December Holidays to Celebrate–Part 1

rosa parks in her busDecember (Dec.) is the 12th and last month of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 31 days, coming between November (of the same year) and January (of the following year). With the name of the month coming from the Latin decem for “ten”, it was the tenth month of the year before January and February were added to the Roman calendar.

December 1 is Rosa Parks Day in Ohio and Oregon because it is the day she was arrested, It is celebrated in California and Missouri on her birthday,  February 4.

In 1955, Parks completed a course in “Race Relations” at the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee where nonviolent civil disobedience had been discussed as a tactic. On December 1, 1955, Parks was sitting in the frontmost row for black people. When a Caucasian man boarded the bus, the bus driver told everyone in her row to move back. At that moment, Parks realized that she was again on a bus driven by Blake. While all of the other black people in her row complied, Parks refused, and was arrested[8] for failing to obey the driver’s seat assignments, as city ordinances did not explicitly mandate segregation but did give the bus driver authority to assign seats. Found guilty on December 5,[9] Parks was fined $10 plus a court cost of $4[10], but she appealed.

NinjaInternational Ninja Day is celebrated on December 5.  According to, “(b)ack in 2003, Ninja Burger created International Ninja Day on December 5 as a way to celebrate the Ninja “speed” with which their burgers are delivered”  Dress up like a Ninja and take to the streets after watching a ninja movie.

To truly understand the history of International Ninja Day, one must first understand the history of the Ninja. The original Ninja were warriors of the Iga Province of Japan during the Sengoku period. These warriors were raised from the basic people of the countryside, without access to proper armor, weapons, or training to use them.

December 7 is Pearl Harbor Day, marking the entrance of the United States into World War II.  The Japanese launched a surprise attack against  the United States Pacific Fleet about  0755 local  time, killing 2,403 Americans, and injuring 1,178 others. The attack sank four U.S. Navy battleships and damaged four others. It also damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, and one minelayer. Aircraft losses were 188 destroyed and 159 damaged.

December 10 is Dewey Decimal System  Day.  It falls on the birthday of Melvyl Dewey, founder of the most  widely used library classification system.

The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) or Dewey Decimal System has been in use since 1876 when American Librarian Melvil Dewey developed and established it. Divided into ten main categories, the numerical system arranges mostly non-fiction publications.

Since its inception, the system has been maintained and kept pace with modern technologies. A schedule of expansions and revisions help keep the system current and progressive.

National Cocoa Day is December 13.  If you are an adult, you might want to put Gran Marnier, honey rye or brandy in your hot chocolate or cocoa.

Hot cocoa is a warm beverage made with cocoa powder, heated milk or water, and sugar.  The terms hot chocolate and hot cocoa are often used interchangeably by Americans causing a bit of confusion.  To make hot chocolate, we use ground chocolate which contains cocoa butter.  It’s mixed with hot milk and is actually a drinking chocolate.


December Holidays to Celebrate, Part 2

International  Monkey Day is celebrated on December 14.  At ALA it is an opportunity to celebrate Curious George.

The holiday was created and popularized by artists Casey Sorrow and Eric Millikin when they were art students at Michigan State University.[2] Monkey Day celebrates monkeys and “all things simian”, including other non-human primates such as apes, tarsiers, and lemurs.[3] It is celebrated worldwide and often also known as World Monkey Day and International Monkey Day.

From Holidays Calendar,

Monkey Fun Facts

  • There are over 260+ known species of monkeys
  • Most monkeys have tails
  • Monkeys are not apes
  • Groups of monkeys are known as tribes or missions
  • Some monkeys live in trees and some live on the ground
  • Old World monkeys live in Africa and Asia
  • New World monkeys live in the Americas

curious george

Winter Solstice or the First Day of Winter is celebrated on December 21.

winter snow

Some Fun Facts

  • In the Northern Hemisphere, the December Solstice is the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year.
  • In the Southern Hemisphere, it is summer solstice and the longest day of the year, because equinoxes and solstices are opposite on opposite sides of the planet.
  • The term solstice comes from the Latin word solstitium, meaning ‘the Sun stands still’. This is because on this day, the Sun reaches its southern-most position as seen from the Earth. The Sun seems to stand still at the Tropic of Capricorn and then reverses its direction. It’s also common to call it the day the Sun turns around.
  • During winter in the Northern Hemisphere, the Earth is actually closest to the Sun. Different seasons are not defined by how far the Earth is from the Sun. Seasons occur because Earth orbits the Sun on a slant, with an axial tilt of around 23.4 degrees. Therefore different amounts of sunlight reach the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, causing variation in temperatures and weather patterns throughout the year.In fact, the Earth is on its Perihelion – the point on the Earth’s orbit closest to the Sun – a few weeks after the December Solstice.

Hannukkah 2019is December 22 through December 30.

The eight-day Jewish celebration known as Hanukkah or Chanukah commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt.

celebrate chanukkah


Where Were You When….

Today is the 56th anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination.  President  Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.  I was in elementary school.  It was the first time that I can recall an entire weekend of television coverage being preempted to cover a single event. (You can tell where my priorities were.)  We heard about the assassination over the school’s PA system.

For Americans, “Where were you on…” questions often include Pearl Harbor, Kennedy’s assassination, the  Challenger disaster, and 9-11.  Where were you when the Berlin Wall fell would be another good one, but I don’t often hear it referenced.

In the 1980s’, I was working at Fort Myer.  We were at a staff meeting with our boss, the Recreation Division Officer (a civilian)  for the Branch Chiefs (Library-me, Arts and Crafts, Sports, Community Center, and Outdoor Recreation). It was on December 7.  Our boss asked us where we were when Pearl Harbor was bombed.  We all looked at him blankly.  We were Boomers and none of us had been born yet.  (I don’t  know how old Jim thought we were.)

Since then, there are fewer and fewer people who share the same “Where were you when…” memories.  They have either passed on or were not yet born.

What are your significant “Where were you When…” moments?

What do you think the next such moment will be?


Military Working Dog Stamps

A bow(wow) of thanks and a big tail wag to blogger and poet JeanMarie Olivieri ( for the information.  She left me the following comment:

I can’t find the post you did that mentioned the dogs that served in the military, so I’m leaving this link for you here, and anyone else who might be interested in honoring veterans. The US Post Office has issued stamps honoring dogs who served in the military.


From the initial notification:

USPS said in a press release that the new booklet was created to honor “the nation’s brave and loyal military working dogs.”

The booklet will feature 20 stamps of four breeds — the German shepherd, Labrador retriever, Belgian Malinois and Dutch shepherd — all of which commonly serve in the armed forces.

The stamps were issued 1 August 2019 as $.55 cent forever stamps. A book of 20 costs $11.

Click here to read more about how 2019 is the year that Military Working Dogs are getting their due.

Conan, the Belgian Malinois military working dog who was injured in the raid that killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was honored at the White House by President Trump earlier this month.

Reblog: Are You a Poet? Salute to Heroes.

Blue Mountain Arts is starting a new line of cards, Salute to Heroes.  They are seeking poems about

  • deployed military
  • military spouse
  • military family
  • veterans
  • invisible wounds of war.

Deadline is December 31, 2019.

Reblogged from Janine Stang’s website.

I head about this on Phlash Phelps at  60s on 6, Sirius Radio.



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.

Interview with Hal Simons, Honor Flight Recipient and Midway Library Volunteer

*Hal and his Guardian from the Honor Flight on 20191006

  1. Hal, how did you get selected for your Honor Flight? Did you have to apply?

Wapakoneta, Ohio is the home of Neil Armstrong, and I usually fly back there in July to see my cousin and to celebrate the town’s “Moon Day.” I always fly into Dayton and cousin Kent and his wife Becky pick me up and drive me back to Wapak.

A couple of years ago in the Dayton airport I saw a picture of a group of Veterans who had just returned from an Honor Flight to see the Washington, D.C. Veterans Memorials. On-line I found that Dayton’s honor flight was for WWII and Korean Vets, but here in San Diego it was just for WWII Vets. Anyway, I wanted to get to see the WWII Memorial, so I filed an on-line application and emailed it to a local address. I began answering all calls from the San Diego area codes and those from the Washington D.C. area codes that might be about an Honor Flight and ignoring all other calls I didn’t recognize.

I had just about given up on the flight when for some reason I answered a call from a Washington State area code. It was Mel, a coordinator for the next Honor Flight! She sent me an itinerary and a couple of release forms and said I could go on the next flight in October. Mel now lives in the San Diego area after moving from somewhere in Washington State. She kept her old phone number. Area codes can be deceiving.

This flight consisted of a few WWII veterans and the rest were Korean veterans. There was also a WAC and her female in-service Guardian.

  1. Will you have a Guardian on your flight? Do you get to choose or is one provided for you?

I had read in one of our older “Currents” museum magazines that Jill Hammons was thrilled to go on an Honor Flight as a Guardian, as a guardian I presume, .and I thought that I might be able to take my niece as my Guardian. However, Mel said that my Guardian, Annie, would be provided. Later I learned that the Guardians would pay $750 for the flight.

  1. What did you see in Washington, DC? Have you been to DC before this?

As shown in the itinerary I emailed, it was a visit mostly to the Veteran’s Memorials for each service, the Lincoln Memorial and a couple of museums.

My wife, Jan, and I had been to DC years ago before they were planning on a WWII Memorial and that is the one Memorial that I really wanted to see.

  1. What was your favorite thing to do while you were there? guard at the tomb of the unknowns

The Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Korean War Memorial were my favorite sites. The Korean, not because it was my era , but for the depiction of the thirteen soldiers in their ponchos, on the alert, slogging through the fields. There is a granite wall there with ghostly figures etched into the surface. Everything was very sobering.

Korean War Memorial

It seems that Veterans who saw action rarely talk about their service, but on this trip among fellow veterans they opened up on their experiences. My favorite thing to do was to listen to the heroes tell their stories.

  1. What service were you in and where/when did you serve?

I joined the Navy in 1952 and after a year of schooling I was assigned to VS-23, an anti-submarine squadron< at North Island. They were flying Avenger Hunter-Killer (HUK) teams for about a year before switching over to the new twin engine, all-in-one S2F ASW aircraft.  Then more training on the new S2Fs.

In December 1954 my squadron was deployed aboard the USS Princeton (CVS-37) for a seven-month cruise patrolling the waters around Japan and Okinawa. We had R&R in Hong Kong before we were called to run ASW coverage in the Taiwan Straits for the 7th fleet during the first Matsu-Quemoy crisis.

Seven months later we returned to San Diego. With a turn-over of officers and crew the squadron began another training period. We were to redeploy in June or August and since I was to be discharged in October, I was transferred to FASRON-110 in the big concrete hangars on North Island. From there I was volunteered to fly radar in an R4D along the DEW Line Radar stations from Pt. Barrow, AK to the Canadian border

  1. What did you do after you got out?

After discharge I worked for General Dynamics for 33 years. I worked in the environmental testing division on such projects as the Atlas ICBMs, the Mercury 7 Atlas launch vehicles, the Atlas Centaur satellite and planetary probe launch vehicles, and finally as test conductor for the Tomahawk Cruise Missile.

  1. How did you happen to become a library volunteer?

After Jan passed away, I found myself taking root as a couch potato. I found a site on the internet that listed places that needed volunteers. Since I was Navy, I filled out an application for the Midway library and Laurie set me up for an interview.

  1. How long have you been a volunteer?

I came onboard the Midway In mid-December of 2015 and my work (fun) station has always been the library or the bookstore.

  1. What are your responsibilities on the Midway?

Most of the time I’m on special projects and I fill in when or where I’m needed.  (Hal is being way too modest.  He  has done everything from being a book seller to scanning old  Midway newspapers and plans of the day to looking up names in the Master Crew List when a guest  comes up the ladder to the library to look for himself, a relative or a friend.  He does all of these with the best attitude and proficiency.)

  1. Is there anything you would like to volunteer of wish I had asked about you?

In the SWA departure terminal I was honored to meet my Guardian “Angel” Annie Alessio, a most beautiful person. This was her third trip as a Guardian, and she stuck with me for the whole trip.

During the flight about half-way to the Baltimore airport the flight attendants had Mail Call. Each veteran received a large packet of about fifty thank-you letters from all ages two years and up. A second package contained letters and other goodies from family and friends. A final package was a goodie type care package from Operation Gratitude. I’m going to be busy answering all the mail that had return addresses or email addresses – but I will answer them.

When we stepped off the plane in Baltimore we were greeted by many well-wishers and by airport Honor Flight hosts.  Sometimes two or three Honor Flights fly into BWI in one day.

We filled three coaches and were led by a motorcycle escort to the Arlington National Cemetery, while police cars with flashing red lights blocked traffic at intersections to allow through passage. That was Special!

There were big crowds at all the Memorials with lots of hand shaking and thankyous. We were able to visit the Memorials for World War II and up through the Vietnam War. The pillars n the WWII monument representing each State are arranged outward in the order of their entry in the Union. 4,000 sculpted gold stars represent the 400,000 Americans who lost their lives during WWII. We were asked, “How many monuments are there in the Mall? The answer: One, the Washington Monument, the rest are Memorials.” We were tasked with finding the two ”Kilroy Was Here” symbols at the World War II Memorial: Annie and I found them both.

I enjoyed the museum at the Navy Yard, but I favored the Electronics Museum across the street from our hotel. It traced the evolution of electronics from static electricity, through vacuum tubes, radar, GPS and to the latest electronic warfare systems. I was happy to see an APS-4 radar system out of its shell. This is the type radar that is enclosed in a white “bomb” hanging under the right wing of our TBM Avenger. It is an A-Scan radar where “blips” along a straight line indicate size and range to a target. When I was first assigned to VS-23 we did maintenance on this type of early radar.

Midway staff waiting to greet Hal when he returned from his Honor Flight.jpgThe homecoming reception was fantastic. I could hardly believe there were that many people there.  As I walked through the crowd with Annie a young blonde girl scout offered a card pinned with a  hand painted American flag shaped like a star. I treasure that gift and plan to wear it wherever I go.

I’ve rambled on enough. It’s like if you ask,  ”What time is it,” and the answer is how a watch is made.

US Navy crest11.   How did you chose the Navy as your service?  (This was a question based upon extra information that Hal volunteered in his responses.)

I was in the Navy from October 1952 to October 1956. I married Jan, my Lima, Ohio high school girlfriend, after graduation in 1950. Then President Eisenhower sent a letter asking me to prepare for induction into the armed forces, aka. Army. I had a choice of the Army for two years in Korea slogging it out on the ground or the Navy with hot food and a warm bed for four years. I chose the Navy.

Because it gets very cold at the Great Lakes boot camp, Jan and I made plans to go to San Diego and enlist there. It made sense since Jan’s sister was already there. and her Mother and Stepfather were soon to follow.

We packed our belongings into two bushel baskets, loaded them in the trunk of our 1941 Chevy and started off for San Diego by way of Route 66. We arrived in San Diego about a week later. I went to the Navy recruiting center to enlist and they couldn’t take me because their quota was full. I told them I was about to be drafted and they gave me a test to see if I was worth putting on the waiting list.

After sponging off of Jan’s sister for about a week, we moved into a one-room apartment in Ocean Beach and I applied for a job with Convair as a pattern maker. They hired me to start the next Monday. On Sunday I got a call from the recruiter telling me to get on a bus to El Centro where I could enlist.  I did and was enlisted there ; sworn-in in LA and sent back to San Diego’s boot camp.

After boot camp I went to Aviation school in Norman, Ok and then to Millington, TN for AT (A) school where I was taught electronics from vacuum tube theory to airborne search radar. On completion of school I managed to get assigned to AIRASRON-23 on North Island. There, I was an Aviation Electronic Technician maintaining ASW gear on TBM Avenger Hunter-Killer (HUK) teams. The Avengers were soon replaced by twin-engine, single body S2F (HUK) aircraft.


*Hallettes waiting to welcome Hall a the San Diego airport upon his return from Washington, DC 6 Oct 2019

*Apologies to Hal for intially adding a second m to his name. (Pat)





Honor Flights

Honor Flight Network

Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices. We transport our heroes to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials. Top priority is given to the senior veterans – World War II survivors, along with those other veterans who may be terminally ill.

Of all of the wars in recent memory, it was World War II that truly threatened our very existence as a nation—and as a culturally diverse, free society. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 640 WWII veterans die each day. Our time to express our thanks to these brave men and women is running out.


Joan, Nancy, Hal, Bonnie, and Martha demo the back of the new black LIbrary sweatshirts, Hal and the Hal-lettes.png
Joan, Nancy, Hal, Bonnie, and Martha aka Hal and the Halettes, show off the back of the Midway sweatshirts

My friend and Midway Shipmate, Hal Simmons, spent this past weekend on an Honor Flight from San Diego. Hal is a Korean War veteran and was selected as an honor flight recipient.  Hal has agreed to be interviewed for a future blog post.  Before he left for his trip, he shared his action packed itinerary with us.


SD Honor Flight page 1 edited

SD Honor Flight page 2

SD Honor Flight page 3

Use And instead of But

I heard an Army officer say once, that when you have an alternate opinion, use the word And which is inclusive rather than But which implies I disagree with you and my opinion is better.

Made-up example.

Person A “The solution to the problem is obvious, we should ask the complainer why he is unhappy.”

Person B “But we should also offer a solution when we find out why he is complaining.”

Rather Person B should say “And we should also offer a solution when we find out why he is complaining.” It acknowledged Person A’s contribution and does not discredit or diminish it.