Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leapin' lizards, Sandy!

M says we have to do a post today because it's February 29th, which we only have one of every four years (with some rare exceptions that he tried to explain but I didn't quite get because I'm--you know--a dog).

Long story short: February has an extra day this year because 2012 is evenly divisible by 4. Short story a bit longer: February, with 28 or 29 days, is shorter than all the other months, which have either 30 or 31 days due to a calendar that is cleverly designed to confuse people.

When M was a little jug-eared kid, he learned a poem about the lengths of the months that went:

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
All the rest have thirty-one,
Except February, which hath but twenty-eight in fine,
Until leap year gives it twenty-nine.

M says he'll bet a dollar to a doughnut that you learned a version of this, too, and that you probably also made up silly alternatives like this one:

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and no wonder;
All the rest eat peanut butter,
Except for Grandma--
She drives a Cadillac!

But we digress.

"So the next leap year will be 2016?" I asked M.

"That's a fact," he replied.

"And the most recent one before now was--uh--2008?"

"Yep. And 2004 and 2000 before that."

"Will 2100 be a leap year?" I probed.

"Actually, no," he said. "Most people probably believe it will. I thought so, myself, for most of my life. But then I learned another rule that says: Years that are evenly divisible by 4 and also 100 are not leap years unless they're evenly divisible by 400 as well."

"That's not in the poem," I said.

"Yeah. Sorry to muddy the water."

We found an article on Wikipedia that's all about leap years and leap days and how and why different calendars adjust for them. For more about these topics than you can throw a stick at, go here. But to the masses of you who think there's such a thing as knowing too much, let me just say . . . you might be right. Go walk your dog.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

World Spay Day

According to this morning's paper, today is World Spay Day:

I'm still not sure what "spay" means, exactly, but Mike says it's a thing a doctor can do for cats and dogs that keeps them from overpopulating the planet and eventually starving to death. He says this is an especially big problem for homeless animals.

"Have I been spayed?" I asked him, flashing back to my past life, and he said, "Sort of."

Crikey! I hope I don't "sort of" starve.

Monday, February 20, 2012

If George Washington was the Father of Our Country . . .

. . . were his five brothers, Lawrence, Augustine, Samuel, John Augustine, and Charles, the Uncles of Our Country? And was their sister, Betty, its Aunt?

Just curious.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy birthday, Jenny Rebecca!

Bonnie isn't the only one in our family who was named for a song. So was her sister, Jenny. The song is called "Jenny Rebecca" and it was written by a lady named Carol Hall. Here it is sung by Barbra Streisand. As you can imagine, it's always been one of our Jenny's favorites. (To see the bigger version at YouTube, follow this link.)

Happy birthday, Jen!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Happy birthday, Bonnie Jean!

Wow--has it been a whole year? It's sister Bonnie's birthday again. (And cousin Ally's, too. Happy birthday, Cuz!)

Mike and Jeannie have always been proud of our family's Scots-Irish roots. When Bonnie was born, they wanted to name her for her mom as well as her heritage. So they quickly settled on the name Bonnie Jean. "Bonnie" is a Scottish word that means "pretty"--and for a human she is rather foxy. I think she started getting that way sometime after posing for this first portrait at the age of 30 minutes.

Part of her name choice was also due to the fact that M and J liked a song called "Go Home with Bonnie Jean." More on that later.

Over the years there have been lots of famous ladies named Bonnie, including actresses Bonnie Franklin and Bonnie Hunt, singers Bonnie Tyler and Bonnie Raitt, and a gangster's girlfriend named Bonnie Parker. Here's a picture I found of the latter with her sweetie and business partner, Clyde Barrow.

 But I digress.

Our Bonnie Jean has always been an avid reader. Here she is at the age of seven, showing what can happen if you read too many Pippi Longstocking books!

Her other passion when she was a little girl was riding horses. The closest she came to having her own, though, was when she got this bridle for her eighth birthday.

I hope that later, when she wanted a car, M and J didn't just buy her a steering wheel.

When Bonnie grew up she married a really nice Army guy named Fred.

They had a son named Michael, who is now a much bigger dude called Mike.

And then they had a daughter, Annabelle, who will soon be a high school senior.

Some years ago, when they lived in Germany, Mike and Annabelle learned to ride unicycles.

Not to be outdone, Bonnie decided she wanted to ride one, too. Here she is practicing with some homemade training wheels.

Finally, here's our Bonnie Jean with M and Annabelle all bedecked in plaid, showing that our Celtic pride is as strong as ever:

Which brings me to that song that figured in her name selection: "Go Home with Bonnie Jean" is from a Broadway play (and later a movie) called Brigadoon, by Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe. It's about a Scottish village that isn't on any maps and which appears for only one day every hundred years. Time awareness isn't my strong suit, so this doesn't mean too much to me. But the music and dancing are quite bonnie. (I'm a quick study!) I'll finish this birthday blog with a clip from the movie for your enjoyment. (If you prefer to see the bigger widescreen version at YouTube, here's the link. Please note that it's not a short number--just over five minutes--but M says that greatness can't be rushed. So hang in there.)

Thursday, February 2, 2012