Funday Sunday & Weekend Happenings


funday smileIf you’ve been here before then you know Sundays on my blog are all about wonder and smiles. In honor of mentally kicking back once in a while, Sundays are Fun Days! Each Sunday, visitors will find a fun, interesting, or unusual something here. I’m a nerd with a complex sense of humor and absurd wit. It could literally be anything.

Today I’m sharing poi. If you don’t know, poi spinning is a visual art form. The first time I saw it, it was performed by a woman spinning burning pots of oil at the end of a chain. It was nighttime outside and the spinning fire dancer was spectacular. I’ve tried it with practice poi and haven’t yet figured out how not to kosh myself in the head. It’s on my life list to learn though.
:D

 History of Poi

Come Back Tomorrow for the A to Z Challenge ~ Letter W
My A to Z theme choice for this year is history and historical science — all sorts, many aspects. My interests and topics are varied so you’re sure to find something that will tickle your imagination. :D

My Other Weekend Happenings~

Weekend Writing Warriors
http://theancillarymuse.blogspot.com/

My wild foods recipes are still up. Scroll back for all ten. Yum!
http://calliopeswritingtablet.blogspot.com/

My Sexy Saturday
http://calliopesotherwritingtablet.blogspot.com/

Snippet Sunday
**A promo op for you too!**
http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞

RB4U purpleDiscover fantastic authors and industry representatives each day all month long. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books
‘4’ Us
http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

Attention Authors~ check out our promo services.
And..our May contest is coming! Play to win a $100 gift card and assorted prizes.

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞

Attention Authors~ My Exquisite Quills blog hosts five fun and free b1e43-eqpicpromo opportunities a week. I’m delighted to say it’s a hot spot with great exposure. Through creative prompting, authors share blurbs, reviews, and snippets designed to highlight their works. Great stuff! Come join in!

http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞

If you enjoy my daily musings, subscribe to get them sent to your inbox, or if your inbox is as packed as mine is, check out the Networked Blogs tab on the right and get all the blogs you follow in one daily notice. A year full of curious and compelling posts awaits!

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:D Scroll down for previous A to Z posts and more.

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The A to Z Challenge – V for Volkswagen #atozchallenge


It’s time for the A to Z Challenge! Hello and welcome to my main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a novelist. Join me and nearly 2000 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. It’s not as easy as you might think. There’s a reason Q and Z are worth 10 points in Scrabble!

For me, this year’s alphabet will be about history and historical science– things that tickle my fancy or capture my imagination. I hope you will find them interesting too.

Keep the topic rolling! If you’ve enjoyed the today’s offering and have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post in the comment section. And…if you enjoy romances with unique twists, a good deal of steam, facts, and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. I love to make the impossible sound plausible. Suffice to say, I have an unusual mind.
:)

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

VToday’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter V ~ Volkswagen

For us, the days of buying new cars have passed. Been there, done that many times over the course of our marriage. Our last new car was a Honda Hybrid. I can’t say enough good about that car. Not only did it have fantastic gas mileage, it saved my husband’s life in a serious collision– a crash he shouldn’t have been able to walk away from.

Life is quieter now. The kids are grown. No more shuttling here and there. He’s done with school and public programs for the most part. And as of three years ago, I no longer work outside the home. After the Honda we decided our needs were less than when we were busy raising our family. We don’t need a monthly car payment on a new vehicle that depreciates in value the minute you drive out of the dealership and gets worse by the mile. Living miles from anyone and anything, those miles add up! Our next new car will be electric. But until electric car ports become standard features on the roads, we’ll buy used. 2010_volkswagen_beetleIt saves resources too. Like many, we’ve shared cars for the whole length of our marriage. The last car I owned independently of marriage was a purple AMC Gremlin.  I now have another– a silver Volkswagen Beetle. It even has a dashboard vase. lol

Adolf and the Bug

After WWI, Germany was subjected to strict punitive measures under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The world was angry over the war to end all wars and Germany would pay 132 billion gold Reichmarks ($32 billion dollars) in addition to the $5 billion initial payment demanded by the treaty. On top of this, the new German government was required to surrender approximately 10% of its pre-war territory in Europe and all of its overseas possessions. Even German patents were lost. (This is how we come to have aspirin, inks, and dyes). Some would say the treaty took rather draconian measures against Germany, and that it made no sense to break the country’s economy because no good would come of it. They were right. While all of Germany suffered for the Kaiser’s actions, there were some who plotted for change. The end of the 1920s saw a financial collapse that would rock the western world. Things were already pretty thin in Germany and the stock market crash of 1929 made things even worse. The National Socialist German Workers Party (a.k.a. Nazi) grew out of this political and economic instability.

After reading Henry Ford biography during a brief stint in prison in 1923, a young Adolf Hitler, who couldn’t drive himself oddly enough, became somewhat of a car nut. By the time he became chancellor in1933 he had an idea to “get Germany motoring”. Prior to Hitler’s rise, the economy of Germany was so poor, the cars being built weren’t affordable to the average German. At this time, Austrian engineer Ferdinand Porsche was already working on a smaller cheaper car to fill that void. Hitler appointed Porsche as the designer of the government funded people’s car and set his mind on revitalizing the German auto industry.

Volkswagen ~ The People’s Car

7005512_orig
Hitler’s government would support the development of the peoples car, literally, volks wagen. The car could carry two adults and three children at hit a speed of 60mph. The price of the Volkwagen would be 1000 Reichmarks, just slightly more than a motorcycle (about $140). He even roughed out a sketch. But cars weren’t Hitler’s only focus. When Germany went to war again, the production of the Volkswagen halted. The people’s car was being fitted for desert warfare.

At the end of WWII, the auto factory was in ruins. The world had seen first hand what stripping a country to its bones had led to. Allies wouldn’t make that mistake again. Instead they used Volkswagen to resuscitate the German auto industry.

This is an interesting video told in three parts. Follow through to the next.

VW beetle flower car stickersMore~
http://en.volkswagen.com/en/company/history.html

Tomorrow ~ Fun Day Sunday & Weekend Happenings
Monday ~ letter W!

My Other Weekend Happenings~

Weekend Writing Warriors
http://theancillarymuse.blogspot.com/

There’s still time to try my wild foods recipes on my other blog
Scroll back for all ten.  Yum!
http://calliopeswritingtablet.blogspot.com/

My Sexy Saturday
http://calliopesotherwritingtablet.blogspot.com/

Snippet Sunday
**A promo op for you too!**
http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

RB4U purpleFantastic authors & industry representatives all month long. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us
http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

Authors~
check out our promo services.
And…Our April contest is on. We have prizes!
http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

Attention Authors~ My Exquisite Quills blog hosts five fun and free b1e43-eqpicpromo opportunities a week. I’m delighted to say it’s a hot spot with great exposure. Come join in!

http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞

Love Waits in Unexpected Places –
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

Download your free chapter sampler today!
all7books-small

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

trrbanner

 

Posted in Past Posts - you'll never know what you'll find | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The A to Z Challenge – U for Ukulele #atozchallenge


It’s time for the A to Z Challenge! Hello and welcome to my main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a novelist. Join me and nearly 2000 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. It’s not as easy as you might think. There’s a reason Q and Z are worth 10 points in Scrabble!

For me, this year’s alphabet will be about history and historical science– things that tickle my fancy or capture my imagination. I hope you will find them interesting too.

Keep the topic rolling! If you’ve enjoyed the today’s offering and have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post in the comment section. And…if you enjoy romances with unique twists, a good deal of steam, facts, and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. I love to make the impossible sound plausible. Suffice to say, I have an unusual mind.
:)

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

UToday’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter U ~ Ukulele

My kids are both musically inclined but in completely different ways. Though my son keeps them to himself, I know he composes otherworldly pieces of music electronically because I’ve heard a few. Move over Kitaro. In his head lies the largest song/artist knowledge bank of anyone I have ever known. My first inkling of this came about when he was six-years-old. He was sprawled on the floor drawing pictures one night while his 11-year-old sister and I were reading on the sofa. A piece of instrumental music came on that sounded familiar but I couldn’t place it. My daughter, the budding cellist, thought so too for she asked me what piece it was. I said I didn’t know. That’s when sonny boy spoke up from the floor and said it was the Montagues and Capulets. That compelled his older sister to tell him he “shouldn’t make things up”. But his answer struck a chord with me (no pun intended). It was Montagues and Capulets, also known as the Dance of the Knights, from Romeo and Juliet, a classical (and somewhat nightmarish piece) by Russian composer Sergei Prokofieva.

My daughter is more hands-on with music. She started with violin at age three but didn’t stay long. She wanted to play cello. We tried for years to get her into cello lessons but the only place teaching it had a waiting list a mile long. The new music teacher at the Montessori school where both kids attended discovered my then 9-year-old daughter had perfect pitch. The woman accosted me in the hall and demanded to know why this girl wasn’t in music lessons. Seriously, she demanded. I remember being so thrown by it I stammered when I explained how long we had been on the waiting list. Two days later my daughter had a cello instructor. She played for nine years. When my father passed away she played his favorite piece at his funeral and never played cello again. It still makes me sad to think about it. But she didn’t abandon music altogether. She self-teaches whatever instrument she wants to play and then moves on to the next. Her latest is the ukulele and she’s good! And that brings me to U.
:D

The Ukulele

post_coverThe mini guitar-ish looking ukulele (the u is actually pronounced oo) sounds like a cross between a guitar and a melodic banjo and begins with two Portuguese instruments –the 4-string cavaquinho and the 5-string rajão. Portuguese immigrants from the island of Madeira brought their mini guitars with them when they came to work the Hawaiian sugar cane fields in the 1870s. The music was well-received. Spanish cabinet makers living on the island saw opportunity. They created hybrid copies out of native woods and the ukulele was born.

The Jumping Flea

The story goes, the native Hawaiians were impressed with the beautiful sounds the little guitars could make, but especially impressed with the Portuguese musicians’ fingers as they flew over the fingerboard. The natives called this instrument ukulele. From what I’ve read this roughly translates as jumping fleas (or lice). Name aside, I think it’s a lovely sound. The ukulele is the national instrument of Hawaii.


Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole was a very talented Hawaiian ukulele musician.
Sadly he passed away at age 38.

More~

Long but interesting video on ukulele including history, cultural standing, and construction.

Protected by legislation

Do you have one? Here are some video lessons. Have fun! :)

The Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum

More IZ — beautiful traditional music by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

Tomorrow ~ letter V!

My Other Happenings~

Weekend Writing Warriors
http://theancillarymuse.blogspot.com/

There’s still time to try my wild foods recipes on my other blog
Scroll back for all ten. Yum!
http://calliopeswritingtablet.blogspot.com/

My Sexy Saturday
http://calliopesotherwritingtablet.blogspot.com/

Snippet Sunday
**A promo op for you too!**
http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

RB4U purpleFantastic authors & industry representatives all month long. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us
http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

Authors~
check out our promo services.
And…Our April contest is on. We have prizes!
http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

Attention Authors~ My Exquisite Quills blog hosts five fun and free b1e43-eqpicpromo opportunities a week. I’m delighted to say it’s a hot spot with great exposure. Come join in!

http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞

Love Waits in Unexpected Places –
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

Download your free chapter sampler today!
all7books-small

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

trrbanner

Posted in Past Posts - you'll never know what you'll find | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The A to Z Challenge – T for Tree Circus #atozchallenge


It’s time for the A to Z Challenge! Hello and welcome to my main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a novelist. Join me and nearly 2000 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. It’s not as easy as you might think. There’s a reason Q and Z are worth 10 points in Scrabble!

For me, this year’s alphabet will be about history and historical science– things that tickle my fancy or capture my imagination. I hope you will find them interesting too.

Keep the topic rolling! If you’ve enjoyed the today’s offering and have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post in the comment section. And…if you enjoy romances with unique twists, a good deal of steam, facts, and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. I love to make the impossible sound plausible. Suffice to say, I have an unusual mind.
:)

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

TToday’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter T ~ Tree Circus

We have a large yard surrounding our home and this is the time of year for spring yard work. The other day my husband came inside and said he wanted to show me something growing beside our labyrinth. We walked over to where a cherry and a box elder grew side by side in the fence row. Being side by side like they are, last year they decided to grow together. Two different species wrapping around each other. It had me wondering if the trees would eventually inosculate. That’s a natural process where a tree will graft to itself. You might notice trees like this every once in a while– growth that shaped a keyhole where the two branches grew together, or you might have seen a massive trunk that began when several trees grew together until all were sharing roots and sap. These two trees in my yard made me think of Axel Erlandson.

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I enjoyed reading Ripley’s Believe it or Not in the Sunday newspaper’s funnies when I was a girl. I remember seeing a bit about the Tree Circus. The curious California tourist attraction was created in the 1940s by Axel Erlandson, an extremely patient Swedish-American farmer. As the story goes, he noticed how trees naturally inosculated and wondered if this was something he could coax. And coax he did. 

Sculpting trees is also known as arborsculpture and it takes time. For Erlandson, this slow motion hobby became his life’s work. When people think of tree 4leg-giant treesculpting, most often topiaries, hedge rows, and bonsai come to mind. As impressive as those techniques are, Erlandson’s work was so much more. By planting tree seedlings specifically where he wanted with a future project in mind, he created the raw materials for his art. He then bent, twisted, pruned, and grafted these supple young trees  into living masterpieces. One his most long-lasting projects began when Erlandson coaxed four trees to grow into a single trunk. He called this first creation the Four Legged Giant. In his invitation to Robert Ripley asking him to come see the trees, he revealed the process took him ten years.

People often asked Erlandson how he managed the tree art but he never divulged his secrets. He merely said, “I talked to the trees.” Not sharing his knowledge was a major regret toward the end of his life for these art trees needed several lifetimes of tending.

A number of people have asked me if there is any one else who can take up this work when I lay it down; but I know of no one that could be trained to continue after me in this occupation. So in a way it would appear that I have learned a kind of profession so late in life that I cannot carry it to near its ultimate possible attainment.
Santa Cruz, California, May 1953

The Tree Circus charged 25⊄ when it opened to post-war vacationers and sported more than 70 trees at one time.  It had a 17 year run as a tourist destination until Axel Erlandson passed away in 1964. Future owners didn’t have his skills or his passion for the work. Predictably, Erlandson’s surreal trees fell to neglect. A nurseryman and tree lover bought the remaining 25 circus trees in 1984. It’s been the Gilroy Gardens since 2007. The Four-Legged Giant is now more than 80 years old.

I found these fantastic old pictures and a few before and afters. How magical it must have been.

square

treeee

foer3

treeees

tree

tree6

Same tree as above right

th

shaped-trees-01

tree2

shaped-tree-007

Same tree as above

tree4

tree3

Same tree as above

More~
Pooktre Tree Shapers The site has a free how-to book and another for sale.
A
Better Homes and Gardens interview with the owners of Pooktre.

Willow sculpture

Here’s a vintage clip from 1966 when Erlandson’s Tree Circus’ new owner called the place the Lost World.

The ancient art of hedge laying
https://youtu.be/Andv7a0NPEc
https://youtu.be/iGncS_lojlI

The Root Bridges of Cherrapunji

Tomorrow ~ letter U!

My Other Happenings~

Weekend Writing Warriors
http://theancillarymuse.blogspot.com/

There’s still time to try my wild foods recipes on my other blog
Scroll back for all ten. Yum!
http://calliopeswritingtablet.blogspot.com/

My Sexy Saturday
http://calliopesotherwritingtablet.blogspot.com/

Snippet Sunday
**A promo op for you too!**
http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

RB4U purpleFantastic authors & industry representatives all month long. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us
http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

Authors~
check out our promo services.
And…Our April contest is on. We have prizes!
http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

Attention Authors~ My Exquisite Quills blog hosts five fun and free b1e43-eqpicpromo opportunities a week. I’m delighted to say it’s a hot spot with great exposure. Come join in!

http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞

Love Waits in Unexpected Places –
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

Download your free chapter sampler today!
all7books-small

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

trrbanner

 

Posted in Past Posts - you'll never know what you'll find | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The A to Z Challenge – S for Spectacles #atozchallenge


It’s time for the A to Z Challenge! Hello and welcome to my main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a novelist. Join me and nearly 2000 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. It’s not as easy as you might think. There’s a reason Q and Z are worth 10 points in Scrabble!

For me, this year’s alphabet will be about history and historical science– things that tickle my fancy or capture my imagination. I hope you will find them interesting too.

Keep the topic rolling! If you’ve enjoyed the today’s offering and have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post in the comment section. And…if you enjoy romances with unique twists, a good deal of steam, facts, and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. I love to make the impossible sound plausible. Suffice to say, I have an unusual mind.
:)

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

SToday’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter S ~ Spectacles

I tried to thread a needle the other day and found the whole experience maddening. Somewhere in my 40s I started to lose the ability to see things up close. I’m in my 50s now. Forget threading a needle, removing a splinter or a tick, sewing on a button or reading the instructions for taking medicines. Yes I wear bifocals but having them for the past two years seems to have made my vision worse. In fact, I even spill things on my shirt front when I try to eat with a fork or spoon!  Like I said, maddening. I’m told stashing magnifying reading glasses in every room of the house is the way to go. Perhaps so.

NearsightedIf fading eyesight is part of the human condition, then it’s undoubtedly been on peoples’ minds a long time. The earliest complaint like mine was found in a letter from approximately 100 B.C.E. where a well-to-do Roman laments no longer being able to read for himself, and now must rely on his slaves to read to him. Not an option for me. It’s said the Roman philosopher, Seneca, peered through a glass globe of water to magnify the books he read. But this would mean the text would appear upside-down. The result of a curious thing called refraction. (Unrelated side bar: Medieval tapestries were sewn with the stitches viewed through a globe of water. Their finely threaded designs created upside-down to the viewer.)

The oldest known lens was found in the ruins of ancient Nineveh, an ancient Mesopotamian city on the bank of the Tigris River (now an Iraqi site). The lens was made of polished quartz crystal 1 1/2 inches in diameter. There is no proof it was used for enhancing vision, but there is historical mention of lenses of this sort being used to start fires and cauterize wounds with magnified sunlight. It’s interesting to note the Chinese developed spectacles approximately 2000 years ago, but used them as eye protection and not reading.

The first magnifying glass appears around 1000 A.D. This was a monk’s reading stone.  This initial reading aid was nothing more than a segment of a glass sphere laid on top of the page to magnify the print. The Venetians, glass artisans extraordinaire, mastered glassesproduction of glass reading stones sometime in the 1200s and later constructed lenses in frames that were used in front of the eyes instead of on the written page. And spectacles were born. A monk of Pisa stated in his sermon in 1306, It is not yet twenty years since the art of making spectacles, one of the most useful arts on earth, was discovered. I, myself, have seen and conversed with the man who made them first. Though no one knows the name of this inventor, it seems likely that vision-correcting eye wear was simply a series of small steps. The journey was far from over.

The framed Venetian lenses sat on the bridge of the nose but were ungainly for a head bent over a book. After awkwardly enhancing poor eyesight for more than 300 years, someone said enough was enough and came up with the idea they might stay on the nose if silk loops went over the ears. One hundred years later, a London optician invented rigid sidepieces in 1730. These rested atop the ears like they do today. Since then, eye wear continues to evolve and we have many options available to us. Necessity truly is the mother of invention.

More~

1940s Glasses & Spectacles Educational Documentary

How It’s Made – Eyeglass Lenses (the other items shown are interesting too)

Eye glasses etc

Benjamin Franklin’s eyeglasses invention

History of corrective lenses

Contacts

Sunglasses

Tomorrow ~ letter T!

My Other Happenings~

Weekend Writing Warriors
http://theancillarymuse.blogspot.com/

There’s still time to enjoy my wild foods recipes on my other blog
Scroll back for all ten. Yum!
http://calliopeswritingtablet.blogspot.com/

My Sexy Saturday
http://calliopesotherwritingtablet.blogspot.com/

**A daily promo op for you too!**
http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

RB4U purpleFantastic authors & industry representatives all month long. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us
http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

Authors~
check out our promo services.
And…Our April contest is on. We have prizes!
http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

Attention Authors~ My Exquisite Quills blog hosts five fun and free b1e43-eqpicpromo opportunities a week. I’m delighted to say it’s a hot spot with great exposure. Come join in!

http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞

Love Waits in Unexpected Places –
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

Download your free chapter sampler today!
all7books-small

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

trrbanner

Posted in Past Posts - you'll never know what you'll find | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The A to Z Challenge – R for Rat King #atozchallenge


It’s time for the A to Z Challenge! Hello and welcome to my main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a novelist. Join me and nearly 2000 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. It’s not as easy as you might think. There’s a reason Q and Z are worth 10 points in Scrabble!

For me, this year’s alphabet will be about history and historical science– things that tickle my fancy or capture my imagination. I hope you will find them interesting too.

Keep the topic rolling! If you’ve enjoyed the today’s offering and have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post in the comment section. And…if you enjoy romances with unique twists, a good deal of steam, facts, and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. I love to make the impossible sound plausible. Suffice to say, I have an unusual mind.
:)

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

RToday’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter R ~ Rat King

For nearly thirty years I’ve lived on the hill surrounded by woodlands, wetlands, and prairie. It’s lovely here. Truly lovely. Oh we’ve had our buggie years where hordes of mosquitoes make for very unpleasant summers. I notice such things. lol But how the mosquitoes go depends upon weather. A drought year, for example, will be virtually pest free. As nice as it is to sit outside on a balmy summer’s night without slapping yourself silly, a drought isn’t something to wish for.

Weather changes the environment in subtle and not so subtle ways. For one, it allows creatures and plants into areas where they’ve never been before. An example of this in my area would be possums (opossums being their official name). These cute little scavengers with their naked tails, pink noses, and delicate ears and paws are southern habitat animals. Weather changes allowed them to venture north, but here we get deep winter and frostbite is the price they pay.  It burns their pink bare skin so when you see them in spring and summer their pink ears and tails are black on the edges and much shorter. Possums aren’t the only slow invaders in my neck of the woods. In the last eight years we have a new pest to make summers miserable– ticks and tick-borne diseases. Ticks go for just about any warm-blooded mammal, but the two that play perfect host for tick carrying Lyme Disease are the white-tailed deer and the deer mouse. These I have in abundance all around my home.

Vectors & Weather

ratMost people have read or heard about the historic Black Death or Bubonic Plague pandemic that hit Europe and Asia in waves between the 1100s and 1400s. The plague killed approximately 60% of Europeans — best guess, that works out to 20 million people. It’s caused by a particular bacteria living in the guts of fleas that feed on humans but are most commonly found on rodents. After studying the hows and whys, fingers point to weather in Asia as the bringer of plague. Weather changes and rats.

Now that you have the image of rats as Der_rattenkonigvectors for disease in your mind, add to this the fact they live everywhere we do. That’s enough to inspire a shudder or two, no? Here’s another image…
Sometime in the mid-1500s a dessicated horror was found inside a wall in
Germany and immediately pegged as the bringer of plague 100 years before. It was a mummified rat king.

Rat Kings

Medieval scholars not only believed a rat king was actually one animal with many bodies, but also an extremely bad omen. In truth, a rat king is a rare phenomenon found in colonies of black rats born and living in tight spaces in northern climates. Because of the cramped conditions, a number of rats become helplessly tangled at the tails. The tails eventually knotted up with blood, dirt, and excrement. X-rays of rat kings show  rat-kinga large number of tail breaks that healed as well as calluses from where the tails rubbed against each other. Both suggest the injuries and calluses happened while the animals lived.

Apparently, fifty-eight reliable rat kings had been registered since 1564. Even with x-rays showing broken and healed tail vertebrae, some skeptics believe rat kings to be cryptozoological, meaning they could potentially be real or imply hoaxes.  Still, Europe has several rat kings on display in museums, including the largest rat king found in Germany in the early 1800s. It consists of 32 rats. Now that’s the stuff of nightmares!

More~

It does happen in the wild as this photo squirrel-665x385shows. These baby squirrels were all connected at the tails. Here you see they’re sedated for the untangling.

Check out the rat king x-ray

Tomorrow ~ letter S!

My Other Happenings~

Weekend Writing Warriors
http://theancillarymuse.blogspot.com/

There’s still time to enjoy my wild foods recipes on my other blog
Scroll back for all ten. Yum!
http://calliopeswritingtablet.blogspot.com/

My Sexy Saturday
http://calliopesotherwritingtablet.blogspot.com/

Snippet Sunday
**A promo op for you too!**
http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/

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RB4U purpleFantastic authors & industry representatives all month long. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us
http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

Authors~
check out our promo services.
And…Our April contest is on. We have prizes!
http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

Attention Authors~ My Exquisite Quills blog hosts five fun and free b1e43-eqpicpromo opportunities a week. I’m delighted to say it’s a hot spot with great exposure. Come join in!

http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞

Love Waits in Unexpected Places –
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

Download your free chapter sampler today!
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The A to Z Challenge – Q for Quills & Pens #atozchallenge


It’s time for the A to Z Challenge! Hello and welcome to my main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a novelist. Join me and nearly 2000 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. It’s not as easy as you might think. There’s a reason Q and Z are worth 10 points in Scrabble!

For me, this year’s alphabet will be about history and historical science– things that tickle my fancy or capture my imagination. I hope you will find them interesting too.

Keep the topic rolling! If you’ve enjoyed the today’s offering and have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post in the comment section. And…if you enjoy romances with unique twists, a good deal of steam, facts, and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. I love to make the impossible sound plausible. Suffice to say, I have an unusual mind.
:)

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QToday’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter Q ~ Quills & Pens

My family was involved with living history for more than twenty-five years. Just about every weekend when our kids were young, we’d pack up our gear and go live rough in recreated time periods. For us this included museums, historical societies, assorted dedications, and history fairs and events that spanned 1670 to 1850. If you’re familiar with the living history at Colonial Williamsburg, this was us. We mainly used our love of history to teach the early natural sciences to an interested public. This hands-on lifestyle immersed us in the common modes and accoutrements of those historic eras.  It was during this time I discovered quill pens.

On Writing…

Man has been tallying numbers and writing lettersX4down thoughts for a good long while. The earliest writing found so far is on cuneiform tablets from Sumeria dated to around 3200 B.C.E. Sometime in the years that followed, linen, papyrus, bamboo paper, and parchment became man’s portable page and ink writing as we know it began. (I’ll save those details for letter P or W in a future A to Z Challenge.)

I suppose were we to delve into the origins of the pen, we’d find the stylus first. The stylus was basically a pointed implement held in the hand. The Sumerians used it on their clay tablets and the Romans used it on their tablets of wax. Any pointed instrument did the trick. It doesn’t stretch the mind too far to imagine a stylus dipped in ink. Quill pens came on the scene about 600 A.D. and held a 1200 year popularity as the pen of choice.

Feather ContourAnatomy of a quill

Feathers are follicles–this hollow stiff barrel of a bird’s feather is built for flight. Another name for quill is Calamus from the Greek kálamos = reed.  Since 1800, goose feathers, being readily available in most farmyards, were the principal source of quills. The ideal quill for size and sturdiness came from the more expensive swan feather. Eagle, owl, hawk, and turkey were also used. Quills from crows were better for fine delicate writing, but weren’t as sturdy.

No matter the donor, the strongest quills come from living birds just after their spring molt when feather growth was new and structurally strong enough to fly with. Only the five outer wing feathers make suitable quills for writing– of these the second and third from the left wing were the most desirable because they curve out of the way for a right-handed writer. Smaller tips on smaller feathers couldn’t hold as much ink in a single dip. In my personal experience I could write about ten words with a goose or turkey quill before dipping again into the ink pot.

The metal pen point was patented in 1803 but was slow to catch on. My husband has a rare mother-of-pearl pen from about 1815 and could only manage about six words before dipping. With all the extra dips required, it was no wonder the metal nibs took a while to turn people’s minds in their favor. Steel nib pens came into common use in the 1830s. By the 1900s they replaced quill pens completely. I just might save F for Fountain Pen for next year’s A to Z.
:)

More~

Make your own ink

How to write with a quill

A vintage film on the history of writing – very interesting.

The evolution of the pen

Growing Up Parker: My Life in Pens by Geoffrey Parker interesting Smithsonian presentation from the Parker Pen heir

Stylus, Quill and Pen: The Short History on Writing Instruments

Tomorrow~ letter R!

My Other Happenings~

Weekend Writing Warriors
http://theancillarymuse.blogspot.com/

There’s still time to enjoy my wild foods recipes on my other blog
Scroll back for all ten. Yum!
http://calliopeswritingtablet.blogspot.com/

My Sexy Saturday
http://calliopesotherwritingtablet.blogspot.com/

An author’s promo op for you too.
http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

RB4U purpleFantastic authors & industry representatives all month long. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us
http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

Authors~
check out our promo services.
And…Our April contest is on. We have prizes!
http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

Attention Authors~ My Exquisite Quills blog hosts five fun and free b1e43-eqpicpromo opportunities a week. I’m delighted to say it’s a hot spot with great exposure. Come join in!

http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞

Love Waits in Unexpected Places –
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

Download your free chapter sampler today!
all7books-small

۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞<<<<۞>>>>۞

trrbanner

 

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