Monthly Archives: June 2014

Alpha Men Through the Ages

Talk about the notorious alpha men in history….

This weekend, the family watched the history channel and we all learned something new. Something old, and something new. Do you know the origins of the names of our current day calendar months?

I didn’t. My daughter knew a few, thanks to a great, Montessori-based education, but me? I knew nada. Maybe I learned it once but with no recall to speak of, I was swimming through fresh rain water.

Fine. I live in the twenty-first century where a world of information is literally at my fingertips.

Originally, there were ten months. Makes sense when you consider the names were logically based on the numerical system and rooted in Latin. Sept = seven, Oct = eight, Nov = nine, Dec = ten. Basically, December was the tenth month, November the ninth month, October the eight and so on. It wasn’t until circa 700 BC that Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome decided to add two more months, January and February. (Just because they were the dead months of agriculture doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have names, right? I mean, gee whiz, gardeners need a break, too. When else am I going to make snow angels with the family?!?!?!)

Tiberius Portrait - Bust of 2nd Roman Emperor

However, what you might not know, is that July was originally called Quintilis and August, Sextilis. Remember, in a ten month calendar, these used to be five and six, not seven and eight, ie. Quin = five and Sex = six. (sex as in the Latin root, not the romantic alternative, though I like the way you think!)

Enter alpha men. Julius Caesar decided he wanted a month named after him and voila–Quintilis became Julius or July. Not to be undone, Julius’ successor Augustus wanted the same—“a month, in my honor, I command you!”

Hence, August was born. Men. Can’t live with ’em, can’t get a month in edgewise.

Disclaimer: April, May, and June were named for goddesses…as they should be. 😉

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Why I have World Cup fever and you should, too

SOCCER-EURO/Every four years around this time, I drape myself in orange and go a little nuts. And I’m not the only one. This year’s World Cup will be watched in over 160 countries, and by four billion fans. Four billion! To put that number into perspective, only 111.5 million people watched this past year’s Super Bowl.

Yet Americans are notoriously meh about soccer ~ known on the rest of the planet as football. Why the disinterest in the world’s greatest game? I can’t understand it, especially when it’s World Cup time, like it is now.

Here are my top five reasons why everyone should find a little World Cup fever.

  1. It’s a worldwide thing.
    Listen up, baseball. Just because you call it a World Series, doesn’t mean it’s a global tournament. The Olympics is the only sporting event that even comes close to the international involvement that the World Cup generates, but as far as I’m concerned, nowhere near the passion. Just look at all those people in orange up there. You’ve got to really love your team to wear that color from head-to-toe.
  2. The fans are freakin’ awesome.
    Okay, so I’ll admit I’m a little biased toward those crazy Dutch, but every country has loud and colorful fans. And what better way to show your support than to don your country’s colors and cheer for world domination? It’s patriotic and it’s fun.
  3. No commercials except at halftime.
    Unlike the American trifecta of national sports, nothing stops the soccer clock for a commercial plug. Not injuries, not time-outs, not even crazy fans streaking naked across the field. Those two forty-five-minute blocks stop for nothing, except maybe a sudden and unexpected natural disaster or a terrorist attack, and then I can pretty much guarantee the networks won’t be cutting to that annoying E-Trade baby.
  4. Oh, the drama!
    Fans fight, host countries cheat, players bite and scream and roll around on the ground. The intrigue around the tournament is more entertaining than a thousand soap operas. Who needs The Housewives when the World Cup is on?
  5. Hot men, duh.
    And I’m not just talking about Ronaldo. There’s Giroud and Pique and Beckerman and a whole crop of sweaty, dirty hotties running up and down a field. And sometimes, if you’re really lucky, they take off their shirts.

What about you? Are you watching? Who are you rooting for this World Cup?

Hey, Mister Postman

When’s the last time you wrote a good old-fashioned letter?

I don’t mean e-mail. We all do that, likely many times a week. I’m talking about something for which you pull out a blank sheet of paper and a pen, sit down at a table or on the couch with, and write by hand.

ID-10025187

from freedigitalphotos.net

It’s a lost art, letter writing. I’ve heard that more than once, but it doesn’t have to be.

My girls and I each have experience with penpals.

Biggest writes an occasional letter to someone we consider an honorary uncle, he lives in Texas. He’s exceptionally good at sending stuff back. And Biggest recently connected with a girl just a couple years older than she is. They live only a town apart, here in Missouri, but how cool that they make use of the USPS? No texting (yet) for these two.

Littlest has received printed letters from a classmate at school, and a long-time friend of mine, who in the past has sent sweet thoughts and curious questions from out-of-state.

They’ve both written to a girl in Maine. And have traded letters with my boyfriend.

I like to send my girls notes and poems when they’re at their dad’s. I imagine (hopefully not for naught) their pleasure in opening an envelope from me, especially when we aren’t together.

Too, I have a penpal from overseas. After connecting online through a writers’ forum, and later Facebook, we started penning true letters, sent halfway around the world. Just as exciting as receiving heartfelt correspondence from her is knowing how many hands our mail has touched, across how many borders it’s roamed.

And who doesn’t love to read something written just for them?

There’s anticipation when you open the mailbox and find a letter with your name on it—and it’s not a bill. Or junk mail. There’s a tangibility not evident in e-mails, there’s a certain romantic spirit, an intimacy. Knowing you were thought of, that a few minutes’ time was spent contemplating and expressing thoughts for your benefit. That’s awesome.

Do you agree?

When’s the last time you wrote a good old-fashioned letter? Or received one?

It’s Hard Having Children & An Excerpt!

You’d think it would stop after the labor pains, or perhaps the teenage years, but I’ve discovered that no matter how old your children are, you always worry about them.

My youngest son’s hobby is restoring heavy duty equipment. Recently, while loading some caterpillar tracks to recycle at the local scrap yard, the tracks shifted and caught his index finger, tearing off the fingernail and a chunk of the end of his finger. And while it has healed nicely, I’ve still not recovered from the incident.

My Dad taking a spin on his grandson's cat.

My Dad taking a spin on his grandson’s cat.

 

I worry, probably needlessly, but I’m his mother, and all I want is for my boys to be healthy and happy and unhurt.

The hero in my contemporary romance, Always Remember, worries about his daughter, too. The single dad of a 17 year old girl, he’s raised her the best he could, and still…

(Excerpt from Always RememberAfter getting bucked off his horse, the heroine is giving Nate Coltrane a lower back massage when they’re interrupted by his daughter Sara…)

“Dad?”

Along with the sound of her boots tromping across the floor, approaching the entryway, he caught the strain in her voice.

“I—oh, excuse me. I didn’t know you were busy.”

Nate raised his head from his folded arms. “Come on in. Jess was just giving me a massage, trying to fix my sore back.”

Right, and another two minutes, you would have been fixing her.

As if she’d heard his thoughts, Jessie scrambled off him, landed on her rear end, then leapt to her feet. Nate shifted slightly, enough to notice the flush that darkened her cheeks.

“We were finished anyway,” she explained in a breathless rush. “And I was just leaving.”

Always Remember by Sheila SeabrookRight about now, Nate wished he could leave with her. As she ran from the room, the humor of the situation hit him. They’d been caught like two randy teenagers, only it was the daughter, not the parents, terminating their foreplay. Now, how did he go about hiding his aroused state from his perceptive daughter?

“So what’s up, squirt?” Other than me. Nonchalant, pretend like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Like his world hadn’t shifted and tilted for the second time since Jessie’s arrival.

Sara snatched the pile of mail from the coffee table and slid onto the floor beside him. “You didn’t tell me you hurt your back. Diablo? You know, I’ve been thinking. Maybe you need professional help.”

“You mean a shrink?” He reached out and ruffled her hair. Thanks to Jessie, his back did feel better, but now he had another ache he wished she’d stuck around to cure. Suddenly, the floor felt hard and uncomfortable. “Sara, Diablo and I have an agreement.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sometimes I think I should’ve been in charge of you instead of the other way around.” She ducked out from under his hand and looked him square in the eye. “You realize, of course, that what you two were doing in here was totally unacceptable.”

Laughter burst from his chest.

“Well, I’m not a kid anymore. I’ve been trying to tell you that for years.”

No, she wasn’t a kid. She’d grown into a beautiful young woman, as mature and self-reliant as her mother. How had he gotten so lucky? She’d never given him a lick of trouble, not the way Jessie and him had tested their parents’ patience.

Sara sorted listlessly through the envelopes, tossing the bills aside before spreading her favorite magazine on the floor between them. Nate noted the pallor of her cheeks, the bluish smudges beneath her eyes. He wanted to ask her what was wrong, but feared the question would send her running up to her bedroom like last time.

Better that he be patient and wait for her to come to him. When she was ready to talk, she’d do it in her own good time.

He bumped her on the shoulder. “What are you reading?”

(End of excerpt)

So what kind of unfun and worrisome things have your children done? And how long did it take you to recover from the incident?

Mopey Monday

I’m old. I know my age. I accept my age, but getting old really stinks some times. Sometime last year, I wore a pair of tennis shoes too long (as in way past when I should have replaced them) and ended up tearing a ligament in both of my feet. One healed on its own, the other didn’t. After two cortisone shots and six weeks in a boot, I’m still not 100 percent.dog in cone

So you’d think I’d take some precautions going forward–stop being so cheap and replace my shoes, eat right, exercise. I’m good on those fronts, but this weekend I was feeling better. Out of the boot, on the lake with my family and some of the kids’ friends, I couldn’t let the kids have all the fun on the water. I grew up skiing so surfing behind the boat should have been a piece of cake. Except it wasn’t, and now I write this blog post from my home away from home–our local urgent care–with shooting back and leg pain.

My youth is over. I give up. I surrender to adulthood. Give me meds and a comfy place on the couch. That smell of Ben Gay is coming from me. I’ll pack my purse with hard candy and drink bourbon with a splash of water every day at five like my grandmother. Yes, I’m feeling sorry for myself and it will pass. Growing old stinks, but as someone wise recently reminded me, it’s better than the alternative.

I’m tapping out, Coach. It’s long past time. By Tuesday I’ll be better, but for today I’m moping around. With my meds. But not bourbon. I don’t like bourbon. Won’t you join me?

photo credit: emkeller via photopin cc

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