Sunday, June 27, 2010

Luv-er-lee June - Or June Bug Heaven

Each month, and nearly every day, of the calendar has particular cultural meanings and associations. Most of us associate June with weddings, ending of the school year, beginning of summer, honoring our fathers, honoring our flag, planning vacation time and, in the U.S., more sunshine, heat, and anticipated beach time. But for us info-maniacs, finding out all the other celebrations is just fun!

Wikipedia explains some of the U.S. associations with June; for example, June is named after Juno (Hera), the goddess of marriage. June’s birth flower is the rose; you know, red roses indicate love, yellow indicates friendship? But the other flower for June is the Honeysuckle. I remember the honeysuckle bush of my childhood home, picking the flowers, pulling the inside stamen and tasting the sweetness – in June.

June in the Northern Hemisphere is equivalent to December in the Southern Hemisphere. June 25th is known as LEON Day [Noel spelled backwards], but that still does not explain the shopping networks Christmas in July shows.

Food-wise, June is also known as Dairy Month, National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, National Iced Tea Month, and Turkey Lovers Month. On the first, heat up the fryer for Donut Day or make a garbage can cake to celebrate Oscar the Grouch’s birthday. Don’t forget Donald’s (the Duck, that is) birthday, June 9, 1934, or Superman’s birthday on June 30th, or more generally celebrate the song “Happy Birthday” written June 27, 1859 [not to mention daily singing while you wash your hands insures cleanliness). Bring out the candy thermometer for National Fudge Day on the 16th, or head for the nearest body of water with a basket full of goodies for International Picnic Day on the 18th.

Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery as announced by the Union soldiers in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865. However, the day did not become a recognized Texas holiday for 115 years. Now, many ethnicities and communities find ways to celebrate this day of freedom. While my daughter in Azerbaijan chose to make jambalaya, others celebrate with Red Velvet cake and Strawberry Lemonade.

Did you know the radio was patented in June 2nd, 1896? Or that the first drive-in movie in New Jersey arrived on June 6, 1933? National Yo-Yo day is the 10th, just two days before the anniversary of the creation of the baseball in 1839. Where would we be without sandpaper, invented June 14th, 1834, or the typewriter, patented on June 23, 1868, or even more importantly, June 26th, 1498 when the toothbrush was invented?

What else can you celebrate in June? National Adopt-A-Cat; National Drive Safe with National Safety Month (might be time to consider taking Oprah’s pledge to NOT text or use your cell phone while driving), National Tennis Month (what a great way to maintain your January exercise resolutions), Great Outdoors Month (let’s clean up the camping gear) that connects with National Fishing Week and National Camping Week.

For those more interested in personal development, enjoy Power of a Smile Day on June 15th, National Forgiveness Day on the 24th, and Let It Go Day – whatever has been bothering your psyche – on the 28th.

So, my last question is how do you plan to celebrate Potty Training Awareness Month next year?


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dear Daddy

It’s another Father’s Day without you. Fifty years have passed since you died. Can you believe it? Now I am even older than you were on that last June day.

So much has happened, Daddy, since that day in 1969. The world has changed in ways you could never have foreseen. Remember the beautiful gardens you created? The beautiful roses you cultivated along the end of the peninsula of our hometown, when you worked for that family? They are all gone, Daddy. The area is filled with condos and concrete. But I did manage to finally find the rose you hybrid – in Oregon of all places. I still remember how you and I used to plant my favorite flower, tulips, along the front fence of our yard.

I loved riding in your taxi cab with you, Daddy. That big square yellow box with the jump seats in the rear was one of the few places I had you to myself. Even though your skin was blue-black, you would always hang your left elbow out the window and it would get even darker. You had a regular group of people you would take to and pick up from the train station. They don’t do that anymore, Daddy. Cab drivers rarely offer personal service anymore. You used to tell me I could always rely on a cab driver to get me home. I no longer trust cab drivers, Daddy. It has made life a bit scarier.

After dinner and homework, you would take those of the six of us still living at home with you to clean buildings. I was in charge of dusting the rows and rows of desks where all the women sat in the daytime. When I got older, I had to clean the ladies bathroom – that taught me women could be icky.  But I still remember the wonderful pictures of those ladies celebrating my birth, all because they liked you.

You always tried to keep our house a home. Not just for us, but every family member. How many of our relatives lived in the upstairs apartment when they had no other place to go? How many breakfasts, lunches and dinners became family gatherings? How many times did you make modifications on the house to preserve a home for all of us? We even had wakes, birthdays, anniversaries, Christmases, Easters, and yes, Father’s Days in that fourteen room home.

I have so much more to say, Daddy, but there will never be enough space. Since you left, I finished college in Connecticut; completed my Master’s in Pennsylvania; married that guy you never liked and moved to Nome, Alaska; left that guy you never liked and moved to Kodiak where I married a guy you just might have liked,; moved to Juneau; went to Oregon when my husband retired; completed another Master’s degree; tried to complete a doctorate in Washington state; I came out of the closet; worked for Rutgers University in New Jersey; and now live with my partner in Miami. My husband and I are still married and about to celebrate our 22nd anniversary and life is about to change again.

In the midst of all these changes, Daddy, I still hear your voice telling me you will always love me. Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. I love you too.

Friday, June 11, 2010

That Overwhelming Feeling

There is not one human on earth (I’m willing to bet) who has not felt that overwhelming feeling. You know it: “I just don’t know what to do”; “How am I supposed to deal with all of this?”; “I’m so tired. Which way do I go?”; “How do I salvage this situation?”

I’m sure there are a number of us trying hard to deal with this feeling. If you are faced with losing house; dealing with a child whose school/college tuition is due; loss of a job/house/spouse or any other thing you are used to having in your life; and, my personal favorite, being the one who is designated as “the one”. You know, you have always dealt with a number of issues. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed since I’m the one who has “always” taken care of the finances, is responsible for locating new housing, dealt with medical issues, need a job, figuring out how to move, designed our healthy meals, and any other little item you can think of.

In marches the number of self-help books, life coaches, and everyday people who are examples of how you too can deal with the issues facing your existence. Go into a bookstore and check out the self-help section. Turn on the morning shows on any day and there will be a guru/book-selling individual who can guide you through the overwhelming process. Just the other day, a woman who had lost her job as an editor of a major magazine was on promoting her new book. Of course, this woman had sold her house, moved to the country, communed with nature so she could find herself again, AND then used her editorial connections to establish herself as an independent writer of articles. Right!

Some of us deal with that overwhelming feeling with negative behaviors: drinking too much, smoking too much, eating too much, exercising too much, sleeping too much – just pick something. And we do this even when we know the key is daily exercise; using your professional networks; making deals with credit card companies, banks, mortgage companies; reassuring and including your family members about the current situation since they might have ideas you haven’t even thought of; and asking family and friends if they know of potential solutions.

I don’t know what might really help you: the book, family, and/or friends. I do know that worrying definitely won’t help. Try coping with your own worry. I’m not sure what will work for each individual. But attacking the worry issue will at least give you a place to start.