Tag Archives: history

With or Without a Lover, This Valentine’s Day Is Yours!

Those without a loved one to share Valentine’s Day have more in common with the tradition of sending Valentine’s Day cards than those with a lover.

victorian-valentine-cupid

I thought the Victorians began the tradition with their sentimental, flowery, lacy, and cupid adorned cards:

The couple meets at a soiree where the fine lady’s heart beats like a caged canary. The gentleman wears gloves and even with them worries he’ll leave a thumbprint on the greeting card. He escorts her to a small chamber not far from the ballroom. Her cheeks flush with the touch of his warm hand on her back. It sends a thrill of which she is not accustomed. He pulls the declaration of love from his breast pocket and presents it with a bow. She smiles, rips it open and gasps when she sees two naked cupids complete with jiggly bits dancing in the sky. Underneath are the words “Be My Lover.” She drops the card and trounces from the room.

And that is when the gentleman became acquainted with the florist’s establishment around the corner which he frequented in years to come.

Cupids and heart Valentine

Sending cards began more than 400 years earlier with a French romantic poet, of course! It did not begin with the uptight Victorians, but the English had their part in history.

The French nobleman, Charles I de Valois, Duke of Orleans fought against the English and became trapped in his own armor. (How does that happen? “Help me! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!) In 1415, he took up residence as a prisoner in the Tower of London. Continue reading

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The Pilgrims Wore Black and Other Tall Tales

I was taught that the Pilgrims were the first American colonists who arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620. Pfft! The first colonists arrived in America waaaay before that. Be prepared. This is not the warm and fuzzy story we learned in school.

Victorian Thanksgiving card

In 1587, John White set sail to Roanoke Island, North Carolina and became the governor of the first colony. After struggling for several months, he left his wife, daughter and infant granddaughter and sailed back to England for supplies. A major war broke out between Spain and England and he couldn’t wrangle a ship.  He waited three long years.  When he returned to his family and the 112 other colonists, they had disappeared without a trace. His crew could not find any sign that they had ever existed. They did find a wooden post carved with the name “Croatoan.” Continue reading

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Ghost Walk

Breck haunted tourI love the spooky month of October. Shadows creep across the path as days grow short. The groan of wind through desiccating leaves sends a death rattle from above. It swoops down and slides its skeletal fingers along my backbone. I pull my sweater tight.

By signing up for a Haunted Tour of Breckenridge, I experienced all of this and more… Continue reading

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Do You Know What Day This Is?

It was a sunny Wisconsin morning the first time it happened. My mother screamed and ran into our bedroom waking my sister Patty and me from a sound slumber. I thought my small heart would explode. I bolted from our shared bed and followed her to the picture window of our apartment.

“There’s a purple polka-dotted elephant walking down the street!” she shouted.

“What? Where?”

When my little sister joined me in squinting through the glaring window, she said, “April Fools,” and then laughed. I didn’t think it was very funny at the time.

Through the years, I have played tricks on friends and family. My children ran to the window searching for purple giraffes, along with other strange colored creatures. I know. I am so mean. It must be genetic. Every year, I have tried to come up with new ways to trick my husband, such as, “By the way, we’re having company for dinner, so if you could stop and pick up some wine and a few things at the grocery store and then come home early to help me clean, that would be great. (Wait for it…) APRIL FOOLS!” The relief on his face is always worth it!

Yesterday, I checked my phone’s April calendar and noticed little lines under the some of the dates.  I didn’t remember saving any appointments, so I checked them out. April 22nd is Earth Day. The 15th is dreaded Tax Day. And the 1st is… April Fools’ Day!

Wait a minute… It occurred to me that if phones list April Fools’ as a holiday, everyone will know and no one will be fooled. That could begin the extinction of the holiday!

Ugh. That would be terrible. I have always looked forward to a day of pranking.

Aprilsnar_2001

April Fools in Denmark. No. A subway car did not crash through the ground…

How did it begin anyway? There are conflicting reports which is no surprise since this is April Fools we are talking about. The following explanation gets my vote. During the Middle Ages, the first of the year was celebrated at the end of March. Then in the 1500’s, Pope Gregory XIII changed the Gregorian Calendar to start on January 1st.  Bells would toll across the land to “fool” other fools into thinking the 1st of the year still began in April.

I never noticed that the Pope named the calendar after himself! He died on April 10th. Irony or coincidence???

During the 1800’s in France, the first of the year changed to January 1st. People who celebrated on April 1st were ridiculed in that country as well.

“Ha. You peasants are such idiots…”

Today, in Italy, France, and Belgium, pranksters will stick a picture of a fish on their unsuspecting target’s back and then shout, “April Fish!”

April Fish

WHAT? That is so lame! How did that one start? Were they fed up with being called fools and substituted fish? And did they originally use real fish back in the day? Did they use minnows or mackerels? Apparently, that variation has something to do with the astrological sign Pisces.

April Fools’ Day will be celebrated in many countries today. Thanks Wikipedia for that specific information. How will we play any practical jokes if everyone knows and is already suspicious? My advice is to strike early before your friends and family have their first cup of coffee.

“Roxy! Look at that pink coyote trotting down the street!”

Purple spotted Roxy1

Consider this heads up, my gift to you. Now get out there and prank someone!

Do you plan to fool anyone?

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Singing Happy Birthday is Risky Business – $10,000 Worth!

It’s birthday week at the Lindau’s. From the 11th to the 20th we will celebrate my sister’s, son’s, mother-in-law’s and husband’s special day. Whew! There will be many presents purchased, cakes baked and photographs taken. We are going to celebrate!

Where in the heck did birthday cakes come from anyway? After FSOG (five seconds on Google), I had my answer. Thank you Wikipedia. It was no big surprise. Germany baked the first celebratory cakes in the middle-ages. I wonder if they were German Chocolate or Black Forest. All I know is that they were probably dang tasty judging by the German bakeries I have had the pleasure of knowing intimately.

What about birthday candles? The Greeks made honey cakes and decorated them with candles as an offering to Artemis, the goddess of the moon. Apparently the flame resembled the moon. What? Well maybe if I squint my eyes… Continue reading

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In Search of Simple Pleasures – A Photo Essay

When you live in Colorado, you don’t have to go far to find pleasure in the beauty that surrounds us.

Simple pleasures can be as easy as taking a walk. Last Saturday, my husband Danny and I hit the Mt. Royal Trail in Frisco. It is an intermediate hike that winds through Masontown which was destroyed in 1926 by an avalanche. Now it is a ghost town. The forest had been primarily evergreen, but aspen grew in its wake.

This steady climb was like stepping up stadium stairs. As we gained elevation, I imagined a new bride on the back of a burro mumbling, “How much further is it Charlie?” as she regretted her quick decision to marry a miner.

I took these photos with my Droid cell phone. Click on each photo to enlarge.

Continue reading

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Weiner – It’s All in a Name

The amount of media attention given to Congressman Anthony Weiner quickly “rose” this week when they “exposed” his lack of morality and decency, but the attention also took on a humorous slant. More than one chuckle has been made at his expense because of the irony of his name and the obvious correlations after his “wiener tweet.” Was he preoccupied with taking pictures of his privates because of his name? I don’t know what he said in his texts, but it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to think that he too saw the double entendre. He became a successful Congressman and yet it took a sexting incident, to become infamous around the world.

I have often wondered if surnames predict careers. Is it a subconscious decision or deliberate? When I worked as an illustrator at the VA Hospital I observed many interesting parallels. I often heard their names called through the intercom system above my drawing board. “Dr. Bonebreak, Please come to orthopedics.” Yes. He was an orthopedic surgeon.

Dr. Goodfriend continues to work as Chief of Medicine and has the role of flying across the country as a liaison for the hospital and in helping researchers apply for grants.

My favorite of all time is Dr. Bloodworth who was the Chief Pathologist and worked in autopsy down in the basement of the hospital where the morgue was located.

I have a friend who has a dermatologist named Dr. Boyle.

The ex-CEO of Krispy Kreme is Scott Livengood whom probably is; hence the “ex.”

In ancient times, it became common for a man to take the name of his profession as clans became towns that grew along with communities. People needed a way to distinguish themselves. Being a patriarchal society, families were handed down the surname of their father. We probably all know a Baker, a Gardener, or a Fisher, and everyone is familiar with Potter.

 My friend Johanna remembers working at a very large company called GTE with Carl Engineer and Firoz Doctor. Their names made it very confusing for a temporary secretary who happened to answer the phone one day when Carl wanted to speak to Firoz.

“Is Firoz Doctor there?” asked Carl.

“Wait. Doctor who?” asked the secretary.

“Firoz Doctor.”

“Which doctor did you want to speak to?

“I told you already. Firoz Doctor.”

“You mean Dr. Firoz?” asked the secretary.

“No! Not Dr. Firoz. Firoz Doctor.”

“I am sorry sir, but I don’t know who Firo’s Doctor is. Maybe you should ask Mr. Firo.”

“Just look up his name in the directory. F I R O Z  Doctor,” said Carl. He was more than a bit exasperated at this point.

“Oh! Here he is!”

“Just tell him it’s Mr. Engineer.”

In fact, Carl was an electrical engineer.

Here in Boulder we have our own Dr. Weiner. He practices urology and specializes in vasectomies. He prefers the pronunciation Winer.

I bet you know someone who practices the profession of their last name.

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