Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thursday's Thoughts

Today's thought:
When the power of love is stronger than the love of power the world will know peace - Jimi Hendrix
What a wonderful thought on the eve of a new year. Yet despite how much of an optimist I tend to be, I have a hard time believing that humans as a group will ever overcome their love of power. Just look to ex-president (king George) Bush. Or the average dictator. Or on a much smaller scale, look to the day manager of your local fast-food joint, or your elementary school crossing guard. Each of these people, and many others, have such a desire for power that they often loose sight of what they are doing with it, and what they have been charged with, let alone sworn to do. Loving your neighbor is a great idea and the hippies may have stumbled on something great with the free love movement, but it was destined to fail before it started. In every group of humans, regardless of the size, someone will decide to control the group. And the larger the group, the more someone will be willing to do to be the one in control.

Take care and have a great 2010.

Monday, December 28, 2009

December Beads


Try figuring out how to put tiny holed pearls on cotton cord! I decided to go with super strong black thread, and sewed them on. What do you think? Personally, there are a couple of things that bother me, but nothing that I think anyone would be able to point out while it's on. I LOVE the pendant, which Sara bought in Alaska from the artist herself. Very cool!

Friday, December 25, 2009



The Truth Is Out There

What the hell is Kwanzaa, anyway?

This question has plagued me every year since I first heard of it in the nineties. Jay inspired me to go ahead and google it. Why not? I have to confess, as with all religious customs (Is it even religious? We'll find out in a moment.) I roll my eyes, and assume its some made up, based in craziness, excuse to party. I have never known anyone that celebrated the holiday, hence the lack of knowledge. I usually get a whole earful about some religion or other whether I like it or not. This leads me to roll my eyes again, and think, crazy humans....
So, Kwanzaa....
As defined at the above website, Kwanzaa is a celebration of family, community, and culture created by
Dr. Maulana Karenga.
I admit that after reading through the pdf on this site I needed to get a fresh site that was a little more straight forward.
This site is easier to navigate, so I start reading. The simplest definition is:

"Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder called the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba—the seven principles of blackness), which Karenga said "is a communitarian African philosophy," consisting of what Karenga called "the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world." These seven principles comprise Kawaida, a Swahili term for tradition and reason. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles, as follows:

  • Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems, and to solve them together.
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  • Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  • Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  • Imani (Faith): To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle."
During the celebrations, the above are recited, as well as the African Pledge:

We will remember the humanity, glory and sufferings of our ancestors,

And honor the struggle of our elders;
We will strive to bring new values, and new life to our people;
We will have peace and harmony among us.

We will be loving, sharing, and creative.
We will work, study and listen, so we may learn;
learn so we may teach.
We will cultivate self-reliance.

We will struggle to resurrect and unify our homeland;
We will raise many children for our nation;
We will have discipline, patience, devotion and courage;
We will live as models to provide new direction for our people.

We will be free and self-determining;
We are African people...We will win!



I feel bad now...I just wanted to know what it meant, now I feel discriminated against! Assuming that the above is correct (it is from Wikipedia) it seems like this celebration is in place to keep the culture completely separate from all others in America. This seems to be counterproductive. Aren't we all supposed to be a cohesive unit? One country? United we stand? I love the idea of knowing your culture, and loving each other, but I feel like this is more a manifesto I might read in a KKK meeting. I have always hated how white people have treated African Americans in the past, and I grew up thinking that there needed to be unity, not more separatism. "Separate but equal" seemed nasty and unfair, but are there some African Americans that would have like things to stay that way? I wonder if there is anyone brave enough to let my readers in on the secret. If you have answers, please enlighten me! Perhaps there is a better website? Maybe I'm reading too much into the whole thing.


Boredom inspires creativity!



Well, so does procrastinating. Who wants to clean while all these beads are calling your name? It all started out innocently enough. I did have to clean off my bead table. It was all down hill from there.
The clasp on the river rock necklace isn't what I would have liked to use, but I'm fresh out of sterling silver, and I can't stand to let a project sit unfinished. I bought the river rock at a bead convention in Memphis, the large carved wooden bead is from a cute little bead store in Pennsylvania, the Kazuri beads are from Maine, and the Sterling silver swirls are from Kentucky. I tend to buy beads on trips, and let them sit until they speak to me. These guys were meant to be! Very simple design to show off the cool beads. I think it works. I think I may go back and work on something more complicated after dinner. Jay's on Staff Duty again, so I have nothing better to do.
The girls are in Florida with Manny and Poppy, so they will both post about their adventures later. I hear that Miah finally learned to ride a two wheeler! Until next time!

12 Days of Truth - The Real Meaning of Christmas

The Twelfth Day of Truth - The Reason For the Season

A little baby in a manger, surrounded by loved ones in the deep of December? That could not be farther from the truth. I will not even begin to dissect the inconsistencies with the common nativity mythology. Let's instead look at why it's happening on December 25th at all. First we have to look well before the earliest days of chritianity. The Persians as well as the Greeks and Romans celebrated what was known as Sol Ivicitus. It was called such so that many different sun gods could be celebrated as one. The winter solstice was chosen as the ideal day to celebrate the birth of the sun, as it was the shortest day of the year, and the sun would soon be gaining strength again. Several early Christian writers connected the rebirth of the sun to the birth of Jesus. One named Cyprian wrote: "O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born...Christ should be born" But in fact early christians would have been very unlikely to have celebrated Jesus' birthday at all. According to Jewish law, the celebration of anyone's birth was a pagan custom. It was not for several hundred years that his birth was celebrated in December. What was celebrated between those times most prevalently was Saturnalia, a week long period of lawlessness celebrated between December 17-25. During this period, Roman courts were closed, and Roman law dictated that no one could be punished for damaging property or injuring people during the week long celebration. The festival began when Roman authorities chose “an enemy of the Roman people” to represent the “Lord of Misrule.” Each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week. At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman. The christians often hid their celebrations in the existing roman celebrations, to avoid persecution. It was far easier to just go along in most cases. Around the 4th century the christians actually adopted the festival date in order to try to win over the masses by Pope Julius I. As christianity spread to northern Europe the christians adopted more and more pagan traditions, such as the tree, the wreath, and the yule log. All of this assimilation was an attempt to win over the "ignorant pagans". Pagan in that day did not define a religion, simply meaning rural workers. Following the protestant reformation, groups such as the puritans strongly condemned the celebration of Christmas, considering it a Catholic invention and the "trappings of property." The catholics responded by promoting the festival in a more religiously oriented form. King Charles I of England directed his noblemen and gentry to return to their landed estates in midwinter to keep up their old style Christmas generosity. As the puritans became outnumbered in America, the holiday ceased to be outlawed, and became popular again, becoming what we know it to be today.

Just for reference, below is a popular day to celebrate around the world. The following is a list of holidays celebrated on or around the solstice abridged from the list found on wikipedia. So what are you really celebrating on this day? Is it one of the ancient sun gods, the willingness of the church to add to the religion to garner more followers, or are you just happily paying lip service to one of the holidays below? Because when you look at history, there is NO reason for this season.

And know you know.

Buddhist
o Bodhi Day: 8 December - Day of Enlightenment, celebrating the day that the historical Buddha (Shakyamuni or Siddhartha Guatama) experienced enlightenment (also known as Bodhi).
Celtic
o Winter Solstice: 21 December-22 December - midwinter
Germanic
o Modranect: or Mothers' Night, the Saxon winter solstice festival.
o Yule: the Germanic winter solstice festival
Jewish
o Hanukkah: Starting on 25 Kislev (Hebrew) or various dates in November or December (Gregorian) - eight day festival commemorating the miracle of the oil after the desecration of the Temple by Antiochus IV Epiphanes and his defeat in 165 BCE.
Muslim
o Eid ul-Adha: Starting on the 10th of Dhul Hijja, a four day holiday commemorating the Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismael.
Pagan
o Yule: (Winter Solstice) - Germanic and Egyptian Pagan festival of the rebirth of the Sun
Andean
o Inti Raymi: Festival of the Sun in Quechua, winter solstice festival in areas of the former Inca empire, still celebrated every June in Cuzco.
Persian
o Yalda: The turning point, Winter Solstice (December 21). End of the longest night of the year (Darkness), and beginning of growing of the days (Lights). A celebration of Good over Evil.
o Shabe Yaldā (Persian: یلدا) or Shabe Chelle (Persian: شب چله) is an Iranian festival originally celebrated on the Northern Hemisphere's longest night of the year, that is, on the eve of the Winter Solstice.
Slavic
o Karachun - the ancient Slavs polytheistic winter solstice festival

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday's Thoughts

Today's Thought:

Some things we do, even if we detest them ourselves; define us. -1618 16DEC03

It's been a few years since I wrote this in my book. I do not remember what in specific I was writing about, but I feel that I need to change the thought a bit. Everything we do, especially the things we detest, define us. To do what you are morally or ethically opposed to, that changes you irrevocably. Once you violate your beliefs, you can not go back. Not a lot else to say this week, just please think about that before you allow yourself to compromise your integrity.

12 Days of Truth - The Real Meaning of Christmas

The Eleventh Day of Truth - Christmas Eve

Ever wonder why we celebrate the "eve" of Christmas. This is actually easily explained. Prior to the adoption of the Julian Calender (around 45 AD), the day was known to end at sunset. Thus the new day also began at sunset. A calender day was an evening or "eve" followed by a day. Thus all holiday celebrations began at sunset and worked into the next day. This tradition has most notably continues with Christmas and Halloween, which was new years day on the Celtic Calender.

And now you know.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

12 Days of Truth - The Real Meaning of Christmas

The Tenth Day of Truth - Santa Claus

A jolly old man, slipping magically into homes and leaving presents for the good boys and girls of the world. Aside from the disturbing questions that immediately arise, we should ask ourselves how this figure became such a large part of our culture. Santa owes his legend to many sources, and he has undergone many transformations over the years. There are a number of parallels to the Norse god Odin, who would ride an eight legged horse through the sky distributing gifts with his white beard trailing behind him. While these similarities may explain some of the legend, Santa's namesake was much more mortal. Bishop Nicholas of Myra (later sainted) died about 350 AD. His legend was such that by the middle ages, he was mentioned in prayer nearly as much as Mary. Among Nicholas' miracles were saving three girls from poverty by tossing gold down their chimney and resurrecting three murdered boys. The Feast of St. Nicholas on Dec. 6 has been observed with great enthusiasm throughout Medieval Europe over the centuries. This enthusiasm was due to the many legends that had grown up around Nicholas: that he had distributed gifts to the poor at night through their windows, had fasted while a baby, saved a city from famine, had aided a ship in distress, etc. Because of the gift-giving legends associated with Nicholas, it was held (especially in Belgium and Holland) that on the Eve the Feast of Nicholas, the bishop himself would come from heaven and visit children in their homes, giving gifts to those who had been good. Nicholas, decked out in full ecclesiastical garb (bishop's vestments, with miter and cozier), would arrive on a flying gray horse (or white donkey, depending on the custom). In some variations of the legend, he was accompanied by Black Peter, an elf whose job was to punish children who had been bad. And here Santa evolved. The dutch began to call this visitor Sinterclass. Although the reformation during the 16th century abolished the feast of Saint Nicholas (and with it the visits from Sinterclass) due to the detraction from christ, the church created a veneration of the Christkindl (Christ-child) instead, who, it was said, brought gifts to children on Christmas Eve.
When the Dutch came to America in the 17th century and founded New Amsterdam, it was with an amalgamation of these two gift givers. Author Washington Irving (1789-1853), most famous for "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle," is important for the information he gives us on the Dutch version of Sinter Klaas in the early nineteenth century. Washington's 1809 work "The History of New York (also called the "Knickerbocker History") was a satire on the transplanted customs of the Dutch of New York city. The "History" contained several references to the legend of St. Nicholas as observed by the Dutch. The St. Nicholas described by Irving was an old man in dark robes who arrived on a flying horse on the Eve of St. Nicholas to give gifts to children. Dr. Clement Clark Moore revised this image further when he wrote "A Visit from St. Nicholas", more commonly known as "The Night Before Christmas." Finally Santa got a new image in 1935 for perhaps one of the most fitting reasons. The Coca-Cola Cooperation began running a series of advertisements that depicted Santa, not as a tiny elf, but as an average sized jolly fat man. One who, of course, loved their product.

When you leave those milk and cookies out this christmas eve, as the dutch children left treats in their shoes by the fire, please keep a good picture of whom you are leaving them for. Will you leave them for the Saint on the flying white horse, the sprite-like Christkindl, the tiny elf that Dr. Moore wrote about, or the advertising gimmick thought up to sell soda?

And now you know.

Monday, December 21, 2009

12 Days of Truth - The Real Meaning of Christmas

The Ninth Day of Truth - Christmas Tree

The single most common symbol of christmas. It seems like everyone in the world would recognize an evergreen tree with a star (or and angel) on top and lights, bulbs, and other shiny things adorning it as a christmas tree. But what in the world does a tree have to do with the celebration it is known for? As we've discussed, almost every pre-christian culture celebrated the solstice in one form or another. This celebration was one of joy for the waning of winter and celebration of the coming spring. Nothing represented this perseverance over the cold winter months more than an evergreen tree. The pagan cultures would not kill the whole tree and bring it inside, but just cut boughs to decorate. Most often fruit and candles would be used to decorate the boughs, one a symbol of the bounty to come, the other to symbolize the warmth and power the strengthening sun would bring. The earliest history of using a tree to celebrate christmas tells of it's use in northern Germany around the mid 16th century. By the early 18th century, the custom had become common in towns of the upper Rhineland, but it had not yet spread to rural areas. In the early 19th century, the custom became popular among the nobility and spread to royal courts as far as Russia. The custom had spread to England by Queen Victoria's childhood. There are also traditional dates to put up and take down the tree. It is said that to put it up before the eve of christmas or to fail to take it down by the sixth of January (the 12th day of christmas) was bad luck. But of course the commercialization of the holiday has extended that tradition in some cases to before Thanksgiving.
Each year more than 33 million trees are cut and sold for christmas. They are decorated quite before the tradition dictates and placed in a position of honor that nearly borders on worship. On the day of christmas, children run to it to receive their presents. This year, I suggest taking a good look at what you are really celebrating.

And now you know.

Future world?

12 Days Of Truth - The Real Meaning Of Christmas

The Eighth Day of Truth - The Yule Log

A cozy fire on the eve of christmas, such a nice warm tradition. But it's origins are much older than even the holiday that it is being used to celebrate. The Celtic pagans have celebrated the winter solstice for ages before the christian faith started. This holiday was known as Yule. The yule log would be a very large log that had to be cut by the burner, never purchased. The log would sometimes be decorated with holly and burned all night. This would indeed have to have been a rather large log to burn through the longest night of the year. There would also traditionally be a piece of the log left over at dawn, which would be kept in the house until the next yule for good luck. That piece would be used as kindling for the next year's log. By the fourth century the christians had adopted burning a large log overnight on christmas. The original meaning has long since been lost and modern people often have no idea why they traditionally burn a log overnight.

When you light your log on fire this year, remember that it's a little more than warmth that you are bringing into your home, but also one of the very first traditions that the christians adopted.

And now you know.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

12 Days Of Truth - The Real Meaning Of Christmas

The Seventh Day of Truth - Candy Canes

A sweet cane shaped mint. Sometimes hung on trees or garland, sometimes in the stocking, sometimes just because they taste good, but where do they come from. About two hundred-thirty years ago in Germany, the children that went to church were really loud and noisy. They often moved around and would not pay attention to the choirmaster. This was especially difficult for the choirmaster when they were supposed to be sitting still for the long living Nativity ceremony. So to keep the children quiet, he gave them a long, white, sugar candy stick. He couldn’t give them chocolate or anything like that because the people at that church would think it was sacrilegious. So he gave them the stick and he bent it on the end to look like a cane. It was meant to look like a shepherd’s cane, and so it reminded the children of the shepherds at Jesus’ birth. In 1847, a German-Swedish immigrant in Wooster, Ohio put candy canes on his Christmas tree and soon others were doing the same. Sometime around 1900 candy canes came to look more like what we know them as today with the red stripes and peppermint flavoring. Some claim that the shape also looks like the letter “J” for Jesus, not just a shepherd’s cane. It is possible that these things were added for religious symbols, but there is no evidence that is true.

And now you know.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

12 Days Of Truth - The Real Meaning Of Christmas

The Sixth Day of Truth - Caroling

A group of singers, huddled together in the cold, walking from house to house spreading christmas cheer with only their voices. Where did this start? Caroling is a direct descendant of wassailing. Wassail loosely translates to "good health". The tradition is said to have started in the third or fourth century. At celebrations of the solstice people would toast each other and call out the term wassail. By the fourteenth century, wassailing had become a common feature at christmas parties. The peasants would come to the houses of the rich on christmas, to be wassailed as well as given gifts. As time progressed, the large bowl that held the wassail (also the name of the drink used in the toast by this point) began to be carried from house to house to toast the whole town. Often christmas carols would be sung between houses. Eventually the toast fell away, but the caroling continued.

So next time you go out caroling, do not forget the origins of the custom and be sure to toast to the health of those houses you visit. Just please don't knock on my door.

Friday, December 18, 2009

12 Days Of Truth - The Real Meaning Of Christmas

The Fifth Day of Truth - Mistletoe

Ever snuck a kiss under the mistletoe? This is a favorite christmas tradition for teenagers world-wide. Long before the the events in the new testament, the druids used mistletoe to celebrate the coming of winter. They would gather this evergreen plant and use it to decorate their homes. They believed the plant had special healing powers for everything from female infertility to poison ingestion. Scandinavians also thought of mistletoe as a plant of peace and harmony. They associated mistletoe with their goddess of love, Frigga. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe probably derived from this belief. It was noted as part of the saturnalia celebrations as well as early wedding traditions. The early church banned the use of mistletoe in christmas celebrations because of its pagan origins. Instead, church fathers suggested the use of holly as an appropriate substitute for christmas greenery. By the 18th century mistletoe had become vogue again. So much so, in fact, that large balls would be held known as kissing balls. No girl under the mistletoe could refuse to be kissed, the kiss either signifying true love, or just a lasting friendship. Any girl not kissed by the end of the night would not be married the next year. Some traditions required that the mistletoe be burned on the twelfth day to ensure the happiness of these bonds.

This tradition is mostly harmless, especially in the eyes of a boy who would have been able to kiss any girl he wanted.

And now you know.

Passion is your greatest weapon

Thursday, December 17, 2009

12 Days Of Truth - The Real Meaning Of Christmas

The Fourth Day of Truth - The Wreath

A circle of pine branches and assorted greenery; it sounds ripe with symbolism. As it should. The ancient Greeks and Romans used laurel wreaths as a symbol of victory. The origins of this are unclear, but circles and rings have been revered in almost every culture throughout history. The christmas wreath, however, is known as an advent wreath. It's origins are better known. The advent (from the Latin for waiting) wreath has it's origins in the Celtic peoples traditions of making wreaths out of the boughs of the trees that survived the winter still green and adding candles to symbolize that the winter would end and warmer days were to come. No small leap, then, that as the christians spread into the Germanic lands they found the symbolism to be very similar to the four weeks before christmas in which they celebrated awaiting their savior.

This holiday symbol was directly and blatantly re-purposed for use by the christians. I personally am not a fan of waiting, so I can't give this symbol too much support.

And now you know.

Thursday's Thoughts

Today's Thought,

You can only see what is in front of your face.

I tend to think that I can fix systems that are outside of my scope of responsibility. I will look at something that someone else is doing and thin that I know how to better do that thing. I am constantly reminding myself that you can not possibly know the difficulty level of a job until you do it, and that you can not possibly know why a person made a decision until you are faced with their exact circumstances. The old adage about walking a mile in someone's shoes is as correct as it ever was. That said, I still don't know how to stop myself, or to keep myself from getting mad when others do it. Maybe with age I will learn to take a breath just keep my mouth shut, as I would like others to do.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

12 Days Of Truth - The Real Meaning Of Christmas

The Third Day of Truth - Stockings

Hung by the chimney with care, stuffed with little trinkets for the tykes. Where does this tradition come from? The most common myth is about a nobleman who spent himself poor after loosing his wife. Unfortunately he had three daughters and could now not afford their dowry. The myth claims that Saint Nicolais tossed a bag of gold for each daughter down their chimney which was caught by the stockings that they had placed there to dry overnight. Another myth claims that the dutch children would leave presents for Sinterclass in their clogs. The clogs evolved to stockings around the time that Sinterclass evolved into Santa. And the idea for coal? That originated in Italy. Tradition states that the stockings should contain something to eat, a thing that makes a sound, one that gives a pleasant view to the eyes, and a gift which has a lovely fragrance as these are supposed to be the gifts left by Santa. The presents under the tree were to be from family.

A simple tradition, and one of the few that still hearkens to the spirit of christmas as I understand it. The small, simple gifts are in direct contrast to the commercial gluttony that the holiday has become.

And now you know.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Traveling Beads


One of the many things my friend Sara and I have in common is a love of beads and jewelry making. Another thing we have in common is the dubious honor of being Army Wives. Since we met on Fort Campbell five or six (wow) years ago, our families have both moved on. To new Posts that is. She's all the way up in Alaska, and we are all the way down in Georgia. In an effort to keep our connection going, and giving ourselves something to look forward to, we started trading mystery bead mixes. This month, Sara sent a strange mix of bone, amethyst, silver, and glass. I have to say, I paused for a minute over the bones( but anyone would tell you that they are right up my alley!!!) and how they would blend into a design, but a flash of green and copper crossed my mind, and I went hunting in my crazy drawers and containers to add a few items I thought would pull the idea together. I wanted to use copper, but only had one end of a copper toggle, so I grabbed a copper coin and got to work with my files and hole punch. The ammonite has been saved for a long time, waiting for the right project, and I thought that the purple shimmer would be perfect with the mix. I think I was right...
I hope, Sara, that this meets your challenge! I LOVED this mix.
I can't wait for the next box..yours is already on it's way!
-Stacy

12 Days Of Truth - The Real Meaning Of Christmas

Second Day of Truth - Lights

Such pretty little things. They bring cheer and warmth and spread the spirit of the holidays, but what spirit is that? Early pagans lit fires to signify the birthday of the sun, on the longest night of the year. Jewish people have been lighting candles on Hanukkah since the second century. It's no wonder that these and many other winter holidays involve fire and lights, with the long cold nights. History tells that lights were first placed on trees around the sixteenth century, held on by wax or pins. By 1900, department stores started selling strings of lights. Albert Sadacca is credited for producing the first safe brightly colored strands of lights in 1917. Although the lights started out as an expensive novelty, they have since become a cheep mass produced commodity, often used to show that one person's holiday spirit is much better than his neighbor's.

I say that while a few lights may be tasteful and ancient in their traditions, the desperate need to light up the whole block with twinkling and blinking bulbs in every shade of the rainbow is a blatant waste of electricity. So think a little greener this season, and cut down a little.

And now you know.

Monday, December 14, 2009

12 Days Of Truth - The real Meaning Of Christmas

First Day of Truth - Gingerbread Men

One of the most harmless parts of the Christmas tradition? Not even close. The gingerbread man has origins in some of the oldest pagan traditions. The Greek poet Lucian, when describing Saturnalia, made note of consuming human shaped biscuits. These biscuits were, like the animal shaped ones before them, seen as an alternative to ritual sacrifice. As the christians adopted some of the traits of Saturnalia around the 4th century in order to try to bring in the pagan masses, they brought the cookies with them. Later, as the crusaders pillaged the Middle East, they found spices such as ginger and sugar. Early on gingerbread was made by monks, but by the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries bakers began to specialize in the treat. In France and England these bakers formed guilds, and were given the exclusive right to make gingerbread, except at Christmas and Easter. This lead to it becoming a holiday tradition.

So next time you bite into your representation of human sacrifice, flavored by spices taken during a war based solely on religious differences, and made into a holiday treat in order to ensure the church maintained a profit; I suggest showing a little mercy and eating it head first.

And now you know.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Five-Word Friday

Compromise society before your integrity.

Esther Ridenour in rememberance

Cockrill, Esther M. Ridenhour
December 11, 2005
Esther M. Ridenour Cockrill 84, Indianapolis, died December 10, 2005. She was born in Indianapolis on September 15, 1921. She was a teletype operator for Western Union retiring in 1976 after 20 years of service. She is survived by her daughters Sharon Plumlee (Ron) and Debbie Engelking (Don); 11 grandchildren and numerous great and great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husbands Harry Ridenour and Larry Cockrill, and her son Jim Ridenour. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. on Monday, December 12, at Flanner & Buchanan Funeral Center – Washington Park East. Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday at the funeral center. Burial will take place in Acton Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made in Esther's name to the Alzheimer's Association. www.flannerbuchanan.com

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Orange Marmalade Thumprint Cookies/Sugar Cookies



Ingredients:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened (two sticks)

1 1/2 cups white sugar (I used a little less, due to lack of correct amount, and they came out better than usual!)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.
( For thumbprint cookies, push center of dough balls in and place SMALL amount of jelly, jam or marmalade in middle. Bake a little longer than usual, keeping a constant eye on them. I used orange marmalade, and they were quickly gobbled up by the very child who proclaimed that they "look yucky".)

Surprise Kitty

Friday, November 20, 2009

Five-Word Friday

Motivation is useless without direction.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday's Thoughts

Today's Thought,
Where we have strong emotions, we're liable to fool
ourselves. -Carl Sagan, Blues for a Red Planet

And we often do. Doesn't it seem that the more passionate a person is about something, the more willing they are to overlook the reality of it. How often do we hear that love made someone blind? Or struggle to tell a friend that the venture they are fervently undergoing is not worth the risk? Some might say that this is the eternal curse of the optimist, but I think that it is not entirely bad to be able to fool yourself. Sometimes, when we have fooled ourselves into trudging on long after everyone around us could plainly see that what we wanted would never come true, we get what we wanted. And sometimes we find something better.
Although, don't confuse this with a "stay the course" mentality, I am fully aware that there are times that you have to cut your losses and pull out. I just think that occasionally we are able to not only fool ourselves, but also the world around us.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Palin

I can't wait to see this. Oprah promises full sentences, that make sense! Hot Damn!
I want to hear something from her that isn't some sort of accusation, argument, or redneck colloquialism. I had originally had hopes for her, until I heard her politics, and was disappointed after I did. Yikes.



Watch CBS News Videos Online

Khoda

Khoda from Reza Dolatabadi on Vimeo.






“Khoda” is a fantastic animated video made as student project by Reza Dolatabadi using 6000 paintings that were specifically created for the 5 minute film. Each time you pause the video you see a new painting.

via:

http://laughingsquid.com/khoda-an-animated-film-made-using-6000-paintings/

Friday, November 13, 2009

Five-Word Friday

You can try it too! -J



Jay- You can do better!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Art is Everywhere

Thursday's Thoughts

Today's Thought:
Keep thy religion to thyself. -George
Carlin
Last week Stacy had a discussion about religion and it sparked a conversation at work for me. Which lead me to think even harder on the topic. This problem goes far beyond people knocking on our door, or our facebook page as the case may be. These are the surface things that most people complain about. What really eats at me is the constant subtle things that intrude on mine and my families lives.
There are always the Halloween, Christmas, Easter, etc. parties. I wouldn't mind so much if the school actually taught a religion class where they discussed the origins and meanings of various religious holidays. But what happens is that my children get given candy and time to play in the name of a holiday that isn't even truly understood by most of the followers of that religion. I just want my children to learn, not to be bribed into a belief system with sweets.
And why do we have to have a Chaplin pray before every change of command, every mission, every run? Just because there is a group of people together, we do not have to push our religions on other people. Furthermore, if you give me a nasty look for not bowing my head, than why wasn't yours bowed to notice mine up?
As gets proven over and over again, we would all be better off if everyone kept their religions in their houses and places of worship.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Five-Word Friday

Just five words each Friday!


"My husband is a nut!" -Stacy

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fort Hood Shooting




I just found out about this, and the mind reels. My first thought was "Who do I know there?" And my mind is still blank. I can't think of who it is that I know is there, and that is making me ill in itself.
My second thought was that I needed to call Jay. I don't know why...He's here, safe, but the idea that he's not all that safe is enough to make me want to go get him! Somebody HAS to help these soldiers. There has to be an intelligent way to help them...Gee, end the deployments comes to mind....however, all of us army related people know that the last thing that the army will do is think before they act. A 30 something year old Major lost it and 12 people are dead today, 31 more injured. It could happen to any of us, and if that doesn't scare you, it damn well should.

Thursday's Thoughts

Today's Thought:
I do not believe that given due diligence that any life can be said to have
been easy.

This is a concept that we as humans have a big problem with. We are constantly saying things like, "that must be nice" or, "what a wonderful life that person has". This drive we humans have to show ourselves that we have it bad is counterproductive. Even people that don't subscribe to the "woe is me" attitude occasionally look to another person and lament how easy the other has it. While that may be true to a point, it is only one aspect of that person's life. Bill Gates has far more money than I do, and he would surely admit that that makes his life easier, but he also has a multi-billion dollar company to run, and that must be much harder than the job I go to daily. That is the easiest example of what I'm trying to say.
In order to truly analyze the toughness of a life, one must live it. No two people will ever view the same situation equally no matter how closely they observe it. Our view of the world is infinitely affected by our past, and our view of the world vastly effects how we react to it.
This said, I will admit that there are some lives that just seem exceptionally sucky or exceptionally lucky. There are some lives that do not equal up no matter how much sugar you coat the raw data in. A tough life, however prepares us for hard events, so there is still a plus. What I hope to focus you on, throughout this week is not on what someone has better than you, but how you excel. Focus on what you can do better, even if it may not be a life saving skill. You may well enjoy your week a little more.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Papprazzi

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks GaGa (Gag Gag as far as I'm concerned) is a joke. I don't know why, but this struck me as funny...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sixteen years...

I know it's a rough picture, but it's one of the only ones I have of my dad. That's me asleep on his lap, my mom and brother in the seat next to us. We were at a political thing of some sort...help me out mom with that info?
It's been sixteen years since my dad died, and surprisingly, he still gets mentioned and thought about every day. "My Dad" comes out of my mouth way too much, according to some people, but he was the first man I ever loved. That is important, and he was. He shaped almost every thing I am, and I am grateful for the things I know and believe because of him. I didn't want today to pass without mentioning him. Butterscotch pie after dinner, if you want to stop by and say "Hi" dad.
I love you

Butterscotch Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 (9-inch) pie shell, baked
  • 2 eggs, separated, egg yolks beaten
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preparation:

Beat egg yolks. Combine beaten egg yolks, brown sugar, salt, flour, milk and butter in a double boiler. Cook over boiling water, stirring constantly until it thickens. Cover and cook 15 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Cool, add vanilla, and pour into baked pie shell. Make a meringue with the remaining egg whites and 1/4 cup sugar. Cover pie with the meringue. Bake at 350° until browned.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

365 Days


We still wish you were here.
Ninja hug!

Thursday's Thoughts

Today's Thought

Where'd you go? I miss you so, seems like it's been forever, that you've been gone. -Fort Minor, "Where'd You Go"

I found myself in the car, listening to this song again the other day, and although it has been a favorite of mine since the album came out, it struck me harder than ever. My family and I came to this new duty station with the expectation that we would at last get a little family time. I am not complaining, because I do get to lay next to my wife every night, but this expectation was very erroneous. Time is a precious commodity here. ISP was brutal and honestly, the demands haven't lessened since I got back to teaching. I've been feeling a little like a transient in my own home.

But then as I was listening to this song, I thought of when I first heard it. At the time I was in the desert. As the song talks about my wife was scheduling her day around my phone calls, or yahoo conversations. I was worried then about the rest of the song eventually coming true. I've seen too many failed marriages and too many soldiers taking the other way out of a marriage to think that it's not at least partly about all the time we spend away. And I really feel that this is one of the most unsung costs of war. So as the discussions heat up about surges, pullouts, and other military decisions, I hope that someone who gets to be a decider understands this as well as my family.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday's Thoughts

Today's Thought:
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
This is an old adage. And I agree in most cases. I know that while I was away from the schoolhouse I missed it. And my civilian co-workers seem to have missed me. Similarly I understand that I was missed here on the page. Thank you all for your concern.
There is a problem with this though. And it is the key to why absence makes the heart grow fonder. Most things in life are like paintings and statues, the closer you get, the more you can see the flaws. Lets hope that the flaws of both coming back to my job and to the blog stay small.
Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jay bought me a Nikon P90 for my Birthday

My new camera, with 16G of memory isn't the easiest to figure out. I've been playing with it for a while, it's many dials and features confusing my poor brain. These are the first pictures I've taken. I hope to find time when the leaves change color to head to the lake on post and try my luck at capturing the foliage.







Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's about that time again!

It's falling leaves weather...so we are all desperately awaiting that one last warm day. Me, so that I can pack in the garden, and the kids so that they can rake leaves and roll in them. Part of the wonder of the season is that I have a million green tomatoes who now have hardly a chance to turn red on the vine, so I take advantage and make my favorite....


Then, of course, I can't stop there. The following is a random recipe from the Internet. I ran out of Cocoa (because Laurel has been baking up a storm lately) but I did have a Lavender Chocolate bar, so I chopped it up and used it to fill out the chocolate requirement. I ended up having about 1/4 c of cocoa powder. (Must bake while the Beatles play in the background, otherwise the brownies will sour.) The lavender is a very subtle flavor, a just detectable earthy addition. I tasted some stray crumbs, and they are so good I'm having a hard time waiting for Jay to get home from work!

Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cold large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

  • Special equipment: An 8-inch square baking pan

Preparation

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Omakase Lunch!


The kids and I got to have a late lunch with my friend Gina! Very exciting because she is over here from Ok, and on her way to Ak. Since this is a special occasion, we went to the Japanese restaurant. I say that because I'm the only one in my family that likes this kind of food, so I was really excited. The original place we were going to eat at doesn't open until 4:30, so we drove on....to another place that isn't open! We finally stumbled upon an open place (Omakase{which means: "It's up to You"}), and headed for our table. The food was great, and I am so stuffed right now I can hardly sit up straight!
I just wanted to say thanks to Gina and John for great food and even better conversation! I wish we had had more time, I could talk forever...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Band!

Laurel and her boyfriend.
Laurel and Miah talking to the boys.

Final score!


Laurel and the band.


Laurel's artwork...Laurel getting ready to take the field.The highschool band


This was the last game of the season (that was fast, huh?) Laurel's band got to play with the high school band, and the opposing team's band. Also, not that I care, but our team kicked butt. I was just there for the band...and a hotdog!


Jay sprained his wrist, but he'll be fine soon. Notice his brace is the same color of his uniform? He has to wear it for a few weeks, and it's funny to watch him struggle with it. I think he's threatened to take it off at least three times.

I tried to get a good picture of Miah, but as usual she couldn't hold still long enough, and then when she tried all of her smiles were insane. This was the best one.

The computer died a couple of days ago while I was uploading the video. I'll have to wait for a new power cord for the laptop before I can try again. I have a couple of other things I need to post too, so I'll be busy!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Flowers/Thursday's Thoughts will be back!


Aren't these nice? Jay went grocery shopping with the girls, and brought these back for me. He's just so darned sweet! Jay has about a week left in his funeral rotation, and he promises that he will start Thursday's Thoughts again. His schedule has just been crazy, and it's easy to let the blog slide. I love reading his posts, so I'm excited!

Breakfst for dinner

This was really good...The only problem is that our grocery store didn't have arugula, so Jay picked up fresh spinach...The feedback was good, the only complaint being that this needed some sort of meat. (Almost forgot, we decided against the sauce. It really wasn't necessary) I thought I'd be hungry before bed, but this really carried me through! Yum!


Goat Cheese Omelet

Serves 4
Hands-On Time: 15m

Total Time: 15m

Ingredients

  • 8 large eggs
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 6 cups baby arugula
  • 1 small baguette, warmed

Directions

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, 2 tablespoons water, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper. Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook the eggs, without stirring, until they begin to set, 2 to 3 minutes. With a rubber spatula, pull the edges of the omelet to the center, tilting the pan so the uncooked eggs flow to the edges of the pan. Cook until set, 1 minute.
  2. Sprinkle the cheese and scallions over the eggs. Fold a third of the omelet over the center; fold over the other third. In pan, cut into 4 pieces.
  3. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, and 1⁄4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Drizzle over the arugula. Serve with the omelet and bread.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Urgent Reply.?

I'd like to know how the hell someone ELSE posted this to my blog????????????
I in no way endorse this message, and have nothing to do with it!
Yikes!!!


*********************************************************************************************************
Dear Friend,
How are you today and business in your country?
I am. Ming Yang, Director of Operations of the Hang Seng Bank Ltd, Sai Wan
Ho Branch, Hong Kong.I have a business proposal that will be of immense benefit to
the both of us. If you are interested, you can contact me through My private
Very Peaceful
Ming Yang.

27 Random Survey Questions Just For You.

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?I need to wash my hair
2. How much cash do you have on you?A couple of bucks
3. What's a word that rhymes with "DOOR?"Poor
4. Favorite planet?Uranus
5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?Mom, I think
6. What is your favorite ring on your phone?I Like the "old fashioned" ring
7. What shirt are you wearing?My old red long sleeved shirt
8. Do you "label" yourself?I try not to
9. Name the brand of your shoes you're currently wearing?Issac Mizrahi
10. Bright or Dark Room?Bright
11. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you?I found this all by my lonesome
13. What were you doing at midnight last night?Sleeping!
14. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?I don't text
15. Where is your nearest 7-11?I am not sure there are any here!
16. What's a word that you say a lot?MIAH!!
17.Who told you he/she loved you last?Jay
18. Last furry thing you touched?Harley
19. How many drugs have you done in the last three days?None
20. How many rolls of film do you need developed?None, I'm digital
21. Favorite age you have been so far?I'm not sure
22. Your worst enemy?No one
23. What is your current desktop picture?A landscape
24. What was the last thing you said to someone?I said "Hi" to Adam
25. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly what would it be?I'd like to Fly
26. Do you like someone?yes
27. The last song you listened to?Theme song to "Lie to Me"
Take this survey

Survey



Is your second toe longer than your first?Yes
Do you have a favorite type of pen?Yes
Look at your planner for March 14, what are you doing?Moving, and unpacking boxes.
What color are your toenails usually?Natural
What was the last thing you highlighted?HTML code
What color are your bedroom curtains?red and brown striped
What color are the seats in your car?Grey
Have you ever had a black and white cat?Yes
What is the last thing you put a stamp on?A card for my mom
Do you know anyone who lives in Wyoming?No
Why did you withdraw cash from the ATM the last time?The movies
Who is the last baby that you held?Sara's Avery
Do you know of any twins with rhyming names?Cindy and Mindy Asbury
Do you like Cinnamon toothpaste?no
What kind of car were you driving 2 years ago?Mini Van
Pick one: Miami Hurricanes or Florida GatorsNo thanks
Last time you went to Six Flags?With Ben Reed in 1998
Do you have any wallpaper in your house?yes, a little bit in the entry
Closest thing to you that is yellow:The flowers Jay bought me.
Last person to give you a business card?A lady from Etsy
Who is the last person you wrote a check to?Rent
Closest framed picture to you?Jay's map of the world
Last time you had someone cook for you?Jay makes pancakes on the weekends, and he made dinner last week.
Have you ever applied for welfare?No
How many emails do you have?Addresses? A couple.
Last time you received flowers/flower?Last week
Do you think the sanctity of marriage is meant for only a man & woman?NO
What are you listening to right now?"Lie To Me"
Do you play air guitar?No
Do you have any Willow Tree figurines?Yes, actually. The Dancer
What is your high school's rival mascot?Um, I have no clue...
who is the last person you talked to from high school?Adam Leahy
Last time you used hand sanitizer?Never
Would you like to learn to play the drums?I know how already
What color are the blinds in your living room?off white
What is in your inbox at work?No longer working in an office
Last thing you read in the newspaper?I found my hometown newspaper from 9/11 and was reading articles about who was arrested that week.
What was the last pageant you attended?EW
What is the last place you bought pizza from?Papa John's
Have you ever worn a crown?yes
What is the last thing you stapled?A note
Did you ever drink clear Pepsi?yes, weird
Are you ticklish?yes
Last time you saw fireworks?4th of July before last.
Last time you had a Krispy Kreme doughnut?I have no clue
Who is the last person that left you a message on your cell?Me, actually
Last time you parked under a carport?last time I was at mom's
Do you have a black dog?Yes
Do you have any pickles in your fridge?Yes
How long have they been there??a week or so
Who has the prettiest eyes that you know of?Jay
Last time you saw a semi truck?about three hours ago
Do you remember Ugly Kid Joe?yes. lol
Do you have a little black dress?yes
Take this survey

Quiz

Strange Survey...

Have you ever licked the back of a CD to try to get it to work?:Yes


Ever been in a car wreck?:Yes
Were you popular in high school?:I don\'t know...
Have you ever been on a blind date?:Yes
Are looks important?:Not that much
Do you have any friends that youYes,
By what age would you like to be married?:I already am
Does the number of people a personWho asks that?
Have you ever made a mistake?:Haven't we all?
Are you a good tipper?:If it's well earned, yes.


Have you ever had a crush on a teacher?:Yes
Have you ever peed in public?:Ew, NO
What song do you want played at your funeral?:None
Would you tell your parents if you were gay?:Yes
What would your last meal be before getting executed?:Chinese take out
Beatles or Stones?:Beatles
If you had to pick one person on earth to die, who?:That\'s not very nice
Beer, wine or hard liquor?:none
Do you have any phobias?:no
What are your plans for the future?:A really relaxing vacation
Do you walk around the house naked?:In the morning, yes.
If you were an animal what would you be?:Dog
Hair color you like on someone youBlack/dark brown
Would you rather be blind or deaf?:I AM deaf
Do you have any special talents?:Yes
What do you do as soon as you walk in the house?:Put my purse and keys down, tell the dog to sit.
Do you like horror or comedy?:Both, just depends on my mood.
Are you missing anyone?:Yes, a LOT of people.


Where do you want to live when you are old?:On a farm
Who is the person you can count on the most?:Jay
If you could date any celebrity past or present, who would it be?:George Clooney (b/c he doesn\'t count)
What did you dream last night?:Had a dream about Jay
What is your favorite sport to watch?:I am so NOT a sports fan.
Are you named after anyone?:Yes, my cousin (my middle name)
What is your favorite alcoholic drink?:Irish Coffee
Non alcoholic drink?:Tea
Have you ever been in love?:well, duh!
Do you sing in the shower?:No
Have you ever been arrested?:NO
What is your favorite Holiday?:Thanksgiving
Would you ever get plastic surgery?:NO
Have you ever caught a fish?:Yes!

Blond Joke For Blonds

A blond city girl, named Amy, marries a Colorado rancher.
One morning, on his way out to check on the cows, the rancher says to
Amy, "The insemination man is coming over to impregnate one of our
cows today, so I drove a nail into the 2X4, just above where the cow's
stall is in the barn. Please show him where the cow is when he gets
here, OK?"
The rancher leaves for the fields.

After a while, the artificial insemination man arrives and knocks on
the front door. Amy takes him down to the barn. They walk along the
row of cows and when Amy sees the nail, she tells him, "This is the
one right here."
The artificial insemination man, assuming he is dealing with an air
head blond, asks, "Tell me lady, 'cause I'm dying to know; how would
YOU know that this is the right cow to be bred?"
"That's simple, by the nail that's over its stall," she explains very
confidently.
Laughing rudely at her, the man says, "And what, please tell, is the nail for?"
The blond turns to walk away and says sweetly, over her shoulder,
"I guess it's to hang your pants on."

(It's nice to see a blond winning once in awhile.)

Random Interesting Stuff I've Stumbled Upon




GROW YOUR OWN GRASS FURNITURE

by Jill Fehrenbacher, 05/28/06

Here’s a great spring project to get you ready for those up-coming summer barbeques: grow your own lawn furniture with the Terra Grass Armchair kit. All you need to do is assemble a cardboard frame, fill it with soil, seed it with grass, then stand back and watch it bloom. In just a couple weeks, a green and grassy armchair will appear in your lawn!

This reminds us of the ReadyMade Make-Your-Own-Lawn-Couch project, and Julian Lwin’s Biodegradable Bench that we covered a few days ago. The Terra Grass Armchair however, seems like the simplest and easiest route to a furnished lawn if you don’t have a lot of time or money on your hands.

$100 or �65 from ThePresentFinder.co.uk

**************************************************************************************
The 10 Most Puzzling Ancient Artifacts



The Bible tells us that God created Adam and Eve just a few thousand years ago, by some fundamentalist interpretations. Science informs us that this is mere fiction and that man is a few million years old, and that civilization just tens of thousands of years old. Could it be, however, that conventional science is just as mistaken as the Bible stories? There is a great deal of archeological evidence that the history of life on earth might be far different than what current geological and anthropological texts tell us. Consider these astonishing finds:

The Grooved Spheres
Over the last few decades, miners in South Africa have been digging up mysterious metal spheres. Origin unknown, these spheres measure approximately an inch or so in diameter, and some are etched with three parallel grooves running around the equator. Two types of spheres have been found: one is composed of a solid bluish metal with flecks of white; the other is hollowed out and filled with a spongy white substance. The kicker is that the rock in which they where found is Precambrian - and dated to 2.8 billion years old! Who made them and for what purpose is unknown.

The Dropa Stones
In 1938, an archeological expedition led by Dr. Chi Pu Tei into the Baian-Kara-Ula mountains of China made an astonishing discovery in some caves that had apparently been occupied by some ancient culture. Buried in the dust of ages on the cave floor were hundreds of stone disks. Measuring about nine inches in diameter, each had a circle cut into the center and was etched with a spiral groove, making it look for all the world like some ancient phonograph record some 10,000 to 12,000 years old. The spiral groove, it turns out, is actually composed of tiny hieroglyphics that tell the incredible story of spaceships from some distant world that crash-landed in the mountains. The ships were piloted by people who called themselves the Dropa, and the remains of whose descendents, possibly, were found in the cave.


click for enlargement

The Ica Stones
Beginning in the 1930s, the father of Dr. Javier Cabrera, Cultural Anthropologist for Ica, Peru, discovered many hundreds of ceremonial burial stones in the tombs of the ancient Incas. Dr. Cabrera, carrying on his father's work, has collected more than 1,100 of these andesite stones, which are estimated to be between 500 and 1,500 years old and have become known collectively as the Ica Stones. The stones bear etchings, many of which are sexually graphic (which was common to the culture), some picture idols and others depict such practices as open-heart surgery and brain transplants. The most astonishing etchings, however, clearly represent dinosaurs - brontosaurs, triceratops (see photo), stegosaurus and pterosaurs. While skeptics consider the Ica Stones a hoax, their authenticity has neither been proved or disproved.


click for
enlargement

The Antikythera Mechanism
A perplexing artifact was recovered by sponge-divers from a shipwreck in 1900 off the coast of Antikythera, a small island that lies northwest of Crete. The divers brought up from the wreck a great many marble and and bronze statues that had apparently been the ship's cargo. Among the findings was a hunk of corroded bronze that contained some kind of mechanism composed of many gears and wheels. Writing on the case indicated that it was made in 80 B.C., and many experts at first thought it was an astrolabe, an astronomer's tool. An x-ray of the mechanism, however, revealed it to be far more complex, containing a sophisticated system of differential gears. Gearing of this complexity was not known to exist until 1575! It is still unknown who constructed this amazing instrument 2,000 years ago or how the technology was lost.


click for
enlargement

The Baghdad Battery
Today batteries can be found in any grocery, drug, convenience and department store you come across. Well, here's a battery that's 2,000 years old! Known as the Baghdad Battery, this curiosity was found in the ruins of a Parthian village believed to date back to between 248 B.C. and 226 A.D. The device consists of a 5-1/2-inch high clay vessel inside of which was a copper cylinder held in place by asphalt, and inside of that was an oxidized iron rod. Experts who examined it concluded that the device needed only to be filled with an acid or alkaline liquid to produce an electric charge. It is believed that this ancient battery might have been used for electroplating objects with gold. If so, how was this technology lost... and the battery not rediscovered for another 1,800 years?


click for
enlargement

The Coso Artifact
While mineral hunting in the mountains of California near Olancha during the winter of 1961, Wallace Lane, Virginia Maxey and Mike Mikesell found a rock, among many others, that they thought was a geode - a good addition for their gem shop. Upon cutting it open, however, Mikesell found an object inside that seemed to be made of white porcelain. In the center was a shaft of shiny metal. Experts estimated that it should have taken about 500,000 years for this fossil-encrusted nodule to form, yet the object inside was obviously of sophisticated human manufacture. Further investigation revealed that the porcelain was surround by a hexagonal casing, and an x-ray revealed a tiny spring at one end. Some who have examined the evidence say it looks very much like a modern-day spark plug. How did it get inside a 500,000-year-old rock?

Ancient Model Aircraft
There are artifacts belonging to ancient Egyptian and Central American cultures that look amazingly like modern-day aircraft. The Egyptian artifact, found in a tomb at Saqquara, Egypt in 1898, is a six-inch wooden object that strongly resembles a model airplane, with fuselage, wings and tail. Experts believe the object is so aerodynamic that it is actually able to glide. The small object discovered in Central America (shown at right), and estimated to be 1,000 years old, is made of gold and could easily be mistaken for a model of a delta-wing aircraft - or even the Space Shuttle. It even features what looks like a pilot's seat.


click for
enlargement

Giant Stone Balls of Costa Rica
Workmen hacking and burning their way through the dense jungle of Costa Rica to clear an area for banana plantations in the 1930s stumbled upon some incredible objects: dozens of stone balls, many of which were perfectly spherical. They varied in size from as small as a tennis ball to an astonishing 8 feet in diameter and weighing 16 tons! Although the great stone balls are clearly man-made, it is unknown who made them, for what purpose and, most puzzling, how they achieved such spherical precision.

Impossible Fossils
Fossils, as we learned in grade school, appear in rocks that were formed many thousands of years ago. Yet there are a number of fossils that just don't make geological or historical sense. A fossil of a human handprint, for example, was found in limestone estimated to be 110 million years old. What appears to be a fossilized human finger found in the Canadian Arctic also dates back 100 to 110 million years ago. And what appears to be the fossil of a human footprint, possibly wearing a sandal, was found near Delta, Utah in a shale deposit estimated to be 300 million to 600 million years old.

Out-of-Place Metal Objects
Humans were not even around 65 million years ago, never mind people who could work metal. So then how does science explain semi-ovoid metallic tubes dug out of 65-million-year-old Cretaceous chalk in France? In 1885, a block of coal was broken open to find a metal cube obviously worked by intelligent hands. In 1912, employees at an electric plant broke apart a large chunk of coal out of which fell an iron pot! A nail was found embedded in a sandstone block from the Mesozoic Era. And there are many, many more such anomalies.

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Other Words for "Said"
Acknowledged
Added
Admitted
Advised
Agreed
Announced
Answered
Approved
Argued
Assumed
Assured
Asked
Babbled
Bargained
Began
Boasted
Bragged
Called
Claimed
Commanded
Commented
Complained
Cried
Decided
Demanded
Denied
Described
Dictated
Emphasized
Estimated
Exclaimed
Explained
Expressed
Feared
Giggled
Grinned
Grunted
Indicated
Insisted
Instructed
Laughed
Lectured
Lied
Mentioned
Moaned
Mumbled
Murmured
Nagged
Noted
Notified
Objected
Observed
Ordered
Pleaded
Pointed out
Prayed
Predicted
Questioned
Reassured
Related
Repeated
Replied
Responded
Requested
Restated
Revealed
Roared
Ruled
Scolded
Screamed
Shouted
Shrieked
Snapped
Sneered
Sobbed
Spoke
Sputtered
Stammered
Stated
Stormed
Suggested
Taunted
Thought
Told
Urged
Uttered
Vowed
Wailed
Warned
Whispered
**************************************************************************************



Achluophobia Fear of darkness.
Acousticophobia Fear of noise.
Acrophobia Fear of heights.
Agoraphobia Fear of open spaces or of being in crowded places.
Ailurophobia Fear of cats.
Alektorophobia Fear of chickens.
Alliumphobia Fear of garlic.
Allodoxaphobia Fear of opinions.
Altophobia Fear of heights.
Amaxophobia Fear of riding in a car.
Ambulophobia Fear of walking.
Ancraophobia or Anemophobia Fear of wind.
Androphobia Fear of men.
Anglophobia Fear of England, English culture, etc.
Anthrophobia Fear of flowers.
Antlophobia Fear of floods.
Anuptaphobia Fear of staying single.
Apeirophobia Fear of infinity.
Aphenphosmphobia Fear of being touched.
Apiphobia Fear of bees.
Apotemnophobia Fear of persons with amputations. Arachnephobia/Arachnophobia Fear of spiders.
Arithmophobia Fear of numbers.
Arrhenphobia Fear of men. Arsonphobia Fear of fire.
Astraphobia/Astrapophobia Fear of thunder and lightning.
Astrophobia Fear of stars/space.
Ataxophobia Fear of disorder or untidiness.
Atelophobia Fear of imperfection.
Athazagoraphobia Fear of being forgotton or ignored or forgetting.
Atychiphobia Fear of failure.
Aurophobia Fear of gold.
Automatonophobia Fear of ventriloquist's dummies, animatronic creatures, wax statues
Automysophobia Fear of being dirty.
Autophobia Fear of being alone or of oneself.
Aviophobia/Aviatophobia Fear of flying.

Bacillophobia Fear of microbes.
Bacteriophobia Fear of bacteria.
Bathmophobia Fear of stairs or steep slopes.
Batophobia Fear of heights.
Batrachophobia Fear of amphibians (like frogs)
Belonephobia Fear of pins and needles.
Bibliophobia Fear of books.
Botanophobia Fear of plants.
Brontophobia Fear of thunder and lightning.

Cacophobia Fear of ugliness.
Cainophobia/Cainotophobia Fear of newness, novelty.
Caligynephobia Fear of beautiful women.
Carnophobia Fear of meat.
Catagelophobia Fear of being ridiculed.
Catoptrophobia Fear of mirrors.
Cenophobia / Centophobia Fear of new things or ideas.
Ceraunophobia Fear of thunder.
Chaetophobia Fear of hair.
Chionophobia Fear of snow.
Chiraptophobia Fear of being touched.
Chirophobia Fear of hands.
Chorophobia Fear of dancing.
Chrometophobia/Chrematophobia Fear of money.
Chromophobia/Chromatophobia Fear of colors.
Chronomentrophobia Fear of clocks.
Cibophobia/Sitophobia/Sitiophobia Fear of food.
Claustrophobia Fear of confined spaces.
Climacophobia Fear of stairs.
Clinophobia Fear of going to bed.
Coimetrophobia Fear of cemeteries.
Coulrophobia Fear of clowns.
Cyberphobia Fear of computers.
Cyclophobia Fear of bicycles.
Cymophobia Fear of waves.
Cynophobia Fear of dogs.

Demophobia Fear of crowds.
Dendrophobia Fear of trees.
Dentophobia Fear of dentists.
Didaskaleinophobia Fear of going to school.
Dipsophobia Fear of drinking.
Dishabiliophobia Fear of undressing in front of someone.
Dromophobia Fear of crossing streets.

Eisoptrophobia Fear of mirrors.
Elurophobia Fear of cats.
Emetophobia Fear of vomiting.
Entomophobia Fear of insects.
Ephebiphobia Fear of teenagers.
Epistaxiophobia Fear of nosebleeds.
Equinophobia Fear of horses.
Ergophobia Fear of work.

Felinophobia Fear of cats.

Gamophobia Fear of marriage.
Geliophobia Fear of laughter.
Genophobia Fear of sex.
Gephyrophobia, Gephydrophobia, or Gephysrophobia Fear of crossing bridges.
Gerascophobia Fear of growing old.
Glossophobia Fear of speaking in public or of trying to speak. Gynephobia/Gynophobia Fear of women.

Haphephobia/Haptephobia Fear of being touched.
Harpaxophobia Fear of being robbed.
Heliophobia Fear of the sun.
Hemophobia/Hemaphobia/Hematophobia Fear of blood.
Hierophobia Fear of priests or sacred things.
Hominophobia Fear of men.
Hylophobia Fear of forests.

Iatrophobia Fear of doctors.
Ichthyophobia Fear of fish.

Judeophobia Fear of Jews.

Keraunophobia Fear of thunder and lightning.
Kymophobia Fear of waves.

Lachanophobia Fear of vegetables.
Ligyrophobia Fear of loud noises.
Limnophobia Fear of lakes.
Liticaphobia Fear of lawsuits.
Lockiophobia Fear of childbirth.
Logizomechanophobia Fear of computers.
Logophobia Fear of words.
Lygophobia Fear of darkness.

Macrophobia Fear of long waits.
Mageirocophobia Fear of cooking.
Maieusiophobia Fear of childbirth.
Megalophobia Fear of large things.
Melissophobia Fear of bees.
Methyphobia Fear of alcohol.
Microphobia Fear of small things.
Misophobia Fear of being contaminated with dirt/germs.
Monophobia Fear of solitude or being alone.
Motorphobia Fear of automobiles.
Musophobia/Murophobia Fear of mice.

Necrophobia Fear of death / dead things.
Neophobia Fear of anything new.
Nosocomephobia Fear of hospitals.
Numerophobia Fear of numbers.

Ochlophobia Fear of crowds or mobs.
Ophidiophobia Fear of snakes.
Ophthalmophobia Fear of being stared at.
Ornithophobia Fear of birds.

Pedophobia Fear of children.
Peladophobia Fear of bald people.
Phasmophobia Fear of ghosts.
Placophobia Fear of tombstones.
Plutophobia Fear of wealth.
Pogonophobia Fear of beards.
Potamophobia Fear of rivers or running water.
Pteronophobia Fear of being tickled by feathers.
Pupaphobia fear of puppets.
Pyrophobia Fear of fire.

Rhytiphobia Fear of getting wrinkles.
Rupophobia Fear of dirt.

Scolionophobia Fear of school.
Selachophobia Fear of sharks.
Sesquipedalophobia Fear of long words.

Tachophobia Fear of speed.
Technophobia Fear of technology.
Telephonophobia Fear of telephones.
Testophobia Fear of taking tests.
Theophobia Fear of gods or religion.
Trypanophobia Fear of injections.

Venustraphobia Fear of beautiful women.
Verbophobia Fear of words.
Verminophobia Fear of germs.
Vestiphobia Fear of clothing.

Xenoglossophobia Fear of foreign languages.

Zoophobia Fear of animals