Day: February 2, 2018

History, History Column

George Washington’s Death and Holiday

by Sarah Becker ©2017 George Washington’s Death and Holiday “Remembering that all must die…I hope you will bear the misfortune with that fortitude and complacency of mind, that become a man and a Christian,” General George Washington wrote in 1777.  Washington died at home on December 14, 1799, at age 67.  His death surprised the nation. On the morning of December 12, 1799, Washington departed on horseback to inspect his Mount Vernon property.  It was a bad weather day; he rode in rain, hail and snow.  When he returned home for dinner “his neck appeared to be wet, and the snow was hanging from his hair.”  He sat down to eat rather than change his clothes. The next day Washington complained of sickness. His wife Martha noticed he could barely speak, was hoarse and having trouble breathing.  The cold and snow continued; Martha’s request for medical help denied. General Washington was stricken with inflammatory quinsy.  A variety of home and physician remedies were administered, including a mixture of molasses, vinegar and butter…sal volatile…blister of cantharides…sage tea and  vinegar…calomel, as well as tartar emetic.  None eased the inflammation. Dr. Elisha Cullen Dick, age 37, one of two Alexandria doctors called for consultation, recommended a tracheotomy to ease the General’s breathing.  Dr. James Craik, age 70, and Maryland’s Dr. Gustavus Brown refused his advice.  Instead Dr. Craik bled Washington for the fourth time, taking five pints of blood in total. Soon after General Washington summoned wife Martha to his side.  He requested two documents, burned one and placed the other, his chosen will and testament in her closet. “I die hard, but I am not afraid to go…My breath cannot last long,” Washington told Drs. Craik, Dick and Brown.  He then “bid adieu to Sublunary Scenes.” “It is with inexpressible grief, that…

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Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

Delta Ghosts

Delta Ghosts Miriam R. Kramer Jesmyn Ward’s complex National Book award winner, Sing, Unburied, Sing, lends itself to an alternative form of book review. She pens a tale that offers the reader rich treasures of myth, symbol, and folklore while building its story. Its plainspoken cast of characters, bedeviled by love and suffering, stumble along paths built on the shaky bedrock of racist history. Woven with gorgeous, often painful images, Ward’s narrative takes circuitous routes to reach her novel’s ambiguous conclusions. Ward’s tale focuses on a sensitive biracial boy, JoJo, who has grown up in the Mississippi Gulf Coast swamp hamlet of Bois Sauvage with his sister, (Kayla) Michaela. His Black drug-addled mother, Leonie, yearns for his White father, Michael, in prison for cooking crystal meth. She ignores her children while working a low-level job and taking drugs. His upright and loving maternal grandfather, Pop, wrongfully imprisoned in Mississippi’s Parchman prison as a younger man, teaches him how to take care of livestock and a homestead. His spiritual but practical grandmother, Mam, infused with Voodoo and Catholic ritual, takes care of him and his sister at home, mixing up folk remedies for pain and sickness from her gardens and woods. When Michael’s sentence is up, Leonie and a friend take the children to pick him up at Parchman prison in Faulkner-fecund Mississippi, far away from the Gulf Coast. Her mother, Mam, is dying of cancer, and Leonie leaves Pop there to take care of her. JoJo becomes his sister Kayla’s primary caretaker on the trip as he is at home, protecting her from her neglectful, conflicted mother. This road trip awaken demons in Leonie and her son. Leonie sees her love Michael as her only sun, the compass of her life, even though his White cousin shot her Black brother…

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Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

Pets of the Month

Pets of the Month Drummer Lab retriever, chocolate brown, neutered male, 6 years old Drummer is a happy dude who appreciates the finer things in life – tasty treats, snuggle sessions, and movie marathons! This fellow is as sweet as his chocolate brown coat. He gives everyone enthusiastic kisses and loves to make friends with folks he meets on long walks through the park. Drummer would be a fantastic family dog with his gentle nature and playful spirit. If you’re looking for a fabulous boy to bring joy to your day, Drummer will make your heart beat! Calypso Domestic Shorthair, Calico, Spayed female, 8 years old Cello Domestic Shorthair, Tuxedo, Neutered male, 13 years old This combo is a bonded pair with a carefree attitude and willing to snuggle with their human once they get beyond their initial shyness. Cello with his luscious black coat is perfect match with his bonded mate Calypso with her Calico fur. This boy and girl go together, so some lucky person will get double the love and affection, not to mention the joy of watching their relationship and being a part of it. Both senior adults, they will love living in a home where they receive attention and a comfy lap, have room to play and a quiet place where they enjoy a sunbeam and watch the world go by. They’re a perfect match for someone with a busy schedule who looks forward at the end of each day to being greeting by two loving cats who will treasure your company and care. Gus Mouse, Brown, male, 1 year old Meet Gus, one of the AWLA mischief of mice! They are an adorable tiny family of mice looking for love and homes of their own! They could be adopted by a family or be great classroom pets! These little guys…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

Resolved to Get Healthier Last Month? Did You Consider a Pet?!

By Lisa Velenovsky Resolved to Get Healthier Last Month? Did You Consider a Pet! Right behind the Times Square ball drop came the New Year’s resolutions to get healthier. We promised ourselves this is the year we’ll exercise more, eat less, go to bed earlier and meditate.  If your goal truly is better overall health, you may want to add “get a pet” to the list. There’s a wealth of science to support the physical, psychological and emotional benefits of loving and being loved by an animal companion. But many people aren’t aware of the extent to which they can contribute to our well-being. Get moving! The most obvious benefit is the activity that comes with caring for your companion, especially dogs: walking, hiking, running or doing agility drills with Fido promotes a more active lifestyle. Published studies have found that children with dogs spent more time on moderate to vigorous physical activity than children without dogs, while adult dog owners walked an average of 5 hours per week vs. non-owners who clocked only 3 hours per week on average. Walking other pets – I knew a woman who walked her enormous pet rabbit on leash around downtown Chicago – may provide more moderate activity increases. But it’s all about the movement required by – or inspired by – our animals. Whatever it takes! There are many other very real (and some surreal) potential health benefits for the body and mind associated with pets. Here are a few you may be less familiar with: It’s the heart of the matter. Pets can reduce your stress levels, resulting in decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels according to organizations such as the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. This, in turn, can lower overall risk of heart…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

Love is a 4-Letter Word

By Lori Welch Brown Love is a 4-Letter Word If you’re looking for love, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Keep walking past those cute little pink heart Valentines, pass right on by the fuchsia thongs blinged out with “You’re Mine,” hang a left at the flavored love lotions and edible whatevers and head straight to the feminine products aisle. From there, go to the antacid aisle and then circle back to the trash bag aisle. Those are the places where true love resides. I know. I’m a buzz kill. Yes—there’s a place for the raging hot, sticky passion-fueled nights, but at some point Mr. (or Ms.) Sex in the Shower is going to have a raging virus (aka Man Cold) or have bodily fluids dripping from somewhere that is the opposite of sexy. Under the germ-encrusted sheets, beside the pile of phlegm-filled tissues is where love lives. The blinged out thong phase is called dating. It is intoxicating and thrilling beyond words, and alas, it is fleeting. And, it is not for everyone. There are plenty of happily married people out there who never left behind any DNA in a public place or had to have buttons replaced on shirts due to a spontaneous interlude. Truth. There are plenty of great Mr. Rights out there who haven’t had lace panties thrown at them. And, there are plenty of phenomenal women out there who would rather bungee jump off the Grand Canyon than willingly wear the word ‘SEXY’ across their butts in the name of love. This fact is a huge disappointment for many, and yet it shouldn’t be because while that phase may be what brings you together, it is rarely what keeps you together. We all yearn for the lace hearts, chocolates and sweet nothings because…

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Social Media Message

Expected Social Media Trends for 2018

Expected Social Media Trends for 2018 By Ashley Schultz A New Year brings new and experimental trends in the ever-growing world of Technology and Social Media. As someone who aligns with what is “hip”, I find, as I gracefully mature, I am not as educated in some of the innovations in Social Media that are coming to the forefront.  Therefore, I am writing and researching these trends for a “collective” benefit. Here are some of the expected changes and trends for 2018: Augmented Reality: First, Augmented Reality is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view, unlike Virtual Reality where you are encompassed entirely in a virtual environment. This past Christmas, my brother received Star Wars: Jedi Challenges.  We are both self proclaimed Star Wars nerds, so at the ages of 36 and 33, respectively, we turned into 6 year olds at the sight of the box. Jedi Challenges is an Augmented Reality game that allows you to use a light saber replica as you fight villains like Darth Vader and Kylo Ren (he would be the first to go in my gameplay). An Augmented Reality head set powers the game; aka a holder with lenses for your phone, a tracking beacon, and most importantly THE light saber. This shows you how mobile gaming is taking a step forward to compete against console and computer gaming. Some of you are probably thinking, “why?”….while the other half of you are already rearranging your furniture. As far as Augmented Reality and Social Media, there are talks of Snapchat and Instagram supporting filters that will allow users to take selfies with a friend or celebrity projected via Augmented Reality. Brands also could soon project their products into the homes of social…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

Winter Gardening Tips

Winter Gardening Tips   Even though it may still be cold, damp and miserable outdoors, an occasional dose of sunshine could certainly put the gardening bug into you. With a little luck, Mother Nature will send a few blossoms your way this month. We are now at a time when we can no longer put off those garden projects, waiting for a nice day……don’t be caught off guard though, winter is far from being over! If exceptionally cold weather is forecast, provide protection to early flowering or tender plants by covering them with some type of cloth material. Remove the covering as soon as the weather moderates again. Shrubs and trees Deciduous shrubs and trees are still dormant enough to transplant this month, once the buds have begun to swell, it will be to late. Click these links for information on transplanting azaleas or moving specimen plants. Trees which weren’t fed last fall should be deep fed by punching a series of 1-2 inch holes two feet apart around the drip line and filled with an appropriate food. A mulch of well composted manure is also an excellent treat for your tree. Mid to late February is the time to fertilize shrubs and evergreens. Use an acid type rhododendron fertilizer to feed evergreens, conifers, broad leaf evergreens, rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. Use an all-purpose fertilizer to feed roses and other deciduous trees and shrubs. If you use dry type fertilizers, be sure to water it in thoroughly. Prune your summer flowering shrubs now but be aware that spring bloomers have already produced their buds last fall, and pruning them now will result in the loss of flowers. Forsythia, quince, spirea and other early spring flowering shrubs should be pruned a little later, after they have finished flowering. Pruning to improve…

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