Tag Archives: children

The Joy of Leaves

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I like to photograph leaves in the autumn. I haven’t really done that this year and it is really too late now. Alas. I love the way they change colors and how a single leaf can break out in a flurry of various colors and shades. They are amazing and it delights me to see them.

But, perhaps there is no greater joy of leaves than that which comes to a child who can run and jump into a big pile of leaves!

On Thanksgiving day, our youngest son and his family came to our house for the Thanksgiving celebration. Prior to their arrival, my wife and I had raked up a HUGE pile of leaves for the purpose of letting their kids have some fun with the leaf pile. Fortunately, we have NO shortage of leaves as our home is surrounded by tree and backs right up to the Dawson forest with no fence in the back yard. So the leaves were plentiful!

I shot over 200 pictures of the little girls giggling, running, jumping, leaping, turning somersaults and messing up the pile of leaves we’d worked so hard to create. Did I mind that the pile got destroyed? Absolutely not! That was the point, after all!

And then this morning after church, our youngest grand daughter crawled up in my lap and said, “Pop-pop, it was SO MUCH FUN playing in the leaves at your house the other day!”  (I have one sequence of shots when she was running to the pile, jumped in, got twisted around, and at one point, only her rear end and shoes were sticking out of the leaves…but she emerged with a huge grin and laugh! I laughed so hard when I saw the pictures of that sequence!!!

Guess what? I’ll rake up a big pile again next year and let them destroy it again – laughing all the time!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1703, an unusual storm system finally dissipated over England after wreaking havoc on the country for nearly two weeks. Featuring hurricane strength winds, the storm killed somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 people. Hundreds of Royal Navy ships were lost to the storm, the worst in Britain’s history.

The unusual weather began on November 14 as strong winds from the Atlantic Ocean battered the south of Britain and Wales. Many homes and other buildings were damaged by the pounding winds, but the hurricane-like storm only began doing serious damage on November 26. With winds estimated at over 80 miles per hour, bricks were blown from some buildings and embedded in others. Wood beams, separated from buildings, flew through the air and killed hundreds across the south of the country. Towns such as Plymouth, Hull, Cowes, Portsmouth and Bristol were devastated.

However, the death toll really mounted when 300 Royal Navy ships anchored off the country’s southern coast—with 8,000 sailors on board—were lost. The Eddystone Lighthouse, built on a rock outcropping 14 miles from Plymouth, was felled by the storm. All of its residents, including its designer, Henry Winstanley, were killed. Huge waves on the Thames River sent water six feet higher than ever before recorded near London. More than 5,000 homes along the river were destroyed.

The author Daniel Defoe, who would later enjoy worldwide acclaim for the novel Robinson Crusoe, witnessed the storm, which he described as an “Army of Terror in its furious March.” His first book, The Storm, was published the following year.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: A modern coin-counting machine can count 2,500 coins a minute. A bank note-counting machine can tally up to 100 bills in 4 seconds. It can also tell what denomination they are and if they are fake.

Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

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In 1963, the immortal Nat King Cole released an album titled “Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer.” Though the album only rose to #14 on the Billboard’s LP chart, I recall that song perfectly well, even though I was just a kid in those days. There was a certain lift to the song…it lifted spirits and captured the innocent days of summer that were such a fond part of my life. The lyrics:

CHORUS: Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer

Just fill your basket full of sandwiches and weenies
Then lock the house up, now you’re set
And on the beach you’ll see the girls in their bikinis
As cute as ever but they never get ’em wet

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
You’ll wish that summer could always be here

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer

Don’t hafta tell a girl and fella about a drive-in
Or some romantic movie scene
Right from the moment that those lovers start arrivin’
You’ll see more kissin’ in the cars than on the screen

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
You’ll wish that summer could always be here
You’ll wish that summer could always be here
You’ll wish that summer could always be here!

Well, I was too young to know about drive-in’s and kissin’ girls and such stuff, but the chorus has never left my memory!

It is August 21. We have had a hot summer in the state of Georgia. Right now, our oldest son, who lives in Oregon, has been having triple-digit temperatures while we’ve been cooler than that here. And today, oh wonderful!, it is cooler here. There’s been a breeze blowing about all day and as I type this, the thunder is rolling through the treetops and the rain has begin to fall. The forecast for the next 15 days shows cooler weather than we’ve had nearly all summer…and that begins to hint to me that the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer may soon be starting to fade into the crispness of fall. I certainly hope so.

But there is something to be said for those summer days where children, like my two granddaughters in the photo I took, play away the days without a care in the world. Playing by the lakeside, eating bar-be-cue, laughing and goofing around…these are the kinds of days and things that I hope they will remember all the days of their lives – just as I recall the lyrics to this song!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1863 a ruthless band of guerillas attacked the town of Lawrence, Kansas, killing every man and boy in sight. The town was an abolitionist, pro-Union stronghold, and the guerillas, led by William Quantrill and William “Bloody Bill” Anderson,were said to have carried out the brutal attack on behalf of the Confederacy. Included in their group was Jesse James’ brother Frank and Cole Younger, who would later also play a large role in the James gang.

Bloody Bill Anderson got his name for his love of shooting unarmed and defenseless people. Reportedly, he carried multiple handguns, in addition to a saber and a hatchet. His horse was also outfitted with several rifles and backup pistols. Although he claimed to have political motives for his terrorism, Anderson more likely used the Civil War as an opportunity to kill without repercussion.

Jesse James, only 17 at the time, teamed up with Bloody Bill after he split from Quantrill’s band of killers. On September 27, 1864, their small splinter group terrorized and destroyed most of the town of Centralia, Missouri, and killed 22 Union solders.Later that day,they ambushed and killed 150 more Union men. A month later, Anderson paid for his crimes: He was caught by a full contingent of Union army troops in Missouri and killed in the ensuing battle. Jesse James was never brought to justice by the North for his war crimes and went on to become the 19th century’s most infamous criminal.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: why is it that we seldom seem to learn that the grass is NOT greener on the other side of the fence?  Over 75% of people who marry partners from an affair eventually divorce.

The Truth About Butterlies and Princesses

There are many, many questions that mankind has wrestled with since the dawn of time. Some are profound: Why are we here? Where are we going? What happens after we die? Based upon our beliefs about the answer to those questions, we change the course of our lives…or we try to. 

Some questions are less profound, but very personal: what will a do for a career? Who should I marry or should I not marry at all? Where will I live? How do I feel about myself and others?

And then there are questions that a absolutely, totally all consuming and the answer to them can change seemingly everything. They say that the camera doesn’t lie, and when I see pictures of myself I can see the harsh reality of that saying. But one of the huge questions I’ve always wondered about was this: do princesses and butterflies eat cookies?  

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Today I present you with the photographic evidence: the answer is YES! (And from the looks of it, apparently they like it, too!)

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1967, Israel responded to an ominous build-up of Arab forces along its borders by launching simultaneous attacks against Egypt and Syria. Jordan subsequently entered the fray, but the Arab coalition was no match for Israel’s proficient armed forces. In six days of fighting, Israel occupied the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, the Golan Heights of Syria, and the West Bank and Arab sector of East Jerusalem, both previously under Jordanian rule. By the time the United Nations cease-fire took effect on June 11, Israel had more than doubled its size. The true fruits of victory came in claiming the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordan. Many wept while bent in prayer at the Western Wall of the Second Temple.

The U.N. Security Council called for a withdrawal from all the occupied regions, but Israel declined, permanently annexing East Jerusalem and setting up military administrations in the occupied territories. Israel let it be known that Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai would be returned in exchange for Arab recognition of the right of Israel to exist and guarantees against future attack. Arab leaders, stinging from their defeat, met in August to discuss the future of the Middle East. They decided upon a policy of no peace, no negotiations, and no recognition of Israel, and made plans to defend zealously the rights of Palestinian Arabs in the occupied territories.

Egypt, however, would eventually negotiate and make peace with Israel, and in 1982 the Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt in exchange for full diplomatic recognition of Israel. Egypt and Jordan later gave up their respective claims to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to the Palestinians, who opened “land for peace” talks with Israel beginning in the 1990s. A permanent Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement remains elusive, as does an agreement with Syria to return the Golan Heights.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: If melted into liquid form, the amount of water in Mars’ southern polar cap would cover the entire planet to a depth of about 36 feet.

Ferocious Little Things

Fierce face...don't be scared!!!
Fierce face…don’t be scared!!!

There are lots of fierce things in the world: tigers, lions, leopards, great white sharks, orcas, wolverines, brizzly bears, polar bears…the list of great and ferocious creatures is long!

Not all fierce things, however, are large. Some are small: killer bees, scorpions, wasps, hornets, and believe it or not, hummingbirds. You probably didn’t know that hummingbirds are fierce. They have been known to attack much larger animals in an attempt to keep them away from the hummingbird’s food source.

Perhaps, though, the most ferocious small thing of all is my youngest granddaughter, the subject of today’s photo. Her dad asked her to show me her fierce face – and she did. If this isn’t fierce, I don’t know what is!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 48 B.C., upon landing in Egypt, Roman general and politician Pompey was murdered on the orders of King Ptolemy of Egypt.

During his long career, Pompey the Great displayed exceptional military talents on the battlefield. He fought in Africa and Spain, quelled the slave revolt of Spartacus, cleared the Mediterranean of pirates, and conquered Armenia, Syria, and Palestine. Appointed to organize the newly won Roman territories in the East, he proved a brilliant administrator.

In 60 B.C., he joined with his rivals Julius Caesar and Marcus Licinius Crassus to form the First Triumvirate, and together the trio ruled Rome for seven years. Caesar’s successes aroused Pompey’s jealousy, however, leading to the collapse of the political alliance in 53 B.C. The Roman Senate supported Pompey and asked Caesar to give up his army, which he refused to do. In January 49 B.C., Caesar led his legions across the Rubicon River from Cisalpine Gaul to Italy, thus declaring war against Pompey and his forces.

Caesar made early gains in the subsequent civil war, defeating Pompey’s army in Italy and Spain, but he was later forced into retreat in Greece. In August 48 B.C., with Pompey in pursuit, Caesar paused near Pharsalus, setting up camp at a strategic location. When Pompey’s senatorial forces fell upon Caesar’s smaller army, they were entirely routed, and Pompey fled to Egypt.

Pompey hoped that King Ptolemy, his former client, would assist him, but the Egyptian king feared offending the victorious Caesar. On September 28, Pompey was invited to leave his ships and come ashore at Pelusium. As he prepared to step onto Egyptian soil, he was treacherously struck down and killed by an officer of Ptolemy.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: No U.S. president has ever been an only child.

To Make a Little One Laugh

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Double click for a larger image…

You know, I love to hear little children laugh…especially if it was my own kids or now my grand kids. There is hardly a more beautiful sound in the world then their laughter. And that means, that as a grandpa, I will do darn near anything to make them laugh!

On Labor Day, our youngest son and his family came over to have a BBQ and spend some time with us. They don’t have a dog of their own and they always want to know how our dog is doing and they want to come and see her. Breaks our heart, don’t you know!?!?!?!

Anyway, when they came over, I thought it would be a good idea to smear almond butter on the bottoms of their feet so the dog could like them off. The picture above was taken as the dog was working on one foot. What was the result? Well, you’ll have to scroll all the way down to the end to get the reaction of the youngest to having her foot licked clean by our dog!

If I can hear my grand children laugh (and help to make that happen!), then I’ve had a GREAT day!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1944,

On this day in 1944, the U.S. 1st Marine Division lands on the island of Peleliu, one of the Palau Islands in the Pacific, as part of a larger operation to provide support for Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who was preparing to invade the Philippines. The cost in American lives would prove historic.

The Palaus, part of the Caroline Islands, were among the mandated islands taken from Germany and given to Japan as one of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles at the close of World War I. The U.S. military lacked familiarity with the islands, and Adm. William Halsey argued against Operation Stalemate, which included the Army invasion of Morotai in the Dutch East Indies, believing that MacArthur would meet minimal resistance in the Philippines, therefore making this operation unnecessary, especially given the risks involved.

Peleliu was subject to pre-invasion bombardment, but it proved of little consequence. The Japanese defenders of the island were buried too deep in the jungle, and the target intelligence given the Americans was faulty. Upon landing, the Marines met little immediate resistance—but that was a ploy. Shortly thereafter, Japanese machine guns opened fire, knocking out more than two dozen landing craft. Japanese tanks and troops followed, as the startled 1st and 5th Marine regiments fought for their lives. Jungle caves disgorged even more Japanese soldiers. Within one week of the invasion, the Marines lost 4,000 men. By the time it was all over, that number would surpass 9,000. The Japanese lost more than 13,000 men. Flamethrowers and bombs finally subdued the island for the Americans—but it all proved pointless. MacArthur invaded the Philippines without need of Army or Marine protection from either Peleliu or Morotai.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Research suggests that dark chocolate boosts memory, attention span, reaction time, and problem-solving skills by increasing blood flow to the brain. Studies have also found that dark chocolate can improve the ability to see in low-contrast situations (such as poor weather) and promote lower blood pressure, which has positive effects on cholesterol levels, platelet function, and insulin sensitivity.

And here is the aforementioned picture of the little one as the dog was licking her foot…

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Double click for a larger image…

So This Is What Sleeping Beauty Looks Like!

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Double click for a larger image…

You know, there comes a point when a person just has had enough and just can’t “go” anymore. It is seemingly especially true of little ones because their bodies burn so much energy just growing and building themselves! So, after the little legs have worn themselves down to the nubbin’s by running as far as they can, when the little arms have waved and gestured as much as they possibly could, when the little hands and fingers have reached and grasped until they are worn out, the owner simply must obey nature’s demand to get some rest!

Have you ever wondered what Sleeping Beauty looked like? I know, I’ve seen the movies and pictures of her, too, but I have to say, Sleeping Beauty never was more beautiful than this sleeping beauty….my youngest grand daughter.

This was taken on Labor Day. When their family arrived at our house for a BBQ, she and her sister had already been to a Princess Teahouse that morning for a combined birthday present and I’m sure that it was as exciting for them as could possibly be – especially for this littlest one as she is fascinated by princesses – especially Disney’s Belle.  So after dressing up, putting on eye-shadow (visible on her eyelids in the picture) and other make-up, having “tea” and snacks, and playing Belle for several hours, she fell asleep on their way to our house. I went down to greet them when they pulled up, and she was totally zonked. I, being the captivated grandpa that I am, HAD to go back and get the camera. I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1776, the Continental Congress formally declared the name of the new nation to be the “United States” of America. This replaced the term “United Colonies,” which had been in general use. (I never knew this!!!)

In the Congressional declaration dated September 9, 1776, the delegates wrote, “That in all continental commissions, and other instruments, where, heretofore, the words ‘United Colonies’ have been used, the stile be altered for the future to the “United States.”

A resolution by Richard Henry Lee, which had been presented to Congress on June 7 and approved on July 2, 1776, issued the resolve, “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States….” As a result, John Adams thought July 2 would be celebrated as “the most memorable epoch in the history of America.” Instead, the day has been largely forgotten in favor of July 4, when Jefferson’s edited Declaration of Independence was adopted. That document also states, “That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES.” However, Lee began with the line, while Jefferson saved it for the middle of his closing paragraph.

By September, the Declaration of Independence had been drafted, signed, printed and sent to Great Britain. What Congress had declared to be true on paper in July was clearly the case in practice, as Patriot blood was spilled against the British on the battlefields of Boston, Montreal, Quebec and New York. Congress had created a country from a cluster of colonies and the nation’s new name reflected that reality.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Twenty-five million people die each year from contaminated water. That is the entire population of Canada.

When Things Go Boom!

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Double click for a larger version of the image…

Yes, little ones like pizza, birthday parties, ice cream, playing Hide-and-Seek (or in the case of my two youngest, “Pop-Pop is a Monster” (where I play like a giant dinosaur and act scary, but they can put me to sleep by singing, “Go to sleep!  Go to sleep!”)  I have to confess, I rather enjoy that game, too.

But, there are things that wee ones don’t like: nap time, bed time, doing chores, brushing their teeth, washing their hands before eating…all those things seem to be BIG problems for LITTLE people.  And let me explain one more thing that they don’t like (at least most of them don’t): loud noises.

On the Fourth of July, we were at our son’s house in the evening and our son was setting off some fireworks in the driveway.  They weren’t cherry bombs or anything like that…just small “shower” type of fireworks that spew up a shower of sparks with may a small amount of noise.  But that was all it took.  Afraid there would be loud noises, our littlest grand daughter decided she needed to protect herself by covering her ears!  It was cute.  The indignation on her face is priceless…but she still couldn’t take her eyes off the flying sparks!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1978, National Lampoon’s Animal House, a movie spoof about 1960s college fraternities starring John Belushi, opened in U.S. theaters. Produced with an estimated budget of $3 million, Animal House became a huge, multi-million-dollar box-office hit, spawned a slew of cinematic imitations and became part of pop-culture history with such memorable lines as “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

Set at the fictional Faber College (the University of Oregon served as a stand-in during filming), Animal House centered around the disreputable Delta House fraternity, whose members enjoyed beer-soaked toga parties and crude pranks such as putting a horse in the dean’s office. Animal House was the first big hit for director John Landis, who went on to helm The Blues Brothers (1980), Trading Places (1983) and Coming to America (1988). The film’s cast included a then-unknown Kevin Bacon (Footloose, Mystic River), Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and Tom Hulce (Amadeus), all of whom were then just beginning their movie careers.

Animal House was co-written by Doug Kenney, Harold Ramis and Chris Miller, whose days at Dartmouth College in the early 1960s served as an inspiration for the film. Animal House marked the first film produced in affiliation with National Lampoon, a college magazine that was first published in 1970 and known for its dark humor. Other National Lampoon movies included Vacation (1983), which was written by John Hughes, directed by Ramis and starred SNL alum Chevy Chase.

At the time Animal House was released, John Belushi, who played party animal Bluto Blutarsky, was starring on the TV sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live(SNL). Belushi, who was born January 24, 1949, appeared on SNL from 1975 to 1979 and co-starred in the hit movie Blues Brothers with his SNL castmate Dan Akroyd. Belushi died of a drug overdose at age 33 on March 5, 1982, at the Chateau Marmont hotel in West Hollywood, California.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Tests conducted by St. Lawrence University in New York found that there were more left-handed people with IQs over 140 than right-handed people. Famous left-handed intellectuals include Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Benjamin Franklin.

Gettin’ Down and Dirty

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Double click for a larger version of the image…

When we lived on the farm, I remember coming back to the house as a kid and my mom always getting on my case to “wash up”. Sure, kids (especially boys) get dirty on farms, but I had a logical explanation: since the Good Book says Adam was formed from the dust of the ground, I figured that the more dirt I got on me, the bigger I’d grow!  My mom, by the way, never bought that explanation. I had to wash up anyway.

There were other times that I loved getting dirty. When I spent the summer before my freshman year working on my uncle’s farm (again in Iowa), I loved being on the hay rack behind the baler in the fields.  We’d get thickly covered in dirt and tiny bits of hay, it would itch and we’d be sweating profusely in the hot Iowa sun, but it felt good.

And then, during my high school years, my friends and I would go out on cold winter days when it was wet and muddy and we’d play tackle football on the high school sports fields.  We would get absolutely covered from head to foot in mud. But what fun!

My youngest grand daughter reminds me that there is another thing that is worth getting covered with: pizza sauce!  When little girls gather for a birthday party, pizza is often on the menu…but it disappears like it was playing a starring role in a magic show!  But, it’s worth it…

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1943, Joseph Stalin, premier and dictator of the Soviet Union, issued Order No. 227, that came to be known as the “Not one step backward” order, in light of German advances into Russian territory. The order declared, “Panic makers and cowards must be liquidated on the spot. Not one step backward without orders from higher headquarters! Commanders…who abandon a position without an order from higher headquarters are traitors to the Fatherland.”

Early German successes against Russia had emboldened Hitler in his goal of taking Leningrad and Stalingrad. But the German attack on Stalingrad, thought foolhardy by Hitler’s generals, because of Russia’s superior manpower and the enormous drain on German resources and troop strength, was repulsed by a fierce Soviet fighting force, which had been reinforced with greater numbers of men and materials. The Germans then turned their sights on Leningrad. Stalin needed to “motivate” both officers and civilians alike in their defense of Leningrad—hence, Order No. 227. But it was hardly necessary. On the same day the order was given, Russian peasants and partisans in the Leningrad region killed a German official, Adolf Beck, whose job was to send agricultural products from occupied Russia to Germany or German troops. The Russian patriots also set fire to the granaries and barns in which the stash of agricultural products was stored before transport. A partisan pamphlet issued an order of its own: “Russians! Destroy the German landowners. Drive the Germans from the land of the Soviets!”

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: At a recent auction in Edinburgh, a pair of Queen Victoria’s underwear sold for £9,375 ($14,500 American). The knickers were made from yards of white cream fabric and had her initials VR (Victoria Regina) embroidered in them.

Sometimes a Girl Just Gets Tired

Click for a larger version of the image..,
Click for a larger version of the image..,

My last two weeks have been bonkers.  It seems that every day I have things I plan to get done for work, but then eleven zillion other things come up and I never or seldom get around to what I’d planned to work on.  I think that in order to get some of those things done, I may just have to shut down email and instant messaging so I can focus!

I know I’m not alone.  I know others at my work are experiencing the same thing.  It happens.  The old saw about “When it rains it pours!” never seems more true than when talking about work.  Or problems.

It happens to little ones, too.  This is my youngest grand daughter and she loves to play, play, play!  (Who can blame her, right?!?!  I love to play, too!)  And play she does.  Then, all of a sudden, it’s like she hits an invisible energy wall and she will sit down and conk out!  This picture was taken a few months ago when she’d been very excited and had played hard and was all amp’d up for quite some period of time, and then…BOOM!  But it made for a nice picture!  And even better, it makes a great excuse for grandpa to pick her up and carry her around while she falls asleep on his shoulder!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1918, Della Sorenson killed the first of her seven victims in rural Nebraska by poisoning her sister-in-law’s infant daughter, Viola Cooper. Over the next seven years, friends, relatives, and acquaintances of Sorenson repeatedly died under mysterious circumstances before anyone finally realized that it had to be more than a coincidence.

Two years after little Viola met her demise, Wilhelmina Weldam, Sorenson’s mother-in-law, was poisoned. Sorenson then went after her own family, killing her daughter, Minnie, and husband, Joe, over a two-week period in September.

Waiting only four months before marrying again, Sorenson then settled in Dannebrog, Neb. In August 1922, her former sister-in-law came to visit with another infant, four-month-old Clifford. Just as she had done with Viola, Sorenson poisoned the poor child with a piece of candy. The unfortunate Mrs. Cooper, still oblivious to what was happening, came back again in October to visit with yet another child. This time, Sorenson’s poison didn’t work.

Early in 1923, Sorenson killed her own daughter, Delia, on her first birthday. When Sorenson’s friend brought her infant daughter for a visit only a week later, the tiny infant was also poisoned. After an attempt on Sorenson’s second husband’s life left him sick–but not dead–authorities began to think that there might be a connection between these series of deaths.

Finally, in 1925, Sorenson was arrested when she made an unsuccessful attempt at killing two children in the neighborhood with poisoned cookies. She confessed to the crimes, saying, “I like to attend funerals. I’m happy when someone is dying.” Sentiments like this convinced doctors that Sorenson was schizophrenic, and she was committed to the state mental asylum.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: In Egypt, redheads were buried alive as sacrifices to the god Osiris.

…Is the Hardest Part

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Double click for a larger version

This past Saturday, I was invited to watch my two littlest grand daughters while their mom and dad when somewhere.  It was an easy assignment because they already had some things planned – and so did I.  I had taken some photos of them before and turned them into line drawings, printed them out and took them with me so they could color them.  But the big highlight of the time we were to spend together was taking them to Glow Galaxy.  Glow Galaxy is a cross between a large jump house and a black light playground.  The place is full of glow-in-the-dark, inflatable jump rooms and slides, even the carpet has colors on it that glow in the dark.  One of their friends was having a birthday party at Glow Galaxy and we were to be there at 10:15 in the morning.

If you know me, you know that I HATE to be late for anything.  The girls were eager to get going, so, not being sure of how long it would take us to get there, I loaded them into their car seats and off we went.  Yep…you guessed it.  We were the first ones there and we had to wait.  And wait.  And wait.

Waiting is SO HARD even for adults, but sometimes I think we forget how hard it is for little ones!  But there was one good thing that came from being there early: the girls discovered that Glow Galaxy sells glow-in-the-dark tie-dyed shirts!  The moment her eyes landed on them, the oldest one was transfixed, and without lifting her eyes off them for even a fraction of a second, said so innocently and hopefully, “Do you think we could have one?”  Well, here’s another secret about me: if my grand kids ask me for something, I hardly ever say no, and I certainly wasn’t about to say no that morning!  I thought how much I would have loved to have a glow-in-the-dark shirt when I was a kid…and I reached for my wallet practically before she’d finished asking!  What a delight…

But first, they had to wait.  And that is the subject of today’s picture.  Waiting in the lobby as the minutes stretched on like hours, the seconds like minutes…the nanoseconds seemed to take FOREVER…but at least they had their shirts and were ready for the action when it started!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1942, a Warsaw underground newspaper, the Liberty Brigade,made public the news of the gassing of tens of thousands of Jews at Chelmno, a death camp in Poland—almost seven months after extermination of prisoners began.

A year earlier, the means of effecting what would become the “Final Solution,” the mass extermination of European Jewry, was devised: 700 Jews were murdered by channeling gas fumes back into a van used to transport them to the village of Chelmno, in Poland. This “gas van” would become the death chamber for a total of 360,000 Jews from more than 200 communities in Poland. The advantage of this form of extermination was that it was silent and invisible.

One month before the infamous Wannsee Conference of January 1942, during which Nazi officials decided to address formally the “Jewish question,” the gas vans in Chelmno were used to kill up to 1,000 Jews a day. The vans provided the “Final Solution” for Adolf Eichmann and other Wannsee attendees. The mass gassings were the most orderly and systematic means of eliminating European Jewry. Eventually, more such vans were employed in other parts of Poland. There was no thought of selecting out the “fit” from the “unfit” for slave labor, as in Auschwitz. There was only one goal: utter extermination.

On June 1, 1942, the story of a young Jew, Emanuel Ringelblum, (who escaped from the Chelmno death camp after being forced to bury bodies as they were thrown out of the gas vans), was published in the underground Polish Socialist newspaper Liberty Brigade. The West now knew the “bloodcurdling news… about the slaughter of Jews,” and it had a name—Chelmno.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Artillery barrage and mines created immense noise. In 1917, explosives blowing up beneath the German lines on Messines Ridge at Ypres in Belgium could be heard in London 140 miles (220 km) away.