Friday the 13th: Are you superstitious?

Today is Friday the 13th.  Are you superstitious?

In 1233 Pope Gregory IX announced that black cats were placed on earth to do the Devil’s work.  Prior to Pope Gregory, cats were pretty much worshipped as gods.  Guess the pagan idea didn’t sit too well with the Catholic Church.

Since then, the black feline has pretty much been seen as “bad luck.”

Did you know that black cats, even black dogs, are usually the last ones to be adopted at animal shelters?  One animal shelter worker told me black cats, and dogs, usually spend seven to ten days longer in the shelter than any other color.

The cat in the above photo is Morgan.  He is a very sweet lovable black cat with oh so very soft fur.

Here is a photo of Bates, when he was a tiny kitten.  Again, he is a very sweet boy with soft fur.  He loves to lounge in my lap and if I am laying on the sofa or bed he wants to lay on my chest.  I think he likes the rhythm of my heartbeat.

Some folks are superstitious of black cats crossing their path.  I have been told by a friend that when they are out walking and see a black cat cross in front of them, they turn and go in another direction because they believe allowing a black cat to cross in front of them will bring them bad luck.

My black cats bring me joy.

Here is my warning about black cats:    If you walk around the house at night without the lights on, you can’t see them.  I have lost count over the years how many times I have been tripped by Morgan and Bates or accidentally stepped on their paws or tails in the dark.  But, I still love them and they love me.

So, next time you want to adopt a cat, think about adopting a “Black Cat.”

Black cats aren’t the only thing people are superstitious about.

Some folks will not walk under a ladder.  Others are afraid they will jinx themselves and knock on wood.  Others carry a lucky rabbit’s foot or a lucky four leaf clover.

Here are some superstitions:

A ship should not set sail on Friday the 13th because it will sink.

Do not get a new bed on Friday the 13th for it will cause you to have bad dreams.

If a black cat turns it back on you, you will have bad luck.

Do not plant a Weeping Willow for it will bring sadness and sorrow.

Never sleep directly under a full moon as it can bring illness and death.

Never marry in May.  It is not a good month to start a marriage.

If you kill a Robin redbreast, you will have bad luck for the rest of the year.


Do you have other superstitions you would like to share?  If so, leave them in the comment section.




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Copyright Basic Tutorial

When you have questions about copyright, it might seem confusing when you do a Google search or search

Here is a Copyright Basic Tutorial, I think might be helpful for those beginning to ask questions about copyright.

·         Why does copyright protection exist?

·         Whose work is protected by copyright?

·         What can copyright holders do with their copyrights?

·         Which works can be protected by copyright?

·         When is a work protected by copyright?

·         Where are copyrighted works protected?

This tutorial takes about 30 minutes to complete and is appropriate for anyone just starting to asking questions about copyrights or if you need a copyrights refresher lesson.

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Having a tracheal tube never stopped her…

Recently, I presented at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, Topeka, Kansas, on Clementine Paddleford.

At the end of the presentation, I answered questions.  Most of the questions I have been asked before.  But, one question got me to thinking…”Why don’t you focus more on the fact that Paddleford had a tracheal tube and how hard it must have been for her to do her job with it?”

I do mention in my presentation that Paddleford had throat cancer and elected for a partial surgery so that she could continue to talk with a tracheal tube.  I also talk about how hard of time she had re-learning to talk and getting used to the tube.  It took her a year with many trips back and forth to the hospital and dealing with pain.  The tube was held in place with a velvet ribbon.

Paddleford, herself, stated that because of the raspy whisper of her voice caused by the tracheal tube “people remember me.”  She also said that the only things she couldn’t do, that she liked to do, was to play tennis and go swimming.  Because of the tracheal tube she could not go on lecture circuit, the radio, or television.  These are some reasons, she is largely forgotten about today.  Otherwise, the tracheal tube never got in her way of doing what she loved: being a journalist-food writer.  Paddleford traveled wherever she wanted to go, interviewed whomever she wanted to interview, wrote about them, turned in her receipts, and got paid.

So, who is Clementine Paddleford?  She is the best known food editor, you never heard of.

December 28, 1953, Time Magazine declared Clementine Paddleford, “the best known food editor in the U. S.”

Here is the program from the Wilder Society Tea where I presented.  They put together this booklet because they wanted to share the recipes of the food served at the tea with those in attendance.  Recipes are from Paddleford’s 1960 book How America Eats.

Note, if you decide to make these recipes, remember they are from 1948 to 1960, and they are not as sweet as desserts are today.  So, if you are looking to cut back on sugar, but still want a dessert, use one of the recipes below.











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When people see me, what do they think?

I had an opportunity to attend a Leadership Seminar recently.  The keynote speaker, Rhett Laubach, opened his presentation with this question:  “When people see me, what do they think?”

A little bit further into his presentation he repeated the question: “When people see me, what do they think?”  Then he took it one step further, and said, “Whatever they think, is my fault.”

The theme for the seminar was “Inclusive, Impactful, and Ethical Leadership.”

To break the ice, Laubach used music to create community because music tell stories.  Try it, you will see for yourself that it works.  It is very “impactful.”

What do you feel when you hear this music?

Everyone in the seminar immediately held up their hands to present baby Simba, because “He Lives in You.”

I learned many things and many things were reinforced during this seminar.

Thinking of the above song, ask yourself this, “Who can do their job better because they had me in their life?”

If you get the chance to attend a Leadership Seminar, I encourage you to do so.

“Leaders have to be learners.” ~ Kevin Ingram, President Manhattan Christian College (Ingram was one of the breakout session presenters).



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Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,” wrote Dylan Thomas.

Thomas’ poem was looked at in the PBS show “Into the Night: Portraits of Life and Death” by Helen Whitney that aired on Monday, March 26, 2018.

This documentary allows us to think and even talk about mortality.   It does not provide us with any answers, instead, it raises many questions.

Do we go gently or raging against the dying light?

Are we in denial?

Do we think we will live forever?

Why do we try to prolong life?

Should we try to create immortality?

What do we say when someone tries to talk about death?

Are we prepared for death?

Would your family know how to access all your online accounts once you are gone?

Does your family know what your wishes are for funeral arrangements?

And so many more questions.  And of course, the biggest questions that no one has the answer to is: When am I going to die?

Even though this documentary is about death, it really showed me that is was also about LIFE.



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Wrong Words

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I signed up for a proofreading class.  Another aspect of proofreading is the commonly misused words.

Can you pick the correct words for this sentence?

The butler gave Miss Marple a written confession, hoping to lessen/lesson his guilty conscious/conscience.

If you picked “lessen” and “conscience” you chose correctly.

 Give this sentence a try.

If they had taken Hercule Poirot’s advise/advice, the police would have apprehended the suspect a lot/alot faster.

Correct words are “advice” and “a lot.”

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Is that a family name?

“What is your name?” someone asked me.

“Cynthia,” I replied.

“Is that a family name?” they asked.

Well, yes and no.

Yes, there is a Cynthia in my ancestral line, but I was not named after that “Cynthia.”

Several years ago, when I started doing family genealogy, I asked mom if I was named after a family ancestor.

“No,” she said.

“Where did you get the name, Cynthia, from,?” I asked.

Mom laughed and told me this story.

“When your Dad and I were at the grocery store, Mr. Stewart asked if we had a name picked out.  We didn’t, so he suggested that for a baby girl her name be Cynthia Ann, after his mother.”

Yes, my parents went shopping at a grocery store and came away with a name for a baby girl.

I know, I know!  People go shopping at a grocery store for many things, but a name is not usually one of them.


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Can you proofread your own work?

I thought that proofreading was pretty easy because I am pretty good at it.

Proofreading is not easy!

I found this out when I signed up for a proofreading class.  Oh, I can catch nearly all of the typographical errors, but when it comes to hyphens and semicolons, I found that I am not as good as I thought.

Can you place the hyphens in this sentence correctly?

The five by eight foot rug seemed ordinary – until it slowly started lifting from the ground.

Answer Key:

The five-by-eight-foot rug seemed ordinary – until is slowly started lifting from the ground.  (Chicago Manual of Style, 7.88)



Can you place the commas and semicolons correctly?

Some important dates for Americans to know are July 4 1776 May 10 1896 July 20 1969 and July 6 1928.

Answer Key:

Some important dates for Americans to know are July 4, 1776; May 10, 1896; July 20, 1969; and July 6, 1928.  (Chicago Manual of Style, 6.60, 6.38)


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I Am Magical

Title: I Am Magical: magnifiqueNOIR, Book One

By: Briana Lawrence

Publisher: Sewn Together Reflections

Publication Date: October 3, 2017


About the Book:

“The revolution will be magical”

There’s a city. It’s like most other cities. Buildings. People. Monsters who can destroy sidewalks by vomiting acid onto the ground, and an elite group of black, queer, magical girls who work to put those monsters in their place.

See? Just like most other cities.

Bree Danvers would’ve compared it to a video game, maybe a cartoon or comic book, except black girls are rarely the heroines of the story. But there her heroine stood, plus size and wonderful, rocking a dazzling amount of purple and defeating monsters with galactic sparkles. Galactic Purple, that was her name, and soon, Bree was joining her on a magical adventure full of transformations and after school battles to defend a city like most other cities.

And soon, others would join them, and each one would be magical in their own way… give or take a few bumps on the acid covered ground.

About the Author:

At the age of nine, like most kids, Briana Lawrence had a dream. She wanted to be the best “WRITER” in the whole wide world. Her fourth-grade class laughed and wondered how one hoped to become a “writer” if they couldn’t even spell the word. Back then her stories were created with crayons and construction paper. As she grew older they progressed into notebooks and colored ink pens of pink, blue, and purple. When she lost her older brother, Glenn Berry, in a car accident, she stopped writing.

Dreams, however, have a funny way of coming back.

Before she realized it she was grabbing her notebook and pens again. She would write stories that ranged from high school romance to her imagination running wild with the likes of Goku, Vegeta, and the other characters of Dragonball Z. This continued throughout college where she would always end up writing about the space exploits of the pilots of Gundam Wing and other works of fan fiction. Soon she realized that she wanted to do more than that. Her head was full of ideas, full of original characters and worlds that she wanted to share with others.

Thus, she stepped into an English Major with some Women’s Studies on the side.

She graduated from Iowa State University in 2006 and moved to Minneapolis with her partner. Here, she tried to get into graduate school, but things didn’t pan out the way she wanted. She ended up working retail, her dream becoming buried by Black Fridays and other busy times of the year. Once again, however, that dream returned. She went from immersing herself in geeky fan fiction to actually writing about the geeky things she loved such as  anime and video game review sites. However, it was her discovery of National Novel Writing Month that made her go back to creating her own characters and plots.

Now, here she is, an author in the writing world.

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Keep Easter Lilies Away from Cats


MANHATTAN — If the Easter Bunny happens to leave an Easter lily in your basket this year, make sure to keep it away from your cat, according to a Kansas State University veterinarian.

K-State’s Dr. Kenneth Harkin, an associate professor of small animal internal medicine, said there is an unknown water-soluble compound in the Easter lily, as well as in the tiger lily and the Asiatic hybrid lily, that makes it harmful for cats.

“We know the lily is dangerous and cat owners should never have lilies in the house,” he said. “Never give someone a gift of a lily if you know they have cats.”

According to Harkin, consumption of the Easter lily has no effect on dogs, rabbits or small rodents. However, he said there are other types of plants and flowers that are hazardous to these household pets. Some examples include the lily of the valley, oleander, kalanchoe, azalea, rhododendron, and tulips.

If a household pet ever consumes a toxic plant, Harkin advises owners to identify the type of plant and get their pet to the veterinarian immediately. He said that consumption of a toxic plant without immediate treatment could ultimately lead to the pet’s death.

“If your cat or dog has a habit of eating plants, check out the toxicity of the plant before bringing it into the house or planting it in the garden,” Harkin said.

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