Memorial Day

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The holiday that we celebrate with barbeques and fireworks began much differently than that. I also know that it is a popular day to remember our veterans, and that is admirable, but that is not what today is about. Today is about memorializing and remembering those men and women in our armed forces who died in service to their country.

Memorial Day began as Decoration Day in 1861 during the Civil War and continued with the commemoration and dedication of the Battle of Gettysburg Battlefield Cemetery. There were annual decoration day activities with potluck picnics at individual cemeteries. Until 1868, many of these days were separated into Union and Confederate observations.

The name Memorial Day was changed from Decoration Day in 1882 but didn’t become popular until after World War II. It was celebrated on May 30th or the first time in 1868 (beginning in the North) and continued on that date until 1971 when the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, passed in 1968 became federal law. It wasn’t adopted by all of the states until 1974.

As a personal aside, my mother’s birthday was May 30th, so she was disappointed by this change in holiday dates, although on some years instead of having her only birthday off, she got a whole weekend, which she definitely enjoyed!

The Confederate Memorial Day observance began in 1866 and eventually became a commemoration of the Lost Cause as it shared the spotlight with the American nationalism.

With the nationalized and reinternment of soldiers at both Gettysburg and Arlington National Cemeteries, Memorial Day in May soon became the norm and the annual event, the date chosen both because it was not the anniversary of a particular battle and because flowers would be in bloom and could be placed on the graves of the fallen servicemen.

Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May.

The Start of Summer

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Memorial Day* is the unofficial first day of the summer season. For some of us, school has already finished; for the rest it is a long weekend respite before the big sprint to the finish line of end of school and the Fourth of July. It is red, white, and blue and barbeque, no homework, shorts, and sunscreen. Unless you’re in retail, it is one of the only holidays that everyone is off from work.

We pretend to clean the house, catching up on family TV time (Heroes is our current family series) instead. Hot dogs for dinner, whether or not we grill them doesn’t matter as long as they come with beans and possibly corn on the cob.

Currently, I’m spending the next couple of hours in a comic/gaming store while my son plays hero clix and I catch up on my writing and next month’s editorial calendar for my site.

I’m sitting at a table, kindle and keyboard at my fingers, Diet Coke at my side, enjoying the air conditioning, and trying to figure out how to ask for the wifi password, but in the meantime I’m contemplating summer.

Summer is my least favorite season. I dread it every year. Not that I’m such a big fan of winter either, but at least in winter you can warm up. Whether you’re using a cozy blanket, extra sweater, or cuddling with a favorite friend or family member, or even a dog, you can eventually warm up.

No so with summer. There are only so many clothes you can remove to get comfortable, and let’s be honest, it can get so hot that you could be stark naked and still sweating bullets. Putting on deodorant to sleep really expresses the oppressive heat that just won’t be relieved. And I live in the Northeast, not known for the heat except for the occasional heat wave. I have friends in Arizona, and their weather truly astonishes me. It seems to me that it can’t be that hot on the sun, but they survive.

The only thing I want to do in summer is lay back, put my feet up, adjust the air conditioning, and make sure that my Kindle and Netflix remote control are at my side.

I do realize that my anti-summer attitude is caused partially by my adverse reaction to the sun because of one of my medications. I barely need to be in the sun for the itching to start. I don’t get a rash, but I’m constantly scratching, and it won’t stop until I’m either asleep and wake up the next morning or take a shower. It’s awful, but it is in fact, not as bad as most people’s allergic reactions or even sunburns.

I hate it, though because it makes me look lazy. Not that I don’t have lazy tendencies or a zillion procrastinator bones in my body, but I hate saying that I don’t want to go outside. I love my backyard; from the kitchen window at least. We have a beautiful lilac tree that I love the look and the smell of, but I can almost never enjoy it. By the time I steel myself to head out of doors, the yard has no more shade left.

Still, I have three kids who love the outdoors and need to get outside every day. They have their Nerf guns and bow, soccer balls, bicycles, and a tiny bit of newfound independence.

Summer can be long, but like me, those who are not fans of summer, we can still have a good time during those months with our kids off from school, and making plans for fall, my favorite season of the year.

If I can get through summer, I can relish the fall.

So…
What is your favorite season?
What is your favorite thing to do in that season?
What is your favorite thing to do in summer?

*A post about the commemoration of Memorial Day will follow this afternoon.

Television Junkie

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As a child of the Seventies, I grew up with TV. There was never a moment in my house that we didn’t have a TV, and pop culture made a definite impression on my psyche. We still quote Seinfeld in everyday conversations. In fact, my kids recognize the voice and tone even after being born well after the end of that show. Our middle son is easily George Costanza. We talk in Star Trek and Supernatural and lie there a cat video for everything there is also a reference for everything.

This is a partial (at least what I can remember off the top of my head) of my TV shows; all the ones that I’ve watched:

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Recs – New Series

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The Flash began on The CW network in the fall of 2014. Our family is avid comic book readers, and Flash is one of their favorite characters. I knew they were going to be watching this new series, and I gave it a try.

This is one of our favorite shows, and the one we watch live as a family. There is something for everyone, and you don’t necessarily need to have read the comics to enjoy the television series. (I’ve never read the comics, and I love this program.)

I think they’ve done a great job with the characterizations. They’ve made it superhero-y while retaining some of that reality I like in a fantasy show. I like the blending of real world and fantasy world. The Flash does this really well. It has family dynamics, a love story, a nemesis, and the supernatural sci-fi effects and story fit right in. The Allens and the Wests could be your next door neighbors.

They have a great cast, and span an age range and gender balance that is admirable. Whatever demographic they were going for, I think they’ve hit on all of them as fans. I like it just as much as my ten year old son, and we are equally talking about the plot and speculating. As I said, a great family show!

After watching Tuesday night’s finale, I was surprised by some of the events, which is always good for a season finale, and it left me wanting more. I, for one of many am definitely looking forward to season 2.

Give it a try. You won’t regret it!

The CW is showing the entire first season through the summer on Tuesdays. This will catch you up before the fall start. Check your local listings.