one bag of candy?

Do you consider white chocolate  to actually be chocolate?

Milk chocolate or dark chocolate?

Mars or  Hersheys?

Sees or Godiva?

Can you choose?Chocolate

 

 

 

Virginia Is for Lovers–50th Anniversary

I first heard Virginia’s tourism and travel slogan in 1970 when it was a year old.  Fifty years later, the slogan has gained new life.

“Virginia is for Lovers” is the tourism and travel slogan of the U.S. commonwealth of Virginia. Used since 1969, it has become a well-recognized and often imitated part of American jargon. In 2012, Advertising Age called “Virginia is for Lovers” “one of the most iconic ad campaigns in the past 50 years.”

Autumn is beautiful in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Love ya,  Virgina.

Fall--Colored Trees at the DMV
Fall color at the Charlottesville DMV
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Love outside the Stoney Point  Market  along Route 20

   Clark Mountain Road near Crozet, VA.

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Love at the Grelen Farm Market in Somerset, VA

Multicolored neighborhood tree and pumpkins under a red tree at Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, VA.

Love at Cardinal Point Winery, Veritas Winery, and Palladio Restaurant  at Barboursville Winery

 

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50th Anniversary of LOVE at Barboursville Winery

 

Lessons for a Locker Room Trixie

When I arrived at the  upstairs locker room outside the  UVA North Grounds pool, I found a large puddle of water on the floor in front of my locker and the bench  below the row of lockers strewn with a variety of personal possessions.  The owner of this disarray was nowhere in sight and she left  her  locker unopened.

I made some assumptions about the female that later proved to be true.

I gingerly took off my clothes to avoid slipping on the puddle of water and to keep the hem of my pants from getting soaked.  I relocated her bag of sundry body and hair products so that I could open my locker and desposite my belongings in it.  Once clad in my bathing suit, with my possessions safely stowed in the locked locker, I took my shower and went to the pool.

About  40 minutes I returned to the locker room and once again relocated the bag of body/hair products from in front of my locker.  The owner, which I will only identify as an undergraduate, was sitting across from the row of lockers I was at, on another bench, studiously texting or reading emails.  She was (fortunately) wearing panties as she sat there but her bra was discarded next to her on the bench. The cute raincoat (clear plastic with narrow black trim) had been relocated from the puddle under the original bench and was now in a heap under the bench she was now sitting on.  Her clear matching rain boots were still left in a heap under her  open locker.

Trixie, here are the lessons I wish someone had taught  you.  I’m  glad for your sake (and the sake of anyone else who might sit on that bench) that you knew enough to put on panties before sitting on the bench.

  • Locker rooms are shared facilties, you are given a key to a single locker.. By reasonable assumption, the space on the bench in front of the locker and the floor space under the bench in front of your locker is for your use.   Bench and floor space under adjacent  lockers should be left  empty for those locker users.
  • Please wipe up large puddles of water.  People are asked to dry off before returning to the locker after using the showers.  This should apply to people who drip copieous amounts of water from rain coats and boots.
  • Put your posessions in your locked locker.  I had to relocate your bag or personal products twice.  I did not look closely enough to see if there was anything I wanted to try and you did give me ample opportunity to do so.
  • I really appreciate that you were using your  phone for texting or emailing.  I doubt I would have wanted to eavesdrop on a prolonged personal conversation.   But until I changed my clothes I would not have had a reasonable option.
  • The locker rooms are kept  exceptionally clean but there is no provision for personal maid service.  The other locker users should not have to pick up after you.

October 22 is INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY and Nut Day and National Knee Day

caps lockI AM NOT SCREAMING AT YOU, I’m just celebrating National Caps Lock Day.  I have a keyboard which has a caps lock key but it  does not light up when the caps lock is on. Typing my password can be problematic, particularly when I am in an app where my username is all in CAPS.  For those of you who can not  get enough of National Caps Lock Day, it is also celebrated on June 22. (Not sure why this day rates two occasions to celebrate.)

 

Nut Day celebrates the health value of eating nuts.  It  does not refer to the drooling, raging nut I become when I have to bring up a word document so I can tell if I am typing all in caps or in upper and lower case letters.  (What is the sense of having a password where you can actually see what  you are typing?  If you can see the password so can anyone looking over  your shoulder.)

It’s also National Knee Day.  (This day strikes very close to home for me. My arthritic knee and my artificial knee trade-off being the “good” knee.)

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From the Checkiday website:

Today’s holiday is the bee’s knees, so think a little bit about how you want to celebrate it instead of just making a knee-jerk reaction. Here are a few ideas on how to spend the day:

 

Book Review: Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini–Part II

Resistence WomenAs I read this book, I am repeatedly struck with how apt the words of the characters in 1930’s Germany could apply today by changing the country and political parties.  The book is written in 2019 so one would have to draw one’s own conclusions on how concidental the remarks are.

p15 (1929)   “Mildred knew that Germany was not perfect, that like the United State it grappled with various economic, political, and social problems….”  Mildred is an American, married to a German national and has joined her husband in Germany.  (She and her husband are  based upon real people.) Mildred is studying for a doctorate in American literature and is trying to find a job as a professor at a time when the Nazi’s are coming to power.

p42-43  (Oct 1930) “People are struggling,” Sara replied…..”They can’t find work and they’re afraid of what the future holds.” Sara  is Jewish and a student of Mildred’s.  Sara’s family is well off–her father is a banker. Her brother Natan is a reporter and an editor for an important Berlin newspaper.  They hope that their relative wealth and generations of being German will keep them safe in the future.

Natan’s response to Sara, “Then comes along this loud, angry man  promising to take them back to a mythical golden age of prosperity, swearing to punish Germany’s enemies for wrongdoing them.  Some peple respond to that–in this case, vast numbers of people.”

p50  “Women and Jews–what threat do we pose to those men, that they call for our deaths?”  Amalie, Sara’s sister, and married to  well-off Christian who is an officer in the Wehrmacht, is lamenting what has happened in public after the “results of September 14 election had stunned everyone–except perhaps the leader of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, an Austrian named Adolph Hitler. ”

Following the election, there was a riot in Berlin.  p52, “..(N)one of the roughly 300 protesters had been arrested, less surprised to read that most of the windows broken had belonged to businesses owned by Jews.”

“And though there was not a word of truth to it, the National  Socialist press spread the rumor  that the Communists had started the riot.  They proclaimed the lie so often and so emphatically that those who had not seen the riot for themselves could not distinguish truth from falsehood.”

p63 (1931), Dr. Kienle, a prominent female gynocologist, tries unsuccessfully to give a speech in Marburg,  The Nazi brownshirts disrupt her speech by proclaiming a woman’s role “Kinder, Kirche Kuche!”–Children, church, kitchen.  “Mildred knew then that outspoken, independent women made up one more class of undesirables that must be suppressed if the Nazis were to remake Germany in their own image.”

p189 (1933) “Rational people,” said Mildred.  “People who act out of decency, compassion, and respect for the rule of law rather than hatred and fear.  That is the real Germany, not that frenzy of lies we saw yesterday.”

 

Book Review: Resistence Women by Jennifer Chiaverini, Part I

The latest book by New York Times best seller author Jennifer Chiaverini, is set in Germany from the waning days of the Wiemar Republic through Adolph Hitler’s legal rise to power, where his Nationalist Social party changes Germany from a democratic republic to a dictatorship. It culminates with World War II.

The Resistence Women are based upon  three real women and a fictitional Jewish woman who make up a group opposing Hitler and the rise of the Nazi regime. Mildred Fish-Harnack, a University of Wisconsin graduate student in American Literature goes to Germany in 1929 to be with her German born husband, brilliant economist Arvid Harnack, who she had met and married in the United States.  Mildred is trying to finish her doctorate, while seeking a position as a professor in a German university.  Greta Lorke, a friend of Mildred and her husband Arvid  from the University of Wisconsin, returns to Germany in 1930 to find that that 1929 stock market crash has severely affected the already struggling German economy.  Greta is also trying to finish her dissertation and is seeking a position as a writer in the theater.  Martha Dodd,  the daughter of the new American ambassador to Germany and also an author, meets Mildred through the American Women’s Club.  Sara Weitz, one of Mildred’s students in American Lit, is the only fictional character.  She is from a well-off Jewish family and represents a composite character of some of the Jewish members of the resistence cell.

The four women and their partners are drawn into an underground espionage network, where imprisonment and possible death are the most likely outcomes whether one is German, American, gentile or Jew.  Anyone who is not a fervent Nazi is an enemy of the Reich.

However, the Nazi’s are not the only ones who practice anti-semitism and the perception that Mildred and Arvid are Communist sympathizers (in the post WWII Cold War era)  lead to the story not getting the attention it might otherwise have recieved.

When We Say “We Can’t” as We Age, Is it Common Sense or Psychological?

 

Senior Citizens Unload Here
Senior Citizens:  Unload Here

 

I have a friend in her 70s who is a very reluctant driver, and she has been like that since at  least  her 50s.  For over twenty years, her longtime boyfriend drove her almost everywhere.  Since he’s moved out, she mostly drives to work, the doctor, and to neighborhood businesses.  She does not like to travel alone and has curtailed many things that she has enjoyed doing for years like taking the train to New York to attend the opera. (She does not like to drive from the close in Virginia suburbs to Union Station in DC for starters.)

 

I have another frend, also in her 70s, who has bought a new car with all of the safety features like accident avoidance cameras.  She’s a widow and is used to travelling by herself or with family or friends.  She wans to keep driving but wants to do it safely since an accident involving older driver is often perceived to be that driver’s fault.

I have another friend, in her late 70s, who will drive her minivan almost anywhere (with or without her husband.)  She is very active with many friends, hobbies, and interests.

So is an unwillingness to drive as we age, psychological or common sense? (Each of these ladies is in good health and to the best of my knowledge has no reason why she should not drive.)

I used to love to climb on rocks and explore tidepools.  I am now afraid to do that.  I can’t decide if that is commonsense or a self-imposed pyschological barrier.  Yet I see dozens of volunteers in their 60s, 70s, and 80s who climb up and down from the tidepools with no outward signs of trepidation.

There are many things that we can no longer safely do as we age.  So not doing some of those things make sense, especially if we have a medical condition that precludes doing them safely.  For other things, why do we allow ourselves to do things we could easily accomplish if we gave ourselves permission?

What have you given up as you age and why have you given it up?  Is it fear or reason that keeps you from continuing a previously beloved activity?

What Are the Boons in Your Life?

Youth is a silly, vapid state, Old age with fears and ills is rife; This simple boon I beg of Fate – A thousand years of Middle Life.–Carolyn Wells

A boon is a thing that is helpful or beneficial. Its archaic definition is a favor or request.

For me, boons are those simple,  unexpected gifts that life hands us occasionally.

It can be the earliest Christmas lights in the neighborhood or the unexpected ones that shine through the night after January 1 or January 6.  Or people who once a year do not draw their curtains so you can enjoy their Christmas tree as you walk or drive past .

It’s the earliest fall colored leaves or the last ones that cling to the trees after the rest have flown, fluttered or swirled off to other destinations.

The grass greening in the spring, new leaves sprouting on tree limbs, the progression of Spring flowers from crocus through daffodils, tulips, and iris.

Cold fronts in summer and warm fronts in winter, when the temperature and humidity give us a break from the norm.

Someone who pauses briefly to acknolwedge me (or any of us)  as a person, not background noise or an impediment to someone they really want to see or talk to.

The person who gives up his/her seat to someone in need on a bus, holds the door open, offers to help carry a heavy burden,  or smiles along with a salutation and how are you.

Flags and bunting on houses on patriotic holidays.

Pumpkins, scarecrows, and  chrysanthemums in the fall.

Small military convoys driven by troops in uniforms as I travel down the road.

Blogs or stories that touch my heart and make me think.

Friends both old and new that make the effort to stay in touch–in person, by mail, by voice, or electronically.

Family (for the most part.)

Oceans, mountains, green spaces and the opportuity to visit  and enjoy all of them.

National Park system.

Unexpected glimpses of wild animals–bears in a National Park, squirrels in the back yard, birds on the wing or on a limb.

Memory–the chance to enjoy these boons again and again.

Beautiful sunrises/sunsets.

The freedom to worship or not (as one’s conscience dictates)

Volunteers that keep so many activities rolling along.

What  are your boons?