A Recap of the Library

I, like The Bloggess, have an aversion to the number 13.  So when she came up with the brilliant idea of calling 2013 “the library” to avoid unpleasantness, I jumped on board.  I’m pretty thrilled that it’s over.  It wasn’t such a bad year, but let’s just say I’m happier to be writing 2014 on my dates instead of the other number. 


Kristen Howerton of Rage Against the Minivan posted this and she took it from All & Sundry…and I’m taking it and running with it.  Here’s my recap of the library.


1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

I became an Independent consultant for Thirty-One gifts.  I’d considered becoming a consultant for a few other direct sales companies before, but something about Thirty-One just resonated with me.  I became an aunt for the first time (and the second) this year.  I joined the MOPS steering team and participated in ministry leadership for the first time in almost ten years.  There were of course things like being mom of a 2 year old and cooking with cabbage, but they aren’t as exciting. 

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I actually didn’t make resolutions for the library, but instead decided to participate in One Word 365.  My word for the library was grace and although it didn’t impact me as much as I would’ve liked (I’m not perfect yet) I’m still looking forward to integrating 2014’s word, which is “intentional”.  I’d like to make more moments count with my family.  I’d like to make better decisions on running my business instead of what just feels right at the time.  And I’d like to eat healthier, read my Bible more, and basically make better use of my life – which means being intentional about the use of my time, energy, and money.  And it’s not really a resolution, but we’re going to try going gluten-free.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes!  My brother-in-law and his wife gave birth to my nephew, Jude.  My other brother-in-law and his wife gave birth to my other nephew, Eli.  And my friend Elle had a baby boy, Logan.  Lots of boys!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, my paternal grandmother passed away this autumn.  I miss her.

5. What countries did you visit?

Um, the U.S.  Which is where I live, so super exciting.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

Peace, confidence, and rest.  And a potty trained kid.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Not specific dates, but some of the moments of my panic attacks will probably stick with me because they were so intense.  The sight of my daughter as she fell onto an escalator in Macy’s and had her fingers ripped open. 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Probably not dying.  That feels like an achievement every year.  Getting the flooring replaced in our living room/dining room/kitchen, but that was more my brother than me.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Managing stress.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Yes.  I was diagnosed with depression at the end of 2012, and an anxiety disorder early in the library.  We’re still trying to get my meds sorted as well as trying to get my platelet function where it needs to be after my 2012 stroke.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My starter kit for Thirty-One gifts.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Probably food and our daughter.  Kids are expensive. 

13. What did you get really excited about?

Our new flooring.  Fourth of July.  My daughter’s birthday and her Christmas.  Winning an Xbox One (shallow, I know).  My nephew being born.

14. What song will always remind you of 2011?

Bahaha – What Does the Fox Say?  My daughter loves that song.


…Buchanan saw the Civil War’s beginning…

James Buchanan was the 15th President of the United States of America.  He served one term from 1857-1861.

I read “James Buchanan” by Jean H. Baker

Political Nicknames: Ten Cent Jimmy, Old Buck

Quote: “There are portions of the Union in which if you emancipate your slaves they will become your masters.  Is there any man who would for a moment indulge the horrible idea of abolishing slavery by the massacre of the chivalrous race of men in the South?”

Some facts on President James Buchanan:

  • born on April 23, 1791 in Pennsylvania
  • was the second child of eleven
  • was a part of the richest family in town growing up
  • attended Dickinson College, expelled for bad behavior and then re-instated when his father pulled some strings
  • never had a nickname
  • graduated with honors and became a lawyer’s apprentice
  • was under severe pressure from his father to be a success
  • became a well-respected lawyer in Lancaster, PA
  • was chief master of his Masonic Lodge
  • elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly as a Federalist in 1814, was the youngest member
  • had wandering eyes (literally – the medical condition)
  • was briefly engaged to Ann Coleman, she broke it off and died soon after
  • never had to shave
  • has long been suspected as being a homosexual
  • the only bachelor President
  • wrote about himself in the third person
  • his father died suddenly in 1821
  • strongly supported states’ rights (a Democrat in those days)
  • his best friend and suspected sexual partner was Alabama Senator William King; their enemies called them “Miss Nancy and Aunt “Fancy” – they lived together for 15 years
  • became Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee
  • was assigned to be Ambassador to Russia by President Jackson in 1831 for 18 months, during which his mother died
  • elected as the US Senator for Pennsylvania in 1834
  • was a staunch supporter not only of states rights but Manifest Destiny
  • wanted to annex Texas and divide it into five states
  • fought for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1844
  • served as President Polk’s Secretary of State but wanted to be a Supreme Court Judge
  • campaigned for a Presidential nomination by holding lavish dinners every 10 days for the social season, inviting only influential people
  • wanted to annex Cuba and make it a state
  • was known for his old-fashioned taste in clothing
  • bought an estate named Wheatland near Lancaster
  • was primary breadwinner and guardian for 22 nieces and nephews, 13 grandnieces and grandnephews by 1852; running a family employment agency to help defer costs
  • his niece, Harriet Lane, was his favorite niece and served as his First Lady (and was the first woman to be called the “First Lady” because she wasn’t his wife)
  • loved cigars and rye whiskey
  • was known as a doughface because of his support of the South despite being a northerner
  • declined the office of Vice President offered to him by President Pierce
  • served as minister to Great Britain for three years under President Pierce, accepting and withdrawing twice before finally committing
  • was lonely in Britain and often called meetings with officials just to have someone to talk to
  • got in social disagreement over proper court dress when dining with royalty and was thought to be “twisting the lion’s tail” – mocking ridiculous British fashions
  • wrote the “Ostend Manifesto”, justifying the US purchasing Cuba from the Spanish for $100 million
  • ran against the first Republican candidate for President in history, John C. Frémont
  • did no campaigning, believing that being elected President was a gift of the people.  instead he wrote letters to influential people stating his views
  • supported building a railroad to the Pacific, which generally the Democrats did not support
  • 79% of the voting electorate went to the polls for that election – the fourth highest turnout at the writing of the book
  • barely won his home state
  • encouraged the American public to view the Republican party as a threat to the South
  • had made some contact with 10 former presidents when he took office
  • would invite his Cabinet members to stay at the White House when their wives were out of town so they could have late night discussions on policy
  • contracted dysentery during a hotel stay en route to Washington DC and was sick for months; his nephew died of it
  • filled his Cabinet with wealthy Southerners, insulting the North
  • pushed for a decision in the Dred Scott case, which essentially nullfied the Missouri Compromise
  • lost a lot of respect, many believing he had influenced the judges’ decision in the Dred Scott case
  • favorite foods included beef, mutton, venison, ham, terrapin, calf’s head dressed as terrapin, Pennsylvania Dutch specialties such as scrapple and succotash, moss rose cake, peach charlotte, Confederate pudding and Jeff Davis pie, grape pie, and ice cream
  • was vastly over-involved in his Cabinet’s decision making, often overrident cabinet members on the choices they made concerning their own departments
  • his Vice President was John Breckenridge, and was very poorly treated by Buchanan
  • met with his cabinet every afternoon except on Sundays
  • the White House’s social calendar was managed by Harriet Lane and Buchanan’s nephew, James Henry – both terribly lacking in experience
  • during his term, 1400 state banks, 5,000 business (including railroads and factories) went bankrupt after a NY branch of an Ohio corporation suspended payment – named the Panic of 1857
  • Buchanan did nothing to help the economy, blaming it on the North’s greed
  • also during his term, Brigham Young, governor of Utah and leader of the Mormon church, facilitated and covered up the murder of 125 Arkansas immigrants who “trespassed” on their land and blamed the deaths on the Paiute Indians
  • sent 2500 troops to discipline the Mormons, but the conflict was peacefully resolved by Thomas Kane
  • believed slavery existed wherever slaveholders wished to take their “property” – so he did nothing to alleviate growing violence over proslavery terrorism acts in Kansas
  • used ridiculous lobbying tactics to try and force a slave state Kansas Constitution through the House of Representatives, but he failed
  • in 1859, asked Congress to raise a military force to invade Mexico
  • sent 2500 sailors and marines on 19 warships to Paraguay to punish them for firing on an American vessel – the inability of these warships to reinforce coastal forts against attack was part of what convinced some Southern states to secede
  • he hated New England, believing it to be populated only by religious fanatics and preachers
  • the Republican controlled House of Representatives initiated a committee to investigate corruption in his administration in 1858
  • the committee proved that Buchanan’s cabinet was one of the most corrupt in American history, even by today’s standards
  • because of his corruption and unwillingness to support anyone but the South, Buchanan was the last Democratic President elected for 24 years
  • he managed to split the Democratic party
  • was advised by Winfield Scott, General in Chief of the Army, to garrison federal forts in the South in case there were attacks made by seceding states’ troops if Lincoln was elected President – Buchanan disliked Scott and therefore ignored his advice
  • South Carolina seceded on December 20, 1860
  • Buchanan denied the constitutional right to secession, but also denied Congress or the Presidential right to declare on states who were seceding
  • he did nothing to stop Southern forces from seizing federal buildings in Texas and other southern states
  • settled a truce with South Carolina, agreeing not to reinforce forts in exchange for not being attacked, thereby giving South Carolina time to train, arm and ready its militia and to overtake several gov’t buildings full of ammunition and arms
  • gave signs of suffering extreme mental and emotional duress – twitching in his cheek and jaw, unkempt hygiene, trembling in his limbs, depression so great he could not leave his bed
  • his Secretary of War, Floyd, had long been involved in embezzlement of government funds but was never fired but instead asked for a resignation, which he did not give until three months before Buchanan left office
  • Floyd also sent arms to the militias of southern states upon hearing of their intent to secede.  he later became a Confederate general.
  • Buchanan continued to surround himself with Southern supporting politicians, who managed to leak administrative plans, money to buy from arms dealers, and insider trading information
  • he wrote and published his memoir, entitled “Mr. Buchanan’s Administration on the Eve of the Rebellion” defending his actions as President
  • died at age 77 on June 1, 1868 of pneumonia at Wheatland


<– Franklin Pierce                                     Abraham Lincoln –>


Post title taken from Jonathan Coulton’s song “The Presidents”

…Pierce repealed the Missouri Compromise…

Franklin Pierce was the 14th President of the United States of America.  He served one term, from 1853-1857.

Nickname: Handsome Frank

Quote: “I believe that involuntary servitude, as it exists in different States of this Confederacy, is recognized by the Constitution.  I believe that it stands like any other admitted right, and that the States where it exists are entitled to efficient remedies to enforce the constitutional provisions.”

I read the biography “Franklin Pierce” by Michael F Holt.

  • born on November 23rd, 1804 in Hillsborough, New Hampshire
  • sixth child of General Benjamin Pierce and Anna Kendrick Pierce
  • his father served as NH Governor for 2 terms
  • was said to be charming, suave, a people pleaser and incredibly handsome
  • attended Bowdoin college where he met one of his best friends, Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • he loved wrestling and being outdoors
  • his favorite “pastime” was drinking, he was a lightweight when it came to alcohol and in all likelihood an alcoholic
  • his favorite foods were Fried clams, Daniel Webster’s chowder, apple pan dowdy, New Hampshire seed cookies, and New Hampshire fried pies.
  • was admitted to the bar (a lawyer) in 1827
  • possessed a deep, pleasing, rich voice
  • married Jane Means Appleton from Amherst, MA on November 19th, 1834 – they were said to be complete opposites
  • was elected to 4 consecutive years in the New Hampshire State House of Representatives
  • the last 2 years, he was Speaker of the House
  • was an anti-abolitionist because he believed they were “holier-than-thou” and threatened the Union
  • his first son died 3 days after being born in February 1836
  • was publicly humiliated and called a doughface in front of the Senate by John C. Calhoun (someone who could not form their own opinions and whose mind changed easily)
  • his room mate from college, Jonathan Cilley, was killed in a duel
  • his second son, Frank Robert, was born in September 1839 and died at age 4
  • was good friends with President Polk, after befriending him when he served as Speaker of the House
  • was offered the position of U.S. Attorney General in 1846, but declined citing family responsibilities
  • was appointed a colonel in the army by President Polk in 1847 for the Mexican-American War
  • was promoted to Brigadier General and tasked with re-supplying General Scott’s troops
  • was thrown from his horse and received an injury to his groin and knee causing him to pass out during his first serious battle, causing his troops to believe he fainted from fear
  • his wife hated Washington DC, so when his name was put forward for the Presidential nomination, he violently declined
  • he agreed to be a candidate later, only if the three other party frontrunners torpedoed each others’ chances
  • when he was told he had been nominated, he was speechless and his wife fainted
  • Southerners liked him because he supported upholding the Missouri Compromise, northerners liked him because he was young and from New Hampshire
  • that election (1836) had the lowest voter turnout rate until the 1920’s
  • went into the Presidency with the goal of preserving the unity of the Democratic Party as his highest goal
  • Jane Pierce’s uncle died  before the inauguration in 1852, and as they were returning by train from the funeral, the passenger car derailed and crashed; Pierce and Jane were merely bruised, but their only living son’s head was cut in half right in front of them, killing him instantly
  • Jane was so grief-stricken, she did not attend the funeral, head to Washington for Pierce’s inauguration, and could not function as the White House hostess until 1854
  • Pierce put together a cabinet of polar opposites, but which was highly effective and the only Presidential cabinet in the 19th century to remain completely intact throughout an entire four year Presidential term
  • his first veto was a bill that would have provided federal funds to build and operate asylums for the financially poor insane, stating he did not belive the government could be responsible for public charity
  • his Vice President, William R. King, died in April 1853 and was replaced by Missouri Democrat David R Atchison
  • sent James Gadsden to negotiate with Mexico for land that would allow  a transcontinental railroad southern route; Gadsden got much less land than they wanted, but ultimately bought enough for the railroad for $15 million
  • then turned around and said the government should not be the source of funding for a trans-continental railroad
  • repealed the Missouri Compromise, claiming the Compromise of 1850 made it unconstitutional
  • passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which opened up the west for slavery – Kansas was made a slave state and Nebraska a free state
  • the night the Kansas-Nebraska bill was passed, a fugitive slave was caught and imprisoned in Boston.  Anti-slavery supporters formed a mob and Pierce was forced to send federal troops to help escort the slave to a ship bound back to Virginia
  • because of the K-A act, Democrats lost 66 of their 91 held congressional seats in the elections of 1854
  • most northern Whigs, anti-Nebraska Democrats,  and Free Soiler party members joined together to form a new party in 1854 – the Republican Party
  • the Republican Party’s highest mission was to oppose southern slaveholders
  • when the government of Kansas was formed, there were hundreds of slavery supporting Missourians who cast hundreds of false votes for proslavery candidates and the governor allowed the results to stand
  • a rival government was set up in Topeka and they fought each other in battles so violent that Kansas was known as “Bleeding Kansas”
  • when he left office, he was worth $78,000 because of his investments (1.5 million in today’s dollars)
  • his wife was suffering from tuberculosis and all Pierce wanted to do after retiring was take care of her
  • one of his favorite past times was having drinking contests with one of his best friends, Clarence March – they drank brandy and champagne
  • the Pierces traveled to Madeira in December 1857 on a US Navy Vessel for Jane’s health
  • they traveled Europe, ending up in Rome in 1858 to visit Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • they returned to the US in September 1859
  • another trip to Nassau was taken in the winter of 1860
  • Jane died from tuberculosis on December 2nd, 1863 – their last vacation together had been in the summer at the beach
  • was asked to take care of Nathaniel Hawthorne as he was ailing – he was the one who discovered Hawthorne’s corpse
  • he paid full college tuition Hawthorne’s son, Julian, as well as his two nephews
  • he loved swimming naked in the ocean off of the coast of New Hampshire, even at the age of 60
  • tried to act as legal representation for Jefferson Davis after the end of the Civil War, but Davis refused him
  • he died from complications of alcoholism on October 8, 1869

title taken from Jonathan Coulton’s “The Presidents”

<— Millard Fillmore                   James Buchanan –>

Fillmore gave a boat to Commodore Perry

Millard Fillmore was the 13th President of the United States of America.  He served part of one term (1850-1853)  after President Zachary Taylor died while in office.

Nickname: The American Louis Philippe

Quote: “God knows that I detest slavery, but it is an existing evil, for which we are not responsible, and we must endure it.”   “Where is the true-hearted American whose cheek does not tingle with shame to see our highest and most courted foreign missions filled by  men of foreign birth to the exclusion of the native-born?”

I read “Millard Fillmore” by Paul Finkelman.

  • was born on January 7th, 1800 to Nathaniel and Phoebe Fillmore in New York
  • Millard was his mother’s maiden name
  • grew up in relative poverty
  • was apprenticed for four years as a wool carder and cloth dresser
  • met his wife, Abigail, at school in 1819 – she was a teacher
  • was apprenticed to a county judge, Walter Wood for two years, before Fillmore took a freelance job representing someone and was let go
  • announced his engagement at age 18 to Abigail, who was 20
  • was admitted to the bar (to practice law) at age 23
  • was very focused on outward appearances and wanted to to have a popular public image, he felt inferior b/c of his background
  • was open about being anti-mason, anti-Catholic, anti-abolitionist, and anti-immigrant
  • married Abigail in February 1826
  • Abigail Fillmore was the only First Lady before the twentieth century to work outside the home after her marriage
  • Fillmore was a great believer in conspiracy theories of all sorts
  • in 1828, he was elected to the New York state legislature and served three consecutive terms
  • was considered a protegé of Daniel Webster
  • was elected chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in 1840
  • ran for the Whig nomination for Vice President in 1844, but lost to Henry Clay
  • then ran for governor of New York and lost to Silas Wright
  • was nominated and elected as state comptroller of New York and closed his law office
  • pushed for a federal program to improve river and harbor development
  • was elected Chancellor of the University of Buffalo
  • for most of the time he was Vice President under Zachary Taylor, he lived alone at the Willard Hotel, his wife remaining in Buffalo
  • tended to have direct opposite views from President Taylor on the big issues such as statehood for California, the spread of slavery to the west, and the expansion of Texas
  • was snubbed when President Taylor took Fillmore’s hated political rival, William Henry Seward, to be his closest confidant and adviser
  • openly stated on one occasion that he would vote against the President’s wishes if there was a chance for him to be the tie-breaking vote on a bill
  • allied himself with Daniel Webster and Henry Clay
  • supported the Compromise of 1850, which allowed over 400,000 square miles of territory in the west to be declared as slavery-allowing territory
  • was sworn in as President on July 10, 1850, after the death of President Taylor
  • fired every single one of Taylor’s cabinet the day he took office, mainly out of spite – and was the only “accidental” President to do so
  • had trouble finding men to replace the ones he fired because of his party (Whigs) and because of his petulant attitude
  • gave Texas the right to define their own territorial boundaries and invade New Mexico, even if Congress said otherwise and he himself declared otherwise
  • firmly supported the Fugitive Slave Act, which allowed southern slave owners to travel up North to re-claim their runaway slaves (and sometimes free African Americans as well)
  • established a mint in San Francisco to stimulate the economy and aid those who found gold in getting it circulating in the economy
  • was the first President to propose a trans-continental railroad
  • he and his wife started the White House library
  • sent Commodore Matthew C. Perry on a mission to Japan to begin foreign relations with them – previously, all westerners were considered criminals when they landed in Japan
  • protected Hawaii from being annexed by Napoleon
  • favorite foods (via The Awl) – Beef stew, mock turtle soup, fish, ham with macaroni, duck, chicken, pigeon, and larded sweet breads.
  • failed to stop a man named Lopez from recruiting an army and trying to invade and conquer Cuba; Lopez was killed by the Spanish in Cuba, most of his expedition’s party members were executed or captured and sent to Spain, he then ransomed them and brought them home
  • amended the Fugitive Slave – barring African Americans from defending themselves at their own hearing/trial
  • became infuriated with Chicago and Boston when their city councils nullified the Fugitive Slave Act
  • authorized the use of Federal troops to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act (the Marines)
  • blamed the disharmony that came from the FSA on other politicians and the public in the North who refused to enforce it
  • was more concerned about his home state’s local politicians undermining him than he was about his own stand alienating him from the entire country
  • was only the fourth “Northern” President elected (Adams, Adams, and Van Buren) all the rest were from the South
  • was the first solidly middle-class President
  • instructed for the formation of the Washington Territory (it was part of the Oregon Territory previously)
  • after an African American man escaped while being tried under the FSA, the next trial of a black man under the Act was tried in a courthouse surrounded by nearly 500 special deputies and and ringed with anchor chain so that no one could mob it
  • personally demanded prosecution of four white people and 36 African Americans who participated in a riot that resulted in the escape of a fugitive slave, they were all charged with treason, by his request,  in the largest treason trial in the history of the US
  • despite the fact that he and Daniel Webster were cronies, they blocked each other from receiving the Whig nomination for the Presidency in 1852 just by running against each other and refusing to back down or communicate; this was especially ridiculous considering Webster was part of Fillmore’s cabinet and it was frowned upon for a current cabinet member to challenge a current President with their own campaign
  • his wife, Abigail, died on March 30, 1853 – less than a month after Fillmore left office – supposedly from a cold she caught attending Franklin Pierce’s inauguration
  • in 1854, Fillmore’s daughter, Mary Abigail, died
  • when he visited Queen Victoria of England, she reportedly thought him “the handsomest man she had ever met”
  • despite his deep dislike for Catholics, he agreed to meet the Pope in 1855 (as long as he didn’t have to kneel or kiss the Pope’s ring)
  • after the downfall of the Whig party, Fillmore joined the American Party (or Know-Nothing Party) which was strongly anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant; he ran as their Presidential nominee in 1856
  • when he lost the election, he returned to Buffalo and married Caroline Carmichael, a wealthy widow
  • organized a home guard of elderly men in Buffalo during the Civil War and raised $25,000 to aid wounded soldiers
  • after giving a speech denouncing the War and President Lincoln, he was regarded by his neighbors as a “Copperhead”, someone who lived in the North but sympathized with the Confederacy
  • founded the Buffalo Historical Society
  • died on March 8, 1874 of a stroke, and was buried in Buffalo

<— Zachary Taylor                                           Franklin Pierce —>

Post title taken from Jonathan Coulton’s song “The Presidents”

Taylor was a Mexican War hero

Zachary Taylor:

He was the 12th President of the United States of America and served part of one term – from 1849 until his death in 1850.

Nickname:  Old Rough and Ready

Quote: “The idea that I should become President seems to me too visionary to require a serious answer.  It has never entered my head, nor is it likely to enter the head of any sane person.”

I read the book “Zachary Taylor: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old West” by K. Jack Bauer.  Yes, Jack Bauer.

  • born on November 24, 1784 on his father’s cousin’s plantation in Virginia – the plantation was named Montebello
  • grew up on a 400 acre farm outside Louisville, KY
  • did terrible in his first school years
  • was commissioned into the army on May 3, 1808
  • his older brother was killed fighting Native Americans
  • he married Margaret Mackall Smith on June 21, 1810; she was from Maryland
  • he worked as a part-time land surveyor
  • served in the military under W.H. Harrison, but he missed the battle of Tippecanoe
  • successfully led 40 men, only 16 of them healthy, to repel 450 Native American warriors from attacking Fort Harrison; the only building lost was their blockhouse
  • refused a military position in New York and returned to Louisville to farm
  • then rejoined the military in 1816
  • was head of a regiment who built a road from Tennessee to Louisiana
  • his 2 youngest daughters died in 1820 from a fever
  • he owned several Louisiana plantations
  • in 1828, his family moved to Fort Snelling, Minnesota
  • his daughter, Sarah Knox, married Jefferson Davis without her father’s consent.  She died three months later.
  • when he was the commanding officer, any man needing punishment would receive a “wooling” – grabbed by both ears and being shaken
  • was given the responsibility of driving the Seminoles out of Florida, where he was given the nickname “Old Rough and Ready” because of his willingness to stay alongside his troops in the same conditions
  • he came up with the “squares” program – a fighting tactic used in the Mexican War, in the Philippines and Vietnam
  • was a semi-successful real estate investor
  • was a big supporter of soil conservation and crop rotation
  • put in command of the army asked to hold the line against a Mexican invasion across the Rio Grande
  • he offered Mexican separatist forces aid in making an independent North Mexican Republic  (obviously, that didn’t work out)
  • gained control of the northern bank of the Rio Grande river for the United States as the national boundary
  • while in a standoff with Mexican forces, the Mexican troops would send their women to bathe naked in the river and then use sharpshooters to try and take out any American forces who tried to join the women
  • the leader of the Mexican forces offered sanctuary, and a homestead of 320 acres of land to any American troops who would desert
  • after taking the Mexican town of Matamoros, Taylor made a point to treat the enemy wounded and spent several hundred dollars from his own pocket to provide supplies for that purpose
  • was promoted to Major General by President Polk on May 30, 1846
  • left Mexico in October 1847
  • when approached by the Whig party for candidacy for their Presidential nomination, he had never voted
  • was staunchly supported by Abraham Lincoln
  • began suffering from rheumatism in 1848
  • was reluctant to take the Whig nomination because he wanted to be a President “independent of party”
  • didn’t do any campaign canvassing because he didn’t care if he won or not, he was also still on active military duty
  • his youngest daughter married William Bliss in 1848 – he was called “Perfect Bliss” by the Taylor family
  • the 1848 election was the first election in which the entire nation went to the polls on the same day – November 7
  • a cholera outbreak in New York and New Orleans began in December of 1848 and lasted through the next August; over 5,000 people died in New York
  • one of the first days of national Thanksgiving and prayer was declared by Taylor for August 3, 1849
  • favorite foods (via The Awl) – Deviled crabmeat, hominy, and Cajun food
  • Taylor was struck with dysentery during a tour of the country, he nearly collapsed from exhaustion
  • he attended the laying the cornerstone of the Washington monument in 1850
  • threatened any states who seceded from the Union with a trade embargo, and blockaded harbors
  • had the editor of a major newspaper fired when he refused to print an article attacking Taylor’s nemesis, Henry Clay
  • contracted some digestive infection on July 5, 1850 – some think it was b/c he ate a large meal of iced milk and cherries on a hot day
  • predicted his own death by saying on July 7th “in two days I shall be a dead man.”
  • died soon after 10:30 pm on July 9th, 1850
  • Fillmore declared six months of official mourning in government offices in response to the President’s death
  • Taylor was not buried until November 1st, since his wife requested his body be buried in the family cemetery outside Louisville
  • one of the few early presidents to die a rich man (over $3 million when adjusted to 1980’s inflation – the time this book was written)
  • his papers and personal items of value were stored at one of his plantations until it was sacked during the Civil War in 1863.  Very little has been recovered.

<— James Polk                                           Millard Fillmore –>

Post title taken from Jonathan Coulton’s Song “The Presidents”.


This is the book that should have received all the frenzied attention that Twilight has gotten. The vampires in it are terrifying, obviously unhuman – not sparkly and swoony. Constantine is written alien-like (and rightly so). Sunshine herself is strong, interesting and sufficiently sarcastic to make this book well-balanced. Sometimes you’re frightened for her, other times, she’s making you laugh with her inner monologue. McKinley does a fantastic job of communicating to us that the relationship between Sunshine and Constantine is an anomaly, the world they live in is very dangerous and there are creatures on both sides who would see them used for their own means. Throughout the entire story, I was desperately hoping for an ending that was somewhat resolved (unlike McKinley’s Pegasus books) and was pretty convinced I wasn’t going to get one.

I’d love to see more books set in this universe. I know McKinley has stated she’s done with Sunshine and Constantine’s story, but I sincerely hope there are more stories to be offered up out of this rich world of magic, vampires, weres, and a section of the police force dedicated to the protection of humanity against Others.

Also, a recipe book? Because I really want to know what Bitter Chocolate Death and those famous cinnamon rolls taste like. The entire book had my mouth watering whenever I read a section set in Charlie’s or as Sunshine was baking.


“Sunshine” was written by Robin McKinley and published in 2004.

The Dark Glory War

My husband recommended this book for me, and generally I trust his recommendations. And this book was certainly fabulous for most of my reading experience. I very much enjoyed the world Stackpole created for us to immerse ourselves in – the masks were an interesting and enriching part of the story. But I felt like I couldn’t really get close to any of the characters. I wanted to, but they felt formal and distant. Tarrant a little less than the others, obviously.

My biggest problem with this book was the ending. Stackpole led us into this fantastic geographical area, set up the bones for an amazing plot, and then had the main character lose consciousness. Then, the author gilded over what could have been a chance for great character and plot development and simply ended the book. Maybe this was because this book is meant to be a prequel to another series, but it was completely frustrating to myself as a reader and soured my desire to read the next book in the series.


“The Dark Glory War” is a prequel to the DragonCrown War Cycle and was written by Michael Stackpole.  It was published in 2000.