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A heartfelt Memorial Day to all those out there on my flist who are American and observe it. Here (oddly enough) the parade was on Saturday. Today was the bike race, with packs of riders whizzing past at 50-60 m.p.h. since they were just coming down off a hill with a steep grade. The Whirlwind had a blast standing out on the driveway and shouting "Go bikers! Yay, bikers!" as they went past.

She has recently been switched off a medication which has kept her from growing for the past 18 months, so she looks way too thin, as in borderline emaciated. Her glasses, as is fashionable these days, have small lenses and wire rims, like the glasses that were popular in the 30's and 40's. While she was unmedicated yesterday (in an attempt to make sure that she had an appetite and would eat heartily on the weekend when she doesn't need to focus for school) she discovered some scissors, and cut her own hair. In an attempt to make her look less like someone who had escaped from a locked ward, I had to cut her hair in a style I last saw on her brother. The overall effect in the outfit she was wearing today was to make her look like she'd just been liberated a month or so ago from a concentration camp, where her hair had been shaved to deal with the lice. Please understand, I don't make the comparison with humor. It really was what I thought of every time I looked at her today. I feel that we are lucky that none of the bicyclists lost their focus at the sight of our waif and crashed. Probably we were saved by the fact that she is in vivid color, instead of black and white, because otherwise the resemblance would have been unmistakeable!

Lastly, and certainly not at all least and definitely with a great deal more cheer, I want to wish a very happy birthday and many returns of the day to wanderingsmith whose endless supply of quotes, quips, and jokes have brightened many an evening online. I hope your day was full of cheer and joy, and that you will have gathered many a bright memory to carry you across that threshhold into the next year!

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
ansostuff
May. 31st, 2011 09:00 am (UTC)
So that's what you Americans do on Memorial day, have parades and bike rides? 'nods in acknowledgement*

I'm sorry about the concentration escapee look but the vivid colours is good. I hope she continues to eat heartily and get some meat on her bones very soon.
thothmes
Jun. 1st, 2011 03:58 am (UTC)
Well, I'm not sure the bike races are typical.

The parades are, and it is also common (around here, a rural area) for people to go and decorate the graves of veterans. Often that would be done by hired workers in the city or the suburbs. Generally those who march in the parades are veterans and active duty military and boy and girl scouts, with a scattering of eager-to-be-noticed politicians. In small towns fire trucks are often added to add bulk and excitement.

The President lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers at Arlington National Cemetary, and makes a speech about their sacrifice. Mayors and governors may do the same at their local cemetaries or monuments. For those who fly the flag (and more people do so on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July than on ordinary days), the flag is supposed to be flown at half mast until noon.

Most people just enjoy the three day weekend (Memorial day being the final Monday in May) to enjoy the unofficial beginning of the summer beach and barbecue season.

Oh, and the fashion conscious can now dress up and wear their white shoes without worrying that they are being gauche and breaking the rules, just so long as they remember to stop wearing them after Labor Day.
wanderingsmith
Jun. 2nd, 2011 02:20 am (UTC)
the fashion conscious
ROTFGOL
campylobacter
May. 31st, 2011 02:49 pm (UTC)
Big (but gentle) hug to your waif, and Happy post-Memorial Day to you, too. :D
ansostuff
Jun. 1st, 2011 03:41 pm (UTC)
That sounds a lot like the official stuff going on during our Constitution day (May 17.) We have parades but they are mostly school children in the morning parade, all voluntary/charity/athlete's organizations in the afternoon and here in my town there is also an evening parade that I don't remember who participates in as I haven't since I was a teenager and never watch it. Wreaths are also laid down and praise is said to those who have sacrificed for our country. However it is a children's day mostly and a very fondly celebrated one by 99 % of the native Norwegian population.

Run that with the shoes by me again? You can only wear white shoes certain times in the year unless you want to break some fashion rules? I know summer shoes (and clothes) tend to be white or paler colours than the rest of the year. It's common to wear mostly white in summer but a rule that ends on Labor day? (That's May 1st, here bt, which might be why I'm so confused).
thothmes
Jun. 2nd, 2011 05:36 am (UTC)
I can see where you might find that confusing. Labor Day here is the first Monday in September, and marks the unofficial end to the summer season.

The fashion rule about the white shoes is born out of the rules for polite society of the upper classes in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and knowing some of these arcane rules was a marker of whether one was "one of us" or one of the masses. This one became well known, notorious, and widespread for women dressing for occasions. Fewer and fewer people pay attention to such rules these days though, and although I am sure that there are some people who strictly observe this, I think more of them are elderly than not.

May Day is not observed here, although my college had a May Day celebration each year where we dressed in Elizabethan costume and put on plays, and representatives from each class dressed in white gowns and danced around the maypole. There were strawberries and cream for breakfast, and the seniors, accompanied by two pages from the junior class went up to the top of one of the arches on campus and sang a hymn to the sun early in the morning, and then went down to the President of the College's house and sang "The Hunt is Up" to rouse her. The sophomores had earlier woken the seniors (their "sister" class) by singing "The Hunt is Up" to them. There were parades, and morris dancing, and groups singing madrigals. The seniors hold a hoop race down a wide grassy slope between a line of trees that is called Senior Row. The first student to reach the bench at the end is supposed to be the first student to get her PhD. The student who comes in second is supposed to be the first to marry. I came in second, and since my husband graduated on Saturday, I graduated on Sunday, and we married on Monday, that prediction came true for our year!

Here May 1st has no association with labor, although we are most of us aware that it has that association in Europe because of the May Day parades that the Kremlin held during the cold war and the occasional labor protests in other European countries that would make the nightly news.

Memorial Day exists as a day to honor those who died serving our country. Veterans day (Nov. 11th this year but the second Monday in November is when the Federal holiday falls) an outgrowth of Armistice Day, is when we honor our Veterans. Again we hold parades, and those who served are encouraged to march in their uniforms (provided they can still fit them!).
ansostuff
Jun. 2nd, 2011 10:47 am (UTC)
Ah, thanks! I thought your labor Day had to be another time of year than ours because otherwise the shoe rule wouldn't make sense. Some of the fun you had on May Day sounds a bit like the Midsummer festivites we have here in Scandinavia, celebrated in Sweden on the weekend closest to June 21st and in Norway on June 23rd. In Sweden - and also the Baltic countries and probably parts of Russia (and some other countries) the dancing and white dresses is part of the celebration. Here it isn't, but it's an evening where we lit bonfires (if you live by the sea/lake) and get together and watch the midnight sunset, eat together and generally have fun with friends and neighbours.
thothmes
Jun. 3rd, 2011 02:27 am (UTC)
My college's idea of May Day comes from English folk customs for May Day, combined with some American conceptions of what it is to be English, so the maypole dancing and the singing come from folk custom, the parade is an echo of a May Day parade in Cornwall, the plays honor Shakespeare (and Saint George and the Dragon), the madrigals are Renaissance English song, and the strawberries and cream are stolen from Wimbledon. I don't know where the Hoop Race comes from, although the English do have a lot of wacky races, like the one where they run down hill with this giant wheel of Cheddar...

I think that originally, the focus on all things English was an attempt by one of the very first American colleges for women that was completely independent of any male college to give our school a whiff of the ivy covered authority of Oxford and Cambridge. We were trying to import history and tradition because we were so new (founded 1885).

It was actually just a great excuse to get a better breakfast than usual, dress up in costumes, and ignore Impending Doom (as represented by our last papers and our final exams) for a day.
wanderingsmith
Jun. 2nd, 2011 02:30 am (UTC)
-gentle hug to the little one-
-and worried mommy-

lol, memorial day and thanksgiving are most noticeable by the 4 days that we can't get deliveries from suppliers south of the border...;), makes us envious since we only ever get 1 day off for holidays. -sad sigh-

belated thank you!
eh, OH barely remembered on the right side of midnight to qualify, which amused me :D

bunch of people at work saw a post on their facebooks that evening and the next day was spent with much collegues insisting on saying 'sorry didn't know'. -I actualy froze in place when I walked in the kitchen and the group that was there heard one person say something and suddenly they all went "happy birthday". sigh. People. I forget most b-days. why would I *care* that they didn't know mine?-

on the flip-side, OH's present has arrived so now I just have to not forget about it, lol
thothmes
Jun. 2nd, 2011 05:55 am (UTC)
May is an very busy month for us (son, husband, mother, brother 1 of 3, brother 3 of three all have birthdays, and we have our anniversary, and Mothers Day falls in that month) so I have a tendency to buy my husband's birthday and anniversary gifts well in advance to avoid the situation where I get too busy and end up having to get something not-quite-right at the last moment.

That means there are many gifties hidden and squirreled away about the house (He doesn't tend to want big ticket items, so I usually am getting him several smaller items). Squirrel being the operative word. Sometimes I forget where I hid them (or that I hid them at all) and I end up rushing out in the final minutes, giftie in hand saying "But wait! There's more!" Fortunately it is really the SuperSekrit birthday food, where I try to come up with a new and different menu from our everyday fare, and a special dessert that is the part he really anticipates with eagerness each year.

In my childhood I used to envy you guys Victoria Day, mainly because I had a mental image of parades full of plump widows in black bombazine with that silly white lace thing on their heads. Alas, I found that it was not so, and the holiday lost much of its allure for me. :D
wanderingsmith
Jun. 3rd, 2011 12:14 am (UTC)
LMAO @ plump widow parades...
would the idea that the folks in this province call it May 2-4 (a two four also being the name for a case of 24 beers) make it a more appealing?
I'm not a beer drinker (unless it's really really hot) but the idea amuses me, I admit...
thothmes
Jun. 3rd, 2011 02:46 am (UTC)
Alas, May 2-4 doesn't do it for me either. My opinion of beer has always been in line with that of my husband's grandfather: "Too bad they couldn't get to it before it spoiled!"

The name (May 2-4 that is, not Victoria Day) does amuse me though. It's so... Canadian.

When I was growing up my Canadian cousins used to razz me, my brother, and my American cousins about how the U.S. was the land of drugs and racial prejudice. We had no reply for a bit until it occurred to us that one of the reasons that their parents preferred to visit us here rather than have us come to them was that they could shop at the Duty Free on the border and get lots of cheap liquor. I pointed out that yeah, we might have a bit of a drug problem, and certainly there was racial tension, but look at their jokes. At their age (tweens and teens) they only had three kinds: beer jokes, Francophone vs. Anglophone jokes, and Newfie jokes. We might have quite a ways to go before we achieved perfection, but their use of Newfie jokes showed they couldn't even get along with their white folks of identical genetic background!

That shut them up about that issue until we were all adults and able to play nice. Now they only razz us about how much American History they know and how little Canadian history we know. They've got us there.
wanderingsmith
Jun. 3rd, 2011 03:44 am (UTC)
-shrug- growing up, my dad made his own beer, which was dark brown and tasty. and which TOTALLY spoiled me. when I left home and tasted the shit they sell.... I turned to hard liquor in disgust, lol. sadly he doesn't make his own anymore so all there i s is te memory of once having liked beer...

It's so... Canadian
umph. there I have to object. not ALL of Canada are beer drinking knuckleheads... BC either smoke or drink coffee... there are actually areas in the Northern Areas that have prohibition in effect (which I only recently learned myself).

I don't have much of an image of the *people* in the prairies; well, other than Alberta which really doesn't help MY point here -rolls eyes-.

OK, and Newfies.. well, yeah. like most jokes, they *are* born out of a kernel of truth.

Quebec.. well, we (very very odd how easy it is to slip and still say 'we' to that...) sell it at the 7-11, which I guess makes us actually worse than the ontarians...

ummm...... lol, maybe I'll just drop the subject..
for your amusement:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySRf8m3plrM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2HdSzwBsH0 *SOO classic...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvWBe9-7oYc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8j8WL-qw5E
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ic3xNfEP_o
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKLkmTz-kJw

of identical genetic background
?????????????????? SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
good god woman, you want Canada's organized crime (i.e. the bikers known as Hell's angels) to come after you for such heresy?

how little Canadian history we know
snort! well, let's face it, most of it was werry werry werry boring. except maybe http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRwiH18QwpU -I LOOKED for te Due Douth clip where Frase talks bout the war.. couldn't find te damn thing..sigh-
thothmes
Jun. 3rd, 2011 03:54 am (UTC)
It's so... Canadian
umph. there I have to object. not ALL of Canada are beer drinking knuckleheads...

That was not at all what I meant to imply, and certainly not what I was thinking! I know, love, and am related to too many Canadians to think that.

Nope. I was implying, if not outright stating, that the national joke repertoire was replete with many a beer joke.
wanderingsmith
Jun. 4th, 2011 02:04 am (UTC)
sympathies on snail 'net :(
thothmes
Jun. 4th, 2011 04:11 am (UTC)
The way I think about it is this, if there were no disadvantages to rural life, then everyone would move here, and the good things about living here would vanish. Some day we will have fast internet. We could have fast downloads if we wanted to pay a ridiculous amount for satellite internet, but upload times would stay the same.

Patience, I am reliably informed, is a virtue.

Sometimes, I'm wicked!
wanderingsmith
Jun. 4th, 2011 04:37 pm (UTC)
if there were no disadvantages to rural life, then everyone would move here
uh. that's a good way to look at it!
thothmes
Jun. 3rd, 2011 03:58 am (UTC)
P.S. I'll look up the YouTube vids when my daughter has her appointment with her counselor next week, and I have access to fast internet! Here in the land of dialup, I could get through that... by the time my daughter has her appointment with her counselor next week.
(Deleted comment)
thothmes
Jun. 9th, 2011 10:13 pm (UTC)
We honor veterans in November (Veterans' Day - used to be Nov. 11th, Armistice Day, now officially it's the second Monday in November), and the fallen on Memorial Day (the last Monday in May), and both are Federal holidays so I guess we honor our soldiers early and often!

For many people, though, this simply means mail delivery is interrupted on those Mondays.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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