All Things Varied…

In my day job, I send daily announcements to middle school parents, and to keep things interesting and add a little variety to what would otherwise be a bit tedious, I include a “header” of sorts. I share some piece of trivia, historical anniversary, celebratory occasion, interesting tidbit of knowledge (often about art or literature) or a quote or poem that pertains to the day. I try to mix it up from day to day as someone once (a young mother for whose small child I babysat when I was about 14) gave me advice that I now pass on…

“Variety is the spice of life,” she said. Of course, back then (very pre-internet) I didn’t realize that she had gotten it from someone else, but by now I realize it’s pretty hard to come up with too much that’s original. And, of course, now because it’s so easy to find answers to those questions that keep me up at night, here’s what Wikipedia says about those words of wisdom: William Cowper (1731 – 1800) was an English poet who led us into the Romantic poetry period by writing more about normal daily life than nature and in fact, the actual quote is his from The Task (1785) — ‘The Timepiece’ (Book II, lines 606,7):

Variety’s the very spice of life,
That gives it all its flavour.

And, because I subscribe whole heartedly to this idea, I try to change it all up a bit and often. ‘Routine’ is, really, a foreign language to me, like French, even for as much as I try. I can do the same thing for, say two weeks or so, and think it’s the best thing since sliced bread (sliced bread was first sliced, packaged and sold in 1928) and then not do it one day and completely forget that I ever had. I guess that’s why habits take 21 days, or some say, 30 days to make or break.

I suppose, however, that it must be
that variety is the routine for me.

And, so here are some of the recent varietals I’ve shared:

From today, January 8, 2014:

On this day in 1962, the Mona Lisa came to America for her first visit ~~ specifically to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. During her three weeks in our capital, over 500,000 viewed Leonardo da Vinci’s 1504 Italian Renaissance painting. New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and 1,000,000 people saw her next, before she headed back home to Paris, where she has resided in the Musee du Louvre since 1797.
January is National Hot Tea Month!

Anna Russell (1783 – 1857), Duchess of Bedford and lifelong friend of Queen Victoria, introduced in The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, as it was called in 1800, the custom of taking ‘Afternoon Tea’. Legend reports that one afternoon, feeling too hungry to wait until supper (usually served about 7:30 or 8 p.m.), she created a small meal to keep her. This small meal consisted of tea (usually Darjeeling) and small cakes or sandwiches.

‘Cha’ is the Mandarin word for ‘tea’. In fact, many languages’ word for tea comes, originally, from the Chinese. Our English word for ‘tea’ is from the Fujianese pronunciation.

The earliest reports of tea drinking are from 3,000 years ago in China, and some believe that the Chinese were drinking green tea as long ago as 5,000 years.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
― C.S. Lewis
January 7th is National Tempura Day

National Tempura Day
Tempura is a basic yet popular dish in Japanese cooking. Seafood or vegetables are dipped in a thin batter of flour and water and deep fried in oil. Typical tempura can include shrimp, squid, yams, mushrooms or okra.

While you can find tempurain virtually any Japanese restaurant, it’s a little known fact that the dish was originally introduced to Japan by Portuguese traders and missionaries! (Fun Food Holidays™)
Today, September 30th is International Translation Day. International Translation Day is celebrated every year on 30 September on the feast of St. Jerome. The celebrations have been promoted by FIT (the International Federation of Translators) ever since it was set up in 1953. In 1991 FIT launched the idea of an officially recognised International Translation Day to show solidarity of the worldwide translation community in an effort to promote the translation profession in different countries. This is an opportunity to display pride in a profession that is becoming increasingly essential in the era of progressing globalisation.

Latin: Habere mirabilia hodie.
German: Haben Sie einen wunderbaren Tag.
French: Passez une bonne journée.
Spanish: Que tengas un día maravilloso.
Italian: Avere un giorno meraviglioso.
Japanese: 素敵な一日を過ごす。
Russian: Имейте чудесный день.

In the same spirit…

‘Variety’ is translated into French thus … variété — not really too difficult.


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Writing by Marnie Mitchell-Lister

DoubleU = W


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Musings and masterpieces, maybe, on art, lit and life

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