Jun 27

Happy Sunglasses Day!




Elton John has over a thousand pairs, Canadian singer Corey Hart only wears his at night, and you can tell the good guys from the bad guys in The Matrix by the shape of theirs. What am I talking about? Sunglasses, of course! There’s nothing quite as stylish as a pair of shades, so get out your aviators or your wayfarers and start celebrating National Sunglasses Day!

Although the origins of National Sunglasses Day are unknown, the history of sunglasses stretches as far back as 14th century China, where judges used eyewear made of smoke-coloured quartz to mask their emotions. Fast-forward 600 years and modern sunglasses as we know them today were first marketed by entrepreneur Sam Foster on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.

One other thing to remember is that sunglasses also help protect your eyes from harmful UV light, so channel your inner-cool and slip on those shades on National Sunglasses Day!

Did you know that your eyes can become sunburned

75 percent of Americans are concerned about exposure to the sun’s UV rays, but only 31 percent of Americans wear sunglasses when they venture outside.  You know wearing sunblock can help to protect your skin.  Don’t forget to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.


Eye Care Tips

  • UV exposure increases the likelihood of the formation of cataracts
  • UV exposure can cause cancer of the eye or eyelid
  • Water reflects up to 100 % of UV rays
  • Concrete reflects up to 25% of UV rays
  • Grass reflects up to 3% of UV rays
  • The eyes of a child are more vulnerable to UV rays than an adults
  • Exposure to UV rays promotes more rapid age-related macular degeneration and blindness
  • The harmful effects of UV rays are cumulative over a lifetime of exposure
  • Squinting in the sun causes wrinkles
  • UV rays are just as dangerous on cloudy days as sunny days

Adapted from https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/sunglasses-day/ and http://www.bbb.org/central-california-inland-empire/news-events/news-releases/2016/06/june-27th-is-national-sunglasses-day/


Jun 18

Yea! It’s Father’s Day again!



Father’s Day is observed annually on the third Sunday in June.  This day is set aside to honor and celebrate fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. Many countries celebrate it on the third Sunday of June, though it is also celebrated widely on other days by many other countries.

After the success of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day observations began to appear.  The road to this national observance was not easy.


Jun 12

Things I Do as an Adult Because of Childhood Emotional Abuse | The Mighty

Most all these comments are way too close for comfort!

It has been said that “no one escapes childhood unscathed.” But sayings like these can have an especially significant meaning for a person who has experienced emotional abuse as a child. The effects of emotional abuse can be both debilitating and far-reaching, often extending out of childhood and into adolescence and adulthood. For many, experiencing emotional abuse at a young age can affect their self-worth and relationships. For some, emotional abuse may even have contributed to a current struggle with mental illness.

We wanted to know what kinds of effects childhood emotional abuse can have on adulthood, so we asked our mental health community to share one thing they do now that stemmed from the emotional abuse they experienced in their upbringing.

No matter what your experience of childhood abuse was, it is important to remember hope is never lost and there is help out there…

Source: Things I Do as an Adult Because of Childhood Emotional Abuse | The Mighty

Jun 09

Quack Quack – It’s Donald Duck Day again!



National Donald Duck Day is observed annually on June 9th.  This day commemorates the birthday of the funny animal cartoon character, Donald Duck. Donald made his first screen debut on June 9, 1934, in The Wise Little Hen.


Donald Duck usually wears a sailor suit with a cap and a black or red bow tie and is most famous for his semi-intelligible speech along with his mischievous and irritable personality.

Donald Duck has appeared in more films than any other Disney character.   Donald was also declared in 2002 by TV Guide as one of the 50 greatest cartoon characters of all times.

It was in Donald’s second appearance in Orphan’s Benefit that he was introduced to his comic friend, Mickey Mouse.  Donald’s girlfriend, Daisy Duck, along with his nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, were introduced shortly after that. 

From 1934 black and white to 1941 colorized and other slight character changes.  Donald’s beak gets a bit rounded as time goes on.

(From the Wikipedia article “Orphan’s Benefit,” section “Remake”)

In the summer of 1939, in anticipation of Mickey Mouse’s 12th anniversary the following year, Walt Disney commissioned a two-reel short film tentatively called MICKEY’S REVIVAL PARTY. The plan was for this film to open with the characters arriving at a cinema where they would watch scenes from several old, mostly black and white Mickey Mouse films (among them “Orphan’s Benefit”). The story artists envisioned the characters humorously interacting with themselves on the movie screen. This therefore required that the old footage could not be simply added as-is to the new film, it had to be redrawn completely.

It was during this process that Walt Disney decided to completely reproduce several of these old shorts in color. It was also an opportunity to update the character models, since many characters had changed in appearance since the early 1930s.

“Orphan’s Benefit” was the first of these films to be redone. The result was an almost exact shot-for-shot version of the original, except for the added color and updated characters. The film was directed by Riley Thomson and used almost the entire original soundtrack, the only change being the final line, from “Aw nuts!” to “Aw phooey!” which had become a common catchphrase for Donald by that time. The title of the film also saw a small change making it more grammatically correct, although this was not reflected in some promotional material such as the film poster. Orphans’ Benefit was released to theaters on August 12, 1941 by RKO Radio Pictures.

The next film scheduled for reproduction was “Mickey’s Man Friday” (1935), but it was never completed. The original concept for MICKEY’S REVIVAL PARTY was shelved and “Orphan’s Benefit” became the only Disney film to be recreated scene for scene. It is unknown what led to the cancellation, although animation historian David Gerstein speculated that World War II or the Disney animators’ strike of 1941 may have played a role, or that Walt Disney simply preferred to work on all-new films rather than “extensively revisit the past.”


In addition to animation, Donald is also known for his appearance in comic books and newspaper comic strips.

One of Donald Duck’s famous sayings is “Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.”


From http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/days-2/national-donald-duck-day-june-9/


Jun 04

National Cancer Survivor’s Day



Observed annually on the first Sunday in June, National Cancer Survivor’s Day has been set aside to “demonstrate that life after a cancer diagnosis can be a reality.”

Each year on National Cancer Survivor’s Day, events and celebrations are held and hosted around the United States by local communities, hospitals and support groups honoring cancer survivors.  Events may include parades, carnivals, art exhibits, contests and testimonies. President George W. Bush and the National Cancer Institute director each included a commencement at the 2008 celebration.


So today is my day and my mom’s day and countless other people’s day.  I’m a kidney cancer survivor – 11 years now!

My mom survived colon cancer TWICE

My sister-in-law survived breast cancer

It hasn’t been all good though.  There have been many more in my extended family who did not survive. 


Congratulations to the survivors on this special “Who Knew” holiday, National Cancer Survivor’s Day





Jun 03

The Wartime Spies Who Used Knitting as an Espionage Tool – Atlas Obscura

DURING WORLD WAR I, A grandmother in Belgium knitted at her window, watching the passing trains. As one train chugged by, she made a bumpy stitch in the fabric with her two needles. Another passed, and she dropped a stitch from the fabric, making an intentional hole.

Later, she would risk her life by handing the fabric to a soldier—a fellow spy in the Belgian resistance, working to defeat the occupying German force.Whether women knitted codes into fabric or used stereotypes of knitting women as a cover, there’s a history between knitting and espionage. “Spies have been known to work code messages into knitting, embroidery, hooked rugs, etc,” according to the 1942 book A Guide to Codes and Signals.

During wartime, where there were knitters, there were often spies; a pair of eyes, watching between the click of two needles.

Read more: The Wartime Spies Who Used Knitting as an Espionage Tool – Atlas Obscura

May 29

Memorial Day 2017

Thanks, Grandpa…  You weren’t American, but you fought valiantly for the cause overseas.

I never met my grandfather.  He had died in Peshawar, India, fighting for the Black Watch during World War l.  Peshawar was on the northern frontier of British India, near the Khyber Pass.

In 1947, Peshawar became part of the newly independent state of Pakistan after politicians approved merger into the state that had just been carved from British India.


We have a trunk of his belongings, though, and it’s very interesting to recreate his life.

My dad was born in Scotland in 1913.

In 1914, my grandfather was involved in this:

On the outbreak of war there were seven Black Watch battalions – for in addition to the Regular 1st and 2nd Battalions and 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion there were a further four Territorial ones which had become part of the Regiment in 1908. They were the 4th Dundee [Mary O’Note: I’m pretty sure this was his, since that’s where my dad was born], 5th Angus, 6th Perthshire and the 7th Battalion from Fife. The 1st Battalion was in action at the very start of the war taking part in the Retreat from Mons before turning on the Germans at the River Marne and the subsequent advance to the Aisne. Trench warfare then set in and the 2nd Battalion arrived from India, both battalions taking part in the Battle of Givenchy. Meanwhile the Territorial battalions had been mobilised at the start of the war but only the 5th was in action in 1914.

From http://www.theblackwatch.co.uk/index/first-world-war

black watch


I guess this is why I love the Pipes and Drums of the Black Watch so much.


Thanks, Grandpa!

Last summer, we went to the Edinburgh Tattoo for the second time. This had been on my bucket list for a long time since my grandfather was in the Black Watch and I just love to hear bagpipes. Even my cellphone ringtone is Scotland, the Brave.


My mom says that my Grandfather’s name is inscribed as a war hero in Edinburgh Castle, where the Tattoo is held.

When we were there last time, I didn’t quite make it to the top of the hill but this year, maybe…

You know, I’ll find that, sooner or later.

Thanks again for your service, Grandpa – and everyone who served!

May 25

It’s Also National Tap Dance Day!



Another of the Who Knew?-type posts. It’s National Tap Dance Day.  When I was a little kid, I took the “required” ballet and tap classes for a year.  My mom has a picture of me in my tutu and one in my majorette costume for the tap recital.  I imagine I only took for the year because those costumes cost extra money.

Later on, I bought tap shoes – still unused – and signed up with a friend for a local adult tap class.  Unfortunately, we were the only ones who signed up for the class and it was cancelled.  It was a major nightmare trying to get our money back.  They wanted to give us a credit for the next time, but that would cost more money which we didn’t want to pay.

But, I digress.

National Tap Dance Day falls on May 25 every year and is a celebration of tap dancing as an American art form. The idea of National Tap Dance Day was first presented to U.S. Congress on February 7, 1989 and was signed into American law by President George H.W. Bush on November 8, 2004. The one-time official observance was on May 25, 1989.

Tap Dance Day is also celebrated in other countries, particularly Japan, Australia, India and Iceland.
National Tap Dance Day was the brainchild of Carol Vaughn, Nicola Daval, and Linda Christensen. They deemed May 25 appropriate for this holiday because it is the birthday of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, a significant contributor to tap dance.



Even Legos can tap to Puttin’ On The Ritz! A tribute to Fred Astaire, in the classic scene from the 1946 musical, Blue Skies, with the music and lyrics by Irving Berlin. Although originally written for vaudevillian Harry Richman in 1930, the lyrics were readapted along with a brand new dance sequence some 16 years later.



Here’s the original from Blue Skies, although some has been cut with stills of Fred inserted:



And another version, with Michael Jackson 🙂



Just for comparison, the real original 1930 movie footage of Irving Berlin’s world-famous song, sung by Harry Richman, from the film of the same name.



And something completely different with my old favorites, The Nicholas Brothers from the film Stormy Weather.


May 25


Next week I’m going to a conference in Nashville for one of my jobs.  The last time – actually the only other time – I was there, it was for a Cushing’s Conference.

There are two albums of photos on Facebook from that conference.  Part one and Part two (Duh!)

It makes me sad just thinking about that conference.  Since that time, three of my close Cushie friends in attendance have died.  Sue, Natalie, and Diana.  Cookie had died the previous year but she had also been a force to reckon with. All died too young.  All the Cushies who have died have been too young.  I hate this disease/syndrome.

On the other hand, had it not been for Cushing’s, I never would have even met those wonderful friends.

In church one Sunday, one of the questions the pastor asked in the sermon was “What would your best friend think about…” and all I could think of was that nearly all my friends have died.  There’s no “best” one left.  And, I’m too young for this to be.

Last week, I was asked what I had on my Medic Alert bracelet and I responded with the words and a picture of the bracelet.  I also mentioned that mine is the same as the one Natalie always wore, in memory of her.

But, I’m hoping for a much cheerier visit to Nashville this year.  After all, this is the same conference we went to last year in Baltimore…

Read more about last year’s conference on my travel blog here: http://maryoblog.com/2016/08/19/acs-conference-in-baltimore-md-may-31-june-3-2016/


May 25

Why a Towel?

From The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy



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