Monthly Archives: October 2013

Umbrella 101

18th_CenturyThe origins of umbrella are going back to China 11th century BC.  They were used for protection from the sun and were inspired by the canopy of a tree, which would offer a cool shade from the heat of the day.    They were called “parasols” from “sol”, which means sun.

Only during the period 1685-1705 idea of a waterproof umbrella was established.  Known at first as an umbrellow, from the French word ombrelle, which in itself was derived from ombrellino, the inclemency of the English weather ensured the umbrella’s success. This new use was popularized by the coffee houses where umbrellas were kept to shelter customers from the rain when walking to their carriages.

Unknown-1Philanthropist Jonas Hanway pioneered the use of an umbrella in Britain, and was the first man to commonly use an umbrella. He is often mistakenly recognized for its invention and introduction to London. It was during this period that the distinction between a parasol that gave protection from the sun and an umbrella from the rain came into being.  John Beale registered the first a patent in 1786 with the idea of a circular coned canopy supported by ribs attached to a central shaft. With the popularization of umbrellas in the 19th Century, inventions and patents on umbrellas started to increase in number to over 40 per year from 1860 to the turn of the century. The global market for umbrellas was spurred on by the industrial revolution; with Great Britain leading the way in an export drive to her new colonies around the world including America. The idea of a parasol being a fashion accessory of costume of the 17th and 18th Century with intricate lace or brocade designs, ebony or bone shafts and handles made of precious metals with jewels, became a fashion item of the 19th Century. In 1843 Henry Holland, introduced steel ribs partly due to the increase in the cost of whalebone, but it was the invention by Samuel Fox in 1852 of the “U” shaped Paragon steel rib, which is still used today, that revolutionized the umbrella.

Old Jews Telling Jokes

Old+Jews+Telling+JokesIf you want to brighten up your day, get a book “Old Jews Telling Jokes”.  Last Spring we went to see a Broadway Show based on this book, and it was hilarious.  Nothing fancy, just few actors playing out the jokes.  I laughed so hard, the tears were streaming down my face.   Few days ago I saw this book in the library, and, needless to say, had to read it.  A lot of the best jokes did not make it to the show due to adult nature, so it was well worth it.  Well, see for yourself:

***Two beggars were outside the Tivoli fountain in Rome.  One beggar had his hat in front of him, decorated with crucifix.  The other had his hat in front of him, his with a Star of David.

People are walking by, and they’re all putting their donations into the hat with the crucifix.

A priest walks by, and he sees the two of them sitting there, and he says, “My good man this is a Catholic city.  No one’s going to put money in a hat with a Star of David! As a matter of fact, most Catholics and Christians in this city will probably donate extra to the hat with the crucifix.”

The beggar with the Star of David turns to the other and says, “Moshe, look who’s trying to tell the Cohen brothers about marketing!”

*** The man goes to see his rabbi.  He says to the rabbi, “Rabbi, I think my wife is poisoning me.  I know she is poisoning me.”

The rabbi says, ”Calm down, calm down.”

He says, “No, no, I know! But I don’t know what to do.  I need your advice.”  The rabbi says, “Well, give me a chance to talk to her, and then I’ll get back to you.”

About three days later, the rabbi calls the guy, and he says, “I had a long talk with your wife.  I talked to her for about three hours.”  He says, “Yes, yes, so what’s your advice?”

“Take the poison.”



Books are my other life’s passion, and perfect “rain activity”, especially poetry.  It does not have 500 pages of elaborate plot with range of characters and unexpected ending.  It is short, in the moment, brutally honest, filled with raw emotions.  Enjoy the few of my favorites.


Author: James Rowe

Rain fell last night…quiet, gentle rain,

that tapped against my window pane,

and called me back from troubled sleep,

to soothe a heart too numb to weep.


My loneliness was too deep and real,

and like a wound that would not heal,

it throbbed within me, and I knew

my arms were empty without you.


But as I listened to the sound

of soft rain falling on the ground,

I heard your voice, tender and clear,

Call my name, and oh my dear,


I threw my window open wide,

to let the sweet rain rush inside.

It kissed my lips, my eyes, my hair,

and love, I knew that you were there.


Tears that my heart could not release

Fell down from Heaven, bringing peace.

Last night while gray clouds softly wept,

I held you in my arms and slept.

Walk in the Rain

By kimberdawn, Whitemann AFB, MO

I’ve always wanted
to walk in the rain
To feel each drop
wash away my pain
To let the beauty
soak into my skin
To let out what is
trapped within
I’ve always wanted
to dance in a storm
To feel the freedom
without any form
To hear the thunder
pound out a beat
To move my body
and feel the heat
I’ve always wanted
to cry in the rain
Just so that no one
could see my pain
To have my tears
mix with every drop
To cry and cry
and never have to stop


Fashion or the lack of it

Today looked through September issues of “Vogue” and “Vanity Fair” – two of my favorite magazines.  Each has over 900 pages of fashion ads, editorials, inspirational articles and photos.  With fall weather approaching, I was hoping to see some cool trenches and umbrellas – did not find any.  Feels like our rain loving community is being discriminated against by fashion industry.



I love art work that reflects that mix of emotions that come with the rain.  The one above is what inspired me to start this blog.  My husband got the “Nikon World” calendar at Photo Expo in Jacob Javitz last year.  I brought it to work.  It is already the end of September, but I just keep looking at this “March” photo.

What is it about the rain?

What is it about the rain?  What is it that makes me crawl deep inside myself, reflect on my life, reminisce about the most touching moments of my life?  What is it that makes me want, so desperately, to get back under the warm blanket, and just kiss and hug my kids nonstop, all day?  What is it that makes me to just want to crash on my couch with a good book, or watch a romantic movie, instead of running around cleaning, cooking, working, screaming or otherwise annoying my kids with random tasks they are not generally in the mood for;  also known as my regular life?  Is it a sound, a smell, a feel, a look of the tiny water drops on plants and flowers, clouds that cover the sun and fill air with moisture?  There should be a secret, I just can’t figure out what it is yet.

I love rainy weather.  I don’t like getting wet, but I always end up without umbrella when it’s raining.   I forget to take it when I leave my house, and don’t want to come back (it is a bad sign in my book); and even though I should have a spare one in my trunk, it is never there.  I don’t mind.  I feel refreshed and rejuvenated, like all my worries and problems are being washed away, like I was sleeping all this time, and now I woke up and see the world in different colors.

Rain is not just a weather condition.   It is a state of mind, a mood, an emotion, a temporary psychiatric disorder not discovered by modern medicine yet.  Symptoms include being slightly depressed and uplifted at the same time.  The patient is in state of confusion, unable to make a decision whether he wants to run around the puddles while being completely soaked, or have a simple cup of hot chocolate in his bed instead of going out to a fancy restaurant.